Short Stories
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“The short story is the most read of all fiction genre, with the possible exception of cookbooks.”
-Phil Rosette.

Barbie BombsBarbie Superwoman

Breaking News.  Washington, DC, 7 minutes ago: OBAMA BOMBS IRAN

Taking a page from his drone war book and another from his cyberspace war book, President Obama has declared war on Iran and commenced a bombing campaign over the entire country.  It began within the last hour, and while it is just being announced today the administration said it has been many months in the making and includes international support from every corner of the globe.  This is unlike any other hostile campaign this administration has ever participated in, and it is unprecedented in the history of warfare.  Here is the full text of the President’s announcement with notes from our reporter at the White House.

“Last year, when Ayatollah Ali  Khamenei of Iran declared war on Barbie dolls, he declared war on all nations that value free will and basic human rights. 

“He denounced Barbie as a, ‘Trojan Horse for sneaking in western culture’ and forbid little girls from playing with her.  He rounded up all the Barbie dolls and created a stack ten feet tall in the center of Tehran.  And then he set it on fire.  Like Barbie was some witch at the stake! 

“Y’all remember that.  On television.  The whole world saw it.  It was disgusting. … Read On! (pdf)

Do it, Chicken!Do it Chicken

“Do it, Chicken!” Wynn said from the other side of the brook.

Patty hit Wynn’s shoulder, “Don’t call him chicken!”

Nick gripped the handlebars and could feel the knotty rubber bite into his fingers.  His left foot was firmly planted on the pedal, his knee cocked and ready, but he wasn’t. Chicken! He stared toward the brook fifty feet in front of and five feet below him.  Only, in his mind it was still the raging river of last fall, when bucketing rains had washed away the banks. 

The two best friends, minus Patty, spent the previous day building a jump out of frozen logs and a couple sheets of plywood left over from the dismantled ramp at Nick’s house.  The jump rose three feet and gave plenty of lift to reach the other side fifteen feet away.  When they were done with the jump, they rode over the bridge to the other side and marked off landing measurements every three feet.  Then they bet five dollars on who could make the longest jump. Wynn had a brand new bike, but he was bigger and weighed more. That gave Nick the confidence that he could jump farther, but they’d spent so much time marking landings they’d run out of day light and so put the jump off until after school today. 

Patty came along this afternoon to be the judge.  But it rained overnight and they arrived to find their ramp now had a fine coating of ice. ... Read On! (pdf)

Hey Bus Driver!Sleepingman185

What happened to Good Service? Did anyone see where it got off the bus? It was sitting right there; right behind the driver when we got on the digital highway back in 1985. I distinctly remember it calmly turned around and said, Relax, as the driver did his best Andretti down the long and winding road of life. Back then, Good Service could be found at any stop along the way; local gas station or Seven-11. Palled around with Please and Thank You and Have A Nice Day. Cash was king and smiling eyes the only receipt necessary. If you got stuck putting together any of that life-pleasuring stuff you bought down at the new big-box store, well, Good Service was only a phone call away – toll free... Read On! (pdf)

Where’s The Pony?

While driving out to Mankato, Minnesota in late March, 2006, my travel companion and fellow bibliophile and author, Frank Wydra, started to tell me the story about the little boy who wanted a pony for his birthday. 

We were on our way to pick up a collection of 4,000 books that my antiquarian bookstore, Birchwood Books, had “won” five months earlier. It’s not that unusual for us to buy up entire estates, but my policy for any books sight unseen is never pay more than a few pennies per volume. In this case, I added the condition of having until spring to remove them.  I had only a vague idea of what was in this collection. I knew most of the books dated from the 1950’s and 60’s and dealt with western fiction and lore. I knew that from the list of 30-odd sample titles we’d based our bid on. That list had been enticing, with authors like Dobbie, McMurtry and L’Amour – most in dust jackets. So we took a chance and, damn, if we didn’t win the lot! The collection included an era and genre that Frank knew and collected, so I was thrilled when he agreed to tag along ...  Read On!. (pdf)

The Doctor Won’t See You Now.FrustratedImage120

Had an appointment with my new doctor the other day; been seeing him for about a year now. Young guy, bright eyes and eager, came highly recommended from a nurse friend who deals with doctors day in and day out. Needed to find a new doc ever since my old one retired. Her practice was 30 miles away, and while I loved the service, and for sure her replacement would be just as good, I didn’t want to travel 30 miles any more, even if it was only twice a year. A lot had changed over the past ten years. The drive downtown wasn’t as nice, parking was harder each time, and the price of gas wasn’t ever going to get any cheaper. So, that’s how I became a patient of… we’ll just call him Doctor Younger.

My last appointment was my 8th or 10th in the past 13 months, depending on who’s counting. It was the 4th or 5th time I’d been to his new offices in the brand new medical building this side of town. His office – indeed, the entire building – still had that new-paint smell as I walked in at 9:25 for my 9:30 appointment, prescription card and list of medications in hand, just as the voicemail message instructed. I couldn’t help but notice that several of the offices were still not occupied. Doctor Younger and his associates had been in here for six months now... Read On.(pdf)

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