Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘A Short story’

The Reaper…a short story

“Hello,” she said.


“I’m The Reaper and I’m on vacation.  What can I do that’s fun?”

“Uh,” he said.  “You’re the Reaper?  The Grim Reaper?”

“That’s a giant misconception,” she sighed.  It’s just Reaper.  I’m rarely grim.  In fact…I can’t remember the last time I was grim.”

“Wait.  If you’re on vacation, what will all the people who want to die do, while you’re gone?”

“Stay alive.  But no worries. I asked a friend to keep an eye on things.  Not literally, of course.  I mean, she’s going to watch over things for me.”

“Can your friend reap?”

She shook her head.  “No.  Only I can do that.”

“Are you here for me?”

“What?  No,” she laughed.  “I’m not here for you.”

“Then what about the people who are suffering and want to die?”

“I’ve never had a vacation.  Not once.  Do you know what that’s LIKE?”

“No.  But still…”

“I never stop working…EVER. I’m not asking for much.  Just a day or two off, so I can do something different for a change.”

“Don’t you like your job?”

“Sure I like my job.  It’s a great job.  I help all living things.  I stop suffering.  I also know that when people die they have more fun on the other side than they could ever have here.”


“Think about it,” she said.  “How much fun can anyone have here.  The gravity alone is killing you.”

“It’s also keeping us on the planet,” he said.

“Is that a good thing?”

“If you don’t want to float around in space, then yes, it’s a good thing.”

“You guys depend on sooooooo many details to keep you alive.   You need just the right amount of oxygen, gravity, sunlight, food, medicine, contact lenses…”

“We don’t all need contact lenses,” he said defensively.

“…clothing, warmth, places to live…and then you die anyway.”

“Did we evolve?”

“If you had evolved, you’d be in better shape than you are now, that’s for sure.”

“So did god make us?”

“Seriously?  God?  Oh, please.  Some Gamers were drunk out of their minds on a mixture of space dust and something they found on NP47-543.  It was late, and they came up with a design for a planet and put all of you on it.  Did they follow up on what they had done?  Nooooo, they did not.  And here you are, still left on your own, trying t kill everything. Believe me, evolution would have made you a lot stronger and better equipped to survive.”

“You’re making me tired,” he said, yawing.

“That’s another thing,” she said, pointing at him.  “You need to SLEEP.  You all have to be unconscious for a huge chunk of your short lives, or die.”

“You’re not what I expected,” he sighed.

“You thought I’d wear a hooded robe and carry a scythe?”

“Kind of.  And be male.”

“Why would I be male?”

“I don’t know.  I just thought you would be.”

“Look.  I don’t have much time, so just tell me what bowling is all about.”

“Bowling?  Really?  That’s what you want to know about?”

“What is it?”

“You throw a heavy ball down a wooden floor, called an alley, and try and knock down all the pins at the other end.”


“They’re about this big,” he said, using his hands, “and shaped like this.  There are ten of them.”

“That can’t be right” she said.  “Who would want to do that?”

“A lot of people.  There are teams and they play against each other.”

“To knock down pins?”

He nodded.  “It’s fun.  Kind of.”

“Okay.  This place is a lot more boring than I expected.  I’ve been here a day and a half and I’m ready to go back to reaping.  Since I’m here, do you want to come with me?  I’ll show you some cool stuff, like the moons of Saturn and…”

“No thanks.  Nice of you to offer, but I’m going to stay here.”

“Up to you, as long as you know I’m coming back for you…eventually.”

“I do know that.”

“You guys don’t have long life spans.  It’s funny how you celebrate those who make it to a hundred.  Think about it…things have been here forever, in spite of what your scientists say.  FOREVER!  Do you know how many years FOREVER is?”

“A lot?”

“Yes, a LOT,” she laughed.  “And you live a few years and think that’s great.  See, that’s what I mean.  You’re flawed.”

“I get that,” he said.  “But we don’t know anything else, so it’s okay.  And you haven’t walked in our shoes, so there is that.”

“Why would I walk in your shoes?” she asked, obviously confused.  “I have my own shoes.”  She held out her foot and showed him her sandal.

“They look comfortable.”

“They are,” she said, smiling.

“So what are you going to do now?”

“I want ice cream,” she said.

“I can take you to a place down the street, if you like.”

“I’d like that very much, Scott Anderson.”

“You know my name?”

“I know everyone’s name.  It’s part of my job.”

“So you work with dead people every single day?” he asked, as they started walking.

“They aren’t really dead, they’re just different than they were when they were here.”

“Is everyone who dies okay?”

“Better than okay.”

He nodded.  “Have you ever had ice cream?”

“No, but I know it comes in colors and it’s cold,” she said, excitedly.

“You should probably try a chocolate and strawberry mix.”

“I will.  And if it ever gets to be too much, and you want to leave earth early…just whisper my name.  There’s no need to suffer,” she said.  “I’m always here.”

“Thank you,” he said, sincerely.  “I’ll remember that.”



down the rabbit hole sign

“Can I see a menu, please,” he asked, standing at the counter.

She slid a plastic sheet across the counter.

“This is my first time.  Any suggestions?”

“Depends on how long you want to be gone,” she said, tapping her pen against the order form.

“An hour, I guess.”

“Then go to Madrid or Sweden.  Both are very nice and you can do a lot in an hour.”

“Is it scary?” he asked.  “Does it hurt?”

“It doesn’t hurt at all but I don’t know what scares you, so I can’t answer that question.”

“I suppose that’s true,” he agreed.  “I think I’ll take one hour in…Sweden.”

“Excellent choice,” she said, putting in the order and handing him a stack of papers to sign.”

“What’s all this?” he asked, flipping through the pages.

“Insurance things.  Things that will prohibit you from suing us.  You know, the usual stuff.”

“Why would I want to sue you?”

“That will be two thousand dollars,” she said, slowly tearing the bottom off one of the sheets, and handing it to him.  “Take this to Room 9 and give it to the person who will be working with you.  Have a nice trip. You can pick up your gift package on your way out.”

“Gift package?”

“Souvenirs, from Sweden, of course.”


“What are you waiting for?” she asked.

“Has anyone died during their trip?”

“Just the usual amount,” she said, running her hand over the counter, as if she might be cleaning off crumbs.

“The usual amount?”


“How many is the usual amount?”

“About twenty percent.”

“That’s a lot of people.”

“Do you think so?”

“Yes.  I do,” he said.  “How do they die?”

“Hart attacks mostly, but there have been…other causes.  Some just decide to stay where they have chosen to go.”

“Stay where they went?  You can do that?”


“I could stay in Sweden for the rest of my life?”

“Yes, but that will cost extra and you won’t be able to leave there, since you’ll be more like a hologram, after awhile.”

“That sounds terrible,” he said, taking a step back from the counter.

“A lot of people die on vacations, so it’s not really that odd.”

“But this is an out of body trip, not a physical relocation.”

She shrugged.  “What can I tell you.  People get bored and want excitement.  You know how it is.  So, you better get moving, your tour guide is waiting for you.”

“I changed my mind.”

“There are no refunds.”

“But you didn’t tell me all of those things before I said I would go.”

“It was in the fine print.”

“I didn’t read all those pages.”

“That’s not my fault.”

“I’ll write a bad review,” he said.  “People should know about what you’re doing.”

“We’ll give you a free half hour trip if you don’t do that.”

He glared at her.  “I don’t want ANY trips.”

“Well, that’s up to you.”

“This is madness,” he said.

“Madness is always what you find, when you go DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE.”





God…a short story

man in black and gray plaid dress shirt wearing black cap

“What’s wrong?” asked the little boy, staring at the man.

“Oh, a lot of things,” replied the god.  “More importantly, why are you out this late at night?”

“I snuck out.  My mom thinks I’m in bed.”

“Why would you do that?”

“I don’t know,” he said, shrugging.  “She said I probably do some of the things I do, because I’m easily bored.”

“It’s dangerous out here, you need to go home.”

“Are you god?”

“What would make you think that?”

“I don’t know.  Just feels like you are.”

“I’m one of them, yes.”

“How many are there?” asked the boy.

“A lot.”

“Are there any girl gods?”

“Yes.  They make the best gods.”


“They seem to stop fights, rather than start them.  But don’t get me wrong,” he said, seriously.  “I’d never want to fight one of them.  They can be vicious.  If you ever meet on, be careful.  Not all of them like kids.”

“Why are you in the alley?”

The god looked at the child and smiled.  “You’re curious, aren’t you,” he said.  “Gods come here for all kinds of reasons.  Vacations, to start trouble, to try and save things, different things like that.”


“Because we can.”

“My mom said that’s a bad answer to any question.  She said we can do anything, the thing is NOT to do the bad stuff.”

“She’s right.”

“Are you here for bad things?”

“No.  I’m trying to help people get along.”

“My mom said that’s never going to happen,” said the boy, unhappily.  “We can’t even get along in school.  Bullies hurt the other kids.”

“That’s wrong.”

“I know.”

“Are you a bully?”


“Have you been bullied?”


“Why not?”

The boy looked up and smiled.  His eyes turned flaming red, then went back to brown.

“I see,” said the god.  “You’re one of us.”

“I guess,” said the boy.  “I don’t know what I am.  Not really.  My mom said I’m a good boy and her angel, but I think I’m more than that.”

“Maybe she doesn’t know what you are.”

“Do you know what I am?”

“I don’t,” he said.

“Can you lie?” asked the boy.

“I can,” answered the god.

“Can all gods lie?”

“Yes, and they do, all the time.”


“To get what they want.”

“I don’t want to be like that.”

The god bent down and looked into the boys eyes, “Then don’t be.”

“Is that possible?”

“Anything is possible.”

“Do you know who my father is?”


“Are you lying?”


“Why won’t you tell me?”

“It’s not my place to do so.”

“Okay. I’m going to go now.  It was nice meeting you.”

“Stay inside at night.”


“You can be good, if you want to be, remember that.”


“What’s your name?”


“You’re real name.”


“You take care now, John.  Listen to your mom.”


“Good luck kid.”

“You too,” said the boy. “I hope you stay good.”

The god watched the boy walk away.  Then he sighed and said, “I hope I do too.”


Photo:  Dave Goudreau





A short story about…

Person, Bench, Lake, Bank, Mountains

Mike Gerber rode his bike to the bench every day.  He said it kept him young.  His friends laughed at him, since Mike was young.  Well, youngish, for their crowd, anyway.  He sat on the bench, coffee in hand, a small book of poetry, or history, on his lap.

Not long ago, Mike wondered why he was here.  Alive.  If there was a point to all of it, he didn’t know what it was.  Sure, he’d been in love, once, or three times, but that just made him more confused.  He thought that if he could love more than one person, love couldn’t be that special.  Not if those he loved were interchangeable.  He loved all of them when he was with them.  Then things fell apart, sometimes slowly and sometimes quickly.  There were no arguments, just pleasant goodbyes and better luck next time, partings.

His job was comfortable.  But that too was boring.  He took up sky-diving for awhile, but same old same old.  Even that thrill wore off.  He climbed mountains, but that just changed the view.  The mountains were crowded and he had to wait in line.  Boring.  He did free climbing, which was as terrifying as it was exhilarating.  He fell, survived, and now walks with a slight limp, especially when he’s tired.

He couldn’t remember when he stopped listening to what his friends were saying.  They told the same old stories, or talked about doctors, or the problems their adult children were having.  He stopped going for coffee with them, and little by little he drifted farther and farther away.

It was a sunny Tuesday, and someone was sitting on his bench.  He parked his bike and went to his spot.  He glanced at the man, who was about his own age, and nodded.

“Beautiful, issn’t it?” asked the man.

“What’s beautiful?”

“Everything,” said the stranger, smiling.  “It’s all amazing.”

“It’s the same everyday,” he sighed, sipping his coffee.  “It’s boring, not amazing.”

“It’s different every moment,” said the stranger, in amazement.  “You just have to pay attention.”

“If you say so.”

“I do,” laughed the man.  “Everything changes, every second.”

He opened his poetry book and started reading, ignoring the stranger.

“What happened to you?”

He lowered his book.  “Nothing happened to me.  I’m just not you.  And I’d like to sit here quietly, and read.”

“Everyday Nature puts on a show for all of us.  Not everyone is lucky enough to be able to see it.”

“Are you going to keep talking to me?”

“How can this not take your breath away?” asked the stranger, waving his hand toward the water.

The man closed his book, went to his bike, and rode away, wondering where he would sit tomorrow, if the stranger came back.

The stranger shook his head and stood on the bench.  He opened his arms, closed his eyes, and breathed deeply.  He thought about how wonderful it was to have a body.  How amazing it was to be able to feel and touch things…to be able to love and climb and jump, or watch the drama of nature, play out in front of one’s eyes.

“Crazy humans,” he said out loud.  Then he laughed…and flew away.


Photo:  Pixabay


Amanda Smith…a short story

Woman Sitting on Wooden Bench

Amanda Smith grew up wanting to be a teacher.  She did very well in school, and while everyone said it wasn’t because she terrified her teachers, they all agreed that she was a tiny bit different than most girls her age.

She liked kids and thought that she could…mmmm…teach them things they might not learn in most traditional public schools.  She often showed up for class with grave dirt under her nails, or what looked like splotches of blood on her dress, but she just snickered and said that she had been planting violets and cut herself… making…breakfast.

Her favorite holiday was Halloween and the kids in her class were allowed to wear costumes for the entire month of October.  She carried a pumpkin with her all year long, because she felt that it brought her good luck, and the squirrels liked to eat them when they started to decay.

Unfortunately, many parents complained about Ms Smith, saying that she was scary and too strange to be around children.  They cited her make up, and the fact that she dressed exactly the same, day after day, after day.  Her newest principal said that her shoes were always spotless and the children loved her, but even he had to admit that he could see their point.

Ms Smith’s parents were only ever seen after sundown and they never had visitors, or spoke to any of their neighbors.  They were a quiet family who kept scorpions and bats as pets. The plants in their garden were poisonous but pretty…for the most part.

After many years of going from teaching job to teaching job, Ms Smith washed her face, cut her hair, and bought a new red dress.  She changed her dream and became a concert pianist, who now travels the world and plays to sold out crowds in gigantic concert halls.

When interviewed, Ms Smith said that she did go through a fun, but extended, goth period. She also admitted that her parents were vampires,  but she didn’t see what that had to do with her musical ability.  She said that she wished reporters should just stop asking about them and pay attention to her music.

The moral of the story is:  Dreams can change. It’s never too late.


Photo:  Oleg Magni



A strange day in the woods…a short story.

Man Wearing Halloween Costume

“Uh, are you suggesting that I go with you?”

She nodded.

“That would be a hard no,” he said, looking at her.  “What do you mean why not?  And how is it that you’re talking to me in my head?  And what are you supposed to be, anyway?”

“You don’t look like a witch to me.  No, I don’t know any witches, so while that is a good point, you’re creeping me out.”

“It’s not the nose, it’s your mouth.  Stitched closed.  No.  It doesn’t matter that they aren’t real stitches and that you’re just trying to prove a point,” he said.  “You look…”

“I didn’t say scary, you did,” he said.  “I didn’t say crazy either, but now that you mention it.”

“Yes, I guess I do judge a book by its cover and your cover is telling me to run for it.”

“No, I don’t know why I’m still standing here.  What?  You just want to have lunch?  Are you going to use me as the entree?  What do you mean, not really?”

“How do I know you’re kidding?  There could be more of you back there somewhere.  Yes, you do look like a human.  But it’s not Halloween and we don’t usually dress up and paint our faces any other time of the year.  Yes!  I do know that’s true.”

“Get OUT of my head. What do you mean telepathy is the fastest way to communicate?  That’s only on Star Trek. Yes, yes it is only on Star Trek.  The rest of us can’t DO that. Yes, I know we’re doing it right now, but we’re not supposed to be able to do it at all.”

“So you’re saying that we could all do this all along but we’ve been taught to ignore the magic in us?  Is that what you’re saying?  No. I don’t know how I’m doing it.  I thought you were doing it. So, we’re both doing it?”

“You want me to what?”


“Impregnate seventeen virgins?  You definitely should have opened with that,” he laughed.  “Yes, I would have overlooked the stitches on your lips.  No, I’m not going to do it, are you insane?  Your kind kills the male after sex.”

“Yes, that part IS important to me.”

“No, there’s no way you can talk me into it.  Being pretty has nothing to do with it.  Yes, you’re pretty.  No, I won’t go with you.”

“Go ahead, send crows and ravens after me.  They’re my totem animals and I love them.  Of course that’s true, why would I make it up?”

“It was nice meeting you too,” he said, backing up.  “I’d say good luck, but I’d be lying.”

“No, I’m not chicken,” he laughed, turning to go.  “I’m sane.”


Laura Garcia



A night in a life. A short story…

“The world you see is the world you get,” said Brian, shoving another fork full of cake into his mouth.  “If everything you see is bad, then you’re world will be bad.

“That’s true,” said Margo.  “How much do you want me to hate you?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means,” she hissed, “that you live in a different world than I do.  You live in a white male world and I don’t.  We can’t possible SEE the same things.”

“Is this more of your femin…”

“You were saying?” she said, nicely, as she smashed him to the floor.

“Let me up.”

“Not until you say the magic words.”

“I’m sorry,” he rasped, tapping the floor with his hand.  “I’m tapping out.”

She let up on him a little.

“You’re not a petite flower you know,” he said, getting thrown backward again.


“I only meant that you’re STRONGER than most women, even if you only weigh a hundred and ten pounds.”

“How do you know that?”

“Never mind.”

“No.  How many women have thrown you to the floor lately?”

“Being with you is a lot of work.”

“Guess what,” she whispered in his ear, flattening him to the ground.  “I can fix that.”

She got up, grabbed his coat, scarf and shoes and threw them out the front door.  “Now you don’t have to worry about it any longer.”

“Oh, come on.  Why are you always…”

“You can leave on your own, or I can help you find the sidewalk.”

“Fine,” he said, stepping into the snow in his socks.”

“I’ll call…”

The door slammed in his face.

“I was going to ask you to marry me when I finished my cake,” he shouted at the door.

“Looks like you missed the bullet on that one,” said her cat, licking the frosting off the plates.

“Like I would have said yes,” she said, making the universal symbol for gagging.

“I think he’s still out there,” said the cat.

“Don’t care.”

“The cake’s good and cats don’t like cake.”

“Glad you like it but if you don’t feel good, or have to go to the vet, it’s your own fault.  Remember that and don’t throw up on me while I’m sleeping.”

“I only did that once,” huffed the cat, and I was still half asleep.

“Just sayin’.”

“I didn’t eat that much.”

“Why do you think the cat aisles in store is so much smaller than it is for dogs?”

“We take up less space.  Ever see a great dane?  Our food comes in smaller containers, mostly.  And while we’re vicious killers, we’re dainty.”

“All good points,” she agreed


“By the way, I ate that thing that was laying on the kitchen sink.”

“That was soap in the shape of a cat,” she said.

“I thought it was for me.”

“How did you like it?”

“It tasted terrible, so I gave it to the dog.  He’s the one who threw up.”

“Where did he throw up?”

“Under the kitchen table but look at it this way, he must be really clean inside.”

“You know I try very hard to keep both of you safe.  I watch what I buy…”

“The soap didn’t have any GMOs,” said the cat. “I won’t eat anything that has GMOS in it.  Do you think you’ll ever fall in love.”

“I love you and Spot, that’s enough.”

“Why not a human?”

“I’m going to watch John Wick kill a lot of people in a movie.  Want to join me?”

“Yes,” said the cat.  He has dogs in his films, no cats.  But he likes cats.  He’s an animal lover.  Still, no cats in the films.  They said that in the second film, when they blew up his house, they had to let the dog live because audiences would never have gone for two dead dogs.”

“How do you know these things?” she asked.

“I read.”

“When did you learn how to read?”

“All cats know how to read.  Your species is the only one that comes here helpless for years, and dumb as…um…can’t think of anything as dumb as you are.”

“Hey, you’re pretty helpless when you’re born,” she said.

“It doesn’t take me twenty-one years to be considered old enough to have a key to the front door.”

“Now you’re just being silly.”

“I’m going to curl up on your lap for the movie.  Spot can sit next to us.”


“I don’t really like cake,” said the cat.

“Don’t barf on me.”

“How about the carpet?”

“No, do it on the napkins.”

“Where’s the fun in that?”

“I’m going to hit play.”

“Okay, but fast forward through the part where the dog gets it.  I don’t like to watch that.  He’s just a puppy.”

“I always fast forward through that part.”

Spot started crying.

“I’ll warn you to close your eyes,” she said, but I’ll skip through it.

“I like the guy behind the front dest at the hotel.  He likes dogs too,” said the cat.

Spot barked.

“Why can’t Spot talk?” she asked.

“He is talking.  Can’t you understand him?” asked the cat, staring at her.  “He just said he likes that guy too.”

And then, everyone settled dow and watched Wick kill all the bad guys.  All in all, a good night.

Neon…WAR…A short story

Red War Neon Signage

“Can I buy you a drink?” he asked.

“I’m the bartender, so sure,” she said, pouring a non-alcoholic splash of liquid into a glass and knocking it back.  “Thanks.”

“I’m new here.”

“Tell me about it,” she said, wondering what her cat was doing and where she was sleeping at the moment.

“What do you want to know?”

“Whatever you want to tell me, but after I get this guy his beer.”

She came back.  “Go ahead.”

“Why is this place called WAR?”

“The sign was on sale.”


“No.  Of course not.”

“Then why?”

“Where are you from?  America needs to know.”

He laughed.  “Was it the accent?”

“It’s usually the accent, followed by eye contact, clothing and manners.”

“Ah. I see.”


“Another, please,” he said, pushing his empty glass forward.  “I really want to know why the bar is called WAR.”

“I really want to know where you’re from,” she said, plopping an olive into his drink.

“Seems we have arrived at a stalemate.”

“Looks like it,” she said, putting his change down next to his napkin.

“You don’t like me,” he said, looking at her curiously.  “Most people like me right away.”

“I don’t like anyone, so it’s not personal.”

He laughed and took a sip of his drink.  “You’re a good bartender.”

“I know.”

“I came in here because of the sign.”

“Your money’s as good as anyone else’s,” she said, filling a tray with drinks.  “Don’t know why you’re so fixated on the name of the place.”

“Because this is where it all begins,” he said.

“Where what begins?” she asked. putting a fresh drink in front him.”

“There was a time when war didn’t exist.”

“Only because there weren’t enough people and weapons.  People didn’t realize how much money they could make over the dead bodies.”

He smiled.  “All true, but it’s more than that.”

“I really hate games and I’m not good at pretending, so what’s your deal?”

“Could I have more olives, please.  We don’t have them where I’m from and they’re delicious.”

“You don’t have olives?”

“We don’t have a lot of things.”

She put a dish of olives onto the bar.  “Let’s begin again.  Where are you from?”

“I’m from the future and your organization has been infiltrated by a government agent.  In two weeks they are going to dismantle your anti-war group, by raiding this place and killing all of you.  We can’t let that happen. WAR is the determining factor in the future of humankind.  And before you say anything, I know this sounds unbelievable and you think I’m making it up but…”

“If you’re from the future, shouldn’t you already know what happens?”

“I’m here to change the future.”


“I LOVE YOU,” shouted Bruce.

“THAT’S THE REASON I’M GIVING YOU THE GOOD STUFF, YOU MORON,” she laughed, putting his drink on a tray.

“THANK YOU BABY,” he yelled.




“Would you do that?  Spit in his drink?”

“You were saying? Government moles and all?”

“Civilization is at a turning point.”

“What else is new.  It’s always at a turning point. Look, if you’re from the future, you know how it all ends, so stop wasting my time and either get to the point or talk about something else.”

“Aren’t you curious?”

“About what?”

“The fact that I’m from the future?”

“I’m a BARTENDER, look around you.  See the guy over there, the one with the headphones on?”


“They aren’t attached to anything.  He just can’t stand the noise on this planet, so he wears them all the time.  The guy next to him, the one with the blue tinge to his skin, swims fourteen hours a day, because he’s from a water planet.  The woman in the green dress works for Mother Nature and she’s pissed off at what we’re doing to the planet, the…”

“So what your saying is that I’m not that big of a deal.”

“Small fish…big pond.  And like I said, if you’re from the future everything already happened, even your visit here, right?”

“It doesn’t work that way.”

“Sure it does,” she said, smiling at a new customer, taking her order.

“You’re being difficult,” he said, when she returned.

“Look,” she sighed, wiping up a spill.  “You can’t have it both ways.  If you’re from the future, you know what happens…”

“I’m here to CHANGE what happens.”

“So, you didn’t see your visit here, and the outcome, while you were living in the future?  You mean the future stops?”

“If you could go back, this very moment, and kill Hitler before he became the monster he was, you would change everything, but you WOULDN’T know what the outcome of your act would be.  Get it?”

“That’s a good point.  I never thought of it that way, so tell me more.”

“Without war we were hoping the world would be more peaceful.  Maybe people would learn to be happy and stop fighting.  Equality might be easier to bring forth and the greedy people in charge wouldn’t be able to make money off of the dead.  It might give the human species a little more time.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“This is the agent who is going to burn you,” he said, showing her a picture.

She looked at the picture then at him.  Her eyes clear, but filled with pain.  She turned and looked at a guy passing out drinks, laughing and wiping his hands on his white apron.

“Are you sure?”


She walked out from behind the bar and went to the guy.  She put her arms around him and kissed him.  He held her and smiled, as the crowd applauded and shouted.  She whispered something into his ear and the color drained from his face.  She ran her hand down his chest and walked away.  He fell to the ground and didn’t move.

“Does that change anything?” she asked, when she was back behind the bar.

“Everything changes everything,” he said, watching someone give the guy CPR.


Photo:  Maciej Jackowski







Neon…HEARTS…a short story

Red Love Neon Light Signage

“I’d like one please,” she said.  “Do you take checks?”

“You’d like one what?”

“A heart, of course.”

“You want a heart?”

“Yes.  One about this size,” she said, holding her fingers to her chest.  “Nothing too big.”

“We don’t actually sell hearts,” he said.

“But your sign…”

“I don’t think anyplace sells hearts,” he said, frowning at her.  “What’s wrong with the one you have?”

She shrugged.  “I’m not sure.  I don’t know what hearts are supposed to feel like.  No one ever said.”

“Your heart is a muscle, it doesn’t feel.  Your heart pumps blood and keeps you alive.”

“So, you don’t sell them?”

“No, but that’s not what we’re talking about, is it?”

“I think so,” she said.  “That’s why I came in here.”

“If you wanted a new heart you’d have to have it surgically implanted.”

She bit her lip.  “I didn’t think about that part.”

He nodded.  “It’s a very serious operation.”

“I thought maybe you cold just, I don’t know, give it to me, or something.”

“You mean hand you a heart?”

“No, just put it inside me.”

“I’m sorry, but no one can do that.”

“I suppose I should top looking then.”

“Is there something wrong with your heart?”

“Not really.  I just thought if it was smaller, it wouldn’t hold all the sadness it does, then life wouldn’t be so…hard.”

“I wish I could help you.”

She nodded.

“What makes you feel so bad?”

She bit her lip again.  “I’m going to go, now.”

“I really do wish I could help you.”

“So do I,” she said, a brief smile, flickering across her lips.  “But tell me what does your neon HEART stand for, if not the sale of hearts?”

“We give people in need, what they need,” he said.  “Toasters, kindness, toys, food, you know, the necessities.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“I have something for you,” he said smiling.

“You do?  How is that possible?”

He reached under the counter and brought out a tiny basket.  “This is your kitten.”

“MY kitten?”


“How do you know that?”

“She told me so.”

“What’s her name?”

“She’s waiting for you rot giver her a name.”

She held the kitten to her heart and kissed her soft face.

“How much do I owe you?”

“Everything here is free.”

“How can you stay in business if things are free?”

“Low overhead.”

She nodded.  “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I’ll take good care of her.”

“I know you will.”

“I guess I’ll keep the heart I have, then.”

“That’s a good idea,” he said.

She smiled, then walked toward the door.  “I think I’ll name her Sweet Pea.”

“That’s a good name,” he whispered.

She put the kitten inside her jacket to keep her warm, then turned to wave, and when she did, all she saw was a dark store front with a FOR RENT sign in the window.  Her heart pounded in her chest and the kitten mewed.

He looked at her through the glass and said to the woman standing next to him, “Do you think she’ll be okay?”

“I don’t know.  Life is hard when you feel the pain of others.”

He sighed and they winked out of being.


Photo:  Maksim Goncharenok


Fins…a short story

Fins was an Only Fish.  It was a rare occurrence, everyone said so, but like some humans, who only have one child, Fins mother just had one fishling.

All the other fish felt sorry for him, or thought he was spoiled, or said he was conceited, because he had no siblings.  That was stereotypical thinking, of course, but Fins never argued with anyone.   He knew that the others rarely knew what they’re were talking about and that they were not inclined to change their biased and long held beliefs, so he just swam away when they started talking at him.  After all, he was a very happy fish.

His mother taught him to ignore the other fish, from early on.  She was quite philosophical about life, and never saw the need for the approval of others, no matter who they were.  Fins was fine with the way things were.

Because Fins was alone, he had more time to think.  Like his mother, he was interested in philosophy, as well as psychology and the earth sciences.  His mother encouraged him in any way she could, taking him to visit reefs and ruins.  They swam far and wide to study plants and rock formations.  Fins was never bored.

It must be noted that Fins was an extremely handsome fish.  His coloring was beautiful, and his eyes were clear and perfect.  His fins were delicate and moved with a gracefulness that not all fish had.  In other words, Fins was a very attractive fish.

Mothers warned their daughters to stay away from Fins, since he was, more than likely, very selfish, being an Only Fish.  But like females everywhere, the girls couldn’t stay away from the fish with the bad rep.  So they swam to meet him and spend time with him.  It wasn’t long before they realized that Fins was none of the things everyone said he was.  He was generous, gentle, intelligent, and a lot of fun.  All the female fish began to speak of his greatness. They tore through the lies and assumptions that had been made about him, and told the truth about who and what he was.

Not everyone changed their views, naturally.  Some fish wouldn’t recognize the truth if it bit them on the tail.  But for the most part, many of the others listened and tried to get to know him.

Fins was charming and delightful.  Once the other fish gave him a chance, they realized how much they had lost by keeping him at a distance for so long.  He was creative and extremely clever.

In the end, except for the old, ugly, hateful, greedy and power hungry fish, many realized they had been lied to, not only about Fins, but about all Only Fish.  Because of that, they asked him to be the head the Fish Community.  And even though they had shunned him in the past, Fins was always there for them.

The evil and misguided fish continued to lie, rant and rave, but more and more fish saw them for what they were…evil, misguided, liars.  So the other fish began to ignored them, until their lies fell on deaf ears.

Fish rarely live happily ever after, due to the plastic in their water, getting caught in fishing nets, and on sharp barbed hooks that cut through their mouths and organs, tearing them apart.  Humans are dreaded and feared, as they should be.  Fin tried to keep his group safe, moving them as far from humans as possible, but as long as humans exist, no one is safe and death is always near.  But he did what he could and that’s all any of the fish could ask for.




Photo:  Rethinkingtwice



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