Saturday, October 27, 2012


As we approach the end of this October, the days get chillier and spookier, the leaves on the trees quit trying to look colorful, and every voter in America is afraid of how the coming election will turn out. Yes, there’s a lot to be afraid of these dark days, and that puts us in just the right mood for the ghosts, black cats, skeletons, and devils who will be pounding on our doors come All Hallow’s Even, demanding treats, threatening tricks.

Watch out! Here they come.…

To get you in the mood, here are seven short, short stories written to make you bite your nails.

Death is for the Living
“Martha, after you die I’m going to marry Alice.”
“My hospice nurse?”
“We want your blessing, Martha. Life’s for the living, y’know.”
Martha’s tears dropped from her cheeks to the pillow.
After Ralph left the house, Martha rose and spent the rest of her life swallowing Ralph’s medications and refilling his bottles with her own.

My Name’s Larry, and I...
I used to be an alcoholic. Booze was all I lived for.
Then one fateful day, my marriage broke up, I lost my job, and I got in a horrible automobile accident.
I haven’t had a drink since that day. That day changed me forever.
I don’t miss the alcohol. I just miss being alive.

Injury to Insult
“You’re foolish to insult a witch,” I scolded.
“You’re no witch.”
“You think not?”
“Prove it,” he sneered.
So I unlaced my bodice.
His jaw dropped.
His eyes fell.
His heart sank.
I kicked his heart, his eyes, and his jaw under the bed, then said to the rest of him, “I rest my case.”

The Second Course...
The unfaithful slave was ordered to choose between two doors. Behind one, the girl he loved; behind the other, a ravenous tiger.
Hearing growls behind the left-hand door, he opened the right. Entered.
Slam. Click.
The room was empty.
There was no partition between the two chambers.
Next door, a tiger was finishing his appetizer.

Catch and Release
He wobbled into school, still flinching.
“I was caught,” he said. “Thrown on a pile of dead bodies. It was all dry. All hard. I couldn’t breathe. Monsters squeezed me and ripped my mouth apart and threw me away. Brrrghhh!”
“They’d caught their limit,” I said. “You were lucky.”
He shuddered. “The others were luckier.”

Independence Day
I watched the little kid stamping up and down the sidewalk all morning. Finally I asked, “What are you doing?”
“Getting free of my mother,” he answered.
“You’re running away?”
“I can’t,” he whined. “My dumb mom won’t let me cross the street.”
“So how—”
He grinned and resumed his march. “I’m stepping on cracks.”

…And Have  Nice Day
Folks, this is your captain speaking. We’re experiencing some difficulty with three of our engines, and we’re going to have to lose some weight.
So I have volunteered to take the parachute and jump. Automatic pilot should keep you flying for a while, and eventually you’ Sort of.
Enjoy the rest of your flight.


  1. These are fantastic, John. The first one is my favorite!

  2. Thank you, Bill. And by the way, everyone, I strongly recommend Bill Doonan's current post on Novel Spaces:

  3. And you wonder why I don't fly anymore! Fun, and as usual, quite creative.


    1. I don't like flying anymore either, Madeline. Mainly, I don't like airports anymore. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Love these, John, especially #s 1, 2 and 4. So clever and filled with the joy of story (now where did I get that from?) Happy Halloween to you and yours. I'm all prepared for Frankenstorm, which is to hit us tomorrow and Tuesday. Hope the kids get to go trick or treating...

    1. Many thanks, Eileen. We'll be watching that storm closely from afar. Good luck to you, and try to stay dry!

  5. Now you have me creeped out for the rest of the day. I better leave the lights on tonight. Good stories!