Friday, July 26, 2013

"For Fás Sake" by Keith O'Brian (Short Story)

Genre:  Humor

Type of Short Story:  Short Story


There was four people waiting, I was fifth in the queue the little snowman shaped woman in the small, extremely untidy office told me. It looked like a cross between Hiroshima and a paper recycling centre. ‘Organised chaos’, she said with a cheeky wink. I smiled back. This was my first ever experience being in a social welfare office. It was as majestic as I had been led to believe it would be. Talk about a dreary gut wrenchingly depressing place. A strange smell of disinfectant which came from a filthy mop and bucket that looked as if it had done as much work in the last few months as I had filled my nostrils. After a few moments it began to annoy me just ever so slightly. I took my form from the counter along with a complimentary pen (how kind) and I slowly shuffled back towards an empty hard plastic chair. It had a small crack in the back that pinched my t-shirt whenever I sat back into it. Feckin’yoke. I moved to another seat to continue filling out my forms. The wobbly leg on it was marginally less irritating than the last. Suppose it was the lesser of the two evils.

The filling out of this form, mind numbingly boring as it was, was made ever more challenging by a strangely loud flickering of the light above me coupled with the chattering of two Polish (well I’m guessing Polish) men. They were the size of fried freezers so im guessing they’re some sort of Russian expats. Why did they have to speak so loud? I stood up to have a look at the notice board across from me. From the complete mess that was posted on this I’m guessing that the woman in the office had had a hand in its design. Endless lists of courses were posted all over a graffiti covered corkboard. It’s a bad state of affairs when the graffiti was the most interesting part of it! I chuckled to myself as I noticed the irony of a childish cartoon drawing of a cock scribbled in between a poster warning against STI’s (why this was here I’ve no idea but I came to the conclusion that it was no work and all play) and a local funeral directors. I wonder did they draw the cock first and then the posters followed?

‘Hope yer not laughin at my cock?’, a voice said behind me. I turned around to see Dan, a lad I knew from my school days, standing there.

‘Jayzis Dan, hows tricks?’, I asked him.

‘Can’t complain mate’, he said in a voice that didn’t quite fit his appearance. You see he was a small fat Arabian looking lad who spoke with a thick cultchie accent. His parents must have bought him or something as they were as pale as a couple of emo teenagers. Persian Dan we called him at school. Well we called him a lot of things but Persian Dan was the name that stuck. I don’t know if anyone ever called him that to his face? He probably couldn’t care less anyways. The style of the gear he had on him today was a treasure to behold. It honestly had to be seen to be believed. He always had a strange sense of style that made him looked like Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder had being playing “pin the tail” with him. Sandals, socks (of course), football shorts and a Status Quo vest was the irresistable ensemble he had chosen today. This crazy looking getup was topped off with a sort of comb-over mullet. It really was a sight that had o be seen to be believed. There have been escaped loonies with better style sense than this lad.

He took his form and we sat down.

‘Fuckin’ chairs pinching me back fat’, he said loudly. An old man at the seat next to us spat out his tea and chuckled to himself.

‘What course ye doin?’, I asked Dan.

‘Dont really care mate, I just do them to get the few bob. I’ve been on more courses than Tiger Woods’, he said in that dry humour I had forgotten he used to perfection. ‘Don’t know why I have to fill these out’, he said in an irritated fashion. ‘I’ve been coming here that long I get invited to the staff parties’. A smile crept across his face. ‘Irony at its finest’, he said laughing, ‘to get invited to the staff party ye’d have to work and’, he said nudging me with his elbow,’ the only job I’ve ever managed to get is a blowjob!’ We both laughed loudly. Maybe this wasn’t going to be so bad, I thought to myself.

The door in the entrance opened slowly with a loud squeak that sounded like a cat in a blender. Does nothing in this place look or sound the way it was intended to? In walked four men, a small little fat man, a slightly taller slimmer man, a tall bulky fella and then a man the size of a decent sized wardrobe. Standing in the queue they looked like a depiction of the evolution of man.

We were then all herded into another room and told to sit down at a table and fill out yet another form. This room was another plain box room with cheap laminated tables covered in scratched on little memories from past visitors. On the walls hung the most hilarious pieces of inspirational sayings printed out by the snowman in the office no doubt. I’m sure all these quick little information gathering forms would be so much more relevant to our job search had we all not filled them in together so the lads who couldn’t read or who didn’t speak English had theirs done too. A tall slender man with big round Oasis in the 90’s style glasses stood in a non tailored suit that hung from him as if he had lost weight recently and kept wearing it. He looked as enthusiastic as the rest of us. He droned on in a dull, lethargic manner and sighed heavily after every short sequence of sentences. I wondered if he’d of been better off filling out one of these magic forms that were going to help us find “a job we deserve”. I didn’t want to suggest it to him. Well it was my first day.

He handed us yet another personalised form. Please answer all questions to the best of your abilities the form read.

‘And lads, don’t spend forever on it, we haven’t got all day!” he said in an angry and disgruntled manner.

‘Sure what else are we gonna be doing Alan, the bookies and pub doesn’t open til after lunch!” Dan shouted out from our table. We laughed. Alan didn’t.

‘Less of your chat today Osama’ he quipped back as quick as a flash.

‘Osama? ” I questioned to Dan. ’Surely that’s a bit racist? No? I asked but didn’t really think it was racist. It was hilarious and so unexpected from a man who looked as humorous as a bipolar suffering undertaker.

‘That’s what he calls me. Osama Bone Idle’ he said laughing as he told me. A loud laugh escaped my mouth quicker than I could control it, it filled the room. It deserved a laugh. Meeting Dan could be the break I needed to catch.

The form was as intellectually challenging as a kids join the dots game. Seriously, what could this achieve? The only question I found to be remotely interesting was; describe yourself in five words. I struggled to think of something to write down for a few moments and decided to glance over at Dan’s form. He was scribbling away without even pausing. Must be all the practice he has gotten over the past few years. I glanced at his “five words” question. A wave of laughter started in my stomach sending a shudder through my chest that began rattling my shoulders. I didn’t even attempt to hide it this time. I couldn’t. The tears cascaded down my cheeks. I wiped my eyes with my sleeve and glanced at Dan’s form again to double check what I’d read. His answer read; Overweight, underachiever. Say no more!

‘Honesty, thats what they wanted’ he said throwing out a wink and a smile. I went for a slightly more subdued and generic answer. Honest, reliable, determined, punctual and hardworking.

‘Its supposed to be honest’ Dan said nodding his head towards my answer.

‘Fuck off. It is’ I snapped back arguably but to no avail. I wondered if everyone had been as honest?

‘Right lads, sure we’ll call that elevenses’ said Alan.

‘Lovely’ Dan said as he began rolling a smoke. He looked around shiftily and produced a small bag of weed. ‘Its for my glaucoma’ he said blinking his eyes continuously as if trying to convince me.

‘Yeah’ I said back sounding unconvinced at his explanation. ‘Think I might be getting a touch of that too’ I said and also began blinking. He laughed as he threw in some more medicinal smoke.

We went out to a small area at the back of the centre that looked like a beer garden in a pretty rough pub. The wooden picnic tables shook and wobbled as we sat down. The group split into smaller groups and struck up conversations between themselves.

‘Thats the Warsaw Pact’ Dan said nodding towards a group of men that were so big even sitting down they looked like a mountain range. ‘Over there is the redundancy brigade, he pointed towards a group of elderly men (well mid fifties) sitting together with their glasses on doing their crosswords and Sudoku puzzles. ‘They’re grand and always good for a tip for the horses too. ‘Any info for me today Tony?’ Dan shouted across at one of them.

‘Just studying the form I’ll let you know in a few alright’ he shouted back.

Lovely’ Dan said rubbing his hands together as if trying to warm them on a cold morning. ‘Hopefully thatl pay off and we’ll have enough for a few cheeky after “work” scoops!’ he said with an excited tone in his voice.

After the smoke break we headed back in slightly buzzed and drained after the smoke. The pace in which we all sauntered back in slightly annoyed Alan who grunted at us to hurry up.

‘Right lads, yez are going to have to watch this DVD while I have a look over these forms. Try give it a bit of your attention, if it’s not too much trouble he said again sounding so underwhelmed with life. I couldn’t blame him really. His job is to help find a job for those who don’t want a job. What a thankless task!

An ex Fair City actor was now on screen taking us through the main points of finding a new job. I sat and wondered how bad an actor he must of been to be now considered an “ex” fair city (ahem) “star”. It was slightly annoying me. My mind had now wandered off. I looked at Dan, he looked like his mind was still sitting outside at the table! So this was how he got through these manic depressive days.

‘Watch this, I love this bit, it gets me every time’ he said pointing to his chest. The actor on screen looked deep into the camera, at us, and said ‘remember, always believe in yourself’. Dan was chuckling. ‘Fuckin’ clown!’ he should be here with us . ‘Has he even got a job?’ Dan shouted up at Alan.

‘Dya have to ask every time Dan’ he said through a mixture of gritted teeth and a loud bemused sigh.

‘Guarantee he’s a Rockinroller like the rest of us here! Believe in yourself. Gobshite’ Dan ranted along. Those of us that understood English and his cultchie accent laughed. These inspirational videos and testimonials continued for the rest of the afternoon. It worked though. We felt inspired (tongue in cheek) and were ready to decide what course we were going to enrol on. Dan and I opted for the warehouse course. How testing could this be?

As lunchtime approached, Alan began talking again and after putting down his stack of completed forms called Dan aside for a quick chat

‘I need to talk to you in the office for a quick sec Dan’ he said in a calm yet unnerving undertone. He cleared his throat and dismissed the rest of us for the day. Apparently we had done enough. Dan rose gingerly from his seat, still carrying that air of confidence in him but yet this time looking slightly more vulnerable. A sense of fear crept slowly across his face as the colour drained from it like water slowly escaping down a plughole.

I walked back out to the main entrance of the building and sat down on a small little wooden bench just outside the front door. I waited there for Dan as we had arranged to celebrate our first days work with a couple of sociable drinks. As the minutes rolled by I began to wonder what had happened to Dan. I laughed to myself as I thought to myself, how bad would it be if he had managed to get fired from a Fás course?

About twenty minutes had passed until Dan emerged from the building looking sunken and shocked. His voice crackled just a little bit as he said ‘Its over man, its finally over!’

‘Over’ I questioned.

’Yeah, the sneaky whores have managed to find me a feckin’ job and I have to take it or they’ll stop my dole! Disaster!’ He expelled a huge gasp of hair and rubbed his face with his hands. ‘I need a drink, and quickly’ he said and we got going to the nearest watering hole.

Pint after pint were slung down the hatch and as the room began to move and sway like elderly couples in a ballroom we began to instigate a mixture of singing and what can only be described as growling from Dan. Other patrons were horrified as we murdered song after song (well we tried our best). As the drink took its toll and the singing became faint and inaudible Dan sang a little tune that perfectly summed up his situation. To the tune of ‘On the road again’ by Wille Nelson, Dan sang his version, ‘On the Dole again, I can’t wait to be on the Dole again, I can’t wait to be signing on with my friends, I can’t wait to be on the Dole again’. We fell around laughing as we wandered through the pub car park and as we said our goodbyes it finally dawned on me that I was losing the friend that had gotten me through the day. A heavy sadness came across me as we hugged and as we walked away in different directions he shouted ‘Dont worry I’ll be back!

Friday, July 19, 2013

"Star Wanderers: Outworlder (Part I)" by Joe Vasicek (Novelette)

Genre:  Science Fiction Space Opera

Type of Short Story:  Novelette


When Jeremiah arrived at Megiddo Station, all he wanted was to make some trades and resupply his starship. He never thought he'd come away with a wife.

Before he knows it, he's back on his ship, alone with his accidental bride. Since neither of them speak the same language, he has no way to tell her that there's been a terrible mistake. And because of the deadly famine ravaging her home, there's no going back. She's entirely at his mercy, and that terrifies him more than anything.

Jeremiah isn't ready to take responsibility for anyone. He's a star wanderer, roaming the Outworld frontier in search of his fortune. Someday he'll settle down, but for now, he just wants to drop the girl off at the next port and move on.

As he soon finds out, though, she has other plans.


Jeremiah knew something was wrong the moment he stepped out of the Ariadne’s airlock and onto Megiddo Station. A variety of people milled about the tiny spaceport concourse, mostly in-system haulers and traders, as well as a few beggars and questionable women in the shadier passageways. The air smelled slightly of smoke, but that wasn’t too unusual; the settlement was certainly old enough, with ventilator fans that chugged and floor tiles that were grainy with wear. The locals, however, had an eerie look about them. Their faces were gaunt, their skin sagging. They stared at him as he passed by, as if sizing him up. When he returned their gaze, they turned suddenly away from him, as if afraid.

I just need to stay long enough to unload my cargo and make the trade, he thought anxiously to himself. Once I’ve gotten clearance, everything else should go smoothly.

The suppliers at the last system had warned him about this place almost a standard month ago. “You be careful,” they had told him in their peculiar Outworld creole. “We many see go, since six cycles not any come back.”

At the time, Jeremiah hadn’t thought much of it. Traders this far out didn’t follow any set routes, and the dozens of uncharted colonies and outposts always had problems of one sort or another. But from the hollow, expressionless faces he passed on his way spinward, an uneasy feeling told him he might have made a mistake.

Like many of the other doorways in the hallway, the entrance to the station master’s office had a miniature gilded image of a half-cyborg saint tacked above the lintel. Jeremiah keyed the chime and the door hissed open almost immediately.

“Come, come!” came a voice from inside, calling to him with urgency. Jeremiah stepped in, door shutting behind him.

“You Captain Jerem-ahra?”

The station master was short and balding, with a rotund face and a minor cybernetic implant in his left eye. He wore a simple blue jumpsuit with a black felt vest and an insignia on his arm that probably denoted his rank. That wasn’t too unusual; most of the settlements in the Outworlds tended to be hierarchical.

“Yes,” said Jeremiah, bowing in a universal gesture of greeting and respect. “Are you Master Korha?”

“Korha? Yes yes,” said the man, gesturing impatiently for him to come inside.

Jeremiah followed Master Korha from the rather sparse front office into a back room that appeared to be the apartment’s main living quarters. Mattresses lined the floor along the aging bulkheads, indicating a sizable family and not much living space. An ornate mosaic table sat on a dull blue rug in the center, with sticks of incense burning in a bowl off to one side. Except for the two of them, the place was empty.

“Sit, sit,” said the station master, motioning to a cushion across the table. It seemed like a strange way to conduct trade negotiations, but these were the Outworlds after all. Jeremiah took his seat and made himself comfortable.

“You young,” Master Korha observed, producing a thermos and two glasses. He poured them both a thick, white drink that had the consistency of syrup.

“Yes,” Jeremiah answered, taking a sip from his glass. The spicy sweetness hit him like a punch to the mouth, and he struggled to force it down.

“Where from?”

“Far,” said Jeremiah, eyes watering. “Many parsecs.”

The station master nodded. “You trader?”

“Of a sort.”

“Man of fortune?”

“You could say that.”

“Searching woman?” he asked, looking Jeremiah in the eye. “Searching home place, find woman and make babies yes yes?”


“Is tradition, no?”

Jeremiah nodded slowly. “That’s right,” he said, mind racing as he tried to rethink his negotiating strategy. Did the station master expect him to settle down here? Was that why he’d called him to his private quarters? The thought made Jeremiah swallow.

“I, uh—”

“You young, you need woman.”

“Among other things, yes.”

“Not good to man is alone, no no.”

The station master looked off as if lost in thought. Jeremiah took advantage of the moment and cleared his throat.

“As much as I would love to find a wife and settle down, I have some coffee from the Chondarr system that I was hoping to trade, and since you insisted I meet you in person, I—”

“Listen,” Master Korha hissed, glancing over his shoulder before leaning forward to look Jeremiah in the eye. “You no stay here. Not safe.”

Jeremiah frowned. “Not safe? What do you mean?”

“Here is not safe—much is dying, yes yes. Accident since many cycles—no can food to eat. Station crowded, very. Stores run out since many days, many angry, dying much.”

A chill ran down the back of his neck. “You mean the starvation is so bad, the entire outpost is starving to death?”

“Yes yes! Smart young man. Have ship, yes. But cannot stay—very dangerous.”

The gleam in Master Korha’s eyes made him shift uncomfortably on his floor mat.

“Why are you telling me this?”

The station master took a long draft, draining almost half his glass. “You young man, you captain, you go places. Is good, yes. Have favor I ask you.”

He clapped his hands twice, making Jeremiah jump. A side door opened, and five girls lined up in the front of the room. They each wore a loose-fitting chemise made from cheap synthetic fabric that left the shoulders bare while barely stretching to the knees. As Jeremiah looked on, they stared at him with wide, nervous eyes.

“My daughters. You choose, yes yes.”

Jeremiah swallowed hard. “Choose one?”

“Choose one, choose two, choose all no matter. You go, take with. Is good, no?”

This can’t be happening, he thought to himself. His heart pounded in his chest as he glanced from Master Korha to his five daughters and back again.

“Look, let’s not be hasty. My ship doesn’t have any room for extra passengers, and—”

“Aiee!” a voice wailed from behind the door. Jeremiah leaped to his feet as a middle-aged woman barreled past him. Soon, both she and the station master were shouting at each other in their incomprehensible language.

What the hell is going on?

He glanced over at the girls, as if to apologize. The youngest stared at him with wide, frightened eyes; she couldn’t have been older than eight standard years. With her blond hair, she reminded Jeremiah of his younger sister.

“Choose!” Master Korha bellowed. Apparently defeated, his wife collapsed to the floor in tears.

Jeremiah tugged at the collar of his jumpsuit, sweat forming at the back of his neck. “What? Choose?”

“Yes yes—choose quickly, you take, you go!”

“But this is crazy; how can I—”

“If not take, will die. Choose!”

Jeremiah turned back nervously to the girls. The three youngest ones stared at him in absolute terror. The two oldest ones weren’t quite so frightened, but avoided meeting his gaze directly. They wore their long hair down with glistening sequined headbands across their foreheads, and the innocent looks on their faces cried out to him.

Should I take them both? If they were going to die otherwise, it seemed like the right thing to do—but he didn’t know if he could afford to take even one extra passenger on his ship. And besides, the whole situation had an eerily awkward feel to it, as if he were trading in people, not goods.

“You like? You like?” Master Korha asked, ambling to his side. He pulled the two girls forward to give Jeremiah a better look. One of them giggled nervously, while the other bit her lip almost apologetically.

“What the—how can I do this?” Jeremiah asked, raising his hands in protest. “They’re your daughters.”

Behind them, the wife let out an awful wail, but Master Korha waved his hand as if to say ‘pay no attention to her.’

“You choose one, must take, save her yes yes.”

Jeremiah looked into the desperate eyes of the daughters and realized, purely on a gut level, that their father was telling the truth.

“Her,” he said, pointing to the oldest of the two. Her eyes widened, and she covered her mouth in shock.

“Good! Good!” said Master Korha. He took Jeremiah by the wrists and had him clasp hands with the girl. Her fingers were cold, her palms clammy. Her arms stiffened and trembled, but she held on tight. Jeremiah almost pulled away from her, but her father held him in place, making the sign of the cross across his chest and muttering some arcane prayer in his native language.

All at once, everyone in the room was crying. The mother’s wails sounded above all the others, and she shoved Jeremiah aside, wrapping her arms around her daughter. The other girls soon surrounded them, tears streaking their faces, while Master Korha clucked impatiently and pushed them all away.

“Come, come,” he said, grabbing Jeremiah and the girl by their arms. A moment later, they were in his office, away from all the madness. “You take, you leave, must go now yes yes?”

“But—wait!” said Jeremiah, jerking himself free. “What about my mass allotment? My ship’s not built to carry passengers; I’ll have to recalcu—”

“No problem, no problem, she not bring anything,” said Master Korha. He palmed a console in the wall and a hidden door opened, revealing a long, empty maintenance corridor. “Must go now,” he said, ushering them in. “If not, others soon do bad things, yes yes.”

“Are you serious? What do you—”

As if in response, the sound of fists pounding on the front door echoed through the office. It started out innocently enough, but quickly grew louder, as if an entire mob was trying to break in.

“Come! Come!” said Master Korha, hissing as if to emphasize the point. Jeremiah glanced anxiously around the room and instinctively knew that if he didn’t comply, he would soon be in danger.

“Okay,” he muttered, ducking his head as he climbed into the narrow maintenance shaft. “Whatever you say, old man.”

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Friday, July 12, 2013

"Where for art thou Risotto?" by Keith O'Brian (Short Story)

Genre:  Humor

Type of Short Story:  Short Story


Internet dating, what a load of old bollox, I thought to myself. I’d spent the last 18 months, following a breakup, online trawling round for my ‘soulmate’. Updating photos and writing my own biography to try and entice the opposite sex.

‘I even write like a gobshite, no wonder they never write back to me, like my photos or even throw me a sneaky poke on facebook’, I said to Tim, my mate, who led me onto this ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ as he called it, like he was selling me a timeshare or cheap crap at a market stall. Fucking gimp!

‘I’m tellin ye man, it’s like shootin fish in a barrel’, he said. You would swear he was Brad Pitt or one of them handsome fellas, whereas in real life his face was that pot marked it looked like he had been used as a pub dartboard.

‘G’way ye pleb. The only ride you have had in the last few months is with Rachel the Raleigh and she’s had more rides than a jockey’.

He tried to be annoyed but laughed.

‘Fuck off’, he said through a grinning chuckle. ‘It’s true, but it’s still more than you’ve had’, he said with an air of victory to it. ‘Suppose yer too busy spending yer nights on chat roulette with yer lad in yer hand, he said nodding towards the computer. ‘I’d say its riddled’.

He wasn’t right but not far wrong at the same time everything was right except for the ‘self exploration’. That sort of thing wasn’t for me.

‘Nothing like the intimacy of clicking a mouse with one hand and churning man butter with the other’, Tim said.

Webcams always annoyed me. Such and such has invited you to view webcam it said. If I wasn’t a stressed out horndog then I’d tell them what for. But alas there I am ready to click join, pretending I don’t have a camera so I can just watch. Like a voyeur or something. I might as well be up the tree outside her house perving on her with my binoculars.

I wasn’t like this before the breakup. ‘Live a little man will ye’, Tim said. I didn’t think clicking on endless photos of middle-aged women was much of an adventure to be honest. Her advert read: divorced, happy go lucky, loves walks in the parks and animals, looking for friendship and maybe more. It was the maybe more I was looking for. I’d had enough of that other stuff for the past twenty odd years. I always used to wonder why they had got divorced in the first place. Did she shag around on him? That would be grand to meet her so, least I’d get a bit.

‘Jesus not her anyway’, I said aloud. Rough. I have a fair idea why she got divorced anyways. Would she be better than chat roulette? Probably not. NEXT. Jesus H Christ. The tide wouldn’t take her out. Click. Click, click. Never ending. It’s like browsing on the RSPCA orphaned dogs site.

Aha now were talking. She looks alright. Doesn’t really look 50. Widowed, fun loving, looking for fun. Check, check and check. Do you want to contact? Yes please! She will do quite nicely. Send my details. Done and done. Now it’s time to play the waiting game. I sat back in my chair like some sort of Bond villain or something. Embarrassing really. ‘If I could see myself now I’d slap myself. Deucebag’

....Nothing for a couple of days. Time to update my profile I think. I’ll give Tom a call and see if he can give me a hand. He’s a veteran at this kind of stuff, or so I’m led to believe.

‘I’ll be up in an hour or so man, I’m just stroking a wild one’, he said in a hurry and hung up abruptly. I didn’t want to know that. Some things can be kept to themselves. I’m all for some privacy. He better wash his paws after.

‘Ah for fuck sake, no wonder yer not getting any biters on yer rod, he said throwing out a cheeky wink simultaneously. ‘What’s this shite?’ He questioned. ‘Dont be tellin them any of this man. Delete that anyways. Seriously?’ He questioned. He laughed to himself. ‘Ye goon’, he snorted. He typed away for a few minutes and then stood up, dusted off his hands and told me to read.

... Successful business man, own house, holiday home in the sun, no kids. Looking for that special someone to grow old with. Genuine guy with lots of love to give.

‘What the hell is this muck, Tim? I asked.

‘Don’t worry it’s what they all want to hear mate. Trust me.

‘Ah I don’t know, Tim. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Businessman? I work nights in a petrol station alongside a semi gay Polish fella, two lads the colour of varnished pine and man from Zaire who’s as black as the desert sky at night. I rent a room in the back of a doss house, have two kids and haven’t a shillin’ to my name. Someone to grow old with? Now why did ye say that shit? Lots of love to give? Ye made me sound like a right poof.

‘Ye’l be grand. Watch the Notebook and just pretend it’s what you want too. It’s what I do.

‘That’s working well for ye anyways is it? I questioned mockingly.

‘My dry streak has been moistened my man’, he said cheekily and began to boast of his conquests from the past month. Pure filth came out of that mans mouth. As a man who has dabbled in some strange shenanigans even I was shocked by his tales.

Ye’v more fables than Aesop’, I said.

‘It’s all true. No lies. Honestly man. Scouts honour’, he brashly replied.

‘I’ve heard you be called some things in my day Tim but honest definitely isn’t one of them.

‘What can I say? I’m a catch. ‘A stud’, he half shouted as he stood up with the cheeky grin of a teenage lothario.

... The profile worked. I had a date, with Cindy. A widow no less. Get in there! Well that was the plan anyways. I had checked her out on Facebook a couple of times. Not stalkingly but rather just inquisitively. I promise. She looked pretty tasty in her photos. The three kids were a bit of a worry. She’s seen plenty of traffic down there I’d say. Be like throwing a sausage down Grafton St. Ah sure we’ll give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen?

In summary, the date was a disaster. She looked pretty different in real life. She cut a more rounded figure to be honest. Like a pear in a dress, more like a poached pear actually with the strange shade of red on her face from the nervous sweat beading across her brow. She was actually pretty nice and interesting. Loads of stories about her kids, well that was to be expected. I kept up the lie about not having any of my own. The lying actually came pretty natural to me, slightly frightening at the beginning but I found myself rambling on and on with them as the date progressed. Maybe Tim hadn’t been lying. Well if he managed to get dates then it must work. There was no notable faux pas during the date other than the fact I managed to drop my tie into a bowl of soup.

‘Will we go Dutch?’ She asked.

I hadn’t a clue what this meant. I thought it was a sex thing. ‘On a first date?’ I stammered. She looked puzzled and reached for her purse. What the hell was she going to pull out now? My heart pumped as I watched intently. A purse? Maybe something’s inside I wondered.

‘So 50/50 then yeah?’ she asked.

‘No I’ll get this, my treat.’ I said. What was this Dutch thingy? I pondered for few moments. Maybe she said it as a mistake. Yeah, she probably didn’t mean to say it out loud in case I thought she was easy. That was probably it. Ah well I’ll Google it after and see what it was.

We kissed goodbye outside the restaurant. She had the fish risotto so as you can imagine that kiss was a meal in itself. Never again I thought to myself. ‘So will we do this again? She asked.

‘Of course, sure give me yer number there and we’ll set something up in the next few weeks alri? I said, knowing full there were two chances of that happening. Slim and fuck all!

‘How’d the date go?’ Tim asked when I seen him the following day.

‘Ah was alri, I suppose’, I told him.

‘Dya get yer end away?’ He asked, looking as excited as a kid at Christmas. Why he was this excited I have no idea.

‘No I didn’t. Not even the faintest chance of it. Kinda ragin I was. After I got home and was as horny as a sailor on shore leave that was’, I said laughing. ‘I even bought the dinner and pretended I didn’t hear her offering me some Dutch thingy.’

‘Tight bitch’, he joked. Dutch thing? He questioned.

‘Yeah. Dya wanna go Dutch? She asked me’.

‘Ye clown. That means did ye wanna split the bill. Von Dutch.’ He answered like a big fat headed know it all.

I broke out in laughter. ‘I thought it was a dirty sex thing. Yeno what the Dutch are like. We both stood there laughing. He was shaking his head at me as the tears rolled down his face.

As he collected himself after a few moments he asked ‘Ye meetin her again or anten?

‘She is mad for another date with the kid’ I said fixing my collar like I was a young James Dean. ‘Suppose if I get no more offers I’ll give her a shout or something.

‘I’d say she is alri. Suppose she must be pretty hard up for a jont if she’s into you man’, he said in jest.

‘Well I’m hardly beating them away with a shitty stick at the moment so she might be getting a phone call’, I said slightly down heartened at the thought of having to meet her again.

... I hadn’t heard a peep from anyone over the next few days. Surely she couldn’t have been the only woman who found me even the slightest bit attractive. Guess I’m not the catch I thought I was. I was starting to get second thoughts about this internet dating malarkey. How does Tom do it? I questioned to myself. Probably because he spins more yarns than Rumpelstiltskin on speed. Yeah I’d say that was it. Hopefully that was it anyways.

I’ll have a little bit of a window shop on the site again tonight and see if there is anyone who takes my fancy. That was my plan. Click, click, and click. Maybe she wasn’t that bad after all. I could get used to fish risotto. To hell with this for now. I’m having a game of free cell and a Satzenbrau. ‘Who needs this shite?’ I gasped out loud.

Friday, July 5, 2013

"Stum: A Short Alien Abduction Story" by Edward Lange (Short Story)

Genre:  Science Fiction

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  Tony is being abducted by aliens. As he scrambles to find a way to stop it, the little gray men from the stars have other plans for him.


Then I wasn‘t alone.

My eyelids flew open to see a gray hand hanging just above my head, a black pen-like object grasped in its skinny fingers. They’d found me! They were watching me! Nowhere was safe!

My body was paralyzed. Again, the creatures had rendered me defenseless. Just as before, this alien stood on the right side of the bed. Another one stood on the left side of the bed, pulling a pair of silver-black gloves over his skinny hands. My eyes quickly scanned the room, and couldn’t find a third.

By the light of the lamp on the nightstand, I could see a bright red circle on both their collars. The two figures stared down at me, their eyes assessing my rigid, helpless form.

An intense, bright light appeared on the ceiling, dwarfing the light bulb of the lamp and the glow of the television. My body began to move toward the light, away from the ground below. Frantic eyes searched the motel room for anything that could get me out of this situation. I tried to scream for help. My lips refused to part.

In the corners of my eyes, I could still see the creatures standing by the bed, looking up as I was pulled by the alien light. The one on the right was putting the small black rod into his pocket. The one on the left had raised his gloved hands up, guiding me to the light.

Empty threats and curses struggled to escape my paralyzed lips. My hands tried to ball themselves into fists, my legs tried to kick, but still I was pulled into the light, back to that strange realm of cold steel, and uncaring eyes.

Eventually, the blinding light had consumed my entire field of vision. I lost consciousness at that point.

Buy this story on Amazon.  Check out the author's blog here.