Kean Rippel

Recent Stories

Published: Nov 27, 2020

It's a Movement

"How can you not know Alice's Restaurant," Kean said, a statement not a question. His voice was on the verge of squeaking.

She sat motionless, unsure which words would make him most happy, prey hoping to remain unseen.

"It's not Thanksgiving without it." He stood. "It's all kinds of hilarious, too."

He was headed to the record collection, searching for the song.

She was frowning behind him, pondering ways to detour this conversation. "How long did you say the song was?"

"Eighteen minutes, roughly."

"Well, I think I've got to be going shortly."

"You'll stay for this. It's not that long. Ha!" He slid an album off of the shelf.

Published: Oct 15, 2020

Writing is an Addiction

"Working too much is going to kill you," was scrawled on the inside cover in foreign handwriting.

Kean stared at the lettering, trying to remember who had left him that note. A bald eagle sat in the tree outside his window, still, silent, majestic. He thought he should probably be dead if that statement carried any weight. Thinking of all the time he had wasted attempting to get the right word or a sentence to sound good. The hours he had looked at one thesaurus or another.

He was no longer engaged with the writing. But he was addicted to it. Any day he tried to skip the work, his skin scrawled and his head ached. The pounding heart and faintness were the worst. There was nothing he could do but sit down and type something, even if it was not good.

Published: Sep 19, 2020

The Barge

They lived in a strange house, covered in vines, made of stone, perched near the edge of a small cliff, overlooking the Mississippi River. When it rained, Kean feared the cliff would saturate and become soft; they would slide down into the river and float downstream on a barge. The barge was moored to the water's edge directly below the house. A precaution he had set up for what he deemed inevitable.

"Why do we live like this?" she asked, tucking purple hair behind each ear.

He was watching the rain hop on the patio. A few stray flashes of lightning flared in the sky.

"I like it up here," he said.

"You live in fear."

"Only when it rains."

"I couldn't bear it." She opened a book on modern design, published in the 1950s.

"What is it like to live without feelings? Emotions?"

"I do rather well." She turned a page, then another. "Just what were they thinking for the past," she paused to calculate, "eighty years? This stuff is so delightful."

Crack! Rumble. The house hummed.

Kean squawked and grabbed the counter firmly. "That was thrilling."

Published: Sep 18, 2020

Fifteen Minutes

"Kean, you're pompous."

He was brushing his hair while sitting on the couch watching the evening news from January 27.

"Why are you watching that? It's old news, what, seven or eight months old by now."

"I had to cut back on my television time this year. Fifteen minutes, a New Year's Resolution. The worst is when I have to stop in the middle of a segment."

"This is worse than the four hours per day you watched last year."

A chime signaled time was up. Kean stopped the stream, stood, clipped his brush into a belt holster, and went to the kitchen.

"Are you pouring me a drink, you lush?"

"Why is it that you have to talk to me like that?"

"Why is it that you dare to talk to me, like that?"

He poured a bourbon, then another. He slid the decanter to the back of the shelf, paused, pulled it out again and made his a double.

"You're a pretty bird," he said.

"Yes, you are." She smiled.

Published: Sep 17, 2020

It's My Name

"It's reh-pell not rip-pull," he said. "A common mistake."

"Sorry." She smiled softly.

"Happens all the time," he continued. "Actually makes me wonder why no one just asks how you say a person's name before you flap out something ridiculous."

She was bored and thinking about the robin she spotted on the lawn. It was hopping through the grass.

"It's my name. Like I wouldn't know how it's pronounced."

The bird was searching, probably for food, but she wondered if it was listening to this pointless rant. She wished he would stop talking; he was such a beautiful man but she questioned his ability to think.

"Say," she cut him off, "you remember that time you took me to that restaurant?"


"The one on the river, downtown."

"There is a few."

"They all knew your name."

He looked up, tilting his head, his version of appearing to think she knew. "River Cassoulet?"

She smiled, not sure, not caring.

"That place is funny, not serving a single French dish. Why call it that?"

"They knew yours," she said.