David Kennedy

David J. Kennedy is a civil rights lawyer in New York City. Read more about his work at his website: The Gilded Cage.

The Merriest Widow

A rider was drawing closer, through the light fog rising from the forested hills around Stockton. The ladies had initially considered the pursuer as merely another gallivant taking some exercise, but the man on the horse was taking no leisurely route, rather a direct line toward their carriage.
“Have no fear,” said the coachman. “I am a tolerable shot at a hundred feet.”
Creative Nonfiction

A Kitten Before the Fire

This was not how Senator William Sharon had intended to spend his retirement. Having amassed his fortune, failed to obtain re-election, and outlived his wife, Sharon had dreamed of living off the interest, tossing aside the newspapers once he tired of politics, and paying for discreet liaisons who could be trusted to dispose of themselves once they were no longer needed. It had come as an unpleasant surprise that the tides of business were ever-changing and unpredictable…
Creative Nonfiction
September 2023 Issue

A Mistake in the Lady

Judge Sullivan, although a young man and even more junior judge, had heard his share of difficult questions from lawyers but had never seen such a simple question prove so vexing.
“I am sorry, counsel,” he said, “but I must have misheard. Could you please repeat the question?”
“Of course, Your Honor.” David Terry cleared his throat and began again. “Mrs. Sarah Althea Sharon, where were you born?”
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 74

Daughter of the Hibernian Isle

Among the well-bred and refined ladies of San Francisco, the prevailing opinion was that there could be no better sport than the breach of contract suit filed by Sarah Althea Sharon, née Hill, against Senator William Sharon. Let the men have their boxing-matches, the boys their football games — why, this was entertainment of the highest order, a clash in the greatest rivalry of all, that between the sexes.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 72

The Strange Case of the Love Contract

It took everything in Justice Stephen Field’s power to restrain himself from laughing.
“In the City and County of San Francisco, State of California,” the document stated, “on the 25th day of August, A.D. 1880, I Sarah Althea Hill, of the City and County of San Francisco, State of California, age 27 years, do here in the presence of Almighty God, take Senator William Sharon, of the State of Nevada, to be my lawful and wedded husband, and do here acknowledge and declare myself to be the wife of Senator William Sharon of the State of Nevada.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 71

Oubliette

New York City had never seen such dreadful weather. The rain poured on Sunday with such ferocity as to relieve wavering worshippers from attending services, for it suggested that the heavenly deity would rather that they stay at home. No sooner had night fallen, however, than a bitter cold set in, first freezing the remnants of the day’s precipitation upon the streets, then turning the rain into heavy snow.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 54

The Sphinx

Paris could rightfully be said to be home to the diplomatic arts, but not all lay fully within its ken. Not every secret is pried open when men conduct their affairs with threats, intimidation, and hints of violence; for the more delicate questions of international intrigue, a softer touch is required.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 52

The Dying Gladiator

Kate had calculated that meeting the presidential carriage as it pulled up the drive at Edgewood would serve her interest, but that did not deprive the gesture of its heartfelt quality. The carriage had been specially made in New York. It was dark green in color, Arthur’s favorite, with that hue presenting the central theme on the exterior paint and the interior upholstery, trimmed in morocco and cloth.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 37

I Am a Stalwart: Part Two

There was shouting along the banks of the East River, but Arthur could not quite make it out.
He stood upon the deck of the Saint John, the steamboat that he and Conkling had caught very early that morning, and peered across the morning fog that now was lifting from the waters of that tributary that shot north from New York Harbor, cleft the island of Manhattan from the cities of Brooklyn and Queens, swept heedlessly through the sharp breaks at Spuyten Duyvil, then rushed into the great Hudson River and ran up to Albany. But the return of Conkling and Platt to Albany had proven less triumphant than anticipated.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 33

I Am a Stalwart: Part One

The first gathering of the Stalwarts was, of necessity, an intimate one. It had been far too long since the social business of politics had occurred under the supervision of Kate Chase. Mary Todd Lincoln being of a sour disposition, and unattractive besides, the great Washington salon of the war years had not been the White House, but the Chase residence.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 31

The Trickster of Mentor, Part II

The mood was sour that night in Conkling’s suite at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Conkling had spent the day rallying his men for Grant, loping the aisles of the Glass Palace with furious strides to keep the delegates in line. He had observed with some satisfaction that Platt had placed his arm about the shoulders of Benjamin Harrison of the Indiana delegation, and noted with some irritation Arthur was smoking a cigar with the dregs of the New York delegation, who were already entirely committed to Grant. How wise he had been to take the reins from Arthur!
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 28

The Trickster of Mentor, Part I

It was in a mood of intense irritation that Senator Roscoe Conkling arrived in Chicago. Chet Arthur had been sent out in advance, his bulk trundled into a railway carriage like an overstuffed suitcase along with Thomas Platt, but Conkling had little expectation that Arthur would perform any more competently than he had in ’seventy-six…
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 27

A Dispatch from Olivia

The ladies of the press, by inclination and profession given to skepticism, had appeared at the luncheon anticipating a ghastly masquerade. There had been abundant rumors, which the ladies had been obliged to report in accordance with their duty to their readers, that Kate Chase Sprague was now a Miss Havisham, roaming as a spectre in a cobwebbed and abandoned mansion. Yet these great expectations were confounded once the carriages pulled into the drive. Edgewood had been polished, scrubbed, and manicured such that it nearly gleamed in the spring sunshine.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 24

Spur Up Your Pegasus

Kate had yet to arrive at a satisfactory arrangement with her husband. Sprague had insisted that Kate spend the summer of ’seventy-nine at the estate in Canonchet, near Narragansett, so that he might have some opportunity to see his children, but Kate knew that Sprague was more likely to spend his time playing billiards in a tavern and would merely pat Willie and the three girls on their heads en route to some drunken dissipation. It was not long before Sprague vanished upon some hunting trip to Maine with his cousin. Fortuitously, Senator Roscoe Conkling had some legal business in Newport, and it would have been impolite to fail to visit Kate, Rhode Island being such a small state.
Long Short Story
Issue 22

His Demonstrative Gallantry

The distinguished members of the Senate were by now regretting their heartfelt devotion to the business of the people. The session had extended itself well into May, long past the days when the cherry blossoms that so adorn our national capital had bloomed and fallen, and as June wore on the heat became oppressive, then nearly unbearable. Yet the Democratic Party, having assumed the majority in the congressional elections the prior November, had proven incapable of effectively conducting the people’s business.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 21

David Kennedy

David J. Kennedy is a civil rights lawyer in New York City. Read more about his work at his website: The Gilded Cage.

The Merriest Widow

A rider was drawing closer, through the light fog rising from the forested hills around Stockton. The ladies had initially considered the pursuer as merely another gallivant taking some exercise, but the man on the horse was taking no leisurely route, rather a direct line toward their carriage.
“Have no fear,” said the coachman. “I am a tolerable shot at a hundred feet.”
Creative Nonfiction

A Kitten Before the Fire

This was not how Senator William Sharon had intended to spend his retirement. Having amassed his fortune, failed to obtain re-election, and outlived his wife, Sharon had dreamed of living off the interest, tossing aside the newspapers once he tired of politics, and paying for discreet liaisons who could be trusted to dispose of themselves once they were no longer needed. It had come as an unpleasant surprise that the tides of business were ever-changing and unpredictable…
Creative Nonfiction
September 2023 Issue

A Mistake in the Lady

Judge Sullivan, although a young man and even more junior judge, had heard his share of difficult questions from lawyers but had never seen such a simple question prove so vexing.
“I am sorry, counsel,” he said, “but I must have misheard. Could you please repeat the question?”
“Of course, Your Honor.” David Terry cleared his throat and began again. “Mrs. Sarah Althea Sharon, where were you born?”
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 74

Daughter of the Hibernian Isle

Among the well-bred and refined ladies of San Francisco, the prevailing opinion was that there could be no better sport than the breach of contract suit filed by Sarah Althea Sharon, née Hill, against Senator William Sharon. Let the men have their boxing-matches, the boys their football games — why, this was entertainment of the highest order, a clash in the greatest rivalry of all, that between the sexes.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 72

The Strange Case of the Love Contract

It took everything in Justice Stephen Field’s power to restrain himself from laughing.
“In the City and County of San Francisco, State of California,” the document stated, “on the 25th day of August, A.D. 1880, I Sarah Althea Hill, of the City and County of San Francisco, State of California, age 27 years, do here in the presence of Almighty God, take Senator William Sharon, of the State of Nevada, to be my lawful and wedded husband, and do here acknowledge and declare myself to be the wife of Senator William Sharon of the State of Nevada.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 71

Oubliette

New York City had never seen such dreadful weather. The rain poured on Sunday with such ferocity as to relieve wavering worshippers from attending services, for it suggested that the heavenly deity would rather that they stay at home. No sooner had night fallen, however, than a bitter cold set in, first freezing the remnants of the day’s precipitation upon the streets, then turning the rain into heavy snow.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 54

The Sphinx

Paris could rightfully be said to be home to the diplomatic arts, but not all lay fully within its ken. Not every secret is pried open when men conduct their affairs with threats, intimidation, and hints of violence; for the more delicate questions of international intrigue, a softer touch is required.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 52

The Dying Gladiator

Kate had calculated that meeting the presidential carriage as it pulled up the drive at Edgewood would serve her interest, but that did not deprive the gesture of its heartfelt quality. The carriage had been specially made in New York. It was dark green in color, Arthur’s favorite, with that hue presenting the central theme on the exterior paint and the interior upholstery, trimmed in morocco and cloth.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 37

I Am a Stalwart: Part Two

There was shouting along the banks of the East River, but Arthur could not quite make it out.
He stood upon the deck of the Saint John, the steamboat that he and Conkling had caught very early that morning, and peered across the morning fog that now was lifting from the waters of that tributary that shot north from New York Harbor, cleft the island of Manhattan from the cities of Brooklyn and Queens, swept heedlessly through the sharp breaks at Spuyten Duyvil, then rushed into the great Hudson River and ran up to Albany. But the return of Conkling and Platt to Albany had proven less triumphant than anticipated.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 33

I Am a Stalwart: Part One

The first gathering of the Stalwarts was, of necessity, an intimate one. It had been far too long since the social business of politics had occurred under the supervision of Kate Chase. Mary Todd Lincoln being of a sour disposition, and unattractive besides, the great Washington salon of the war years had not been the White House, but the Chase residence.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 31

The Trickster of Mentor, Part II

The mood was sour that night in Conkling’s suite at the Grand Pacific Hotel. Conkling had spent the day rallying his men for Grant, loping the aisles of the Glass Palace with furious strides to keep the delegates in line. He had observed with some satisfaction that Platt had placed his arm about the shoulders of Benjamin Harrison of the Indiana delegation, and noted with some irritation Arthur was smoking a cigar with the dregs of the New York delegation, who were already entirely committed to Grant. How wise he had been to take the reins from Arthur!
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 28

The Trickster of Mentor, Part I

It was in a mood of intense irritation that Senator Roscoe Conkling arrived in Chicago. Chet Arthur had been sent out in advance, his bulk trundled into a railway carriage like an overstuffed suitcase along with Thomas Platt, but Conkling had little expectation that Arthur would perform any more competently than he had in ’seventy-six…
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 27

A Dispatch from Olivia

The ladies of the press, by inclination and profession given to skepticism, had appeared at the luncheon anticipating a ghastly masquerade. There had been abundant rumors, which the ladies had been obliged to report in accordance with their duty to their readers, that Kate Chase Sprague was now a Miss Havisham, roaming as a spectre in a cobwebbed and abandoned mansion. Yet these great expectations were confounded once the carriages pulled into the drive. Edgewood had been polished, scrubbed, and manicured such that it nearly gleamed in the spring sunshine.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 24

Spur Up Your Pegasus

Kate had yet to arrive at a satisfactory arrangement with her husband. Sprague had insisted that Kate spend the summer of ’seventy-nine at the estate in Canonchet, near Narragansett, so that he might have some opportunity to see his children, but Kate knew that Sprague was more likely to spend his time playing billiards in a tavern and would merely pat Willie and the three girls on their heads en route to some drunken dissipation. It was not long before Sprague vanished upon some hunting trip to Maine with his cousin. Fortuitously, Senator Roscoe Conkling had some legal business in Newport, and it would have been impolite to fail to visit Kate, Rhode Island being such a small state.
Long Short Story
Issue 22

His Demonstrative Gallantry

The distinguished members of the Senate were by now regretting their heartfelt devotion to the business of the people. The session had extended itself well into May, long past the days when the cherry blossoms that so adorn our national capital had bloomed and fallen, and as June wore on the heat became oppressive, then nearly unbearable. Yet the Democratic Party, having assumed the majority in the congressional elections the prior November, had proven incapable of effectively conducting the people’s business.
Creative Nonfiction
Issue 21