The General’s Store (a short story)

dreamstime_s_34105870 © Martingraf general store
© Martingraf |

It was a little town in the countryside, barely more than a grouping of houses around a couple of stores. No one remembered if the stores or the houses came first. Today that didn’t matter anyway. The issue wasn’t history, the issue was now.

Specifically, the issue was the fat man in the horse cart who was stopped in front of the general’s store. The general stood on the porch.

“You can’t open until you pay the piper,” said the fat man.

“What’s all this now?” asked Jim, who lived around the corner and was out of coffee.

“Man wants me to pay some license fee,” the general said. Continue reading “The General’s Store (a short story)”

And so it begins

silhouette woman walking with a dog in the field at sunset, a girl in an autumn jacket playing with pet throwing wooden stick on the nature

“Well, that’s a pain in the neck,” she said.

“It’s a bloody pain in the ass,” said her companion.

“Be that as it may,” she said, rubbing just below and to the left of the base of her skull, “my neck hurts.”

“Really?” said the companion, who was a vampire. “At a time like this?” Continue reading “And so it begins”

A dream of light in darkness

a dream of light in darkness

The shortest days of the year are here. Clouds mask what sunshine might come. Darkness or grayness hovers over the land daily. Who stole the sunlight? A malaise has fallen over us, our little band of travelers.

“Oh, bother,” said the one over there, obviously fishing for someone to ask what’s wrong. When no one took the bait, she muttered, “Fine. Don’t bother.”

An undertow of resentment may have rippled through the group, but no one else spoke. Continue reading “A dream of light in darkness”

Gently down the stream

gently down the stream

Author’s note: The other day, after neglecting my journal for a day, I picked it up and entered a “zone” and didn’t set it back down until I had filled 16 pages. At several points I became aware that I was writing without thinking and enjoying the stream of consciousness, so I’d tuck my brain away again and keep going. Afterward, reviewing where my mind had wandered, I got the idea to share the whole 16 pages, almost exactly as they’d come out, with only one addition: the word Trope.

Why would you want to read this? Why would anyone care what I write when I’m just riding a stream of consciousness to nowhere or somewhere or wherever this goes? I don’t know. Maybe I’m the only one who finds this writing exercise interesting, but that’s OK. It would not be the first time, or the last. Continue reading “Gently down the stream”

Hobgoblins on Parade

dinosaur eye web

(With the usual thanks to H.L. Mencken)

He brushed aside the brush and peered into the clearing, not sure he could trust his eyes. Oh, nothing was wrong with his eyes, it’s just that they presented him with a sight that would be unbelievable except for the fact that, undeniably, the sight was there and his eyes were delivering an accurate picture of the clearing.

Plainly, he could see – well, the plain fact was that hobgoblins were swarming.

He couldn’t tell how many there were – after a certain quantity the actual number became irrelevant. It was enough to constitute a swarm, and perhaps five hobgoblins would be enough to subdue the average person. When five is enough, then it didn’t matter whether the clearing contained a platoon, a brigade or a regiment: It was simply more than enough to overcome his solitary soul. He was toast if he entered the clearing. He was toast if they saw him in the underbrush. He was, quite simply, toast. Continue reading “Hobgoblins on Parade”

A ‘journalist’ confronts his tormentor


This time — this time will be different, he said, as he pushed the boulder up the hill to a precipice. This time, this time will be different, she said, as she gazed and reached for the woman in the pond. This time it will work. I just have to try again — I’m doing all the same things in the same order — it has to work one of these times if I just – keep – trying –

“I say, old chap, why don’t you try something different? Just adjust your aim a trifle, or try this instead of that, here and there?”

Different? But this is the way I’ve always done it.

“Quite right. And are you pleased with the results?” Continue reading “A ‘journalist’ confronts his tormentor”