Thursday, January 12, 2017


I want to live alone
Because the greatest love
Is always ruined by the bickering
The argument of living...

The noises of the city drown out the cries of the helpless and the hopeless. The lights that illuminate the streets blind you from the grime that hides in plain sight. Touch, taste, and smell; a life downtown is an assault on all of the senses. Yet in spite of the madness there she was, calling my name from across the crowd. We hadn't seen each other in nearly twenty years, so obviously my first instinct was to dive into a nearby dumpster. Surely she would be unable to sniff me out amidst the odor of discarded dinners and other forsaken filth. Perhaps if I were to disappear into a nearby sex club... Either way, I would end up sticky and covered in someone else's mess. My only hope was for her to get hit by a car as she crossed the street to greet me. Even better, she could suddenly be abducted by a gang of thugs in ski masks, swept into an unmarked van, and sold into pretty white girl slavery. Ah yes, if only.

“Ashe? Asher Hayes? Aren't you a sight for sore eyes!”

I literally wanted to stab myself in the eye.

We exchanged pleasantries while I searched for an acceptable escape route. She was in town to see her family's lawyer. I was fine. She was divorcing another husband. I was fine. She talked incessantly, finding opportunities to touch my arm or any other body part she deemed appropriate while laughing to reinforce how happy she was these days. I chuckled uncomfortably while pondering to myself which one of us was more dead inside. If it wasn't me, it would be soon enough. I nodded along, a clear sign of a man on conversational autopilot, while the chatter winded it's way along a stream of generalities. My line of sight began to drift toward a homeless man sharing a meal with a flock of pigeons. At least they seemed to be enjoying each other's company, but then again the disingenuous smile painted on my face might have made it seem as if I were enjoying myself as well. Enjoying myself about as much as a man on a date with a bird.

In all fairness, she had aged well. Skin pulled back just enough to erase any sign of wrinkling, but not enough to use her face as a bongo drum. Her hair a perfect golden blonde, hiding the grey that had began to grow when she was a freshman in college. Manicure on display at all times, a perfect match for her perfect ensemble. Smile, complexion, composure - all overwrought, meticulously maintained, and very, very white. She had curated a look, and it had only become more refined and more expensive over the years. Long gone was the girl who wore sweatshirts with boxer shorts, who giggled when she made embarrassing noises on our quiet nights spent alone at home. This woman was someone else completely. I wasn't the only one she had left behind all those years ago.

“So Mickey's, right? Tomorrow night. Seven?”

Wait. What? What had we been talking about this whole time? What had I agreed to? Maybe I should have paid more attention. “The bar? Yeah. I'll be there.” Yeah. This was no big deal. Mickey's was only my favorite bar. My sanctuary in this rat-hole of a city. I'll just never go back there, ever again. No big deal.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The New Arrival

“What’s that?”

She hadn’t heard a word I said, but if I was going to be honest with myself, I knew it was bound to happen. Everything had changed. I could’ve been setting off fireworks in her ear and she wouldn'tve heard a thing.

“Isn’t she just the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?”

We had prepared last minute and all I could think about was how the apartment was a disaster. We weren’t ready. I wasn’t ready. Looking at this little bundle though, I couldn’t help but smile. She really was the cutest. There was no denying that.

“So have we settled on a name yet? What do you think?”

I took her into my arms and looked deep into her tiny little eyes. “What do you think about Sally?”

“…for a cat?”

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Wish Lists

I have wish lists on Amazon. Browse if you want. Buy gifts if you like. :)

     Various lists:

I usually make these lists to remember things I want to buy myself, but if for some reason someone else wanted to get me something nice... well, I wouldn't say no!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Explorers of the Heart

I gave myself the challenge to write something based on or inspired by music. The following piece is a short story inspired by this song:

"There. Right there." It was dark, but she did her best to point him in the right direction. He had never done anything like this before, as evidenced by his fumbling hands, and it was expected that she might have to show him the ropes.

"It's so small!"

"No, no, you're looking in the wrong spot. A little further." She guided his hand, which trembled with excitement. He gulped, swallowing down the anticipation that had been building up in his gut throughout the evening. "There, that's the sweet spot," she said with a grin.

"Ohhh..." His jaw dropped slightly and eyes widened to take everything in.

"Yeah, that's it."

Lucy didn't normally take her dates to the observatory. They knew she worked there, but the boys never seemed to care. No man that she had ever been out with was interested in looking at the stars. They were more interested in going back her place and getting into her pants. Ryan was different though. He wanted to know all about her job. After their first date, he surprised Lucy by showing up for one of the observatory’s daily tours, distracting her with his mischievous smile. Before he left, she pulled Ryan aside and told him to come back later for an after-hours tour. "We'll have the place all to ourselves. We can even use the big telescope!" she said excitedly before scurrying off, embarrassed that she had geeked-out in front him. She usually only lost herself in the stars, they had been her passion ever since she was a young girl, but Ryan was exciting and Lucy could easily imagine losing herself in his arms.

"Wow, you gotta see this!" Ryan grabbed Lucy by the hand and pulled her in close. He held her waist as she peered through the eyepiece. Lucy was well aware there would be a meteor shower that night, she had been waiting for it for weeks, but she didn't want to spoil his enthusiasm. Instead it would special, a moment in time meant just for the two of them. Besides, the only thing she noticed now was the warmth of his body pressed against her back. "It's amazing! Does that happen a lot?" No, she thought to herself. She hadn't let a man get this close in quite a long time, but she knew that was not what Ryan meant. Lucy turned to reply, but before the words left her lips he pulled her in close. "You know what I think?"

Ryan was a breath of fresh air, so it was a surprise for Lucy find herself utterly breathless. Looking deep into his eyes, she could only imagine eating him alive, devouring him inch by inch. She swallowed down her nerves, shook her head, and eventually muttered a quiet no. It wasn't cute or clever, it wasn't sexy or seductive either. It was the truth. She had no idea what Ryan thinking.

Smiling, he lifted Lucy off the ground and twirled her around. "I think... you've seen enough. it's my turn again!"

Monday, September 22, 2014

Reach Out

I gave myself the challenge to write something based on or inspired by music. The following piece is a short story inspired by this song:

The Afterlife, where souls are free from their earthbound bodies and prepare for the next stage of existence. A dimension that reaches to infinity, welcoming all through it's doors. A stepping stone into the next life, most will spend only a few centuries before moving on. Only those truly wicked and wretched will remain, stuck forever in the in-between to do the Devil's bidding. That is, unless you've made the unfortunate mistake of selling your soul like I did. Then, no matter how much of saintly life you’ve led, you will be forced to to spend eternity under his command… at least during business hours.

Those of us who aren't murderers or war criminals are treated with at least a semblance of civility. Breaks, lunches, off-time and vacation days, it's not quite the vision of hell that I had imagined. The few of us who attempted to lead good lives are given desk jobs, but most are sent out into the field to haunt, terrify, and generally pester the living. Most will go unnoticed, but the truly evil are always able to make their mark. They terrorize with glee, taking pleasure in haunting the living, but it's the troubled souls that are truly disturbing. The oohs and ahhs you would associate with ghosts are merely echoes from the demented souls struggling beneath the Devil's thumb. They cry out, wailing from the pain of being pushed out of the driver’s seat. Unfortunately, I was given the position of Job Placement Specialist for these disturbed souls.


Morton Melino's desk was covered with stacks of files. Keeping track of the dead certainly took up it’s share of paper, and it was no surprise that the Devil never bothered to upgrade to a more efficient electronic filing system. "It could be worse," he thought to himself, "I could be on the other side of this desk." He looked at the nameplate on the door: M. MELINO - JOB PLACEMENT SPECIALIST. Morton sighed. "At least I have an office, it's a step up from my old job...back when I was alive." Pressing the intercom button, he repeated himself once again, "Next!" Morton's department specialized in dealing with troubled souls, where things move at a much slower pace. When souls refuse to accept their fate, they tend to drag their feet. Plus, it's hard to hear the loudspeaker over all the wailing.

"Oh goddamnit, it's a miracle anything gets done arou..." "Mort! How wonderful to see you again." A man in a crisp, tailored suit stepped through the door. It was Peter. Peter wasn't like the others. He was lumped in with the disturbed souls because he was too much for the Overseers to handle. A special case. It wasn't that he was a troubled soul, it's more like he was just trouble. "Good to see you again Peter. You always keep things interesting." Flattery was always best in these sorts of situations. Be friendly. That way, they're less likely to flip out or cause a scene. Getting security to report to the lower floors was a nightmare. "So what happened this time? Assault a fellow ghoul? Were you stealing again?"

"Maybe I just missed you. Maybe I came to pay my best pal Mort a visit. Is that out of the realm of possibilities?” A salesman back when he was living, Peter was somehow able to carry his silver tongue over with him to the other side. “I’m not here to bring you any sort of trouble today, I swear to…” His eyes looked upwards, then he threw his head back and laughed heartily. “Anywho... No, I’m not here for another job, if that’s what you were asking. I’ve been minding my manners like a good boy. Cross my heart and hope to… Oh, look, I’ve done it again!” Peter laughed even harder this time, slapping his knee to make sure his enjoyment came across.

“So what are you here for? It’s not that I’m not pleased to see you, it’s just,” Morton motioned toward the large stacks of files that took up most of his desk, “as you can see, I’m really very busy.”

“You need to relax! It’s not like any of us are going anywhere. What’s your rush? You’re no different from anyone else. We’re all stuck here. Only difference is, you sit behind that desk and send the rest of us out there to do the big guy’s bidding. Seems to me like you’re the one who’s worse off. At least when I’m out on the job, I get to travel.” That hit a nerve with Morton. He had been increasingly restless after spending day in and day out working with crazies and filing paperwork. He even found himself reminiscing about the days he spent flipping burgers at the local fast food joint back when he was alive. A salesman until the end, and even after that, Peter could see that he had gotten under Morton’s skin. “You know what Mort? Here, take my card. Call me when you feel like having some fun outside this little office of yours.” He slid a business card across the desk, stood up and headed for the door. Before he left, Peter stopped and looked around the room. “You might want to open a window or something. It’s really very hot down here!” He grabbed his sides with laughter as he walked out the door.

Picking up the card, Morton tossed it into one of his desk drawers. Before slamming it shut, he noticed that Peter had written something on the backside. Picking it back up, Morton’s eyes widened as he read: I figured a way out. A way to cross over.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Light of Love

I gave myself the challenge to write something based on or inspired by music. The following piece is a short story inspired by this song:

The house lights dropped as James, Hannah, Gregg and Ginny stepped on to the stage. The club was small, intimate, but filled to capacity. The crowd exploded into a roar, releasing an enthusiasm that had built up after an endless amount of anticipation. Standing center stage, just behind her keyboard, Hannah took a deep breath and kicked off the show. After ten years of playing together as The Mourning Glories, every concert seemed like their first, and it showed. They played with the hunger of a band that had something to prove. The group was a force. A whirlwind. When they were on, the energy that flowed through these four musicians fed the crowd. In turn, the enthusiasm of the fans fed the foursome, raising their performance to unimaginable heights. Off-stage, things couldn't be more different.

"Oh, James, I love you so muuuch!" Ginny had mocked him before, but this time James shot her a look that shut her up immediately. With a frown, she grabbed Gregg’s hand and pulled him out the door. The fangirls had moved beyond being a sore subject and become more of an open wound after he and Hannah had broken up. There had been tension between them all before, but these days things were different. Hannah didn't linger backstage after their shows any longer, choosing to meet and greet the lingering fans. Gregg and Ginny often left together, riding their performance-high to the nearest afterparty. Left alone, James often decided to ignore the groupies that waited patiently, wanting to spend time with their favorite rock star. Instead he nursed a bottle of whiskey and fiddled with his beaten up acoustic guitar, making noise that no one would ever mistake for music. This was the real life of the Morning Glories.

Remembering she had left her phone backstage, Hannah pressed her hand against the door reading "TALENT" and quietly peered inside. She had hopes of finding James passed out cold clutching his guitar, like he had been so many times before, but tonight was different. What she saw was something she hadn’t seen in quite a long time. James sat with his notebook, humming a melody with his eyes closed and notes scrawled across the open pages. He was writing again, something he hadn't done in ages. Casually, Hannah stepped into the room but James paid no mind. He was lost in a melody, his hand waving through the air to picture the notes that flowed through his mind. Passing by her phone, she went behind the keyboard and started to play along with James’ tune. Startled, James stopped humming and looked to Hannah with confusion. What was she doing? “Go on,” she urged, “keep going…” She repeated the music he had been humming, pressing the keys slowly to draw James out of his shell. He grabbed his guitar and joined in.

Slowly the two fell into a rhythm, the same one that had taken their lives across the world and back. It was familiar, and not tarnished with the stains of jealousy, anger and regret. The pair had lost so much during this tour. Their relationship was over and trust was lost long ago, but that night backstage they discovered that the music they made together was an unbreakable bond. Taking their moment of inspiration back to the hotel, James and Hannah spent the night together writing songs. It was a reunion of sorts. "Yeah, the music saved our lives that night..." Hannah told a reporter during a press junket six months later. "...and without the music, we wouldn't be here anymore. But now we have this new record, it's amazing, and our fans won't have to mourn the Mourning Glories any time soon."