Cut to the Chase

Photo by Jordan Benton on
Quick and Dirty

The shortest of my short stores, written to give you a quick fix. You can also watch and listen to me read them on TikTok at the link below, and even participate in their creation.

The Silver Years

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

“Oh, Harry, you fucking asshole. You absolute, rancid twat.” Harry had been called worse and simply smiled up at the young woman currently fuming at him. She was a pretty thing, blonde hair, bright blue eyes and curves that just wouldn’t quit, even in her less than flattering faded black scrubs. Patty was his favorite nurse because no matter how many times he pulled the same stunts, he never failed to get a rise out of her. There wasn’t much fun in the world for a man in his eighties, body giving out and health failing so badly that he required care around the clock, but there was some. Especially if you were mean spirited enough. Harry had never had trouble in that department and he knew it. Since the first time he pulled the wings off of a butterfly as it frantically thrashed trying to get out from under his grubby 6 year old fingers, he knew he enjoyed being mean. There was something so forbidden, so exciting and so satisfying about doing all the things that everyone said not to do, and doing them with the entitlement and defiance of a petulant child. As Harry had aged, his capacity for straightforward bullying had first grown and then morphed into something both more terrible and more stealthy. Sure, he had still enjoyed punching the wimpy kids in the kidneys when no one was looking and taking their lunch money, stomping on caterpillars making their way through the grass and turning a magnifying glass into an incinerator for an unsuspecting ant hill. More than this though, he began to enjoy manipulating his way through life, lying, cheating, stealing, playing victim when he got caught at any of these. People, he discovered, were often quite stupid.

    Harry had spent his youth using every woman he conned into his bed until she had nothing left to interest him, then throwing her away and finding a new one. There was certainly no shortage of women who were willing to bend over backwards if he said and did the right things. No shortage of women whose self worth had never been quite established and who needed to be told they were something special only a few times in order to fall completely in love with him. Throughout his middle aged years, Harry married multiple times, draining each wife completely, along with their bank accounts and burying three wives before he hit what he liked to think of as his silver years. Each wife had died from some different illness, but all of them had been used up by the time he put them in their graves, nothing but gnats, buzzing in his ears until they croaked, dried up husks of the woman he had met. He was happy to be rid of them. 

Photo by cottonbro on

    Patty was now his pet project. She had stayed the longest, but he thought he would break her soon. He loved watching each time another nurse finally melted down and gave up. Harry could have made it easier on them of course. He was fully able to walk to the bathroom using his walker when he needed to relieve himself. Fully capable of getting himself into his chair so that the nurse could change his sheets. He was more than able to sponge himself off with the pre-soaped washcloths they gave him, and could certainly feed himself. But where would be the fun in that? Instead, he would simply vacate his bowels in his bed, piss whenever he felt the need, regardless if the bedding had just been changed, squirm around in his filth to make certain they had to bathe him and lay like a deadweight every time they tried to move him. He would not eat unless they fed him and would not lift a finger to help get himself clean. Today had been an especially repugnant bowel movement that had splattered onto the floor as well as all over the bed and himself. Patty had quite a mess to clean up, and Harry couldn’t have been more pleased. She was red in the face, trembling with anger as he sat smiling at her wickedly, his eyes glinting with humor as she shook. Patty spoke low then, and the steadiness in her voice made a sudden pit in Harry’s stomach. “You know, Mr. Farms, I thought all this time that you couldn’t help it. That you were so pitiful and so inadequate for so long that you had just given up. Oh, I know, just as all the other nurses know, that you are physically capable of doing more for yourself. But, I have forgiven that because of what I perceived to be your physical and emotional impotence as well as your mental ineptitude. You cannot blame someone for being stupid if they do not have the brain cells to achieve anything else.” Harry furrowed his brows at this. Patty had never spoken to him like this. She was taking all the fun out of it. This wasn’t her being angry or frustrated or on edge. In fact, she was composing herself right before his eyes. She began to smile just a bit at the corners of her mouth as she continued.

    “Now I see it, Mr. Farms. Though you are most certainly flaccid in every way a man can be, it’s more than that. You enjoy it. You revel in your cruelty just as you currently languish in a flood of your own shit. And who am I to stop you from doing it? You want to be covered in filth? Have at it. In fact, Mr. Farms, you can choke on it.” With that, Patty lunged forward with the speed of youth, grabbed a handful of his soiled sheets, ripped them out from under him so violently that he tumbled off his bed and hit the floor with a loud, wet smack. His ears rang and the smell of his excrement filled his senses, he tried to scream and his mouth was immediately filled with a taste so foul he tried to vomit. Tried, but was unable to succeed. He opened his eyes and they bulged in his head as he retched again, unable to expel the blockage in his airway. Patty had shoved as much of the sheet as she could fit into his mouth and as he struggled weakly, she looked down at him, eyes mild and yet somehow laughing at him, and she held that sheet in place. Harry knew then that he was going to die. His airways were blocked and no matter how he fought, he couldn’t get oxygen into his trembling body. The corners of his vision began to darken, his body starting to go cold and he ceased his struggles. He smelled and tasted nothing but his own shit and saw nothing but the eyes staring down at him, laughing silently. Patty said nothing else and Harry died thinking to himself that he felt an awful lot like that very first butterfly, and that he didn’t care for the feeling at all. 


Photo by Kseniya Kopna on

“Oh sweetheart,” he said, “You are lucky you are so pretty.” Chanel smiled at him wanly, tittering mildly at this joke in agreement. She felt lucky to be so pretty. She actually thought pretty to be an understatement. She knew when she looked in the mirror that she was beautiful. Still, pretty was an okay start. The man who had introduced himself as Charles picked up his glass of bourbon on the rocks and swirled it a bit before taking a sip. As he did so, he slowly and deliberately walked his gaze from Chanel’s lovely, pouty, glistening lips down to her exposed collarbone, pausing at her voluptuous cleavage and lingering there momentarily. He then continued to take her in as she watched him, his gaze traveling down her ample hips and the curve of her exposed calf which was crossed prettily across the other leg and peeking through the slit in her sparkling gown, and pausing once more on her stilettoed feet, looking at them just as he had her bosom. He brazenly met her gaze with pure lust smoldering in his eyes, as if he had already undressed her physically instead of mentally. 

“I am going to enjoy you. Even if you aren’t that bright, the Good Lord blessed you with a body meant to be used for pleasure.” Chanel smiled at him, meeting his gaze with a mixture of coquettish charm and a hint of lust in her own eyes. She was going to have an amazing night with this man, she just knew it. She sipped her drink and then leaned forward, whispering against his ear. “My place, or yours?” Having seen the tan line on Charles’ left ring finger, she knew he would say her place, but she thought it polite to ask. She didn’t want him to think she was judgemental as well as stupid, and maybe be turned off. She wanted the fun he offered her, even if it was only temporary. 

“Yours.” He growled in her ear, unsurprisingly. “Now.”

Excitement sped Chanel’s pulse as Charles downed his bourbon and paid the check. Her whole body began to tense at the thought of them going behind closed doors and all the pleasures that awaited there. He drove them to her place, a small, unremarkable house in a quiet neighborhood. It wasn’t much, but it was plenty for what they needed. Charles ground against her backside as she unlocked the door. They walked in and Chanel closed the door behind them while he buried his face in her neck, kissing and touching her everywhere. She clicked the lock into place and turned to face him. She grabbed his hair and jerked it hard, making him look her in the eyes. Chanel watched as he looked at her beautiful face, and his lust transformed. Replacing it was a look of first shock, then as Chanel smiled, displaying rows of razor sharp fangs where teeth had been only minutes ago, pure, unadulterated horror. 

She enjoyed Charles for hours, and he did scream, even after she told him the whole house was soundproofed. Poor, pathetic Charles didn’t make it past dawn. But he had been right about one thing. Chanel’s body was made for pleasure, just not the kind he expected. Or enjoyed. Or could survive. 

Killing Us Back

Photo by Pok Rie on

As near as anyone can tell, it started with the fish. All fish, from small to giant and everything in between. Not just ones in the wild either. We are talking about any fish still alive enough to swim. Those in tanks began launching themselves against their glass, the small moving in unison and battering the same spot on their tanks until they cracked the glass or killed themselves. The larger the fish, the greater the damage. Those in the wild did the same, but instead of destroying glass, they turned on any watercraft that they found. Now if you’re thinking about a little goldfish in a bowl, this may seem like nothing. But imagine the largest fish you’ve ever seen, a sturgeon maybe, and then multiply it by however many could be in the wild in a given area. The news was reporting some kind of waterborne pathogen. Ships were being sunk, then the lifeboats the survivors floated in were attacked. This is a good time to remember that sharks are a species of fish too. And oh yes, they were there. And had themselves a good old fashioned smorgasbord of people. There was chaos everywhere, violence breaking out over the last case of purified water in the store, having to search high and low for any within hours of the first news reports. It began with the fish, but it didn’t stop there. 

Photo by Wendelin Jacober on

All creatures, even the smallest in creation, are capable of a terrible strength when in numbers. Humans, thinking of ourselves as a superior being with the capacity for, “higher thought,” have implemented animals of all kinds into our lives. Factory farms, domesticated pets, breeders, zoos, hell we live in a world full of them, and tend to walk around giving the birds or wasps or butterflies no more than a passing glance. Trouble is, they started seeing us. Birds began swooping down and attacking any person they laid eyes on, man, woman or child. Insects of all kinds were swarming, biting, stinging and eating at any human foolish enough to go outdoors. Families were attacked and killed by their family dogs, cats, and my neighbor was stomped to death by his mule and two horses. Emergency services couldn’t get anywhere without being attacked themselves. So they told everyone, “Stay inside, hunker down, do not leave your homes.” And for a while that seemed to work. But how long can you stand off with Mother Nature? Not long, I don’t guess. The animals started seeking us out in our homes. Bugs getting in where they could, larger animals breaking windows, bears tearing down doors. Dairy cows were reported to have stomped anyone who got near them to death. The same was true of the bulls and other livestock around the country. It is as if some divine need for reckoning has overcome the animal kingdom at large. As I write this, I am hunkered in my bedroom and there is a flock of buzzards circling outside. I know they are coming for me. I watched them go from house to house, shattering windows and invading homes. There were a few gunshots here and there, but it always ended in screams. Then they come out of that house and move to the next, ravenous. I am not a smart man, but one thought has crossed my mind over and over as I wait to be sent to my maker. The creator has gotten fed up and so have the creatures we have used and abused since the dawn of time. The animals are killing us back. 

The Attic

Photo by Vlad Fonsark on

Once she reached the top step, she realized there was no going back as she listened intently to the moaning and groaning coming from behind the door. She turned the knob, half expecting the door to fly open of its own volition or be inexplicably locked. Josephine wasn’t sure which of those two would terrify her more but it didn’t matter. She heard a soft squeaking sound as the latch released. 

Suddenly, it was dead silent. No more wails of pain or grievous cries laden with misery. No more rattling of the walls or creaking of the floorboards. Not even the crickets, which usually chirped around the house from their dark corners, dared to make a sound. It was as if the whole world had taken in a breath and was now holding it, waiting for her to open that door. The air was thick, heavy and cold, yet she felt sweat dripping down the back of her neck, even as chills raised the hair on her arms like lightning about to strike.

Photo by George Becker on

Josephine steeled herself, thinking of the countless nights she had been awakened by such a terrible symphony, unable to go back to sleep, begging her husband to check out the noises and being at first humored, then all together dismissed. Rolf was never awakened by the racket, she always had to shake him awake and tell him it was happening again. Josephine didn’t understand how he could sleep through it. Sometimes it was so loud that the windows chittered in their frames, threatening at very least to crack if not shatter. Rolf would get out of bed in a huff and go upstairs grumbling to himself. He would open the door and have a look around, inevitably saying she was just dreaming again. Nothing and no one was in that attic room. Tonight was different. She had finally gotten the courage to check it out herself and she wasn’t going to stop now.

She thrust the door open, as if aiming to catch some prowler in the act of disturbing her peace and locked eyes with a…a woman. There was a woman huddled on the floor of the attic. She was filthy and nude. She had long, matted hair, like a mane grown out around her head. Her eyes were panicked and pitiful all at once. Those eyes…Josephine stared at them, trying to place where she had seen them before. She found herself walking towards the woman, neither of them making a sound. Josephine sat down next to her on the floor, and stared ahead at the door. The door? The door was closed…Josephine didn’t remember closing it. Those eyes. She turned to look back at the woman and found herself looking at an empty space. She looked around frantically and there was no one in the room but her. No. “No!! She was there!” Josephine said it outloud, her heart hammering in her chest. “She was RIGHT THERE!”

Leaping from her spot on the floor, Josephine ran for the door, grabbing the knob and yanking at it. It wouldn’t budge. The damn door knob wouldn’t even turn. “ROLF!! ROLF HELP ME!!” She screamed at the top of her lungs. She heard him lumbering up the steps, grumbling to himself, but she didn’t care, as long as he got her out of here. “Rolf, thank God. There’s a woman in here and I can’t open the door. Get me out of here!” Unbelievably, Rolf laughed. A loud, belly laugh that was somehow jolly. Why would he be jolly at a time like this?

“Oh here we go again, Jo. How many times am I going to have to remind you?” He scoffed audibly.

Photo by Pixabay on

“Rolf, I don’t know what you are talking about but” –

He banged on the door, hard and loud. “Shut up bitch!” He shouted. “You know I am never letting you out. You keep this shit up and I will forget to feed you for another week.” 

Josephine was dumbfounded, her jaw dropped and she was struck speechless. She looked down at her hands, convinced this must be a nightmare. Her blood ran cold. 

Her hands were filthy, her body too as she looked on in horror. She lifted her hands to her hair and felt matts and grime, and suddenly became aware that her mouth was so dry her tongue was sticking to the roof of it and her stomach was beyond empty. It all came rushing back in a wave that knocked her to her knees. The eyes. Josephine finally placed them. She had last seen them in the mirror.