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Monday, April 30

Chatting with the Ghost of Dr. Freud

"Chatting with the Ghost of Dr. Freud"
Short fiction - Paranormal
By Gayla Chaney

I appreciate you seeing me on such short notice, Doc. This couch is soft, and your photograph looks nice taped to the ceiling like that. I can’t remember what we’re supposed to do. Delve into my subconscious? Scour the bottom of my dark, hidden heart? Play word association games? Call me attention-span deficit, but I’m easily bored. My Id craves stimuli. I lose focus if I stare at something too long. Hey, that cigar you’re holding…is it a real cigar or a symbol from some future dream I’m going to have?

By way of introduction, consider me a Woody Guthrie song in the flesh. I reject hobo, bum, or transient, though I will confess to having migratory tendencies. But I am not lazy. It’s just that settling down seems dangerously close to rigor mortis in my book. Versatility is my strongest virtue. So, I’m a dishwasher, farmhand, cabdriver, and part-time landscaper who sometimes heads south in winter to drill for oil on offshore rigs. I can lay pipeline or cable, concrete or brick, and when necessary, I sleep in my truck. Mimicry makes all things possible.

My relationship with my mother? Oh, Doc, she gave me my nomadic soul. My name is not recorded in any family bible handed down from generation to generation. I think of myself as the product of selective breeding, a hybrid deposited like a cowbird’s egg in a robin’s nest. Wanderlust is my inheritance.

Routine affects me like an itch that I can't reach. But I'll be alright. I’m neither criminal nor insane. I just can’t remain in one place too long. A tank of gas and some cash in my wallet, that’s all I need. In motion, I come to life.

Maybe I am just redefining rugged individualism for the twenty-first century, carving out my own version of the American Dream. It’s not the Horatio Alger version, but it’s the only version I can stomach. Family and community? Chains and shackles. A picket fence or barbed wire? Any distinction is lost on me.

So, I live in this new, fluid frontier because I need diversity, plain and simple. My actions got nothing to do with repressed desires or symbolic dreams. Sometimes, a cigar is just a cigar, right? By rejecting the tethers of kinship in favor of a loner’s lifestyle, I am simply expressing my individuality. Thank God I live in a country where it’s perfectly legal to do so. Tomayto, tomahto, and to each his own, I guess.

What do you think of my analysis, Doc? It works for me, mostly. Except for running into your ghost from time to time, in town after town, I’d probably never question why I dream of empty boots.

Gayla Chaney's work has appeared in Potomac Review, Paper Street, Natural Bridge, Thema, Carve, and online at Silverthought, Bewildering Stories, and Amarillo Bay. She lives and writes in central Texas.

Friday, April 20

Shagging Comets

"Shagging Comets"
Short fiction - Sci-fi
by Ed Lynskey

The leather was soft as a baby’s butt. Smiling, Dakota smacked his fist into the baseball mitt. Driving, I sighed.

“Lance, tonight’s the night,” said Dakota.

Nodding, I stared at the headlights probing the night. “Did the Old Farmers Almanac tell you that?”

“No,” replied Dakota. “Zank did.”

Again, I sighed. “We talked about Zank. And agreed he wasn’t real.”

“You did,” said Dakota. “Not me. But I’ll send Zank away.”

“Smart move. How do your feet feel?” I asked.

Dakota gave me a grin. “Fast, man, fast.”

“That’s good to hear.” Our going to the city park at night bordered on nutty, I mused.

“Ouch!” said Dakota. “That hurt.”

“Huh?”

Dakota puffed out his chest. “I can read minds.”

“Can you? Okay, what am I thinking of now?” I asked.

Dakota’s chest deflated. “It comes and goes, I’m afraid.”

I made a left turn and sped up. The park we sought lay on the city’s outskirts. The light pollution was less there.

* * *

Dakota unlatched his car door. The dome light popped on in our eyes. “Whoa, horse,” I said to him. “At least let me park the car.”

“Hurry up,” Dakota said. “I feel fast as the wind.”

I braked, switched off the key, and threw on the brake. My squeeze on Dakota’s forearm was a gentle, affection one. “Sure,
kid. Go catch a falling star.”

Rolling out of the car door, Dakota whooped. I took a few seconds, watching him race off beyond the range of the headlights. How could one person be so happy? His parents had died in a mysterious auto wreck. They were unmarked, not a scratch or bruise. I shook my head until spotting Dakota deep in centerfield. He tilted his head to study the star-studded night sky.

I went over and flumped down on the dugout bench. I unclipped the cell phone from my belt and called home.

“Hello,” said the female voice.

“We’ve arrived,” I told Cara, my wife.

“Is Dakota keeping a sharp eye out?”

“The meteor shower hasn’t started,” I replied. “Say, where’s our special meteorite?”

“Inside the glove compartment,” said Cara. “I hid it inside a little cardboard box. Isn’t this a dirty trick to play on Dakota?”

“He won’t know the difference. Plus, he’ll get a kick out of it.”

“Okay, he’s your brother, not mine,” said Cara. “I’m going to bed. Call me if anything exciting happens.”

“Will do,” I said. “We’ll soon bag it here.”

We severed our connection. A shout grabbed my attention.

“Hey, I’ve shagged one comet.”

“Uh, Dakota, better come on in,” I said. “We need to talk.”

After removing the sunshades, Dakota trotted across the emerald turf and dirt infield.

“Let’s chill in the dugout,” I said. We sat down on the bench. I spat. Dakota spat. “Dakota, I’m a little puzzled. You say you shagged a meteorite?”

“I sure did,” he said.

His baseball mitt extended toward me, then unfolded to bare its webbing and stitches. I looked down. A nugget the size of a golf ball blazed in its greenish incandescence. I detected a sizzling noise.

“Where did you really get this?” I asked.

“The comet tumbled out of the sky,” replied Dakota.

“Isn’t that really a chunk of foxfire you dug up in the woods?” I asked.

“No,” replied Dakota. “I caught it in my baseball glove. Here, feel how hot it is.”

“You’re getting weird on me,” I said. “I’m calling your Aunt Cara. Maybe she can calm you down. Your eyes are pretty intense.”

Cara answered my ring. Watching Dakota, I gulped and then explained our situation to her.

“Yes, Lance,” Cara said in a matter-of-fact voice. “I believe it. Now, are Dakota’s eyes red and glittery?”

“His eyes gleam,” was my reply. “Way weird.”

“Excellent. Now Lance, listen,” said Cara. “Touch the meteorite.”

“Touch it? Why?” I asked.

“Just do it, Lance. Touch the meteorite and join us,” said
Cara.

The End

Ed Lynskey's mysteries include The Dirt-Brown Derby (Mundania Press, 2006) and The Blue Cheer (Wildside Press, 2007), both featuring P.I. Frank Johnson.

Tuesday, April 17

Wearing Flowers in Your Hair

"Wearing Flowers in Your Hair"
Short fiction - "flower power" humor
by Rod Drake

It was April 1967. San Francisco was throwing out the old ways, bringing in the new.

Kat sat in the kitchen of 810 Ashbury, the Grateful Dead’s house, reading the latest edition of The Oracle, the free hippie newspaper. The noon sun made the room bright and warm. Sunny was still upstairs making love to one of the band members. Kat didn't know which one. Maybe the drummer. The downstairs seemed to be empty, and she was alone in the spacious, if messy, kitchen area.

Kat had enjoyed smoking the bong with Jerry Garcia (it was choice stuff) and would have balled him, but she never got the opportunity. His old lady, Mountain Girl, showed up and broke up the party by taking him away, leaving Sunny and Kat alone in the bedroom. Soon other people began drifting in, started smoking with them and now Sunny was with one of them. Maybe the bass player.

Kat's long-haired partner was too stoned for sex, so she left him passed out on the mattress lying on the floor and came downstairs for some Kool-Aid. She had the munchies too.

Two girls, very young, walked into the kitchen completely naked and dripping wet. Their long hair was plastered to their faces and necks.

They looked at Kat like they were caught in the act by Mother Superior. Finally one of them, a small, very thin girl, with a slight overbite and freckles across her nose asked timidly, "Um, do you know where the towels are?" A circle of water had formed on the floor around each girl.

A question occurred to Kat. "Were you girls taking a bath together?"

They both giggled like mischievous schoolgirls which they could have been. Freckles replied, "Yes, but it wasn't just us in the tub. Jerry was there too."

"Jerry? I don't think so," Kat replied. "He left with his girlfriend an hour ago."

The two naked girls looked at each other. "It was Jerry. It had to be Jerry," Freckles whined.

Kat was intrigued. "Why does it have to be Jerry?"

Again the two girls exchanged glances. "Because," the second girl confessed, "we did stuff to him, underwater-"

"Holding our breath," Freckles tossed in.

"Tag team," the other girl added.

"Until he was, you know, satisfied." Freckles blushed a little. "Because he's Jerry Garcia."

"Un-huh. Where is he now?"

"Still in the tub," both girls said in unison.

Kat followed the girls to the bathroom. "Jerry" was lounging in the communal tub, resting his head on the rim. Kat looked at him and back at the girls, still dripping water and now shivering a little.

"Girls," Kat began.

"I'm Annie," Freckles said. "Everyone calls her Mouse."

"Annie, Mouse--this is not Jerry Garcia." She turned to the man in the tub. "Who are you?"

The man in the tub grinned at them like an idiot. "I'm Duncan. I work at The Oracle. I distribute copies of it in the Haight. I heard this was the place for free dope and sex. And, brother, it's true."

Mouse sputtered, "But we thought you were Jerry Garcia!"

Annie turned to Mouse and cried, "We gave head to a paper boy!"

Rod Drake thinks about a lot of different things, and some of those thoughts get turned into stories. You just read one. Check out Rod's other stories published in Flashes of Speculation, Flash Flooding, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, Six Sentences and AcmeShorts.