Near 500 words: The Monsters Are Coming To Get You

The Boo Alarm went off twenty minutes before the midnight of October 31st, alerting the residents of Poeville. The monsters from Halloweeny Town were on their way. Dr. Van Helsing had warned this would happen. Fortunately, the mayor and the town council heeded his call for action. Thus, the Boo Alarm.

At nineteen minutes before midnight, the townsfolk ran to and fro to the soft thump of feet marching, marching, marching in the distance.

Fighting off the terror coursing through his body, Mayor Hershey ran through the streets, urging the citizens to prepare their defenses for the invasion.

Mrs. Joy gathered the women of Poeville at their designated meeting place in the Town Hall. The sound of hundreds of feet filled the air. Only fifteen minutes to go before the terror struck. And strike it would.

Mr. Joy led the men of the town to roll out the wagons. They pulled them across the center of Main Street.

At ten minutes before midnight, the women climbed the stairs with buckets of hot chocolate to throw onto the monsters when they arrived.

From behind the wagons, Mr. Joy directed the men to pull catapults to face the monsters, then loaded them with large bags of stuffing.

It was five minutes before midnight when J. B. rode into town, imitating Paul Revere with his “the monsters are coming, the monsters are coming.”

The sound of marching feet was deafening. As they marched, the monsters sang, “Trick or treat, smell our feet, give us something good to eat.”

Many of the townsfolk thought it might be time to vacate the premises, urged on by the Airhead twins.

Mayor Hershey exhorted them to stand their ground. “Remember the Alamo,” they yelled.

Unfortunately there were those who wanted to know, “What the heck is an alamo?” But the encouragement was enough to keep everybody in place and ready to put up a fight against the monsters like Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett and Col. Travis did in San Antonio.

One minute till midnight, and there the marchers were, coming down the middle of Main. They were ghosts and goblins, witches and warlocks, dragons and grim reapers, zombies and vampires, werewolves and mummies. They had looks of determination on their faces.

Mayor Hershey took one look at the horde and decided there was nothing that could stop them. Not catapults, not sling shots, not hot chocolate. Nothing. Nada.

Mrs. Joy and her husband, Almond, were the first to break for it. Right behind them was Jelly Bean on his horse, followed by Gummy Bear and Chocolate Drop.

The Marshmallow Treats were the first to be captured along with Peppermint Patty and her sidekick, the Gobstopper. Next were the M & Ms. Morton and Marsha had never been fast runners.

The children in the monster costumes were not to be denied this Halloween night. It was midnight and the Candied Citizens of Poeville had lost another battle with the Mad Trick-or-Treaters of Halloweeny Town.

After the siege had ended and everything quieted down, Mayor Hershey crawled out from under his hiding place, surveyed the damage, sat down in the Mounds Bar, and thought, “Perhaps next year will be different.”

One can always hope, can’t one?

Scheherazade: A Halloween Story

This one’s for Halloween.

A dark room, small, white, no windows, only a door. A woman in her mid-thirties in the far corner, in a fetal position, crying. Footsteps, the clicking of new shoes outside. She manages to stifle her crying and cringes more into the corner.

The clicking comes closer and closer. It reaches the door. Stops.

A key slips into the lock and turns. The door opens. The light from the hallway floods the room, blinding the woman.

A man steps into the room. Lights a candle on the table. Closes the door behind him. He reaches over and pulls a chair from the table. He turns the chair with its back facing the woman and straddles it.

He doesn’t tell her not to be afraid. He doesn’t tell her to take off her clothes. Instead he leans forward, smiles and says, “Tell me a story.” There is ice in his voice. So much so his words turn the room chilly and put shivers on her skin.

She responds, her teeth chattering. “Leave me alone.”

He leans closer and raises his voice slightly. “Tell me a story, or—well, the choice is yours.” She can feel the frost on her face.

She swallows hard. “I don’t have any stories.”

An avalanche of words rolls out of his mouth. “Of course, you do. We all have stories. Stories of ancestors and parents and brothers and sisters. And the first time we had sex. Now tell me one. Just one.” The blizzard is coming for her.

She turns away from him and tries to protect her face from the freezing wind.

He rises from the chair and kneels before her, pushes back her hair, then says, “I told you I wouldn’t hurt you. Have I hurt you?” He smells of Old Spice and his breath smells like rotten meat.

“Why have you kept me here for so long?”

He reaches under her chin and turns her face to meet his. “I was waiting on the full moon. Now it’s the full moon. It’s time for a story.”

She takes a deep breath, taking in the cold air, then, “This is a story about a farm.”

He lets go of her face and smiles. “I like farms. My uncle owned a farm once. He lost it when he went bankrupt.” Then he is up and in his chair.

Trying to fight the ice, she breaths warmth on to her hands. “It was my grandparents’ farm,” she says, her voice as calm as she can make it.

“See, I told you that you had a story. And I’m liking it already.”

“It wasn’t a large farm. My grandparents had five chickens and a rooster.”

“Plenty of fresh eggs.”

“And they sold what they didn’t eat.” She sat up and leaned forward. “And they had a cow and a horse and two pigs. On top of that, Grandfather had a red tractor. Used to grow corn and fresh tomatoes and lots of potatoes.” The ice begins to melt from the warmth of her words.

“You must’ve loved visiting there.”

“I did. Every summer when I was a girl, my sister and I would go and stay. It was a lovely farm. I have such good memories,” she says, then she whispers, “Especially of my grandmother’s pies.”

He leans forward. “What did you say?”

“I have good memories of my grandmother’s pies. They were the best.”

“I love pies.”

“And so did my grandfather’s goat. He kept eating her pies. She would sit them on the windowsill to cool. And up popped that little goat head.”

“Why didn’t she get rid of the goat?”

“She wanted to, but it was my grandfather’s. He loved that goat.”

“Guess all your grandmother could do was close the windows.”

“That’s what my grandfather said. But my grandmother was having none of that. ‘Why should I have to accommodate a goat?’ she kept asking.”

“Any story with a goat in it is my kind of story.”

“One Saturday my grandmother made three pies. Two for the neighbors and one for Grandfather. She sat the pies on the windowsill and kept an eye out for the goat. Unfortunately she left the kitchen for less than five minutes. When she came back, one of the pies was gone. She knew exactly who the culprit was.

“She went to the hall closet and got out the rifle. She checked to make sure the rifle was loaded.”

“Guess it’s by-by goat,” he says, bringing his chair closer to the woman so that he can hear her soft voice.

“She ran outside and up aways, took one look at that goat, raised her rifle and fired.”

“Eating a pie was no reason to kill that poor goat. What would your grandfather do?”

“She missed but the goat didn’t. He lowered his horns, rushed passed her, accidentally knocking her off her feet. And went straight for the two pies. By the time she got to her feet, the pies were gone. And so was the goat. Grandfather rushed over. ‘Are you alright?’ he asked.

“‘Of course, I’m alright. But that fool of a goat ate my pies. Now I’m out of my secret ingredient and we won’t have pies till next month.'”

The man leans closer toward the woman, the two almost touching. His hands grab her wrists and they squeeze. “What was the secret ingredient?”

She moves so close to him that her chest is touching his chest. Then her mouth is against his ear. She whispers, “The secret ingredient is fresh human brains.”

Her teeth sink into his ear. They rip it off. She knees his groan. Then her teeth plunge into his skull, their poison freezing his body.

The room has turned hot as a summer day.

Near 500 words: Love is swimming in deep waters

Love is swimming in deep waters

Far out at sea
Running with dolphins and whales
And the North Star
A light through night and the gales.

Waves rising
Out of the deep then they fall
Breaking down
An unbreakable wall.

Though there be storms
And broken ships in ruins
There’ll be day break
When the morning returns.

Living Room Stories: Jack’s Cup

This one came from looking over and seeing that my coffee cup was empty. How it got that way I am not sure. But it was obvious to me there was a story to be found in the bottomless pit of my coffee cup.

Image by ChildishGiant from Pixabay

Of all the coffee cups on all the tables in all the seven worlds, this had never happened before. Jack’s Coffee Cup was empty.

Though Jack had traveled far and wide from Old Cathay to Timbuktu, his Cup had never been empty.

Though Jack had experienced adventures even Christopher Columbus would have envied, his Cup had never been empty.

Though Jack consumed more coffee than the student body of a university, his Cup had never been empty.

How had this come to be? Wasn’t the Universe aware of the Eleventh Commandment: “Thou shalt never ever let Jack’s Cup run dry.” What had led to this life-and-death dilemma? Why was it so important that the Cup never run dry?

It all began with a cow. Not just any cow. A cow named Bossie. One morning Jack went to the barn to milk Bossie. Bossie kicked Jack in the leg, not once but three times. Now this wasn’t like Bossie. Bossie had never liked Jack pulling on her teats for the liquid gold the cow produced morning after morning after morning. She especially hated his singing, “One teat. Two teat. Pull.” But she had not protested so vigorously before. We could blame it on age but Bossie was only two years old. In human years, that wasn’t even middle age. No, it must have been those little green men who had visited her the last three days.

“That’s the third time,” Jack’s Mom said. “We can’t have that in a cow. Pretty soon our insurance will refuse to reimburse us for the injury. Take that animal down to the cow auction and get a good price for her. And buy us a gentler sort of breed.”

Jack protested. He was just as masochistic as Christian Grey and he loved the pain. But Mom was insistent. Bossie had to go.

He loaded Bossie up on the bed of his red Ford truck and headed for the auction. Down at the intersection, he took the wrong turn and ended up in a dead-end.

“Oh, my gosh. I’ll be too late. Mom’s gonna kill me.”

From the side of his truck, Jack heard, “Are you Jack?”

Jack looked in his side mirror. A rather small man all outfitted in green with a top hat approached him.

“You are Jack?” the man said in the Irish-est accent you ever wanted to hear.

“The last time I checked my birth certificate I was Jack.”

Jack jumped out of the truck.

“My name is Seamus. Not the Ulster Seamuses but the Dublin branch.” The man reached out with his tiny hand and took Jack’s hand and they shook.

Jack was a friendly sort of fellow. Everybody in the Seven Counties said so. He gave the small fellow a smile and said, “Please to meet you.”

The little fellow continued, “That’s a fine cow you have there.”

“I’m taking her to auction.”

“I’d like to give you an offer for your cow you can’t refuse. Six beans.” He took six small beans out from his wallet and passed them over to Jack.

The beans felt warm in Jack’s hand and they had a rich brown texture to them. Of all the beans Jack had seen over the years–and he’d seen quite a few–these were the most beautiful.

“No can do.” Jack passed the beans back over to Seamus.”Bossie here is the best of cows and I can’t let her go for six beans.”

Seamus laughed. “That’s not what I hear. You keep things up with Bossie pretty soon you won’t have a leg to stand on.”

Well, Seamus had Jack on that. “These are magic beans. You do know that?”

“Magic beans?”

“And because you’re driving such a hard bargain, it’ll be five beans and not one bean less.”

“You said six beans.”

“That was before. This is the present. Five beans. Take them or leave them before I can change my mind.”

Jack hemmed and hawed for the next little while. Since Seamus had won the Zig-Ziglar-Salesman-of-the-Year Award six years in a row, it didn’t take long before Jack was back in his truck and on the road home.

Mom gave her one-and-only a big hug. “What did you get? What did you get?”

Jack puffed out his chest with pride. He was so proud of himself his pride had pride. “Five beans. Five beautiful beans.”

Mom knew she had a dolt of a son. But she never realized that he could be this doltish. “Five beans? You sold our cow for five beans? Just wait till your father gets home.” Now Jack’s father was long gone to the happy hunting ground in the sky.

But the woman’s subconscious always produced the words when Jack was being a bad boy. Like that time he fell down and broke his crown. She’d warned him about Jill. And her prophecy had come true. Jill stole Jack’s pail of water. Mom should have understood that Jack was going through puberty and he just couldn’t resist Jill’s charms. She was that kind of girl.

Mom took one look at the five beans and out the window they went. Then she went to her room, crying. There would be no supper for Jack tonight.

That night there was a huge noise behind the kitchen. It was like three flying saucers were landing. They weren’t. It was those beans, sprouting into a giant bean stalk.

The next morning, at five a.m., Jack put on his overalls and grabbed his pail and went out to the barn. No, Bossie. Where was she? Panicking, he ran back to the house and woke his mother up. “Somebody stole Bossie.”

Two slaps across the face brought Jack to his senses. “Oh, the beans.” He shook his head. “Bossie may have been a pain but she sure gave good milk.”

Jack looked out the kitchen window. He saw the bean stalk. “Oh, geez. Look, Mom.”

Mom gave the bean stalk a incredulous gander. “What the….”

“I’ll double that and raise you a What the f***”

Mom and Son stepped out onto the back porch. Their eyes were giant saucers. Finally Jack said, “Well, there’s nothing to do but climb.”

After a large bowl of porridge, Jack dressed in his lederhosen and his lederhosen hat and his lederhosen boots. He said his farewells to Mom. “Don’t wait up. I may be late.” Then he took his first steps up the bean stalk.

A half day later he was climbing.

A day later he was climbing.

A week later he was climbing.

He was tempted to look down. Knowing he had vertigo up the ying-yang, he did not look down.

Then, after taking a break for the Sabbath, he found his footing on land. He stepped out through the clouds and saw the most magnificent sight ever. This was Oz and Shangri La and Machu Picchu and Versailles and Buckingham Palace all rolled into one. Needless to say, it was a big WOW. And it left Jack breathless. He fell to the ground to keep from passing out from all the splendor.

After sitting on the ground for about a half of a millennium, he recovered and got to his feet. He stepped onto the brick road. It could have been the Yellow Brick Road. Only it was a rainbow of colors.

After a long time and the accumulation of several callouses on his feet, he reached a large wooden door. Just as he was about to knock, a cow approached him. “Don’t do that.”

Now Jack had seen the re-runs of “Mister Ed”. So he knew that horses could talk. But a cow. He slapped his face several times to make sure he wasn’t dreaming.

“You’ll be sorry if you knock on that door.” Cow gave Jack a huge cowish grin.

“You’re a cow. You can’t talk.”

“Now you tell me.” Cow gave Jack one of those I’m-going-to-have-to-be-patient-with-the-boy looks.

“Why shouldn’t I knock. It’s rude not to knock.”

“I’m telling you it’s not something you want to do.”

“Why not?”

“Oh, here’s the why-not. There’s always a why-not. Nobody ever listens to Cow. You think the Wicked Witch of the West and Ultron were bad asses you ain’t seen anything yet.”

“What do you mean?”

Cow finally had gotten Jack’s attention. “You-know-who resides inside and he don’t like visitors.”


“No, silly.” Then Cow leaned over and whispered, “Giant.”

From inside the building came a voice. A big big voice louder than a hundred loud speakers. “Fie fih foh fum. I smell the blood of an American.”

Another voice yelled at the big voice, “No, stupid. America hasn’t been discovered yet.”

“Oh. Fie fih foh fum. I smell the blood of a Frenchman.”

The voice again. “Come off it. We’re not in France.”

“Oh, right. Fie fih foh fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman.”

“Good boy.”

Cow passed over some cologne. “Spritz yourself with this. Quick.”

Jack shot each of his underarms and passed the bottle back over.

Cow motioned for Jack to hide in the bushes.

The wooden door opened, and out stepped Giant. He was so big he would have put Cyclops to shame.

“Well?” a cuckoo bird said from the Giant’s shoulder.

“It’s just Cow and that smell. That p.u. smell. I hate that smell.” Giant turned and went back inside.

Cow put one of his hooves inside to keep the door from completely closing. Then Jack heard some music.

“That stinkum-delight smell has got to go.” Cow spritzed Jack once more. “This one is the no-smell spritzer.” Then he pushed Jack inside.

“What should I do?”

Cow handed Jack a list. “Get these and your future will be made.”

“Why am I stealing a Forever Cup?”

“It’s what makes the other stuff work. And please make sure it has coffee in it. If it’s empty, everything goes kaput-sky. ”


“Yes, and you’ll have one heck of a run of bad luck. And I mean bad.

Jack tippy-toed inside the massive building. The hall was large. Big. Humongous. In fact, it put the huge in humongous. Giant-sized furniture was everywhere.

He fell dizzy on the floor from the awesomeness of it all. But he soon recovered, knowing that danger was only a giant away.

Jack checked Cow’s list. The items were written in an elegant cowish script. Then he went looking. He found the ice creamer maker in the kitchen along with the Forever Cup. He knew it was the Forever Cup because it had Forever Cup painted on it. And yes, it had coffee in it. The blackest, nastiest coffee you ever wanted to taste.

Finally it was the goose’s turn. You’ve heard the term, “cooked your goose,” before. When he picked it up, the goose woke from a sound snooze. Not knowing what was going on, it started crying out, “Thief. Thief.”

Cuckoo heard the goose and woke Giant.

Jack put Goose under his arm, the ice cream maker under the other arm and the Forever Cup into his backpack. He headed for the door as fast as his legs would carry him. Cow held the door open for him.

Once Jack was outside, Cow slammed the door shut. Knowing how sensitive Giant was to smell, he did a humongous poop-a-rama right there on the doorstep.

“Jump on my back,” Cow said.

As Cow and Jack galloped off into the sunset, Cow yelled, “And a hi-yo Silver.” And down the bean stalk the two went. Then touchdown, and Jack ran for the barn. Back with an axe, Jack went to work chopping the stalk down. Unfortunately he lost the barn. Giant crashed on it, turned over and took his last breath. Cuckoo surrendered.

For the next fifty years, Jack prospered. He made the best ice cream throughout the Seven Worlds. He paid for the ice cream materials with Goose’s golden eggs and Cow became a big Wall Street hedge fund manager, manager of all of Jack’s money.

Every thing went hunky-dory until Cuckoo escaped and went about the countryside causing mischief. And his greatest act of evil was draining the Forever Cup, leaving Jack with only one message.

Near 500 words: Fairy Tale U

Now that Little Bo Peep has found her sheep and Humpty Dumpty has been put back together again, Mother Goose is devoting her time to a new project. Education. She is opening a school of higher leaning for those who wish to be fairy-tale endowed. Here’s some of the outstanding courses she’ll be offering at Fairy Tale U.

1.Prince Charming 101. Prince Rupert teaches the gentlemanly ways of wooing yon fair maiden. Without looking at her shoes.
2.You-tube phenomenon Cinderella will be giving her world-famous Housecleaning Techniques.
3.You won’t need a Fairy Godmother in the clothes department after you take Fashion Consciousness by The One-and-only Fairy Godmother. “It’s all in the shoes.”
4.Baking with Hansel & Gretel and their um-um good recipes.
5.Repunzel lets her hair down with Hair-styling 101.
6.Big Bad’s Huff-and-Puff Way to Real Estate Success.
7.For those in the weight-consciousness mode, the “Just Right” Diet by Goldilocks and the Three Bears is perfect.
8.Child Care by Rumpelstiltskin
9.Relationship Secrets by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
10. Flying Etiquette with the Wicked Witch of the West introduces students to  proper broom-riding techniques. Come and hear her say, “Eat your heart out, Harry Potter.”
11.Jack’s Course on the Bean Stalk Methodology of Survival.
12. After rescuing Grandma, Little Red Riding Hood joins the University with her Tips on Elder Care.
13.Beauty’s Taming your Inner Beast shouldn’t be missed.
14.Puss-in-Boots will share his secrets on How To Be Successful In Business Without Really Trying.
15.And for the meteorlogical-minded, Dorothy and Toto will be here for Storm Chasing Procedures.