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by Tom Hallman Jr

About the Author: Tom Hallman Jr., senior reporter at The Oregonian in Portland, Oregon, is considered one of the nation's premier narrative writers. During his career, he has won every major feature-writing award, including the Pulitzer Prize. He has written three books. His work has appeared in Readers Digest and the Saturday Evening Post. This is his first work of fiction.


The steady beat of a bass blasting from a sound system awakened me. I fumbled for the clock radio on the nightstand, and saw it was 3 a.m. Moving carefully so as not to wake my wife, I took my pillow and covered my head.

But down feathers were no match for the sound of breaking glass, the laughter and that incessant bass line reverberating from the house across the street.

I threw the pillow on the floor.

I stared at the ceiling.

Then I saw someone framed in the bedroom doorway.

Everyone’s experienced a before and after moment: A cop’s lights flashing after you’ve pulled away from the bar, or the boss calling you into the office and asking you to close the door.

Sometimes, though, it’s hard to determine where a tale starts and ends. The best I can offer is to pick a moment that I call the beginning and let my story unfold.

This was my moment.

“Dad,” she said, “what’s going on?”

Not by any stretch could you call those four words a conversation. But I was grateful. The teen years had swept over my family. The way Amy saw it, I no longer understood her.

Story Comments

Apr 2 - Debbie Derrick

So to finish Tom's story do I need to subscribe?

Dec 14 - Joan Hall Hovey

Enjoying it. Intrigued. Smooth, good writing.

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