The Fire Escape Stories by Chuck Cascio are episodic short stories that follow the lives of two cousins born on the same day in the same Brooklyn hospital who think they will always have one another and the gritty fire escape they love. But life has other plans. Laugh. Cry. Remember.

The Fire Escape Stories, Volume I
by Chuck Cascio
4.7 Stars (67 Reviews)
Genre: Coming of Age

The Fire Escape Stories, Volume I, is comprised of nine episodes that make up Mike Burns’s strongest childhood memories of living in Brooklyn, New York, in the 1950s.

Mike and his cousin, Salvatore “Sally-Boy” Boccanera are born one minute apart, in the same hospital, and it seems like they’ll never be more than a minute apart the rest of their lives.

Their experiences knocking around the city are challenging, funny, touching, and at times disturbing — all of the ingredients that define growing up.

Life lessons happen in the Italian bakery Sally-Boy’s father owns, where the boys loll and play, with ears and eyes wide open. But maybe the biggest lesson of all looms over Mike’s father, who’s determined to make drastic changes in pursuit of a better life.

Hanging in the balance, at the center of the boys’ tumultuous lives, is the fire escape. It’s a place that is uniquely theirs, and Mike best describes its spell, recalling how it reeks in the rain, blisters in the sun, and ices over in the snow. It’s where he and Sally-Boy talk and think and philosophize and plot and try to understand all they can about themselves and the world.

Can the gritty fire escape they love save them both?

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The Fire Escape Stories, Volume II
by Chuck Cascio
4.6 Stars (44 Reviews)
Genre: Literary Fiction | Coming of Age

Where does a fire escape lead? Can it really save lives? Is it, in fact, a way out of danger? These questions are at the heart of the 17 episodes in The Fire Escape Stories, Volume II, a collection that builds upon the nine tales in The Fire Escape Stories, Volume I.
In Volume II, it is the early 1960s. The fire escape in Brooklyn has always been there for twin cousins Sally-Boy Boccanera and Mike Burns. It is where they share beers, swap stories, take girls, and confront one another. And it remains a sanctuary-in-waiting as the boys grow. But as their lives change, can the fire escape provide all the safety and answers they need?
Slowly, the boys see distinctly different worlds emerging. Sometimes together, and at other times on their own, they confront the emotional confusion of adolescence and grapple with their choices, decisions, and directions. Other people enter the boys’ lives, impacting their closeness to one another and offering new paths for them to consider… for better or for worse.
Along the way, the boys experience laughter, sorrow, and change… and each realizes he must make a life-altering decision:
Does he take the fire escape? Or does he choose a different route?

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