scene 3

dreamstime_m_7005470 old pickup truck web
Old Pickup Truck Photo
© Typhoonski |

(scene 1, part 1)  (scene 1, part 2) (scene 2)

The old truck rattled a lot. I probably should have taken better care of it when it was newer, so it wouldn’t rattle so much now. I suppose.

The important thing is I kept it running now – I know how to take care of it, and it gets me where I need to go. It’s old enough that it doesn’t have computers and GPS and all of the things that track where it is and where it’s been. Not that those things aren’t important – to me – I just don’t know whether they’re important enough to anyone else who’s minding their own business.

After awhile the rattles just fade into the background, and I don’t notice them unless I have a passenger who says, “Whoa! This truck rattles a lot!” or if the rattle changes. Change means something shifted and I should make sure I don’t need to shift that something back into place. Continue reading scene 3

The Battle of Seaside Heights

A short story


Darkness settled around the silent tin can as it cruised through the water like a stalking cat. Inside 44 souls worked at the task of keeping it running and silent.

“We are now inside U.S. waters, mein Kapitan,” the oberleutnant reported.

“Silent running,” the captain commanded, and the word was passed. “If this mission succeeds, the path will be set in stone and we can proceed with the taming of the Americans.”

The Amerikaner: The word lingered in his mind like stale eggs – soft, rotten. Good people at the core, no doubt, but sorely in need of discipline, the firmness the Reich could offer. On the shore ahead, nestled in their cozy homes, surrounded by comfort purchased at the expense of others, others like the German people, humiliated and looted after the Great War. This sortie would be the first step toward evening that score and restoring the Fatherland to its rightful place of world leadership. Continue reading The Battle of Seaside Heights

Once upon a midnight

Monday Morning Story


Chapter from the work in progress Krayatura: Beast from the Sea

Ransom Island lay 15 miles off the South Carolina shore, a five-mile-by-three-mile oasis surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. Year-round population: Several dozen.

Once a year its population swelled to about 200 to host a philosophical and political seminar called the Ransom Island Sessions. More than one president of the United States had attended Ransom Island, where no minutes were taken and imaginations were freed to conceive bold ideas and bold solutions to the challenges they faced. It was here where some of the most courageous or most foolhardy initiatives (depending on your politics or point of view) first saw light of day at the annual sessions.

This was one of the other 51 weeks.

The sun had set over the mainland somewhere beyond the horizon. No one had come or gone from the heliport or the docks all day, but there had been an unusual amount of activity overhead and out on the water: A Coast Guard helicopter zooming overhead, several small boats far offshore and heading northeast. Shipping channels were in that direction but over the horizon; people usually didn’t come to Ransom Island to be with other people or watch the trappings of civilization float or fly by. Continue reading Once upon a midnight

Wait By The Shore

A short story


Once upon a time in a place not far from here, but not close either, a man sat by the water. It was not a large lake – he could see the land on the other side – but it was not a small lake either – the land on the other side, he knew by consulting a map, was about 15 miles away.

“Slay the dragon,” he whispered to himself. He knew this dragon was worse than any mythical fire-breathing monster, and it was no myth. “Slay it good and dead.”

He pulled the flask out of his pocket, unscrewed the cap, and sniffed deeply so he could feel the aroma coursing through his body, tense with desire. Then, with a pit in his stomach, he turned the flask over and watched the golden nectar flow into the lake, every fiber of his being wanting to stop, to poke his tongue into the golden stream and pull in one last draught, knowing he couldn’t, not if he wanted the dragon to die.

“Die, you bastard,” he said to the dragon. “I need you, but I don’t want you no more.”

He screwed the cap back on and held the flask in his hand as if seeing it for the first and last time.

“Yep,” he said, “I don’t want you around no more.”

He set the flask down on a flat rock and drew himself up, forcing his breaths to come slow and calm. The day was cool and breezy. The waves licked rather than crashed, but it was what the old-timers called a crisp day. Autumn had reared its red and orange head and was now settling into a dreary brown, and it wouldn’t be long before it all turned into an even drearier blend of gray and white.

“Helluva time to give up your one and only pleasure, I suppose,” he mumbled to himself – of course it was to himself, who else was there?

Wait. Who else was there? Continue reading Wait By The Shore

Wildflower Man

wildflower-man-2The 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.”

The man in the glasses allowed a slight smile. “Not a court of law, Mr. Tucker, no need for ‘your honor.’ I’m Jim Fredricks, alderman of the 15th district and I chair this committee. Jim’s just fine. Now, is the complainant — “

“Sam, then.”


“Just Sam’s fine. Mr. Tucker was my father.” Sam Tucker ran a nervous hand through his hair and discovered suddenly about the need for a comb.

“All right, Sam. Now is Hank Johnson here?”

“I am indeed. Right here.” The scowling man with the deep booming voice was the only man in the front row, three folding chairs down from Sam Tucker. It had been pretty clear that was probably Hank Johnson.

“OK, you first, Mr. Johnson. What’s the problem?” Continue reading Wildflower Man