Tag Archives: The Word Count Podcast

GRANDFATHER KNOWS BEST ~ My story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast #Halloween

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #51 (Halloween edition) of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt asked that we write a ghost story.

*  *  *  *

Katy called me a week before Halloween and asked if she could come by to treat or treat in our neighborhood. She had not set foot in our home for over a year. She had also not spoken to her father in just as long. Their once happy daddy-daughter relationship ended that previous Halloween night. Her phone call surprised me and gave me hope that reconciliation might be possible. She must have heard the concern in my voice.

“You know your father will be here, Katy. I wish the two of you would—”

“Mom,” she said, “I don’t want to talk about Dad. I know he’ll be there, but I’m coming to see you. Jacob misses you.”

I sighed at the mention of our four-year-old grandson, whom Bill had not seen in over a year because Katy forbade it. She was angry with him, and I guess she had every right to be. I had visited our daughter but chose to keep it a secret from my husband. It would have only rubbed salt in the wound for him to know what he was missing. Unfortunately, a slip in the bathtub threw out my back. I hobbled around the house, unable to do much let alone drive the two hours to visit Katy and Jacob. Maybe that was why she wanted to make the trip.

After I hung up the phone, I wondered if I had made the right decision, but what could I do? My husband was tortured over what had happened, but I had to believe that a visit from his daughter and grandson would somehow heal the hurt. Because Katy initiated it, perhaps she was ready to forgive him.


When I told Bill about Katy coming over with Jacob, he did not say a word. I thought it meant he might make himself scarce during their visit or he would choose to leave the house altogether. I really did not know how he would react. I suppose I didn’t expect him to stay, but he did. The awkward reunion with him and our daughter was short-lived. Jacob broke the ice by running into Bill’s arms when he kneeled down to greet him.

“Grandpa!” he screamed.

Bill’s eyes welled with tears as he picked up the small boy and hugged him tightly. Jacob squirmed and giggled, brushed his small hands over his grandfather’s mess of silver hair. When Bill loosened his grip, Jacob stared into his eyes, “Grandpa, why are you crying?”

“I’m just so happy to see you.” Bill’s voice cracked. “You are such a big, handsome boy now.”

“And you have a white beard!” Jacob said, running his hands over Bill’s face.

Katy stepped forward and scooped her son out of his grandfather’s arms. “Now, now,” she said, “make sure you say hello to Grandma too.”

As I hugged and kissed Jacob, half my attention fell upon the other two people in the room. Father and daughter exchanged cool words, but the greeting was civil. Katy may not have been ready to forgive yet, but my heart beat quickly at the possibility that things could only get better. At least they were talking.

That afternoon, I made a special meal for Halloween before darkness set in, things I knew a little boy would love—severed finger hotdogs and bloodshot eyeball cookies. Jacob squealed at the sight of the chocolate Halloween brownies shaped like mice. I used strands of licorice for the tails and almond slivers for the ears. Red candy pieces made up the eyes. “I love these, Grandma!” He grabbed two mice, one in each hand.

“Jacob!” Katy said with feigned exasperation. “Take one at a time please. You can’t fit both of them in your mouth, sweetheart.”

Jacob offered a tiny smile. “They’re not both for me, Mama. One is for Tyler. I want him to have a chocolate mouse too.”

I gasped at the mention of Tyler, a name neither Bill nor I had spoken since he died a year ago—in our home. Though the accusation was never made, I knew Katy blamed her father for Tyler’s death. I suppose I did too. Tyler was born less than five minutes after Jacob; they were identical twins. The baby gate Bill had secured at the top of the basement stairs had somehow come undone. Tyler fell down the wooden flight of steps. Bill was the only one with them at the time. When he yelled Jacob’s name, Katy and I had rushed into the room. Jacob would surely have fallen down the stairs too if Bill had not grabbed him.

I saw my daughter’s eyes widen as she pulled her son close to her. “Jacob, what … what are you saying? Tyler is gone.”

“No, he’s not Mama.” Jacob’s high-pitched voice suddenly took on a deeper tone. “He’s here. He’s talking to me.”

I could tell Katy was trying to maintain calm even as she stuttered to find the right words. “Sweetheart …,” she said to her son, “Tyler is not here. It’s not possible—”

“Yes it is! Yes it is!” Jacob stomped his feet and threw his chocolate brownies on the floor. His angelic nature of minutes ago took a quick turn.

I looked to my daughter who stared back at me with her mouth open. She lifted her shoulders and turned up her palms in disbelief. No matter how much Katy tried to cajole her son, he kept talking to his little brother.

“Tyler. I’m sorry,” he said. “Come back, please come back …”

Katy shook her son by the shoulders. “Jacob … it’s okay, everything will be okay.”

But Jacob was not listening to her. “I’m sorry, Tyler,” he said, “I’m sorry I opened the gate and pushed you down the stairs … Come back … please come back.”

As Jacob sobbed, his words sucked the oxygen out of the air. I looked to my husband whose face turned white with an expression I had never seen. Was it dread, or was it relief that a secret he had kept to protect his grandson was now revealed by a ghost?


Thank you for reading.

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

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Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

50 and SINGLE ~ My story for @RBwood’s 50th episode of the Word Count Podcast

50 and single

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #50 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

This milestone episode asked that we use the word FIFTY in our story and provide a photo with FIFTY in the image. The above was mine … a tongue-in-cheek snapshot of being 50 and single.

Hope you enjoy the story! 

* * * *

The year I turned fifty saw me single again after I buried my husband. Thomas had been sick for some time. Still, when he died … I almost expected the heavens to open up or trumpets to play, but nothing happened. There was no fanfare. It was like any other day, only the world was now less one wealthy, abusive man.

I sat with a tissue in hand at my doctor’s office, my first visit since Thomas’s funeral.

“It’s natural to want to withdraw, Kadin,” Dr. Bill Wood said to me. “You were married for over ten years. That’s a long time to be with someone.”

I dabbed my cheeks while sniffling, took a breath. “Thomas was not in good health … still … sixty-five is too young to die.” Dr. Wood looked at me with sad eyes and a thin-lipped smile. He pitied me, but that was okay. I wanted him to pity me.

“It’s not going to be easy,” he said. “You may feel lost for the next little while, but please don’t let this set you back. You’ve come so far, Kadin.”

I nodded slowly, curled in my lips to stifle a whimper. The truth was I wasn’t lost, but my shrink didn’t need to know that. If anything, I was relieved. Dr. Wood was partially right though. Losing Thomas was like losing a limb, only not my limb. Thomas’s death had freed me from his hands around my neck—a fear that used to wake me up at nights gasping from a tightening in my throat. Now, I was able to breathe again.

At the insistence of my good friend, Cameron, I had started seeing Dr. Wood a year ago for my anxiety. It was the best thing I ever did. It gave me somewhere to go every Tuesday and Thursday morning. After only our second meeting, Dr. Wood wrote me a prescription for anti-depressants, which I promptly filled. Eventually, our twice-weekly routine helped put my life in perspective. It gave me a purpose.

Within six months of seeing the good doctor, I had a drawer full of pill bottles. He had changed the prescription several times at my urging, each time increasing the strength of the dose. He even combined a couple of different meds—Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft, Wellbutrin. I had them all, but I needed something else. I complained of side effects like nausea and loss of concentration. He tried hard to get me the right combination of meds, but remained perplexed that I wasn’t getting better. What clinched it was when I told him my husband did not like my decreasing sex drive from the drugs. That’s when he prescribed Sinequan.

“I’m very surprised you’re doing so well on this new medication, Kadin. I hardly ever prescribe Sinequan anymore,” he had said.

“Oh, why is that?” I had infused an innocent lilt into my voice, something I did often when I spoke to him.

“It’s one of the oldest anti-depressants,” he said in his usual professorial tone. “It has more side effects than the newer ones, but you seem to be faring well with it. No heart palpitations or dizziness?”

“None, whatsoever, doctor. I feel better than I have in a long time.”

That was three months ago when Thomas was still alive.

How time flies.

You see, I know a few things about drugs, but I never spoke about it to Dr. Wood. Sinequan, which he prescribed, is not recommended for someone with a heart problem. I didn’t have a heart problem, but I also never took it. Actually, I never took any of the drugs he prescribed, but I filled them because I wanted him to keep renewing my prescription.

In meeting Dr. Wood, I found the perfect solution to relieve the source of my anxiety.

Poor Thomas, born with a heart murmur, which in itself wasn’t dangerous, but he did have an underlying heart problem, which he neglected. Stress from his business, a bad diet, and lack of exercise made him a walking heart attack. Only … knowing how stubborn a man he was, he could’ve easily been walking another ten, maybe twenty years. I couldn’t wait for that, but I could wait for a year under the guise of needing therapy. I could wait for Thomas to ingest the pills I crushed and fed into his meals, and I definitely could wait when I saw the effects of the drugs working on him.

I was turning fifty. It was time for me to start the second half of my life, and I really didn’t want Thomas as my husband anymore.

Luckily for me, the drugs helped.

;) If you have read my book, Stranger at Sunset with Dr. Kate Hampton, then the above story may have a twisted and familiar feel to it. ;)

As I work on A Fragile Truce, the next book with the good doctor, I’d recommend you take a moment and add your name to my mailing listI’ll be offering specials and freebies targeted to those on the list.

As always, my sincere thanks for reading, and comments and feedback are always welcome.




Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

Help author @RBwood celebrate his 50th Word Count Podcast – JOIN IN!

50 wcpc

So … I’ve had the very good fortune of writing and reading for R.B. (Richard) Wood’s podcast for numerous episodes. It’s been a terrific way to hone my writing skills, and I’ve met wonderful authors in the process.

Now, the Word Count Podcast is celebrating its 50th episode! Here are its stats so far!

242 original stories

73 distinct authors


You can be part of this historical 50th episode by writing for it. There is still time, as I’m plotting my story as I type this. The deadline for the submission is Sept 4th, and it will be available to download on Sept 12, 2015—five years to the date that Richard released Episode ONE!

The theme is simple:  “50.” 

Just do it! What do you have to lose? It’s a GREAT way to get exposure for your writing.

Learn more here and be sure to connect to Richard too. He is SO COOL, and he will make your story shine!

Website | Twitter @rbwood | Facebook *



Filed under Author Promotions, Important Announcements

DOWN ON LUCK ~ My story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #48 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt asked that we use THREE words in our stories: 

Train | Blink | Dark

*  *  *  *

I walked into the subway station en route to an Economics class. It was the final year of my undergraduate program, and I was barely scraping by in the course. With ticket in hand, I approached the subway booth. It was empty. I looked around, no one directly behind me. Without a further moment’s hesitation, I made a motion of dropping the ticket into the holder but held on to it, pushed through the turnstile, and quickened my pace. I half-expected someone to yell after me but heard only the pounding of my runners down the steps. It was such a silly thing. I got away without paying a measly fare. Things like that never happened to me, but for some reason, my mother’s voice echoed inside my head.

“Today’s your lucky day,” I heard her say.

I knew luck had nothing to do with it. The clerk had probably gone for a coffee or stepped out for a pee break. Despite it, my mother’s words bounced around in my head. Like most Chinese women of her generation, superstition often disguised itself as wise sayings, which then translated to proverbial truths. If my mother had her way, she’d be forcing me to buy a lottery ticket—as if getting away without paying should be rewarded with more money. The logic never made much sense to me.

While waiting for the train, a large, disheveled woman walked by me reeking of urine. She appeared disoriented and unsteady on her feet. I held a finger under my nose and stepped away from her. As she staggered away, I inched to the edge of the platform and peered into the dark tunnel. It was two in the afternoon, and I knew the subway was not running per its rush hour schedule. A tiny light inside hinted at a train about two stops away, but it wasn’t moving. I glanced at my watch and cursed under my breath. If I didn’t board that train soon, I’d be late for class—again.

As I was about to step back, a disturbance arose several feet beside me. I turned and saw a man in his twenties leap onto the track. Bystanders on the platform screamed in horror. I was shocked to think that someone so young might want to die this way, and then I quickly realized my mistake. The man had jumped in to help the smelly woman who had just passed me. She had fallen and appeared unconscious, sprawled face down on the tracks. Indeed, she was dead weight as the man tried to raise her. The commotion attracted more people. A group of teenage girls ran by me, filming the incident on their cell phones. Several people on the platform knelt to help the rescuer below. Others yelled suggestions to him for how to lift the woman, but no one else was jumping in. After several unsuccessful tries, the young man hoisted the woman to her feet until several passengers grabbed her. One man almost fell in trying to help. While the commuters struggled to pull her up, I heard the distant rumble of a train.

With the woman now out of harm’s way, the man in the tracks spun around toward the sound and the light in the tunnel.

The cell phone teenagers screamed the obvious, “The train’s coming!”

Squealing wheels pierced through the mayhem. I met the eyes of the Good Samaritan, dared not blink. In the next second, he flung himself toward the platform like an epileptic high jumper. Despite his ungraceful move, a burly man snatched him by the collar and one of his sleeves. Another grabbed his dangling legs and pulled him in. All three fell backward onto the platform as the train screeched to a halt just a few feet from where the man was seconds ago.

I stayed behind after the incident and stood near the young hero. He looked a bit shaken and scruffy, but overall, seemed fine. He smiled at commuters who patted him on the back or wanted to shake his hand. Two attendants from Emergency Medical Services came with a stretcher and carried the injured woman away. Someone in the crowd said they had seen her before, a homeless person who sometimes came into the subway begging for money. I imagined she had gotten in for free just like me, and she almost died because of it.

Later that evening, I spoke to my mother about the subway incident. We rarely got into intellectual debates, but somehow the experience touched me in a way I could not explain. How did a tiny piece of good luck for me end up being so bad?

“Not bad luck,” my mother said in her heavy Chinese accent. “It is all good luck.”

“How can you say that?” I asked. “It was horrible even though nobody died.”

“This is what I mean,” she said. “Both people are still alive. Both could have been electrocuted or run over by the train, but they were not. You brought them good luck by being there.”

I sighed heavily and let silence seal the conversation.

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

My latest novella, A Snake in Paradise is available on Amazon.com only. If you are not in the USA, leave a comment below if you wish to read and review the book.

To make sure you don’t miss any new releases and specials, please sign up for my infrequent non-spammy newsletter.

Thank you so much for reading.



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

Morning Ritual ~ My story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #47 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt asked that we use THREE words in our stories: 

Theater | Tourist | Savory

*  *  *  *

As a tourist, I love people watching because people represent the pulse of a city for me. Nowhere is this more evident than in a busy New York City coffee house. It’s like watching a play on stage while packed into a tiny theatre. The intimacy helps create stories in my head.

That’s how I feel about my discovery of a Parisian café in the middle of Manhattan, the only restaurant in the city that thrives on its stubborn cash-only policy. Everything from the red brick interior to the wooden counters and furniture harks back to another era. What the small room lacks in modern touches, it makes up for in old world charm.

I’m here to research a one-act play I’m producing as part of my thesis in Theatre History. Everyday, the setting is provided, but the cast is different, the script is different. My role as an unobtrusive onlooker is to capture the nuances.

For the morning hours when I come to write, few things remain the same from one day to the next. The staff must work shifts, as I never see the same servers more than twice. The customers range from harried businessmen to sweaty joggers to women with newborns strapped to their chests. Students en route to early morning classes order coffee and pastry to go. Others sit leisurely with a laptop at one of the small French-style tables. The carousel of patrons and the continuous ring of an old fashioned cash register keep the noise at a high but bearable level.

For almost a week, I record the subtle changes in this micro-environment. Everything changes, that is, except for him—the man at the corner table with a thinning head of silver hair. I observe him as I line up to put in my order. He is always there by the time I arrive at seven, as much a fixture of the café as the rickety wooden chairs and the Parisian pencil sketches on the walls. He sits alone staring out the window, yet he must be waiting for someone. Why else would he have two cups of coffee and two plates in front of him? On each plate rests a croissant. I have watched him tear into one and finish it, but the second cup of coffee and the other croissant always remain untouched during the time that I’m there.

I begin making up stories about him. He probably orders two pastries because he likes them. Maybe he takes one home if he can’t finish it. But why two cups of coffee? I never see anyone join him. And who would want to drink a cold cup of coffee anyway?

With six people in line ahead of me, the place feels busier today than usual. The tension rises behind the counter as one of the baristas yells in French that he needs more whipping cream. I look over my shoulder and count five people behind me. Several more come through the door. It’s not even seven thirty yet. The line moves quickly though, for which I’m thankful.

Today is my last chance to record my final impressions. I leave the city tonight. The first few days I soaked in my surroundings but didn’t pay too much attention to details. It’s always that way when I arrive somewhere new. Funny how time flies.

When I get to the front of the line, I order coffee with a brioche, a cake-like bread that is both savory and sweet. After paying for my order, I thread myself through the crowded room in search of a seat but find none. I stand in place and do a slow 360 to see if anyone is ready to leave; there is no sign of it. After someone jostles my coffee, I know I must step away from the aisle. There is only one empty chair in the café. I walk over to the corner table. The old man is staring out the window with his coffee cup in hand, a half eaten croissant in front of him, and the other cup of coffee cooling beside an untouched crescent-shaped pastry.

I bend forward at the waist, throwing my voice in the direction of the old man. I need to get his attention above the clang of the restaurant noise.

“Excuse me, sir.” I put on my friendliest smile when he turns to me. “May I sit here? This is the only seat available.”

He sets down his cup on the saucer, looks around the crowded room as if searching for someone or confirming that it is indeed full. In that stuttered moment, I expect him to say, “Sorry, the seat is taken.” I’m ready to blurt out that I’ve been observing him all week, that I know that no one is joining him. How dare he hog up two seats! I’m prepared for a confrontation if need be. Before my ire increases, the man moves the plates on the table and gestures to the empty chair.

“Please,” he says, “sit down.”

I breathe a big sigh and set down my coffee on the table, pull off my shoulder bag and drop it to the floor. There is no room for anything else on the table, so I slide into the chair with my brioche on my lap. “So busy here today,” I say, flushed with relief.

“Saturdays are always like this.” The man’s voice is calm despite the chaos and noise around him.

“Thanks for sharing your table. Hopefully someone leaves soon.”

“Not a problem,” he says.

I feel a bit awkward sitting with a stranger in silence. It compels me to make small talk. “I love New York. I wish I didn’t have to leave.”

“Oh?” He cocks his head. “Where are you from?”

I take a sip of my coffee. “Canada. Montreal to be exact.”

“I’ve been there, a very special city for me.” He picks up his croissant and takes a bite.

I nod, expect him to elaborate when he finishes chewing, but he doesn’t. If I have to guess, I would say he is a man in his eighties. A white shirt and tie peek out from under a light brown jacket. The morning sun casts a warm glow on his lined face, but he doesn’t appear bothered by the heat. Though his body language does not convey that he is unapproachable, there is nothing about it that says he welcomes conversation either. He’s old enough to be my grandfather, and I suddenly feel like I’m intruding on a morning ritual. I remain silent and finish my coffee. There is still a crowd inside the café, but two tables over, I see a student packing up his books in his knapsack. I make eye contact with him that I want his seat, and he acknowledges.

Before I get up, I ask the man in front of me, “May I buy you another cup of coffee? I’m sure your second one here is cold by now.”

He is silent for a moment, as if recalling a memory, and then his eyes glisten. “That’s very kind of you,” he says, “but I only drink one cup a day. That one is for my wife, and she doesn’t mind it cold.”

I force a smile. “Of course,” I manage to say, quick enough to cover up that I suspect there is no wife, not one I have seen, anyway. “Thank you for sharing your table with me.”

He nods as I get up to leave and slowly turns back to stare out the window.

* * *

A month after returning home from my trip, I’m reading an online version of the New York Times when a familiar face catches my attention. The headline reads: Property Mogul and Holocaust Survivor Dies at 92. My eyes widen at the picture of the old man from the coffee shop, and then tears blur my vision as I read the story.

Respected property owner, Jacob Klein, passed away peacefully in his home this past weekend. Many knew him as the proprietor of the hugely successful Café de Paris in Midtown Manhattan, opened in 1955.

Mr. Klein was liberated from Dachau, the concentration camp near Munich. He moved to the U.S. after first settling in Paris where he trained as a pastry chef. Upon arriving in New York, he met his wife, Michelle Dumas, a French Canadian from Montreal. They had five children.

Described by employees and friends as a quiet man of extreme humility, Mr. Klein was seen with his wife for years at Café de Paris sharing breakfast until she passed away in 2010.

His three sons and two daughters have taken over their father’s businesses. Says his oldest son, David: “Even after Mom died, Dad continued to have breakfast with her at the coffee shop. At first, we thought he had lost his mind, but he said it was the only thing that made it worth his while to get up in the morning, something he did every day until he died.”

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

My latest novella, A Snake in Paradise is available on Amazon.com only. If you are not in the USA, leave a comment below if you wish to read and review the book.

To make sure you don’t miss any new releases and specials, please sign up for my infrequent non-spammy newsletter.

Thank you so much for reading.



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

THE WRONG SHOES ~ A story written with Bill Kirton (@carver22) for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

I’ve always written a story on my own for RB Wood’s podcast, but this time, I collaborated with Scottish writer, Bill Kirton, also a Word Count podcast regular. Last year, Bill suggested we join forces for a story, and since I adore him and his writing, it wasn’t a question of whether we would do it or not, just a matter of when. 

We decided to team up for the first Word Count episode of 2015 and dedicate it to RB, who celebrated his milestone 50th birthday at the end of December. Happy Birthday, Richard, many many more! 

The story was written in four parts, with Bill and me each writing two sections. Bill penned a wonderful post about the process on his blog, so hop over and read it. It’s a great summary of what we did in case you want to collaborate on a project with another writer.

You can hear Bill and me read “The Wrong Shoes” on: Episode #45 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast was to use these three words in the story: Frozen. Whisky. Time.

me and bill for wcpc


The playground of the elementary school, which Jackie crossed on her way to the bus stop, or to anywhere for that matter, had turned into an ice rink. Normally a carpet of grass, it quickly froze after the temperature dropped to minus twenty following a night of freezing rain. The grounds had become a dangerous place for unsuspecting pedestrians.

It was the weekend, and she was at her local until closing time. She’d had one too many, as was her habit most Saturday nights. Leaving the bar, she had to walk across the schoolyard to get to her apartment building. She’d done the trip a thousand times, even when drunk, and made it home without any problems, but that night … she fell. The advantage of having had too much to drink was she fell limp and boneless, like a rag doll. There was no resistance, which meant no broken bones anyway. She was lucky in that sense. Instead, she had stumbled and dropped face down on the frozen ground.

When she came to, she heard voices and an instinct warned her to keep quiet. She smelled cigarette smoke and soon murmurs formed hushed words. The voices were male, with at least three of them from what she could tell as the conversation ping-ponged above her.

“Darren, how about we take her to your place? No one will see us there.”

“Are you crazy? I may live in the basement, but my mom would kill me! She hears everything.”

“Steve, you still have access to that empty warehouse on Merton Street?”

Jackie’s entire body heated up beneath her goose-down coat. Even her face, painfully pressed against the ice, turned fire-poker hot.

She was in big trouble.


They say fear or trauma sobers you up quite quickly. They’re wrong. Her mind was still cloudy, slow. Even as she’d downed that last whisky, a double, she knew she was already way over any sensible limits. It wasn’t just her words she was slurring, it was her thoughts, too. So she lay there, trying to clear her head, trying to understand the plans being made by the voices.

“How the hell are we going to get her to Merton Street?”

“Carry her. Drag her. She’s pissed.”

“So what?”

“Well, Saturday night, innit? Everybody’s pissed, staggering about. We’ll just look like all the rest.”

The one called Steve wasn’t convinced.

“It’s too far. She might come round. Start screaming. How about the school? Maybe we could find a door open round the back, a window.”

Silence. Then “Yeah, Okay,” and other muffled sounds of agreement.

As two of them grabbed her arms and hoisted her to her feet, she knew she had to do something. In the school, even if they were stupid enough to let her scream, no-one would hear. Somehow, she had to stay where there might be others around, people who might hear her, save her. She shook her head and forced out a laugh.

“Aw thanks, guys,” she said. “I was bloody freezing down there.”

It silenced them, gave her a tiny advantage. She stammered on, her mind racing.

“I need to be in my bed. Cuddled up. Warm. Don’t suppose you could help me home, could you? It’s not far.”

She saw them looking at one another, uncertain. But smiles were creeping into two of the three faces. She nodded her head vaguely in the direction of her apartment building.

“Other side of the school,” she said. “Just there. Ground floor.”

The one on her right said “Anybody there to look after you?”

The cold was helping to clear her head.

“No,” she said. “Just me.”

“Bingo,” he said, and they set off through the darkness of the slippery playground.


Steve hated this. He didn’t want to be here. He had only suggested using the school with the hope they wouldn’t be able to get in, that the cold would eventually deter them, and they’d leave the girl alone. He wanted no part in what his friends had in mind. It turned his stomach to even hear them chat her up, trying to make her feel at ease, no doubt.

“Good thing we came along,” Darren said, his arm around her waist. His six-foot-two frame towered over her. “We’ll take care of you, honey, don’t you worry.”

“Oh yeah,” snorted Kenny, supporting her on the other side. “We’re your knights in shining armour!” He turned to look behind him. “Hey, Steve, keep up, will ya? We’re all gonna get nice and warm real soon.”

Steve bowed his head so he didn’t have to meet Kenny’s eyes. “Yeah … I’m coming …”

It was then he noticed the girl’s shoes. Even while propped up by Darren and Kenny, she teetered along like a child wearing ice skates for the first time. No wonder she fell. She wore the wrong type of shoes for this weather—the heel much too high, the material too thin. There was no support at all. His younger sister had the exact same pair. She had also fallen, fractured her wrist. For the past week, she’d cried with the pain, night after night. Kept Steve awake, hearing those sobs from her room. Made her sound so … lonely. And now here was another lonely, silly woman, out getting pissed all on her own, nobody waiting for her at home. He speeded up, overtook the others and turned to face them.

“Listen guys, we can’t.”

“What?” said Kenny.

“Her,” said Steve. “We can’t.”

“Why not? Look at the state of her.”

“That’s what I mean,” said Steve. “She’s pissed. It’d be like shagging a side of beef.”

“Cheeky bugger,” Jackie said. “You gay or something?”

Her voice was loud, penetrating, and coarse. Kenny hoisted her higher against him. The sudden pressure must have brought on a wave of nausea because she gagged and threw up on the path. Darren and Kenny let go of her and stepped away. She staggered but managed to stay upright.

“See?” said Steve. “D’you want to go home stinking of that? What d’you think your mom would say then, Darren?”

“Hey, gay boy, listen up,” said Jackie, sounding as if there might be more where that just came from. “Nothing wrong with me. I bet you’re talking about that HIV test. Am I right?”

Steve just looked at her.

“Am I right?” she said again, louder, almost aggressive. But, as she spoke, he saw something else in her eyes. Not aggression: a stare, fear, a plea for help.

“You are, aren’t you,” she said. “Bloody Angela’s been tweeting it. Well, she’s lying. It was negative. Right? The test. Negative.”

“What’s she on about?” said Darren, staying well clear of her.

She turned to him.

“Chlamydia, that’s all it was. Bloody Chlamydia.”

“See what I mean, guys,” said Steve. “We can’t.”

Darren and Kenny looked at each other, then back at Jackie. Darren spat on the ground.

“Slag,” he said, and started walking back the way they’d come. Kenny reached out a hand, grabbed her breast, squeezed hard then turned away to follow his friend.

Jackie watched Kenny and Darren disappear into the darkness. She pulled her jacket more tightly around her chest, wincing as her fingers touched against her breast. She turned back and looked at Steve. The fear was still there and tears were beginning to form.

“Thanks,” she said, her fingers gently probing her bruised flesh. “I … I don’t know what to say.”

Steve shook his head and said, “Buy some decent shoes.”


Thank you for reading and/or listening. Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.




Filed under Short Stories & Poetry, Writing Joint Ventures

Author @RBwood and I chat on his Word Count Podcast

Website | Twitter @rbwood | Facebook 

* * * *

Good friend and fellow author, R.B. (Richard) Wood interviewed me for the 42nd episode of his Word Count Podcast, a show he regularly puts together for writers to expose their stories. I’ve written and read for many Word Count shows, and I’m a huge fan of the podcast.

That’s why it was an honour to be invited for a one-on-one chat. I was nervous, but Richard made it easy, and he made me laugh—a lot.

We had a great time talking about books, writing, and I also read an excerpt from Stranger at Sunset.

Tune in to the Word Count Podcast and have a listen … and a laugh. You’ll have a lot of fun. ;)




Filed under Eden's Guest Blogs & Interviews, Stranger at Sunset

The Final Countdown ~ My story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #40 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt asked that we use THREE words in our stories: 

Glass | Bed | Bow

Special acknowledgement to David Bowie for inspiring my tale.

*  *  *  *

My eyes click open mechanically like a ventroliquist’s dummy, like a cheap plastic doll you win at an amusement park. They stay open, staring at the ceiling. That god awful beige, the same color as the walls, the color of sick, which I am.

Wait. I’m not sick. I’m dying. Let’s not mince words here. I prefer not to delude myself.

I’m in bed. It’s probably nine, ten in the morning. I can tell James has been in the room. The curtain has moved. A fringe is in a different place from yesterday before I fell asleep—my marker. I know every tiny movement of everything in this room. That’s all I can do—look around and take note of minute changes.

Time drags, but that’s okay. It should slow down at this stage. We rush our whole lives to get here, and when the end comes, we’re not ready.

Not me. I’m ready.

It takes all my strength to lift my body enough to elevate my head. The room spins, so I shut my eyes. Behind the lids, silver lightning bolts pinwheel and shoot out in different directions like fireworks.

Zing! Boom! Bang!

I scrunch my face and squeeze my eyes tighter. I wait for the noise to quiet down, for the lights to stop flashing, and for the time bomb in my head to stop ticking. It only ticks to tease me because it has yet to explode. I’ve waited for it to explode, even sat in front of the mirror, (when I was still able to sit up), staring at my reflection, eyes bulged, pressure building in my head, counting down my time like … like …

10-9-8 … Ground control to Major Tom … 7-6-5-4 … Commencing countdown engines on … 3-2-1… Check ignition and may God’s love be with you … Lift off …

No. No lift for me.

The pressure builds and builds and then it’s like someone pricks a pinhole in my balloon of a head and the pressure eases.

I think it would be great to see my head explode. If the last part to burst could be my eyes so I can see that final image of myself intact, that would be great—one hell of a way to blast off.

That’s what I thought last month anyway. Now … I’m not so sure. I can’t even get out of bed anymore. Oh god, a different sensation, rising from my stomach.

I roll to my side and say hello to my bed companion.

“Hello, spit bowl. Don’t you look shiny today? Are you ready for me?”

I pull the glass dish toward me and drop my head over it.

“I have something for you. It’s coming, I feel it coming up.”

A few seconds later, I hork up a phlegmy gob and immediately feel some kind of relief.

A teaspoon size dollop jiggles like lime-green silly putty in the bowl.

Lime green, better than beige anyway. Must be an infection.

My time is near.

To know this, to have the luxury of feeling death take hold of me is a gift really. I’ve had time to reflect, to have the choice to die at home.

I’m a lucky man.

Uh oh. Queasiness.

The bile rises quickly. I can’t catch my breath. I grab the bowl again (thank god it’s a deep dish) and gasp air in short, quick breaths. The first expulsion jettisons liquid into the bowl and up its sides. There’s a bit of splash-back on my face, but not much.

No lumpy pieces this time. No surprise. I haven’t eaten anything solid in days.

A second hurl (there’s always a second) ratchets up my abdomen. Another splash into the bowl, though not has plentiful as the first one. My heart beats like a jackhammer. My empty gut gurgles.

The stench of stomach acid curls my nose. I push away the bowl and flop on my back. I suppose I’m one of those crazy people who enjoys vomiting. It feels so good when you stop, and you can’t know that good feeling without the agony before it.

Yeah, the logic is a bit twisted, but blame that on the brain tumor.

A packet of cough drops lay by my pillow. I pop a cherry-flavored lozenge and suck it against the roof of my mouth. Useless things. It gets rid of the awful taste in my mouth anyway.

A knock on the door. James, my trusted servant of more than a decade walks in to greet me. He bends at the waist in his usual gesture of reverence.

“James, I can’t believe you still bow down to me after all these years.”

He sits on the edge of my bed and adjusts my pillow. “Until the day you die, Mr. Chancellor.” With a wet cloth, he wipes around my face and mouth.

“That could be today, you know,” I say.

“Yes sir. That could very well be.”

“By the way James, you know I’m leaving you everything I own.”

He applies a warm compress to my forehead. “Yes sir, and I’m forever grateful. I will miss you, Mr. Chancellor.”

I close my eyes. It’s time. “I’m going to sleep again, James.”

“Sweet dreams, Mr. Chancellor.”

I hear him walk around the bed and pick up the bowl on his way out. In my head, the countdown begins again, for what I hope is the last time.

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

You can find more stories in my book of flash fiction and poetry, Hot Flash. 

My mystery novel is due out Summer 2014, and I will announce all details leading up to it here.

To make sure you don’t miss the details, please subscribe to my blog (by email or via RSS feed).

Thank you. ;)



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

The Locket ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #39 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is “I was walking on the white sands at Magens Bay in St Thomas when…”

*  *  *  *

I was walking on the white sands at Magens Bay in St Thomas when an object about fifty feet away caught my eye. Reflecting the setting sun’s rays, the shiny surface of the mystery item lured me toward it. Looking to the ocean, I saw the next wave rolling in. I quickened my pace, then sprinted, dropping my flip-flops along the way, swishing up sand between my toes.

I snatched the object from the beach just as a wave rushed over my feet. Foamy salt water and seaweed swirled around my ankles. The crimson orb was dipping below the horizon. Soon night would drape over the Bay like a wizard’s cape.

I examined the silver locket while walking back to where I left my sandals. No bigger than the size of a quarter, it sat with the weight of a heavy stone in my palm. Fine swirls of engraving adorned the border of the heart-shaped pendant. The ornament’s front featured a single letter in cursive font—the initial “S.” I turned over the locket and brushed away sand residue, saw three rows of text. Some of the etching had faded, but it was still legible.

The lines read:

Forever near
Forever young
Forever in my heart

The deserted beach offered privacy as I walked back to my hotel with only my thoughts to keep me company. Somebody had lost a person precious to them. Now it seemed, this keepsake was lost as well.

The “S” probably stood for the name of the person who died. Was it a husband or a wife? A lover? A child?

I inserted my round fingertip into the indent of the locket, wished I had not clipped my fingernails this morning. I struggled to open it, even tried jamming the corner of my pinky into it. No luck. I would have to wait until I returned to my hotel room before I discovered what was inside.

The locket reminded me of my own tragedy. Steve and I were married here in St. Thomas a year ago. It was supposed to be the happiest day of our lives, and it was. With twenty of our closest friends and family, we celebrated until the morning hours. The weather could not have been more perfect.

Along with Steve’s best man and his wife, and my maid of honor and her boyfriend, we rented a three-bedroom villa. Our private bedroom was on the second floor with a huge wrap-around patio that overlooked the ocean. On our second night together, we watched the sunset on the deck. I was with the man of my dreams. We were the happiest couple in the world. Who could have predicted it would end only two hours later?

It was dinnertime. Steve was hamming it up. That was my husband. I married him because he taught me not to be so serious. He promised he would make me laugh everyday of our lives, and he would have. I know it. That’s why no one took particular notice when he fell off his chair and thrashed about on the floor.

Oh … that’s just Steve, we thought. He was joking again … but no.

A jagged chicken bone had lodged in his throat. Chaos ensued before the ambulance arrived, but in my heart, I already knew he was gone. The doctor later told me he died from a punctured esophagus. It was a horrible accident.

In two days, I had gone from being a happy bride to a distraught widow.

And so here I was, back in St. Thomas. I returned to try and recapture the joy Steve had taught me. He would have hated to know I had been grieving the past year, not even cracked a smile since he died.

Finding the locket did not help either. I had hoped instead for a happy sign.

Upon entering my room, I rummaged in my luggage for my multi-tool Swiss Army Knife, the one I always packed for emergencies, but never had to use.

Sitting cross-legged on the bed, I turned on the table lamp to its brightest setting. I retrieved the pendant from the side pocket of my beach bag. Holding the smooth red handle of my knife, I flipped out the small blade, inserted the tip into the space between the two halves of the locket. A gentle twist popped the hinge of the ornamental case.

I cracked open the locket and saw a man’s face staring back at me. He looked in his mid-thirties, kind eyes, a huge smile. He even reminded me of Steve, which only caused me greater sadness. Tears welled up behind my eyes.

What happened to this man? Had he died some tragic death like my husband? Was his young widow as unhappy as I was?

I ran the blade along the border of the picture to catch an edge. After several unsuccessful tries, I plucked out a small piece of the picture from under the ridge. I pressed the blade back into the handle and pried out the tweezers. Holding my breath, I gently pulled out the picture. The photograph lifted easily.

I turned it over to see if anything was written on the back, something sentimental, a date perhaps, any clue that could lead me to who this man was.

With my heart in my throat, I read the words, and then I burst out laughing.

Oh, Steve … you did send me sign after all.

The words read: Sample only. Not for resale.

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

You can find more stories in my book of flash fiction and poetry, Hot Flash. 

My mystery novel is due out Summer 2014, and I will announce all details leading up to it here.

To make sure you don’t miss the details, please subscribe to my blog (by email or via RSS feed).

Thank you. ;)



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

Wild World ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #37 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is  “I was out for an early morning stroll when…” There was also a photograph by fellow writer, Matthew Munson that spurred the prompt. You can see it here.

*  *  *  *

I walk briskly pulling my suitcase behind me when a clicking noise halts my steps. A shiver runs through me, the kind that lingers until you discover the source of the sound. I turn around and see no one. The empty street is dark and foggy. I lower the volume on my Sony Walkman, maybe it’s the faulty cassette inside. I breathe a bit easier.

Cat Stevens singing “Wild World” was my theme song while I traveled Asia and discovered the world he sung about. The lyrics rang in my ears …

“ … Oh baby, baby, it’s a wild world

I’ll always remember you like a child, girl …”

I was a child really, nineteen, uncultured, naïve.

I bought the tape at an outdoor market in Bali. The quality wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible, considering it was a knock-off. Besides, what could I expect for less than 1500 Rupiah—the equivalent of ten cents Canadian.

Now, here I was—six months later, leaving Rotterdam to fly back home. It’s February and it’s cold, and my skin still thirsts for the humidity of the tropics.

* * * *

I met Elise in Bali at an open market, which sold everything from scarves to kites to kitchenware. I was looking for music, and she was browsing for souvenirs on her last day before returning home.

We hit it off immediately. She was older then me, at least twenty years older, but that didn’t matter. I liked her candor, her experience, her accent. She was talented with languages, speaking five of them fluently, even though she said English was not her best. Before she left to catch her plane, she made me promise to visit her in Rotterdam if I stopped in Europe before returning home. I did promise her, though I had no intention of going to Europe.

How things changed.

I met a Dutch businessman shortly thereafter in Thailand, fell hard for him. He was married, but that didn’t stop me. The brief affair lasted less than two days, but I promised to meet him on the way home. Of course, I could not stay with him, so I thought of Elise, discovered Rotterdam wasn’t that far by train from Amsterdam. I could use her home as my base for seeing the sights and planning meetings with my Dutchman. It seemed a good idea, selfish as it was, but I didn’t have money for a hotel. I convinced myself Elise was happy to offer her home to me, and she was.

I didn’t know why at the time, now I do.

Today, I leave Elise because I cannot reciprocate her feelings. She made her intentions known by joining me in the shower the third night I stayed with her. It shocked me, not in the way it would if a man did it. It wasn’t fear or repulsion, but indifference. As much as I wanted to experience the wild world, it did not extend to my sexuality.

“But how do you know if you don’t try?” she asked me.

“I like you Elise, but I’m not attracted to you,” I said, in as reassuring a tone as I could, with both of us lying naked next to one another.

“You are so young, you know so little,” she said.

“I like men,” I said.

She stroked my face. “Then you must leave,” she said. “I cannot have you here anymore.”

I pleaded with my eyes. “May I at least stay until morning?”

“Yes, but I want you gone by the time I wake up.”

She left me without saying another word. A part of me almost wanted to change my mind … but no. I got up and checked the schedule for the earliest train heading into Amsterdam.

* * * *

I rewind the tape and start listening to “Wild World” again. I think about how nice it will be to see my family after traveling for almost two years. Mom will be surprised to see me, especially since she wasn’t expecting me for another two weeks.

I hear the rumble of my suitcase wheels as they roll over the cobblestones. I adjust my headphones and turn the volume up.

The hazy darkness of dawn makes it difficult to see the street names. I see none of the familiar markers from the last couple of days of walking in this neighborhood. Where was the coffee shop? I must have made a wrong turn. I stop to fumble in my backpack for a map. Maybe I can make my way to a well-lit area and get my bearings.

There’s that clicking sound again, only now it’s getting louder, more like clackety clack, clackety clack, clackety clack. I look down at my feet and realize I’m standing on tracks.


Where am I?

The horn blows. I turn around and the bright light of the train blinds me.

“… Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
It’s hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it’s a wild world
I’ll always remember you like a child, girl.”

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

You can find more stories here, as well as in my book of flash fiction and poetry, Hot Flash.



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

The Last Refuge ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #36 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is  “The snow drifts covered the door and the windows of the cabin…”

*  *  *  *

On that cloudless day, the sun shone brightly in the sky. Flecks of white flew off the tops of evergreens and landed on the part of my hair not covered by my hat. My goose-feathered coat kept me warm, but I had forgotten to wear a scarf. I curled up my shoulders and tucked my hands under my chin, pulling the collar tighter around my neck. It was magical here compared to civilization, if you considered where I parked my car by the service road to be civilization.

Like a dragon puffing smoke, I walked into a fog of my breath with each step. All I heard was the sound of my breathing and the crunch of hard-packed snow beneath my boots.

My sense of direction was poor, so I had started the day early. The sun was my compass, and for whatever reason, I had no fear of being lost. I stopped after walking for nearly half an hour at a brisk pace. With my hands shielding my eyes from the sun, I surveyed the area and looked for the marker. According to the diary, the first thing to look for was a lone pine tree with two hearts carved into the trunk. I stood in the middle of a heavily forested area. How could there be a lone tree here?

I pulled out a piece of paper and unfolded it. The map I sketched had no indicators for distance, but this first stretch from the road was supposed to last at least forty minutes if walking at a steady pace. I returned the map to my pocket and ventured forward, trying hard not to let doubt enter my mind. After proceeding with greater awareness for another couple of minutes, I saw the pine tree with the hearts.

It stood on its own, with a circumference of twenty feet or more around it where nothing else grew. I approached the tree and brushed away the snow on the trunk, uncovered the hearts, etched side by side, overlapping in the middle. The initials HL and EY occupied the area where the hearts joined. My heart leapt at finding this first marker. From here, it would be trickier.

Veering off the beaten path heading eastward, I walked in a densely treed section. The path was difficult to enter at some points, with low hanging branches and sections that had no footing. At one point, I had to sit on my bum and slide down a patch of ice to move ahead. The question of how I would climb up the slippery incline when coming back crossed my mind, but it did not stop me.

I had come too far.

Five minutes later, I walked in a clearing where the forest split like the parting of the Red Sea. In the middle sprawled a frozen pond. It reminded me of a rink I used to visit as a child, a rink where Elaine and I learned how to skate. We were not even ten at the time. God, she was so beautiful, even then. This second marker brought tears to my eyes. I knew it would lead me to what I came for, and yet, a part of me almost wanted to turn back.

Elaine had stipulated in her will that I get her diaries. In them, I discovered my best friend had a secret I never knew. The pain of not knowing was almost as traumatic as her death. I took it personally that she never confided in me. Why did she keep this a secret? It took me sometime to get over my self-pity, to realize she had lived the life she wanted in those final years. Perhaps, I would have judged her, and maybe she knew that.

Snowflakes floated like feathers toward me. The warm air brushed my face as noontime approached. I slowed my pace, unsure of what I might find, not even sure if I wanted to find it. This was the shortest part of the journey. From the pond, I had made a right, which connected me to the curvy trail that led to my destination.

Set back in an enclave of trees, an ordinary structure stood. Snowdrifts covered the door and windows of the lonely, abandoned log cabin. Nothing about it stood out, except for the fact that I now knew about it.

After I swept away the snow from the door to expose the handle, I unzipped my jacket and pulled out the key nestled in the breast pocket. It took several tries of jiggling the lock but it finally opened. I pushed the door ajar to a faint smell of cinnamon and burnt firewood. I choked up from the scene inside, knowing that at one time, Elaine was happy here, that she breathed, and laughed, and loved here.

Yes, she loved here, which is something I never knew about her.

She met her lover and spent the winters here. She never spoke of it to me, but theirs was a forbidden love. This was their sanctuary together, not one she could share with anyone else.

Her final entry in her diary before she said good-bye to the world read:

“I could not breathe in the outside world anymore. There were too many things that kept us apart. I needed a place to escape, a refuge. I ask forgiveness for ending it this way, but as much as I love you, my friends and family, I cannot go on. The sanctuary I knew is gone, and I will never be the same. It’s time for us to be together.”

I searched everywhere in the cabin, but could not find any hint of who HL was.

Perhaps, it was better left unknown.

Thank you for reading.

Feel free to leave a comment or question. Feedback, whether good or bad is always welcome.

You can find more stories here, as well as in my book of flash fiction and poetry, Hot Flash.



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

Awaiting my Religion ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #34 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is  “The Oracle smiled and said “Ah. I have been waiting for you…”

*  *  *  *

He stood larger than life in a white robe, his long, dark hair and beard contrasted pale blue eyes. A thick leather strap around his neck supported his instrument of love. I made out the details of the ring on his finger as he quietly stroked his massive tool.

I licked my lips, my forehead beaded in perspiration. Jesus, I thought.

No … I mean really, he looked like Jesus with an otherworldly presence about him.

I could not take my eyes off him as he magically floated over a glass surface, which sealed off the ocean-like floor beneath it.

Impressive, probably the best entrance I’ve ever seen given its elaborate design. I had only witnessed one other entry that compared, one with spectacular use of illumination. Flashing colors that spun so quickly, they made me dizzy. I had to close my eyes the entire time so the light would not blind me.

Anyway, back to Jesus.

I swallowed my jitters and breathed heavily—in and out, in and out, in and out, willed myself to relax and get ready, shook with anticipation.

I heard women screaming. I even heard men screaming. Desperate and impatient bodies crashed against one another, exchanging sweat and possibly other bodily fluids. How would I know? I could barely turn my head to see beside me. What if a riot broke out and I was trampled to death? Who would find me? Who would feed my fish?

Then suddenly, from up above, Jesus looked at me and smiled, or perhaps he looked at the girl beside me. It didn’t matter. In my mind, it was me he spoke to.

“I’ve been waiting for you,” he said. I heard him loud and clear, and so did everyone else because all hell broke loose around me. The mob pushed me forward. I no longer cared about my safety or my fish. I jumped up and down with hands flailing in the air, my body squeezed on all sides by hysterical and devoted followers.

He launched into his hit song with an ear-splitting power chord. The notes reverberated off the stadium’s ceiling and fell upon the masses.

My Guitar God – he spoke to me, only me … me, me, me.

Rock on baby.

REMINDER: The ebook of Spring into Summer is on sale for 99 cents on Amazon, but only until the end of summer.

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Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

The Power of Being Human ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #33 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is  “You’ve discovered you have a superpower…”

*  *  *  *

I’ve never been one for super heroes, the stuff of fiction and cartoons—shape-shifting, costume-wearing, web-wielding characters. They’re the only ones who possess super powers. I find it difficult to believe that being human is not enough, and so we strive to become super human.

Perhaps it’s our nature to want more.

I thought hard about this writing prompt, and I could not come up with more. Unlike R.B. Wood, the host of this podcast who is an incredible writer of the fantasy genre, I do not possess imagination for powers that go beyond what is humanly possible.

My mind is too steeped in reality and what I perceive as its confines. This is not going to be a warm and fuzzy story, or an erotic story, or even a story with a twist ending as per many of my previous podcast submissions.

Prepare yourself for someone who’s a non-believer of heroes and super powers because this is a non-fiction story.


Fantasy, daydreaming, and play were discouraged. Considered idle and pointless activity that could not possibly lead to success, all games and toys needed a purpose; otherwise they served only to squander time.

These are not my words, but a summary of my upbringing.

Today’s standards are different, of course. How my parents raised me would probably be criticized, seen as an enormous burden for any child not to have fun just for fun’s sake, especially during those formative years prior to schooling. My parents brought me up in a country where they were not raised. The cultural unknowns made them cautious, even fearful. They were too busy earning a living, discovering how to cope in a foreign land to pay attention to having fun themselves, let alone create it for their children. Fun was incorporated into domestic chores, family time, and learning new things.

My grandfather, who was the head of the household, taught me carpentry. I used power tools and swung a hammer before I was ten. I helped him build cabinets and stools. That was both fun and purposeful—a winning combination. The expectation was I should behave and obey my elders, contribute to the family as much as I could. I really don’t remember not having fun while growing up.

In my early twenties, I started traveling and visited museums and galleries in Europe, a way of exposing myself to art, an area of my education lacking at the time. My strongest recollection involved how children were depicted during the Renaissance era. Artists like Raphael, Boticelli, and Da Vinci painted them as small adults with tiny bodies out of proportion, some with severe and aged faces.

As impressed as I was with the magnificence of the paintings, it shocked me that so many of these works distorted the appearance of children. I researched it further, and through it, I discovered something about my own childhood.

My parents always considered me a miniature adult and treated me like one, especially since I was the oldest of three kids. In looking  through old photo albums, I confirmed as much. I saw numerous pictures of myself posed like the strange-looking children in the Renaissance paintings.

BW me

Me at three

Perhaps I missed some fun in those early years of my life. I don’t remember really, and I wasn’t an unhappy child. I’d like to think I was a serious child who grew up not taking myself too seriously.

Super powers may have been too fantastical for me to believe in, even if my parents had brought me up differently. What I do believe in is the wonderment of being human and all it entails. I’m no scholar, but I know I have powers that are uniquely human. We’re the only species known to blush, revealing our innermost emotions. We’re able to reason, to possess self-awareness.

As an adult, my dreams are not unlike those of a child who still believes in super powers, only mine are tempered with real-life experience, a dash of pragmatism, and a heavy dose of optimism. For me, that’s pretty damn powerful.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read a collection of flash fiction and poetry, pick up my ebook Hot Flash. 

Click on the cover and LOOK INSIDE to read a sample.

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Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

Blessings of Life and Death ~ A story for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #32 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is  “Being dead can be quite liberating…”

*  *  *  *

Eyes filled with tears stared back at her, reflecting pain and disbelief. The sum of every line, every wrinkle, and every tiny imperfection on the face belonged to Bill, whom she married fifty years ago. She knew his face as well as her own. They had celebrated the milestone anniversary only six months earlier. At the time, she contemplated how anyone deserved to be as happy as they were. She counted their blessings: four children; ten grandchildren; three great-grandchildren and another on the way. Though the family scattered across the globe, they united often for celebrations.

Last night was one of those celebrations. Their oldest grandson just graduated from medical school at the top of his class. Hailing from a long line of physicians on her side of the family, she could not be prouder. Both their grandson’s parents were specialists, their daughter a radiologist and their son-in-law a cardiologist. There were so many “o-logists” in the family someone once joked they could open their own hospital.

They were a close-knit family, though it didn’t start out that way. When she first dated Bill, her parents said it would never last. They referred to him as an uneducated laborer and did not even consider their words derogatory, just a statement of fact.

“He won’t be able to match wits with you once you become a doctor,” her mother said. “You’ll have nothing to talk about.”

She didn’t listen to her parents, and married him, not for his witty conversation, but for love. What angered them more was that she got pregnant a few months after their wedding and left school once their son was born. In the eyes of her parents, death may have been a better alternative for her. At least, they could say their daughter wasn’t a failure. For some time, they didn’t even acknowledge their own grandchildren.

The turning point came after Bill’s construction company won a huge contract, and they no longer had to struggle financially. By that time, the kids were older and able to look after each other. She returned to school to become a doctor of general practice. At almost forty, she wanted to prove to herself that she could do it, and she did.

All the more ironic, somehow, that she and Bill ended up in this predicament together. With little feeling on her left side, she cradled her husband’s head where it had fallen against her and wiped the tears rolling down his face. Her tiny palm cupped his cheek.

His lips parted to say something, but blood trickled out the corner of his mouth.

“Shhh… don’t speak.” Her voice trembled. “You’ve just bitten your tongue, nothing serious, my darling.”

The amount of blood flowing from his mouth suggested something else. Her words were a lie, like the many comforting words she’d said to patients before they went into shock. The difference on those occasions was she had the power to try and save them. Years of being an emergency triage doctor had sharpened her diagnostic skills. In her husband’s case, she suspected internal bleeding caused by trauma to at least one major organ.

She stroked his cheek and her face lightened with compassion. The corners of her lips turned upward despite that she wanted to scream. She bent forward and kissed him. “I love you,” she said. More tears streamed down his face. He gave an imperceptible nod and squeezed her hand.

She saw him struggle to return the sentiment, but no words escaped from him; his breathing grew labored.

“I know,” she said, bobbing her head in an exaggerated nod. “I know. You don’t have to say it … I know.”

Bill’s eyes rolled back in his head and his body shivered. She gripped him tightly, trying desperately to disregard the signs.

“No … no …” Her face twisted in agony. The pain that seized her body could not match the emotional upheaval. She convulsed with sobs for a long time, cramped in that front seat of their crushed, overturned car. She heard the sound of birds chirping, muted traffic noise, but otherwise, it was quiet. The tiny ray of sunlight, which peeked through the shattered passenger window now brightened the interior of the car. In the distance, sirens blared. She could not tell if they were getting louder.

When the jabbing pain in her arms could no longer be ignored, she gently released her husband.

With eyes closed, she counted her blessings.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read a collection of flash fiction and poetry, pick up my ebook Hot Flash. 

Click on the cover and LOOK INSIDE to read a sample.

Available at Amazon:

US | UK | Canada | Germany | France | Japan | Italy | Spain

No Kindle? No Worries.

There is a Kindle App for just about any electronic device (Click here to get one).



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

One Stolen Night ~ A story written and read for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #31 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is The Thief. 

*  *  *  *

Brenda and David had a Thursday night ritual triggered by a series of signals. The first came when Brenda put on her black satin negligee after a regime of skin care and grooming. She slathered her arms and legs in Jergens lotion and brushed her hair—one hundred strokes before twisting it in a bun atop her head. After crawling into bed, she switched the lamp to the dimmest setting. David, upon entering the bedroom from brushing his teeth, pulled down his gingham boxers and slipped under the covers. The second signal involved Brenda draping a leg over David’s torso, gently brushing his penis. In the ensuing silence, foreplay consisted of light groping and kissing with no tongue until Brenda mounted David and rode him. As she neared climax, she reached behind and stroked his balls. This final signal was the cue for David to squeeze her nipples—which set off her orgasm. David’s muted grunts followed only seconds later.

After dismounting, Brenda got out of bed and opened the dresser drawer to retrieve a face towel, one of many neatly folded inside. She went for a pee and then soaked the towel under hot water, wringing it dry. Brenda held it between her crotch and jumped up and down to expel David’s semen. She rinsed the towel and repeated the process twice more.


David was a man who liked predictability. It’s what drew him to the actuarial sciences to begin with. Statistics and numbers made sense to him. This morning, however, as he sat in his office and stared at the framed image on his desk—something no longer made sense. The picture showed him with Brenda on their wedding day eleven years ago. Only moments prior to that shot, Brenda whispered in his ear, told him how sexy he looked, and how she couldn’t wait to leave the party and have him all to herself. Just as the photographer snapped the picture, she grabbed his ass and squeezed. The expression on his face in the photo conjured up memories of why he married Brenda—spontaneous, exciting, and unlike him—unpredictable.

David didn’t even like Brenda on top. He was an ass-man, always had been, and he couldn’t see Brenda’s ass in that position. Last night when Brenda returned to the bedroom, he pretended to be asleep curled in a fetal position facing away from her side of the bed. He wasn’t in the mood to have her wipe down his private parts with a scorching hot towel. For added insurance, he even faked snoring though he hated himself for deceiving her.

The more David thought about it, the more annoyed he became that they had fallen into this rut. He adored Brenda and he was certain she felt the same for him. What happened to the David and Brenda of their wedding day?

To increase the probability of their marriage’s long-term success, he resolved he had to change, and he wasn’t going to wait until next Thursday to do it.


Brenda entered the bedroom to find David lying on top of the covers, naked.

“What are you doing?” she said, her teeth brushed, her lithe frame in a tattered flannel nightie, and in her hand, a glass of water.

“I’m stealing some time with my wife,” David said, sitting up.

Brenda furrowed her brow and walked tentatively to the bed. She placed the glass on the night table. “But … but it’s Friday.”

David extended his arm and pulled Brenda into bed with him. “You mean it’s not Thursday, our usual night.”

“What’s gotten into you?” she asked.

David stared into his wife’s eyes and leaned in to kiss her. Brenda did not respond at first, but then she opened up and accepted his probing tongue. After several seconds, David reluctantly pulled away.

“Brenda, our life has been on a merry-go-round lately. Are you happy?”

“I … of course I am …” She averted his gaze. “Why … are you unhappy?”

“Brenda, I’m not unhappy, but I want the carefree woman I once knew. I want the us we used to be.”

Brenda looked at her husband, confusion written across her face. “But I thought you liked routine?”

“I do,” he said, “just not in the bedroom.” David reached over and pulled the pin out of Brenda’s hair. “I prefer it down.”

Brenda shook her long tresses and brushed it forward with her fingers. “What do you have in mind?”

“I want you on your hands and knees. I’ve missed seeing that gorgeous ass of yours.”

Brenda’s eyes widened and her lips parted as if to say something, but nothing came out.

David’s words sounded foreign to his own ears, but he’d calculated the odds of being rejected, and it was low. He received his confirmation when he saw the twinkle in Brenda’s eyes.

After David and Brenda made love like they hadn’t made love in years, they clutched one another and fell asleep in each other’s arms.

In one stolen night of intimacy, they changed the course of their relationship.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read a collection of erotic flash fiction and poetry, pick up my ebook Hot Flash, which includes two non-erotic stories too.

Click on the cover and LOOK INSIDE to read a sample.

Available at Amazon:

US | UK | Canada | Germany | France | Japan | Italy | Spain

No Kindle? No Worries.

There is a Kindle App for just about any electronic device (Click here to get one).



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

From Every Angle ~ A story written and read for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #29 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is That’s when the cameras all turned toward me…

*  *  *  *

She slowly pulled herself up off her knees. His penis now appeared like a shriveled earthworm nestled against his scrotum. She crouched on his lap facing him, spreading her thighs on either side of his and looked into his face. When he didn’t respond, she brushed her index finger lightly across the lashes of his closed eyes until he took an audible breath and sighed. With the taste of him still fresh in her mouth, she licked her lips and felt the skin tighten around her chin from the caked semen.

“Did you notice anything?” he asked, opening his eyes to stare at her.

“About what?”

“That mouthful you just swallowed. Did it taste … different?”

She wondered how to answer, not really paying attention to that aspect of him. “Hmm…” She pressed her lips together and thought fast before responding, “Sweet, you tasted really sweet.”

“Good,” he said. “That’s exactly what I was hoping for.”

A smile slowly crossed her face. “Really? What did you do?”

Pineapple, he said. He’d read it improved the taste of a man’s ejaculate and could provide a stronger orgasm. He’d eaten three tins of it in the past week.

“Yes…now that you mention it, it was intense, almost too much for me to swallow.” She lied; he grinned like a ten-year-old boy.

In so many ways he was still a boy—only twenty-two. Theirs was a business arrangement, though she suspected he’d grown rather fond of her in the process. Seeing each other every Thursday for the past two months, he was not only a regular, but her best paying client as well.

He intrigued her with his expensive taste, living in an artist’s loft filled with gadgets. When asked what he did for a living, he said he was trained as a filmmaker but confessed his first loves were gaming and larping, a term she had never heard of before.

“Larping is live action role-playing,” he said. “I’ve always had a love for games, so I’m trying to turn it into a business.”

She admired his creativity but couldn’t understand it as a money-making venture. “Your job would be to play games?”

He shook his head. “No, not play games, develop them.”

The concept was too vague for her and she wasn’t all that interested anyway. She could see he had a talent. Costumes, props, and simulated weaponry including guns, swords, and knives filled his house. As long as he paid her for her hour with him, she didn’t care how he earned a living. For a man who liked the fantasy life, his pedestrian sexual appetite was the only thing that seemed out of character.

He’d sit on his Italian leather couch and watch her undress, clad only in boxer shorts. She’d do a strip tease for him, always wearing the identical pieces of clothing and removing them in the same order—first, her red silk blouse—button by button, then her leather pencil skirt—inch by inch, then her black stiletto heels. Next, she’d slowly roll down her thigh high stockings—starting with the right leg. With only her panties and bra remaining, she’d saunter over to him where he’d fondle her breasts, peel back the cups of her bra, lick the right nipple, suck the left nipple, push her tits together and bury his face in her cleavage. She’d moan—loudly, then pull away to do a painstakingly slow dance where she would fondle herself, remove her panties and bra, and masturbate until she screamed from her orgasm. Not long after, she’d crawl over to him and stare down his erection before taking him deep down her throat.

As with previous visits, today was no different. After she dressed, he paid her in twenty, crisp ten-dollar bills.

“Thank you, Laura for being so wonderful,” he said, walking her to the door.

She looked at him with uncertainty in her eyes. “Anthony, will I be seeing you next week?”

He put his hand on her shoulder and leaned in to kiss her on both cheeks. “I don’t think so. It’s time I move on.”

She wanted to say something, ask him why, but by the time she walked out and turned around, he’d shut the door behind her.


Anthony dismantled four tiny cameras strategically mounted in the room. He’d positioned them differently for each of Laura’s visits, ensuring he would capture her performance from every angle.

It was a big job, and he’d be paid handsomely for it. His client was a wealthy man who had specific requirements. Laura had met them to a tee, from her physique to her voice to her technique. Anthony had written the dialogue to elicit certain responses from her, and she had delivered brilliantly. Now, it was time to edit the raw footage of the past two months and turn it into a one-of-a-kind virtual experience.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read a collection of erotic flash fiction and poetry, pick up my ebook Hot Flash, which includes two non-erotic stories too.

Click on the cover and LOOK INSIDE to read a sample.

Available at Amazon:

US | UK | Canada | Germany | France | Japan | Italy | Spain

No Kindle? No Worries.

There is a Kindle App for just about any electronic device (Click here to get one).



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

Farewell My Love ~ A story written and read for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #28 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is One. Two. Three. He caressed each bullet in the palm of his hand before slipping it into its chamber…

*  *  *  *

James stopped typing mid-sentence and glanced across his desk to where she sat. Her sweet scent alerted him to her presence. He knew she’d return this morning to continue their conversation of last night. Mesmerized, he watched her put down her writing tablet and unwrap the long, silk scarf from around her neck. Curled up in her favorite chair by the picture window, knees drawn, her face revealed a woman of timeless beauty and infinite wisdom. Torn between his love for her and his work, he re-read the three nonsensical paragraphs on his computer screen. They were the same words he’d been typing for the past several days.

She wanted out; he couldn’t imagine writing without her.

“How can I go on if you leave me?” he said. “You’ve given me the best five years of my life, helped me through the darkest hours when I thought I would never see light again.”

“Oh stop it, James.” She pursed her lips in a manner that showed her annoyance. “You’re being melodramatic, cliché in fact.”

He wiped his brow and sniffled. “I need you Calli—now—more than ever.”

She took a deep breath and let her shoulders drop, as if to unburden herself from the responsibilities she held. “You don’t need me anymore, James. I’ve been your mistress, your lover, your confidante, but lately, I’ve been nothing but a roadblock. It’s time I move on. You know I’m right, and ….”

James cupped his hands over his ears and squeezed his eyes shut. “La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la …” He repeated over and over hoping to drown out Calli’s voice. Surely, she had to understand he couldn’t just let her go. Without her, he would never have written his three best-selling novels.

“James, please, stop being childish. We’ve had an incredible relationship—a true meeting of minds, but it’s time to say good-bye.”

He opened his eyes to see a sunbeam brush Calli’s hair and highlight her face in a colorful prism. She was a goddess, beautiful even when he exasperated her. She was the one who taught him perseverance, listened to him ad nauseam as he cried over missed deadlines and rejection letters. She stuck with him and helped him hammer out hours upon sleepless hours of prose, dialogue, narrative, description, and then one day, her persistence paid off. In exchange, he cast her in a thousand scenes, made love to her, worshipped her, but now … her impatience with him hurt more than anything.

“I can’t say good-bye to you,” he said.

“You must.” Her voice was barely a whisper. “You’ve come to an impasse with your writing, and the only way to move forward is to let me go.”

He pouted and cradled his head in his hands. “Now who’s being cliché?”

Calli released a heavy sigh and slowly rose from her seat. She glided gracefully toward James. When she stood in front of him, she gathered up the skirt of her flowing, purple gown and crouched at his feet, resting her head in his lap.

“You know I love you, James. I always will, but I’ve been around much longer than you have, and it’s not good for us to continue like this. You will grow to hate me when your wellspring of creativity dries up, as it is already beginning to.”

James stroked Calli’s head and unraveled her tightly braided hair. He splayed her long, golden tresses down her back, breathed in her clean and earthy scent that held a hint of roses. He loved her even though he’d felt the past months tinged with boredom and lack of motivation. He wanted to believe the feeling would pass, but it didn’t. Only when confronted by Calli did he realize he was too cowardly to end it himself. Now her permission to do so flooded him with guilt.

“Calli, how can I go on without you?”

“You can, and you will.” She picked herself up and knelt in front of him. “Take this.”

He eyed the revolver she held in her hand. “What? Where did you get this?”

“Never you mind,” she said in her characteristic melodic lilt. You know I’ve lived long enough to have many sources.” She slipped her hand into the folds of her gown and pulled out a handful of metal. “You’ll need these too.”

James stared at the bullets she gently placed in his palm. “Calli … no.”

“You must, my darling. It’s time.”

­James stared into dark, emerald eyes and witnessed centuries of creative inspiration gone by. She was right, after all. He’d have to kill her if he held any hope of ever writing again. Her lips curved in a tiny smile and she closed her eyes, seemingly ready to accept her fate.

His fingers trembled as he caressed each bullet in his palm before slipping them into the gun’s chamber.

“Farewell my love,” he said with tears rolling down his cheeks.

* * *

James awoke in the middle of the night agitated but filled with wild ideas. He jumped out of bed, flipped open his laptop, and pounded away at a fresh, new manuscript.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read a collection of erotic flash fiction and poetry, pick up my ebook Hot Flash, which includes two non-erotic stories too.

Click on the cover and LOOK INSIDE to read a sample.

Available at Amazon:

US | UK | Canada | Germany | France | Japan | Italy | Spain

No Kindle? No Worries.

There is a Kindle App for just about any electronic device (Click here to get one).



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

MISTAKEN DOUBLE IDENTITY ~ A story written and read for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #27 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The prompt for this podcast is “Mistaken identity at the pub…”

*  *  *  *

Kim initially cast a wide net by chatting with nearly a dozen men who responded to her ad. After just two weeks, the field had narrowed to one. His name was Richard. He offered to send his picture early in the relationship. She preferred not to see it, said it wouldn’t change her mind about him.

After weeks of phone chat and texting, she thought he finally understood. “Looks are unimportant to me,” Kim said. “I like you. Let’s not complicate it with physical appearances until we are ready to meet.”

They connected on every level of likes and dislikes, but more importantly, they shared the same family values. He wanted to have children, maybe two or three. He had no clue what she looked like either, yet his willingness to continue their relationship revealed an important character trait in her eyes—he wasn’t fickle.

“I’d be a good provider,” Richard said in one of his emails. “You wouldn’t need to work, unless of course, you wanted to. I guess I’m old-fashioned that way.”

“I like that you’re old-fashioned,” Kim wrote back. “That’s how it was with my parents, and they were happily married for over fifty years.”

Conversation flowed smoothly between them, an effortless union. Following a three-month courtship, they finally agreed to meet at a pub downtown. Kim had dreamt about walking in to the bar, scanning the crowd and seeing a man in a dark suit, a red rose on his lapel to identify him. He’d spot her too, smile, and know she was the one. She’d saunter over and look into his blue, green, or brown eyes. He’d hold her face in his hands and say, “I’ve waited for you all my life, Kim.”

Yes, that was how she envisioned it would happen, but it never did.

On the eve before they were to meet, Kim received an email from Richard, devoid of a subject line. Had he changed his mind? She opened the email in a panic only to stare at a headshot of a male model’s face—large, brown eyes, an aquiline nose, curvaceous lips, all framed by a strong jaw line and flawless skin. Beneath the photograph were two lines:

“Taken last year in San Diego. I can’t wait to see you, Richard.”

I can’t wait to see you. I can’t wait to see you … The line echoed in Kim’s mind. She had thought Richard was different than other men, that looks were not all that important to him. Obviously, she was mistaken.

She shuffled to the bathroom, her heart heavier with each step. The mirror on the medicine cabinet reflected a thirty-year-old woman whose face was perfectly proportioned. “Women would die to have such beautiful eyes as yours,” her mother had said to her all her life.

Kim grabbed a bottle and several large cotton balls from a nearby shelf. She unscrewed the cap and pressed the absorbent fibers to the opening, soaking the cotton balls in clear liquid. She stared at her perfect blue eyes and swabbed her right cheek, wiping away a layer of foundation and blush. She did the same for the other cheek, aware that tears now blurred her vision as she uncovered the hemangioma. No matter how much make-up she applied, she could not conceal the reddish-purple birthmark that blanketed the left side of her face.

Following a good cry, Kim returned to her computer and fired off a note to Richard.

 * * *

Richard had hoped that by sending his picture to Kim, she’d be even more excited to meet him. His handsome face had always attracted women.

After receiving Kim’s terse rejection, he realized he’d made a big mistake, though he couldn’t understand why she never wanted to hear from him again. He turned off his computer and sat for a moment with his head in his hands. Muscle fatigue plagued his weary body. He pushed himself to his feet and reached for his cane. A bout of polio as a child had left him with an atrophied right leg. As he hobbled to the bedroom, a heavy sigh escaped his lips. He wondered if he’d ever find a woman who would love him, in spite of his imperfection.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read a collection of erotic flash fiction and poetry, pick up my ebook Hot Flash, which includes two non-erotic stories too.

Click on the cover and LOOK INSIDE to read a sample.

Available at Amazon:

US | UK | Canada | Germany | France | Japan | Italy | Spain

No Kindle? No Worries.

There is a Kindle App for just about any electronic device (Click here to get one).



Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

LAST STEPS ~ A story written and read for @RBwood’s Word Count Podcast

You can also hear me read this story on: Episode #26 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The theme for this podcast is “Those last few steps seemed the most difficult I had ever made in my life.”

*  *  *  *

The phone rang just as I was sitting down to eat. With my feet tender and swollen from a recent attack of gout, the only thing I wanted was to elevate my legs on the La-Z-Boy chair and watch the baseball game. On the fifth ring, I swore under my breath and put down my TV tray. Who the hell would let it ring so many times?

“Hello?” I said in a brusque manner, ready to snap if a telemarketer came on the line.

“Tony?” The woman’s voice vibrated in my ear and immediately sent a shiver up my spine.

“Who’s this?”

“It’s Gina … from Vegas.”

Her name bounced around in my head, and I struggled to match a face to it. “Gina … Frank’s wife?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

I overheard a sigh. Was it relief or something else?

“I’m sorry to call you like this,” she said, “but I didn’t know who else to turn to.” A sniffle, another sigh.

“Does Frank know you’re calling me?”



“No,” she said finally, “Frank doesn’t know.”

I wasn’t surprised. I’d had a thing for Gina once—a big thing, but that was a lifetime ago. She left me and married my cousin Frank about fifteen years back, had a few kids, but the family never liked her. She was French, and her real name wasn’t even Gina. It was Ginnette. To appease Frank’s widowed mother who’d only call her “Gina,” she had her name legally changed.

After a couple of years living under her mother-in-law’s roof, she and Frank moved to Vegas and severed all ties with the family. Not long after, I’d heard rumors Frank beat her, that she deserved it. I didn’t care to know the details. It was all family gossip to me. Gina had made her bed.

Now I listened as she told me the story of the last few years of her life with Frank. She begged me to help her, said she’d always trusted me. She wanted to do the right thing by the kids. I couldn’t believe I’d be the only person she could turn to, but she swore she had no one else.

After I hung up the phone, I turned on the television and sat down with my Hungry Man dinner—roast beef, peas, mashed potatoes, and peach cobbler. I stabbed a piece of meat and broke it away from a white fatty film, which had crusted over the gravy. I immediately lost my appetite.

Why me? Couldn’t Gina have called anyone else from the family to do this?

* * * *

I felt no obligation to Gina, but after thinking about her request for a day, I decided to do it. I heard the relief in her voice when I called her back, and at that moment, I knew she really didn’t have anyone else. It upset me somewhat that she’d suffered so long in silence. Maybe a part of me still cared for her, even hoped that after all this was over, I might have a chance with her. Funny how I should be thinking with my dick at a time like this. I had no clue what she looked like anymore, but her voice still tugged at my heart, and her sexy French accent had not completely disappeared.

I arrived in Vegas Friday evening. The flight only worsened my gout. After removing my shoes on the plane, my feet had swollen and were throbbing by the time we landed. Squeezing into a pair of shoes I couldn’t even lace up, I was in agony after I checked into my hotel room off the strip.

Gina had given me directions to where Frank would be the next morning, and the exact time he’d be there. She tried to sound casual about it. “Imagine me asking this favor of you, Tony, after all these years. I never thought it’d come down to this.”

Neither did I.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “It’ll be over soon, and you and the kids can go on with your lives.”

* * * *

I arrived fifteen minutes early in a land of water fountains, palm trees, and immaculate greens. It was dark and overcast, unusual for a Vegas afternoon this time of year. I stood and watched the clouds drift through an empty sky. Quiet like death.

In the distance, I heard the drone of car engines headed my way. I stepped back from the path and leaned against a tree to alleviate the pressure on my right foot. I looked at my watch and saw Frank was right on time, just as Gina had said.

Three cars slowed down and parked by the side of the road twenty feet in front of me. A pause, and then it seemed all the car doors opened at once. I walked slowly toward the first car, one hand in my pocket, the other gripping a curved wooden handle.

To the right of me, I saw Gina exit from the second car followed by three teenagers. A crack of thunder, and the sky opened as she came toward me. I depressed the metal button of my umbrella and shielded her under its canopy.

“Thank you for coming Tony,” she said and leaned in to kiss me on each cheek, as beautiful as the last time I saw her.

“I’m sorry about Frank,” I said.

Gina gave a tiny smile. “He wouldn’t listen, still smoking even as he lay on his deathbed.”

I gave her my umbrella as a man approached and handed me a pair of white gloves. “Put these on,” he said, “and follow me.”

Along with the funeral director and four young, skinny lads who looked like they could use an extra meal, we carried the casket nearly thirty feet to Frank’s final resting place.

Those last steps just about killed me.

If you enjoyed this story and would like to read a collection of erotic flash fiction and poetry, pick up my ebook Hot Flash, which includes two non-erotic Christmas stories too.

Available at Amazon.com and Amazon.UK.

No Kindle? No Worries.

There is a Kindle App for just about any electronic device (Click here to get one). If you own a computer, smart phone, iPad, or iPod touch, then you are able to download my e-books.

* * * *

Click on the cover and LOOK INSIDE to learn more.


Filed under Short Stories & Poetry

“Doing it With the King”

You can also hear me read this story (complete with sound effects ;) ) on: Episode #25 of R.B. Wood’s “The Word Count” podcast.

The theme for this podcast is A scene between you and your favorite fictional character.”

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The flickering of amber light turns me on. Perhaps it’s the heat, the crackle of wet wood, or the licking of hard wood. Whatever it is, dancing flames hypnotize me. They also remind me of a film—one about a king. No, I’m not talking about Elvis. I’m referring to a different king from my fantasies. I’ve seen most of the movies. I’m sure you have as well. It started in 1933, a classic starring Fay Wray. Since then, numerous sequels have been made about this beast. My favorite though, remains the panned remake with Jessica Lange. For me, she and the king had the best chemistry.

The last time I watched the movie was back in college. I was dating the pitcher of the varsity baseball team, staying over at his apartment following yet, another disappointing romp in the sack. He held the school record for the fastest pitch. Unfortunately, that translated to the bedroom as well. After pumping me like a wild animal and coming in less than five minutes, he fell asleep. I was left to my own devices.

When he started snoring, I got up, went into the other room, and turned on the television. To my delight, King Kong was playing, and the best part was yet to come.

Aroused and unsatisfied, I foraged in the fridge for a suitable dildo. Aside from a jar of relish, a soggy cucumber, and a skinny carrot, there was nothing I could use. I pulled open several drawers, rifled through them, finally settling on an old-fashioned aluminum ice-cream scoop. I stretched out on the couch naked and fingered myself in anticipation of the big scene.

The room was pitch black save for the light coming from the TV. Blaring horns and the pounding of drums transported me into the jungle. The natives had just abducted Jessica Lange’s character, Dwan. I was wet.

Dwan was drugged and tied up, her wrists secured to an altar. She stood weaving in and out of consciousness. I inserted the scoop handle into my pussy. It wasn’t as thick as I would have liked, but it was certainly hard enough. With one hand, I fucked myself using the utensil. With the other, I grabbed my breasts and squeezed my nipples. I closed my eyes and the beating of drums intensified. The natives were restless.

Kong! Kong! Kong!

I masturbated in time with their chant, savagely thrusting the scoop in and out while they hammered their torches on the ground to summon up their god.

In the distance, a huge beast awakened. He stomped his way toward the light, snapping trees in his path like twigs.

Kong! Kong! Kong!

My hands moved faster. My breathing grew shallow. The chanting suddenly stopped. The chirping of cicadas filled the silence. Dwan sensed something large standing in front of her. She raised her head to see a monstrous gorilla thumping his chest. He let out a barbaric roar; she screamed; and I rammed the scoop into myself as deeply as I could. Unlike the orgasm I faked earlier, this time I erupted—for real. My body convulsed, and I wasn’t sure if I had screamed along with Dwan. In the end, it didn’t matter, the snoring from the bedroom would have drowned me out anyway.

After my passion subsided, I turned off the TV. On my way to the bedroom, I passed the kitchen. As I was about to put the ice-cream scoop in the dishwasher, a whimsical change of heart struck me. I thought to myself—oh,  fuck it. I opened the drawer and tossed the scoop back in.

This story is included in a collection called  HOT FLASH, now available 

Amazon US  ~ Amazon UK


Filed under Short Stories & Poetry