short stories

I am not a genre writer. I throw out the term literary fiction and sometimes social commentary. I write about us, human critters. I produce some light fare such as Reflections and Robbie Mclean. I also shine a harsh light into the darker side of humanity as in Terrible Eyes and Iphigenia. I’ve not grouped the stories in any particular categories.

I’m an adult and I sometimes use adult words, speaking candidly of adult matters. My work has been banned from one social website and two writer’s website. Cherry Coke was one of the banned stories, which is a mystery to me. It’s not like I posted to the Sesame Street website. Another recent story that got banned from a social website was She Rides the Unicorn. My only guess is because of the unconventional nature of the love affair.

My short stories come in about 1,000 words. Some are as long as 5,000, some as short as fifty words. All my short stories posted to my site are complete and free.

Enjoy.

The Snow Princess

Once every year she appears, upon the first snow.

Her face was China doll flawless, the texture and tone of raw butter-cookie dough, soft, malleable. Her lips, rosé wine pink, glistening, maintained a I-know-the-secrets-of-the-universe slight smile. Eyes, brown-green, like evergreen in deep shadow, large, like a child’s. Eyes, knowing, of indeterminable age, primal. Eyes that could see for a thousand years.

Encounter with a Vampire

A existential sojourn into the misunderstood world of vampires, women and beliefs.

Her eyebrow waved like a scarf on a clothesline as she glanced down to his chest where she managed to hold the cross against his heart.

He looked. “Oh, that. I’m an atheist. That won’t hurt me.”

The Scar-faced Boy

Speaking of life series.

A story of empathy and humanity.

Mrs. Ellis spoke, introducing our new classmate like nothing was wrong. If I had surreal in my vocabulary, I’d have used the word.

Raphael stared ahead with vacant eyes, seeing nothing. It looked like someone had taken the flesh off his face, made a jigsaw puzzle and misaligned the pieces back on, hammering them in place, stitching done with coarse thread and clumsy hands. His dark hair projecting out in plugs looked like carrot greens. He scanned the room, finally stopping on my face.

Naming the Witch

Speaking of life series.

We don’t have to make our own mistakes. We just want to.

Sacred Space

Speaking of life series.

A lesson we can learn in church.

Soon after Communion, which I wasn’t allowed, four years shy of my Confirmation, as the minister offered up prayers for people and things, the door opened with a thud, a man filled the entrance, looking much like Odysseus on his return to Ithaca. Heads turned and breaths were held. Some mutters offered rhetorical questions. By his appearance and wild eyes, we did expect him to announce some accident he’d been in.

Soft Bigots

Speaking of life series.

Too often people are not aware just how hateful their jokes can be.

They chanted, a musical grunt with each beat of a crate changing hands. I’m not an evangelist, never was. Each Sunday as I stand with my parents over the grave of my unborn brother or I remember Barbara’s eyes watching me from her dead face, I know there can be no God.

Moments like on the loading dock, watching the incarnate, flawless dance, I have no doubt of God’s hand in human affairs.

Robbie Mclean

Speaking of life series.

A ghost story, fun tale about family.

On one trek, I discovered a broken-down barn deep in the woods on the other side of the stream, half-reclaimed by the earth. The door gave way easily, startling a pigeon or two. I entered. I blinked my sun-blind away, looking for anything of interest or value, treasures left behind by persons unknown. A loft stood perched fifteen feet above the floor. I didn’t trust the ladder.

“Who are you?”

I could have wet my pants.

Feet dangled from the loft, a face leaning over knees. A boy, about my age.

“Kacie. They call me Kay.”

Pushing off, the boy plopped on a pile of hay, bouncing to his feet in front of me. He laughed, as if I didn’t get the trick. “Robbie.” He bowed. “Robbie Mclean.”

Justine

Speaking of life series.

A powerful story of bad choices and consequences.

At thirteen, puberty was on us like a swarm of hungry swamp mosquitoes. Nature purged Justine’s awkwardness before she hit thirteen and she filled out, looking more like an adult than a child. Fourth generation American, her great-grandparents came from Spain. She didn’t slouch like some of the other taller children, always with her shoulders back and dark Baker’s chocolate eyes quick, taking everything in at once.

Erotic and exotic, a child in a woman’s body, her hair so black it reflected light, dancing in flows around her face and shoulders. Her face, complexion a wonderful mahogany, was symmetrical perfection, obviously God spending extra time to get the features just right.

The Damage Done

Speaking of life series.

Inspired by Neil Young.

I met Barbara in kindergarten. I dropped my juice box. I didn’t know what to do, so I watched the juice bleed out on the floor between my feet. A cherub, white cotton dress breaking at the waist, red sash for a belt, color matching the ribbons holding the ponytails at either side of her head, her hair like a golden retriever, flowing in gentle curls, her eyes, the color of a noon sky on a cloudless summer day, watched me.

“We can share.” She offered her milk forward.

With crossed eyes, I took the straw in my mouth, sucking in one long draw.

The Scream of the Butterfly

Speaking of life series.

A playful existential romp across the teen landscape.

Barbara’s a wild child, hair too blond with legs much too long, blue eyes the color of soft pastel and a body defying her sixteen years, begging men to say: “But judge, I thought she was twenty-one!”

Imperanence

Speaking of life series.

Nothing lives forever, some people know it.

Like a harsh winter rain, he poured Oprah-esque bubble gum philosophy down from above.

Gender Crossing: A Christmas Story

No angel crafted by God, no words of pope or poet etched on parchment, no magic of sham or shaman, no conjuring or conjecture of Man, could ever draw simile or metaphor, paint or sculpt, to mark the twain, to take the measure of what time and flesh has stolen.

I’m not trying to explain anything. I’m just saying the way it is.

A Good Paperboy

A simple parabolic story about good and bad.

Checking Out: a supermarket tale

Human beings acting wonderfully.

Kilroy: a supermarket tale

So sweet it'll make your teeth hurt.

Finders Keepers

A parabolic childhood tale of loss.

Witchcraft for Dummies: a supermarket tale

A fun conversation.

Bear and Opossum

A true nature story.

Matchtown

Subtle Racism. A childhood tale.

Don't Look Now. . .

People can be cruel.

Relections

Fun, sweet, coming of age story.

Jennie stood before the mirror, knowing blood spilled from her body, her mother behind her wearing a similar dress. Jennie knew blood spilled from her mother’s body, too. Jennie saw herself reflected in the mirror and in her mother.

“Mom, it’s a perfect fit.”

Letter to Santa

A short allegory

Just Coffee

It's never just coffee.

Terrible Eyes

A chance, brain-staining encounter.

Her eyes were terrible, old, penetrating eyes. I didn’t want to look. I couldn’t turn away. She sat across my table behind the candle, her clothes soaked – rancid – hung around my bathroom. She’d been hitchhiking in the rain for hours. Her destination, it seemed, was my small kitchen table. “Obviously, because here’s where I am.”

I couldn’t actually see her eyes. I looked. My reflection looked back.

She had terrible eyes.

Crush

He laughed, a wonderful laugh coming from deep within his chest, the laugh he reserves for the times he feels equaled. I’d rarely been this close to William. I could count the silver fillings in his back upper teeth. He’s a dirty blonde, but I bet you knew that already, his hair hanging down his square forehead just in his eyes. I’m not saying William’s a mesomorph, but he’d look natural with a football in his hand or a surfboard under his arm.

Veteran's Day: a supermarket tale

Very short tale of a brief encounter

A Perfect Moment: a supermarket tale

Timing is everything.

Jersey Girl

Childhood memory.

Remembering the Fallen

My tribute to the real cost of war.

I watched them on the beach, Bobby waving his arms to the sky, her watching up at him as if witnessing God. He dropped to his knees, watching up at her as the ocean’s fingers touched them gently, her mouth moving. I didn’t need to hear what they said.

The sun blazed orange over the water, chasing the stars away as they kissed, holding onto each other as if John’s End Time were upon us.

Sometimes there’re perfect moments in life, you know.

She Rides the Unicorn

An allegory for complexities of depression.

I wormed free of her hug, twisting around, her hands still under my tank, my hands working up her shirt, holding firm to her waist, our foreheads touching, me watching up at her eyes. “You, Janet, are a moment that doesn’t hurt so much.”

She closed her eyes, sighed, her tongue wetting her lips.

My lips came to hers, gently, like a kitten’s paw on unfamiliar carpet.

The Cat

A poignant story of salvation and loss.

Cats are not toys for children.

Helena

A love story, complete in 300 words.

Breathtaking, mesmerizing. I pined, lovesick. She wasn't in my class, a year ahead of me in 4th grade. I dreamed my best dreams of her, unable to cross the chasm in real life, Helena a Goddess, me a mutt, a self-perception beaten into my mind.

I was Quasimodo to her Esmeralda.

Oh, Fortune

Self-haters self hating.

Coming of age in the sixties, when it was fashionable for the white kids to gang up and beat up black kids, somehow feeling entitled to do so, which I still don’t understand, I knew this one kid, a year ahead of me in high school.

Let's call him Jack.

Conversation with God

Stop right there, Pilgrim.

This is not a Come on, Jesus! Kick me through the goal post of life, story. Pseudo-biographical, this story is meant as an esoteric, existential farce, illuminating a subculture from two generations ago and the idea of God talking directly to people. I don't expect most Internet readers to get this.

The careful reader will be rewarded and maybe forever damaged.

Ghosts

Refections on beauty and life. One of my earliest stories.

And, there was George. He was my best friend and a janitor. He always had a smile, shared freely with anyone, even the kids who called him that old nigger as they carelessly tossed trash on the floor. I didn’t understand why the other kids hated George, but they did.

The First Witch I Met

A survey over years of witches I encountered.

She wore a robe. Rather, allow me to say: she had a robe draped over her shoulders, obviously, she was unaware her breast and pubic hair were exposed. I hadn’t noticed at first, caught by the dark eyes, the iris as black as the pupil, together floating on heavy cream. I thought she was blind, yet I felt as if I’d never been seen so thoroughly.

Yes, Virginia: a dark Christmas story

With a little light.

Depression is like that, a diseased companion, both mental and physical.

Regression is like depression. Depression has better press. The sun bathed me. I wanted to run to Joyce, my best friend reaching back to my teen years. I wanted to fill my body with drugs and bourbon and make love with Joyce until my soul bled dark bile, cleansing me.

Joyce and I weren’t lovers. Our sex had nothing to do with love.

Joyce was dead, murdered because our culture refused to understand her pain.

The Christmas Shoes:a parody

They turned from the storm, attention drawn to a squeal. Sweat glistened on Chauncey’s caramel face, his jaw tight, conviction, resolute to his undesirable task. He gripped the belt of a boy half his size.

The boy squealed again, air walking, thrashing his arms, swimming.

Close behind, the assistant manager, his face taken with timeless anger as if he’d been personally violated, caught Mr. Hill’s eye, nodding sharp and smug.

Sympathy for the Devil

A liberal telling of the story of Satan

Working for Godot

An existential look at the absurdity of human interactions in retail.

Working for Godot, two

An existential look at the absurdity of human interactions in retail, two

Iphigenia

Dark, painfully real.

Her small frame snuggled under a coat, not hers, a gift by the grace of strangers. Unkempt hair the color and texture of cedar bark, ratty and ragged, cascaded down, flowing over her shoulders. Dark eyes watched the dark sky. The snow-covered earth, cold and unrelenting beneath her, refused her invitation. The wind whispered through bare trees, unable to wrestle back the drunken shouts behind nearby doors.

Cherry Coke

Banned on a social site and two writer sites, which is a mystery to me.

“One of these days you’re going to wake up and discover these animated hunks of flesh around you are actually human beings with feelings, dreams and desires.”

Sorry, I Whispered

Companion story to Cherry Coke.

Fourteen year olds wonder about many things. If you watch the talking heads on TV, fourteen year olds think about being thin, having sex, doing drugs and drinking, smoking and being popular. At five-five one-ten, skin like the inside of a calf’s ear, Precious Moment eyes and light milk chocolate hair dancing to my waist, I had a good body image. I had a normal curiosity about sex, shivering at the idea of anyone sticking anything in me.

I’ve seen some stupid stuff done, always when doing drugs or drinking. For example, the counselor at camp smoked pot then cut his finger off with the circular saw. I don’t need to mention auto accidents, right? As for smoking, if I want to smell bad and be winded, I’ll run around the block ten times. Finally, I didn’t see any value in kids I didn’t know liking me. I’ve always had plenty of friends.

When I was fourteen, what I wanted to know about was God.

Planting Trees

A candid conversation about life and a good blow job

The Quickening

This story took some hits on two writer sites, too. The tale is a candid telling of an affair, leaving little to the imagination. I've been surprised that my canidid stories take hits. It's as if no one reads Southern or Morrision.