Saturday, October 10, 2020

Short Story Saturday: Guest Author Jason Greenfield with Corpus Christie

So, HEY! It's been a while. I can't promise regular postings, but I'll aim for at least once a month, and then, it'll probably end up being guest posts. Nothing wrong with that, though; we enjoy reading new authors' works, right? Writing on my part has been close to nil, but hopefully, I should have some new material soon. I've got a couple stories in the works. For now, enjoy this guest post from author Jason Greenfield from his Mr Giggles collection over on Wattpad.



 


CORPUS CHRISTIE (992W)

I've lived in Corpus Christi damn near my whole life, exceptin a spell upcountry, working as a wildcatter round bout 68', just before I joined the corps. Spent 4 tours in Nam, saw some shit, but I was one of the lucky ones. Most of it was in base camp working the supply stores. Came back in 72' and decided that was it for this ol boy. Back to Texas and back to the city of my birth, never to leave again ... exceptin vacations. Went to Spain one time on a cruise, for our 30th anniversary but you don't wanna hear bout that do ya?

Alright then, I'll tell ya what I told that fella back in 1980 when he tracked me down.

It was the summer of 1961, blistering hot. The sidewalks sizzled. Stand still too long and they could burn right through your tennis shoes and proper shoes, well they weren't that much more durable. I remember dropping an ice cream - vanilla it was. Melted away right in front of me, til all that was left was the cone. Hell, I recall every detail - I can still see it bubbling away, losing its shape, turning inta liquid and then evaporating.

You might wonder how it's so clear. Time n place I mean. Well I was 12 years old and about to turn 13. So yeah, I remember it was 1961 and I remember the day my daddy came home and told Mama and me bout the party. Said he'd been walking near the waterfront. We're a coastal city, did ya know? They call ol Corpus, the Sparkling City by the Sea.

Anyhow, that's where he met the circus folk. They was some kinda carnival working the waterfront but just on the verge of moving on. He knew this because he overheard some talk after, between a few that was fed up and not of a mind to move north with the rest. That was when mah Daddy had his idea. See, he'd been looking for something ... he weren't sure what exactly, but something for the party. We weren't short of a buck or two back then and daddy, he was a generous man, always thinkin of me an Mama.

So he proposed that a bunch of em come entertain at the party. Said he'd give em the kinda pay day that would set em up right until they could find other work an stay on in ol Corpus.

Hell, he even offered em temp work after, down at his plant. Like I said, my old man was a generous sort, always thinking of others. Some said he was frivolous with his money, but to daddy, none o that mattered. All he wanted was to see his boy have a good time.

So a bunch of em, ten in all, they agreed. There was a bearded lady, a clown,strongman, jugglers, some acrobats and some kid who acted as a roustabout. Daddy even hired him, got him fetchin an carryin, serving drinks at the party. Said party was held outside in our yard. A big tent was set up, we ate burgers and drank cola, and hell, it was the best day of my life ... til we found out what we found out.

I remember a few days later, there was reports of a girl gone missing a week or so before. Then they said a neighbor of ours was gone too ... fat ol Mr Jarmle. Soon the list was growing and when they found that first girl... or what was left of her. Needless to say it was all anyone could talk about. Corpus Christi had a cannibal serial killer, was what Mama said when she thought I was upstairs and couldn't hear. Daddy said it was just a stupid rumor, on account of the pieces being missing and bite marks in the flesh.

Wasn't a rumor for long. The police found several sites and evidence of butchery clear as day. Course I never read the details til years later, about the plates and human cuts and joints found in refrigerators in at least two sites.

I do remember the night the police came round and questioned daddy about them circus folk. Seems they had a real solid lead but my father hadn't seen em in over a month at that point. Some had taken him up on his job offer at the plant but one day that boy - the teenager, came in on his own and said they'd all quit on account of new circus work. Daddy didn't question it.

It was August by then and a city wide manhunt was on. The papers were calling them the Circus Cannibals and all sorts of theories were pouring out about how they was some kinda death cult or what haveya.

Course the day the police raided that warehouse and found the eight bodies, put paid to all that. They found em all butchered and partially eaten.

That was the end of it. They never did find that clown and boy.

Course years later all them other stories started emerging ... the ice box killers up in Houston back in 65. Never caught, but that reporter, the one who found me back in 80' said he found someone else with a story about a clown. Seems that man was certain he'd been served his teacher in a burger at a kid's party he attended. That's when I remembered those burgers the boy served up back in 61' at my party and how ol Mr Jarmle had gone missing just prior.

Well I can never be sure a hundred percent of course, but let me tell ya two things. Ever since then I haven't touched the flesh of an animal, fowl or fish and every once in a while I still wake up from a nightmare an I see that giggling clown clear as day!

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Snippet Saturday: "What did you do to your friends, Marshall?" an excerpt from Halfborn

 

What did you do to your friends, Marshall?

an excerpt from Halfborn


“Hey, Marshall, do you ever miss your old life?” I asked timidly.

A jolt of confusion flowed from him. He quickly reined it in before he answered. “No,” he said, slightly angry. “Why would you ask me that?”

“Because . . . I think you should miss it. At least a little.” I sat down across from him. “I mean, there has to be something you're upset about losing.”

“I can't think of anything I wouldn't mind losing if being with you is what I get in return. I was a college student with no major, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Now, I have a brand-new start with no need to know what kind of job I'll need to die at—just trying to scrape by and survive.” He glanced out the window, and some feeling I couldn't figure out revealed itself briefly.

“You didn't have any friends? No one you cared for? No one you miss?” I asked, pushing him to show something—anything—for everything he must have lost.

“Yeah, I had friends; not that it matters. Besides, they're better off I'm gone.” He looked at me, and then down to his hands.

The feeling I couldn't identify slipped to me from him, again. Regret? Then it was gone. I thought back to the night he'd killed his parents—to the car ride home. He'd been so racked with guilt, with remorse, and then it was gone. I wondered then: did Marshall know he was controlling his feelings or was it merely by accident and some sort of survival instinct?

“What did you do to your friends, Marshall?” I asked before I could stop myself.

The regret flowed back, accompanied by anger. I didn't really want him angry with me. I'd seen what he was capable of, but he needed to work at least some of his issues out before he turned me into an uncontrollable monster.

He brought his eyes back up to meet mine. His eyebrows pinched together above the bridge of his nose. “Friend. What did I do to my friend, because I really only had one true one,” he said.

“Well, Marshall?” I urged.

He shook his head, and the corners of his lips turned down. “I slept with his fiancรฉe . . . Is this what you want to hear? That I'm a backstabbing asshole that fucks his only friend's girl.”

Out of everything I could've thought, the words he spoke seemed far from any of it. I didn't know why. I didn't even know Marshall, really. We'd been thrust together by a mystical occurrence. I was shocked by what he'd said, but I also felt betrayed. Though, I had no right to. He hadn't wronged me, and I didn't even know him when he'd done it.

He seemed so . . . loyal. Maybe the betrayal I felt was because I didn't want to believe he could do something like what he said he'd done. Like he had lied to me, but I could tell what he'd said was the truth.

He gave me a minute to process his words. When I hadn't responded, he continued, “That's why I was at that stupid burger place. I was breaking things off with her. Jared, my friend, had found out and was falling apart. He wouldn't speak to me, and I didn't blame him. I hated myself. Maybe I still do.”

“Damn it, Marshall,” I said as his self-loathing and hate washed over me. “I didn't know. Why didn't you say something sooner?”

“Why would I? I'm not going back to that life. It doesn't matter anymore.”

“But what if it does matter, Marshall?” I asked. “What if you holding these feelings back, hiding them inside, is keeping you from being able to control more important things? Even if you don't realize you're putting in an effort to block these things, you are, and I think it's making it harder for you to block other things. Like, I don't know, your bloodlust? At least that's what I'm beginning to believe. You need to deal with this stuff.”

“I have. I put it behind me. It's been forgotten. Well, until you brought it up!” He slammed his fist down on the table.

“You're wrong. Or else you wouldn't be so pissed right now.”

“God damn it, Coral! When I was laying there, thinking I was dying . . . I resigned. I decided I deserved death. That I'd brought it upon myself. I made peace with everything.”

I placed my hands on his and tried to comfort him, but he was so angry. “But you didn't die. Not exactly. You're still here. And then, you did something far worse than having sex with someone you shouldn't have.”

He jerked his hands away and stood up, taking several steps back. “Don't! Don't fucking do this, Coral! I can't. I won't.” The remorse, the sadness, the undeniable despair that rolled between us was short lived and was quickly replaced by a rage that burned so hot it began to draw out both our bloodlust.

Shit, that wasn't what I expected. Sadness, grief, tears. That's what I expected. Not for me to be touched with my own fear that my life could be in danger. I had the thought that I should have ended the conversation, that I should have quit pushing him, but I knew not dealing with these things would only allow everything to stay as it had been. No control over anything, just mindless killing, and that was going to do something to me that scared me more than death. I had to try.

I mentally clawed my way through the rage and past the bloodlust that boiled below the surface, and I found the things Marshall didn't want to feel. I let those feelings flow into me, and I tried to push them back at him. This made his rage grow more, and the bloodlust leaked through further.

“You just keep getting angrier, Marshall, but we are going to talk about this. You are going to confront this!” My voice got louder as I spoke, as the anger seeped past my barriers.

A manic laugh bubbled from his lips, and the wildness, I'd grown familiar with when we fed, filled his eyes. “You think you can make me do something I don't want to do?”

“I don't think you'll do anything to hurt me, Marshall!” My words came out more confident than I felt.

More manic laughter filled the small space. “You don't think so? Keep this stupid shit up and see what happens.”

It's not that I didn't believe him. I did, but the facts weighed too heavy on me not to finish what I'd started. I ripped the band-aid off, and I said what I should have said weeks before, “Marshall, you killed your parents! That has to have some kind of effect on you. Ignoring it isn't going to change what happened.” At some point, I had stood up, and I was staring into Marshall's eyes, issuing a challenge, when my words ended.

A sound, I could only describe as a growl, rattled up from his chest and left through his clenched teeth. I didn't move. I wouldn't back down, but I also didn't dare give him reason to think I was fleeing.

“Marshall, you need to calm down. Get yourself under control!” I shouted at him.

“What? This isn't the reaction you wanted?” he asked, his rage and bloodlust spiked so high that I nearly leapt at him.

I composed myself as much as I could. “You need to grieve your losses. You need—”

My head hit the dining table as my body fell to the floor from Marshall's weight on top of me. I didn't even see him move; he was just there, attacking. Everything was going dark as I felt his teeth rip into my neck.



*Halfborn is available on Amazon. Grab your copy, ebook or paperback, here. Thank you for your support! I love my readers. ๐Ÿ’–

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Short Story Saturday: Induction by guest author Paul Skelton





Induction
by Paul Skelton

 
  Adrian Brewer, a bachelor of some thirty-five years of age, had got a new job at Kadditech Industries in Leeds. It was the job of a lifetime, a huge leap from his previous job in London. The salary was thirty-five percent higher, he would have a Range Rover Evoque company car, BUPA private healthcare and a whopping final salary pension. Kadditech were even prepared to set him up in an executive city apartment and contribute fifty percent of the rental and service charges. The cream on the cake was that he could choose his working hours to suit himself, work from home or from wherever he wanted to be, at any time. There was, of course, a catch or two.
  Firstly, whilst he had successfully got “the job” following three interviews in London, no one would tell him what “the job” actually demanded or entailed. That, it seemed, would be determined at induction. All Adrian Brewer knew was that it would require all his I.T. Skills and computer software design experience.
  Secondly, it was made clear that with such a generous package came huge commitment. For example, it was a job for life, quite literally.
    * * *
   Adrian rose promptly at five-thirty a.m. to catch the six-twenty to Leeds. Following his ablutions, he donned his white button-down shirt, green paisley tie, grey pinstripe suit and black brogues. He left the final rent cheque and keys for his digs on the old-fashioned telephone table in the hallway. He then set off to the station at a brisk pace, carrying his gaberdine raincoat and dragging his luggage. Once aboard the train, he settled in a first-class cabin with his skinny latte coffee. During the journey, having read an abandoned daily newspaper, Adrian Brewer nodded off. He was rudely awakened by an irate ticket inspector at around eight-thirty.
   “Ahem, we'll be in Leeds in about ten minutes. May I see your ticket, please? I assume you have one? Heeeeee!” the ticket inspector shrieked whilst Adrian Brewer fumbled through various pockets.
  “Um, er, ah, here we are.” Adrian Brewer handed over the ticket.
  “Thank you, I must inspect it, you know. It's my job,” the inspector continued officiously. “On your hols, are you? You know,” he said, winking, “holidays? Hmmm?”
   “Er, no, business.” Adrian Brewer’s head was pounding.
  Really? What kind of business, eh? Monkey business? Dirty business? Eh, eh? You can tell me, you know.”
   “None of your business!” Adrian Brewer managed to rant back.
   “I see, sir. Well, here's your ticket back. Have a nice time in Leeds, whatever your business is,” the inspector said as he pushed his right hand down inside his uniform trousers, and then proceeded to wiggle his forefinger through the button-up fly. As he did so, he winked, stuck his tongue out and ran off down the carriage.
   Adrian Brewer then alighted from the train and made for the ticket office to make a formal complaint about the ticket inspector. A very bored and monotonous sounding ticket office clerk pushed a form towards him from behind the security glass.
   “Complete the form and post it to the address at the bottom, or you can go on-line at the web address and file your complaint there.” The clerk yawned. “Of course, you must have the name of the colleague you're complaining about, or it won't get processed. At all. Never . . . ever. Okay?”
   “Can't they work out who I'm complaining about from the train I was on? There can only be one ticket inspector per train, surely.”
  “Sorry, sir, you'd think so, wouldn't you? But there's lots of them. All over. They pick the train they want to work on, at random. Next.”
   As Adrian left the station. He lit a cigarette just as a man approached him exhaling vapour from a highly perfumed E-cigarette.
   “Tobacco? Ugh! Disgusting,” spat the man, placing his E-cigarette in his jacket pocket. “Are you Adrian Brewer?”
   “Yes, that's right.” Adrian coughed, throwing the remains of his cigarette onto the street.
   “That's littering, that is. Littering, Mister Brewer. I'll have to note that down, I will. Well, I'm Gabriel. Gabriel Thompson.”
   “Oh, well, I was on my way to . . .”
  “Ahem, that's right, you were on your way, indeed. That's, himmmininn, why I'm here.”
  “Oh, I see. Kadditech have sent you to collect me. Very clever, I have to say, because I don't recall telling anyone how I was travelling to Leeds today.”
   “What? Heebeeb. Yes, I was sent to collect you and take you to induction, so come along, Mister Brewer, follow me.” With that, Gabriel Thompson seemed to melt away and disappear. Adrian looked around him to try and see where Gabriel went, but he was nowhere to be seen. After a few moments, he decided he would hail a cab and find his own way. After all, he had the address of his intended destination. He successfully hailed a taxicab, jumped in and was about to tell the driver where he wanted to go.
   Aha, Mister Brewer. I wondered where you'd got to, hinnin. Now clunk click, and we'll get on our way.” The driver, evidently, was Gabriel Thompson.
   “You're a cab driver?” gasped Adrian.
  “No Mister Brewer. Hinninin. I've borrowed this taxi, the driver is a bit, aheeee, tied up.” Giggled Gabriel.
   Right!” Adrian fumed. “Stop this car, now, and let me out. I've changed my mind. I don't want this position. I don't wish to complete the induction, do you understand? Let me out, now.”
 “Too late, Mister Brewer. Too late, I'm afraid,” Gabriel said soothingly. Adrian noticed, for the first time, that his driver was dressed in a pure white unblemished suit, and that his skin was unusually pale with a waxy sheen to it. The car was accelerating rapidly, Adrian became agitated and very nervous. Within a few moments, he passed out.
 The next thing Adrian Brewer was conscious of was walking into an entirely featureless white room. There were no door handles or even visible gaps defining panels and doors. Ahead of him was another man clad in white, with pale waxy skin, sat at a white desk with an object on it. The object seemed familiar. Adrian was sure he had seen it before. As he approached the desk the man in white looked up.
  “Sit down, please, Brewer. I'm just uploading your details now. Won't be long. I'm Peter Brook, your induction officer.” Peter Brook virtually snarled the last bit as if his job-title held great menace. “So, Brewer, you were born and baptised a Christian. A promising start, yes. A fairly well adjusted and compliant child, excellent. From a decent family .”
   “Excuse me, Mister Brook, is this relevant?” Adrian Brewer was experiencing some discomfort. He felt something here was not quite right.
   “Of course, it's relevant, Brewer. After all, you'll be here a very long time.”
   “Yes, I suppose that's true. Sorry.”
   “Now, teenage years, oh dear. Promiscuous, weren't you?”
   Well?” Adrian smiled. “I was young and hot-blooded, know what I mean?”
   “I see, no shame then. You realise that's a cross on my checklist, don't you?”
  “Why? I've had loads of girlfriends and lovers all through my life, so what? I mean, how does that affect anything, eh?”
   Brewer! Really! Are you trying to fail? Now, try a bit harder, will you, please? Next, gambling, alcohol and a flirtation with drugs, really? How do you atone for that, then?”
   “Okay, the drugs were a mistake. I'm clean now. You can test me if you like.”
  “Really? That's good, Brewer. Yes, much better. What about the wanton gambling, then, and the drinking, eh? Do you wish to repent of those now for me?”
   NO! I bloody well don't.” Adrian sounded outraged. “Look, I like a flutter here and there and a tipple down the pub, where I can sometimes pick up girls. I don't hurt anyone, okay?”
  Brewer, I have almost all crosses, where I should have ticks. The big boss doesn't expect saints at this stage, that went out in the sixties. But he does expect a repentant attitude amongst candidates.”
 “What? For a bloody job? Are you kidding me, Mister Brook? What about my qualifications, my experience and achievements? Do they count for nothing?”
   “Correct! They count for nothing, Brewer, and now you keep swearing. It's as if you actually want . . .” Brooks was interrupted by the sudden and violent vibration of the object. He picked it up and spoke to it as if involved in a telephone conversation.
   “Er, y-y-y-yes, sir. Ahem . . . Indeed, sir, I am doing my best, but . . . please give me one more try, sir . . . No . . . Yes . . . What if? . . . No, please, sir. Oh.” Brooks finished the discussion abruptly, or rather it was stopped for him. He was now perspiring heavily. He then addressed Adrian Brewer.
   “This job used to be easy, Brewer. You either were or you weren't, you see? Either you did or you didn't.”
   “Did or didn't?” Adrian repeated.
  “Believe, Brewer . . . believe. But then the pass rate went down, didn't it?” Adrian shrugged, and Brooks went on, “So, the boss decided to embrace diversity. Yes, diversity. I've had all sorts: Muslim, Jew, Sikh, Scientology, Wombles, Smurfs, Triads, and the list goes on. Honestly, it's so confusing. Oh yes, and just as one masters the skills required for that, He decides to be more inclusive. So, the net casts an ever-wider field. Yes, I have to consider atheists as well, now. I used to have good pass rates, Brewer. Now? Well you might as well know, I'm on a final warning. You see my pass rates have declined, because, I'm told, I'm too strict on the whole “born-again-Christ as saviour” bit. Huh! If I fail you, Brewer, I'm in deep trouble.” Brooks ended tearfully.
  “This is not about a job at Kadditech, is it? This is something else entirely. Right where am I, and what exactly is going on?”
   “You don't know, Brewer? Oh, joy! Oh, praise be. We still have a chance. Right, pay attention, Brewer. You, as an Earthly being, died on a train. You are now facing final judgement. With me so far?” Brewer nodded. “Good, so this is your final chance to repent on all your sin and avoid the lift that only descends to the Vortex of Eternal Shame & Flame.”
   “Do you mean Hell?”
   “Exactly so, Brewer. The pits of debauchery itself, to be avoided at all costs.” Peter Brooks was brightening up now and warming to his theme. “Yes, down there it's all sin and din, you know. The habitat of reprobates, the cursed and the damned. A cacophony of “The Devil’s Music”. Sex and depravity. Utter filth and disgraceful habits. You'd prefer Heaven though, Brewer. Oh, yes, eternal bliss. It's all white, clean and neat in there. Soft notes of harp and birdsong all day long. Yes, the days are long, indeed. As long as you want them to be in fact. No squalid darkness illuminated by flame in there, indeed not.”
   “Did you mention devil’s music? I assume you mean rock and roll?” Brewer asked.
   “Oh, no, Brewer. I mean, yes, rock and roll is devils’ music, if you can call it music at all. But I was forgetting you were in a rock band, weren't you, playing that kind of hideous noise? Oh, Brewer, please at least repent on that if nothing else now. I'm begging you.”
   “Wait a minute, Mister brook, are you saying that old rockers go down?”
   “Why, yes, of course they do.”
   “Like Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin?”
   Hussies,” spat Brooks.
  “John Lennon, Keith Moon, Jim Morrison, Chris Cornell, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain John Bonham and Lemmy?” continued Adrian.
    “Yes, Brewer. Cursed, shamed and damned, all of them. Plus, all manner of dictators, despots, madmen and criminals. Although, they are under lock and key.”
   “I see, Mister Brooks. So, what happens to you if I don't repent? Eh?”
   “Don't say that, please, Brewer.” Brooks looked close to tears as he implored Adrian Brewer, and then the object vibrated again.  With a shriek of despair, Brooks took hold of it and spoke into it.
   “Oh, er, hello, sir . . . what? . . . no, please . . . no, not that . . . he hasn't said he won't repent on that, yet, sir . . . but . . . I see.”
   “Bad news, Mister brooks?”
   “You've done it now, haven't you, Brewer. Yes, I'm sacked, fired and dispensed with. I'm surplus to requirements. Not fit for purpose. Redundant. Blamed and shamed, all at once. And it's down to your stubbornness, Brewer. Well, you'd better come with me, come on. Bring the object, will you?”
   They walked down a long corridor, reaching a featureless grey panel at the end. The panel evaporated before them, revealing a cubicle. They both stepped inside. The panel then solidified again, and the lift descended.
   “Are you escorting me?” Adrian enquired.
   “Not exactly, Brewer, no. You see, I'm condemned along with you. I'm being cast into the Vortex of Eternal Shame & Flame, as well.”
   “Why are we bringing the object?”
   Suddenly, Peter Brooks smiled. “Glad you asked, Brewer. I'm returning it to John Bonham. He was the drummer with Led Zeppelin, as I'm sure you know, and he forgot to take it with him when I condemned him to Hell, you see. The object was made for the “Presence” album cover. It's of great value. The boss won't be able to reach me through it now, of course.”
   The lift came to a stop, and the grey panel facing them dematerialised. Ahead of them was a provocative looking female in a cat suit.
   “Hello, boys. Do come with me,” she purred. “We'll show you a really good time.”
   Adrian looked at Peter. “I recognise you now, Mister Brooks. You were that ticket inspector on that train, weren't you?”
    “Yes. That's right, Brewer. Come on, we can’t beat the system, so let’s join the eternal party! Yaheeeeeeeeee!”
  
THE END 

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Snippet Saturday: An Opportunity at Happiness an excerpt from Impractical Encounter

Photo from Pixabay, Webandi.




Randy sat down on the bed with a loud huff. “So, that offer still stand?” he asked, not entirely confident that it wasn't just a joke on D's part.
“Sure,” D said. “You are talking about where I mentioned you should just bring you guys' stuff to our hotel, right? 'Cause that's the only offer I can think of.”
“Yeah, that's the one.”
“You decide if you want your own room or do you want to crash in one of our suites?” D paused, and Randy watched as a wondering look crossed his face. “Though,” he continued, “I'm not too sure what the arrangement is anymore. I know Jim's staying at his house, but I'm not sure where Roc's at for the night,” D finished as Randy watched him glance around the small room.
“We'll figure it out; I'm sure,” Randy said, standing up, and then he started shoving his stuff in his bag and Billie's in hers.
“Hey, is everything okay?” D asked.
“Yeah, I just don't want anyone getting hurt in this mess. Most of all Billie, but if I'm completely honest with myself, I know it's going to be her making people hurt.”
“Well, Roc said that Billie made it perfectly clear that Von'll be a mere afterthought once you two head back home. So, he's a smart guy, if he wants to dupe himself . . . well, that's on him. Don't get me wrong, I feel for him. It's a harsh situation, but I also understand that it's your sister's life. What she has left is hers to do with, and I don't blame her one bit for trying to make the most of what she's got. You make it seem like she's being selfish but put yourself in her shoes. Say you find out tomorrow that you have a week, a month, or maybe even a year left to live—what would you do with that time? Would you do what makes you happy or would you do everything everyone else wants you to do, even when you don't want to, and be miserable?”
“I get what you're saying. I understand it, to a point. But, she—”
“Chose it?” D said as he sat on the bed next to Randy. “Maybe so, but it was her decision. Again, if it were you on round three with little to no hope, would you choose to be miserable, knowing you had no time left to make up for it later on, just so someone else could be happy? Even though, they'd have more opportunity at happiness than you would?”
“When you put it that way, you kind of make me seem like an ass for wanting her to fight,” Randy said, burying his face in the palms of his hands, frustrated.
“You're not an ass for not wanting to lose your sister. It actually makes you the exact opposite, and it probably takes its toll on Billie because she's not stupid. She can see what the situation's doing to you. I'm sure she does.”
Randy felt the light touch of fingertips against his cheek, and he pulled his face from his hands, amazed that his hands were dry for once. His tears had been all too common that he'd fully expected their appearance. He looked at D. The man's dark chocolate eyes burned with questions and invited Randy in with a warmth he'd never seen. Randy saw a caring and understanding there he never encountered anywhere, not even from those he knew well in his life. Not even from Billie. He wondered how a near stranger could understand more about what he was going through than people he'd known nearly his whole life? It felt improbable; impractical.
Randy reached up, placing his hand over D's where it still lingered over his cheek, and he closed his eyes. “I know that I can't be mad at her for doing what she feels is right.” He dragged in a heavy breath, and when he exhaled, it carried on it the weight he held on his shoulders. “But, I can't help but feel sad . . . no . . . angry for what's happening. It's not even her choices, her decisions, I'm angry with. It's the situation itself. It all just sucks, and I wish . . .” He fell silent, letting the warmth on his cheek from D's hand spread throughout his body.
“What?” D asked, a trace of something in his voice Randy couldn't decipher.
Randy opened his eyes, meeting D's warm, caring eyes, again. He brought the hand that held D's over to his lips, and he brushed those lips over D's knuckles. His other hand reached up to push a clump of hair out of the way that threatened to obstruct their eye contact.
“Right now, I wish I could be more like her. I wish I could just take what I want, consequences be damned, but I can't,” Randy said, pressing his lips against D's knuckles once more before dropping his hand.
“Why not?” D asked.
“Because, what then? A week of passion? A week of getting to know one another, and then I go home and forget about you? I doubt I could do that. I get the feeling you couldn't either.”
“You didn't follow anything I said, did you? The point is, we're all going to die. We don't always know when. In a way, Billie's lucky. She's been given that push that allows her to ignore the what-ifs and just go for it. Maybe there's something we both can learn from that.”
“No. I can't. I don't know. I need to think about this,” Randy said in a rush, breaking eye contact and pushing from the bed to stand.
He felt D grab his hand, and he fell the short distance back to the bed. He looked at D in shock.
“Thinking is the problem, Randy.” D's hands went to the sides of Randy's face.
He had time to pull away. D gave him the option to say no if he really wanted to. Instead, Randy felt himself leaning in toward D. Time nearly stopped as D's lips met his. He'd expected it to be rougher. He'd seen the need, the desire in D's eyes before he'd closed his own, accepting that the kiss was happening, but D's lips were gentle, soft. Randy's mouth fell open, letting D's tongue slip in and caress his. Randy responded in kind. His hands ran up to D's hair and pushed on the back of his head, bringing them somehow closer and deepening the kiss. Randy pulled away breathless; his fingers began to fumble with the buttons of his shirt.
“Slow down, tiger,” D said, causing Randy’s hands to freeze.
“Wha—what?” Randy said, confused. “Is this some kind of joke? Get me all worked up, and then leave me with blue-balls?”
D leaned in, brushing his lips lightly against Randy's. “No, but I don't have anything with me. Do you have something here?”
“Shit. No, I gave what I had to Billie. Of course, I didn't have any plans to use any myself on the trip.” Randy re-buttoned the two buttons he'd managed to undo.
D laughed a bit under his breath. “Blue-balls? Really?”
“What? It's been a while? Don't judge me?”
“No, no. I'm not.” He paused, and Randy could see him thinking something over. “A while. How long's a while?”
“A while.”
“What a month? Two?” D asked, and Randy shook his head. “Over six?”
Randy looked to the floor.
“You're kidding? With the way you look, you haven't had sex in over six months?”
“It's not like I haven't tried. I even tried online dating. Let's say it didn't end well, and Billie didn't appreciate the scare when the cops insisted I go to the hospital. I'd rather not talk about that, though,” Randy said, running his hand through his hair as he felt the grimace tug at his face.
“Maybe one day you'll feel comfortable sharing that story, but right now, I've got an idea. I don't feel comfortable thinking that I've made any part of you blue.” D slid from the bed to the floor, situating himself on his knees in front of Randy.
“Nah, man, you don't have to do that,” Randy said when he realized what D was suggesting.
D crooked his finger at Randy, telling him silently to come closer. Randy did, and D pulled him into another kiss. When D broke away, his mouth went to Randy's ear. “I don't have to, but I want to,” he said and flicked his tongue against Randy’s earlobe.
Randy let his head fall back, staring at the ceiling. He felt when D's hands went to his fly and worked to undo the button there, and the thought of what he was getting himself into flitted through his mind before it was quickly chased away by the feel of D's mouth on him.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Writer Wednesday: Week Sixty



Hey, everyone! I hope everyone is well. Here it is, the final post . . . for now, anyway. This fact is sad, but also, it's one less thing for me to stress over, and maybe I can start writing more. Not that I'm blaming these posts for not writing more often but an overabundance of stress, which I'm trying to reduce little by little here and there. These posts just happen to be a casualty while trying to achieve this goal.

So, here we go! The feature author this week, the one that will be wrapping up this blog series, is R D Trimble. R D also writes under the penname Steve McGovern. He's an awesome supporter of authors by doing live-reads on his Facebook profile and even has a Youtube channel where he posts reads. R D Trimble just recently got signed with CHBB Publishing with his soon-to-be-released novel Viktor, which I can't wait to read. You can find R D Trimble and his works below at the following links.


R D Trimble's Facebook Profile (Normally, I wouldn't post a profile, but it's where he does his live-reads.)

R D Trimble's Twitter

R D Trimble's Youtube

R D Trimble's Amazon Author Page


Books:

R D (Rusty) Trimble

Andrew the Inventor and the Great Rocket Ship Adventure

When I Go to Sleep at Night

Andrew and the Red Dragon

Andrew's Pet Dragon

Andrew and the Pirate Cove: The Andrew Chronicles

The Fun House Mystery Adventure (The Andrew Teen Chronicles Book 1)

Scourge of the Red Dragon (The Tyler Chronicles Book 1)

Middle School Madness: A Strange First Week

Steve McGovern

Preying Moon (Fallen Night Trilogy Book 1)

Tammany Hall: A Jack Shields Novel


I hope everyone's found at least one book (I hope more) from this series. I hope you've tried a new author you've never heard of before, and I hope you enjoyed their work. Please, I say it every time, support indie authors by leaving them reviews for their work. I say this not to boost their ego; this is to help readers find and try new-to-them-authors. And whatever you do, don't support pirate sites. These sites steal from authors big and small. So make sure you're purchasing and downloading ebooks legitimately, even if it is just picking up a free copy from Amazon, whether it be a promo or permanent freebie. Thank you so much for joining me on this ride. Feel free to go through past posts to find more indie and small press authors; we appreciate all the support we can get. ๐Ÿ’–

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Short Story Saturday Repost: Assuming Can Be a Pain in the Ass

Not my photo. Found on Pixabay.



Assuming Can be a Pain in the Ass


The night sky was clear with every twinkling star visible. That’s when Jimbob Baterman saw a group of those stars getting closer to him. He stood watching as they turned from little balls of light in the sky to big ones surrounding a round object just above where he stood. The object drew closer and closer, until a craft a little bigger than a large SUV landed in front of him.
              A door opened and out walked a creature, dark orange in color and slightly taller than Jimbob himself. The creature looked much like a man did but with a larger head than a normal person. The thing’s mouth was big enough to be proportionate to the size of its head, but its ears were tiny nubs on the sides. Its nose sat too high on the thing's face. Its nostrils level with its beady, black eyes. No hair covered its knobby head. It wore a green robe. Jimbob couldn’t believe his eyes. He’d waited years to have an encounter with an alien.
            It spoke, I mean you no harm. My mate and I are on a mission to learn about your kind and your planet.” The creature knew English, which surprised Jimbob.
            “A real live alien! Hot-dog, ya don’t know how long I’ve waited to meet one of ya. I’m Jimbob. How long you stayin’ fer?” Jimbob asked the weird being that stood in front of him.
            “As long as need be, but in your tongue and the way you gauge time, about a week. My name is not pronounceable in your language, but a suitable translation is Arnie,” the creature said.
            “Arnie, huh, not what I expected fer an alien. So, you gonna take me aboard yer ship and do some tests or something?” Jimbob could hardly control his excitement.
            “You are welcome to board my ship if you like, but I don’t have any tests I need to run. You can meet my family, though. It is so nice to come in contact with such a friendly human; the last one tried to hit me with a cleaning tool,” Arnie said.
            “Well, that’s no way to be treated as a visitor,” Jimbob replied.
              Jimbob followed the alien, Arnie, aboard his ship where he met his mate and his child, which Arnie introduced as his daughter, but there were no characteristics to prove if the small purple creature was male or female, let alone that it was even the same kind of organism. It had the same large head and mouth, but the ears and eyes were huge in comparison.
              Jimbob was disappointed that Arnie hadn’t performed any test on him while aboard the ship.  So, he grabbed something on his way out. Maybe, Jimbob thought, Arnie wanted to hold off on testing so they could get to know one another better. Though, he figured he’d help out by getting one of the tests started.
              Jimbob went home content that night. Finally, he’d met an alien, and he couldn’t wait to get the test started. He took the gadget he’d taken from the ship out of his pocket. After looking it over, he found a dial on the bottom and turned it. The top lit up with a green light and he was satisfied that he’d figured out how to turn it on. Hoping that it wouldn’t affect the results, he wiped a little Vaseline on the tip and inserted it. He went to bed a little uncomfortable, but he’d figured he’d get used to it.
              The next morning Jimbob woke to a pounding on his window. He looked over and saw Arnie standing there looking at him. He went over to the window, awkwardly, and opened it.
            “Good morning, Arnie. Nice day, huh.”
            “If you say so. I was wondering if I could observe you for a couple of days. Is that all right with you?” Arnie asked.
            “That’s fine with me, but what'cha gonna observe? I don’t really do much around here besides tend to the cows and crops.” Jimbob sounded unsure when he spoke.
            “Anything to get me away from the mate and baby awhile, things are a bit rough back at the ship.”
              Over the next few days, Arnie watched Jimbob as he milked and fed the cows and as he worked the crops in his fields. On the first day, he noticed Jimbob walking weird, a little bowlegged like he was uncomfortable for some reason. Progressively over the days, his strange gait got worse and more bowlegged. Arnie wanted to ask about it but wasn’t quite sure how to bring up the subject, and every time he’d start to bring it up, he’d stop himself and say something else.
              On the third day, Arnie went back to his ship. Jimbob was disappointed that Arnie had still not brought up doing any tests. He wanted to surprise Arnie and let him know that he had taken the probe and started the tests on his own. Jimbob thought that Arnie might have been embarrassed to bring up the subject. After all, they'd sort of became friends, and friends don’t normally ask if they can stick things up your butt to collect data.
              Arnie came back the next morning and continued watching Jimbob. He noticed Jimbob’s walk was getting worse, but he still didn’t know how to bring it up. Arnie could help him if it was a health issue. His species had perfected healing through touch and a certain level of brainpower.
            “Jimbob,” Arnie started, but then he changed what he was going to say, “my family and I are leaving early. We’ll be leaving tomorrow because something has come up, and it’s not controllable on your planet. We must return home.”
            “Well, damn that kinda sucks, but hey, we had fun, right? Come get me before you leave, and I’ll see you off,” Jimbob said.
              Arnie watched as Jimbob finished his daily chores before he returned to his ship. Jimbob went to bed upset that the aliens would be making their departure the next day. He woke in the morning saddened that Arnie was not there, waking him. Jimbob hoped that they didn’t leave without saying goodbye.
              Finally, around five o’clock he decided to go and check to see if Arnie and his family had already gone. On his way there, he was pleasantly surprised to find Arnie headed toward his house.
            “I thought you left without saying goodbye,” Jimbob said.
            “No, I was having a problem with my mate. There was something I needed to say before I went anyways,” said Arnie
            “Oh, what’s that?” Jimbob asked.
            “I’ve been meaning to ask, what the hell is wrong with your ass? You’ve been walking around this entire week like you have a corncob stuck up there. Is it hemorrhoids? I can fix those for you. We’ve learned how to heal by touch.”
              Jimbob was so upset that Arnie was going home that he’d completely forgotten about the probe. He had meant to remove it before leaving his house, but Arnie hadn't shown up to say that he and his family were headed out.
            “Oh, I almost forgot about that. It’s not hemorrhoids, it’s yer probe. I figured ya forgot to use it, so I grabbed it and went ahead and put it up there fer ya. Ya should have plenty of data to show for your mission, although I had to take it out when I took a shit. Don’t worry, I stuck it back up there without wiping,” Jimbob told Arnie, excitedly.
            “Probe? What are you talking about, I don’t understand.” Arnie’s voice was laced with his obvious confusion.
            “You know, that’s what you guys do, right? To collect information about us, you use a butt probe.”
            “No, we collect information by interacting with beings from a species that are less dangerous than the majority. What does this thing look like that you took and, uh, put up your ass?”
              Jimbob ran behind a tree and proceeded to take the device out of him. Then he went back to Arnie with it in his hand. Arnie looked at the thing, covered in the most disgusting substance that could have covered it, and he knew exactly what it was.
              Arnie smacked Jimbob in the back of the head. “You asshole! My mate and I have been looking for this all week. We’ve gone crazy trying to find it, and now there is no way we can use it. We’re going to end up killing each other before we get back home!” Arnie shouted angrily.
            “Why? What is it?” Jimbob asked.
            “It’s our daughter’s goddamn pacifier! She’s been screaming her head off because she doesn’t have it!” Arnie yelled.
            “Oops, I’m sorry. But, you know, you should always carry a backup. Pacifiers seem to end up in the weirdest places.” Jimbob’s apology was overshadowed by his knowledgeable smart-assed comment.
              Arnie left to return home. The cops found Jimbob in the woods three days later, his head wrapped in, what looked like, a giant used diaper and the alien pacifier in his mouth. He was barely alive when they found him. They asked what the device was that he had in his mouth. He told them it was a probe, and that the aliens got mad and shoved it in his mouth when they didn’t get any useful information from it. Jimbob still sits in a mental institution to this day.




*Yes, I have posted this before. No, I still haven't edited it, but I may; I've definitely been thinking about improving it or working with a retelling of it. I hope you got a good laugh at this story as that's what it's written for. Thanks for reading! ๐Ÿ˜

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Writer Wednesday: Week Fifty-nine



Hey, everyone! It's Week Fifty-nine of Writer Wednesday. How's everyone doing? Keeping safe, I hope. We're getting to the last couple of these posts, and I still haven't started up the Monday blogs. Things went haywire when I needed to get a new laptop, so plans got put on hold. Now, I just don't know what's going on.


This week's featured author is Mike Cooley. I met Mike in the Writers, Poets, and Deviants group. Mike writes Sci-fi and Fantasy. You can find his works listed below.


Mike's Amazon Author Page

Books:

The Spiral

Crystal Warrior (Legend of the Crystals Book 1)

Crystal Origin (Legend of the Crystals Book 2)

Crystal Legacy (Legend of the Crystals Book 3)

Crystal Fire: Legend of the Crystals

Legend of the Crystals Omnibus

Rockets and Robots

Harry Ballsack and the Quid Witch Caper

Butterfly Walls

Dead Matter

The Revenge Collector

Bryn Morrow

Eater of Eyes

Don't Be a Dick (Advice for Writers)

How to Keep Sparkly Emo Vampires Off Your Lawn

She Stands at the Precipice

Skin of Giants

Alpha Male: Book 1



Thanks for joining me this week! I hope to see you next week for the possible, very last edition of Writer Wednesday. Stay safe, and remember, support indie authors by purchasing their work legitimately and leaving reviews for them.