The Long Ride

“Something is simply not right.  The creaks, the lurching, the bumps and the feel of this place; all amiss!” Timothy found himself caught in a soliloquy he had no intention of stopping.  There was a mystery to solve on the southern line.

“The dead of night provides perfect cover for the perfect crime,” he continued.  “I should consult my notes.” He rummaged through a few scraps of paper he had scrawled “dinner was yum” on.

“Inconclusive,” he remarked.  “But certainly, there’s a murderer in a midst.”

His speech ended as his travel companion entered the cabin.

“You!” Timothy said, accusingly, “have you committed a deed most foul and now require me as an alibi? Hmm? What say you?”

Tina cocked her head and stared at him for a moment.  “What game are you playing?” She asked, disappointment clinging to every syllable.

“Oh come on,” Timothy said, “it is too dark out to see any of the majestic scenery we were promised and this is a s-s-s-super boring way to travel.”

“So you went all Agatha Christie on me?”

“Better than Mary Shelley.”

“What does that even mean?” Tina was incredibly curious.

“It probably would have involved something super weird with the left over chicken in the mini-fridge,” Timothy pondered.

“I am not going to leave you alone any more, okay?” Tina solved the problem.

 

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Candles to Change Reality

 

“Our special candles promise to change your very reality,” the shop clerk explained.

Teri gave him a doubtful look, “change my reality?”

“Oh yes. Here. Pick a color,” the clerk prompted.

“Hunter green.”

“Consider it done. Take your mind to a clear place. Focus only on the sound of my voice and this very fine long neck lighter I am placing into your hand,” the clerk was confident, if a little ‘carnival side show.’  “Now, light your candle.

Teri flicked the lighter and ignited the wick.

“And boom!” The clerk said, “Now you own a candle! Your reality is changed.”

 

Gerard the Ghost and the Learner’s Permit

“Ow!” Martin shouted.  He was no fan of ironing, but never had it been a truly painful experience.  He grabbed his shoulder and looked at the floor to see what had hit him.  “What the crap? An apple?”

From the corner of the room came a tiny chuckle.

“Gerard!” Martin yelled.

Gerard answered with boisterous laughter.

“Come on, man, why would throw an apple at me?” Martin asked, hurt that the ghost in his house would be so mean.  He thought his friendship with the specter had progressed beyond petty pranks.

“I have to practice,” Gerard answered before tossing another apple.

Martin dodged the flying fruit and returned a dour glance back at Gerard. “Practice for what?”  Another apple whirred by his head before an answer came.

“For my poltergeist license.  I need 75 hours of harmless mischief and 10 hours of melting walls and 20 jump-scares to be fully licensed.  Once I get it, I have a world of opportunity open to me,” Gerard shared.

Martin was hurt by the idea that Gerard would want to leave for new adventures. Then another apple hit the wall behind him.  “Is this license the reason the sugar I put in my coffee this morning tasted heavily of salt?”

Gerard laughed.

“All the table chairs were slightly pushed out this morning too.  That you?” Martin asked.

Gerard laughed.

“Well, that is harmless mischief.  How many hours are you at?”

“I have 53 done so far.  I’m trying to knock the melting walls stuff out when you and Claire are at work.  That’s a weird requirement and you guys are so supportive and caring of my career aspirations,” Gerard answered.

“How about the jump scares?” Martin was very curious of this last point.

“Those I’m saving. I’m taking a cinematography class online and want to record the results, put a solid narrative behind it and make the film rounds. Any thing I make will be better than that Paranormal Activity garbage,” Gerard said.

Martin pondered his feelings on this matter for a moment.  “I support this.”

“Thank you,” Gerard said, opting to set down one final apple.

 

 

Thanks for reading!  Here’s Gerard’s first appearance

Some entertainment options you may enjoy:
Lunch Hour Characters (bad art, humorously captioned)
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Mugs and Stickers and other tangible things
Facebook for videos, links and shenanigans

Deck and Amy and the Run-In

Dinner was taking place at the one restaurant in town that did not rely on loud 90s alt-rock to create an atmosphere.  As sad as Deck was to not eat a hamburger to the charming tones of Matchbox 20, he was more than pleased to actually hear what Amy was trying to tell him.

“I still can’t believe Carmichael tried to pull that crap at work,” Amy said before taking a bite of pilaf.

“I think you should probably key his car,” Deck said.

“I can’t key his ca- Wait! Oh crap,” Amy finished her bite and stared over Deck’s shoulder.  “The couple that just walked in. I used to work with him.”

Deck looked over his shoulder to try to catch a glimpse of the entry way where he presumed the subject of Amy’s statement stood.

“Don’t look, you big dummy,” Amy instructed. “What do I do? We worked in the same general area for three years. I haven’t even kept in Facebook contact though. Do I wave? Do the fake ‘Oh my god! Jerry?!” greeting on our way out?”

Deck started to offer advice. “You could-” he didn’t get very far.

“This is weird. I’m pretty sure he’s the guy who kept stealing pens too.  Should I bring that up?” Amy wondered.

“Probably good to avoid accusations of petty crime at a fish restaurant,” Deck said as he devoured a crab stuffed mushroom.

“No. Nope, you know what, we’re leaving. I’ll get boxes, we’ll go home and watch Princess Bride and never speak of this moment again,” Amy plotted.

“I know you’re freaking out right now and the newness of this type of social interaction is making you nervous, but that plan sounds awesome so I’m going to go along with it,” Deck said.

The waiter was flagged down and take-away boxes were filled.  A quick drive and a few minutes later, an ROUS was pouncing a pirate and Deck and Amy finished their meals in their pajamas on a couch.

“This was the right call,” Deck said.

Amy grimaced.  A fork in one hand, her phone in the other, she screamed a little as she read her screen.  “Another former coworker just commented on a post from Jerry, from the restaurant earlier,” Amy started.

“I do remember Jerry, yes,” Deck said.

“Jerry posted ‘Just saw an old coworker. Decided to hide instead of talk to her. Forgot her name. Think she recognized me too. #Awkward’ How could he forget my name? Jerry’s not a nice person. I’m going to comment.” Amy said.

“Now would be a good time to bring up the pen thing,” Deck said.

“Oh! That’ll cut deep too.  Nice one, sweetie,” Amy started typing.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading!

Some entertainment options you may enjoy:

Lunch Hour Characters (bad art, humorously captioned)

Free books

$1 Books

Mugs and Stickers and other tangible things

Facebook for videos, links and shenanigans

First and Last Party

It all started with a shout. “We’re throwing a party!” One housemate had decided the group’s future.

The words were well received and a party was planned, scheduled and promoted.  College had promised the best four years of their lives, and these housemates were going to make that happen.

The party proved to be the first and last at the house on Kemper street.  The reasons for this were cataloged in a journal known in the house as “The Book of Questions.” These were not questions they intended to answer, but phrases that made the residents of the little commune ask questions.  Phrases overheard the night of the party, as revelers were allowing themselves to become their true selves, as inhibition died and realness took hold.

Phrases that made the good people of Kemper Street question everything.

Here are selections from The Book of Questions:

“You don’t even know who Bon Jovi is.”

“Yeah, but what does Vampire Weekend really mean?”

“I don’t recycle, I just cycle.  I’m ride or die to the core.”

“Call it bean juice.”

“Clothes Pin is my wrestling alter-ego.”

“I’m thinking of minoring in mining.”

“That’s exactly what I mean! Quantum Leap is just a fever dream of a dying man.”

“I bet the Kool Aid man would know.”

“Mozart would kick Godzilla’s butt.”

“My Insta is nothing but pictures of donkeys and I don’t know how that happened.  Well, I do, but I one weird weekend shouldn’t destroy the entire explore algorithm.”

“Placemats are elitist.”

“Why don’t we just put permafrost in the freezer for a while?”

“Veggie hot dogs saved my life. Killed my cat, but saved my life.”

“If I had a nickle for every time I had to defend juggling…I could at least buy a six pack.”

“Cheese dip or GTFO, Chad!”

“My initiation involved running over LEGOs and I kinda’ liked it.”

 

 

Thanks for reading! While you’re here, People on the Highway, the eBook is available free through Sunday. Just click here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VUE2OQS Lots of short stories both funny and not intentionally funny

People on the Highway

People on the Highway in eBook format with a handful of book only stories is free 9/27 to 10/1! Get your copy here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VUE2OQS and be sure to check out my other Amazon stuff.

For work I travel between a couple of different locations every day.  This is fine, but the travel does take me through the epicenter of a town with nearly twice the population of my own.  This population increase amounts to 25,024% increase in traffic at any time of day.  The math is weird, but it’s there. The change in seasons has driven (ba dum tss) people absolutely mad this week.

One person really took the title of “totally deranged road warrior” this week though.

Today’s tale: Cookie Monster

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The Totally Zoned

Three people sit at a corporate dinner.  None want to be there.  Where do they go? What thoughts pervade their minds as they devour their choice of fish or steak or a pile of beans because no one understands vegetarian options still. 

As a lecturer drones on about spreadsheets and capital expenditures, a powerpoint, dry and humorless, rolls behind them.  The three heroes of this tale have entered…

The Totally Zoned.

At table one sits Bettie Jonas, accountant from the Dacono branch.  She opted for steak.  It is dryer than the powerpoint.  She is the only Dacono representative at the corporate retreat and knows no one else present.  It is a long three day weekend.  What thoughts pulse through her head at this very moment?

“Mechs v. Zombies. I would watch the crap out of that. I’m writing SyFy tomorrow morning.”

Table seven has a much more laid back feel.  There is laughter, an inside joke is slowly developing and a trip for next summer is being arranged by the sales group folks who all opted for the fish option.  Tony Wrangler, IT from Cleveland, is not participating.  When he first sat at his table he laughed that no one present had seen Airplane.  As time dragged on, his mind wandered and he totally zoned.  What thoughts currently plague his technically configured mind?

“Bambi in space? Jeepers, Tony, what does this note even mean?”

Emilia Thompson is a systems architect from the Dover branch.  She has been the systems architect at the Dover, Delware branch for twelve years and helped the lecturer build the presentation she is now expected to observe.  Emilia Thompson is totally zoned.  Her mind is racing with new forms of old things.  Her strategy to appear interested in uninteresting situations involves adapting songs to fit her mood.  Her current challenge is personalizing and regionalizing the 1978 Warren Zevon piano rock classic, Werewolves in London.

“A-oooo! Werewolves in Dover, DE. A-ooooo!”

Fret not for our three players. The evening is quickly drawing to a close and desert tray is circulating the dining area.  Aperitifs will be served and cabs called as needed.  They will all be a little late to join the closing round of applause though.

For they are in…

The Totally Zoned