Beware the Ides

Saturday Stories #8

A public square, people walking, vehicles buzzing past.

“Beware the Ides of September!” cried the old bearded man, boring his wild eyes deep into the stranger’s soul, and then, as the stranger stared at him confused, stepped forward and shouted this time: “Beware the Ides of September!”

“Don’t you mean March? Caesar’s death and all that?” asked the stranger, perhaps a bit condescending, perhaps a bit amused.

“Six months on. The assassins fall in among themselves,” said the crazy one. “Your sins shall find you out. Beware the Ides of September.”

‘Well, I haven’t killed any emperors lately,” said the stranger, smugly now. “I think I’m safe.”

“It’s the ones who think they’re safe who are in the most danger,” the mad prophet snapped. “Beware, I tell thee. Beware the Ides of September!”

“Poppycock,” said the stranger, and stepped in front of a dump truck bearing the name Ides & Sons Gravel and Excavating.

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Something goes horribly wrong

Saturday Stories #7

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“I love the feel of paper in my hands,” the wild-eyed woman said. “Do you know the feeling? Do you?”

“I know exactly what you mean,” the nervous old man said. “Exactly.”

“You do, do you?” She said, moving ominously close to him. “Do ya, punk? Exactly?”

“I really think you should take a deep breath,” he breathed, “and put down the weapon.”

“And all this time I thought you were my friend,” the old woman snarled. “All along you were plotting to bring me down.”

“That’s not true! I mean, yes, I am your friend.”

“How do you explain how you knew my cat is gone? Did you kill her? Did ya, punk?”

“No, of course not. I heard the news from your neighbor.”

“And only the thief would know my necklace was stolen from the drawer in my closet.”

“Don’t come any closer.”

“I’ll come as close as I want,” she said quietly. “Why are you dead set on making my life miserable?”

“You told me yourself about the drawer in your closet. I just assumed that’s where your necklace was stolen from.”

”You know what you do when you assume, right? You make an ass out of u and me.”

“For the love of God, Agnes!”

The next morning the nice detective came to the door to say her necklace had been found in the stash of a young burglar who had struck several homes in the neighborhood. While they were talking, her cat hopped up on the stoop and rubbed against the detective’s leg, back from a long adventure.

“Oops,” said Agnes.

Comfort & Joy, Detective Agency

Saturday Stories #6

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Chapter 1

Adam Comfort woke with a start.

“Whoa, that was close,” he said to himself, and he realized he was sweating – or out of breath – or wait, what was close? How did he know he just escaped from – something?

Just like that, the dream was gone.

The brick view out his bedroom window was the first anchor of the morning to reality. What the hell had he been dreaming? It was a hell of a dream, that much he remembered – if he was a movie writer, he’d be rich if only he had written it down. It was about – what? He was chasing down – something. He and his partner were about to capture – someone – and just before he woke up they were caught in a trap by – whoever. He had quickly lost every little detail about the dream – well, most of the details.

“I’ll always remember the skunk,” he said out loud. Good grief, the skunk. Continue reading →

Wildflower Man

Saturday Stories: Summer rerun

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The man who carried himself older than his years, boulders weighing down his shoulders, adjusted his glasses and harrumphed.

“Meeting will come to order,” he said. “Here about the complaint regarding Sam Tucker’s lawn. Mr. Tucker present?”

A bearded man who should have combed his hair that morning raised his hand. “Here, your honor.” Continue reading

The Place Holder

Saturday Stories #5

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The custodian pulled out his keys with a jangle, fiddled for the one, and opened the door.

A man was sitting on the battered leather couch, staring into a smartphone screen.

“Who are you, then?” the custodian said. “You’re not Mr. Comfort.”

“No, no, I’m not,” the man on the couch said. The custodian looked toward the other door. “She’s not here, either.”

“Well, what’s all this, then? And what are you doing in this office?” Continue reading →

The Old Man and the Press

Saturday Stories #4

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The devices had been useless for so long with only error messages to greet every effort to connect, so many days and week and months – was it years already? – that everyone had finally come to the realization that the web wasn’t coming back to life.

Some said it was a conspiracy, that evil men and women had fed our dependency and then cruelly took it away to make us despair. Others said we just ran out of fossil fuel to feed the power plants and we owed it to the Earth to silence the things that drained the power. Others said we didn’t pass on the knowledge of how to fix the machines and thus we lost the ability to make repairs. Continue reading →

Remember this

Saturday Stories #3

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A rainy, autumn day at Willow Rest Assisted Living and Nursing Home, late in the 20th century.

The old man looked at the clock and set down his magazine. He stood up, examined himself in the mirror, poured a shot of gin, and downed it in a slow gulp.

He shuffled to the door, took a deep breath, and placed a disinterested but confident expression on his face.

Then, pulling open the door, he stepped into the corridor and strode the 50 feet down the corridor to his destination.

The old man paused at the entrance to the common room and saw her at once – pale, frail, but just as heart-stoppingly beautiful as ever – looking out the windows at the nearby trees as if they were a thousand miles and a lifetime ago.

“She won’t remember you,” said the orderly. “She never does.” Continue reading →

Some Days You Eat The Pelican

Saturday Stories #2

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Once upon a time in a land where pelicans flew in V formation over a quiet bay, the fish were gone, as if they had gone on strike and refused to show up for work.

The pelicans were perplexed.

“This is perplexing, Poppy,” Percival, a pelican, pouted to his wife. “If we can’t find anything to eat, well, we won’t have anything for lunch.”

“Poppycock,” Poppy said. “The fish can’t all be gone.”

“All. Gone. See for yourself,” he said, and she did.

She looked and looked and looked and looked and looked. Continue reading →