Tag Archives: short fiction

Donnie And His Doctor

thEJ63UKQSAt age 12 Donnie pleaded with his mother to allow him to visit the doctor on his own.

“Mom,” he said, “when are you ever going to let me be a man? Other mothers don’t go to the doctor with their sons, why me. It’s embarrassing me.”

“Well Dr. Henderson is rather old,” she said, “and I think it’s good for an older person to go along so we can bridge the generation gap.”

“Mom,” Donnie said, “that sounds terribly lame. I may have man things to discuss that can only be shared privately.”

“Well,” she said, “you can talk those things over with your father.”

“I did,” Donnie said, “and you got mad. You said the internet wasn’t meant for that kind of thing and you accused dad of being a pervert.”

“Okay,” she said. “You can go to the doctor alone today, but make sure you speak up. Doctor Henderson doesn’t hear so well.”

After the visit Donnie’s mother picked him up at the doctor’s office. He was near tears.

He sat in the car and looked stoically forward.

“What happened?” she said.

“Nothing,” Donnie said.

“Tell me,” she said, “I can always tell when something is troubling you.”

“The doctor asked me what I eat and what I do all day long?” Donnie said.

“What did you tell him?” she said.

“I told him I get up at seven, eat half of box of cereal, grab a soda and donut on the way to school, go to school, two hours of baseball practice after school, hang out with some friends, eat a bag of Cheetos, mow the lawn, have supper, do my homework, go to the mall, have a milkshake with friends at McDonalds, go over to some friend’s house, play a pick-up game of basketball, go home, eat a bowl of icecream, and get some rest.”

“What did he say to that?” she said.

“Keep that up and you won’t see forty,” Donnie said.

 

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Adam’s Choice

th399POQ1L“As much as I favor a discussion with you,” Professor Morley said to his learned student, “I find your position short-sighted and lacking an understanding of how the real world works.”

“Sir,” Adam said. “My position is backed by science and scholarship of the highest regard.”

“You and those who you hold in esteem, intellectuals that they be,” Professor Morley said, “have painted themselves into a corner. The have placed there money on the popular pony only to find out it is running dead last into the final stretch.”

“I resent you calling me a mere student,” Adam said. “I am your equal in degrees.”

“Fair enough,” Morley said. “Perhaps it is your age, but likely it has more to do with your lack of curiosity and willingness to be led along. You must explore new ground and question. You have locked yourself into one untenable position It’s ‘mate’ and you stare at your Queen hoping for an earthquake to vibrate her to another square.”

“Your mind is closed, Morley,” Adam said, “so pathetically closed. You are indeed a fool and should be banned from science.”

“Explain or at least demonstrate in some fashion, the eye, the ear, the nose; I’ll not bother you with the brain. Just tell me, please, how it evolved and came to be in this room at this exact time to explain how we got here. And as long as we are on the subject explain the timing within an atom and the complexity and preciseness of it’s movements. Oh, dear Adam, your friends have put you in an unenviable predicament.”

Adam chuckled. “So, Morley, who created the creator?”

“Is that curiosity that speaks or sarcasm?” Morley said.

“You are blind, Morley,” Adam said.

“So you have decided on sarcasm?” Morley said.

“Yes,” Adam said.

“It all starts with a decision, right, Adam?” Morley said. “A series of decisions and they all had to be exact. Just one of them wrong and … blindness.”

Adam skeptically shook his head, sort of an intellectual disappointment.

“That’s okay, lad,” Morley said placing his hand on Adam’s shoulder. “A missing link will come along to give you hope.”

 

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Rainy Day Bear

th486U8EUFThe winter, over. Finally. It rained and rained and rained. A steady beat on a metal roof. The drops rushed down like a mad river. Outside the window the leaves gently jerked with each drop of rain that landed upon them.

In the distance a bear rustled the fresh new foliage. He looked for food. My cabin is food.

It was above freezing, but the dampness made it feel like the coldest winter night when the wind whipped through the pines like the hiss of a horde of demons on the prowl for souls.

The bear moved closer.

He’s familiar. Yes, the one chased away last spring.

I swung the door open to the stove and tossed three more logs in the fire. It’s a good fire. It’s gentle and warm. The crackle is like snapping fingers in time with the pulsating rain on the roof.

The bear approached the perimeter of my clearing as if it were his.

I grabbed the rifle from the case and loaded it. I slung on my coat and walked out on the porch.

“Mr. Bear,” I yelled out. “With all due respect, you have everything, but this clearing is mine. You have to go.”

The bear stood on his hind legs and held his nose high.

“I’d invite you in, but you can not behave and don’t pretend you can’t hear me.”

He fell to all fours and lumbered with a limp toward the cabin.

Frantic, I pointed the rifle over his head and into the skies. Bam!

The bear stopped.

“You can hear,” I said.

The bear limped slowly away.

“Burly,” I called out. “Why didn’t you tell me it was you?”

The bear stopped and sat.

I approached cautiously with my rifle slung.

It was Burly; a cub found two hears earlier. His mother was likely killed. I found him caught in a trap. I released the trap, bound the wounds, and nursed him back to health. One day Burly was gone.

There he was again with a trap on the paw.

“Burly, you must watch your step,” I said.

Burly held out the paw and I released the trap.

“I would invite you in, Burly,” I said, “but you smell bad and you’re wet. There are plenty of salmon in the river. You know the way.”

From a distance came a ferocious roar. I panicked and turned. The distant foliage rustled as if a bulldozer was making its way through the woods. Suddenly an enormous male grizzly appeared. Burly moved in behind me. Suddenly I stood between two behemoths of the north.

Burly was smaller and wounded.

The grizzly charged as if I was not there.

I quickly un-slung and raised my rifle. Bam! Bam! Bam!

There was a thud as the grizzly tumbled to the ground.

Burly moved to inspect the fallen foe. He pawed at the lifeless body. He turned to me and shook back and forth like a dog. There was a gentle sound as if one of approval and thanks. Burly limped away toward the salmon.

I walked back inside soaked to the bone. I called a native friend on the radio and told him I had some bear meat for him.

I sat next to the stove and listened to the steady beat of the rain on the roof and watched the gentle jerk of the leaves caused by the rain.

“Ahhh,” I sighed, “spring.”

 

 

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A Night For Boys and God – Part 2

(Continued from yesterday.)

thA5E4XSM4Looking For God In The Mirror

“It’s what’s in your heart,” Bart said defending Sammy.

“Yeah,” Sammy said. “And I believe with all my heart.”

“What about you Bart?” I asked.

“I go every Sunday for church and Sunday school too.” Bart said.

“But how do you know if there is a God?”

“It’s faith,” Sammy said. “You just know.”

“Is that how you feel?” I asked Bart.

“That’s it,” Bart said, “Either you got faith or you don’t.”

“How can I get it?” I asked.

“By going to church,” Sammy said.

“You treat it like catching a cold,” I said. “I know you two exist because I can see you, feel you, and hear you.”

“You need help,” Sammy said.

“You’re in deep trouble with God,” Bart said. “I don’t even know if I should be here with you.”

“Look you guys,” I said. “I think it’s great that you know. I want to know. I want to know how to know.”

Both looked at me as if an infidel.

“You act as if I’m different. I’m the same person today as I was last week,” I said. “I’m just being honest.”

“If my mom knew this about you she’d never let you see me or come to the house again,” Bart said.

“Me too,” Sammy said.

“Suppose you guys didn’t think your Dads were your Dads,” I proposed. “How would you go about proving it one way or another?”

“I’d ask,” Sammy said.

“Me too,” Bart agreed.

“What could either of your fathers offer as proof?” I said.

“I’d believe them,” Sammy said.

Bart stroked his chin. “Are you trying to get us to deny God?”

“No,” I said. “I want you to help me believe in God.”

“Maybe that’s for a preacher,” Sammy said.

“It’s for Rich,” Bart said.

“Thank you Bart,” I said. “That’s a start. I just can‘t have somebody tell me to believe. Do you remember the experiment Mr. Mahaffey did with salt water. He said salt does not dissolve. You said it does. You dissolved salt in water and then he poured it through filters until it was pure. The salt collected in the filter. You had to have proof.”

“This is making me feel creepy,” Sammy said. “Satan may come for you tonight.”

“Let’s go back to our fathers. You would ask your fathers, right?” I said.

“Right.”

“Right.”

“I think your Dads would take you by the hand and lead you to a mirror and say, ‘See how we look alike.’ That’s proof. I want God to show me proof that I am one of his children by taking my hand and showing me how we are alike. We reflect our God like we reflect our Dads. I don’t want to be like my Dad. If God wants me to be like him, he will have to show me how. I don‘t do bad things, but I feel I‘m bad. I don‘t feel like I even belong here with you guys, but look at you guys when Sammy‘s Dad said something about window peeking at the Johnson‘s, a vision flashed in both of your heads. You were both to the point of drooling.”

“That’s natural,” Sammy said defensively.

“Why does the Bible say not even to look lustfully upon a woman than,” I asked.

Sammy and Bart were clearly uncomfortable. We laid down and soon fell asleep. I don’t know how long I was asleep before needing to urinate. Quietly I lifted the flap of the tent and instead of taking advantage of the invitation extended by Mr. Tuttle to use the bathroom inside I walked the extra few steps and went into the woods. On my way back I looked into the sky wondering if the displeasure of God had been incurred by blasphemous reasoning or words.

 

 

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A Night For Boys and God (Part 1)

thLSK1XG2SAs nightfall was well along the three of us reclined around the low yellow flame of a kerosene lantern. We sipped our pop, munched on potato chips and marshmallow pies. We talked of girls, love, sports, teachers, the future, and life. These are times a young man can for the first time articulate his thoughts to others without reproach of a scolding parent or know-it-all teachers. It’s a testing of ideas and concepts that will shape a boy’s future. It trains how to interact with a world that will soon change from boyish aspirations and idealism to adult realities and brutal disappointments. A cruel and unforgiving world awaits just beyond the flap of that tent. We did not know that then.

We spoke of making right choices in life, what will guide us, who will influence us, and what code we will live by.

“What is your code to live by?” Bart asked Sammy.

“Live for today, plan for tomorrow,” Sammy said. “How ‘bout you Bart?”

“Do to others as you want others to do to you,” Bart said. “And what about you?” He said looking at me.

“I don’t know,” I said.

They frowned and shrugged their shoulders.

“The key is belief in God,” Bart said.

“God can help you make good decisions,” Sammy said confidently.

“He can make all your decisions turn out good,” Bart said.

“What do you mean?” Sammy said.

“Let’s say you went some place your Mom and Dad said not to go. And something bad happened there; like a fire. God would allow you to save everybody,” Bart said.

“He makes bad things turn into good, if your heart is right and you believe in him.”

“Yeah, yeah, that’s right,” Sammy agreed. “I know what you mean. Things like that happen all the time.”

There was a moment of silence. Sammy and Bart waited for me to proffer a theory to the stew of philosophical and religious discussion.

“Does that mean you can do anything, like anything and it will come out right, because God doesn’t want you to screw up?” I finally said.

“You’re being ridiculous,” Sammy said disgustingly.

“I don’t think so,” Bart said. Bart thought deeper and seldom spoke without thinking. “I think what you are saying is that you can spend a lifetime of jumping in front of cars or off skyscrapers thinking its all going to turn out good and that‘s tempting God, which we shouldn’t do.”

“You ever heard the one about the guy who jumped out of the fifty story building and each widow he passed on the way down he said, ‘so far so good?’” I said. “Just because things seem to be going okay doesn’t mean that we’re on the right course. It can’t be left to chance.”

“My head is hurting,” Sammy said and we all laughed. “God keeps your head from hurting.”

“How do you know there is a God?” I asked.

“For god’s sake what are you saying?” Sammy said.

“You got to believe in God.” Bart said. “Are you a communist?”

“God will punish you for that,” Sammy said.

“I’m not saying I don’t believe in god,” I said. “I ask how do you know.”

“You just know,” Bart said.

“It takes faith,” Sammy said.

“Maybe you should go to church,” Bart said. “Do you go?”

“I’m not so sure that has a lot to do with it,” I said. “Look at the people around us that go and those who don’t go. Look at Chet Winters, he treats us good and pays for more than we do. He said that ministers preached troops to go into battle to die horrible and painful deaths. He said he hasn’t been in a church sense before the war except to get married and go to his kids’ weddings. He’s the most honest man around. Have you ever worked for Orville Higgins? He’s a deacon in the Brethren Church. I caught him resetting the counter on the baler and he deducts fifty cents a meal if his wife feeds us.”

“No matter, you got to belong to a church,” Sammy said.

“What churches do you guys belong to?” I asked.

“The Methodist’s,” Bart said.

“Baptist’s,” Sammy said. “What about you?”

“I suppose a Lutheran,” I said.

“Suppose!” Bart said. “You’re not sure?”

“I’ve been to one Easter service and two weddings. That’s it. How often do you go to church?” I asked Sammy.

“I go about once a month,” Sammy said.

“Could you call yourself a student if you went to school once a month?” I asked. “That makes you a truant.”

(Continued tomorrow.)

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Person Of The Year (Park Part 4)

(Continued from yesterday.)

“JC Sizemore!” Ellen Hamilton, the pop culture editor said. “Who is that?”

Everyone in the room stared at Grant with equal amazement.

Grant told everyone what happened in the park.
“It’s the story of the millions of common people who do millions of incredible things that make life easier for everyone,” Grant said. “We started out writing for those people, but the last fifteen years we have become an ideologically driven rag. Everything we write and every position we take is predictable. Remember when we just reported? That was our golden age.”

“We will be the laughing stock of the all newsmagazines,” Horton Wilcox said. “They’ll all thing you’ve gone Ted Turner on us.”

“Horton, old pal,” Grant said. “You have favored the most and worst covers and lead stories for the magazine over the years. ‘If it bleeds it leads’ is kid’s play for you; if it’s perverse it’s first.’ I pulled down a picture of him from the city’s website. That’s the man I want on the front cover.”

“You’re mad,” Edgar Pinkerton said. “We should wrestle control of this issue from you. This will be the death of our magazine.”

“Let me ask all of you something,” Grant said. “How many of our previous persons of the year are in prison today? Three. How many wars have they been responsible for? Five. How many are linked to scandals? All. How many have had publicists contact you? Well I don’t know about you folks, but I get contacted almost daily.”

“Why do you even have an editorial board?” Martin Fleckman said.

“I’m kind of wondering the same thing,” Grant said. “Years ago when I took over this magazine it was the same as all the others. We, you and I, made it different. It was the common sense voice of the common man, now it is like all the others. You have all become fat, stodgy, intellectually superior, complacent, and lazy. There was a time when I’d come in here and you’d all say, ‘This is us. Let’s do it! Frankly if not for a walk in the park today I’d come back here and said let’s make it so and so, he’s done a lot this year. Look at all the favorable reporting we’ve done on him without investigating anything.”

Gryndale Hilty rose. “We’ll all be looking for jobs next week.”

“Your right,” Grant said despondently and fell back into his chair. “Because you’re all fired. I told my idea to four people; two interns, some kid working at a desk in IT, and a journalism student working part time in the lobby’s coffee shop. You should have seen the looks on their faces. They were tossing ideas back at me. I want people like them. In fact I hired them.”

There was silence in the room. Everyone looked as if it were a joke.

Grant picked up the intercom phone. “Agnes, get security for everyone, thank you.” He hung up. “Nobody leaves the room until escorted back to there office by security. You will be given twenty minutes to clear out. I have new people moving occupying your offices in thirty minutes. That is with the exception of you Ms, Hilty, I’ll give you another 45 minutes. The gal in the coffee shop wants to finish her shift before starting here.”

The End

 

 

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Person Of The Year – Part 3

(Continued from yesterday.)

“Hey!” JC said “You dropped some trash. It’s tough enough keeping this park clean when guys like you just throw trash everywhere.” JC handed Grant the money that one of the young men dropped during their hasty get-away.

“It would insult you if I told you to keep it,” Grant said.

“I am a proud man,” JC said.

“And if I just threw it on the ground…” Grant said.

“I’d turn it in,” JC said.

“That’s what I thought,” Grant said.

“This is your money,” JC said. “I wouldn’t have worked any harder than those four thugs would have worked for it.”

“Why didn’t you go on to college?” Grant said. “As I recall everybody wanted you.”

“Do you remember ole Taz Martin?” JC said.

“Yeah,” Grant said. “Me and him cross city rivals. Both of us all-state. He went on to college. Did okay. Played three years pro. Want to know where he is now?”

“Where” Grant said.

JC pointed to a park bench about 50 yards away. “See that man laying there?”

“Yeah,” Grant said.

“That’s ole Taz Martin,” JC said. “I stop at McDonalds everyday and get a McMuffin for him. We are still rivals. He‘s trying to kill himself and I’m trying to keep him alive.”

“That’s a shame,” Grant said.

“You can do me favor,” JC said.

“After what you did for me,” Grant said, “of course I can.”

JC reached down in his pocket and handed Grant $5. “I’d like to go see my sister and her family this weekend, can you get something for Taz?”

“Yeah,” Grant said.
“I’m not doing this for no other reason than to help and old rival,” JC said. “Ole Taz played defense too. I just got a hand-off and he leveled me at top speed. I didn’t think I’d ever get up. Ole Taz gave me a hand up and asked me if I was okay.”

“I remember that,” Gant said. “Two plays later you ran the ball sixty yards for a touchdown.”

JC smiled broadly. “Ole Taz was hot on my trail, right behind me. I could hear him breathing and his feet pounding and when I scored he said, ‘I guess you okay.’”

“What a game!” Grant said.

“Sure was,” JC said. “I really got to get back to work. Will you take care of Taz for me. He’ll be around here about eight. And don‘t give him the money, buy him the food.”

“You don’t have to worry,” Grant said.

Grant hailed a cab back to the office.

On the ride back it suddenly came back to him; he was supposed to choose his magazine’s person of the year award. It was crazy, but he knew who the person of the year would be – JC Sizemore.

 

 

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