Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Flash Fiction

Four o'clock on Halloween and my bath-tub clogs. I wasn't using it. Don't know who clogged it, but I have to fix it.

By bedtime my three-year-old will be covered in caramel and bubble gum. I'll need that tub.

With the sun dipping into a pumpkin-colored sky, we park at the hardware store. The lot is deserted.

“The witch is there,” Nikolas is saying. “The scary, scary witch.”

“If you already know she's there, she can't scare you,” I reply.

Last time we were here, the motion-activated cackling witch came to life and terrified him.

I see no one with vests and name-tags as we enter the store. Someone should be lubricating the sliding doors. They open with a horrible screech.

They close with a clank.

“See, Nikolas. The witch isn't even here.” Unusual that they'd take down all the Halloween decorations already.

We walk from sign to sign: Lumber, Tools, Gravestones, Hardware, Torture, Electrical, Plumbing. Some bats flap about the rafters.

I find a rack of pipe snakes hanging between formaldehyde jars and shrunken heads. I reach for one. It hisses and snaps at me. Nikolas hands me a length of copper pipe and I whap the serpent on the head.

“Can someone help me?” I call. My voice echoes. I hear shuffling steps. “I need something for cleaning drains.”

Around the corner, dragging one foot, shambles a figure in a vest. An eye-ball dangles from a rotting socket. He lifts a jug of Drano in a gangrenous hand.

“Drains!” he moans. I scoop up Nikolas and back away, wielding my pipe.

With a whoosh, my weapon is snatched from my grip by the witch on a broom.

“I knew you'd come back,” she shrieks. “That boy will make a fine stew.”

I unscrew the cap from a can of PVC cement and hand it to Nikolas. He pitches it like a grenade at the zombie's feet. “Drains!” he shouts, trapped in a sticky blue puddle.

The witch circles, followed by a swarm of bats. Nikolas trots to the fire hose. I grab the nozzle while he opens the valve.

“I'm melting!” she screams as I blast her with water. She dissolves into a greasy curl of smoke. Her broom harpoons an ogre inspecting the axes.

The bats chase us across the store, whirling in Nikolas' hair and battering my ears. Nikolas rolls a shop-vac to me. I switch it on and inhale every flapping rodent I see.

Nikolas snaps a tube of liquid nails into a caulking gun and takes aim at a giant spider crawling over bales of insulation. She leaps at me, fangs bared, and he covers her in glue. I sidestep as she splats wriggling on the floor.

We hop up into a fork-lift. A horde of goblins masses between us and the front door.

“Should we lie down the law, Daddy?”

Lay down the law. Let's lay down the law, Nikolas.”

I mash the pedal and lurch forward. Nikolas fiddles with all the levers until the fork raises to goblin-nostril-level. We plow our way through the crowd, shatter the glass and crush a couple lawn tractors on our way to the parking lot.

“I don't want to take a bath today.”

“That's okay, Niko,” I say. “Maybe tomorrow.”

Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Direction

First of all, you might notice my real name at the top of the blog.  I've started contributing to Yahoo, specializing in writing, food, cocktails, sports and parenting.  They encouraged me to use my real picture and name.  (I considered A D Six but it looked stooopid.)

Already I've published two articles and a baseball haiku.  I have some recipes I want to publish.  Now I find I can't cook anything without photographing it.

Second, of course my erotica piece for Penny-a-Page is nearly done.  It will be on time by Halloween as promised.

But third,  I'm breaking my promise on Cathartes Aura Three.  Not only was I overly ambitious regarding a Halloween deadline, but I've been rethinking the project.  The ten-by-ten verse style worked well for Apocalypse Zoo, which was very visual.  Road from Nowhere, however, is a character and dialogue based piece.  Writing it in verse was quite challenging.  Reviews of both works substantiate this.

CA3, which is half done, is much like CA2 but with even more people and things to be said.  I'm afraid it's just not working.  So, I'm rebuilding it more in the mode of CA1: our vulture narrator soaring around disaster and dipping in to watch the humans on rare occasions.

Good news, though: I'm putting the whole 500 line rough draft on the blog before I edit the thing beyond recognition.

Fourth, My Gorgeous Illustrator responsible for all my cover art (visible on the top left) is painting.  Two pieces are available at  You can get to know her better on her blog, which is in its infant stages but growing.  She has a great eye and touch for putting abstract patterns across multiple canvases.  She lacks confidence.  Give her some encouragement for me if you can.

Fifth, I lost my job.  My fault.  I screwed up and was only following the rules I wanted to follow.  I'm 2500 words into getting that story out, but it doesn't make me happy to write.  When it's done, I'll put it on, with whom I'm also working.

Don't worry.  I'm on the verge of starting a new job.  Won't pay like the old one, so I've been looking into supplemental, from-home sources of work (hence the Yahoo and Squidoo).  Also I'm looking into tutoring with plus some blog-for-pay companies.  So don't be surprised if on day you see some advertising here.  Just being a bit less of a starving artist.

In conclusion, Yahoo's training told me people's eyes are attracted to bold headings.  I might be using more bulleted lists, too.  So, I'll be more active freelance writing and blogging.  I'll keep it fun.

Coming soon: Barbecue Prep and Planning

Don't be running around at the last minute trying to cook slow-and-low as fast as you can.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Haiku on Yahoo

Sorry I've been scarce, but I've been digging high and low for work-at-home opportunities.  I'm at step number two.

Step one is stumbling over myriad scams and swindles, hopefully not dropping my wallet in them.

Step two is finding some real people who know real stuff you can use.  So far, my hero is Stephanie Foster who runs a very honest and informative website:  Home with the Kids.

The most useful stuff for me has been about blogging and freelance writing.

Already I've posted my 10x10 How-To on  Much more to come there, including stuff on cooking, cocktails and uhhh getting fired.

But minutes ago I posted my first contribution on Yahoo.  The assignment was a haiku on baseball.  The formatting, I must admit, is disappointing but not often are they posting three line articles.  Oh well.  Still have to say it's exciting.

Be a fan and a friend.  Check it out and pass it on.  Seventeen syllables of personal history.