Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Writer With Noisy Neighbors

Harry was having a difficult time concentrating on writing his novel with all the noise going on next door. He thought renting one side of a duplex would be more quiet than an apartment in a complex. At least he only had one neighbor to put up with. These neighbors made more noise than a firing squad.

He sipped his latte and stared off into the horizon hoping for some quiet. He thought living next door to a dentist would be quiet too, but he was wrong. This particular dentist, who owned the building, had three teenagers and they weren't the type of kids to sit in the basement playing video games. Rainbow was always practicing her cheers and fighting with her athletic brothers, Cactus and Palm. Everyone made fun of poor Palm. He liked basketball.

Harry's horror novel was coming along nicely, but he as at a crucial part of the story where he felt he needed to channel his inner Bram Stoker to continue, which was difficult with all the noise on the other side of the wall. Just when he thought a glimmer of an idea was growing close, an explosion shook the entire house, knocking Harry's framed Nosferatu poster to the floor.

Fear for his safety and anger toward his inconsiderate neighbors sent his heart racing and pounding s though it would burst out of his chest. Smelling something burning, he went to the kitchen to check on the beets he was boiling for dinner, but they were fine. The burning smell must be coming from whatever exploded next door.

Peeking out the curtains, he didn't see anything out of the ordinary at first until he looked out the front window where the smell became stronger and the sound of his neighbors hollering became clear. They were yelling about emergencies and calling 911.

Running outside, he found Rainbow, Cactus and Palm on their front steps soaking wet. When they saw Harry, Rainbow apologized for the noise.

"Where is your father?" Harry asked, guessing he either wasn't home or the explosion killed him.

"He's in Vegas with his girlfriend."

"He left you home alone?" Harry was surprised and alarmed knowing what troublemakers they were.

"We're adults," Palm said defensively.

"Really?" Harry challenged, "then what was that explosion and why are firetrucks turning onto our road?"

"What!" Palm whirled around to find that what Harry said was true and a look of alarm and panic showed on all three wet faces.

"I told you someone would call 911," Rainbow yelled at cactus.

"Was it you?" Cactus angrily accused Harry.

"Why would that anger you?" Harry asked. "Are you hiding from the law? Why didn't you call 911? That burning smell is obviously coming from your house."

"It's under control," Rainbow said. "We don't need any emergencey people here."

This made Harry very suspicious, not to mention curious. By now the police were there and approaching the house. Two fire trucks were at the curb waiting for the police to inform them of the situation.

"Someone put in a call about an explosion coming from this house," The officer spoke to harry.

"The explosion came from their side of the duplex, Officer," Harry explained. "I live on the other side."

"You kids OK?" the officer addressed them noticing their wet, nervous appearance. "Mind if I take a look inside? Nothing seems to be burning now."

"Yes, " Rainbow answered sullenly. "Come on in."

Palm and Cactus went in first while Rainbow stayed with the policeman as he inspected the living room. Harry stood on the front porch straining to see inside. He wanted to know what was going on as much as the officer did. All was quiet for a few minutes and Harry considered going back to his apartment, when he heard some commotion inside and peered in through the screen door.

The commotion became louder with a lot of thumping and the kids yelling and calling to someone or something. Harry started to move away from the door but it was too late. A new explosion shook the porch under his feet and a burst of flames raced toward him, singeing his eyebrows through the screen door. Harry screamed and ran back to his apartment and slammed the door.

Two gun shots were fired and the kids all screamed in despair. Harry, his hands shaking, peered out from behind his curtains and saw the dragon that had blown flames at him stagger out into the front yard, smoke rising from its nostrils, and die on the front lawn. The firemen rushed toward it with their hoses as the officer put in a call to animal control.

"We were just trying to give her a bath," Rainbow sobbed. "You didn't have to kill her."

"Where did you get that thing?" The policeman asked.

"My dad found her in a Scottish loch. He thought she was a salamander," Palm cried.

"But she kept on growing," wailed Cactus.

Harry realized things would be a a lot more quiet from now on.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Big Time Deals in the Big City

"I have a job for you, Draculina. It's a challenge for an average person, but we know you're way more than average." Disturbed Dan rolled his cigar over in his flabby lips. His hairy arms rested on his cluttered desk in the basement of an old skyscraper.

Draculina ran her tongue over her sharp teeth and moved her glazed stare to Dan's face. "I'm listening," she hissed.

"I know you like a challenge. You're not one to give in to complacency, so I've got something new for you. If you succeed, you'll be rich. I'm talking buy-your-own-palace rich." Dan held his spit-soaked cigar between his fingers and waved it for emphasis as he spoke. "But, if you fail, you'll open me and yourself up for a big scandal and lots of prison time."

Draculina didn't look bothered by the threat of jail time. Jail time wasn't new to her. "So, what is this job? You ever gonna tell me or you gonna keep setting the mood. Apparently, I have a palace to shop for."

"I'm glad you're so confident, but you better be careful. You don't want to start a feud with me."

"Have I ever let you down before?" Draculina tapped her foot impatiently.

"No, and that's why I'm gonna make you this offer. I know I can count on you to get the job done." Disturbed Dan cleared his throat. "I got a request from one of my loyal customers who needs a service and is willing to pay dearly for it. You know my philosophy is to do whatever it takes to keep loyal customers happy."

"Not to mention earn huge amounts of money," Draculina added. "If I'm making enough to buy a palace, you must be making enough to buy a small country."

"He, he," Dan chuckled and his double chin jiggled. "You know me pretty well, don't you?"

"So what service does this customer need?"

"He needs a new kidney for his dying kid. The donor list is too long. The kid will die before a kidney is available for him, so he wants us to get him one."

Draculina squinted at him suspiciously, "For real?"

"I wouldn't waste my time for a joke." Dan was annoyed at being questioned. "Do you want the job or not?"

"Does it have to be kid-sized or can I grab any kidney?" Draculina stood up and reached for the door handle.

"Do I look like a doctor?" Disturbed Dan got up and picked something up off the floor. "Here, take this to put it in." He held out what looked like a small cooler.

"Fine," Draculina took the cooler. "I'll just grab a few different ones and they can use what they want."

"I don't need the details, just the goods," Dan returned to his desk.

"You gonna be here in the morning?" Draculina stood with the door open, eager to get to work.

"I'll be here around 10 tomorrow morning," Dan looked up at her, "you think you'll have the goods that fast?"

"No problem." Draculina flipped her long black hair over her shoulder. "Go crawl into bed and I'll have a good collection in the morning." As she closed the door Dan yelled, "Don't forget to put some ice in the cooler!"

Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Main Character Gets Rejected

"Isabella, there's been a script rewrite." Skippy the producer eased into the conversation, gauging Isabella's reaction. He wanted to break the news gently so she wouldn't freak out and walk off the set. They had a lot of work to do today to keep production within budget.

"Well, that explains why you discreetly called me into your office and closed the door." Isabella was already getting defensive and she wasn't the most genial actress in the business in the first place. Over the years she'd felt entitled to play the main character, on and off stage. "What's the bad news? Am I getting the guy and teaching the mean girls that nice girls finish first or what?"

"Well, the mean girls still are being taught a lesson, but we're adding a surprise twist at the end." Skippy hesitated fearing how Isabella would take the news. Meanwhile, Isabella looked at him with uneasy anticipation.

"Kind of like what you're doing right now?" Isabella asked impatiently, "The movie is a comedy, so is it a funny twist?"

"We hope so," Skippy explained. "Your character will think she's getting the guy, but he rejects her for her brother."

"What! Now he's gay?" Isabella asked in anger, "What baboon thought a gay werewolf was a good idea?"

"I did, Isabella," Skippy tried to ignore being called a baboon. "I thought it would be funnier to have all these girls competing for the attention of the same guy only to find out he's a gay werewolf. Don't you think that's clever?"

"No," Isabella disagreed, "I think it's dumb and will be a big yawn and won't sell any popcorn, or tickets for that matter. No one will nominate it for an academy award. Who would vote for it? Not me." She began pacing the office and Skippy was afraid she would walk out and keep going without finishing the film.

"No, no," Skippy was desperately reaching for something to convince her to accept the change in the story. "You'll have a great opportunity to show multiple layered emotions when you find out the truth."

"That is tempting, "Isabella considered Skippy's words, "but I always play a winner. You're making the main character (played by me) a loser. I'm supposed to win the guy."

"But since he's a gay werewolf," Skippy offered, "it's not possible for you to win him; therefore, you didn't lose what you could never have."

"Hmmm," Isabella considered this angle. "I suppose I see the humor in it when you put it that way."

Skippy smiled hopefully, "I knew you'd understand."

"But, Skippy, dear," Skippy knew a demand or at least a counter offer was about to fly out of Isabella's arrogant mouth when she called him 'Skippy, dear.' "You know what rhymes with gay?"

"Stay?" Skippy asked hoping that Isabella would indeed stay and not ruin his day by walking away.

"That too," Isabella smiled smuggly knowing that Skippy needed her to go along with the rewrite, "but I was thinking more along the lines of 'pay.'"

Skippy moaned in defeat, "How do you mean, Isabella. Your contract already has a set amount of money and it's a huge sum."

"If you insist on treating my character like a loser hag, I'll need some compensation and I need it now."

"OK," Skippy asked, "just what kind of compensation?"

"I want you to get someone to shampoo the wine stains out of the carpet in my trailer today. It looks like someone was murdered in there."

"Is that all?" Skippy seemed skeptical that she would let him off the hook that easily. He would have done that for her under normal cirumstances and she knew it.

"While the carpet is being cleaned, I'll need you to set me up in a luxury suite with a stocked wine cooler and a really cute limo driver to drive me to the set."

Skippy sighed as his budget flew out the window like a bat on the wind, "Consider it done."

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Talented Musician Struggles to Make It Big

The Sunday travelers jostled toward the exit of the ferry as it drifted toward the dock and dropped anchor. The day was so bright and hot that light shimmered off the surface of the bog making the muddy brown water almost pretty.

Sammy St. Bachrock was so nervous about playing his first big professional show that he barely noticed the heat or the water. There were supposed to be a lot of music industry executives at this party and he wanted to make a good impression and get a break in the business.

In an attempt to calm his nerves, Sammy leaned over the side of the small ferry boat and dragged his hand in the cool water. Without warning a crocodile leapt up out of the water like a dolphin and snapped at Sammy with his mighty jaws.  Luckily, Sammy only lost a fingernail, but didn't lose any of his anxiety. Even when he realized the crocodile's real target wasn't Sammy's arm but a large trout that happened to be passing by right near Sammy's hand, he wasn't any calmer, but he was relieved to still have all of his fingers. He sure couldn't play his calliope without fingers!

Once on the dock, Sammy St. Bachrock headed toward the large federal-style mansion where the party would be held and his calliope was already set up and waiting for him. He hurriedly put on his tuxedo in the make-shift dressing room that the building manager provided for him and took his place in the dining room at his instrument.

The privileged people at the party were so busy with the abundant food selection including lobster, steak and lasagna and the seemingly bottomless champagne bottles that they barely noticed him standing ready to play.

The manager took the stage and commanded everyone's attention, then directed their attention to Sammy who started his set with his favorite rock anthem, Love Hurts by Nazareth. He played the rock anthem on his calliope from his heart and soul, yet some people were visibly repelled by the music.

Others, though, were charmed and intrigued and kept Sammy busy answering their questions between songs. One woman dressed in black lace and diamonds insisted all calliopes are haunted and that Sammy should be careful that he didn't attract any demons with his soulful playing. It turned out after a long conversation on demon hunting that she was married to the most powerful record executive at the party and she promised to talk to her husband about getting Sammy a record contract or at least a private meeting. Sammy was finally on his way up!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Selling a Childhood Home

Phantom peeked out past the black velvet drapes to see if the realtor had arrived yet.

"Why don't you just fasten the curtain back so you don't have to keep peeking?" Wraith suggested.

"I hate when people can see inside." Phantom replied, "I want to see out. I don't want anyone seeing in."

"OK, weirdo," Wraith plopped into one of the few chairs still in the house. The house had been on the market for a year and the sisters were hoping the realtor would convince today's customer to buy it. This would be this potential buyer's second visit.

"We should have made the yard look better," Phantom said, "that old shrub is all overgrown and looks

"Don't worry about it," the buyer will want to change everything anyway. They always want to erase everything the previous owners did and mark their territory."

"Yeah, I guess," Phantom smiled, "unless they like mortuary-meets-American pioneer."

"Dad was so gloomy," Wraith laughed, "remember when he read us Dante's Inferno on News Years Eve?"

"Yeah," Phantom chuckled, "he gave us a choice of that or the Book of Genesis."

"Man, I didn't want to sit through that torture again!"

"Even if we don't get a lot of money for this place, we have a gold mine of memories here."

"Remember when Mom had us build a dreamscape in the back yard?"

"How could I forget? It was because Dad wouldn't pay for a playscape so she had us dream one up instead."

"How pathetic was that?" Wraith sighed.

"She was trying to lift our spirits and get our minds off the disappointment," Phantom peeked past the drape again.

"Would you come over here and have a seat," Wraith scolded Phantom, "your hiding behind that curtain and peeking out is annoying me. We'll hear them ring the bell. Then you can jump up and answer the door."

"I'm not sitting in that chair and you know why." Phantom glanced darkly at the wooden chair in the corner.

"So, Dad jumped off of it last year when he hung himself." Wraith admitted, "it's not like it's haunted."

"You don't get it at all!" Phantom exclaimed, then her eyes grew wide when she glanced out the window, "they're here! I'll greet them outside. Come on!"

The black velvet drapes rippled in the breeze as the girls raced past them toward the door.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Tumultuous Soulmates on Opposing Sides of a Conflict

"Cover that tattoo!" Linda threw a long sleeved shirt at her boyfriend, Steve, "I hate it! You know I hate mermaids ever since you dated that mermaid stripper!"

"Listen, babe," Steve tried to stay calm and reasonable, "it has nothing to do with her. How many times do I have to tell you? I like the way she wiggles her tail when I flex my bicep."

"I bet you do!" Linda scrounged through her purse until she found a match to light her cigarette, "you don't care about me at all or you would have realized that tattoo would be a bad idea."

"Now you're gonna start smoking again?" Steve watched her take a long drag of her cigarette, "you were doing so good."

"Oh," she blew smoke toward the ceiling, "well, you can blame yourself for my failure, too. I need something to take the edge off."

"Well, why don't you call the apothecary and get yourself a magic mushroom then?" Steve was losing his patience, "it'd be healthier than smoking. Probably cheaper too."

"Oh," Linda guffawed, "now you care about my health?"

"Sure, I do," Steve said, "don't I always take care of you?"

"Yeah, you drove me to the clinic when you gave my syphilis that time. You probably got that from the mermaid stripper."

"I didn't just drive you," Steve said, "I paid the bill too. You're being unreasonable. It's just a tattoo!"

"Just a tattoo!" Linda stubbed out her cigarette in the kitchen sink, "those things are permanent."

"I could have it removed if I wanted to, but I don't." He moved his arm toward Linda and started flexing his bicep, making the mermaid move her tail. "Isn't it funny?" Steve chuckled.

"No!" Linda screamed, "don't you listen to me at all?"

"It's just a joke!" Steve yelled, "stop going into a frenzy. It's not ladylike at all!"

"Ladylike!" Linda yelled back, "is wagging my tail like a mermaid on a stripper pole ladylike? Maybe I should do that instead?" Linda did an exaggerated hip shake to demonstrate.

"I oughta' oust your ass right out the door!" Steve threatened, "I'm tired of you always giving me a hard time."

"Oh, yeah, go ahead," Linda challenged, "you'll beg me to come back like every other time."

Steve opened his mouth to yell something, but realized she was right and changed his mind as he lowered himself onto the couch in defeat, "You're right," he admitted, "I only want you, not that mermaid chick."

Linda wiped a tear from her eye.

"I won't make you look at my arm," Steve relented, "I'll even wear the long sleeves when you're around."

"Aw," Linda smiled and sat on his lap, "even in the summer?"

"Don't push it," Steve chuckled, "I don't want to feel like I'm a prisoner in this relationship. You wouldn't want that would you?"

"No, babe," Linda put her head on his chest, "not like that time I made you wear that bowtie when we had sex."

"That was weird," he chuckled, "I almost couldn't get the old sprocket to rise with that thing on."

"Well, silly," Linda laughed, "you were supposed to tie it around your neck!"

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Creepy Baby Doll Head's Witch Costume

I made her dress and hat from scraps I found in the attic. Her "body" is an empty wine bottle. I made the ghost and bats on the tree as well. The tree is from Michael's. I think she really likes the costume!

Tension in Suburbia

"What's that noise?" Jerry asked Leeanne, "I'm trying to finish this report for work tomorrow and it's distracting me."

"I don't hear any noise," Leeanne was loading the dishwasher for the night after enjoying her meatloaf for dinner.

"It sounds like a muffled thumping down in the basement.  I hope the water heater isn't breaking down again. That's all we need."

"Me too." Leeanne turned on the radio, "This will drown it out."

"That's even more distracting!" Jerry exclaimed.

"Sorry," Leeanne turned it off. "I'll go downstairs and try to hear the noise so I can make it stop. You're so grumpy today. You hardly ate any meatloaf after I slaved over it. I worked all day today too, you know."

"I'm trying to finish this damned report, Leeanne," Jerry raised his voice, "my bonus depends on it. You want me to get the bonus, don't you?" He looked back at his laptop and his report.

"Yes, Jerry," Leeanne sighed, "I do, but it's not like we're going to die if you don't get it. My bonus will cover our vacation."

"We might die if I get fired and we starve to death!"

Leeanne responded by slamming the door as she descended into the basement.

"Probably some animal trapped down there," Jerry muttered to himself. His heart was already beating hard from the stress of getting the report written when he heard Leeanne scream. He jumped up from his chair, snatched up a flashlight from the top of the fridge and ran down the basement stairs calling to Leeanne.

In his haste Jerry tripped and fell over a tray that they had brought home from the church plant sale containing flats of pansies.

"Damn it!" Jerry rubbed his knee as he got back to his feet, "that's par for the course."

He followed Leeanne's scream to the rarely entered storage room beyond the laundry room.

"What the?" Jerry dropped the flashlight when he entered the room to find an old wooden coffin in the middle of the room and Leeanne, pale and distraught, cowering in the corner amongst old paint cans and wood scraps.

The thumping noise was louder and obviously coming from inside the coffin. "Where did that come from?" Jerry looked at Leeanne for a response, but she only stared in shock.

Jerry moved closer to the thumping coffin and noticed a metal latch, fastened on the outside. Something was trapped inside the coffin. He unlatched the coffin, allowing whatever, or whoever, was inside to push the lid open. Leeanne was now on her feet gripping Jerry's arm as they both stared in shock as Leeanne's younger brother Lester rose from the coffin. They hadn't seen him since he went away to medical school in the fall. They weren't concerned about not hearing from him, since they knew he'd be extremely busy.

Now he wore a maniacal grin and a wilted orchid on his shirt as he came toward them with his arms reaching out for them and his sharp vampire teeth gleaming in the dim basement light.

Jerry and Leeanne were both screaming as they bolted from the room and ran up the stairs and out of the house leaving Lester free to continue his reign of terror.

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Woman's First Day in a Convent

A big black rat scurried through the thick layer of dust under the pews as Amy woke up on the floor of the small prayer room in the convent. She was grateful for the refuge from the torrential downpour that rolled in unexpectedly from the west as she was hiking through the valley.

Far from being a zealous church-goer Amy thanked the nun profusely when she answered the door and offered her shelter and made a promise to herself to attend church more regularly when she got home.

She sat up and looked around in the morning light, sure she recognized the sound of the rustling of feathers behind her. As she turned to look, a large raven swooped down from a rafter and perched on the head of a chipped and dusty statue in the far corner of the room. The bird made a low cackling sound as it settled its wings against its body.

Hoisting her backpack up and onto her back, she brushed the dust off of her clothes and tried to ignore the film of morning mouth, dreaming of a hot cup of coffee. She peeked out a window to make sure the rain had stopped before venturing out to hike back home.

"Hey, birdie," Amy called to the raven, "do you know where the nun is from last night? I'd like to thank her again before I leave." Then she giggled for asking a bird a question as she headed toward the door. The sunrise was a lovely shade of pomegranate. "Maybe you can page her for me."

"Hey, birdie," Amy called again, enjoying the slight echo of her voice in the near-empty room, "Do you know where I can get some coffee and a glazed doughnut to lick?"

When Amy opened the door to exit, the raven swooped out ahead of her, and as she watched it glide toward the rising sun, she realized the raven was leading her gaze to a Tim Horton's a short distance away.

"Thank you, birdie!" Amy called. She heard the raven's caw as he landed on the Tim Horton's sign.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Magic in Everyday Occurrences

The new touchscreen workstation made my job a little easier, but it was acting up again. While I waited for IT to finish the repair, I took a walk to the cafeteria.

It wasn't quite lunch time but I was hungry anyway, so I was curious to see if the vendor had stocked something different for a change besides the usual packaged sandwiches and microwave cups of pasta and sauce. I'd eaten so many of those over the past couple of years that I'd developed a strong aversion to them, which severely shrunk my options.

As I stood staring at the familiar racks of brightly colored wrappers, I knew granola bars and chips weren't going to be enough. I moved toward the refrigerated case to see what the offering there would be when I heard a noise like an old-fashioned doorbell. I turned to see where the noise was coming from when I heard it again, louder and closer. Then it repeated as though someone was violently pounding on a doorbell.

Suddenly the door to the refrigerated case fogged up from the inside and then flew open almost hitting me as I jumped back in surprise.

A cold blast of wind blew my hair back and took my breath away as I continued to back away toward the exit.

I was shocked as a Krav Maga master burst out of the refrigerator, landing in a lunging stance prepared to be attacked.

"Where am I?" the master asked me as I stared in disbelief.

"The cafeteria," I whispered.

He looked me up and down and said, "You're not my opponent. You are a frightened little bunny rabbit of a man."

"Yeah, whatever," I couldn't believe my eyes. This isn't what I had in mind when I hoped for something different to eat.

"My opponent was a sorcerer," the master announced, "to avoid my skills, he magically disposed of me like a pan of soiled kitty litter."

"Um," I said, "do you want to use my phone to call a ride?"

"That's very nice of you," he reached for the phone I held toward him with my shaking hand.

"Oh, damn the sorcerer!" he looked at his extended arm and took my phone, "that demon took my sweatband!"

"I have one at my desk you can have. I'll get it while you make your call." I ran to my desk and found my Power Rangers sweatband, ignoring the perplexed looks from my coworkers. "Be right back."

Racing back to the cafeteria, a crowd was beginning to gather as the master yelled into my phone ordering a taxi. I kept running as I snatched my phone and threw my sweatband at the master.

"I'm afraid I frightened that little guy when I emerged from this refrigerator case," the master explained to the crowd. They all gave each other confused looks and backed away from the stranger.

Just then two security guards strode in and escorted the newcomer to the door. My original problem was now solved as I had completely lost my appetite and returned to my desk having decided to skip lunch.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A Hairdresser Received a Shocking Confession From a Customer

"How do you like your hair?" Jazmine asked her new customer, "I think it really frames your face and the color complements your complexion."

"Yes," the customer agreed, "I've always wanted red hair. I love it!"

"Oh, good!" Jazmine helped the customer remove her apron and turned the chair for her so she could stand up. Lorraine was a walk-in who said she was new in town and eager to fit in. She looked to be in her forties, slightly stocky, but had a light step, a lot of energy and a dimply smile.

"I'll tell you a secret," Lorraine giggled, "I used to love in poverty. I spent ten years as a crack whore, and my pimp was a great marksman with an acute case of schizophrenia."

"Oh! Uh," Jazmine didn't know how to respond but wanted to remain courteous to her new customer. She pretended to straighten the bookshelf that held the style magazines for customers to browse as Lorraine told her story.

"I tired to escape a few times," Lorraine continued, "but he threatened to split my skull like a pumpkin on Halloween. One time he pointed a gun at my eye and threatened to turn me into a Jack-O-Lantern. He always said my head looked like a pumpkin. Do you think it does?"

Jazmine was planning to hedge the question, but Lorraine went on talking without waiting for a reply. 

"Yeah, he was a real cuckoo," she shook her head as she followed Jazmine to the register.

"How much do I owe you?" Lorraine set her purse on the counter to dig for her wallet.

Jazmine was so startled by Lorraine's confession that she messed up typing her password into the register and had to backspace and start over more than once. "That will be $45 today for the wash, color and trim."

"Nice!" Lorraine exclaimed as she swiped her card, "you must be having a sale today."

"As a matter of fact, we are having a special on hair color today," Jazmine handed Lorraine her receipt.

"Thanks," Lorraine slid her card and the receipt into her wallet. "Yeah, that pimp was a real creep. Completely cuckoo! The copse ended up killing him when he pulled a gun on them during a raid on the crack house.  Yup, those were the days, all right."

"Well," Jazmine walked her to the door and held it open for her, "have a nice day!"

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Conversation Between Artists

Ponder had just administered the final brush strokes of his latest urban masterpiece when a nearby trash can fell over and out rolled what appeared to be a visitor from another galaxy.

"What the fuck?" Ponder dropped his brush in the rip rap under the overpass where he'd been painting as he stared at the tiny man trying to right himself from his fall.

The strange creature wore a black and white blazer over gray pants and black combat boots. His hair was white through he seemed to be in his twenties or thirties. He squinted his black eyes as though blinded by the sun even though they were in the shade of the overpass.

"Where did you come from?" Ponder asked as his heart pounded like an alarm, "I just threw my coffee cup in that can ten minutes ago and I'm sure you weren't there."

The visitor giggled and examined his skull with his nimble hands to be sure he wasn't injured in the fall, "I forgot how bright and colorful it is here," satisfied with his head examination he stepped closer to Ponder, admiring his artwork, "I haven't been here in a decade."

"Who are you anyway?" Ponder looked down at his new acquaintance, "Where did you come from?"

"Everyone here asks so many questions," the man remarked, "such an inquisitive race."

Ponder backed away nervously.

"You should see your expression!" the little man laughed, "I love this part!"

"Um," Ponder was still backing away, "I don't know..."

"It's OK," the man sighed, "don't be afraid. My name is Tiki Tiki Tommy Tom."

"What?" Ponder wondered where this hallucination was coming from. He wondered if the fumes from the paint were causing this. It was just getting more weird with every second, "Tiki-Tiki-Tommy what?"

"You sure say "what" a lot" Tiki Tiki Tommy Tom said, "this is my fifth deployment to your planet to bring back some art. You see I'm an artist too, but everything is black and white on my planet. There's no color, so every so often I get to drop in on Earth to admire some color. For inspiration, you know."

"Are you real?" Ponder moved closer to Tiki Tiki Tommy Tom and slowly reached toward his face.

"No touching!" Tiki Tiki Tommy Tom slapped Ponder's hand away causing Ponder to gasp.

"You are real!" Ponder drew his hand back, "an artist from another galaxy!"

"I'm not from another galaxy," Tiki Tiki Tommy Tom said, "I'm from the back side of an asteroid."

"Whoa," Ponder said, "an artist from an asteroid!"

"Yes, now you have it."

"How do you make clothes on an asteroid?" Ponder asked as he looked over Tiki Tiki Tommy Tom's blazer and pants.

"We don't!" Just then Tiki Tiki Tommy Tom yanked Ponder's pants down, knocking Ponder on his butt on the rip rap.

As Ponder yelped from the pain, Tiki Tiki Tommy Tom pulled Ponder's pants and shoes off and dove back into the trash can and disappeared.

Picking Up a Hitchhiker

The skyline displayed a beautiful sunset as I drove home from work. As I passed the hospital, getting all the lights green, I visualized my comfy mattress where I planned to land when I got home.

I was almost to the on-ramp for the interstate when I sadly got a red light. My mattress seemed to be calling me telepathically as I waited for the light to turn green.

Then zap! Out of nowhere a hitchhiker was tapping on my passengers side window. I tried to ignore him willing the light to turn green. He continued to tap on the window relentlessly and when he started hollering "Excuse me!" in a loud growl, I couldn't ignore him any longer.

I rolled down the passengers side window, reluctant to interface with someone strange enough to tap on a stranger's window, but I deferred to his persistence even though he really creeped me out the way he wore his Halloween costume two weeks before Halloween.

"I'm heading home and lost my ride," explained the hitchhiker in the Michael Myers costume.

"Are you sure you lost your ride?" I asked, shaking in fear.

"Yes," Michael Myers explained, "We stopped for gas and when I came out of the mens room, he was gone."

"Are you sure you didn't murder him in the mens room and now seek a fresh victim?" I asked, "Your costume is very frightening."

"What costume?" Michael Myers asked, "A beaker of acid spilled on my face years ago and this is my face."

"Oh, how embarrassing," I could feel my face turning red, "How awful for you."

"No problem," Michael Myers replied, "I make good coin at kids' parties."

The light was now green and the line of traffic behind me started honking, so I reluctantly unlocked the door and Michael Myers hopped in.

"Where are you headed?" I asked mourning the fading of my mattress fantasy.

"I'm talking you to hell!" he pulled a butcher knife from his jumpsuit and stabbed me in the face.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

A Family Mystery Uncovered

It was a boring Sunday like every Sunday during football season. Beatrice fought over bathroom time with her sister Lucretia while their father drove their grandma to church and their mother enjoyed a Game of Thrones marathon. After church Dad and the NFL would take over the living room.

"Stop fighting, girls!" Their mother Gloria called up the stairs. "Don't make me start scheduling bathroom time."

"It's her fault," Lucretia replied glaring at Beatrice, "if she wasn't so ugly she wouldn't have to be in there so much trying to get pretty."

"Lu!" mother yelled, "what have I told you about calling your sister ugly?"

"You do realize we're twins," Beatrice returned Lucretia's glare.

I'll be in my room." Lucretia stomped into her room and slammed the door.

"You know we have two bathrooms," Gloria said before returning to her marathon. "I'm going to swap them for two dogs and move to a desert island," she muttered into her cup of coffee.

Suddenly the cat Poe raced into the living room from the kitchen at top speed and jumped into Gloria's lap. "You almost spilled my coffee, Poe! What is your problem?"

Beatrice and Lucretia raced down the stairs to jump onto the couch where their mom put a hand over her coffee cup to keep it from spilling.

"What is everyone's problem around here?" Gloria was annoyed.

"Didn't you hear that loud noise in the back yard?" Beatrice asked.

"No, what noise?" Gloria looked back and forth between her daughters. "Is that what spooked Poe?"

"When's Dad coming home?" Lucretia held onto Gloria's arm.

"Soon," Gloria replied, "What noise?" she asked again. Poe jumped to the floor and sat in the corner to stare at the wallpaper as was his habit when the family was together talking.

"I didn't hear any noise," the girls stared at her wide-eyed with fear, "can you help me out with some info or is it a secret?"

"It sounded like a crashing noise and a gun shot!" Lucretia spoke while Beatrice nodded in agreement.

Giving in to her curiosity, Gloria put her coffee cup down on the coffee table, pried herself apart from her frightened daughters and headed to the kitchen in the back of the house.

"No, Mom, don't go out there!" Lucretia tried to hold her back.

"At least take a weapon," Beatrice handed her a hard cover notebook which Gloria ignored. Just then their dad Gregor burst in the back door with a shotgun in his hand and grandma behind him.

"Hey, guys," he announced, "I just shot a rabid racoon in the back yard. I was getting Grandma out of the Lincoln and it came staggering sideways at us."

"Yeah," said Grandma, "I almost shit a brick!"

"Well, there you see," Gloria turned to her daughters who were no longer frightened, but disgusted, "mystery solved."

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Strange Request at a Piano Bar

"Oh, sassafras!" Ethel exclaimed when she stopped twirling and staggered sideways into the sad clown.

"Oh, ho, ho," Jim Bob the clown howled an exaggerated laugh as he helped Ethel regain her equilibrium.

"Getting old sucks," she said with a sigh and wobbled over to the little boy who was politely holding the apple Ethel had been eating when she offered to demonstrate how cool her poodle skirt looked when she twirled. "I guess I need to get back to yoga class to work on my balance."
The little boy kept his face a mask of indifference to hide his inner laughter. Jim Bob noticed the boy's face about to burst from his weakening reserve and gave his nose a beep so he could let out a giggle without insulting Ethel.

Ethel accepted the apple from the giggling juvenile without any hint that he could be laughing at her misfortune and the boy jogged back to the lights of the carnival and away from the increasingly awkward situation.

"Oh, double sassafras!" Ethel exclaimed, "my apple is steeped with oxidation!" she held it up for Jim Bob to see the browning flesh of the apple before tossing it over the chain link fence that bordered the carnival area.

"You know, Ethel dear," Jim Bob's concern showed through his thick clown make-up, "you're no spring chicken anymore and it worries me that you insist on doing that twirling poodle skirt bit for the patrons. You could have fallen and sprained an ankle, or even broken something."

Ethel, now angry, stood on her tip toes to look Jim Bob in the eye and said, "Ever since 1975 when that piano man in the bar paid me to do the skirt twirl, I've been doing that bit. I don't need anyone creating controversy over it. That's ageism on your part, Jim Bob. It may have been a strange request once upon a time in a seedy piano bar, but I've made a halfway decent living at it and I'll keep doing it until men stop stuffing money into my cleavage, so there!"

Monday, March 6, 2017

Free e-book: Whaling City Vampires: Love Beyond Death

It's free e-book week!

Nineteenth century New London was crowded with whalers, workers and drifters; an irresistible  temptation for the hungry vampires that stalked the streets at night searching for love, vengeance and blood!
Download the free e-book here:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Creepy Baby Doll Head Valentines

Half buried flattened and full of dirt, I found this baby doll head while raking my back yard. I brought it in, cleaned it up and unflattened it as much as I could. It sat on my kitchen counter for weeks, visitors asking me why I kept a creepy battered baby doll head in my kitchen. I didn't know, but didn't want to throw it out. When I started attaching inspirational notes on it, my daughter thought it was hilarious and started an Instagram account for it

I thought the baby head would be nice in a Valentines Day display, so I tried it out. I think it's pretty cool!