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New Dark Humor Fiction: Hitch-Hike Baby, Part Two

The Ugly

When last we visited, I had just gotten laid by way of a friendly, frisky, pre-AIDS era hitchhike hookup. It was the only time such a thing happened during my years thumbing rides, but not for lack of offers. Unfortunately, at least for a straight guy like me, all the other offers I got after getting picked up were from men.

New Fiction: Constance Dryden’s Oil

We bought the house we’re currently living in from an elderly woman–Constance Dryden–who had lost her husband ten years before. My wife Teri and I figured Constance to be in her late seventies, perhaps early eighties. On our first walk-through, and all through the sales process, she seemed vaguely ambivalent, even unwilling to part with the bungalow on Portland’s Southwest Devonshire Street. According to our agent, Sally Showwalter, her family had insisted Grandma Dryden give up the homestead when it became clear she could no longer keep it up. Her three children were worried about her living alone with the stairs to the basement, the old clawfoot tub, the considerable amount of work needed in the large yard. The oldest daughter was taking her in.

Our offer was countered, we accepted, and that was that, but returning from a run to Home Depot several days after closing we found Constance raking October leaves on the front lawn.  “You have to stay ahead of the leaves this time of year,” she said. “How do you like the place so far?”

Teri and I were friendly, but a shadow of wariness crossed our shared glance.

 

New Fiction: Their Deformed Ideology

I stand over the FNP soldier, gun pointed at his head.

The sky is dark, the field a landscape of muddy trenches. The only remaining hint of living vegetation lies some three hundred yards away, a sketchy dark outline against the ring of mountains beyond. Bright muzzle flashes pop in and out of existence across the field like a swarm of fireflies. It smells of metal, ozone, and death.

Rain streams down my gloved hands, across the matte black of my gun barrel. Droplets form and slide one-by-one down the muzzle like marching soldiers, collecting into one large drop at the tip that falls…and is quickly lost in the dozens streaming from the sky to spatter my enemy’s face. His sickly eyes squint up at me from underneath thick greenish folds, like a zombie, or an alien.

Hard to believe he’s one of my fellow countrymen.

New Humor Fiction: Hitch-Hike Baby

Part 4 In the Odyssey of Carlos Stranger…

I did a lot of hitch-hiking around Shreveport before I got my learner’s permit and was able to drive my parent’s 1962 Buick Invicta station wagon. As a consequence, I’m probably lucky to be alive. Based on my experience, I can’t recommend thumbing rides; doing so was an absolute never-ever for my own children. While hitchhiking was something we did back in the day, due to the inherent dangers it has fallen out of favor. Does anyone hitchhike anymore?

New Historical Fiction: Know Your Weapon – Know Yourself

The Old West fast-draw showdown in the middle of Main Street (often at high noon) has been a staple of the Western film genre since its beginning in the 1920s. Of course it almost never happened quite like that; and the closest we get to it was likely the first famous faceoff just a few months after the end of the Civil War – July 21, 1865 – upon the town square in Springfield, Missouri.

Dave and Jim were “frenemies.” Dave had fought for the Confederacy in an Arkansas regiment, while Jim had scouted for the Union. Nevertheless, they gambled, drank and caroused together, though their mutual spirit of competition and over-sized egos would often place them at opposing ends of the gaming table.

New Sci-Fi Fiction: Sesame Credit, USA

I woke up on time this morning, hitting the alarm on the first ring. I had slept OK that night according to my fitness tracker. I didn’t need it to tell me I normally slept badly, but the social workers wouldn’t let you get healthcare under the limited government programs if you didn’t wear it.

I stared at my phone on the charger for a while. The device was a cheap, minimal unit. I could say it was environmentally friendly for being recycled or low energy usage. In reality, I wanted as little tracking as possible. I couldn’t afford more points against me. It was in sleep mode, but it would always get feedback from the network because state functions had priority.

New Historical Fiction: A Hero’s Inspiration

Young Christopher worshiped a superhero.  There was no help for it; the spirit of the man was in the very air he breathed in Boone’s Lick, Missouri – the final stop for that famous family. Christopher’s own family lived on land purchased from the Boones and had intermarried with them. He would sit wide-eyed by the fire as the men told stories, sometimes repeatedly, of the exploits of Daniel Boone.

He was told how Dan’l got his first rifle at the age of twelve; and how he promptly shot a panther through the heart in mid-air as it pounced, while his young companions ran for their lives. Christopher knew that Daniel Boone was the first to lead the pioneers on the Wilderness Road through the Cumberland gap to the Ken Tuc Ky – the “dark bloody ground” where tribes from all points of the compass met to settle their differences in battle. He thought how foolish it was for that Shawnee war party to kidnap those Boonesborough girls foraging outside the settlement. Did they not know one of them was Jemima Boone? It took but two days for her father and some friends to track them down, surprise them as they ate – kill some, scatter the rest, and bring Jemima and the other two girls home safe and unharmed.

New Fiction: Seizing Infinity

Henry Watterson half-listened to the television on in the other room so that he wouldn’t feel completely alone as he stared out the window and watched the traffic on Genesee Street.  He wasn’t paying attention to anything in particular, he never did these days. This had been his distracted routine since the funeral.

He heard the person on the television say something that snapped his head around. A man with a sophisticated English accent had just made a statement that jarred Henry out of his chair and made him run to the screen. He grabbed the remote and backed up the program to hear it again.

“It has been theorized that a black hole contains all time.”

He hit rewind again to hear it for a third time.

New Fiction: Childhood Nightmares

At first, the room gave no sound, but then a creak was heard from under the bed. Ryan’s ancient house, aching and groaning in the night. It happened all the time. He shut his eyes, half-dreaming, and then he heard the creak again. He shivered. Maybe it was the way the floor creaked, or maybe it was the time of year, but tonight, it reminded him of when he once snuck into his mother’s room while she was sleeping and slid under her bed. His mind drifted off. He was no longer forty and single. He was nine and afraid to be alone.

New Fiction: Dos & Hem in Spain’s Civil War, Part 2

And then war opened in Spain…

I went there, Hemingway went there, Gellhorn went there. All we Commies flocked there to be part of it. Gramsci was daring to call out Stalin and say that his Socialist genocide in Russia was not the method Communists should use for conquest in the future because the genocide wasn’t working. Communism was failing, Gramsci said, because of Christianity. Communists needed to take over the Means of Education in countries to supplant the Christian values with Communist values and, as I said, grow our crops in their fields. Gramsci showed the way to make elementary schools and entertainment our beachheads as we hid ourselves here to pivot to total psychological war. This peaceful approach gave me hope, because we were saying more that we could win by schooling rather than our usual promotion of hatred and murder for anyone who stood up to us.

Stalin talked about murdering Gramsci. But Gramsci was only talking these ideas at the time and his thinking mirrored the concerns of many who were afraid to speak out. And all of us in Spain waited on pins and needles. Remember, Stalin had called to Moscow the Swedish experts on race differences and Stalin listened intently to their findings. He asked them to stay in Moscow three days while he weighed their research. On the fourth day, Stalin announced his decision that Soviet-style Global Socialism would reject the race theories and that Global Socialists were superior to other people not by virtue of our race, but by virtue of our Marxist views. Acceptance of Marxism should determine who wins or loses, lives or dies, not race differences. All of us breathed a huge sigh of relief, because now we still had this clear distinction between us and Hitler’s Nazi Socialists. And Stalin, with his usual flourish, finalized his decision on race by executing all the Swedish experts whom he had invited to Moscow.

Click here for part 1 of this story.

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