Tag archive for "short stories"

Short Stories

Speaking of Apples

No Comments 15 February 2013

I

I don’t really know if he was french or not but but the kids in the neighborhood pronounced his last name ‘Sool-yay’ because thats what their parents did. He was a nice man, an old farmer. He’d always let us cut through his orchard on our way to McKinley’s ball field. He wasn’t like those goddam migrant workers that would shoot salt rock pellets at anyone they caught cutting through their field.

When Mr. ‘Sool-yay’ would drive his weekly bushel to town we kids would ride up along side his truck and ask for apples. He would always accommodate. He’d say ‘sure kids, sure. I’ve got some nice seasoned ones for ye’. Then he’d reach in the back and toss out a bag full.

I hated the ‘seasoned’ ones because they were always so soft and mushy. When it was just me I’d always get the crisp red delicious kinds. The ones you could hear someone bit into a mile away. But when it was the group we got the ‘seasoned’ ones.

II

I musn’t have been more than ten when it happened.

I always hated quince because they were so goddam hard and the most sour things you’d ever put in your mouth. But my mother loved the flowers that bloomed in the spring. So we kept the big bush at the end of the driveway.

I was held late at school that day so when I got home I threw my bag on the porch, grabbed my bike and headed to Mohawk lake as fast as my legs could peddle.

My driveway was long and straight as an arrow. I could usually pick up a good head of steam by the time I got to the end. As I reached the end I had to take a wide turn around the quince bush to head down the hill. The last thing I saw was the truck’s grill coming right at me. Of course I didn’t remember that then.

III

They tell me I was out for about 10 days. I remember sitting in my hospital bed reading over all the cards my classmates sent me. Looking at them now the stick figure renditions of me getting hit by the trucks are a sight. But I’ll never forget the one from Todd Burningham. I should’ve seen it coming but I didn’t know then that he’d become my nemesis for the next 5 years. His card read “Bill, you must be pretty stupid for getting hit but a truck – Todd”.

I guess he was right. But at the time it didn’t make me feel too good.

When I woke up the doctors wanted to know the last thing I remembered. It was hard to remember because my head hurt so bad. But as hard as I tried all I could remember was me riding my bike behind Mr. ‘Sool-yay’s’ truck asking if I could have an apple. I remember seeing his face in those long rearview mirrors those old Ford’s used to have on the side of the door back then.

“Watch out boy, I’m backing up and if you don’t move I’ll hit ye”

Thats all I remember, and thats what I told them

IV

I didn’t find out for many years later that the man who did hit me had stopped, gone into the house to get my parents, and waited at the hospital day after day until he know I’d be alright.

I just knew that Mr. ‘Sool-yay’ stopped riding around the neighborhood as much as he had. In fact I almost never saw him again except for a few Sunday’s in Fall at the market.

Short Stories, The Written Word

Brilliant Futility: I’m Sorry I Entered You (Part II)

No Comments 24 January 2013

Part II

While this shitstorm was overflowing from the toilet that group of smart people were still around doing algebra and reading Shakespeare. Like most important people do. They decided to hell with the rest of the idiots on the planet, they were going to round up the whole lot of smart people, go some place and set up a utopia and while the rest of the general population was busy blowing each other up they would sit back and wait for the destruction of the world as they knew it. If total world annihilation didn’t end up happening, well, they would show what was left of the world how great their system worked. And maybe, just maybe, they’d be up for giving their version a shot. If total world annihilation did happen they would emerge and start from scratch. So they packed up their loose leaf paper and abacii and made preparations. But where would they go?

They just needed a little sliver of land to get goin. This group had always been an international outfit. They had people from China, France, Germany, England, Brazil, Japan, India and the like. Believe it or not there were even a few of those pompous asshole Americans as well.  So they decided, as a last ditch effort, they would go to their respective governments to explain their plan and see if any country would give them land and in return that country would get a large stake in the New Republic.

Well most countries laughed them out of the room as soon as they pitched the idea. However, the French government wasn’t so quick to write them off. They figured the whole world was going to shit anyways and crazier things have happened. After all, if button fly jeans were such an international phenomenon anything was possible. Plus they were still sore about letting that Columbus guy walk. So they decided to give them some land and told them to ‘go nuts’, or more appropriately “allez pour cela!”.

These brave pioneers ended up getting a tiny island in the South Pacific called New Caledonia. It was an island ‘discovered’ by an Englishman back in the late 18th century and named New Caledonia because it reminded him of the Scottish sea coast. Caledonia was the latin word for Scotland. So you can see why the French government didn’t really care about it. I mean, they only grabbed it because the Brits were getting so much territory in that area back when imperialism was publicly en vogue and they wanted to prove their libido was as big as the Brits. Plus, they were told by the locals (at the time) that the springtime was absolutely enchanting. The French being the French….they couldn’t resist.

New Caledonia was about 2,000 square kilometers and could hold about 20,000 to 25,000 people. For good measure the French government even threw in the three surrounding islands called Ouvea, pronounced U-vay, Lifou, pronounced Lee-fu, and Mare`, pronounced Maar-eh. The brave pioneers were so stoked they threw a huge party in the new territory and wrote the longest form of Pi known to man at the time.

The new plans worked out swimmingly. They transferred all the necessary equipment to the islands, moved all the people there and began to set up their utopia. They decided, because of the limited space, they would house everyone on the main island (being the biggest) and use the other three islands for activities essential to their existence. Ouvea was designated the energy producing/recycling location. Over the years they had developed a brilliant system of being able to recycle most forms of waste known to man to produce all forms of energy. The only things they couldn’t recycle were all Apple products, British Knight sneakers, and Blu-Ray discs. Turns out all that stuff was really toxic. That wasn’t too much of a problem though. After all these were the smartest people on the planet they never got into Apple products or Blu-Ray technology. There were, however, a few British Knights laying around from the 1980s but those were left behind. The biggest problem was that even though they had the technology, it was very slow and they never got a chance to enhance it because the funding was always cut. They figured the current method could get them started and they would work tirelessly to innovate.

Tifou was going to be left for farming and food production. They had devised an ingenious method of tiered farming that allowed them to farm an immense amount of food on a tiny piece of land. Mare` was a tough situation because it was a very mountainous island with a large dormant volcano on it taking up most of the space. However there were many rivers and waterfalls which were desirable for harnessing both wind and water power to enable production facilities to manufacture textiles to clothe the New Republic. Plus, the female contingent always got so excited by the waterfalls they always decided to take a dip whenever they visited the island. They also built a large telescope on one of the mountains so they could keep a close eye on those turkeys around the globe and they would know the exact moment when they blew each other to smithereens.

Stay tuned for Part III

Short Stories, The Written Word

Brilliant Futulity: I’m Sorry I Entered You

No Comments 17 January 2013

Part I

The world had become a pretty crappy place to live by the year 2083. The environment went to shit, natural resources…done and countries squabbled – like kids trying to claim their territory in a sandbox – over who was to lead this sinking ship. You should have seen it, all the major players were there: China, France, Germany, England, Brazil, Japan, India and the like. They even gave those pompous asshole Americans a seat at the table. Right around the beginning of the 21st century there was a small ripple of reasonable thought that blipped across the planet. Sort of like a fart building up when you’re laying in bed at night. You can feel it building and building. Many strange noises pop up. As your innards are for release all the tension escalates and when the moment comes for the big release its just a tiny squeak and then an awful smell. Thats kind of what happened here.

There were a few really smart people that saw the environment collapsing. So they nagged ‘the guys’ in charge enough to get a little attention. To pacify these bleeding hearts Those In Charge passed a few laws and gave them a little money to play with. There was this whole ‘going green’ initiative that helped to get things like hybrid cars and whatnot. Things went pretty well for awhile. Even though the environment had been getting beaten like a red-headed step child for so long things actually started to get a little better. People were pretty happy with themselves and the back-patting ensued.

‘Hey, great job passing that bill Phil! Way to give back to the planet!’
‘Say, thanks Porter. You know its really great to see government working for the people. It seems like we’ve really got things figured out’
‘Yea, you’re right. I think we’re all winners’
’Great job!’
‘Yea, you too, great job!’

Complacency sank in like a tea bag then the shit really hit the fan. The money ran out and people realized they were screwed. In the preceding 15-20 years that same group of smart people that warned about the failing environment warned about the economy. People in charge figured they gave those jerks enough with the environmental stuff and, besides, what did they know about the economy anyways? Either way, despite the warnings the collapse came as a shock to most people around the planet.

There was a lot of finger pointing and people tried to skirt the blame. Instead of trying to fix the problem, all the countries were so stubborn they just wanted to convince everyone else that it wasn’t their fault. It became ‘the’ thing to do. To make matters worse nobody wanted to talk about the problem. Whenever the countries met, everyone got gussied up and did their best to show that they were doing fine. As time went by things got consistently more bleak. Weaknesses started to show.

People got hungry which made them angry. At first people tried to gang up on China. It didn’t matter though because eventually China chose sides and made some friends but made even more enemies. America wasn’t one of the friends so they decided to screw the pooch and said ‘fuck it’ and started World War III. It was good for business! Alliances blurred and people got really confused then things REALLY went south. Everyone was fighting everyone else.

Stay tuned for Part II

Analyzing Albert, The Written Word

Analyzing Albert – The Final Movement

No Comments 05 October 2011

VI

That night I slept with the windows wide open so the smell of the bread baking from the café would awaken me. For once, I was ready for the sun when it started shining and I started shining right back. I showered and dressed as soon as possible. Often times grey suit girl only came in for a coffee to go and I didn’t want her to miss me. When I walked through the door I felt like a virgin. When the girl behind the counter gave me my coffee she looked beautiful. Almost angelic. I took my coffee and grabbed a paper and retreated to the corner seat perfectly positioning myself with a view of the entire place.

All the usual characters came in, but they didn’t have the same piss yellow hue. There was something inherently different about them. The man in his too-tight brown pants didn’t remind me of shit. The brown seemed to resemble a deep colored chocolate reminiscent of a Hershey Bar. And I think he might have even lost some weight. I guess things were on the up and up for everybody.

While I sat there and waited an odd looking man came in. I didn’t recognize him and was fairly certain he had never come to the café. At least not on my watch. He was dressed ridiculously in jeans, sandals and a Hawaiian shirt. He sat down and ordered breakfast. The absence of grey suit girl started to concern me as 15 minutes turned into a half hour and a half hour into forty five minutes. Then I realized I had never come to the café this early before and by all estimations she was going to be right on time.

As I sat pretending to read the paper scanning the place to see how everyone reacted to my new look I caught the strange looking man staring at me a few times. At first I was nervous but he must have been admiring my new look. After all, I was stunning.

The chimes rang out and the door swung open and the heavenly breath of the lord blew my angel through the door. Grey suit girl was in my sights. She pretended to look around as she made her way to the counter but after a few steps she turned in my direction and gave me a smile that made my heart skip and beat and my palms sweaty. She was breath-taking. I couldn’t look away as she stood at the counter and all I could hear was “oooooh Don-na, ohhhhh Don-na”. I knew when she next turned around she would walk towards me and that would be the beginning of the rest of our lives together.

Just at that moment the record skipped and a wretched, almost satanic voice crept into my consciousness.

“ Where did you get that suit?”

I looked up and it was that absurd-looking man. Wow, I wanted to smack this insolent bastard for his rudeness. The audacity of him impeding on the moment that was going to change the rest of my life. I turned to him and said.

“If you would please step away sir, I’m expecting someone”

“No, I recognize you. You’re the fat bastard that fell on me at the airport yesterday. How could I forget? I ended up having to take those two women and that kid to the emergency room in my rental car.” He quipped.

“I’m sorry sir, but you must have the wrong person”. As I said this I could see grey suit girl getting her coffee and about to pay.

“Well may be” he replied. “But I doubt that it’s a coincidence that you showed up at the airport yesterday when I didn’t notice you on our flight. Now my suitcase is missing and you’re wearing what looks exactly like my clothes. So do me this favor. Look inside the inside left breast and see if you see the initials JWD on the inside pocket.”

I realized at that moment the smell of this man’s aftershave matched the kisses that greeted me yesterday afternoon when I flipped open that suitcase of treasures. I looked up and grey suit girl was paying. I couldn’t let her see me embarrassed like this. Especially not today. I fumbled to get up and pushed the man out of my way and made for the door. I could hear the man shouting ‘Stop!’ as I burst through the door. I looked back to see if he was gaining on me…

The brakes screeched out like a wild banshee.  The body was flung 15 feet up in the air and at least 30 feet up the road. Everyone rushed out of the café. The owner called the police and within minutes the ambulance was there scraping the remains off the street like a pancake being flipped to early.

There was no call to loved ones, no letters home or to work, just a new delivery to the morgue and a hell of a lot of people that got their luggage back.

THE END


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