Here are links to some of the writing I’ve done. This isn’t all of it, just enough of it, all of which is readily available.
These three little stories were posted on the blog in response to various flash fiction challenges. They are fun, if challenging, to write.
The Steve Weddle Memorial Flash Fiction Challenge
“It’s Better to Burn Out, Then to Fade Away”
Dan O’Shea Strikes Again
“It Should Have Been Easy”
The Hilary Davidson Flash Fiction Initiative
“The Pickle” at Beat to a Pulp
“Run for the Roses” (winner of the 2011 Watery Graves Invitational story competition) at The Drowning Machine
Curly was happy his mother hadn’t lived to see how his life turned out. After all, she’d had such high hopes for him as a child.
“You’re something special,” she always said. “I just know someday you gonna be a star, child.”
Funny the things you think about, Curly thought. His mother’s predictions seemed so ludicrous to him now that he had to laugh, even when he knew he was about to die.
It wasn’t anything they had not done many times before. He and Jean — she was Bonnie to his Clyde, she claimed — had knocked over countless gas stations and convenience stores. Hell, they’d even stooped to cleaning out the occasional roadside fruit stand. Things had always gone smoothly, and any ensuing violence was more a matter of them choosing to spice things up than anything really going awry. Just like anyone else on a night out, they might start out with a little drink, then maybe some smoke. After that, whatever happened, happened.
The pair never planned much.
“Romo Samson and the Grandmother Spider” which can be read by purchasing Pulp Modern: Autumn 2011 HERE. An excerpt:
Samson’s aim was steady as he held the heavy Smith & Wesson trained on Trachtman’s chest. A bead of sweat leaked from under the band of his hat.
“The choice is yours, Samson,” Trachtman said, then chuckled. “Shoot me, and the Diné dies. Is her life worth less to you than this?” He held out a leather bag that sagged with the weight of its contents.
“Don’t do it, Romo!” Luci shrieked. “You have to stop him!”
Samson glanced at Luci. The young Indian woman struggled in the grasp of one of Trachtman’s henchmen. The man, Hawthorne, held her arms firmly behind her back while another man, a thug who called himself Iddings, wrapped her long braids around his wrist and jerked her head back to expose her tan throat. With his free hand Iddings held the tip of a large knife to her jugular. He smiled toothily.
“Go ahead, Romo,” Trachtman urged. “Pull the trigger. I think the spray from her artery may reach you before I hit the ground.”
His eyes narrowed, Samson met Trachtman’s stare with determination. Then he shrugged and lowered the pistol. “You win this hand, Hunter,” he said, flipping the pistol over and handing it to the taller man, butt-first. “But the game isn’t over yet.”
Trachtman accepted the revolver, hefting its weight in his hand. “That is where you’re wrong,” he said.
With a smooth motion Trachtman raised the pistol and shot Romo Samson in the face.
“US Idol In: Vampires are Pussies” which can be read by purchasing Noir at the Bar HERE. An excerpt:
A chilly draft blew into the kitchen. A cold voice said, “It’s not polite to kiss and tell, Gale.”
Outside light spilling through the kitchen window caught a tall, lean form as it moved into the room. Dana and Gale sat rigid at the table, not breathing.
“Especially when you tell lies.” The form leaned into the beams, its face capturing the glow. Dark eyes seemed to absorb the light, even as the face’s flesh reflected it, pale and bright. The mouth shaped a smile that revealed long, sharp canines. “Terrible, terrible lies, Gale.”
Gale and Dana screamed.
The back door to the kitchen exploded open in a shower of glass and rotten wood.
A fourth person entered the kitchen from outside. The image of an American flag glowed from a barrel chest, the lights moving in a way that made the flag seem to flutter in the breeze. The interloper was tall, and the uniform he wore clung tightly, or was molded, to the shape of a prodigiously-muscled torso. He raised his arms in front of him as he stepped over the remnants of the door, flexing his fists; electrodes in the gloves glowed a pale red. “Hey there, Sean,” he said. “Nice to see you!”
With his final words the chest flag flashed in bright light, limning the vampire in its glare. The creature hissed and flinched away, slamming into the wall beside the opposite entrance to the kitchen and breaking through it. As fast as the vampire was, his opponent was faster. He leaped after Sean and caught his leg before the vampire could regain his feet. He dragged the creature back into the kitchen and stomped hard in the middle of his back; once, then twice.
The vampire screamed as another foot stomp landed. “They didn’t tell you that shit still fucking hurts sometimes, did they?” The vampire curled into a fetal position on the kitchen floor, his mewling cries rivaling the extended screams of Gale and Dana in volume. “You’re still just a tool, Sean. Only now you’re a tool whose bones can be broken over and over again!” A final kick drove Sean through the doorway into the next room.
Pausing in his pursuit, the man held his left hand up to the side of his helmet and said, “Say again, Sarah? No, I can’t – here, hold up a second.” He turned to the table where Dana and Gale cowered, screaming between deep breaths. “Ladies, c’mon. LADIES!”
The two women went silent as if a switch had been thrown.
“I need a minute of fuckin’ peace, here.” He turned away from them, his glove still to his left ear hole. His head and face were mostly covered, though his mouth and jaw were exposed. “Okay, what did you say again? Oh, right.” He turned back to the women. “Excuse me, make that a minute of friggin’ peace, thank you.” He left the kitchen and walked deeper into the apartment, resuming his conversation. “That better? You’re welcome. No, he’s gone, but you should be able to activate the tracer now. Cool. I’ll get right on it soon as I’m done here.”
“Who the hell are you?” Dana asked as the man returned to the kitchen.
“And who the fuck are you talking to?” Gale said.
The glow from his chest sigil bathed the room in a pale light. “You don’t recognize me? For real? Don’t you watch TV or anything?”
“You’re that hero guy, aren’t you?” Gale said. “’American Hero’ or something like that?”
“It’s US Idol, actually. And no, I didn’t pick the name, so don’t ask. And I’m talking to the hall monitor back at the office.” He crossed to the table and selected a donut from the package. Halfway to his mouth, he paused and said, “You mind?”
Dana and Gale stared at him, open-mouthed, expressions a mixture of shock and puzzlement, and shook their heads no in unison.
“Thanks.” US Idol ate the donut in two bites. “That’s good stuff. For that you can call me Jack; all the other ladies do.”
“You’re not . . . like you are on TV,” Dana said.
“Nobody is, honey,” Jack Doney, US Idol, said. “But at least you won’t be telling anyone, ‘I thought he’d be bigger’ or something like that.”
Jack kneeled beside Gale. “Let’s have a look at your neck.” His goggles glowed brighter, shining light at her wound. “Hmm, that’s not so good. We better get you checked out.” He stood up, cocking his head to the side. “Sarah, you still there?” he said. “Good. We should probably get a medic team down here STAT and check this one out, she might be fucked.” When Gale gasped, he quickly added, “But she’ll mostly like be just fine.” He paused, listening. “Sounds good. I’m gonna go find our boy Sean now. I’ll see you soon.”
Jack took another donut from the table. “You mind if I take the last one?” he asked.
“What the hell are you doing here anyway?” Dana said.
Jack paused. “What do you mean? Didn’t I just save your asses?”
“Maybe, but you royally fucked up my apartment too! How’m I supposed to fix this mess?” Dana stood up, waving an arm to encompass the entire room. “My landlord is gonna go apeshit.”
Jack ate the donut, his eyes shifting from Dana to Gale, who held her neck and stared at him, then back to Dana. “Sarah?” he said. “One more thing – send a carpenter or someone to Princess here’s apartment too, would you?”
“Okay, so here’s the deal, ladies,” he said, brushing at his chest as if donut crumbs had settled there. “I’m gonna go get the badguy now. There should be a team of dudes here pretty soon; one will be a medic. Maybe even a carpenter too, I don’t know – I still haven’t really figured out what resources are at my disposal but it never hurts to fucking ask, right? Anyway, the doc’s gonna look at Party Girl here. If she starts to freak out before they get here, I suggest you” – Jack pointed at Dana – “haul ass.”
“Freak out?” Dana said.
“I don’t know, use your imagination. I’ve never seen anyone at the point of change before, but I imagine it must be pretty dramatic.”
“Point of change?” Gale said.
“I’m just yanking your chain,” Jack said, smiling. “You’ll be fine.”
“Buster Lee and the Chucklehead That Wouldn’t Stay Down” which can be read by purchasing Kung Fu Factory HERE. An excerpt:
The Eastwood tied up at the Air Port of Omaha on a Fridee mornin’. We were due for a week’s shore leave to get some repairs – it was always a tough run over the damn Midwest, what with all the storms that rage that time of year. We landed, then me and Marvin, my main runnin’ buddy from the ship, beat feet soon as we could to this dive bar in the district called The Ugly Esquire. Now ‘ole Marvin, he’s swell for a little fella, but he’s also a top shelf guzzle guts. Luckily I knew he probably didn’t have the scratch to get too drunk and ornery. As for me, I was savage as a meat axe, to the point where the slabs of leather the Esquire calls steaks sounded mighty tasty. Figured that would about do in the bulk of my coin, and I didn’t care. I was countin’ on a fight or two comin’ my way to get me flush.
We stormed through the front door like bulls catchin’ a glimpse of open pasture. “Stanley!” I shouted. “Fire up the grill, there’s hungry men bearin’ down on ya!”
“Thirsty ones too!” Marvin added for good measure.
Stanley – he’s the bartender and proprietor – looked up like he’d just seen the sun for the first time all winter. “Buster!” he said. “So the Eastwood finally landed, eh?”
“And Marvin too,” said Marvin. “And you best step to that whiskey bottle ‘fore I get sore.”
Grabbin’ a bottle and a couple glasses, Stanley all but run toward us, grinnin’ like an idiot. I was immediately suspicious, as Stanley is one of them guys who always has an angle. ‘Specially if he’s smilin’.
“Come on over here,” he said, guidin’ us toward a table by the fire. Some old timer was already there, his head slumpin’ over an empty plate, and Stanley shoved him aside with a curse and a kick, then tossed his plate onto the next table where some other wag was engaged in tryin’ to enjoy his meal.
“Sit down, sit!” We sat. “I heard the Eastwood was due in port,” Stanley said, sloshing rot gut into our glasses. “I’ve been hoping you boys would drop by.” He set the bottle on the table and smiled again.
I tossed my drink down my gullet and eyed the man warily. “Well, Stanley,” I said, “why don’t you see to gettin’ some steaks on our table, then you can tell us what scheme’s got you all grinnin’ in our faces like a shyster at a zeppelin crash.”
“Scheme?” he said, pullin’ an expression. “I’m hurt, Buster. Why do you always assume— ”
“Probably ‘cuz there always is one!” Marvin said. “Now step to that grill before we gets mad! And leave the damn bottle!”
Stanley scowled like he was gonna say somethin’ about Marvin’s mouth, then thought better of it. He smiled at me again, filled our glasses, set the bottle on the table and scurried back to the kitchen. I was keepin’ an eye askance of forward, and I could see through the accordion doors that led into the back that he was talkin’ all specific-like to one of his dirty-faced errand boys. Sure enough, that kid scampered out right away like his pants was full of army ants. I didn’t much care for the looks of that.
Marvin and me set to serious drinkin’. Before long the steaks arrived, burned on one side and all but raw on the other, and a lump of bread so hard and dry it coulda come from leftover Civil War rations or somethin’. Figured that kid Stanley run off was probably his best cook. Still wasn’t bad, not after a few shots of booze anyway. Felt good to be eatin’ on solid ground, as it always does.
We was just finishin’ up and Marvin was startin’ to grumble about the slowness of anyone deliverin’ another bottle when Stanley reappeared before us. This time he had a fellar with him; a scrawny, weasily guy I was all too familiar with. The kid must’ve fetched him.
“For crissakes, Stanley!” I shouted, lurching to my feet. “I just ate!”
Stanley and the fellar cowered back a step or two, but didn’t retreat any further.
“Yeah, Stanley!” Marvin said. “You was supposed to bring a bottle, not a scallywag.”
“Now, just take it easy, Buster,” the fellar said, sweat poppin’ out all over his greasy map. “We can talk like gentlemen, can’t we?”
“First off, Herkimer Yelm, I ain’t no gentleman.” I raised a fist bigger than his noggin’ and waved it in his general direction. “And I done told you once with my mouth that I never wanted to see you in my line a sight again.”
“B-b-but, Buster,” Herkimer said. “If you’ll just listen for one minute, I think you’ll find I have a proposal that will be beneficial to all of us. But mostly you, of course.”
I stared at him and Stanley harder than most guys can hit just to make ‘em nervouser. Then I sat down. “You got your minute, startin’ right now,” I said.
“Thank you, Buster,” Herkimer said.
“Yes, thanks for listening,” Stanley added.
“Fifty seconds left!” Marvin yelled.
The Yard Dogs Road Show