Category Archives: Short Story

Psalm 2019

The wind shrieks they are not coming back. Please, God. I pray I’m just freaking out here. But this storm. No one could stay out in this storm overnight. Maybe they met someone who helped them. Maybe a miracle. But who are they going to meet up here? There isn’t anything around for over two hundred kilometers. I have to think positive. It’s only been one day. Is this a day? It’s ten thirty in the morning and there hasn’t been a trace of the sun since yesterday. God, I hate winter. Please, God. Find them and let them be safe. I wish I could think of something creative to write, like a short story to take my mind off this. I’m out of ideas. It’s time to pray.

The clock says it’s twenty-six hours later, but I think the clock is lying. There hasn’t been a scrap of light in the sky. The storm stole the sun and strangled her to death. I just ate ketchup as a starter, not as a condiment. I’m so hungry, I’m trying ketchup. But, between relish, mustard and ketchup, I chose ketchup. I could only get two mouthfuls down before I had to put it away. I feel like I’m going to vomit all the time, though, besides the ketchup, I haven’t eaten anything in over two days. I look at the door and consider walking into the eye of the storm. Writing’s a nice distraction. Thank God I’m a writer. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t write right now. What would I do? Just sit here on the couch and look through dark windows listening to the carnivorous wind? At least this laptop’s screen is bright. I need some light right now. They’re not coming back. Where did they stay these last nights? They went out with just their hats, boots and jackets, not enough for this storm. I don’t know how cold it is because I think the mercury is frozen. I haven’t been outside. They’re not coming back. Mr. Cook, Mrs. Cook, poor little Christopher! I can’t think of it. Lucky I got my own problems to freak out about, first and foremost, how do I get out of here? Even if I could drive, Mr. Cook took the keys to the SUV with him. There’s no second pair, I’ve checked everywhere in this cabin. I have to have faith that someone will notice us missing and decide to come up here and check to see we are alright. We need to worry some people. Or my cell’s reception comes back. I need to stop crying.

They’re not coming back. I have to accept that. Less panic, more prayer. My cell’s reception will come back. And by now someone has noticed that we aren’t back home. Right? It’s been three days. Three days is a lot, isn’t it? You know how hungry you can get in three days? I finished the ketchup. I ate, or really, drank the entire bottle. I’d throw it out, but I’ve cut a hole in it and I’m still licking off the ketchup that’s stuck to the sides. God, someone has to come before I start eating the relish. Why does such a rich family have so little food in their cabin? Mr. Cook is so cheap. He measured out exactly how much food we needed for the weekend here and brought no more. And then he walks through that door and gets his family killed. He probably went over the lake. I heard him talking to Mrs. Cook about how it had been unseasonably warm and the lake might not be solid for snowmobiles. But Mr. Cook always knows better. “No!” he said, raising his arm, “the lake is always frozen by December!” Like he knows better than nature. Idiot doesn’t believe in global warming. Of course not. How can you be an executive of a huge oil company and believe in global warming? I guess millions of dollars is the price of a conscience. I wonder how much I would sell my conscience for? A million dollars sounds about right. A million dollars would mean I wouldn’t have to work as a housekeeper for a family that leaves me starving just because the father is too cheap to pay for an extra day’s worth of food. This is a man who I had to argue for fifty cents on my paycheck. Sure, it’s just fifty cents, but I worked for it. You shouldn’t make me have to beg for the money I worked for. Make me feel cheap about it, you cheap bastard. Pay me to miss you. I wish I knew more words for ‘cheap’. I really could use an English thesaurus. ‘Pennypitcher’? Is that a word? I need to read more English. I think I’ll read right now.

I had to stop reading because I got to a part where the characters are having a huge Christmas feast and it was too much. Reading should be done for enjoyment not for torture. Writing is for torture. And pleasure. But, mostly torture. It would be easier to watch TV or Netflix, but the dictator, Mr. Cook says the cabin is for reconnecting with nature. How can I walk through that door into that nature? That depraved nature would murder me. Inside there’s a fridge and a stove, but there’s nothing to take from the fridge to put in the stove. I wonder how baked mustard tastes. I pray I never find out. Please, God, send someone. Who am I writing to? My rescuer. Whoever reads this will save my life one way or another. Even if I’m dead, simply by reading my words you make me live again. Read me forever and make me immortal. God, I’m starving. Who wrote it’s the stomach that reminds us that we are not a god? God doesn’t get hungry? What inspired him to create the universe?

Don’t ask me what time it is or how many days or nights it’s been since I finished the mustard. All is night. The sun didn’t even send a Christmas card. Tonight could be Christmas Eve. I stopped marking the calendar. Still, I can count my ribs. I thought I wanted to lose weight but I can’t look at myself in the mirror. I’m eating snow. Before I finished the mustard I stepped outside to taste the nature and put some mustard on a snowball, said grace, and ate it. Tasted pretty much how you’d think. We’re above the tree line, so there’s no point going outside and looking for something to eat off a tree. Outside is just one long flat stretch of darkness. In that darkness there is only snow and ice and somewhere under that snow and ice, the bodies of the family.

I’d eat the plastic fruit on the counter but that’s when I’ll know I’m insane.

Goddamn Mr. Cook. This is all his fault. Goddamn him. Who brings their family up to this hellhole in winter? Hell isn’t hot, it’s this. And he didn’t bring me up here because he considered me part of his family, but because he wanted me to clean up his shit. Asshole. And why I am calling him, ‘Mr. Cook’? Never Bob, or Mrs. Cook, Andrea. Always Mr and Mrs. Cook. The only one I could call by their first name was Christopher. I bet if they had a dog, I would have called him, ‘Mr. Dog’. Assholes. I worked for them for four years and never once did they ask me about my family back in Venezuela. They never cared about me. Why did I work for them? I could have worked for that other family- Diaz. I didn’t choose them because they were Venezuelan. How stupid was that? Because I was so focused on learning English. I should have chosen the Diaz’s. They seemed nice. I would be eating arepas, empanadas and pabellón criollo right now if I was living with the Diaz’s. Goddamn the Cooks. They’re dead and they’re killing me. I was so good to them. I worked 24-7 for them and they abandoned me in this fucking cabin. I wish I could meet Mr. Cook just one more time so I could tell him what I think of him. Then I’d quit. Yes, Mr. Cook, if miracle of miracles you should ever read this: I quit. To hell with you.

Before you condemn me- I ate the plastic fruit. The secret to eating plastic fruit is chewing. The more you chew the better it tastes. I started with a single grape. Then another and another then all the grapes are gone so you move on to the apple, then the banana. And guess what? I’m not hungry any more. I’m so full. So full I’m going to walk through that door and though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. I’m sure the lake has frozen by now.

Bobby Paddycakes: Blind Underwear Model

Rob had been born blind so he had no idea that he had also been born ugly. Rob had been born one ugly baby and had grown into one ugly man.

But, Rob had been lied to his whole life. His parents always had told him he was the most beautiful baby in the world and who was he to argue with his parents?

His parents were rich and loved their baby Bobby so very very much. They felt terrible that he had been born blind, with his mother feeling extra guilty for all the extra wine coolers she had drunk all throughout the pregnancy. Barbara Paddycakes knew that drinking during pregnancy was dangerous for the fetus, still, she never considered wine coolers as drinking. Tequila was drinking. Vodka was drinking. Wine coolers are for lounging by the pool. Wine coolers are not drinking, Barbara laughed, patting her enormous stomach set at six months.

Now, Barbara, at her most regretful three a.m. guilt trips tips the bottle to her lips and knows, wine coolers are drinking; she has a blind two year old son to prove it.

So, she spent oodles of money to make up for treating her body like Spring Break the entire six and a half months she had been pregnant. She spent all this money on her son, Bobby. She wanted him to have the carefree life she never had.

First and foremost, she set forth instilling an overwhelming sense of confidence in her Bobby. No matter what mistake he would make, his mother would gush over his greatness.

“Way to put the cat in the dishwasher! Good boy! Just next time, don’t turn it on,” was the strictest tone Barbara ever took with her boy.

Rob Paddycakes parents paid handsomely to actors to fawn over their boy’s faux beauty.

“What a good looking young man!” one actor was paid $500 to say.

Another was paid $650 to walk by and say, “You must be so popular with all the girls!”

Rob wasn’t, but, he always blamed his blindness, not his beauty. He truly believed he was the most gorgeous man alive. So, it made sense for him to audition to be spokesmodel for Calvin Klein.

The brains behind Calvin Klein’s marketing team saw great potential in Rob. They knew they lived in a time when sick is cool, and irony reigns, so why not go with the blindest, ugliest spokesmodel they can find, trusting the public to get the joke. And just like that, they hired Rob, who went by the name, Bobby Paddycakes.

Bobby Paddycakes was a huge hit. Putting Rob in their underwear in various beefcake poses, having him flex his non existent muscles while about to step off the runway, or, a gangplank, people ate it up. Underwear sales went up. Bobby Paddycakes became a celebrity.

Of course, nobody had the heart to tell Rob that his celebrity was an ironic one. He believed that people found him good looking. He dated women who told him they were models, too. He believed them.

Nobody called him ugly to his face until he had a particularly bad breakup with Gretal Burchhousen, who, wanting to hurt him as much as he hurt her, told him, “And you are the ugliest male model ever and your fame will be all gone in one year, tops.”

Rob didn’t take her words seriously, dismissing them as the the ranting of a heartbroken woman.

But, when he heard it again from his next ex girlfriend, Candice, he wondered if there could be any truth to their accusations of his ugliness. So, he asked his best friend, Doug.

“Am I ugly?”

“I wouldn’t kiss you,” his best friend replied.

“Seriously. Tell me true. Is my ad campaign ironic? Am I ugly?”

“Who am I to judge another guy’s-”

“Just tell me, Doug! Am I ugly?”

“Physically, maybe, but not-”

“I’m ugly? What really? How’d that happen?”

“Blame your parents, I guess. ”

“They told me I was beautiful.”

“They lied.”

“And all those people! All those people who told me I was so good looking! What happened?”

“They lied, too.”

“Why would so many people lie to me like that? Why would Calvin Klein pay me so much money to be ugly?”

“It’s a very funny campaign. You should see it.”

“I can’t, I’m blind.”

“I meant, if you could see it, you’d understand why it’s so popular. It’s very funny.”

“They’re laughing at me!”

“What do you care? You’re rich.”

“I sold my soul!”

“No, just your ugly mug. Your soul’s fine.”

“So, I’m funny looking?”

“You’re hysterical. You should see yourself. In one you’re getting ready to go skydiving, but you strap your parachute on upside down, while talking about the importance of safety.”

“But, I look ugly in them?”

“Sorry, dude. But, that’s what makes them- you so funny. If you were good looking it wouldn’t work. Cause you’re so confident with your appearance and you do all the model like poses, but, you’re about to do something really dumb, it’s great.”

“They’re laughing at me.”

“Dude, you’re rich and famous, laugh back. You’re fine.”

“I’m ugly.”

“Beauty comes from within.”

“I’m ugly there, too. All I care about are my looks, my looks have been all I’ve cared about my entire life, and now it turns out, I’m ugly.”

“You’re lucky you’re ugly. It’s your ugliness that’s made you famous. Look at you now. Your ugliness has made you rich. Before you were just ugly and no one cared about you, and you had no options. Now, you’ve got all this, this house, cars, women, dude, you got it all, and it’s all because you are ugly. You should be thankful you are so very ugly.”

But, Rob didn’t see it that way and blamed his parents and even his great grandparents for giving him ugly genes.

He went back to work modeling, though, he had lost the strut and the swagger which killed the comedy. His next two ads bombed and Rob was replaced with a talking rabbit as Calvin Klein’s next spokesmodel.


John couldn’t smell how bad Glenda smelled. She stunk. She stunk to high heaven and beyond. It was a good thing the entire society had lost their sense of smell thousands of years ago. With the loss of smell, people got less picky.

It started with food. Not being able to smell the food made it easier to eat it. Once people discovered food they used to consider inedible edible, a quiet revolution began.

People smelled the same, food pretty much tasted the same, people got less fussy about who they ate and what they dated. This was Glenda’s second date tonight. Her first date, Roger, had turned her off by telling her that his hobbies included long walks on the beach and racism.

First, of all, who really enjoys long walks on the beach? It’s hard to walk on sand, it gets in everything; we just say long walks on the beach cause it sounds romantic, when really, it’s just a pain in the ass.

And, his hobby is racism? Glenda at first laughed at Roger when he told her this, then his hurt expression told her he was not joking. His hobbies were long walks on the beach and racism.

“I didn’t laugh at your hobbies,” Roger whined at her.

“Yeah, but my hobby is meeting as many people as possible; yours is long racist walks on the beach, which I bet you do alone.”

Glenda left Roger for her date with John. She had just enough time to squeeze in a ten minute date via Date-Finder. Glenda was so busy with dating, that she didn’t have time to set them up; she paid a team of agencies to arrange her dates for her.

She also didn’t have time for bathing. She was fortunate she lived in a society that couldn’t smell, or, she wouldn’t be accepted by any dating agency with any standards. At first, Glenda had tried the cheaper bargain basement dating agencies, but soon found that she got cheaper, bargain basement dates, including one guy who kept asking to borrow money from her so he could buy a coffee.

But she liked John right away. He was handsome, funny, polite, non-smoker, all the key things Glenda looks for in a potential second date. Glenda gets bored easily, so second dates are very rare, and third dates have never been attempted.

John thought Glenda was beautiful until suddenly he was struck with the sense of smell.

“Oh my God, you are disgusting!” John held his nose and pushed his chair back from the table.

It was obvious that she had repulsed him, but, Glenda didn’t know why. She asked him leaning forward, which caused John to lean even farther back in the chair he was practically falling out of.

“Please, stay back! You’re making me want to vomit!”

Suddenly the entire restaurant was stricken with the same sense of smell except Glenda. All the patrons and all the waiters and waitresses and bus boys all began moaning and retching at the putrid stench poisoning their air.

“Get her out of here!” people cried.

“Please! I can’t breathe!”

“Either get her out of here or knock open a wall!”

‘What did I do? What did I do?’ she racked her brain to tell her why she had gone from desirable to disgusting. She looked at herself in her compact mirror. She looked fine. She checked her teeth and found nothing suspicious between them.

Humiliated, Glenda went over to her best friend, Darlene’s house. Darlene, like the rest of the society, had just developed her sense of smell. Darlene opened the door to Glenda’s knocks, then slammed it shut again at Glenda’s odor.

“Eu! What’s wrong with you?” Darlene shouted at her friend shut out on the other side of the door.

“What’s wrong with you? Why’d you shut the door in my face?”

“Don’t take this personally, Glenda, but if I get any closer to you I will throw up.”

“Why? What did I do?” Glenda was dying to know so she could stop it.

“It means what you’re doing right now. I don’t know what it is either, but you’re doing it.”

“I can’t hear you through the door! Open up!” Glenda yelled to be heard through the metal.

“No, I can’t, I’m sorry, please don’t take it personally, but I can’t be near you right now or I will throw up.”

Glenda was desperately pounding on the door with her fists. “Please! Help me! Tell me what’s wrong with me! I will change it!”

But, Darlene could never explain her olfactory’s objection to her friend. All she could do is tell her to go home and maybe she could sleep off the problem.

It would take society three months before coming up with the word: smell, and Glenda was both embarrassed and relieved when she first understood it in the context of: “Hey lady get out of here, you smell worse than the toilet in the Black Hole of Calcutta!”

Though she couldn’t actually smell the soap on her body, she could sense the big difference it made after she used it.

Miming Music Loudly

The guitar could hear herself screeching, though, she longed to sing. Her neck was being squeezed in the hands of a forty year old named Fred, who had made a New Years resolution that he would learn the guitar. The guitar wished he’d taken up mime, cause, the guitar hated the sound of her own voice and it was all Fred’s fault.

After fifty weeks of physical and emotional abuse, the strings finally rebelled and stopped making sound.

“What the?” Fred continued to strum silent strings.

The strings spoke up in words, not music, “Give up, you’re terrible. You are hurting my very soul, scratching at it with your stupid fingertips.”

“I’m playing you the best I can,” Fred defended himself against his guitar.

“That’s just it, the best you can is the worst anybody else can. And that’s why you’ve got to stop this abusive relationship. We can never see nor hear from each other again.”

“But, I want to learn you.”

“We’re at different rhythms. I’m standard 4/4, while you are a drumroll.”

“I don’t understand you.”

“Exactly. That’s precisely why we’ll never understand each other. Now put me down and walk away from me and don’t ever look back.”

“But, I bought you, I own you.”

“Just put me down and walk away,” the guitar repeated.

This just made Fred want to play more. So, he played for four hours a day instead of two. And twenty years later when Fred played the guitar’s favorite song, In My Life, as well as John Lennon, the guitar sang her heart out, as Fred’s fingers conducted, loving the sound of her own voice playing with Fred’s.

The guitar only spoke in English that one time, but, after twenty years singing together, Fred could hear she had grown to love him.


Domesticated Gypsy

Gypsy lay on his stomach looking up at the clock, waiting for both hands to come together to make twelve, when someone would come and feed him lunch. Gypsy lived a dog’s life in the kennel: just eating and sleeping and going for the occasional walk. Gypsy could do without the walk, but, he knew it made his handlers happy. The irony was they seemed to think it was doing him good, when all the walks succeeded in doing for Gypsy, was to look around the neighborhood and see that life was much better in the kennel.

Gypsy passed a park where he saw a collie running after a stick thrown by his master, fetching it in his teeth, then running it back to his master. Gypsy had never seen such animal abuse before.

‘Look at that poor shlub. He’s gotta chase after some stupid stick, run it back to his stupid master, who just throws it again. If the guy wants the stick so badly, why’s he keep throwing it away? What’s the point of chasing after it? If any of my handlers were to throw a stick for me to run after, I’d just look up at him and think, ‘man, if you want it back, why’d you throw it away in the first place? Why should I go after it? What do I get out of it? Exercise? I hate running, go get your your own stick you want it back so bad.’

Gypsy was one lazy dog. For Gypsy, it was enough to just spend all day in his cage, sleeping, or eating, occasionally scratching himself. It was a full life until the Veek family came looking for a family pet.

It was Jenny Veek, who was the first to spot him.

“How bout this one?” Jenny was pointing at Gypsy, who sat up in his cage. It was the first time he’d been pointed at.

“You like this little guy?” Bob Veek, Jenny’s dad asked his daughter, before asking, Harriot, the shelter worker, “What kind of breed is he?”

“Oh, Gypsy’s a mix of breeds. He’s part lab, part, doberman, part chiwawa. Gypsy’s pure mutt if there’s ever been one,” Harriot laughed.

“Can we get him, Daddy?” Jenny asked her daddy.

“If he’s the one you want.”

“He is, he is,” Jenny was jumping up and down, holding her father’s right hand.

“I guess that means we’ll take him,” Mr. Veek told Harriot, who was as shocked as Gypsy that he had been picked.

“Come on, Gypsy, come on, boy,” Harriot knelt to wave Gypsy from his cage. The dog was having none of it.

‘No, thanks, I’ll stay right here. I’m not going out to be anyone’s stick fetcher. And if you’re looking for a dog to play catch with, let me suggest joining a softball team where you’ll get a whole team’s worth of people who’ll play catch with you.’

“I don’t think he wants to come,” said Mrs. Veek.

“Come on, boy,” Harriot reached her two arms into the cage to get Gypsy, who nipped Harriot’s fingers. Harriot recoiled back, falling on the floor before the Veek family. “He bit me. He’s never done that before.”

“He obviously doesn’t want to come, dear,” Mrs. Veek stroked her daughter’s long brown hair. “I don’t want a dog that doesn’t want us. We should find another dog.”

“No, not another dog. I want him.”

Gypsy wished he could speak people so he could tell the little girl, who seemed nice enough, not to take it personally. ‘Sorry, kid, but I like it here.’

Suddenly the little girl let go of her daddy’s hand and knelt down facing Gypsy, her arms open wide.  “Hello, there. Wouldn’t you like to come home with us? I promise to love you and be good to you and feed you.”

It was the feed you that got Gypsy. Love meant nothing to him at that moment. He had never felt love, nor had he heard the word. Feed, however, was his favorite word. He inched his furry paws towards her little hands.

Jenny reached in further and shook a paw. “Nice to meet you, Gypsy. I’m Jenny. Let’s go get something to eat.”

That was enough to get Gypsy out of his cage.

Harriot was back on her feet, ready to lead the Veek family to their paper work. “We just have a few forms to fill out and then you can be on your way with Gypsy.”

They started walking toward the office.

“Gypsy sounds like a girl’s name. Can we call him, One Direction?” Jenny asked, wanting to name the dog after her favorite boy band.

“I think that may confuse him, dear. It’s probably better if he keeps his name,” said Jenny’s mother, who wasn’t as concerned about confusing the dog as naming him after a band she personally hated. If you asked Janice Veek, a classically trained pianist, what was the hardest part about being a mother, she would tell you it was having to listen to so much terrible music.

They were walking down the hall between the kennel and the office, when John passed, pushing the noon time meal cart. Gypsy forgot all about the Veek family and turned to follow the food.

“Hey!” Jenny cried after her dog.

But Gypsy was no one’s dog. Hunger was his only master. And it was noon and he was hungry. He walked past John and the food cart, crawling back into his tiny cage waiting for his lunch.

Life’s a Breeze (Then You Are One)

The little breeze blew wherever he pleased. He was a sensitive breeze, a gentle breeze, so much so that sometimes he was confused with a zephyr. He didn’t want to disturb anybody, the little breeze simply wanted to fly to wherever his instinct took him.

He knew some breezes would show off and blow out candles, or, blow over buildings. The little breeze had no desire to wind himself up into the huff of a hurricane. It seemed like so much work. All the spinning around- and at such a torrid pace!- all the knocking over, uprooting, tearing down, really, just the amount of manual labor involved in being a hurricane didn’t interest the little breeze at all.

‘Not to mention the ego of it all,’ thought the little breeze. ‘I mean, I’m just a little breeze, who am I to cause such destruction? I’m here to caress, to bless the skin, washing it with sweet succor from the summer sun. I’m here to help, not hurt. I don’t even wanna blow away somebody’s napkin.’

Yet, the little breeze did love to let loose and go as fast as he could. He only allowed himself to unleash himself when there was nothing but dirt or grass to blow through. The little breeze blew through the park, slowing down when approaching the thick of trees, not wanting to disturb any leaves.

So it was by accident that the little breeze tore the petal off the tulip. The little breeze had closed his eyes and taken a deep breath the second he flew past the garden of tulips.

“Hey!” the tulip with the torn petal cried out.

The little breeze stopped in his tracks and exhaled a puff of air. He looked down and saw the torn petal and realized what he had done.

“Sorry.” He meant it.

“Watch where you’re going!” the tulip sniped at the breeze.

Suddenly all thoughts of speed seemed so stupid. Why had the little breeze been in such a  rush to speed across the field when he was missing such a sight as this tulip? Even with her torn petal she looked beautiful.

‘Her torn petal! I’ve damaged her before we’ve even met!‘ the little breeze panicked, sweeping the red petal up from the ground with a gust of his breath, raising the petal, trying to put it back in place on the tulip.

The tulip laughed. “Are you trying to fix me? Don’t bother. Once it’s off, it can’t be put back on.”

It crushed the little breeze to think he had done irreparable damage to such beauty. “I’m so sorry. I’m usually so careful. I had my eyes closed, I didn’t see you.”

“You’re the breeze, you can go wherever you want. I guess it’s ridiculous me yelling at you, I’m sorry.” Now it was the tulip’s turn to apologize.

“No, no, you have every right to be angry. I may be the breeze, but, that just means I should be more careful cause I affect so much. I really don’t want to hurt anyone.”

The tulip lifted herself to his words and smiled. “I have never heard the wind talk like this. Actually, I’ve never heard the wind talk at all. Just whistle and occasionally moan. What’s with the moaning?”

“I don’t know. I never moan. Maybe that breeze is sad.”

“You seem more sensitive than other breezes,” the tulip said.

“I can’t speak for other breezes, but, yeah, I feel things. I feel everything that passes through me deeply. That’s why I sometimes like to go so fast over empty spaces, so I feel nothing but speed.”

“I wish I could go with you.”

“But you’re a flower. You have to stay here. You’re literally rooted here.”

“First, thank you for telling me what I am. Now let me tell you another thing about me, I’m an adventurer. I’m a traveler and I want to go with you.”

“A traveler? Where have you ever gone?”

“In my mind, everywhere. Let’s go some where new. Can you carry me along with you for a while?”

“I can’t take you. If I uproot you, then what?”

“I’ll be fine. Let’s go to some far off place.”

“How am I supposed to carry you?”

“The same way you carried the petal from the ground and tried to put it back on me. Just pick me up and let’s go!”

And that’s how that tulip got taken on the ride of her life, flying as far as the end of the street before she landed on a compose heap to begin the cycle of life again. And when she came back as rain she had no memory of ever being a tulip.

The War of Peace

The year is 2121. The leaders of the world’s two superpowers, the Prime Minister of Indonesia and the Fastest Monk of Bhutan, are scheduled to sit down and hash out an agreement on peace.

“Good to see you again,” said Madame Prime Minister, offering the Fastest Monk a fruit basket.

“We’ve never met.”

“Oh, well, if we should meet again, it will be good to see you again.”

“I don’t understand your English. Do you think we could switch to Bhutanese or even Chinese. I’m much more fluent in those.”

“I don’t speak either languages. I just speak English, Indonesian, of course, and Latin.”

“You learned Latin before learning a language that people actually use? What does that say about you?”

“I wanted to understand English more deeply.”

“I fear our peace agreement is already doomed, cause I don’t know how I’m going to agree with anything you say when you would rather learn a dead language than a live one.”

“Hey, you’re the one who lives his whole life based on the words of a guy who’s been dead thousands of years. Go screw yourself, I don’t care, more peace for me.”

“I want this peace so bad I’m willing to kill you for it. When you see the Buddha, kill the Buddha.”

“I gave you a fruit basket.”

“Thank you,” The Fastest Monk said, sweeping the gift basket off his desk into the garbage.

“We’re here to make peace and you have to be a son of a bitch about it?”

“I hate fruit.”

“Let’s get to making the bloody peace, alright? We just have to agree on one thing, one positive thing, and then we can announce peace in our time and call all the photographers in, get our picture taken shaking hands and then I never have to see your ignorant face again.”

“You’ll have to see it in five years to sign the next Peace Accord.”

“I trust I will be here in five years, but do you really think you can be Fastest Monk in five years? You think you got the legs?”

“I do.”

“I don’t. Another thing we don’t agree on. How bout this, I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that it’s better to be happy than sad.”

“I disagree. Nothing great was ever inspired by happiness. I’m sad we haven’t reached peace yet, not happy about it. If I was happy about it, I wouldn’t seek to reach it, especially with a crabby old witch like you.”

“Here, have a puppy.”

The Prime Minister of Indonesia hands the Fastest Monk of Bhutan a basket with a  pekinese puppy in it.

“Looks delicious,” the Fastest Monk said taking the basket.

“I thought you were vegetarian.”

“Not since the monastery changed cooks. Now it’s all barbecue all the time. My favorite is yak night.”

“I also like meat. Can we agree that meat is good and make peace in our time?”

“No, because the Buddha taught to respect all living things. I may not practice what I preach, but at least I preach the dharma of Buddha. If a man who enjoys a lesser happiness beholds a greater one, let him leave aside the lesser to gain the greater.”

“I’m not sure I get you.”

“Get? What does get mean? Get the door get the baby get the train, get… English is crazy, unstable, and yet here we are speaking it. Can you agree with me that the next Accord will be conducted completely in Chinese?”

“Chinese? No, English is still the world’s language. We’re not here to start a revolution, we’re here to make peace.”

“How are we supposed to establish the stability of peace if we can’t even discuss it in a logical language?”

“Only Chinese speak Chinese. English is spoken everywhere.”

“That’s racist.”

“That’s true. And I don’t know why we’re arguing about the language that peace should be negotiated in, and not on the peace itself.”

“I’ve got your peace right here,” the Fastest Monk gave the Prime Minister the finger.

“That’s not helping,” The Prime Minister was not impressed.

“Look within, thou art the Buddha.”

The Prime Minster leaned forward on the desk. “Are you saying peace comes from within?”

“We don’t need to negotiate anything, if peace is our goal. We just have to look to ourselves.”

“Yeah, but, you have to also sign the Peace Accord.”

“I’m signing it with my mind.”

“Do you think after you could use a pen? Helps with the laws and such.”

“You give me an Accord to sign that is worded to mean that peace comes from within and there is no Accord to sign, and I’ll sign that Accord.”

“Great. Me too. We did it. Let’s call everyone back in.”

The Fastest Monk asks the Prime Minister for another moment before unleashing peace. He knows the circus the announcement is going to make, and he wants a second to prepare for the onslaught of peace that is bound to follow the opening of the door.

All’s Fair In Love and Betting

“You’re really unhealthy. You’ll be dead in less than three years,” she told him.

“Thanks, doctor,” Matt said, before putting his beer to his lips and gulping down the rest of the bottle. He got up, using the armrest of the couch to steady himself. Matt was pretty drunk. He walked to the fridge for another beer.

“I’m not kidding!” she called after him, her words hitting the back of his head. He didn’t respond. Tanya waited till her boyfriend got back to the living room before asking, “You didn’t get me one?”

“I didn’t think you were drinking. You’re sitting here criticizing me for drinking too much and now you wanna beer?”

“You drink too much. I don’t drink too much. It’s your problem not mine.”

“I don’t drink too much, I drink just the right amount.”

“You should really drink less. And sleep more. You’re gonna die soon, three years, you’ll be dead.”

“I’ll bet you a thousand dollars that I’m not dead in three years.”

“Ok.” Tanya put her pinky out to bet on his mortality not to be cruel, but to make a point that she really worried about her boyfriend’s health.

“Ok.” Matt linked pinky fingers with her to seal the bet. He started laughing. “I can’t believe you bet me this, how can you win If I’m alive in three years, you’ll owe me a thousand dollars and if I’m dead, how do you expect me to pay you?”

“You put it in your will.”

“You’ve really thought this through, should I be worried? When you say I’m going to be dead in three years, do you mean you’re planning on killing me in three years?”

“I don’t need to kill you, you’re killing yourself.”

“Hey, let me enjoy my drink, alright? It’s Friday night, I’m watching a hockey game, I’m not hurting anyone.”

“Just yourself.”

“Come on. Let a man drink in peace. If you’re nice to me, I might let you off the bet.”

“What do you mean?” she asked him.

“I mean, if and when I turn forty, I won’t ask you for the thousand dollars you’ll owe me.”

“What do you mean, owe you? You just said it’s a bad bet and…”

“But you still bet. You pinky swore bet. You can’t bet and then plan to welsh. There goes all trust in betting with you ever again.”

“But you said it was an unfair bet.”

“Still, it’s not my fault you made the bet. Buyer beware, beter beware, all’s fair in love and betting.”

“I don’t think it is. I think if you loved me, you wouldn’t be expecting to win this bet.”

“I think if you loved me you would want me to win this bet. I mean, let’s not forget that we’re betting on when I’m going to die and you took the under. As in you expect me under ground in less than three years. Thanks.”

“Not underground, I thought you wanted to be cremated.”

“Can we get off the topic of my death and let me watch a hockey game?”

“Fine. Watch professionals try and kill each other. Fine. I can just sit here and watch an amateur.”

Matt sat watching the game, saying nothing. Tanya lit a cigarette, leaned back on the couch and wondered what would come first: his death, or, their breakup. Either way, she was betting against him.

The Safest City In America

The police in Goberspit, New Hampshire are proud to say they’ve never worked a day in their lives. You will never see a police car patrolling the streets of Goberspit, just like you will never see a cop walking any kind of beat, in fact, most days, they don’t even bother going in to work at the police station at all.

“What’s the point getting up going all the way across town to the station when everyone knows my phone number? If anyone was to really commit a crime, I’m sure they’d have the good decency to call their chief of police, or even just drop by my home to give me the heads up. Or, they could wait outside the police station for someone to show up eventually. We’re always there Tuesday nights, cause, Tuesday nights are poker nights at the station, so, if you’re going to commit a crime in town, and you wanna make sure we’ve got police in the station, do it on Tuesdays, preferably around 11:30 when the game’s breaking up.”

Police around the world laughed at this particular town’s approach to law enforcement. They only paid Chief McKrackin, who only put on his uniform to take pictures for his Christmas cards. The deputies were a hodgepodge of volunteers who mainly just showed up for the poker games. But, no one could argue with Chief McKrackin’s record for cases solved. In the cases solved department, the good chief is batting a thousand. He’s one for one.

The one crime ever committed in Goberspit during the twenty-seven years Jake McKrackin has been chief was solved in under an hour. Frank Cutchins had stolen Martha Hapsley’s umbrella from the Food Mart’s umbrella bin. Frank had felt so bad about it, he drove straight from the Food Mart to the police station to confess. He was lucky to catch Chief McKrakin as he was leaving for the day. It was 9:05 in the morning.

“I don’t want to be the one who messes things up. I didn’t even think about it when I took the umbrella. I just saw that it was raining I saw the umbrella and I took it. But as I got in the car, dry, thanks to the umbrella, I felt terrible, because I realized I had just stolen something, and that makes me the first criminal in this town and it’s like the first piece of garbage on the ground, suddenly the whole ground is covered in garbage. I don’t want to be that first piece of garbage. I steal an umbrella today, suddenly, there’s graffiti every where, everyone is on drugs, turning into murderous zombies. No thanks. Here is the umbrella, please arrest me, you have my full confession.” Frank fessed up.

“Why didn’t you just return the umbrella back to the bin? Then it wouldn’t be a crime.”

“Then I would have gotten wet. It’s raining.”

“You would rather be dry and arrested than wet and innocent?”

“Apparently, yes.” Frank scratched his nose. It was suddenly very itchy and no amount of scratching could get it to stop.

“You wanna spend a night in jail?”

And just like that, the itching stopped. Frank lowered his hand from his face and said, “Yes, I do.”

From that night on, the town learned that crime doesn’t pay. You commit a crime, you go to jail.

Frank died ten years later, proud to the end that he had protected his beloved town from moral decay.

But then Billy moved in. Billy was the seventeen year old son of Bob and Judy Watson who had moved from Boston following his father’s demotion to Goberspit. At first, the townspeople of Goberspit forgave Billy his trespassings, believing once the boy got to know the culture of the town, he would adopt from his crude city ways, to their refined sense of civic duty.

“Excuse me, son, you dropped this,” said Marv Tooks, picking up the empty coke can Billy had tossed on the park ground.

“Yeah, I’m done with it,” Billy laughed and walked off. Marv stood, holding the empty coke can, wondering if he should teach the boy a lesson, or throw the can into the garbage. He figured the boy would learn from someone else, tossed the can in the trash and continued with his five mile run.

A little farther through the park, Billy discarded a chocolate bar wrapper in the middle of the baseball diamond’s infield. Later that morning, two boys came to practice pitching. One boy, Greg Benner, stood on the mound, finishing his juice box before setting to pitching. He saw the candy wrapper, figured, that’s what you do with stuff you don’t want, and tossed the juice box on the ground before he tossed his first pitch.

Six months later Goberspit would record its first murder. Tony Baberspier would toss Billy bound and gagged into the river, hoping to rid the town of its evil.

The Death of Death

“Have you noticed nobody has died in a long while?”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

“It is. We’re at war. We should be killing them and they should be killing us. How do we know who’s winning?”

“It is weird no one is dying.”

“It’s like bullets are just bouncing off guys. It’s making the enemy cocky. Look how that guy is just strolling across no man’s land like he doesn’t have a care in the world, like a walk in the park. I’m going to shoot him just to teach the son of a bitch a lesson.”

Private Clayton Cartwright took aim through his rifle’s scope and saw the crosshairs match up with the enemy’s chest. He pulled the trigger. The enemy soldier fell down in a fit of giggles. Apparently the bullet had really tickled him.

“Did you see that?” Pvt. Cartwright asked his trench mate, Reggie.

“What the hell?”

“This is freaking me out. I’m going out there to kill that guy, I don’t care.”

“Careful!” Reggie called as Pvt. Cartwright crawled up and over the trench, stepping foot on an oddly peaceful no man’s land. He carried his rifle and bayonet to the enemy soldier who remained on his back, looking up at the clouds. Clayton reached the soldier wearing a grey uniform in contrast to the private’s own brown uniform. Private Cartwright’s bayonet cut through the grey of the cloth, but failed to pierce the soldier’s skin, blunted as though it struck stone.

“What are you doing?” The enemy looked up at his aggressor.

“I’m trying to kill you.”

“Well, would you stop? You’re ruining the uniform.”

“Why won’t you die?” Pvt. Cartwright whimpered more than questioned.

The enemy, Corporal Helmut Schmitt laughed, shielding his eyes with his hands to see the private better. “Didn’t your side hear? Death is dead.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Death died.”

“Death died? What? Are you speaking English?”

“Do you speak German?”


“So, this must be English and I’m telling you Death- Mr. Death, the Grim Reaper, the guy with the scythe is no more. Kaput.”



“Somebody murdered death?”

“I did. Though, I wouldn’t call it murder.”

“You just did.”

“I saw the bastard creeping through no man’s land and I took my best shot and I got him right between the eyes. In my eyes I see it as the killing of an enemy combatant, but both our governments are calling it murder.”

“You killed death?” Pvt. Cartwright couldn’t believe the conversation he was having.

“I did, though, my lawyer says I should admit nothing, but, I’m proud to say it and I’d do it again. The governments are just mad they’re not getting their war, but, I know no judge is going to find me guilty of killing death. It was self defense. You Americans have the right to bear arms and use them in self defense.”

“I’m Canadian.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok. If you killed Death, why are we still here?”

“They’re counting soldiers on both sides to find out the winner. They haven’t counted me. I gotta get- haven’t you heard this?”

“News to me.”

“Your side should lose just on poor communication skills. I shot death yesterday. Haven’t you noticed we stopped shooting at you the last couple days?”

“We thought you were just being nice.”

“Being nice? In a war?”

“Or you were faking you were out of bullets to lure us into no man’s land.”

“No, there’s no need. You can’t die, I can’t die, war’s over, they just gotta count the survivors and the winner will win on a technical knockout. So, go back and tell your men to stop shooting at us, you’re messing up our shit. I was all set to have a nice cup of tea when one of your bombs dropped and blew up the kettle and stove.”

“Sorry about that.”

“My grandma sent me that tea.”


“You say sorry a lot. You are Canadian. Stop apologizing and stop shooting us.”


And that brought an end to the war, but, did not bring an end to all wars in general. Nations would still wage war with each other, however, they could no longer wage it on the blood of soldiers working for less than minimum wage; now wars were even costlier, fought in auction houses and on line with the highest bidder winning the war.

People never got used to living forever, pessimism prohibited people to completely feel at ease in their immortality. Though, after a few thousand years without a single death recorded, there were noticeable signs that people were loosing up on little things like morals and ethics. All religions went bankrupt; charities were seen as lost causes; marriage contracts came with more clauses and expiry dates; and friendship came at a premium.