The Elephant Woman

March 30, 2017 at 6:58 pm (Commentary, Horror, Short stories, Short Story) (, , , , )

Gertrude Grannick was no John Merrick. She wasn’t born with a debilitating disease. A debilitating disease of the body at any rate- possibly a debilitating disease of the soul. She chose to be able to turn into an elephant in a bizarre black magic ceremony.

Gertrude Grannick had always held a high opinion of herself. She was the only who did. She had no friends in high school because she was so conceited.

If she had been beautiful, she might have been able to take advantage of men and count them among her suitors. Some women might have chosen to become friends with her in the hopes her popularity might rub off on them.

But Gertrude Grannick was ugly. Quite repulsively so. Ugly and conceited. A strange combination to say nothing of an outrageously stupid one.

Gertrude Grannick went for a degree in Social Work. Not out of any genuine desire to help people. But in hopes that someday she’d win a Citizen of the Year Award.

Upon graduating, she landed a job with a city social services agency. And she fell in love with her supervisor. If such a person as Gertrude Grannick was capable of love.

It was more of an obsession rather than what might be properly called love. But her supervisor Ted Dowling did not love her. In fact an office romance was starting to develop between Ted Dowling and another social worker Madge Simmons.

As Ted and Madge had candlelight dinners around the city, Gertrude would go home to her apartment and order in delivery. Usually about a dozen pizzas, a dozen orders of chicken wings and a dozen Chinese combo dishes from Ho-Ho’s Chinese Food.

She ate so much that Gertrude Grannick was starting to look like an elephant even before she participated in the black magic ceremony.

Then there had come that day at the office when Ted Dowling and Madge Simmons announced they were getting married. Gertrude Grannick was so angry that she had broke the pencil sharpener (to say nothing of the photocopier, the printer and the coffee machine) – all actions for which her employment was terminated.

Gertrude Grannick stampeded down the street in a huff- causing numerous damage to passing motor vehicles to say nothing of laying the groundwork for future pot holes (which would lead to the lighting up of city hall complaint lines).

Gertrude Grannick used her termination pay and what little she had of her savings (for her monthly food bill was quite out of this world) to fly to Africa.

For she had heard of a witch doctor in Congo who had the power to turn men and women into elephant people – people who had the power to shapeshift into elephants and use the power of the elephant to cause damage and destruction.

Gertrude Grannick hired a group of guides to take her to the village in the Congo where the witch doctor lived.

All but one of her guides died of starvation on the expedition (due to her eating up all the supplies).

When she reached the village hut where the witch doctor was (who was busy text messaging Donald Trump about the possible uses of black magic in 21st Century warfare). Gertrude Grannick told him, “I wish to become an elephant woman.”

Although the witch doctor was tempted to say, “You already are”, he bit his tongue instead (for which he said “Ouch!” in his native tribal language) and proceeded to chant the spell that would turn her into a shapeshifting elephant woman.

Upon chanting the spell, he gave her an instruction manual called So Now You’re An Elephant Woman, What’s Next? which gave Gertrude Grannick detailed instructions on how to enjoy her new found power.

Upon returning home to North America (where she spent the entire flight bitching and complaining about having to pay for the cost of three seats), she returned to the city of her recent Social Services job termination whereupon she turned into an elephant and stampeded and destroyed the house that Mr. and Mrs. Ted Dowling had bought.

She landed a job as a Distress Line counselor where people who called into the Distress Line were generally worse off than they were before calling in.

Gertrude Grannick was let go from that job after Department heads noticed a huge spike in the number of suicides after calls to the distress line.

After stampeding and destroying her Distress Line supervisor’s house, Gertrude Grannick eventually found her true calling in life- which was to serve as a licensing clerk in a Department of Motor Vehicles branch.

The Elephant Woman Gertrude Grannick continued to follow the activities of Mr. and Mrs. Ted Dowling.

When Mrs. Dowling gave birth to her first child, Gertrude Grannick turned into an Elephant Woman and stampeded and stormed and stomped the maternity ward of the hospital where the child was born.

The Dowlings had already taken their child home but that did nothing to relieve the grief of the other parents whose babies were killed.

A similar attack happened at another maternity ward when the Dowlings’ second child was born a few years later.

And then again when the Dowlings’ third child was born a couple of years after that.

A big game hunter Theodore Roosevelt Matthews (distantly related to the big game hunting President of the early 20th Century United States- Teddy Roosevelt) was brought in to try to catch this mysterious elephant known for destroying homes and maternity wards across the city the past decade.

Teddy Roosevelt Matthews was approached by a psychic Nyssa Dhawan who told him that the destroying elephant was no natural creature but a preternatural Elephant Woman- a woman given the black magic supernatural ability to shapeshift into an elephant.

Nyssa gave Theo a medallion with the image of the Hindu god Ganesha on it for protection.

In the meantime, Theodore Roosevelt Matthews began setting elephant traps across the city.

The Mayor was advising everyone to stay home. As a lot of sports league play-offs were currently underway to say nothing of a new reality TV series showing a bunch of catty women fighting and backstabbing one another, the mayor’s stay home message was definitely easier done than said. Both husbands and wives stayed home watching television. And their kids were naturally playing violent video games or busy text messaging one another in their rooms.

The streets of the city were quiet except for the earthshaking footsteps of the Elephant Woman Gertrude Grannick and the stealthy prowling quiet steps of the hunter Teddy Roosevelt Matthews.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are,” Gertrude Grannick bellowed in a voice that would have made Anne Rice’s Vampire Lestat wince at such an example of notoriously bad overacting.

Theodore Roosevelt Matthews said nothing. He just quietly bided his time.

Suddenly there was a roar as Elephant Woman Gertrude Grannick stepped in an elephant trap.

Normally the trap would have been easy to spot but a department store had wisely placed an elephant sized mirror in a large window and the narcissistically conceited Gertrude Grannick had stopped to admire herself in the mirror not noticing the trap in front of her.

Gertrude Grannick bellowed like an elephant cow in pain (which is what she was).

She waddled several blocks on 3 legs until she caught sight of Theodore Roosevelt Matthews. She bellowed at him and charged.

Theo opened the door of the nearest building which happened to be a Hindu temple.

Theo ran up to the central altar.

Gertrude Grannick stampeded through the door knocking it down.

She saw Theodore Roosevelt Matthews standing at the altar and charged at him.

Matthews waited and then ducked out of the way at the proper moment clutching at the medallion that the psychic Nyssa Dhawan had given him.

The Elephant Woman Gertrude Grannick struck the altar with full force causing the giant bronze statue of Ganesha to come crashing down from the ceiling with full force on top of her.

Ganesha’s bronze tusks pierced Gertrude Grannick’s head causing it to be severed from her body.

The Elephant Woman was dead.

A good elephant had triumphed over an evil elephant.

And the city was once again safe.

The only place that carried reminders of her existence was the local Department of Motor Vehicles licensing branch.

-A tale of horror
written by Christopher
Thursday March 30th
2017.

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Edgar Allan Poe: Swinging Like A Pendulum Do

October 28, 2016 at 3:58 pm (Film, Horror, Literature, Movies, Mystery/horror, Short stories, Short Story, Television, The Supernatural) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Edgar Allan Poe: Swinging Like A Pendulum Do

It was an old movie from the 1930s on television. Johnson had heard of the film The Pit and The Pendulum based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe.

But he wasn’t familiar with the 1930s version. He had only heard of a movie version from the 1960s with Vincent Price.

But this 1930s version was totally new to him and here he was a big classic horror movies fan. The Pit and The Pendulum from 1936 with Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff.

Try as he might, he could not recall Karloff and Lugosi ever making such a film. Lugosi had made The Black Cat with Karloff. He had made The Raven. He had made Murders In The Rue Morgue. All based on works by Poe.

But Johnson had never heard of Lugosi doing a movie version of Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum. Much less one made with Boris Karloff.

But when he flipped through the channels on his new High Definition Home Theatre sized TV, there it was listed on TCM – The Pit and The Pendulum (1936) with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

Five minutes ahead of the program starting, Johnson had googled the film The Pit and The Pendulum (1936) with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.

But he found no information about it which was strange.

He put on the TV tuned to TCM. TCM host Robert Osborne began the introduction to the film with his trademark classic line, “Hi, I’m Robert Osborne.”

“Yeah? Tell me something I don’t know, Robert,” Johnson remarked sarcastically.

“All right,” Osborne answered him from the screen, “You’re an obnoxious self-centered arrogant egotistical prick.”

“What?” Johnson was astounded.

“Tonight’s film is a relatively unknown one. In fact, most people don’t even know it was made,” Osborne explained.

“You can say that again,” Johnson scratched his stomach and belched.

“I’d rather not, you uncouth slob,” Osborne smiled at the camera.

“What?” Johnson was again astounded.

“That’s because this film was made privately for a San Francisco based Chinese millionaire called Sun Wong,” Osborne elaborated, “who wanted his own private film with Lugosi and Karloff that the rest of the world wouldn’t be able to see.”

“Wong huh?” Johnson scratched his head.

“That’s right, Wong,” Osborne chuckled, “please excuse the pun.”

“Pun?” Johnson scratched his head again.

“Try not to think about it too hard, you pea-brained bozo,” Osborne again smiled at the camera, “We don’t want you putting too much strain on your little head now, will we?”.

“What the fuck?” Johnson gazed at the screen.

“No more for you,” Osborne saluted the camera, “from 1936, The Pit and The Pendulum with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi.”

The movie was extremely scary, Johnson found. Usually most horror films from the 1930s he laughed at finding them somewhat corny by today’s standards.

But this one had Johnson gripping the edge of his chair.

When Lugosi had Karloff chained to the flat rock in the pit of his dungeon and the pendulum started swinging down on the latter, Lugosi laughed an evil sinister laugh.

“Wow, this is great,” Johnson thought as he reached for some more popcorn.

“May I call you Johnson?” Lugosi asked Karloff.

“Johnson?” Johnson stopped eating his popcorn.

“You are a dirty filthy little rat who cheated on me with my best friend,” Lugosi continued.

“Is this a gay Lugosi/Karloff film?” Johnson wondered to himself.

“No,” Bela Lugosi metamorphosed into the noted 1930s Asian-American actress Anna May Wong.

As the film changed from black and white into colour, Miss Wong wore a golden dragon emblazoned Asiatic style red dress slit up the sides showing lovely and shapely pantyhose clad legs that were accentuated by red super spiked stiletto high-heeled shoes.

“My God,” Johnson suddenly noted the resemblance, “she looks like…”

“That’s right, you cheating bastard,” Miss Wong exclaimed.

Suddenly Johnson found his hands handcuffed to the chair, ropes came out of the back of the chair and tied him up. The chair went backwards and Johnson found himself looking up at the ceiling where a rather large pendulum started swinging down towards him.

Miss Wong stepped out from the TV screen.

Johnson had indeed noted for the very first time the resemblance between the 1930s actress Anna May Wong and his ex-girlfriend Charlotte April Wong.

“Don’t piss off a Dragon Sister,” Miss Wong screamed as a dragon breathed fire from the top of the ceiling above the pendulum.

As the pendulum came down within a quarter inch of his throat and neck, Johnson thought this probably answered his buddy Tom’s question, “Why would your ex buy you a 72 inch screen high definition TV when you cheated on her in such a cruel fashion?”.

Johnson would never get the chance to answer Tom’s question as the pendulum cut off his head.

-A short story
written by Christopher
Saturday October 1st
2016.

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The Boy and The Skunk: A Short Story

May 18, 2016 at 6:40 pm (Life, Short stories, Short Story) (, , , )

The Boy and The Skunk: A Short Story

The boy walked along the banks of Rosebud Creek east of the town of Crossfield. His loyal English sheepdog Buster followed him.

Buster was named after the great comedic actor Buster Keaton- one of the boy’s favourite film stars whom he saw on those rare occasions when his mother took him to a movie show in the big city of Calgary.

Buster had an interesting background. He was the sole survivor of a brood of pups drowned on a Hutterite colony near the boy’s parents’ farm because the colony boss thought the colony couldn’t really afford to feed any more dogs.

The puppy had somehow managed to survive the mass drowning and was about to be “re-drowned” as it were when the boy called George and his father showed up on the colony to see if the Hutterites were willing to trade some potatoes for lettuce from George’s mother’s garden.

As George’s dad and the colony boss hammered out a deal, George approached the Hutterite man that the colony boss had assigned to be the pups’ executioner.

“Don’t drown the poor dog,” George addressed the man, “I’m willing to adopt him and take him home and look after him.”

The man looked at the colony boss and the colony boss looked at George’s father.

George’s father sighed.

It was amazing how his son loved animals.

And how animals seemed to love his son in return.

His son even seemed to have the gift of “horse whispering” – that unique ability by which a person was even able to calm and tame wild horses.

George’s father nodded.

The colony boss then nodded to the would-be executioner that it was all right.

The little sheepdog who would come to be called Buster had already run to the boy somehow sensing that George was his rescuer.

George picked him up in his arms and the little sheepdog licked his face.

Buster was a very intelligent dog.

George had trained him to gather firewood.

So every morning at the back door of the farm house, there was a huge supply of large sticks that Buster had gone out and gathered during the night.

One morning there was a knock at the front door of the farm house.

George’s mother answered the door.

It was an official from the local CPR (Canadian Pacific Railway) station in Crossfield mentioning that survey sticks that CPR surveyors had been putting up in the area had mysteriously disappeared overnight and might she have any idea who the thief was?

George’s mother shook her head.

George who was in the kitchen having breakfast overheard the conversation.

He waited until the CPR official had driven away in his car.

Then he went rushing to the back door to see what sort of firewood Buster had gathered during the night.

Buster was there with his tongue hanging out looking as pleased as punch with himself at the night’s cache.

Large sticks with the initials CPR on them.

George immediately put them in the wood pile.

Alerting his parents to what Buster had done might have resulted in their giving Buster away.

And on this fine day, George was walking along Rosebud Creek with Buster.

George was imagining that he was walking along the River Nile with his faithful dog Buster and that he was about to discover Cleopatra’s tomb or the tomb of some mighty Pharaoh.

George often dreamed of becoming an archaeologist when he grew up.

He was the most voracious young reader of all the books in the one room schoolhouse that he attended- having read every one including all the volumes of the encyclopedia and all the geography books and all the history texts and all the science books.

As George walked along the banks of the Rosebud, his eyes carefully scanned the ground- looking for signs of Indian arrowheads for which he seemed to have a natural gift of finding.

He also kept a watch for beaver traps as he knew trappers often set traps along the banks for the creek’s beavers.

Buster did the same.

Not so much to look out for arrowheads like his young human friend but to avoid stepping in a beavertrap.

Suddenly George heard a clanging.

The sound of a beaver trap closing.

George looked in the direction of the clanging.

What poor animal was it whose foot was now caught?

George and Buster walked in the direction of the noise.

And there it was… black with white stripes… a skunk.

The poor creature looked at George.

And George looked at the poor creature.

The skunk turned and tried to walk away- no doubt not sure if George was friend or foe.

It struggled as it walked along the banks of the creek, one of its legs in pain from the trap it was in.

George followed to see if he could help the poor skunk.

A dangerous thing to do.

For it was always possible that the skunk could turn around and spray him with its awful smelling scent.

Still George followed.

The skunk stopped.

It couldn’t go on with this painful thing on its foot.

It turned around.

There was the stranger still following him.

The skunk looked at George.

Then it looked down at its foot.

The skunk thought that maybe the stranger might know how to take the thing off its foot.

So it sat and let George approach.

George came and carefully removed the trap off the skunk’s foot.

Then George waited.

Would the skunk spray him with its scent?

But no.

Instead the skunk seemed to grin at him, George thought, and then turned and went on its way- slowly to be sure- from the pain of having its leg in a trap but still it was moving.

Several weeks later, George was playing along the creek with some friends from school.

“Look, a bunch of skunks,” a boy shouted.

“Eek! They’ll spray us with their scent!” A girl shouted.

“If you don’t bother skunks, they won’t bother you,” George always spoke with a wisdom that went well beyond his young years.

“Hey look, George,” another girl pointed, “that one skunk there seems to be looking at you and it almost looks as if he’s smiling at you.”

“It does,” the other children agreed, “He seems to be smiling at you. Why is that, George?”.

“I have no idea,” George shrugged.

At that point, Buster the sheepdog made a strange noise.

It wasn’t a bark.

It wasn’t a growl.

If sheepdogs could guffaw, maybe that was the sound Buster made.

And the skunks went on their way.

And George and his friends went on their way.

And Buster followed.

Still guffawing.

-A short story written
by Christopher
Wednesday May 18th
2016.

(The above short story is based on real life events. The boy George grew up to be my father George Bursell Milner. It was 6 years ago today that my dad suddenly collapsed to the floor while shaving in the bathroom and had to be rushed to hospital by ambulance. Within less than a month my dad would be dead from cancer. I wrote this story for I think it illustrates to my readers what sort of person my father was. The writer G.K. Chesterton once wrote that “The boy is the father of the man.” Meaning that what people are like in their childhoods is often indicative of what they become in their adult lives)

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What Connor McFinn Saw On Saint Patrick’s Day

March 17, 2016 at 8:33 pm (Folklore, Horror, Short stories, Short Story, The Supernatural, Vampire novel) (, , , , , , , )

What Connor McFinn Saw On Saint Patrick’s Day

Connor McFinn stumbled out of his house on the way to the pub.

Usually most nights it was the reverse.

But his brainless Irish-American nephew from Boston was visiting.

And to mark Saint Paddy’s Day, his brainless nephew had bought some bottles of American beer and laced it with green food dye.

“Faith and begorrah,” his nephew brutally murdered the accent of his homeland with the same severity that MacBeth had stabbed Duncan, ” ’tis a fine Irish tradition to drink green beer on Saint Paddy’s Day.”

“No, it isn’t, you moron,” Connor said in an exasperated voice, “maybe in America but not here in Ireland. Here in Ireland, we toast Saint Paddy with Guinness or Murphy’s or some fine local stout. This beer is an abomination and blasphemy against the Holy Saint Patrick himself.”

“Abomination and blasphemy against Saint Paddy himself,” his nephew spewed green beer out of his mouth all over the brown sofa with the same velocity as an ex-DARPA employee would spew bourbon and coffee all over his computer screen after reading a humourous blog post, “surely you exaggerate, Uncle.”

After drinking several green beers, his nephew lay passed out on the floor.

Connor had been forced to drink several pints of the abominable blasphemous substance to please his sister’s brainless son.

Once the misfit lay on the floor snoring away, Connor got up and stumbled out the door to head down to the local pub to drink a pint of Guinness and toast the Apostle and Patron Saint of Ireland the proper Irish way.

As he stumbled his way through the meadows and forests to get to the village, he hit his head on a low-lying tree branch.

As Connor sat there dazed under the tree, he noticed a bunch of giant snakes approaching him.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” Connor made the Sign of the Cross, “this is what comes from drinking a witch’s brew of green beer.”

The huge giant serpents with giant fangs approached him.

This couldn’t be happening, Connor thought to himself.

After all, the Holy Saint Patrick had personally driven all the snakes out of Ireland.

“Get away,” Connor shouted, “you’re not real. You’re a figment of a warped imagination brought on by drinking that Devil’s brew of green beer.”

Seeing as how the snakes actually proceeded to eat Connor McFinn in literal objective reality (although that concept would be disputed and denied by a great many modern and post-modern philosophers), his brainless Irish-American nephew’s green beer was a Devil’s brew from a witch’s cauldron indeed.

-A short story
and vampire novel
chapter
written by Christopher
Thursday March 17th
2016.

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The Hunter

August 16, 2014 at 5:47 pm (Short stories, Short Story, Vampire novel) (, , , , )

The Hunter

The stranger walked through town.

The town was empty and desolate.

As empty and desolate as the vast desert behind him.

The sound of giant hoof beats could be heard behind him as he went through town.

He looked to the left.

No one there.

He looked to the right.

No one there.

He looked straight ahead.

No one there.

He stopped in his tracks.

The sound of the giant hoof beats behind him likewise fell silent.

He turned and looked behind him.

No one there.

The stranger who was called the Hunter continued on.

To the edge of town.

And again through desert.

To the next town…

… clomp… …clomp… …clomp…

… the sound of horse’s hooves…

…. The Hunter continued on….

… in search of prey….

… Human prey…

…. he arrived at the next town…

….but this was not a town in the old days of the American Wild West…

… it was a town in today’s contemporary Middle East…

…. Syria or Iraq…

… who knows?…

Borders seem to be fluid in today’s war-torn Middle East.

The Hunter was in search of fighters from IS (the Islamic State) the Islamist terrorist militia formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham).

His mission: to kill as many IS fighters as possible.

Ahmed, the IS fighter who had been born and raised in Germany and who had left his family’s moderate mosque in his early 20s and joined the mosque of a radical imam and then heeded the call to join the new Caliphate of the emerging Islamic State, raised his head.

And then raised his gun.

He had heard the sound of horse’s hooves coming from outside the building he was in.

He looked out the window.

A giant shadow fell across the room he was in.

The ground seemed to rumble and the wall of the building around the window collapsed.

Ahmed the IS fighter from Germany tried to step back into the shadows.

Away from the gaze of the fierce looking horseman.

The horseman who was…

… well…

… just that…

…. a horseman…

The horse-man looking every inch the giant of a figure who had just walked off the pages of an illustrated book of Greek mythology raised his giant bow in the direction of Ahmed and drew back the string…

… and fired the arrow…

… the arrow that never missed its mark…

… for the Hunter never missed his mark…

… and Ahmed departed this world…

… and wondered where in Hell were the 72 dark-eyed virgins that were promised him?

. . .

U. S. President Barack Obama stood outside the cabinet meeting room in the White House where he was examining the shocking satellite photos of the Iraq-Syria border region being shown him by a deputy director of the CIA.

“Where the Hell did that centaur come from?” The President asked.

Inside the meeting room meanwhile, a heated debate was raging amongst the members of the President’s National Security Council.

“But,” a voice could be heard loudly protesting, “only a complete horse’s ass would want to go into Iraq and Syria these days.”

To be continued.

-A vampire novel chapter
written by Christopher
Friday August 15th
2014.

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The Death Defying Jump

July 14, 2014 at 6:54 pm (Short stories, Short Story) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The Death Defying Jump

Mocker of Thanatos (not his real name) was a professional motorcycle jumping daredevil.

Mocker used a classic Harley-Davidson XR 750 for his jumps- the bike most used by his idol Evel Knievel during his death-defying stunts of the 1970s.

Today he would be attempting a ramp-to-ramp motorcycle jump over 50 Boeing 767s lined-up side by side.

His assistants told him that he was crazy and that they would quit if he went ahead with this jump.

Oh well, he could always hire new assistants.

His wife told him that he was crazy and that she would leave him if he went ahead with this jump.

Oh well, as long as she left the remote behind (unlike his ex-wife), he wouldn’t care.

His psychiatrist told him that he was crazy if he went ahead with this jump.

But then again psychiatrists were paid to tell people that they were crazy.

Mocker of Thanatos went up the ramp with lightning speed.

He had never raced so quickly in his life.

Off the ramp he went…

… and he went sailing through the air…

…five… ten… only 40 to go…

… 15…. 20…

… damn… he was good…

… 20… 25…

…25… 30…

… Yes… he was definitely hot stuff all right…

…30… 35…

… he was simply the best…

… 36… 37…

…38… 39…

… better than all the rest…

…40 …. 41…

… as Tina Turner would probably sing about him…

… 42… 43…

… he should really get a selfie while he was doing this…

He reached inside his vest pocket to grab his smart phone…

… 45… 46…

… this should only take a sec..

… the bike nose dived and struck the right wing of the 48th Boeing 767…

… the bike bounced off the wing and sent both bike and rider flying in opposite directions…

Mocker of Thanatos’ dead body (he would be mocking Thanatos no longer) landed beside a billboard advertising sign that read,

Please do not use your cell phone while driving.

Distracted driving can cause accidents.

-A short story written
by Christopher
Monday July 14th
2014.

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Another Field of Dreams

August 29, 2011 at 8:20 pm (Short stories) (, , )

The sports announcer looked into the camera, “Well we know it’s just an exhibition game between the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers today as it’s still the pre-season but today is a special occasion anyways and it’s all because of LA Dodgers #9 Jorge Fernandez the Dodgers’ legendary pitcher and legendary hitter…”

His co-host looked into the camera and continued the commentary, “Well we all know Jorge Ferdandez has had an absolutely phenomenal career in his 10 years with the Los Angeles Dodgers holding the record for most home runs in the team’s history and the record for most no-hitter wins as a pitching member of that team…”

His announcing partner Jed picked up the commentary, “But Jorge’s family life has been tragic not of course due to the intense love in their marriage between Jorge and his wife Juanita but due to the fact that their 8-year-old son Ricardo was born blind with a rare eye disease. But earlier this year, Jorge and Juanita received news that a visiting eye surgeon from China would be lecturing at the Loma Linda Children’s Hospital on a new treatment for the eye disease that little Ricardo had.”

Announcer Mark continued, “The surgeon Dr. Fong agreed to treat little Ricardo with the revolutionary new procedure and last week after several months of the treatment, Mr. and Mrs. Fernandez announced to the world that their son could now see…”

“So last night at a special dinner for team managers and coaches and players and their wives and members of the press and the general public,” Jed went on, “Jorge gave this short speech at the end of which there was not a dry eye in the house…”

The tape runs of Jorge Fernandez’s short speech, “Tomorrow some say is just an exhibition game. But tomorrow for me is the game I consider the most important of my career. For tomorrow’s game means more to me than winning the National League West pennant. Tomorrow’s game means more to me than winning the National League Championship. Tomorrow’s game even means more to me than winning a World Series. For tomorrow’s game is the first time that my beloved son Ricardo will get to see his daddy playing baseballl. ..”

“And what could be a more appropriate moment than to end the tape there,” Jed smiled, “for here comes Los Angeles Dodgers #9 Jorge Fernandez on to the field…”

Fans all over the stadium- those wearing regular clothes, those wearing Dodgers shirts and even those wearing Cubs shirts rose to give Fernandez a standing ovation.

On the stadium large screen, the tape played of Jorge Fernandez’s closing remarks of his short speech last night, “And I say to you, nothing… absolutely NOTHING is going to stop me from playing in that game for my son tomorrow…”

The crowd cheered as Fernandez threw the first pitch…

“Strike,” shouted the umpire.

The second pitch…

“Strike two…”

The third pitch…

“Strike 3,” the umpire shouted, “Out.”

The same went for the next 2 Cubs players.

Strike…

…. and

… out.

The Dodgers up to bat.

All the bases are loaded.

Jorge Fernandez comes up to bat…

WHACK!…

… a home run.

And so it continued through all 9 innings of the game…

… the Cubs come up to bat…

… the only words the umpire spoke during that entire time were “Strike” and “Out”…

… the Dodgers come up to bat…

… the words the stadium announcer spoke time after time… “The bases are loaded… Jorge Fernandez up to bat… home run…”

Whether it was top of the inning or bottom of the inning, Fernandez always came to center field and took a bow… whispering the words that were projected on to the large screen… I love you my darling Juanita… I love you my dear Ricardo…”

And after taking a bow, he would always run off the field to the locker room and then return to play.

When the game was over…

… the Dodgers had won by an unbelievable score…

Jorge Fernandez had pitched another no-hitter in his career…

… and most phenomenal of all…

… had scored 9 home runs in a single game…

Fernandez ignored being hugged by his fellow players and waved off handshakes or pats on the back…

He ran to center field again… “I love you, Juanita… I love you, Ricardo… I will always be with you… Remember that…”

He then ran off the field…

… he almost seemed to vanish when he ran off…

… and vanish was a good word for it because the press, his fellow players and his coach couldn’t seem to find him in the locker room when they rushed in there after the disappearing Fernandez.

Up in his luxury box in the stadium, the General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers decided he’d better head down to the locker room and join in the celebrations with his most amazing player Jorge Fernandez…

The phone in the luxury box rang.

The General Manager picked it up.

It was Jorge Fernandez’s agent Paul Lennox.

“Mr. Wilson….” began Paul.

“Paul,” laughed Wilson, “are you here to renegotiate Jorge’s contract already?”.

“Renegotiate?” Paul stammered, “no, it’s been total chaos the past couple of hours. I thought you were probably wanting to know the reason Jorge didn’t show up to play this afternoon…”

“What do you mean didn’t show up to play?” Mr. Wilson laughed, “He totally showed up to play, you joker. Pitching a no-hitter and hitting 9 home runs in a single game.”

“But…” Paul’s voice sounded very strange, “Mr. Wilson, when Jorge and I left the hotel for the stadium, our car was totally sideswiped by a truck on the passenger side. Jorge was killed instantly…”

After a conversation that then proceeded for several minutes and it dawned on both Mr. Wilson and Mr. Lennox that neither man was joking, Mr. Wilson said,

“Paul, I’m going to use my best connections that I know of. A lid must be put on what could potentially be a controversy… of a supernatural magnitude… I’m going to call in a whole bunch of favours… see if we can change the time of death on the death certificate… the time of the accident on the accident report…”

And on it went.

Mr. Wilson the General Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers finally put the phone down.

He sighed.

He wasn’t quite sure what had happened here this afternoon.

All he knew was that through some miracle, Jorge Fernandez had returned from the dead so his son could finally see him play baseball.

The head coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers knocked on the luxury box door and then opened it to tell the General Manager of the mysterious disappearance of Jorge Fernandez- baseball’s man of the hour.

As he opened the door and noticed the peculiar expression on the General Manager’s face, he quipped, “It looks like you’ve seen a ghost.”

The General Manager looked up at the Head Coach and replied,

“We’ve all seen a ghost.”

-A short story written by Christopher Van Helsling
Monday evening, August 29th 2011

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Just Another Day and Night In The Wild West?

July 3, 2011 at 1:44 pm (Horror, Short stories, Short Story, The Supernatural) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Sheriff Cecil Cartwell proudly looked over the graves of the Boot Hill Cemetery.

The Boot Hill Cemetery wasn’t where they planted regular folk like the townspeople might say.

Regular folk were planted in the town cemetery.

No, Boot Hill was reserved for outlaw gunslingers, ne’er do wells, the tough guy bandits of the Wild West.

And Sheriff Cecil Cartwell had shot and killed them all.

All 32 of them.

That now lay dead and buried in the cemetery.

At Boot Hill.

Given the boot by Sheriff Cecil Cartwell.

Sheriff Cartwell got on top of his Pinto horse Kiss My Grass and rode on back into town.

He stopped off at The Wild Horse Saloon and had himself a whisky.

Then he went back to the sheriff’s office and slept the rest of the day.

At 6 P.M. he went to Kate’s Dining Hall and had something to eat.

When he left Kate’s Dining Hall at 7 P.M. a stage coach rode into town.

A well-dressed black man got out of the coach.

Sheriff Cartwell wondered if he was one of the freed slaves from the Civil War that had been over some 11 years now and was coming to make his home in the American West.

But Sheriff Cartwell heard the man speaking perfect French.

He reckoned not many of the slaves in the American South could speak perfect French.

Sheriff Cartwell walked on down the street.

A defiant looking 16-year-old blonde girl in a long blue dress blocked the street in front of him.

“One of these nights, you’re going to get yours for shooting my pa dead,” the girl spat at him.

It was Daisy Durkins- the daughter of Dukehart Durkins one of the West’s most notorious outlaws- and one of the 32 who now lay dead and buried in Boot Hill Cemetery- shot and killed by yours truly- Sheriff Cecil Cartwell.

Sheriff Cartwell grabbed the bratty blonde, threw her across his knee and spanked her. Fifty good whacks across her backside with his firm powerful hands.

He left her in the dusty street and continued home.

At midnight, the deputy came pounding on his door.

“Sheriff Cartwell, Sheriff Cartwell,” the deputy screamed, “there’s some sort of trouble going on up at Boot Hill Cemetery”.

Sheriff Cartwell ran to the town livery stable, got on top of his horse Kiss My Grass and rode off in the direction of Boot Hill.

He noticed a group of people standing around.

“Disperse in the name of the law,” Sheriff Cartwell commanded.

The people turned.

They were all men.

Dead men.

Corpses.

With vacant eyes and soulless expressions, the corpses raised their arms and headed in Cartwell’s direction.

Watching the spectacle was the well-dressed black man who spoke perfect French.

Standing alongside him was the beautiful blue eyed blonde haired Daisy Durkins in her pretty turquoise blue dress still rubbing her sore and well-spanked bottom from the spanking she had received at Sheriff Cartwell’s hands earlier this evening.

The corpses pulled Sheriff Cartwell off his horse Kiss My Grass and then tore him to pieces eating what was left of him.

All that was left of Sheriff Cartwell was a single ear.

Daisy Durkins picked up the ear and buried it in a grave.

Grave #33 of Boot Hill.

The black man who spoke perfect French handed her his card and addressed her in perfect English, “Should you need me again, my lady.”

The card read, BARON SAMEDI Voodoo Practitioner, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

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The Last Concert of Maestro McCready

January 14, 2011 at 11:42 pm (Short stories) ()

The Last Concert of Maestro McCready
A short story written by Christopher Dracul Van Helsing
Friday evening, January 14th, 2011.

At an inn in the Scottish Highlands, Maestro McCready sipped a small glass of malt whisky.

He had been the conductor of a large symphony orchestra in England.

A very successful career he had had too.

Directing the music of the ages.

How he had loved it.

Beethoven, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Chopin.

To make these men’s music come alive for a new generation.

He had succeeded in that.

He would probably be still doing that.

But the onset of cancer had put an end to that.

He wasn’t given much time left by his physicians in London.

So he had come home to the Scottish Highlands as his final place of sojourn before being called on that final journey that all of us must take.

The inn door opened.

A group of teen-aged school kids had entered the inn along with a bus driver.

“We cannot go further in this weather,” the bus driver spoke to the inn keeper, “the snow is blinding. Can we spend the night here?”.

“Certainly,” the innkeeper said, “I have a few rooms available. And I’ve got some blankets and sleeping bags so that some can bunk together in the sitting room.”

“Thanks,” the bus driver said.

“Where were you headed?” the innkeeper asked.

“Down to Edinburgh,” the bus driver replied, “this is a school orchestra from Saint Ninian’s School. We were hoping to compete tonight in the National Finals. But the weather made it impossible.”

Maestro McCready looked over at the kids’ faces and he could see their disappointment.

“Their music teacher Mr. Henderson made it to Edinburgh all right,” said the driver, “he took his own car so he’s there but without an orchestra to conduct.”

“And we’re an orchestra without a conductor to conduct us,” sighed one young girl.

“If only the judges could hear us, they’d know we’re really really good,” said the boy, “we don’t care about winning. We just want people to know that we’re good. That just because we come from what many would call the backwaters of Scotland doesn’t mean we don’t know how to play good music.”

“Do any of you have cell phones with cameras?” Maestro McCready asked.

Practically all of the children put up their hands.

“And you have your instruments and music sheets with you?” Maestro McCready queried.

The children nodded.

“Well then you can play here in the sitting room and I’m sure our dear innkeeper here or your bus driver could film it and upload it to YouTube and someone could notify the judges at the competition in Edinburgh.” Maestro McCready smiled.

“But we have no one to conduct us,” said the girl.

The innkeeper smiled and introduced his distinguished guest, “This is Maestro Martin McCready who is a professional symphony conductor.”

Some of the children looked at Maestro McCready in awe for they had heard of him.

“What piece were you going to play at the competition?” Maestro McCready asked.

“The Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony,” one of the boys answered.

“Get everything set up,” the Maestro smiled as he stood up, “I shall go to my room and put on my Conductor’s clothes. And then I’ll come down and we’ll play to the world Beethoven’s Ode To Joy like it’s never been played before, shall we? We’ll indeed make this melody a true ode to joy.”

Maestro McCready went up to his room and hurriedly dressed.

When he returned downstairs, the innkeeper and the innkeeper’s wife and the bus driver all held cell phone cameras.

Maestro McCready stood in front of the small podium that had been set up for him and bowed to the children and then turned and bowed to the cell phone cameras.

He tapped his baton on his sheet music and started conducting.

Outside the blowing howling winds of northern Scotland seemed to be joining in the sheer joy of that moment and to be singing the lyrics of that immortal Ode:

Yes, even if He calls but one soul
His own in all the world…

All the world’s creatures
Draw joy from nature’s breast;

She gave us kisses and wine
And a friend loyal unto death;
She gave lust for life to the lowliest,
and the Cherub stands before God.

Joyously as His suns speed
Through Heaven’s glorious order,
Hasten, brothers, on your way,
Exulting as a knight in victory.

Joy, beautiful spark of the gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter fire imbibed,
Heavenly, thy sanctuary.

Be embraced, Millions!
This kiss for all the world!
Brothers! above the starry canopy
A loving father must dwell.

Can you sense the Creator, world?
Seek him above the starry canopy.
Above the stars He must dwell.

The Maestro then raised his baton in one final moment of triumph.

The young orchestra ceased playing.

There was silence in the room for about a minute.

Then the innkeeper and his wife and the bus driver broke into thunderous applause.

The orchestra and the Maestro stood up and bowed.

Then the kids gathered excitedly around the Maestro and thanked him for conducting them.

That night was a joy filled night as the young orchestra drank hot chocolate with the Maestro and ate the delicious oatmeal cookies made by the innkeeper’s wife.

Then as the clock chimed 10 PM, the bus driver suggested it was time for bed.

Maestro McCready went up to his room.

He asked the innkeeper not to call him early in the morning.

And he asked the innkeeper to deliver his good-byes to the young orchestra on his behalf.

Early the next morning, the young orchestra rose and went to Edinburgh to engage in sight-seeing if not competition.

They were a happy group as the bus set off.

It was wise of Maestro McCready to ask not to be awakened early.

For he had been called out of this world during the night and his departure might have dampened the children’s spirits.

Yes, even if He calls but one soul…

For in that moment of playing, in that brief concert captured on cell phone web cam, he had become the children’s friend.

… a friend loyal unto death.

As for the orchestra, although they did not win the competition, they were given honourable mention and a special commendation by the judges for their efforts in putting on a concert in a small Highlands inn in adverse weather conditions far from the site of the competition.

Hasten, brothers, on your way,
Exulting as a knight in victory.

And of course, the biggest surprise of all was the video uploaded to YouTube went viral overnight all around the globe and soon everyone in the world had heard of the tiny Saint Ninian’s School Orchestra that had been conducted by Maestro McCready in what would turn out to be his last performance.

Be embraced, Millions!
This kiss for all the world.

As for Maestro McCready, he had managed to fulfill every musician’s secret dream- that one’s last and very final performance would be one’s greatest performance!

… and the Cherub stands before God.

… Seek him above the starry canopy.

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Fall-Out On Wall Street

October 3, 2008 at 5:31 pm (Short stories)

 Fall-Out on Wall Street


Mr. Philos de Mammon was an investment banker on 
Wall Street.

The last few weeks on Wall Street had been catastrophic.

Lehman Brothers had failed. Merrill Lynch had been absorbed by the
Bank of America. It was still doubtful whether the House of Representatives
would pass U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s $700 billion 
bail-out bill. Although the U.S. Senate had just done so.

Philos de Mammon was eating lunch on the top floor cafeteria of
the building where he worked.

He had forgotten his cell phone in his office on the 21st floor-
a fact for which he cursed himself.

As Philos de Mammon sat there eating the last of his submarine
sandwich, he noticed a bunch of people who usually spent
their lunches yacking on their cell phones were busy 
jumping out the window.

“Fools,” Philos de Mammon thought to himself.

By breaking the glass after jumping straight through the window,
all these fools were letting quite a draft in at this altitude.

When Philos de Mammon walked over to empty his garbage, he 
took a quick look out the huge broken window from which several
hundred people had jumped during the course of the noon hour.

He looked down.

A whole bunch of people were jumping out the windows
from lower floors as well.

God, no wonder it felt chilly in here, Mammon thought to
himself.

Philos de Mammon took the empty elevator down to
the 21st floor where he worked.

As he got off the elevator, the office was deadly quiet.

No chitter chatter about last night’s Dancing With The Stars
performance on TV or some secretary whispering to a colleague
that she had failed her pregnancy test.

Just the occasional loud-piercing scream before some poor falling
snook hit the pavement on Wall Street below.

Philos de Mammon picked up his cell phone.

He had gotten over 36,000 text messages over the course

of the noon hour but after going through the first 10, he
deduced that they would all probably pretty much say the same 
thing.

Apparently the Dow Jones had dropped 10,000 points-
a record in history.

This was worse than the bust that started the Great Depression of
the 1930s.

“It’s 1929 all over again,” Philos de Mammon thought to himself.

He looked out the window. Coincidentally, exactly 1,929 people were 
passing his floor at that moment when he looked out as they were
on their way down to the street below.

Fortunately for Philos de Mammon, he had wisely invested all of
his money in a private Swiss bank account.

So unless the Large Hadron Collidor (LHC) had wiped out all his
money in that bank (as well as his 10-year supply of Swiss cheese
that he had hoarded in the Swiss Alps), he should be okay.

Well no need to work for the rest of the day, he thought.
As his company had probably just gone bankrupt anyway.

Philos de Mammon took the elevator down to the street.

He walked out the front door of the office building
for the last time.

Good thing that he had brought his umbrella today
he thought as he opened it up and walked and whistled
his way down the street.

The umbrella protected him from falling bodies as he 
walked.

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