Demands Demands Demands

Remember being called to dinner?

Was there a mad rush in your house as everyone took their seat at the table?

All the day’s hard labor forgotten around the laughter and banter, the teasing and catching up on each others’ activities away from home?

Who was seen flirting at the bus stop?

Who was caught taking apples from Farmer Duhlgren’s orchard?

And what did mother spend half a day preparing? With fresh steaming biscuits for the gravy?

Yeah, it wasn’t like that at my house, either.

But here’s a happy family, so let’s enjoy their pleasures with them.


The Exchange

This story came about from a book I’m reading intersecting with a conversation I had, a TV show Susan and I watched, and a desire to practice my flash storytelling techniques.

Hope you enjoy.

The Exchange

Dolan stood beside her Chevy Suburban’s open driver door and watched the woman approach. The black Suburban, the government plates, the fogged windows, it was a magnet to some people. Usually men, though. Their eyes lit up like kids on Christmas morning. “Hey, you with the Government?”

The woman stopped on the other side of the Suburban and held up a mobile so Dolan could see her son on the screen, sitting at a table playing with some building blocks. Behind him a window showed a cityscape.

“As you can see, Ms. Gelina, your son is quite safe and happy. How long he stays that way is completely up to you.”

Dolan kept her eyes on the screen. “What do you want?”

“What we want is for you to do exactly what we tell you to do. Do what we tell you to do and your son will be safe and home in twenty-four hours. Don’t do what we ask, you’ll never see him again.”

Dolan swallowed.

“And if anything happens to me, anything at all, your son dies.”

Dolan nodded. She opened her purse.

The woman shook her head. “We don’t want money.”

Dolan removed a pistol, aimed it at the woman’s vagina and pulled the trigger. The woman fell, her mobile falling from her grasp.

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Rainy Day Raccooning

Sometimes you gotta deal with wet.

Not intentional wet, like when you go crayin’ or fishin’, clammin’ or snailin’ down at the crik, here we talkin’ sky-openin’ hell duck-for-cover it’s-a-comin’ rain.

Oh, alright…so it’s not the apocalypse. More like a good, soaking rain needed by farmers, family gardeners, and municipal water supplies alike.

Or raccoons.

We have two buckets in our backyard and wildlife often avails themselves of them. We’ve had deer, coyote, wolf, opossum, lots of birds, and of course, raccoons take a sip.

The raccoons more often take a dunk.

Of cookies.

Obsessive cleaners, they.

You’d think they’d wear masks with all this Covid stuff going around.


Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Sept 2020’s Great Opening Lines)

I wrote in Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Part 3 – Some Great Opening Lines) that I’d share more great opening lines as I found them.

This month’s great opening lines deal with youth and how we as adults reconcile our youths.

“My room is cold.” – S.M. Stevens’ Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
So simple and so powerful. Four short words and we’re already inside the character, have a sense of isolation, deprivation, futility, victimization, … Wow. Not since Anne McCaffery’s “Lessa woke, cold.” in Dragonflight has so simple an opening been so evocative.
Continue reading “Great Opening Lines – and Why! (Sept 2020’s Great Opening Lines)”

Canis Major

You’re tired of being alone and afraid and once, just once, you want to hold someone and not be afraid of their fear.

Canis Major originally appeared in the April 1996 Tomorrow Magazine appears in my Tales Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires anthology. You can also read the separate ebook singlet at Canis Major: A Tale Told ‘Round Celestial Campfires.

The story is a simple one. Imagine you’re a WereMan, human when the moon is full, a beast when not, and your father died before explaining your gift to you. Your fully human mother did the best she could but couldn’t really understand your needs.
Now you’re tired of being alone and afraid and once, just once, you want to hold someone and not be afraid of their fear.

The song lyrics in Canis Major are used courtesy of John Pousette-Dart and Debbie Rose, from The Pousette-Dart Band’s “Next to You.”

Creator and above level members can download the Tales PDF version here

Canis Major

Iggie dropped from the tree onto the fawn, his weight breaking its two hind legs. It tried to run anyway but its forelegs only clawed up the moist, dark forest floor, clouding Iggie’s thoughts as the rich earth aroma wafted into him. Iggie didn’t want the animal to suffer and bit into its throat, tearing out esophagus, jugular and various muscles. Still the fawn tried to escape. Iggie grew nauseous by the mix of his needs and the fawn’s attempts to break free. This wasn’t what he wanted. His father had told and taught him to make his kills quick and clean, to spare creatures any pain. Iggie curled one forepaw into a fist and punched through the fawn’s ribs, crushing the heart. The fawn stopped moving and Iggie, gazing up at the dark, star filled sky, let the blood trickle down his muzzle, dribble into his nostrils, and cover his fur from flews to belly as he dined.


TALL, HANDSOME, good build, good humor, able to stand on a rocking ship with my hands at my sides. Brown hair, brown eyes, black beard, white skin. Have been mistaken for a brown bear when I bathe in mountain streams, well educated (past 6th grade), still have all my teeth but not all my marbles. Looking for a well-rounded, buxom woman. Buxom men need not respond. Applicants should know by this that brains are more important than brawn. Dinners, dancing, demitasse, and dramamine. Send resume and salary history.

The ad sat on Iggie’s desk for two months. The first month he’d written it by hand and crossed out several portions. The second month he’d typed it into his computer, made several more edits, and returned to the forest.

He stared at the screen for some twenty minutes this time, ran the spelling checker over it four times, read the ad backwards to check for additional misspellings, and printed it out.

He lifted the paper in his hand, his eyes examining the grain of the page as his fingers felt the texture. A mirror on the wall next to his desk echoed his movements. All the walls in his house had mirrors: mirrors framed in gold, mirrors framed in window panes, hand-held mirrors, mirrors simple and ornate; every room had at least one. He gazed into this one, opened his eyes wide and stared into them. Large, brown eyes stared back. Eyes a little too large, a little too far apart, with pupils a little too large. He rocked back and his focus changed to his nose, too thin on top with nostrils too wide on the bottom. He smiled, his face growing light and his lips parting to show strong, even, white teeth. He abruptly opened his mouth until it became a mucus laden cavern in the mirror, leaned closer, and inspected his teeth, one by one, finally running his tongue over them like a barber testing a razor’s edge, and closing his mouth. Next he studied his narrow, dark-skinned, clean-shaven face, the thick brown-black hairs framing his high forehead and peering out from his open collared shirt.

He checked the calendar beside the mirror. A red line cut through most of the month save the current week plus a day on either side.

“Today is Friday,” he told his empty house. “I could submit the ad online but online readers want things too quickly.” Iggie wanted a woman who still read print. “Print readers still take their time.”

He flipped months on the calendar. “It’ll be a month before this even sees print. Another month or two before any responses arrive. March, April, May. Maybe a first date in June? It would nice to have someone during the cold months.” He shuddered with the thought. Someone to hold him? Someone to warm him?

New life burst through old snow outside his window. He glanced down the his hallways and sighed.

He folded the ad into thirds, included a check to cover its cost, sealed the envelope and walked the several miles down the mountain into town.

Greetings! I’m your friendly, neighborhood Threshold Guardian. This is a protected post and requires either General Membership (free) or a Subscription (various levels). Members and Subscribers can LogIn. Non members can join. All posts are free to all members save certain posts in the My Work category. Enjoy!