The doorbell chimes again, mocking me. Grabbing the half-empty candy bowl, I open the door–
“Huh!” I gasp.
It is HUGE. Its front paws planted on the porch: two golden, fur-covered columns, each thicker than my torso. They hold up the massive lion’s body. I feel the dragon’s tail in the shadows. Giant eagle wings scrape my eaves and blot out the festivities.
Between its teeth, I see the tiny plastic pumpkin bowl. Its cat eyes just stare.
I lock eyes with it for some time.
“Trick,” I decide.
I mean, how often do you get a chance like this?
In a cork tree, Two Cats lay upon a long, firm branch.
Years past, season upon season, they had looked down at a pasture filled with cattle. And this is what they saw:
Continue reading “Two Cats and a Load of Bull: or Ferdinand, Part III (Revenge of the Flowers)”
He was very nearly already dead when he came to see me. Not at all what I had expected from the High Father: the Great Winged Serpent Who Rules All.
My first glimpse of him was through my specially located peephole. He leaned heavily against his wooden umbrella. He wasn’t dressed in ceremonial garb, rather he wore a light windbreaker and khakis. Picture a Chicano George Burns.
His face was completely hidden behind his own wrinkles. But his smile was patient. It had taken me several minutes to come downstairs in the lift and answer the doorbell in my wheelchair.
I asked who it was as I opened the door. Without a word of greeting, he stabbed at me with an exacto knife– of course he was too weak and only succeeded in falling on me and clumsily knocking us both over, back into my foyer.
Continue reading “Limited Omniscient”
The final one that I’ll add today is one of my favorites, Sudoku. It’s an oddball because it is the only work I wrote in my thirties that wasn’t published (in The Noncomformist magazine, over at medium.com) until I was in my fifties.
I think this it’s a precious little tale. I hope you agree.
Continue reading “Four! Four short stories, aa ha ha!”
As long as anyone remembered, K…(that’s what they called him: “K”– the letter, not the nickname)…K was always counting: One, two, three as he walked. He measured time when his teachers talked, usually thousands, when his friends played tag (Edgar was the best, he always tagged someone before eight)– his first kiss was a one. But later him and Sally kissed all the way to seventeen before his friends caught them behind the school and made fun of them…
K sat in his room one night, long after everyone was asleep, and stared at the Sudoku book on his lap. It was a gift from his parents. His “focused” behavior– no one used the word “obsessive” in their house– was a source of shame for his parents. But they also realized that his genius wasn’t all bad. K got to hear his Dad tell people lots of jokes about visiting Vegas.
K was ashamed of how well he did at number puzzles. But he was proud, too.
He stared at the first puzzle in the book. He saw a grid of eighty-one squares, nine-by-nine– or, if you prefer: a grid of nine 3-by-3 grids. Selected squares had a single number, one through nine, inside them. Most of the squares were blank and you were supposed to fill those in. Each row, each column, and each 3-by-3 box within the overall grid was supposed to contain only one each of the nine digits, one through nine. That was the puzzle.
Continue reading “Sudoku”
I’ve only finished one horror piece, a short short (or micro-fic, if you prefer) from last year. It’s called Happy Hollows.
When I was a small child, I had an uncle who inundated me with age-inappropriate horror movies and stories. This has served to make me somewhat impervious/desensitized to horror as a genre, which makes me a less-than-ideal creator of same.
Still, I kind of like this one. Less is More, maybe. I definitely get the impression that if I ever managed to write something that scared me, it would utterly wreck others. Something to shoot for, someday, perhaps.
Of course, the first thirty pages would just be trigger warnings. I wonder if you could write an entire short-story of nothing but trigger warnings? The reader would just absorb the story proper through a process of nothing but emotionally safe osmosis.
Continue reading “Happy Halloween…Silver Shamrock!*”
If the carving wasn’t so fun, I’d skip it all and stay home.
The pumpkins make me sweat. I have to surprise ’em, or else they’re hard to carry.
I stare at their pretty costumes for a while. One wakes up and tries to run.
It is first. That pumpkin bites me several times, but I don’t let go until we’re in the basement.
I start at the top. Have to slant the knife inward so the lid fits back right–by then they go into shock, so that makes it easy…
…Eventually, they’re all smiling.
Time for candy.
So, I am posting and curating my (published) works here on my website (Yay!). Now that I am querying, I reckon that this is as good a time as any to pull this site together.
The first two stories are below. They are from about 16 to 17 years ago.
Checking It Twice always seemed like a natural to me: Santa Claus was the original ‘big bad’ to many of us. So, why not tell the story of when he was neither of those things. And, yes, my very first short story featured a POC. I was always wanting to creatively explore the human condition by attempting empathy with ‘the others’.
Continue reading “Long, long ago…”
“No. I won’t do it.”
Yes you will, I thought mechanically. None can resist God’s plan.
I countered, “Please. Church policy, school rules and common sense say otherwise. You’re just dragging this out…making this more difficult…”
Continue reading “The Unholy Choice”
“Not in some distant Brave New World, but in the here and now, the government is assembling dossiers on American citizens, and then assigning them each their own Threat Assessment Color — red, yellow or green…”
–Matt Bivens, The Nation Magazine, March 11, 2003
6am XMAS 2045
Nathanial waited all morning for his mother to wake up. Most mornings he fed himself and dressed himself and went out alone to catch the bus; but this morning was different. It was his birthday. And it was Christmas. So he wanted to see if he’d gotten any presents. He could go after lunch and stay at school through 7pm in order to avoid demerits.
He brought his mother some coffee. He liked running the coffee machine. It made him feel older than five. He was always very careful to not put too much water in just like his mother had showed him. He put his winter gloves on so that his hands wouldn’t get burned when he poured and carried the cup.
Setting the cup down on the faux wood nightstand, he then climbed into bed next to her. He burrowed into her long black hair and joined her under the covers.
Each blanket had some holes, but between them all, she was well wrapped. Slipping his hand out from its glove, he reached over and felt the cold skin of her cheek. Even wrapped in blankets, her skin was always cool. She needed him for that. He was her little furnace. That’s what she called him. He loved to snuggle. When she was asleep he remembered every nice thing she had ever said to him. Continue reading “Checking It Twice”