Friday, December 16, 2016

Bonemeal - Flash Fiction

Here's a little flash I wrote for Mash Stories


“Release your fist.”

Gladys did as Inspector 2 requested. Her fingers became pink as blood flowed back into her hand and into the government man’s vial.  

“We’re almost done for another month,” the man sighed; exchanging an empty vial for a full one. Last visit he’d been the one assigned to inspect the farm. His partner was on blood duty. She thought of them as “Inspector 1” and “Inspector 2.” Gladys knew if she got comfortable with the men and their unannounced visits she’d start chatting with them. As her breeder’s circle reminded her, being hospitable would do her in. They’d find out about the hidden room.

It was all she could do not to at least offer these amiable men something to drink.  

“Sorry to have to visit so early.” Inspector 1 silently returned from the farm. His vinyl biohazard suit still smelled of the fresh bonemeal fertilizer they’d laid on the potato field on Monday.  “These schedules they assign us are randomized.”

“Oh, I understand.” Five in the morning wasn’t too bad a time for an inspection. She was already up making coffee; a routine she kept in the two years since Jerry has passed. At least the bathrobe she’d been wearing made the blood draw easier for the men.

“We’re living in different times I s’pose,” Inspector 1 yawned. “You ‘bout done Simon?”

Dammit, now I know his name. She tried to purge the man’s name from her memory. Simon slid the needle from the crook of her elbow and replaced it with a bandage. “Got what I need till next time.” 

Then the man yawned. “Geez, Dave look what you have me doing.”

Again, Simon stifled a yawn. “Sorry, Gladys. You’re not boring, it’s just early.”

“Looks like we’ll have to stop somewhere for some coffee.”

“Oh nonsense Gary,” she instinctually said reaching for the pot of coffee she had no intention of finishing. She stopped, hoping they hadn’t caught her gesture. The chickens behind the wall knew how to keep quiet, why can’t I?

“Thanks for offering. We have time. Next farm is only about twenty minutes away.”

The men quietly packed up their equipment as Gladys poured the coffee.  “Gary, Simon do you ever miss the chickens?”

“Can’t say that I do.”

“Yea. I always thought they were nasty little animals.” Simon wrinkled his nose. “Not surprised they triggered the plague. Didn’t break my heart we had to exterminate all of them.”

“Mine either,” she lied.

“You know what I miss? Especially this time of day?” Gary asked.



“Rather be alive than eating an omelet,” Simon concluded.

“Cream?” She offered, swinging the refrigerator door open. Gladys froze. Her carton of fresh eggs were tucked into the door. A relic of pre-plague life, now prohibited by international law. Punishable by prison. Her stomach dropped.

“Ma’am, I’m gonna have to ask you to step away from those eggs,” Gary warned. “I’m afraid we can’t match your hospitality.”


Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sleight of Hand - @MicrocosmsFic

I'm slowly getting back into a flash groove with Microcosms.

Sleight of Hand

“Show me.”

“I can’t.”

“Ma’am I need you to show me the place-“

“No, I can’t. Truly,” she pleaded.

Tears were welling in the woman’s eyes but Detective Brigham had press on. He pointed his pencil at the lone item on the stage of the empty theater: a large cabinet on casters. The trails in the pool of blood on the stage floor were evidence enough that the cabinet had been moved recently. “I know you’re shook up, but I need you to focus for me. Show me where the swords go.”

“If I tell you, if voids my contract with the union and I’ll never get work again.” She wiped her nose on a sequined sleeve that matched her skin tight leotard.

“And if you don’t tell me, I’ll have to assume you’re an accessory to this man’s death.”

“I’ve got a daughter at home.”

Brigham tucked his pencil behind his ear and approached the dresser where, until half an hour ago, a man’s dead body had been lying out of. A dull sword still impaled in his stomach.

“So you were having an affair with your employer?” The Detective checked his notepad again. “The Amazing Gerald?”

She nodded. He continued, “You know you weren’t the only one right?” She blinked indifferently. He’d seen that look on her face enough to know his instincts were still strong.

“You found out today didn’t you?”

A cold stare. Her tears were gone.

“That he was sleeping with all of his assistants? Not one. . . but all.”

She nodded.

“So you did it. You switched out one of the dummy swords with a real one.”

She nodded again. Brigham had seen many a death of lady’s man before. But never one that played out in front of a sold out theater.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Honorable Ink - @MicrocosmsFic

Took some time off from writing. Cleaning out the cobwebs with a new contribution to Microcosms.

Honorable Ink

Repeatedly Jesus extended all of his fingers then gripped back into a claw trying to get the tremor out of his hand. He’d been tattooing for three hours at this point and his hand ached, but he knew that his canvas was in even more pain. She’s asked for a large chestpiece. Something big enough to cover the large zipper of a scar running the length of her sternum. The chest was thin skin but she was tougher than he expected an 80 year old woman to be.

“You done with your break, Jesus?” She asked. Ernestine had been fidgeting the whole time. Not from the pain of the tattoo gun, but because she’d been on the phone the whole time arguing with an electrician she was convinced was overcharging her.

“You know we can break this into multiple sessions.”

“No time for that. C’mon get back at it.”

Jesus clicked the gun back on and dipped the needle back into the watery ink. He picked up the shading of the thorny band across the sacred heart.

“Watch your outlining,” she warned.

He sighed and kept at her tattoo. At first he thought this would be a good trade-off for Ernestine turning a blind eye to the tattoo parlor he ran out of his apartment kitchen.

“Wait, this looks off.” She tapped her fingernail on the reference photo she’d brought with her. After close inspection he did see the difference on the thorn he was greying in with that in the photo of the same tattoo on her heart donor’s chest.

“How can I commemorate this man if it’s not identical?”

“Anything you say, Ernestine.” He deepened the shading until it was as dark as the photo of the man she was hoping to honor for making the ultimate donation.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Fall Festival

Fall Festival

“Hersh to the day when we don’t neeed this stinkin’ festival anymore!”

Like the clapping crowd, Mayor Billingsly was already drunk from the tub gin Amos Walton had been making all Summer long. Dolly was happy her boss didn’t mess up his first duty for the day, but she needed to make sure he made his way through the rest of the day’s obligations. He still had to hand out the trophy at the zombie chuckin’ competition, put the first rubber band around the undead man’s head at the “How many till it pops?” tent and the one he was most looking forward to, hosting the Miss Post-Apocalypse McKohn County pageant.

“You need so slow it down sir,” she said, pulling him off the platform.

“Nonsense,” he countered. “Gotta make this last festival one we all remember.”

“Sir, there will be another on next Fall.” November was the perfect time for the event. It was right before the welcome of winter where the remaining zombies would freeze and give the survivors some respite.

“Not for me.” He rolled up his sleeve, revealing a yellowing bite on his forearm. Her stomach dropped. “C’mon Dolly let’s make this one for the ages. Just promise me one thing.”

“Anything sir.”

“When I turn zombie. Make sure I don’t end up in Amos Walton’s goddam catapult.”

Friday, September 9, 2016

Playlist - @200WordTuesdays

One of August's themes for 200 Word Tuesday's was Strange Songs. Here's' what I got:


Glenna thrived on finding new music, but anticipating Mondays was starting to ruin her weekends. The pit in her stomach soured with each week that she received her updated YourTracks Weekly playlist on Sounder; Thirty songs the service curated based on her listening history.

A month ago she got hooked on the new song “Greener Things” by The Fireflies and favorited the track. Looking the band up on Twitter later that week, she saw that the bassist died the prior day from undisclosed causes. Her heart broke a little and made her love the song even more.

Three weeks ago, two band members from two new favorites died later in the week. It continued with each passing Monday. More recommendations, Glenna favoriting more songs and more undisclosed causes.

Despite sharing an account and password with her friends, Glenna couldn’t tell them about the pattern. They’d think she was crazy. Should I contact Sounder? The police? What if I don’t even listen to the playlist? Or favorite the track?

Glenna’s phone chimed. A new notification. YourTracks Weekly was ready for her. She hovered her thumb over the Sounder app fighting the impulse to discover a new favorite. Maybe this was week the pattern will change.