short stories

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Modern-day nomads

It was late in the evening and my attention was wandering. The sneaky thing about time is it mocks you into believing in a false reality that doesn’t exist. It says, “You still have time” when you really don’t. Oh how we are indeed modern-day nomads, wondering about with our smart-phones in hand.

Every day my to-do list is assailed with a thousand beckoning side trips. A wonderer’s delight. Aren’t we all drawn into a sensational siren song than our own disciplines or duties.

I drew closer to my computer like a moth to flame, I bathed in the blueish colored computer light. I hardly took note of the sun going down or how colorful the sunset was. Self-imposed deadlines constantly were ringing in my ears. My fingers were banging out another….
Breaking news as it were, was continuously pulling at my eyes from my self-imposed task at hand. Sensational tidbits scroll across the live feed, infinitely more interesting than my task I originally was supposed to do.
“Russia’s impending push to World War III”… “Drone attacks & privacy rights.”…Britney Spears shaves head Again!”…. “Tragic event; Another Hollywood stair is snuffed out.”…
The vortex of the World Wide Web had sucked in another modern nomad while attempting to turn another brain into cooked oatmeal like mush.

Who ever said the phrase, “Not all who wonder are lost”, must have been talking about our modern times, or surly talking directly to me, in offering such a good explaining excuse. Or at least maybe talking about the modern use of smart phones? I know, excuses, excuses.

Sometimes in our explorations just off the beaten path, we place too much hope that they will reveals yet another to be known, precious memory. Perhaps we just need some distractions to reorient our journeys. At the very least I believe Steve Jobs never believed, when they invented the supper smart phone, (or was it his plan and others like him) as hatching another evil plots to dumb everyone down a bit, by wasting time that could have been better used doing something else?

You only have to see a person glued to their smart phone, walking down the street and un-expectantly running into something or someone. I’ve seen that a time or two–even done that myself. So it’s not to hard to believe that last statement then. Besides who remembers phone number anymore? It’s fast becoming a lost art…to remember much of anything.

The use of time is important to our mission. But it is also important to be encouraged to use technology to increase productivity. Here are some inspirational quotes to hopefully nudge us all to that end. To leave technology alone every once in awhile, just for a break, or to practice remembering something new.

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”
Winston Churchill

“Let liars lie, let sectarians quarrel, let corporations resolve, let editors publish, let the devil do his worst; but see to it that nothing hinders you from fulfilling your work.”
H.M.S. Richards

And one more from your truly;

“Not everyone tries to get lost in the face of duty. Nor is it more important where you end up when making yourself into who you are; it’s what you do along the way that’s far more impactful. For there is no refund in living life–the illusion is in balancing “Efforts” , “Waste” & “Wants”.”

All the best.


The nemesis

Dan’s head was throbbing as he rubbed his eyes desperately trying to remove the black spots he was seeing. A damp, sweaty hot moist air-filled with dust and steamy radiator coolant enveloped the convertible passenger compartment. Just moments ago it was an idyllic afternoon, then, the world became motionless followed by a splitting headache, and the amped up sounds of colorful language. Dan surveyed the condition of his surroundings, the car’s interior, and where the driver Bob was.

But that was now! And how it all came about over the course of an hour or two was just like this…

The phone rang! It was Bob who was all too excited to have heard the voice of his friend Dan on the other end. “Hay get your stuff ready for a ride of your life in the beast!” Bob didn’t even wait for an answer before adding, “I’ll be over in just a minute.” And just like that, before it really got started the call ended.

Dan rubbed his glazed over eyes. A night of cramming for exams, and now the lack of caffeine coursing through his half-asleep body left him barely able to comprehend this latest phone conversation, net alone realize it was 4:30 in the afternoon. All the strength he had went into following his all too familiar morning routine of making strong coffee. No sooner did the sugar and creamer break the surface tension of coffee in his mug when the doorbell rang, followed by the rapid drum-roll knuckle knocking, it was Bob’s patented style.

Dan walked to the door, mug in hand, fresh coffee stain on the front of his tee-shirt and opened it. Bob rushed through the doorway as if he was a breath of fresh air, just like an invisible ghost was giving chase. Bob’s mouth was moving, arms were waving, his head was bobbing, but Dan was still waiting for his morning jolt to fully kick in to understand it all. Dan could now see why his parents said, Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future. With only half a cup of coffee injected and some 3 hours sleep, it wasn’t time for a high-octane encounter with Bob.

“Are you alive in there?” The basketball player’s hands grabbed Dan shoulders with a semi-firm grasp, garnering his total attention. “We are about to have a night of our lives. We have the “Beast”, and it’s ready to roll. We have some nice girls waiting for the BBQ of their lives. All is good in our world. So! May I ask? What is it with you and acting like your one of the walking dead?” Bob asked, with his eyes transfixed just inches from Dan’s face.

There is tremendous value in small congregations coming together, even if it is just one friend meeting up with another. Of course friends are supposed to influence, support, to engage and encourage, as well as push you along despite of any particular personal emotions. But the spark that lights the fire and gets the ball rolling farthest for guys is the mere mention of girls.

It wasn’t long before the wind was whipping through hair. These were the halcyon days of fuel prices, so the throaty throb of the big V-8 gulping gallons of gas didn’t dampen any of their enthusiasm. This was a caffeine high punctuated by a redline RPM thrill ride, just two college friends leaving the worry of term papers, finals, and professors saying, “You could’ve done better”, far behind. On Dan’s lap were the condiments along with other ingredients to the BBQ Bonfire night of their lives. Food, music, girls, fire, and a spectacular view of the city on a starry night, what else is needed to forget all about your troubles?

The eight-track tape spun out catchy tunes, Dan and Bob did their best to sing along while adding in some drum solo’s by rapping on the dashboard and steering wheel. The convertible wound its way up the hills towards the overlook. The overlook was a flat place on the edge of the rim of the canyon, overlooking the city far below. This was where college kids would gather to make out. But occasionally celebratory bonfires would light a commemorative spectacle of some sporting victory, along with a keg or two. Neither of which was the case tonight. Tonight was a time to remember for a life-time, because you’re only young once.

Bob was enjoying the raw power of his convertible taking corners sharp and sling shooting out of them using the raw power of 350 some odd horses instantly unleashed while depressing the accelerator to the floor. The car responded to the silent commands of Bob’s thoughts and his lead foot. Taking a corner a bit too cavalierly Bob and Dan were suddenly confronted with a split-second decision. There in the road, was a large, lifeless skunk. It had met its fate in their lane just off-center of the dividing lines, and Bob loath to run it over again. The only thing faster than his reaction was the thought of the odoriferous imprint on his showroom convertible. The beast as it was called couldn’t show up to the bonfire smelling like ass. What kind of impression would that leave?

Dan’s mouth just began to move and at the same time his hand snapped forward, pointing his finger in the direction of the motionless heap in the road. His cohort jerked the steering wheel in an effort to veer just past it. As fate would have it the car plowed straight into the ditch.

Dan’s head was throbbing as he rubbed his eyes desperately trying to remove the black spots he was seeing. A damp, sweaty hot moist air-filled with dust and steamy radiator coolant enveloped the convertible passenger compartment. Just moments ago it was an idyllic afternoon, then, the world became motionless followed by a splitting headache, and the amped up sounds of colorful language. Dan surveyed the condition of his surroundings, the car’s interior, and where the driver Bob was. The condiments along with other ingredients had become pools of kaleidoscopic pickle-laced colors complemented with the unmistakable aroma of their nearby nemesis.

Bob was kicking dirt onto the lifeless skunk, braiding it with obscenities, oblivious to the smell of skunk and rotting meat; occasionally glancing in the direction of his poor car cradled by the roadside ditch, just to renew his energy of angry outbursts against the motionless perpetrator to their dilemma. There were only two real choices to make now. Either way it seemed like it was going to be a long walk down the hills to get help, or the road up the hills, leaving the car just where she sat while trying to salvage the night and go for the bonfire.

There is so much in life that we can change, but then, there are some things we can’t change. A person can become a skunk in your life’s path for 1 of 3 reasons. 1) They want to be you. 2) They hate themselves. 3) They see you as a threat.

Isn’t life a lot like that? I mean everyday life, where even small decisions have to be made despite uncertain outcomes or unquantifiable risks to each possibility in choosing. We all have friends and we all should have heard those famous words by now “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” And therein lays the rub, finding quality people who are also willing to be perfectly honest with you no matter if you want them to be in the first place. Those same people who are at one time friends can then also become out of jealousy, or laziness, your detractors, critics, hecklers, or disbelieves, of your ideas or even of you personally. Just because the way you choose to live life. When all you’re doing is chasing your dreams. Sometimes people become paralyzed with fear, unable to move forward towards their dreams because of their friends–who turn out to be more like road kill skunks; raising a stink over the fact that you’re moving along towards your dreams and they’re not.

Misery Loves Company, so why not spread the wealth, is the philosophy of what seems to be behind those complaints and magnifications made by so-called friends when pointing out possible negatives along the way. Why do people do that? Why don’t they just jump in, be happy for you and your ambition and offer support instead of drawing attention any potential negatives.

Any worthwhile success is built on overcoming negative obstacles.

Don’t listen! Don’t follow them! Don’t let them blind you with uncomfortable visions and strange uncomfortable bouquets of negative possibilities.

It’s lonely at the top because so few people put their fears aside and push forward—living outside the state of fear. Instead they’re gladly accepting an average existence. While there are forces of compliance and conformity in this society, accepting their solicitation is all to accepting of lowering individual standards in becoming average! Average to a point of just being the same as everyone else; when in truth everyone seeks separation through individualism.


The shortest distance between point “A” and “B” is a straight line. Sometimes that means running the risks of running over that skunk in the road again / or leaving a friend behind that is holding you back from your dreams. While we all should be embracing those friends who will share the art of chasing dreams, while offering help in those times perfumed with skunk odor. Life isn’t about the successes we have or share. It’s about the good memories we create with quality people along the way as we travel in similar directions towards individual dreams, sharing those common goals of searching for success through adventure. Without great efforts made, we can never evaluate what is the true value of anything worthwhile. Sometimes the chase is what defines success, and its worth, not just capturing it.

Bob and Dan story is just that, a life’s story they will shared forever. A happening that strengthened their relationship into a life time friendship, and sometimes finding one of those kinds of people “A life time friendship” is worth all the success you could ever find in the world.

Keep your eyes on those dreams and those destinations not those obstacles along the way. Hold your nose, and drive straight through all of your oppositions.

The Favor

Just another short story…

Jill explained to her friend, “I need a big favor from you…” Before Beth could respond favorably or in any other way, she continued by blurting out, ” If my husband asks?” Jill paused for that impeccable perfect timing tactic in magnifying curiosity, “We had lunch together yesterday around noon-O-clock…Ok?”

Beth held her silence thinking just how to answer her while waiting for the other shoe to drop. Any moment now the pregnant pause would be short-lived with Jill’s pleading. “Please!” Her mind was yelling obscenities, her thoughts seemed transfixed upon calling her a slutty tramp, for what appeared to be an attempt to cover-up something like an affair. Some people hoist their drama upon someone else as if by share it with you, it make their lives instantly better…easier. But really?

Aren’t drama filled lives just personal feelings manufactured on their own within ourselves, while avoiding listening to our own minds conclusion or rational thinking to what is an appropriate choice or situation? Often playing these kind of mind games, by asking yourself…It should have…It could have…or it would have been different if only…? Isn’t that our personal attempt to change outcomes without changing choice? Something we also know as “Drama”. We wished it would be different, after we have chosen it to be so. Unsatisfied with the results of our choices we employ others to come to our aid. Not to have learned from the situation and how it came to be, or how to avoid more of it? But to rework our life’s situation like an auto body man would repair a car after a wreck. Hiding the effects of reality.
Why are life emergency’s thought of so easily repaired instead of avoided in the first place? Why should any potential repair to that said emergency / negative drama also have to be covered with a lie? Beth thought that friendships should be more than useful alibis. Aren’t we all responsible for what drama we create on our own–so why would we ask for a second helping of any drama to be placed on top of our own?

Lies are always complicated, complicating things by doubling the drama. Beth’s knew that her stall had to be ended, so she asked, ” Can’t you tell me what is going on? After all I’m feeling…”

Jill’s impatience cut Beth to the quick faster than Dexter Morgan killing a criminal on the HBO hit show “Dexter”.
“I’ll have to call you later and tell you all about the “why”. Just stick to our story! I got to go! Thanks.” The line went dead and she was gone. Leaving Beth pondering and wondering what to do? She was totally conflicted. I didn’t agree to this, but we were good friends or so she thought? What was she up to…? And why would her husband have to be lied to?

Beth’s mind was running on overdrive, thinking of all the possible secrets Jill was keeping–from unconscious and thoughtless actions of lust and desire, to the less creditable and more believable. It’s hard to fathom an affair going on between Jill an unknown. None of the scenarios seemed agreeable in becoming a co-conspirator over. Beth couldn’t, no matter how hard she tried to, she just couldn’t think thoughts differently. She continued to thinking in terms of worst to best. How is it that I keep getting stuck on the worst possible end of this friendship?

shell-shocked a bit Beth continued to play mind games rationalizing her position in plotting her course of action. Perhaps I was too scared of losing a friend, but what kind of friend requires their friendship to be purchase with a supporting lie believable enough to win the Oscar? Beth didn’t want to choose between two close friends? For all intent and purposes these two friends of hers were Siamese twins. We did everything together besides shopping. And now Beth felt that she was being asked to separate them from each other with a samurai sword.

Beth’s day seemed to crawl by slowly. Every few minuets she glanced at her phone wondering when and if it was going to ring and who was going to on it?

She hoped to hear from Jill first. After all, she needed more info, not that it was necessary to know, but by knowing a bit more she hoped to talk herself out of having to lie about it.

What if I just allow the phone to run out of power, and explained at some point later that her phone went on the fritz? Or even needed to be replaced?

“This is hopeless!” Cried out Beth to herself. ” I can’t cover my reluctance to lie, with one of my own. What would that make of me, what kind of person would I then become?” She glanced again at her silent phone, while just as easily silently screaming obscenities at it.

Finely it was time to pick-up the kids from school, and take them to practice. Beth mindlessly gathered he things and sliding her phone into her pocket. Just then it hit her…I could conveniently forget it? Sliding it half ways out of her pocket again she thought. The suspense may just as easily kill me by heart attack if she left it behind. She opened the door leaving the phone alone and where it was and slipped out of the house.

No calls, no messages, not even a text, and here we are she thought, at the ball field. Beth was feeling safer and more secure feeling that nothing was going to happen until later. Maybe then she could ask her husband what to do, how to play it?

Relaxing in the sun this afternoon forgetting about her day just watching the boys play ball was therapeutic. It was calming. It was short-lived….

“Beth? Is that you?” a deep voice said behind her. Beth whipped around totally surprised leaving her heart pounding. Her first thoughts instantly asked before she saw who it was. Who knows me here, certainly not Jill and…. Beth’s mouth was motionless, yet it was speaking to her. “Dave! The one person she didn’t want to see or talk to without more info. “Beth, it is you. Fancy us running into each other.”

“Yea. Image that. What luck, small world.”

Dave swooped around and took up a seat close to Beth. “The boys playing?” Beth nodded, then pointed her finger towards the position they were playing in the out field. Following her lead Dave glanced out to the boys. “I always thought they were ball players.”

Damn it! Damn it! Beth thought, a conversation on the phone allows one to hide in plain sight, free from facial expressions that could be dead give always to someone lying. Now what? What can I say without emotion? It has to be obvious that something is up. It seemed to her that everyone knew, knew something was a foot. She was under Jill’s thumb even though she knew nothing and said less.

“Beth you know that Jill and I haven’t had too much time together of late? I thought I’d take her out to that place you and Jill had lunch together the other day. Jill told me to ask you if it was good food? Afterword’s…Well I haven’t figured that all out just yet. I just wanted to know was it good.. the food that is? I mean was it really the kind of place for a special…I mean the kind of place a guy would ask someone to get married in?” Dave sounded like a love-sick little boy, hoping to gain an advantage to turn the proposal in favor of an answer he wanted to hear.

Wiping a tear from her eyes Beth heart melted like a candy bar on the hood of a car on a sunny day. So just started to blurt it all out. “Dave you know that I value both of you guys as friends. I have always seen you as married already, and I would do nothing to change you or her. But she asked me to lie about lunch the other day. Go figure.” Tears ran down her face now. “I can’t! No! I wont lie for either of you…” Briefly stopping to wipe tears away again. “Well I have no poof…I mean I don’t really know….What I’m trying to say is–why would she want me to lie to you even if it is innocent in nature…or …well you can draw your own conclusions to the why’s. Sorry, I’m so sorry Dave.”

“WOW! doesn’t that just kick me in the nuts? She asked you to lie…? I know you don’t know. I’m just trying to get settled with how manipulative, or why one would need secrets to that extent? I thought I knew her as being quality people–not devious.”

“Dave just talk to her. She maybe just planning a surprise for you? Any way just honestly talk to her. Ok?” No sooner did Beth say that then her phone rang. The screen displayed Jill’s phone number. She reached over to Dave and grasped his shoulder. “It’s her. Jill is calling, it maybe time to talk to her and get to the bottom of this?” Dave grasped the phone but hesitated…” I know, phone calls suck because people can lie without seeing the reactions or the aftermath of it.” Dave nodded and slowly lifted the phone to his ear.

This scenario opens the question how people value friends and friendships, or what do we in society value more honesty and dishonesty?

What would you do if you were Beth, or Jill, or even Dave dealing with these complexities and possibilities of innocent secret planning, or deception?

Is there any time as a good time to ask someone to lie for you? And how far would you go to remain friends with lesser quality personalities?


An ever-growing honey-do list was the true source of frustration. But trying not to let my frustrations rule my emotions or life in general, left me hanging on this tight rope dance between childish out bursts and adult responsibility. It would have been nice to have at the least some discussion on the matter first. That way requests being made would have had at the least an appearance of being less demanding by nature. Besides communication is the key or so I was always told? So what happened? Perhaps an inquiry as to what other responsibilities we had or what time commitments had been promise already and now just needing to be fulfilled? Either way it would have at the least given an appearance of working together instead of a king subject kind of relationship.

It isn’t a bad thing to have a priority’s list. In fact to prioritize things in such a way according to approximate length of times needed in doing them, provides the best over views to realistic success towards completion. In this case the presentation was all wrong. It wasn’t the jobs, but the list itself. The list seemed to have an ever-growing nature all by itself. What at first appeared to be just a few things quickly turned into a cockroach orgy of multiplication. The list itself was signal handedly responsible for deforestation. I’m sure the trees were cringing in fear just from the extra paper demands. It grew out of thin air like an alien pregnancy. Much in the same way as in those “Alien’s” horror movies, but this time it was birthing a monster dead set in taking a life of its own by consuming what was left of mine.

It truly is hard to look back once you have been locked in. So the struggle between the list and me seemed to be a matter of survival; or a struggle for survival of leisure time and personal freedom, and the ability to control a sliver of one’s own purpose, destiny, and fate in the most responsible way.

Taking a big red marker to a completed chore seemed only to fertilize it. Two or three more things appeared on the list written by unseen hands. Because of all my minds influences from horror movies they gave me a vivid picture of what was to come. This tumor, this cancer needed radical surgery. But killing the beast isn’t always as easy as a match to gasoline. What this out of control list needed was a surgical scalpel like position to expose the alien. Then a complete thrashing by Tony Soprano’s crew with baseball bats, followed by an acid bath or some such…

The nerves started to show signs of fraying.  An ever-growing annoyance from that “Voice” calling up to me from downstairs placed me on edge; psychologically it was bring me closer to a breaking point during my feeble attempts to express myself in words within my last express memoirs. I’d rather be writing emotions down than taking to violent reactions against the list monster creator. Just another 5 minutes alone in the man cave and I’ll be finished, ready to do battle with bane of my existence.

“Are you going to wake-up some time to help?” The voice again called but I didn’t reply hoping to hideout a bit longer. I was starting to realize that women and men were indeed different. That book “men are from mars” and “women are venomous!” was just a historical account of my present life in book form. Just a bit longer please? I told myself as my fingers were typing as fast as I could think. But that constant calling wasn’t helping. With each call it was causing me to jump a bit like a little boy trying to steal cookies from the cookie jar, but pulling back his hand quickly with each little noise heard.

This whole ordeal was just causing me to rethink things about life. I wasn’t even married and this was the road we were going down already?

The door exploded open. My heart stopped momentarily, the walls of the man cave were breached and the creator God of the list monster stood in
the light. I felt small, the fear of doom; I tried to speak to offer some resistance verbally, it was as if the list’s papery fingers were clinching down on my neck ready to squeeze the life out of me. I couldn’t even offer some small response in defense like a whimper; instead I wanted to run, struggle a bit and then run away, just for a good combative showing so not to look like cowered. I couldn’t even fight for my rights, but was petrified frozen in time.

“I want you to clean up this pigsty. Remove those socks from the light and put them in the hamper.”

“No! Not the sock chandelier! It takes skill to toss socks off my feet to have then have them land perfectly, in such a presentation act of art.” I responded still in disbelief to the man cave breached defenses. Are there no more boundaries or heroes left to defend the castle?

“I mean it! Clean this mess up and quickly take out the trash on your way downstairs. We have to leave for practice in 10 minutes. I mean it Mr. 10 minutes!”

Stunned and perplexed, maybe an effect of some alien’s kind of venom or something? I felt powerless to put up any resistance, other than a soft half whispered, “OK Mom.”


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