Thursday, December 28, 2006

Second Baseman

He held up his forefinger and his pinky, signalling to the outfield. He placed the ball of his fist into his glove, pounded twice, and kicked the dirt behind the bag. He moved into position, just left of the bag, and watched the signs from the catcher. He got into his crouch when the pitcher nodded. The wind up. The pitch.


Home at the End of a Long Day

He knelt and shook the dust out of his sandal. He seated himself on the small stool and waited for the new girl to arrive. What was her name? He never could remember, even when he wanted to shout for her to hurry and wash the dirt of the street from his tired feet.

He stretched his arms in accompaniment to an exaggerated yawn, hoping that would be enough to alert her to the fact that the master of the house was home, and she had work to do.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Artful Dodge

She'd never played before this day, and was quickly becoming addicted. She felt like some sort of hi-tech spy, running about the Net, dodging other players. It was as if it came straight out of science fiction tale. She'd never played before this day, but knew she would again. The fun of it all was enough to bring her back. The $100 prize for the week's top player was just added incentive.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006


The wind blew with a bitter cold, but a cold they hardly felt anymore. It had seemed so much colder at the base of the ski lift, even though the lower ground was sheltered from the biting wind.

He nestled into the space she'd left him. The snow had begun to drop again, creating a powdery surface on the ground ahead of them. The huge tube squeaked as it tipped over the edge, and
A three year old voice squealed its delight as the tube raced through the snow, with him situated in his aunt's lap atop it.

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Perfect Spot

It was the perfect camping spot.

The saplings were cleared. The tents were erected. Wood for a fire was laid, but not yet lit. That would have to wait just a little longer. The jungle twilight would be short, and before it set in, the campers were having their first bath in more days than they liked to admit.

"We're going upstream," the girls said firmly, and left the guys to figure out how best to avoid the runoff from their baths.

It was a spot to which they would never return. Despite its perfection, they already knew that they'd never be back. The real question was whether they would ever get out. This was not a good jungle to be lost in. If they died in it, lost trekkers, they would not be the first.

But they weren't thinking of that as they settled in, got the fire started, and cooked the three packets of noodles they had left. It was all they had, but that wasn't enough to spoil this dinner together. Not in this perfect spot.

The First Line

The First Line is a literary magazine whose quarterly issue is always based on a sort of writing competition. The magazine offers the first line of a short story (hence its name), and writers develop the story from there. It is fun watching how the stories all turn out so differently, but from the same starting point.

At my main blog site, it is a common practice for us to initiate various writing challenges. I've started one here based on the idea of The First Line. The links to the stories that have come out of that challenge can be found in the comments section there.

Recommended Reading

Sunday, December 17, 2006



The van was longer than your average car, and made sharper turns. Even if Stevie had more driving experience than just those few times backing out of the driveway, this might have happened. Vans are just different.

And this was bad.

"OH NO! What I am I going to do, Lizzie?"

"Back up and try again."


"Now what?" He was near panic stage now.

"I don't know. Try going forward."


He stopped, put his elbows on the steering wheel, his head on his palms.

"We can't just sit here."

"I have an idea," he said.


"You drive."

"I'm not even 12 yet."


"Just back up and do it again."

"That just keeps scratching it worse!"

"So it's better to just sit here?"

On a Lazy Saturday Afternoon

He pulled the van out of the car wash. It would be several years yet before he could even try to get his license. But his dad - feeling lazy on a Saturday afternoon or wanting to give the boy a treat, who could tell? - had asked him to bring the company van to the car wash. It was his first time to drive, unless backing out of the driveway once or twice counted for anything. He'd brought his younger sister, now 11 years old, with him, just for the sake of having company.

As it turned out, she was good for more than just company...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Wind in His Hair

The wind in his hair. The smell of salt filling his nostrils. This was it. The perfect life.

Here he was king. Captain of his ship. So what if it was a two man craft (at most)! It was his! He was king! No one could push him around here. This was his kingdom, his world, and he was master.

A rude awakening splashed in on his reflections, the wake from his father's yacht. He looked after, wondering who the blond wearing nothing but a bikini and his father's embrace was.

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Break a Leg

"Break a leg."

He cringed. It was a good luck wish, he knew. But it hit too close to home.

This was the night. His first performance since that fateful day when "Break a leg" took on a new meaning for him.

He'd just finished the show. Opening night, and he was Hamlet. It was perfect.

Until the party. He'd run down the staircase to get some more beer. Apparently he'd had too much already. It wasn't the staircase, but the front of the stage. He dropped to the floor and clutched his ankle, howling in pain.

And that was it for Hamlet. The rest of the shows had been played by his understudy. And he'd been out of commission for 2 months. It had taken another six months to get another role. And of course, he wasn't cast as the lead this time. Nope. He'd pretty much made a wreck of his lucky break. (And whoever said "lucky" necessarily meant "good luck"?)

And there was Joel, the understudy-turned-Hamlet, now acting the lead on a small stage off Broadway. "It should've been me," he murmured, not for the first time.

Apparently the answer to the question was that it was, in fact, not to be.

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Poker DIY

She'd heard of poker addictions, but she never knew that they could have nothing at all to do with gambling.

That's where she found herself now, addicted to the fun of playing poker online with real live people. She'd invited several of her own friends to play, and they loved playing together online and talking about it when they spent time together unplugged too. It had become such a fun way to hang out together.

And she was making other friends there too, people she played poker with all the time.

It was one addiction she didn't mind. Certainly it was less harmful than the others she'd seen others indulge in.

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Running on Empty

Oh, just another half mile or so... come one.

She could see the lights of the gas station's sign, but couldn't quite make out whether it was Mobil or Exxon... something with red, white, and blue anyway.

The needle had been on "E" for the past ten minutes or so, having been slowly creeping nearer and nearer to it for miles. It was just so small between gas stations out here in this wildernes.

What was she doing here anyway? Running out of gas on some deserted road, and for what? Research? As if anyone else was going to bother about her work.

I hope it doesn't turn into another thing to regret. After they all laughed at the whole idea, it had better work out.

Exxon it was, and it looked like she was going to make it with little more than fumes to spare. She pulled in and groaned.

"Closed. Opening hours: 9 am to 11 pm." Who ever heard of gas stations closing for the night these days?

She looked at her watch. Four minutes after midnight.

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Life in Paradise

He'd thought this was supposed to be a tropical island paradise. Why was he sitting here freezing half to death then?

He huddled down and pulled the garbage-bag-transformed-into-a-raincoat tigheter about him, sheltering from the rain pounding down upon him. Cold... the one thing he'd never imagined he'd feel working in this sunny isle.

But he hadn't reckoned on the monsoon seasons. Hadn't factored that into his thoughts when he took the job. And now here he sat, huddled in the back of the lorry with a dozen other men in the same plight.

To make it worse, it would be months before he'd see a dime from that paycheck, with every penny of it going back to the wife and kids before he even saw a bit of it. Life, he was discovering, is not even. Not even in Paradise.

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Good medicine

I've been watching you doctor. The four patients you are monitoring are not showing the sort of improvement I had hoped to see.

You know I was not in favor of your little experiment, but you were so sure it would help. I don't see it helping though, do you?

In fact, they might be getting worse. What are we going to do about this? Hm, doctor?

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Used Car

Enough is enough.

This is the last time I'll ever be shafted buying a new car. I've had it!

That slimy no good used car salesman. What was I thinking trusting him? That checkered jacket. The smell of sweat, and the too-pearly white smile he flashed. I should've known all that fast talking was too much to be believed. And now I'm stuck here, on the side of this highway, with a lemon. And a five mile walk back to town.

Never again.

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Money Loophole

Recently, out of the blue, this guy came across a very strange loophole.

It quickly became for him a way of making FREE MONEY!

Hold on, I know that's a very hard thing to believe. But I stake my good reputation on this fact:

There is a guaranteed loophole you can exploit right now to easily generate a weekly sum of money from nothing. Joe Brice-Cohen, Managing Director of has figured it out, and he shares the secret with his readers in this book.

It's all about a logical loophole that occurs because of a special kind of business mistake made dozens of times each week. These mistakes allow you to make hundreds of dollars, legally, from nothing. Quite literally, this is a form of investment where you can never, ever lose.

It's a legal and legitimate way to be making money right now. And all because Joe Brice-Cohen stumbled across this brilliant idea.

Discover this amazing loophole here.

The Cube

Despite his uncertainty about what this strange object might be, he reached out a hand and gingerly touched the smooth multi-colored surface. Nothing happened.

A bit bolder now, he reached out and gripped the object in his right hand. It was a nice fit. Its weight was like a Nothing in his hand as he carried it nearer to his face and sniffed. It was a strange smell, like nothing he'd ever seen in the world.

He fondled the surface of the thing, wondering at the small colored squares that met his fingers. The grooves between each puzzled him, and he began poking at one of those spots with his broken nail.

It turned! The whole top of the box twisted as he poked.

What could this odd thing be?

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Hotel Bookings Online

It was going to be a long journey, and we were pressed for time. We needed to be able to make all of our stops count, and not waste any time looking for where to stay, quibbling about which hotel we like better, and all that.

So, we did the sensible thing. We looked for all of our information online, before ever leaving the house. We compared prices. We compared locations. We compared the facilities. There were so many things to choose from on that we had all the information we needed right there when we needed it. Best of all, the site offers a $100 rebate if we found a cheaper price elsewhere. That made it a clear choice for the way to go.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Mike and Ike

Mike was in town for only a short time. Ike was working like a mad dog, and was consistently unavailable to meet up with his old pal, even though he knew Mike's time was short.

"C'mon man. I'm not going to be here that long," Mike complained, the cell phone's weak connection adding to his frustration.

"Can't help it. I gotta get the car back upstate this afternoon."

"Alright. I'll tell you what. I'll ride up with you. Then I'll fly back tonight."

"No way you can get a flight back. Not during the holiday season like this."

"But I gotta be back. We've got the meeting on first thing in the morning."

"Not a chance."

"Let me check online."

Within an hour, Mike and Ike were on the road, laughing it up as they drove. Mike sat back, feeling just a little smug about how slick he was, managing to get tickets at such a steal during the holiday season.

The four hour drive seemed to end all to quickly, with Ike pulling in at the airport to drop Mike off.

"It was good to see you, Ike."

"Yeah, well, thanks for going to all the trouble to get these few hours together."

They strode to the ticketing counter together. Within moments, their bravado vanished.

"What do you mean, I don't have a ticket for tonight?'

"No sir. But I do see you listed for a ticket on the 5th."

"But I gotta be back tonight."

The ticketing personnel stifled a smile, the first he'd really felt all during this busiest of travel days.

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006


It all started with the cash advance Jackie secured. I was in debt. Bad. I had gotten myself in all sorts of trouble with this bum from upstate. That's the guy who used to beat me up. It was him who'd run up all the debts in my name, to be honest. He didn't have any credit at all, so used my name all the time to apply for loans, credit cards, whatever. Before you know it, my own good name was spoiled too.

Then Jackie came along. He wasnt' rich back then, but he applied for a payday loan and helped pay off some of my debts. He invested a bit of it, and made some money. I don't know where he was investing it at first. I was too messed up to pay any attention. But as things started looking brighter, I started watching and learning. Sometimes it was property, sometimes gold, sometimes other commodities. But Jackie seemed to have a golden touch. And to think, it all started with that cash advance that he took out for my sake.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Authorial Intrusion

Dear Reader,

I've been working on this blog as a form of exercise. I thought it would be fun to work on a particular aspect of fiction through blogging. Perhaps it is obvious enough to say I've been working on dialogue so far. This interest is generated by my love of texts written for the stage. So often on the stage, the action is mostly understood through a combination of the dialogue and all the "big" actions that can be shown, rather than through the subtleties that the screen loves so much.

In addition, I wanted to experiment with language and how each character's use of language affected that of the other characters. It hasn't quite worked out the way I wanted, and I am ready to try something new for a while. Perhaps I'll come back to these characters one day, and perhaps not. For now, though, I will just move toward a more general sort of story-telling, and begin working on other writing exercises and other aspects of fiction writing.

My apologies for this intrusion,
The Author

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Log entry. 3 January. Group A (Patients 389645, 390086, 465791, 025486)

The session this morning was rather chaotic. Almost amusing in its chaos.

Patient 389645 was going on about "them," as always. The only one who seems to understand what he's going on about is Patient 465791, and that is just so she can sell him something, it seems.

Patient 390086 was rather a surprise. While she did mention Jackie, she had no whopping tales to tell. Perhaps she just didn't get a chance to get a word in, particularly with Patient 389645 carrying on as he did. The two of them were obviously at loggerheads.

Patient 465791 went right on with her programme, trying to sell something- anything!- to anyone who would listen.

Patient 025486 was cut off by Patient 390086, and clammed up. Oddly, Patient 389645 jumped to his defense.

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