If I Can’t Have You, Nobody Will

(This story has been optioned for film by Mar Vista Entertainment)   Laura Tinsdale drove along the main road that Saturday in October, into the little farm town of Wakefield in northeastern Nebraska, her long blonde hair dancing in the breeze through the open windows. Corn fields shimmered green and gold in the sun. The…Continue Reading

INTO THE MUD

Winter and spring were typically soggy in the verdant Stillaguamish River valley at the western edge of the Cascade Mountain Range. But throughout March, the clouds outdid themselves, soaking the tiny hamlet of Oso, Washington with twice the usual rainfall. So, when the sun at last rose into a bright blue sky on Saturday morning,…Continue Reading

The ER at the Top of the World

At the foot of the Khumbu Glacier is the site of the Mount Everest base camp, where climbers prepare to make their bid for the summit. The uppermost part of this glacier, the Khumbu Icefall, is among the most perilous sections climbers must traverse. The glacier’s spasms (it slides down the mountain at a rate…Continue Reading

Jessica’s Story: The Girl Who Wouldn’t Break

  Jessica Bernstein’s parents lifted her from her wheelchair and hustled her into her mom’s deep blue Honda SUV for the trip to the hospital. Distraught, the elfin 15-year-old begged them: “Don’t take me. Please, I don’t want to go.” She’d had more surgeries than birthdays; spent more time wracked with pain, recovering from fractures…Continue Reading

God on the Brain

An odd rhythmic chant rings through the stark white radiology lab at the University of Pennsylvania:  Satadadaya, satadadaya, satamobosa, satadababababosah. The cantillating woman seems oblivious to the intravenous needle in her arm infusing her with a radioactive substance to map her brain. As her chant continues, neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, M.D., positions her in a SPECT…Continue Reading

Carjacked

“Take the car,” she pleaded. “Just let me get my kids.” Chaos on a Summer Day Marna Plaia strapped her children into their car seats in the back of her Mercedes SUV. On this lovely summer day, the petite 31-year-old mother had taken a golf break while Edie, 18 months, and Paul, 3 years old,…Continue Reading

There’s an Intruder in the House!

The stranger didn’t know how long he’d been running or where he was headed. The day before, he’d taken his parents’ 42-inch plasma television while they were attending a wedding and traded it for crystal meth. After stealing from his parents, and on probation for earlier crimes, he had no place to go. Methamphetamine works…Continue Reading

Shootout In Dade County

The air hung so thick and still over Florida’s Interstate 75, you could slice it with a butter knife. But with the top down on her new BMW convertible, Edith Silver created her own breeze. It whipped through her short blonde hair, making her feel young and carefree. She could almost forget the birthday coming…Continue Reading

Creek Of Redemption

1979: Ten years after John Beal got back home to Seattle, Washington, he still carried Vietnam around with him. The screech of artillery fire still echoed in his ears; the once lush jungle, scorched dead by Agent Orange, still haunted his conscience. War memories clawed their way to his heart, gripped and squeezed. Within seven…Continue Reading

Life in the Balance

Think negotiating a merger or a bigger paycheck is nerve-wracking? Try haggling with a terrorist — or with someone about to kill himself. SUICIDE HOTLINE: SHIFT THE PERSPECTIVE “A man named Jim called from the outskirts of a town on the Mojave Desert,” says Chris Neame(caller’s name and other identifying information have been changed to…Continue Reading