Last Sunset

“The Sun make break out before it sets”  Father sits in his his back chair looking across the aged apartments and warehouses.

“You’ll get a good view of it yet.”  I’m not even looking at the scene.   The clock is stuck on 4:44.  I’m due down the street for a different setting.

“Come! Hurry with that scotch…  It won’t do me any good, if I’m dead before I get it!   Hell, doctor says it’ll kill me if I don’t stop drinking.  But I’ve only got months to live anyway.   You gonna make it over here before then.”  Father’s old bony hands grip both curved wood arm of the chair.  He pulls himself a few inches up to see what I’m doing. 

“Can I make myself one too ?   Really, I’ll be right there.   You’ll have a heart attack acting that way.   I put down the phone as I see him move. 

“She must be important.” He snatches the drink from my hands with remarkable speed.  In a flash it’s gone. “Another, I’m thirsty and my pain pills need help.”

I smile and go make the third drink for the suddenly lively dying man.

“You know they all come back to bite you in the ass.  Those women of yours.   It’s a shame.  I think your Mother and I raised you to be a door mat.  It was important to be respectful but I think you need a back bone.  Tell her the old man will die quickly.   Then she can have these two hours everyday too.” He stares out at the glowing orange ball diving toward the edge of the world.

“You know there’s no way I could ever be as ornery as the old man!  I told her I have slivers from you spitting glass at me. Here’s the next one.” I rush back.  I need to be there at the exact moment the Sun sets.

“I think this is the best one in awhile.” His voice fades quickly.  He raised the glass to toast the Sun. “My last one. l’m going now.  The world is best suited for those who can still get around.  I trust you’ll be alright finding the door.  I’ll be here in the chair tomorrow.  Can’t say I’ll be breathing.”

“Father, every night you say that, and tomorrow you are just as feisty.  Can I get you anything? Besides the glass of water.”  I turn to complete the daily ritual.  Walking in circles it seems.  I check the phone.  She’s waiting and sending a picture to hurry me along.

I carry the glass of water over to him.   His eyes are closed.   The scotch is gone.  I pry the glass from his hand.  He’s cold.  I shake him a bit.  I shake him a lot.  Both arms grab him and with a rush to see him wake up.  

It was the last sunset.  I’ve been going through motions.  I lost track of things.   I call 911.  They won’t do anything. He made sure noone would make him suffer longer. 
Written as part of a challenge called Sunday Photo Fiction, details at available


Lost World Mine – Sunday Photo Fiction 

Written as part of a challenge called Sunday Photo Fiction, details are available at

The claim was his Grandfather’s.   His name sake as well.  Red Jasper held out in a kingdom of one.  The Superstition Mountains held ghosts hostage in gold and silver cages.  Copper left once and returned as wooden frames and joists.  

Five hundred feet below the second Red Jasper sees his storage shed looking inheritance.  The turnout barely makes a parking place.  The highway four lanes wide scales uphill here.  The grey white Mountain seems like the world forgot it. Another look at the map and the deed confirm this is now his nowhere. 

The beauty of nowhere is no improvements. No roads. No path to lead the world in.  Only the truly independent should look upon nowhere. It holds a mirror to the soul you have not the soul others see in you.   Nature cares not for approval ratings.

“The old bastard was 86 years old!  He had 60 years to build a stairway! A driveway would be nice.  I guess I can build me own.” Jasper (Red hasn’t been used in awhile)  starts the climb. 

The rough hillside made of quartile, with layers of sandstone makes for giant stairs.  Large sections of footfalls seemed to have been placed at all the right spots.  Twenty minutes of climbing yields a landing. The crazy old bastard hid the way up.  Looking East, a series of shelves drops down easy but out of sight from the highway. 

Looking West, a hand craved set of stairs leads to Grandfather’s Ark. The rest of the way explained things about the old guy. 

“Never show everything to anyone.”  His words remembered in his voice.  His face was weather worn and coveted by a conductor’s hat. His eyes just short of crazy.

Three hundred stairs require a few pauses.  Each step lowers the rest of the world.  Horizons expand. More colors seep in to view.  The final landing  captures the magic of the place. The little shed turns into six rooms with solar power, running water, and satellite TV.  

On the table sits a white binder with dozens of documents. Pictures show inside a mine. Keys to a jeep.  Map to where the jeep is parked.

 A note reads “Red Jasper read.  You sell smell amounts.  You have three metal ores. There should be plenty underneath for first year.  The mine opens from the building to the left.  The shafts leads down by rope. Instructions are take tools and find what matches what you already have in the bins.  Leave the world behind.”

Neighbors are a Pain


Written as part of a challenge called Sunday Photo Fiction, details at

“George!  The Homeowners Association  won’t let us keep a catapult in the front yard!  I can’t believe you found it!   And you just bring it home.   You don’t ask.   You show up with a pickup drags it behind.” Irene is red with anger.

“I couldn’t get the Scorpion!  But it’s a historical artifact.   You can’t hold it against us.  We are Italian and it’s a Roman catapult.   Heritage item.  HOA rules can’t discriminate.  It’s only fair.”  George defends his purchase

“The Murphy’s are just particular.   He’s a member of the HOA.  You can’t think this week go unnoticed.” Irene is embarrassed at the thought of what they will think.

“Relax Irene.   I have to replace the basket with waxed leather.  Then it can laugh fifty pounds of tar and sawdust up to one thousand feet.   But I’ll have to play with the adjustment in tension line. It will throw a pumpkin about a third of a mile!  It so cool! You’ll love it once once working. ” George walks away
describing his vision.

“No!  It’s not staying.  You have to take it back. George! George! Do you hear me?!” She tries to make her point.

“No truck to take it back with.   I had to pay to get delivery.  We’ll see what HOA says first.” George is already going out to play with the new toy.



The head spins around.   It’s teeth chatter.  Red eyes flash. 

“Voltram says you will die!  One dollar finds out what happens between now and then!”  The voice of a skull. Eyes turn green and then blue.

“Voltram knows you want to know!”

Eric stops and looks at Debbie.  “You want to see what it says?  Voltram is awfully persistent.”

“They are a joke!  Why waste the dollar?” Debbie has little interest in these things.

Eric takes his dollar and feeds Voltram.

“Voltram thanks you. You will have three daughters with Rochelle.  Three months from now you will conceive the first one.  Voltram see all!”  Voltram lights up spins and goes dark.

“That’s my sister!  You son of a bitch you!”  Debbie cries and slaps Eric. 

Eric is stunned as Debbie leaves him at the fair.

The…..Uh, Pies


“Dude!  Not cool! Really not cool!”  Derek’s voice rings through Jeff’s hangover.

“What the Hell! I’m sleeping it off here!”  Jeff grumbles.

“The… Um…Pies.  The frickin Pies!!  You had one job paint The Spies! On the rail bridge.   How damn stupid can you be!”  Derek’s is barely audible from screaming into the phone.

“We’re all into shots over here.   A give Spunky $20 to take care if it. He said it was cool.   Any twelve year old can spell Spies!” Jeff hopes any twelve year old can.

The phone pings in his ear.  The text has a picture attached.

“That Lil shit! ” Jeff sees it. “Hey!  If there’s more people there….we change the name!”

Jeff realizes he’s taking to Noone.  Derek hung up.

Three Ships


Written as part of a challenge called Sunday Photo Fiction, details at

“I saw three ships.  They came in low.   Lights dancing.   It seemed the horizon and maybe the heat was playing tricks on my eyes.” Horace pulls off his dusty Stetson.  Squints and rubs his eyes.

“There is a while bunch of them weirdo types coming up to cover this.  You know, maybe you should get away for a day or two.” The young Deputy looks away as he talks.   He knows the look directed back at him.  

“I’m just saying.  The media and crazies are your favorite.   Your liable to shot one for asking a stupid question.” Deputy John laughs like he hopes it helps.   It never does.

“I’m telling you.   Them star shaped lights, they ain’t natural.  You see military stuff all the time too.   Shit, maybe ET is coming. Time to visit!  I just wish those God damn dash cams never came along!   Twenty years ago.  It’s a kook.  Crazy Ole bastard out in the heat too long.  Now I’m that Kook. Sheriff Kook! No less.” Horace stops when the phone rings.

The Deputy picks it up.   Producers from another New Age Show.  He knows Horace hears the whole thing.   He laughs a bit.  Then turns and walks out the small office on to the porch.

The night’s warm air stirs.   Distance stars fight with a dozen street lights for the sky.   Nothing is moving in the sky.   It settles the old sheriff’s heart.  The desert smell chases on a breeze.  A distant dog barks at a howling coyote. 

“Sir, was that the Phoenician or Martian flag on the bottom of those stars…the paper was asking?” Deputy John pokes at the old guy.  Quiet isn’t always good.

“I’ll send your ass out to talk to them tomorrow.   I decided.  Tell them son of a bitches I was abducted!  I’ll get one of the costumes from Abilene.  Your gonna talk.  I’m walking in the back door as an alien!  The son of a bitches keep playing that video over and over.   Local nut job sherif catches alien ships…Give ’em what they want. We can laugh at then too.”  Horace smiles.  A man at peace.  The alien ships were his legacy.  He’ll be damned if someone else get his goat.

Magic Bus

Photo credit : A Mixed Bag

I wait for the 52 bus.  It’s late. It’s always is.  I sit back on the bench at the stop at 43rd and Elmwood.

Four others wait with me.  We don’t talk. Strangers by choice. I suppose.  I look at the watch again.   5:44. Five minutes late.

I look at phone.  I should call, but say what the bus is late again. I need a car.
But maybe, if I ran the bus it would be better.  Yeah, I could cruise up and down the street, taking people here and there.  

Everyday, we wait.  It would be cool.  I’d have everyone rocking with tunes.  It would be the magic bus. This would work.  I wonder how much it would be.

Oh wait, it coming.  About time.

Written for a challenge called Sunday Photo Fiction,

The Cruise


“These pants don’t fit!  Evelyn, I look the a stuffed sausage!   As much as I love the cruise idea, I think I ate myself it out my wardrobe.”  Maurice looks in vain at the silvery metal of the mirror.

“Oh dear,  it’s been a hundred years since we’ve five one of these!  You have ti diet like the rest of us do.  The food is always best part.” Evelyn getting ready in the pigeon hole bathroom.

“Definitely too much Italian and Mexican.  I’m glad we’re going home now. These interior rooms are like a coffin.” He continues to try and see himself in the mirror.

“When you get home, you’ll have your own bed to sleep in.  Now, let’s go before the Sun comes up and turns us to dust.  Stop wasting your time at the mirror!  You know we can’t see ourselves anyway.”  Evelyn emerges into the room.  

When daylight comes, two have vanished.   Thirty are found drained from their trip.

Written as part of a weekly challenge. ..

Reading Tea Leaves


Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction.

“There was a silver car.   The street was wet.   Buildings dressed in red, bathed in green lights.   Your friends approached a door in purple spotlights.”  Marvin lowers his head and the voice flattens. “The vision fades.   The city is familiar to them.   But I can’t get anything else.”

Marvin hands Olivia the tattered flannel cloth.   His body lounges the arm out as if fighting the air in the room.  He sighs heavy.

“But you see them.   They were at a club. .. It was Christmas. .. There can’t be a lot of purple clubs.  Please, try again. Please, you just got to. ……. try. ..again.”  Her face looks for Marvin to sit back up.  This is the fourth try.   The pressure of reality is crashing down.   She was supposed to be there with them.

“My dear.   They were in the city you were seeking.   You know the name. You know the place.   My gazing cone can’t read your mind.”  Marvin rights himself up.   He shakes his hand to restore feeling. His eyes reach across a table for hers.  “Please, you have the answer you need.   I’m very tired.”

The Green Man


Submitted as part of Sunday Photo Fiction.

“Mama, I can always walk when I see the green man, right?!” Lori twisted her head a little to the left.  Her smile was inquisitive.

“Little one.  You only go with the green man.  You can’t cross the street without him. Why?  Are you going to town soon?”  Mama looked back did the  same little head twist at the end.  Her eyes wondering where the question came from.

“Ok, Mama.  We’re going later I think.  That’s what he told me last night.  I told him I want to get you a present.  He said if I don’t tell you first, we can’t go.  You like the store with the big red bow in it, don’t you?” Lori looks back at mom.  Her smile beams.  She is standing tall like a big girl.

Mama pauses. What does she mean by last night? 

“Well, he didn’t tell me he was going to take you.  When are you leaving? I think I should make sure he knows the right store.  There’s a lot of red bows out there!”  Mama smiles.  Uneasy, a bit.  Silly feelings swirl.  It’s nothing but the little imagination….

Lori disappears around a corner.  Ducking behind like only a small child can.  Her footfalls sound a path upstairs.  

Mama crosses the kitchen.  Her coffee grown cold.  A warm up to keep her mind clear.  She looks out a window into backyard suburbia.

A soft green glow lights up the walls.  Mama feels a chill down her spine.  Her eyes catch the color but not the source. 

“We will be safe.  Lori wants to go so bad.  I’ll keep her safe.”  The thoughts enter her mind.  She stops in mid breath.  Her body fights her trying to turn.  The mothers will wins out.  Her mind doesn’t quite do as well.

Before her a six foot glowing figure.  The green man stares through giant black eyes.  The lack of mouth didn’t seem to prevent him from talking.

“Mama, well be back in an hour.  Everything is ok!”  He responds.

“I’m ready to go.  Mama, we both are wearing green!  Bye, bye mama!”

Frozen in place.  Mama can not longer speak.  Mama can no longer breath.  Her helpless eyes watch them fade in front of her.  A little smile fades last.