Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘A Short story’

The Sight…a short story.

Free Woman Elderly illustration and picture

She stayed by herself most of the time.  It was difficult being around others when one could see their futures, hear their thoughts.  It was never quiet.  When she was alone, stillness surrounded her.  She heard the animals, the birds and the sounds of nature, but those sounds were soothing and filled her with peace.  The noise of humans was chaotic, sharp, out of tune and filled with screams, war and death.

She learned to keep what she saw and knew, a secret, at a very young age.  She realized that people didn’t actually want to know what was coming, or what was happening around them.  When she was older she moved as far away from others as she could.  But people still sought her attention, asking for answers to questions that were important to them.  She often refused to tell them what she saw.  After all, it wasn’t really her place to  change the future, at least she didn’t think it was.  Some told her that was exactly what she was supposed to do, but she just wanted to be left alone, in the silence.

As the years went by, people forgot abut her, forget about what she could do.  They stopped seeking answers and left her alone, which was what she has always wanted.

One day, in early spring, when her garden was just about to wake up, and the sky was robin’s egg blue, she sat in her kitchen, drinking tea and petting one of the cats.  She knew he was almost to her door.  The dog growled, deep in her throat.

“It’s alright May,” she said.  “I told you he was coming.”

Ten minutes later there was a knock on the door.  The cat jumped off her lap and watched her walk to the front door and open it.

A short, unattractive man, said, “LOOK AT THE STATE OF THE WORLD AND TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE.”  He had his camera ready and took her picture immediately. ( It’s the picture you see above.) The unattractive men grinned a malicious grin and said, “That’s what I thought.”  Then he turned and left.

She closed the door and went back to her chair.  She looked around her two room cottage and felt safe and happy.  “He’s going to put that picture on the cover of his magazine,” she said, running her hand over the cat’s back.  “It will start a movement.  But it won’t matter, my loves.  It’s too late.  The oath taken between nature and other living beings, has been broken.”

She picked up a cookie and took  bite.  She closed her eyes and savored the flavor.  “It’s important to enjoy the things you have,” she said, to no one in particular.  May, ate her treats and the cat purred loudly.  “That’s what really matters.”

Photo Camera-man


Life…a short story.

Tuba, Music Store, Musical Instrument

She was in a hurry, as usual, and rushed down the street trying hard, not to run into anyone.  She should have left an hour ago, but things always seemed to happen in the morning.  Things that made her late.  She took what looked like a shortcut, for the first time, dashing through an alleyway and onto a new street, a street that had a different feel to it.  Different enough to make her stop and look around.

The light was strange, sepia, she thought, like an old photograph her grandmother kept in a box, tied with a pink ribbon.  Everything looked old, worn, and out-of-date.  She shook her head and looked at her phone.  No bars.  That was crazy, her phone was fully charged and there were towers everywhere in the downtown area.  But she was no longer in the downtown area, so she turned to go back down the alley, knowing that she would never make the meeting now, no matter how much she hurried.  But the alley was no longer there.  In it’s place was a dusty looking shop that sold old things.  Used things.  Things no one wanted but hoped someone else did.

An old man turned the CLOSED sign in the window, to OPEN.  He nodded at her and waved her toward the door.  When she didn’t move, he waved at her again, pointing toward the door.  She shook her head and backed up.  It seemed dangerous.  There were no people in the street and she was starting to panic.

The man left the window and went to the door.  “Come in, come in,” he said, still waving at her.

“No, thank you,” she said.

“If you ever want to get back to where you belong, I’d advise you to change your mind.”

“What do you mean?” she asked, standing rooted to the spot.

“You’re out of time.  Surely you’ve noticed that by now.”


“Just come in,” he said, walking back into the shop.  “The kettle’s on.”

“She sat in an old chair, surrounded by old things.”

“Some of these items are real antiques,” he said.  “But those usually go quickly,” he added, putting  cup of tea down in front of her.  “Now, let’s try and get you home.”

“Where is this place?” she asked.

“Hard to explain,” he said, rubbing his chin.  “Easiest way to think about it, is that you fell through time and landed here.  And before you say anything, that’s what happened.  No denying it.”

She stared at him.  “Now what?”

“Now you look at a film.”


“Yes.  That’s why you’re here.  You need to see something that will make huge difference in the life you’re living in your timeline.  Something you’ve missed before.”

“This doesn’t make any sense,” she said.

“Maybe, but you’re not the first one I’ve sent back.”

“Show me the film.”

The old man just sat there.  “Hey, I don’t have any part in this.  It starts when it wants to start and plays on that wall over there,” he said pointing to his right.

She sipped her tea and waited.  Suddenly, black and white images started appearing on the wall.  Someone who looked exactly like her, only younger, was laughing and running down the street.  She was being chased by a boy her age, who was also laughing.

“You’ll never outrun me,” he shouted.

“I already am,” she yelled, over her shoulder.

“I’ll catch you.”

“No, you won’t.  You’ll never catch me,” she laughed.

The boy stopped running.  “Don’t say that.  Don’t say that I’ll never catch you,” he whispered, watching her get farther and farther away.

The pictures on the wall disappeared.

“That’s it?” she asked, looking at the old man.

“Apparently,” he said.  “Do you know the boy?”

“He looks like a friend of mine.”

“Okay then.  You know what to do.”

“I have absolutely no idea what to do.”

“Not too bright, are you,” sighed the old man.  “He’s the one you missed.  You’ve been given another chance.  He’s your happiness, your love.  You told him he would never catch you and in doing that, you cast a spell.  Now the spell is broken and you can be together, the way it’s supposed to be.”


“Why are you still sitting here?” the old man asked, standing up.


“NOW,” he said loudly.

She stood up and walked into the street, when she turned to wave at the old man, she saw the alley and took off running…again.  Once back in her own time, where the sun was shining and everything was new, she pulled out her phone and called Jack.

“Jack,” she said.  “I’ve stopped running.”

“Finally,” he said, relief in his voice  “Where are you?”

She told him and ten minutes later she saw him walking through the crowd, toward her.

“I love you,” she said.

“I know,” he laughed.  “I’ve loved you for  what seems like a couple of lifetimes.”

“Did you see the film?”

“What film?”

“Never mind,” she said, pressing against him.  “It’s not important.”


Sometimes, when we think we’ve made a wrong turn, it turns out that it’s really the right one.



Photo:  Pixabay

GAME OVER…a short story.

Free Yellow and Green Led Light Stock Photo

“Wait.  What do you mean, the game’s over?

“Wow…I thought that would be clear to clear to everyone. Game over means theres’s no more game to play.  I mean, what else could it mean?  Kaput, over, finished, done, turn out the lights and walk away, king of over.”

“But I’m not finished,” He whined.

“See, that’s the thing.  I hear that all the time.  I wanted to do this, or that, go here, or there, marry him or her, read the classics, write a book.  It never really ends.  You’d be surprised how many things people wanted to do but never die.”


“You’re dead.  There’s nothing you can do about that.  The game you were playing has been unplugged, completely disconnected,” snickered, the tall thin man in the toga.

“I’m dead?”

“As a doornail,” he said.  “But I’m not sure what that means, exactly, since I don’t know if doornails were ever alive, or if that even matters.  Anyway, whatever you left unfinished will stay that way forever, or longer.”

“How can something be longer than forever?”

“It’s just a saying.  Nothing can be longer than forever, because forever…is forever.”

“Are you new at this job?”

“Yes.  How can you tell,” asked toga man.

“Not important.  What is important is that I want to go back.”

“Not possible.”

“I thought anything was possible.”

“Seriously?  How could you think that, even for a second?  It’s ridiculous.”

The guy sighed.  “Yeah, I suppose you’re right…but can’t you make an exception?”

“Why would I do that?”

“I need to tie up loose ends.”

“Shudda thought about that while you were alive,” said toga man, knowingly.  “Most people think they have all the time in the world, so they let things go and then, BAM, they’re here and have a million things to finish in the life they just left.”

“I want to go back.”




“Is it possible?” asked the guy.

“Is what possible?”

“You know what I’m talking about.  IS IT POSSIBLE TO GO BACK?”

“You…are very LOUD!”

“Sorry, but you don’t seem to understand how important it is that I go back.”

“Need to apologize?  Tell someone you love her, or him?  Oh, oh, do you want to tell a person where a treasure is hidden?”

“Yes, yes and no.  I need to go back and make things right.  Is there a way?”

The toga man, crossed his arms and began to pace.  “There is a way.”

“Do it!” said the guy, excitedly.  “Do it.”

“It won’t be easy and you might feel some pain.”

“Fine, I don’t care.  The pain will be worth it.”

“You sure?” asked toga man.

“I’m sure.  Just tell me what I have to do.”

“Well, if you’re sure.”

“Tell me what I have to do.”

“Close your eyes and think of a happy place.”

“Done.  Now what?” asked the guy.

“In ten seconds, you’ll be back.  Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two…and…”

“IT’S A GIRL,” said the midwife to the new mother.  “You have a beautiful baby girl.”

When the baby started screaming, everyone thought she was adorable.  Little did they know she was screaming in horror.

Photo:  Cottonbro Studio




Max…a short story.

when you’re a drawing
a heroic creation
you live in the fast lane
frame to frame
fight to fight
running to
or from
car crashes
one night stands
watching people die
this is Max
he’s a detective
a detective of lost causes
he’s been through hell and back
and he doesn’t stop
until his cases are closed
you can trust him
he can protect you
bad guys fear him
he has his own kind of magic
and yes
women fall in love with him
some men do too
it can’t be helped
Max makes James Bond
look like a ten dollar hit man
and he never drinks martinis
or otherwise
the devil himself fears him
and god gets off his thrown
and offers him a seat
his ride
has a mind of its own
a more violent car
has never been imagined
and everyone gets out of his way
except for Marsha
the love of his life
the woman who keeps him real
but when the pages of his story close
between the covers
Max doesn’t disappear
he keeps working
and loving Marsha
because his life never truly ends
once set free from the imagination
of the artist
the creations themselves
are released
and live forever


Photo:  Ahmed Lotfi

Choices, a very short story.

a woman standing in front of a tunnel in a dark room

she stood in front of the
deciding whether it was better
to go into the
and take her chances
or stay
and live the life she had
in the end
the decision was easy
we can only hope she’s happy
wherever she landed


Photo”  Jack Dong

Visitors…a short story

“WHAT?” she yelled, throwing open the front door.  “I’M BUSY.”

“Uh,” he said, staring at her. “You invited me here.”

“No, I did not.  You must have the wrong address.  And I don’t want to buy anything, either.”

“You’ve called me here time and time agin.”

“Who are you?”

“I’m Death,” he said, surprised that she didn’t already know that.

“Oh. You should have led with that,” she said, moving out of the way. “Please come in, and ask your friends to join you,” she said, looking at the raven and crow sitting on a branch in the oak tree out in front.

The two birds few through the open doorway, went directly to the kitchen, and made themselves at home, sitting on the backs of the brightly painted chairs.

“Some people would be afraid to ask me in,” he said.

“First of all, you don’t scare me in the least and second, the invitation to enter is only dangerous if you are a vampire.”

“Do you know any vampires?”

“Probably,” she said. “What would you like to drink?”

“Mandarin Orange tea, please.”


“No, thank you.”

“Good, because I don’t have any.”

She put cookies on the kitchen table and the birds each took one.  She then got two mugs from the cabinet, and once the water in the kettle started making noise, she made the tea.  She put one mug in front of him, then sat down with her own mug and watched the steam disappear into the air.  “I have questions.”


“Take as many cookies as you like,” she said to the crow.  He bobbed up and down and then daintily took another cookie from the plate.

“Questions?  Hopefully not the usual ones like, what happens after death or are those I love okay?” he said, sipping his tea, reaching for a cookie.  “Delicious tea.  Thank you.”

She stared at him.

“What?” he asked. “Do I have crumbs on my mouth,” he muttered, wiping at his face with a napkin.

“No, sorry.   I guess I didn’t expect you to look…so…”



He smiled.  “I have to fit in.  What would people think if they saw me walking down the street wearing  a long hooded robe, carrying a scythe?”

“They’d think you were going to a Comic Con convention, or that you were just one more weird guy who lived in his mother’s basement.”

“Exactly,” he said, grabbing another cookie.  “Wait…what?”

The raven stood by the cookie dish and looked at her.

“You don’t have to ask.  Take as many as you like.”

Satisfied, the bird started chomping down on a cookie, bits falling onto the table.

“Tell me about the Ferryman,” she said.

“You mean Chuck?”

“The Ferryman’s name is Chuck?”

“Yes.  What did you think his name was?”

“Not Chuck,” she said.  “That so…average.”

“He was Chuck Taylor when he was alive.  Played football in high school.  Was pretty good, but not good enough to make the college team, let alone the pros.  He started drinking and…”

“I get it,” she said, opening another box of cookies, while the birds watched her intently.

“Ferryman, is his job description.  It’s what he does.  Chuck, is who he is.”

“Still disappointing,” she said.

“It wouldn’t be if you humans stopped making everything up.  I don’t even own a hooded robe and I never saw a real scythe.”

“Wow,” she said.

“I fee the same way.”

“What’s your name?” she asked.


“So you’re not Jake, or Chad, or Billy?”

“I’m Death.”

She went to the sink and got the birds a bowl of water.  The crow stood in it immediately and tried to flutter, until she told him it was for drinking, not bathing.  He bent forward and stuck his beak into the bowl.  The bowl was small and the bird was big and she was mesmerized by the whole scene.

“Do you want to know their names as well?” he asked, staring at the birds.

“Sure, why not,” she said softly.  “Can I pet them?”

“Ask them, not me.”

The crow hopped out of the bowl and stood in front of her.  He bent his head and she gently scratched his neck.

“I’m so happy right now,” she said, smiling.  “Soooo happy.”

“That’s a first,” he said.  “You humans are almost alway upset and whining about something.”

“Hey!” she snapped.  “We have good reason to be crabby.”

“If you say so,” he said, downing the last of his tea.  “More please?” he grinned, holding out his empty cup.

The raven hopped over for pets, pushing the crow aside, ever so slightly.

“So what are their names?  Nancy and Sid, Kitty and kat…”

“Raven and Crow, actually,” he said grinning.  “Thank you for the tea, by the way.  I’ll make the next cup myself, now that I watched you and know where everything is.”

“Fine,” she said.  “Now about my question.”

“I’m ready,” he said, seriously.  “What do you want to know…but don’t ask to see anyone who crossed over, because it’s not allowed and no matter how much you beg, I can’t do it.”

“I wasn’t going to ask that,” she said.

“You weren’t?”


“Sorry,” he said sheepishly.  “Go ahead, then.”

“You are everywhere among the living.  Absolutely everywhere.  Everything is dying, or laying dead somewhere.  There is no place among the living that you are not.”

“And?” he said, shoving a cooking into his mouth.

“How many living things are where you come from?  What living things are allowed to intrude on Death?”

He made a small sound, then started coughing.

“It only seems fair, don’t you think?  You’re all over the place, so we should be where you live too.”

He shook his head and coughed some more.

“It doesn’t work that way,” he finally rasped, gulping a mouthful of tea.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t do anything with the living, I just pick up the dead,” he wheezed.  “You’re the ones who kill everything and are so weak, you die from a germ.  And do you think there’s a city of the dead with a few living beings walking around among them?”

“I’m not sure what I think, that’s why I’m asking you,” she said.

“You live among the living and things die,” he said.  “The dead aren’t walking around with you, although I know it can seem that they are.  Death doesn’t actually exist.  Transformation does.  You just leave here and start over somewhere else, unless you’re crazy enough to come back here right away.”

“So, you’re saying there’s no time that we don’t exist?”

“In some form or another, no.  You always exist. Right now, you’re in a human form, when you’re finished here, you’ll be in another form.”

The crow tapped the empty cookie plate with his beak.  She got up and opened a box of crackers.

Both birds nodded their approval and dug in.

“What you call death is just a change of form, a way to become something else.  If you didn’t have such strong emotions, you’d hardly notice anyone, or anything, was gone.”

“You’re wrong,” she said.

“I’m not,” he said.  “Things disappear from one place, to show up in another.  In your current form you couldn’t be in any other place than you are right now, because the things you need to exist, in your current form, only exist here.  And don’t forget, you guys are the one’s who call what happens, death.  That’s just another word you made up and defined.  It’s not real, any more than anything else you made up.”

“So if my heart stops beating right now, I won’t be dead?”

“No more than an acorn is dead.  An acorn just looks one way for awhile, then turns into something else.  Both its forms can exist in this place, however.  Sometimes you stay here as well, and just become something else, but admittedly that’s rare. I mean your body can stay here and turn into things, but not you, the real you. You usually try different places and forms, since your energy is different than that of an acorn.  But everything that exists anywhere, has a shelf life.  So you keep reincarnating into something new.”

“I don’t believe in god.”

“Neither do I,” he said, dunking a cracker in the last of the tea.

She got more cookies and poured him another cup.  “Death is painful for those left behind.”

“Your species becomes attached to things, people too.  You love other species, each other, things and…”

“I get it.”

He nodded, then listened to what the raven was saying to him.  “He said you love crows and ravens.”

“I do.”

“Attachment causes pain,” he said, eating two cookies at once.

“Without attachment, what is there?”


“No.  A different kind of death,” she said.

“How would you know?  You don’t feel dead because of the things you’re not attached to.”

“Because I’m happy with the things I love.  Having nothing, means just that.  Having nothing.”

“You just don’t get it.”

“Maybe you’re the one who doesn’t get it,” she said.

“Why did you come here?” he asked.

“I think I was bored with the other places.”

“I can understand that.  There’s a place that only plays classical music and it can drive some insane in a day or two.”

“I don’t want to go there,” she snickered.  “Have you ever been human?”

“Never and that won’t change.  I’ve seen too much of your species to ever want to stay here.  You’re all…”

“Not all of us.”

“Yes.  All of you,” he said, running his hand down the crow’s back.

“We must come here to feel things.  You know, emotionally.”

“How’s that working out for all of you?” he asked.  “You know, the violence, wars…”

“About that,” she said.  “How can we stop all of that?”

“You can’t.  It’s built into all the things you feel.  It’s part of the game you’re playing.”

“Sometimes I feel as if we’re some alien kid’s science project.”

“You’re giving yourself too much credit.  You’re not that high up on the charts.  You were made broken and thrown here to survive the best you can, which isn’t very well, by the way.  No controls were set up and no one is monitoring you.  Now and then, someone will throw something into the mix, but no one sticks around to see the outcomes of anything.  When your species is gone, something else will take your place.  Hopefully, something better.”

“Wow,” she said, “you’re kind of a moron.”

“You think so?”


The raven walked up to her and rubbed his beak against her cheek.  She melted into him and started petting his wing.

“Your aura just changed colors, your breathing slowed and you’re being flooded with endorphins.”

“Or you could just say I love the bird.”

“We have to go,” he said.  “Dead things are starting to pile up.  Things don’t stop dying just because I’m having a cup of tea.”

“But I have more questions,” she said, kissing the bird’s face.

“I’ll stop by again,” he said.


“When I can,” he said.

“Can the birds stay here until you return?”

He laughed.  “Of course not.  I can’t manage without them.”

She slid the cookies off the plate into a bag and handed it to Death.  “For Crow and Raven,” she said.

“What about me?”

The birds snickered, then pecked lightly at her face and hair.

“So not fair,” he grumbled, and they were gone.

She heard cawing in the distance and said, “i love you too.”

“What about me,” he whispered.

“Yeah, no,” she said, as she started cleaning up the table.  “Not you.”
















Unicorn…a story.

Unicorn, Dream, Sky, Magic, Fantasy

“What are you?” asked the boy.

“I’m a unicorn.”

“Unicorns don’t exist.”

“I know,” said the unicorn.

“Then how can you be one.”

“One what?”

“One unicorn.”

“I just am,” said the unicorn. “Whether you believe in me or not, has nothing to do with the fact that I exist.”

The boy nodded.  “A lot of stuff’s like that.  People say things are real, when they aren’t, and unreal, when they are.”

“Happens all the time,” agreed the unicorn.”

“My name’s Jerry, what’s yours?”

“I’m a unicorn.  Unicorn is my name.”

“You don’t have something you’re called that makes you different from all the other unicorns?”

“Apparently not.”

“I don’t think humans could get along without names.  We have to call each other something.”

“Why?” asked the unicorn.

“So we know who we’re talking to, I guess.  Besides, we have to put our names on school papers, or the teacher won’t know who wrote what.”

“Would that be a bad thing?”

“Not for me,” he laughed.

“A lot of your gods are invisible and people believe in them.  Why can’t they believe in unicorns?”

“Some of us do,” he said.  “My sister loves you guys.  I guess people believe in invisible gods because they’d be really disappointed if there was a real god in the world.”

“That makes sense,” said the unicorn, flicking his tail.

“To me too.”

“You said your sister believes in unicorns?”

“She’s six.  Her whole room, and most of her clothes, are covered with pictures of unicorns.”

“People like that help keep us alive.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“It’s not that we would die with out people believing in us, but once something disappears from the minds of others, it’s kind of like dying, or just being deeply forgotten.  People who lived a thousand years ago aren’t remembered by anyone, so they are good and truly dead.”

“I never thought of it that way.  Maybe if I stop thinking of William, he’s a kid in my class, he’ll disappear.”

“It doesn’t work that way.  You need time to forget and more than one person has to do it.”

“I knew it was too good to be true,” sighed Jerry.

“Everything has a time to be and a time not to be.  If everyone was remembered, things would be rather…cluttered.”

“True,” agreed Jerry.  I guess everything fades away eventually.”

“It does, but that’s not a bad thing.”

“It isn’t?”

“No.  It just makes room for new things.  Human egos are fragile.  People put importance on things that don’t matter.  The only thing that’s truly important, is what you do in the moment, because that’s all that actually exists.  There is no past or future, there never has been.  There’s only now.”

“You mean like, now I’m talking to a unicorn?” he laughed.


“Are you like a pegasus, but just without wings?”

“Not really.  And a pegasus isn’t like a unicorn, just without a horn.  We are different species, but it’s hard to tell since we do look like the horses you have on earth.  We have more magic than is allowed on this plane, that’s why we can’t live here.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“Not many people know that,” said the unicorn, kindly.

“My mom said that whatever can exist here is here, and whatever can’t survive here is not here.”

“She’s right.  Everything has its place.  There are limits on everything.  There are things you can’t live without.  If oxygen were to disappear, everything would die.  Everything needs certain things to live, and if those things aren’t available, then whatever needs those things, can no longer survive in that place.”

“Fish and I can’t change places,” said Jerry.

“You cannot.”

“Why are you here?”

“I stop by once in awhile,” said the unicorn.  “I like it here, but I can’t stay very long.  My magic interferes with the electrical energy that exists in this place.  In fact, it’s time for me to go.”

“It was very nice meeting you,” said Jerry.  “I don’t suppose many kids get to meet a unicorn.”

“They definitely do not.  You are one of the few who can see me.”


“Really,” he said, shaking his mane.

“Do stars live inside of you?” asked Jerry, staring at the unicorn.

“Some do, and if they are showing, that means it’s time for me to…”

“Disappear,” said Jerry, who continued to stare at the spot the unicorn had been standing a second ago.  “Bye,” he whispered, as he turned and walked toward home.

CB…a short story

CB was zany, witty, silly and always fun.  She never settled down.  Never had a serious relationship, at least not on her side of things.  She would disappear for days, at a time, then show up and act as if she never left.  She said she had an apartment, or maybe a condo, someplace, but no one knew where.

She lived life full out, and never seemed to have a bad day.  Whatever she wore, became the latest fashion, and if she stopped wearing something, so did everyone else.  She said she loved Paris, and went there often.  Most people thought she had a lover there, but no one knew for sure.  She broke hearts, but always let her lovers know up front, that she was only interested in having a good time, not interested in love or commitment.

She was well educated, well traveled and pretty much well…everything.  Someone said there was a scent named after her.  One of her ex-lovers couldn’t stand to be without her, so he developed a perfume that reminded him or her.  Supposedly, it smelled like the beach on a sunny day.  No one knew what it was called, or if it was true.

Eventually, she moved on, without goodbyes.  One day she just disappeared from all of their lives.  At first everyone thought she’d just gone for a day or two, but eventually, they had to admit she had truly left them, empty and full of longing.

CB looked out of the window of her personal jet, as they were nearing Italy.  She had had a good time, the last few months, but she could never stay in one place too long.  The life of a Cat Burglar kept her on the move.  She leaned back and closed her eyes.  A smile played across her lips.  She loved her life.  Loved the danger, the fact that she had no roots.  She had done well for herself.  Her mother had taught her everything she needed to know and life had been very good to her.

Matrix…a short story.

a person standing on a train

No one saw her board the train.  She simply appeared in the aisle.  No one said anything.  It’s not that they were used to seeing people appear out of thin air, it’s just that they knew better than to mention it.  No one mentioned the fact that everything had turned a strange color green, either.

She looked around, but didn’t see her prey.  He was on the train.  She could sense him and she knew he was frantic to escape.   Funny how his mind worked, she thought.  He knew there was no way out, but he kept looking for one, anyway.

A young boy walked toward her.  His eyes wide.

“Uh, are you from the Matrix?” he asked.

She nodded.  “How did you know?  You’re human.”

“I saw all the movies,” he said, offering her a stick of gum.

She pushed his hand away.  “What movies?”

“Seriously?  You haven’t seen them?  They’re great.  Keanu Reeves is in them and they…”

“Where are they?”

“You can see them on line or, buy discs.”

“I want to see them.”

“Do you know Neo?”

“No.  Who is he?”

“He’s The One.  The hero.  He can fly.”

“Then he’s not human.  What is he?”

“He was human but he was altered.”


He shrugged.  “I don’t remember, but there are these really bad guys, from somewhere else, and they hate humans.  Neo is a huge threat and…”

She held up her hand for silence, and slowly turned her head.  He followed her gaze and saw that she was staring at an ad for toothpaste.  Faster than he could ever have imagined, she was on the seat ripping the ad from its frame.  The ad started screaming.  One or two people looked up, while the others did what they always did…they looked down.

“Whoa,” said the boy.  “What’s that?”

“My prisoner,” she said, wrapping a chain around the rolled up ad.

“It’s just a piece of paper,” he said, his eyes wide.

“It’s a two hundred pound alien who came here to destroy your species.”

“Why would he do that?  We’re already destroying ourselves.”

“Not fast enough for him,” she said, hitting  the paper against the seat, until it stopped struggling.

“You’re pretty cool,” he said, as he watched her disappear.  “Really cool,” he whispered.  “I hope you get to see the films.”

No one else looked up, until the train stopped at the next platform and two people got off at Mason Avenue.

Strange things happen all the time, it’s just that most people would rather pretend they didn’t.


Photo:  Alina Perekatenkova




Neon…a short story about…rabbits.

blue and orange Newsstand neon signage

“Can I help you?” he asked, taking in her short blonde hair and dark brown eyes.

“I’d like some news,” she said, smiling at him.

“What kind?  Happy, current, future, past, animals, food, sports, outer space, fashion, rabbits, Christmas, cheese…”


“You sure?”

“Yes.  I’m positive,” she said, placing a ten dollar bill on the counter.

“Yesterday, fifteen rabbits went into a 7-11 and took four bags of potato chips, three bunches of carrots and a head of lettuce.  The owner didn’t mind.  He liked rabbits.  He video taped it and it went viral.  The lead rabbit was named…”




“His name was…”




“Yes.  He was pure white, with long ears and fuzzy feet.  He said they were having a party and needed the food.  All of the rabbits took things they thought their guests would like.  A rabbit, named, Clarence, paid for everything with acorns.  They left the shop and hopped into the night.  That’s all the rabbit news you get for ten dollars.”

“Thank you.  I enjoyed it very much.”

“I’m glad,” he said. “And you’re welcome.  Rabbit news comes with a free candy bar of your choice.”

She bit her bottom lip and picked up a Tootsie Roll.  Can I have this?” she asked, holding it up.

“Yes, you can definitely have that.”

“Maybe I’ll come back and ask for news about cats.”

“Bring more money,” he sighed.  “There’s a lot of news about cats.”

“Okay,” she said pushing open the heavy door, waving goodbye.

“News about rabbits?” asked the woman, who came out of the back room.

“She’s seven years old and she spends her allowance on news stories.  Her father comes in and thanks me for making her happy.  I give hime the money back and he gives it to her again.  She’s a nice kid.”

“You are so…”

“Don’t say it,” he said, holding up his hand.

“Sweet,” she said, going back into her office.

“ACK!” he said loudly, while straightening the counter and snickering to himself.


Photo Damon Lam


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