shiny things in messy little piles

Category: Stories (Page 2 of 2)


Once upon a time there was a lit­tle boy who had both a dog and a monster.

This boy spent his sum­mer days with the dog trav­el­ing out with him in the morn­ing and return­ing each after­noon in the hottest part of the day to cool in the shade of the back porch with the glass of lemon­ade pro­vid­ed by the woman known to the adults as The Girl and to the boy as Maya. Maya was unique among the Girls of the neigh­bor­hood in that she agreed with her boy on two sub­jects. One, that the grey dog, called Roy, was the best dog in the neigh­bor­hood and deserved his spot at the north end of the boy’s bed every night. Two, that the mon­ster that took its days in the cool dirt under the back porch stairs and its nights with the dust and stray dog bones under the south end of the boy’s bed was just the right sort of mon­ster for a 10 year-old boy to have. Of course, this also meant that Maya believed in the mon­ster. She was the only adult in Grifter’s Bend who did not sub­scribe to the views of Dr. Sep­tem­ber, the child psy­chol­o­gist. She knew that the mon­sters were as real as the dogs, and the sis­ter’s cats, and the ham­sters in dirty aquar­i­ums that also exist­ed in the boys’ worlds. Our boy, whose name is Duffy Jack­son, is par­tic­u­lar­ly lucky to have Maya in his house from 9 to 6 Mon­day through Sat­ur­day except­ing Wednes­day after­noons, when she goes to see her own mama and get ready for church.

Con­tin­ue reading


Not quite a day late, but pret­ty much a dol­lar — or a piece of soft­ware and a mar­gin change — short. 

So with­out fur­ther ado — or prop­er ink­ing — I give you the first install­ment of The Big G. 




Red Rain © Car­los Rodriguez

Tomas looked down from the balcony. 

This house, the house he’d grown up in, was old, fad­ed. The cool blues and sweet mel­ons of his child­hood for­got­ten and replaced with dry grays and dingy mus­tards. It was as if his moth­er had tak­en all of the col­or with her when she left. Papa had told them that she died. Sud­den­ly one night when Tomas was 12 and Hugo had just turned 4. 

Tomas had believed Papa and Hugo had not. And that is all you need to know about the two Clau­dio brothers. 

Con­tin­ue reading


When I left, it was winter.

I had arrived on a clear cold August night. Stop­ping on the butte over­look­ing the canyon, I won­dered if there was any rea­son not to sim­ply con­tin­ue rid­ing north.

To be continued…

First line cour­tesy of The Ora­cle. But yours won’t be the same.

Leonard Cohen — Machine of Death

Leonard Cohen

The atten­dant held out the dis­tinc­tive yel­low and orange envelope.

Thank you Mr. Su” he said cheer­ful­ly as Kam took the enve­lope. “Have a nice day, Sir.”

Kam stepped out of the arcade into the Pacif­ic Avenue rush. He squint­ed against the low Octo­ber after­noon sun. Damn, no sun­glass­es.
He crossed the street to the new two-story Star­bucks and stood in line behind the usu­al col­lec­tion of black clad teenagers, under-employed hip­sters, and multi-level mar­keters in cheap sports coats. Kam stared at the logo on his enve­lope. A laugh­ably cheap image of crossed fin­gers on a back­ground of the ini­tials LD and the mot­to “Only Time Will Tell.” He flipped the enve­lope over and fin­gered the flap. Turned it back over and stared at the crossed fin­gers again. His broth­er had told him that the ini­tials LD stood for Lucky Dayz and that the com­pa­ny that pro­duced the Answer­Ma­chine™ had orig­i­nal­ly been in the busi­ness of man­u­fac­tur­ing claw crane games and bar-top slot machines. In fact the machine itself was orig­i­nal­ly designed as a for­tune telling game called “How Shall I Die?” The design­er had had the bril­liant idea of get­ting cryp­tic sound­ing answers by tak­ing ran­dom phras­es from a live con­nec­tion to Wikipedia. Mar­ket­ing had loved the for­tune cook­ie vibe of the answers but had nixed the name in favor of the less def­i­nite Answer­Ma­chine™. Still ‘every­one’ knew that the machine only answered one ques­tion — How am I going to die? And ‘every­one’ knew that the machine was nev­er wrong.

Lucky Dayz. That’s rich.” he said aloud and then remem­bered he was­n’t alone.

He turned the enve­lope back over and slid his fin­ger under the flap. There were two pieces of paper. A close­ly print­ed double-sided “Guide to your Answer”. He ignored this and looked at the 3x5 card with it’s hap­py orange bor­der and the LD logo in the corner.

Leonard Cohen?” it read. “What the fuck, they’ve giv­en me some­one else’s results.”

He shoved the papers back into the enve­lope and stuffed it back into his mes­sen­ger bag, elbow­ing the man behind him in the process.

Oh, sor­ry.” He apol­o­gized as he stepped up to the counter.

Amer­i­cano in hand Kam walked to the condi­ments bar to get half-n-half. Wait­ing behind the goth girl adding four Splen­das to her soy lat­te, his curios­i­ty got the bet­ter of him and he dug the enve­lope out of his mes­sen­ger bag. As he pulled out the card the Guide fell to the floor. An old­er woman with lots of pre­cise spikes and angles in her gray hair stopped to pick it up for him. Hand­ing it over she stiff­ened when she saw the enve­lope in Kam’s hand.

Super­sti­tious non­sense.” she mut­tered Con­tin­ue reading

Newer posts »