Story Time Friday: Another verse novella…in progress

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I had another idea for a novel/novella/short story in verse. Last time I had one, I also posted it here. That was back in…oh, well it was almost a year ago. Last February. And if you were wondering what ever happened with that idea. Well, I didn’t work on it any more since then. But the WIP I’m sharing today has more promise. There’s more of a story behind it. Aside from me needing to research some things, because I don’t really know as much about the classics as I think everyone assumes they do, I feel like this could be a fun piece to read.

I had the idea for this, as a prose story, recently. I only put a few notes on paper and let it stew. I decided to try starting it yesterday. To make it even more challenging and fun, I decided to try it in verse. I know, I write poetry. But my narrative poetry can only go so far in the realm of telling a fictional story for any length of time. I’m combining my “strength” in poetry with my limited experience with prose. We’ll see how it ends up. I just have to keep at it and not start something else before I get there.

Note – Please keep in mind that this was written less than 24hrs ago. Also, formatting poetry on a blog is not a pleasant experience. This is mostly mentioned because of my use of indention. There shouldn’t be a new stanza created for each (only after, in most cases), but it was either that or don’t indent. I wanted to keep the indents this time, even if this is a rough piece.

Another note – From Where I Stand and Winter’s Homecoming and Other Poems on sale, still. $0.99 each, over on Amazon. I might end the sale once February gets here. I might not. It’s not really hurting me either way, I guess. Even with the lower price, sales are rare. *commentary over*
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The Characters
(work in progress…so is the title)

by Robert Zimmermann

Nothing like a zombie apocalypse
to start off the day right.

Ok, the zombie apocalypse
isn’t exactly what’s happening,
but there’s definitely some drama
going down at the bookshop today.

Is the shop infested with the
living dead?

Not exactly.

Is it an invasion of the

Kind of.

I think it’s more accurate to say
that they were never technically alive.
They can’t be any form of dead if
they never lived in the first place.

When I walked through
the bookshop doors this morning,
I was greeted by an
impressively dressed…


There are only a few of us working
in the shop, and this guy
wasn’t one of us.

“Welcome to <insert name later>,
sir,” he said to me.
“My name is Jeeves.”

At first I laughed.

One of the other workers must
have hired this guy to perform
as a prank.

”Nice to meet you, Jeeves.
What an original name you have.”

All the amusement of the moment disappeared
as an arrow whizzed by, millimeters away from
piercing my nose.

I dropped to the floor,
but not before seeing a green blur
ducking behind the register.

”What the hell is going on?”
I screeched at the man calling himself Jeeves.

”What’s wrong, sir?
Did Mr. Hood’s arrow graze you?
I’ve never known his aim to be
anything but true. I assure you
he never meant to harm you.”

“Mr. Hood? As in Robin…
Robin Hood?”
I was still on the floor,
trembling now.

A second later, the green blur jump
from its place of hiding and stood before me.
“Robin Hood, at your service!”

I slowly lifted my head, peering up at him.
His hand was extended toward me, possibly
in a friendly manner, but I wasn’t waiting
to see what he intended.
I shot up off the floor, like the arrow that almost
killed me, and ran out of the store.
I didn’t look back.

Only after reaching the sidewalk did I realize
that a crowd had gathered.
It seemed as if half the town had shown,
to gawk at me.
I really must be the victim of a practical joke
gone wrong. Very wrong.

Still shaking and confused, I pushed through
the crowd, walking away to collect myself.
After reaching the next block, I tentatively looked back.
To my surprise the gathered crowd wasn’t staring
in my direction any longer.
Their eyes had been glued to the shop windows
all along. This wasn’t a practical joke, after all.

I had a bone chilling realization, then.
Those two characters,

Robin Hood,

They were…real.
So were the rest. There must have been over
a dozen more eccentric characters in the store.
I saw each one moving around in there, as I made
my way back through the people.

Jeeves. Robin Hood. Characters.



It was then that I fainted.
Right on my own store’s steps.
And it wouldn’t be the first time I fainted that day.

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How to Submit:

For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in 😛 ): Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!


Novels in Verse

I can’t remember if I’ve brought this to the blog in the past or not, so I’m going to assume it was just on Facebook and/or Twitter. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about VERSE NOVELS!

What’s a verse novel? Maybe you know them as “novels in verse”. There are a few terms to use, but they all boil down to one obvious thing: They are novels written in verse (poetry) instead of prose (what everything else is written in).

Why do I enjoy them so much? That should be somewhat obvious. I’m a poet. I enjoy poetry. And you also know I enjoy novels in general. Once I discovered the magic of joining the two forms, I was hooked.

I first read a verse novel back in grade school. It was Karen Hesse’s OUT OF THE DUST. I remember talking about the fact that it’s written in blank verse, but that fact dissolved in my memory shortly after. I remember enjoying the story, but that was all. That is, until I rediscovered the form a few years back in Sonya Sones’ writing. I found out about her book WHAT MY MOTHER DOESN’T KNOW. I read it. Enjoyed it. Got hooked. I’ve since read all of her books (except one, because I don’t want to be without more of Sones to read) and from there, branches out into other authors work.

I have to admit that I’ve stuck mostly to Young Adult verse novels. It’s not completely by choice, though, partly it is. There seems to be a larger amount of verse novels for YA readers out there, compared to those for “adult” readers. I also think it’s a marketing thing because I’ve discovered a few adult titles are marketed as being poetry, but lacking take about the story aspect. Probably a few reasons for this, but I won’t speculate here. But back to my mention of YA novels. I think most of my recent YA reading has actually been done with verse novels. YA is already a pretty accessible type of book for anyone to get into, but adding in the verse form makes it even more so. And not in a bad way. I think it makes them “easier” to read while opening the story up to having a deeper message, emotional response, etc. Verse forces the author to be limited in word choice (in most cases), and I feel this makes every word used count that much more. The books may be fast reads, but I feel that I’ve gotten more out of them at times than prose novels because of the lack of words and focus on what really needs to be said.

On a less critical, and more fun note, I also like when authors play with the visual form in their verse novels. One author who does this in many different ways in all her novels is Ellen Hopkins. Her text isn’t restricted to the left side of the page. It’ll jump to the right, middle, and everywhere in between. The text placement lends to the reading of the lines and what’s being conveyed. Some of the connection between text and text placement can go over my head, even, but I don’t think her books would be as powerful if they were all left-aligned. That works for other authors, and there’s nothing wrong with that either. But at times, poetry needs to push itself across a page, be different, and stand out.

I hope I’m not alone in my love of verse novels. I do know a few of my readers have experience with them. Maybe some of you haven’t explored that part of the book world yet. I’m here to help. I’d like to close this post out with a list of verse novels I’ve enjoyed. Some of them are as recent as this week…and I’m planning on grabbing a few more from the library soon. They’re addicting!

#NewRelease: Stake-Out, by @LilyLuchesi

Lily Luchesi has released her debut novel! You all know Lily from her posts in Story Time Friday and some of my poetry events in the past. Today, you have the opportunity to read her first novel, Stake-Out.

I hope you’ll all check out this book, and go back to read her poetry, as well. It’s pretty good stuff.

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Detective Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn’t even human: he’s a 200 year old rogue vampire!

The department doesn’t believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral.

Two years later, Danny gets an invitation from the beautiful, young and very attractive Detective Angelica Cross to join a secret branch of the FBI to help her track down Vincent, the wayward vamp.

But renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny’s strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be

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Would you like to grab a copy of Lily Luchesi’s debut? You can find it from:


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About the Author:

Lily Luchesi is an aspiring, young author/poet born in Chicago, Illinois, now residing in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle by the time she was twelve, and, as her family has always been what they now call “Gothic”, she doesn’t believe she shall ever change. She is also a hopeless romantic and avid music-lover, and will always associate vampires with love, blood and rock and roll. Her interest in poetry came around the same time as when she was given a book of Edgar Allan Poe’s complete work. She then realized that she had been writing her own poetry since she could hold a pen, and just had not known the correct terms. She finished her first manuscript at the age of fourteen, and now, at twenty-one, has two contributing credits in anthologies (listed below) and her debut novel, “Stake-Out”, will be published by Vamptasy Publishing on May 19, 2015.

Find out more:

Story Time Friday: Revisiting a Restless Storm for #NationalPoetryMonth

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fancy lineresizeSome of you may remember this story. It’s been posted on the blog for a long time, but I don’t think I brought much attention to it (like most of my prose that I’ve shared). I wrote it in my second year of college, if I remember correctly, and it was just a random thing to fill an assignment in a Lit class. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I know that it needs to have a face lift and maybe some other major work done, but maybe it has potential.

I decided to let my readers revisit this story because I’ve been posting a lot of poetry for my Story Time Friday posts, but not so much “story” as I’d like. April is National Poetry Month. While I’ve challenged you all to read more poetry (click here to see challenge), I’m giving you a story with a poem inside of it. Does that sound good? Mixing things up, and maybe some feedback from everyone can get the rewriting process started on this thing.

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Restless Storm

by Robert Zimmermann

Drip. Drip. Drip. Drip. Boom!

“Why won’t that dripping stop?”

Drip. Drip. Boom! Drip. Drip. Boom!

“Damn it, why does there have to be a storm tonight?”

She lay in her bed, alone, as she had done every night since he left. She couldn’t sleep, as usual. The nights when sleep did happen to come, it wasn’t too great of a payoff for her. Those nights were filled with tossing and turning, screaming and fighting. Pillows and sheets were thrown every which way. When sleep did come upon her, restless nightmares often clouded her mind. On this night, though, the sandman wasn’t in her room.

The following day started out with a fine morning. The sun was shining and a cool breeze gave a hint at what the next season had in store. Becky set out to enjoy this day.

The young mother, pushing her child in a stroller, took a walk to the nearby park. There, in the shade of her favorite willow tree, she took out a collection of poems from her bag. Aloud she read her favorite poem to her daughter:

Turn Around
The first light of morning
Gave much joy and love.
The womb of my beloved,
On this day,
Brought forth a child.
A goddess, born of man and woman,
I hold here in my arms.
For what deed does this blessing come?
I am merely a man, only me.
This child, I hold, must be a sign,
My Epiphany.
Dear Epifiny, my child,
I hence forth shall work,
Work to deserve you.
I love thee.

This selection was written just a few months before. He had written it; the one she loves the most in the world. The man who left too early in Epifiny’s life for her to know. Luke had to leave. His heart yearned to stay. His heart, the only thing, he left them.  The rest of him was shipped off.  There was no way to avoid the terrible journey he was forced to endure.

Becky looked at her daughter’s eyes. They reminded her of the girl’s father. Her child was still laughing at the strange sounds she heard when her mother read the poem. The good part of her day was over. Tears streamed down Becky’s face.  They flowed down her cheeks and into crevasses not meant for a face so young. This, then, caused Epifiny to stop her laughing and to start crying. Endless heart tearing screams of pain came out of the depths of the little girl. Epifiny seemed to sense the loss lining her mother’s voice.

“When will my husband be back?” She asked herself aloud, “They said it’d be a while, but how much longer can we stand this?”

In her soul, deep in the depths of her heart, in the place where feelings truly are felt, she knew the answer.  he knew that she would wait until the end of time to see him again, even if that meant waiting until Armageddon for his return.  She knew that true love knows no time. It only knows the periods of time from when you first see that special person to the time when that person is not there, and it even continues on past that.

Becky decided it was too much for her to be in this place for any longer. It was under the shade of the very tree which she sat under that Becky and Luke had shared many nights. In front of her laid the field where they had watched the stars many of those nights. On those nights the grass wouldn’t have been green the way it was this day. The lights from the night sky, be it the stars or the moon, would cast an otherworldly silver over the field. It was on this grass, bathed in silver light, that they used to wonder when they’d be free from the problems of the world. They spent many nights wondering when they’d be part of the stars’ canopy together. This they never spoke to one another, but the issue arose in both of their minds the nights before Luke was sent off. Her nights with Luke are just memories, now, not reality. No more nights together, no more stars, no more anything….only the love they share is present. This will always be evident.

Becky reached her house late in the after noon. She was too upset to even walk the same streets she had with Luke. Because she decided to take the long way around town she it was later in the day than she had planned. She went inside the house, fed Epifiny, and then put her down for a nap. Afterward, Becky went into the bedroom were she laid down in the darkness sobbing herself into a dreary sleep. The sleep she fell under wasn’t really sleep, but wasn’t really being awake either. Insomnia is often like that. She was stuck in between two states of consciousness where the real world is like a dream and dreams are like the real world, or they seem at least much more real than the dreamer wishes them to seem.

She heard another storm coming near. The tears, or the rains, fell. In her mind they were the same. She was one with the storm, but hated the very thought of it being so. It teared and teared, causing her to scream out his name.


She snapped out of her dreamlike state to the sound of Epifiny crying in her crib. When she headed to soothe her child the past flashed through her mind.

Why’d they have to take him? This war isn’t our war, not for us to fight. We are just two kids in love. Damn them. Why’d they need to send him off to that hell?

When she entered the child’s room her thoughts calmed down from the rage she had just let out. Looking upon Epifiny, she smiled.

“It’s alright my sweet Epifiny. There’s nothing to hurt you now. Sleep my baby.” Becky sat in a chair rocking softly to the rhythm of a lullaby she often sang to her child. “I’m here now. Nothing can hurt you, nothing…”

In mid sentence Becky stopped. She was halted by the sound of knocking on the front door. It was hard to hear over the storm outside. Thunder was crashing and the rain was drumming on the roof. She realized that these noises weren’t just part of her imagination.

But this knocking can’t be real. Not at this time of night.

When she walked to the front door questioning the call from outside, she noticed that it is only 5:30 in the afternoon. A slight sense of relief washed over her.

“Sue is that you?” She called out to the door as she approached.

Sue was one of the few friends Becky still talked in these days. She came by every now and then to check up on Becky. Maybe she felt that Becky would need some help with Epifiny during the raging storm.

“Sue, give me a second. I’ll be right there.” She checked herself in the mirror trying to hide her tear-stained appearance. The knocking continued some more times.

“Alright, alright I’m coming”

Becky opened the door with a smile. There was nothing to smile at. Only a stormy scene over the houses across the street was in view. She stood getting attacked by the wind in wonder, thinking that maybe she was going crazy. Just as she was about to turn back inside against the rains she heard a car coming up the street. It was a black car. On its side door was a symbol of some agency. Becky couldn’t see it clearly.  It was hard to distinguish in the dreary weather. It came to a rest across the street from Becky’s house. As it stopped so did Becky’s heart.

Two uniformed men stepped out of the car and began the walk across the street. Before they even stepped onto the walkway leading up to where she stood, Becky knew what had happen.

“WHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYY?” she cried out, as she dropped to her knees at the edge of the porch.

It was there that she stayed even as the men approached her. What they said was a mumbled sound to her. Maybe it was drowned out by the sounds of the storm. Maybe it was her sobbing. Either way to her it was an insignificant speech she had no wish to hear or remember. She felt the same about the letter they placed beside her as they turned sharply and walked away. They walked back to their car as if there were no winds or rains, got in, and drove off. Every movement they made was mechanical in nature as if oblivious to what they had delivered.

Becky still knelt on the porch, her face in her hands, doubled over in agony. The envelope containing the letter lay beside her still, as well. It bore the insignia of an eagle. That was all that was still decipherable of its symbol as the rain washed away the ink that had once meant something to people.

Becky was unconcerned as the letter was swept away. Off the porch it flew and drifted down the street into a stream of runoff water and down a storm drain where it was lost forever. Maybe the letter found its way to the ocean as a final resting place. She didn’t care. She knew what it said. She knew that Luke, Epifiny’s father and her husband, was dead.

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How to Submit:

For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip one in 😛 ): Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

Story Time Friday – Work in Progverse.

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Last week, you got a story from me. Before that some poetry. I like to keep things fresh on Story Time Friday, and that’s what I’m doing for this week’s post.

This wasn’t the best week for me to sit down and write. I’ve been shoveling snow since Monday and by the time I’ve finished each day, I barely even wanted to read. That means, I’m typing this up on Thursday night and don’t have anything new to share…or do I?

You’re getting a treat this time around. Months ago I had the idea to try out a verse novel, or more accurately “write something in verse and see how long it gets.” I have some ideas for a piece, and it could easily get to verse novel length. Getting it to be a good one that people’ll want to read is a different story. I can write poetry. I can somewhat write prose. Combining the two isn’t very easy. But I’ll practice at it.

Below are the first four “poems” I wrote for a project I’m slowly working on. It’s not really polished up, and I had to fudge with some of my formatting due to HTML and poetry not mixing all the time (the indents shouldn’t be their own stanzas, so imagine they’re not…especially in the second poem. I hate how that looks right now. For anyone who knows me well, I hate when poetry isn’t how it was intended to look, haha.)

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Great Devastation (working title)

by Robert Zimmermann

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It was all over the television
that morning.



That’s what it really
boiled down to;
a Revolution.

They’d, we’d,
finally had enough.

No more talking about
reform and restructuring.
No more waiting for
an economic boom.
No more false smiles
…no more.


New York


Los Angeles



all lost.

Their attacks came fast,
coordinated, full-frontal.
What surprised people most
was how effective each assault was.

Military bases breached first.
…most from the inside.
That’s how deep the revolution
had infiltrated. Into the
country’s defenses.
Into its own people.

Armed to the teeth, this new
militia took up a march.
To the cities, capitals,
against any opposition.
Numbers were gained
just as fast as they were
mowed down.

The fighting went on for months.
Soon the devastation
was everywhere.

There was nowhere to be safe
and not one life would ever be
the same again.


There were only two options
to choose from, at this point,
in order to survive.
You either went into hiding
or you chose to fight.
Neither guaranteed survival.

Those who tried to hide
were eventually found,
forced to choose a side.
Some perished
in their concealment.

Those who joined the fight,
well, their fates were
just as unpredictable as
everyone else’s.


I’m with a small group
somewhere in northern Pennsylvania
or it might be somewhere in New York.
None of us has a map
of the area. All we know is
that we’ve been traveling north,
for about two weeks.

There’s been talk about a small colony
being formed near an old military base
near Canada…or what was once Canada.
Shit went to hell up there, too,
a few months after it did here.

There are about twenty of us,
Some have left, while others
tag along on the way
as we pass through skeletons of towns.
I might be the one to break
away next.
I’m not sure why I’ve followed
this far. Is there any
real chance they’ve
organized that far north…
after the brutal winter we just had?

Can there be a place organized
anywhere, after what’s happened?

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For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip on in 😛 ): Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

Story Time Friday – One Man’s Trash, a story

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For this week’s Story Time Friday, I’m back! This time with a story instead of poetry. It’s been awhile since I first shared some prose of my own on STF, so I hope this one’s to your liking. I had a little help from Ben Ditmars to get started. He gave me a few ideas, and I combine them into what you see below. I wonder if he imagined the story going in this direction from his prompts. We’ll see soon enough.

Go forth, and enjoy the story. And as always, please consider taking part in STF by submitting your own work. More details on that at the end of the post.

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Another Man’s Treasure

by Robert Zimmermann

It’s funny the things you find walking down a city street.

Once I found a fifty dollar bill. I saved that one from going down a storm drain, then treated myself to a nice lunch, and then dinner. Another time, there was a forgotten book left on a bench. After I took it home that night and started reading it, I realized why it was left behind. I think they made it into a movie soon after that. One of those that the teenagers go crazy over.

There’s one treasure of the street that stands out from the rest. In all my years of wandering the city, among so many of its busy bees, flowing along in the sidewalks current, there’s one I’ll never forget.

It was a day like any other. A little overcast. Maybe a little rain in the afternoon. That’s why I was walking with my umbrella. I don’t care much for getting wet. It was just another day that I found another forgotten artifact of the city, or so I thought.

Anyway, after walking a few blocks from the place I was staying at, I sat down on a bench to take in the morning commuters. This was when I realized that a napkin was stuck on the end of my umbrella. Using it as a cane seems to attract this sort of thing. It was probably the third time I had to remove trash from the thing that morning. Trash cabs at every corner don’t seem convenient enough for most people.

As I was about to drop the napkin in one of those nearby trash cans, I noticed writing on it. It said Fountain of Youth… The rest was a little smudged with dirt, but at the time, I thought it said Hudson something or other. It had to be Hudson River. It only made sense with the city’s proximity to that famous river.

So what did I do next? What else was I supposed to do? It’s not like I had anything better to do with my time that day.

A few minutes later I was at the end of a pier, staring into the clear blue waters of the Hudson. Okay, okay. They weren’t clear and they sure as hell weren’t blue. It didn’t matter though. I’d bathed in worse, and after I dove in, I’d be eternally young. A little dirty water was of no consequence. not sure why no one else had done this yet. Seemed legit. Oh, I guess that whole pollution thing could be a deterrent. But as I said, I’ve bathed in worse…I think.

At least I thought…that is until I was climbing back onto the pier soaking wet. I wasn’t that happy being wet, but at least I would be young forever from then on. Again…or so I thought.

Well, it was on that day that I stopped being so quick to assume that I knew what was what. It was also that day that I stopped believing what was written on discarded napkins.

One good thing came from that plunge into the river. You know that strange phenomenon the news is always going on and on about the last few years? Ghosts stopping purse snatchers? Bank robbers thwarted by invisible lasso-wielding hands? Yea, that’s me.

The river didn’t give me eternal youth after all. Whatever crap was in the water did change me though. It turned me invisible. It also messed with my vocal cords for some reason. That’s where my trademark whisper in the ear comes from. I can’t be heard any other way.

I feel my hero days are coming to an end now. I’m too old for this job. Running around saving people (without them eve knowing it sometimes) isn’t good for the body. Don’t let the superhero movies fool you. We don’t always bounce back from the occasional fall or wild swing of a bat.

I spend most of my days sitting on my favorite bench now. Observing the passersby, silently, invisibly.

Just today, as I was enjoying a cool summer breeze, I was smacked in the face by a piece of paper. It seems that people still dislike trash cans.

As I pulled it off my face I saw Fountain of Youth. Hudson Bay. (Bay underlined three times) written on one side. I wasn’t going to fall for that one again, so I dropped it in the trash can.

Wait a minute. The Hudson Bay is in Canada, and that guy with the claws is from Canada…I’ve never seen him age before. Do I even have a passport?

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For those who wish to be part of Story Time Friday in the near future, you can send submissions to the email address that I formerly used for review requests (but don’t anymore since I’m retired . . . don’t try to be clever and slip on in 😛 ): Be sure to use the subject “Story Time Friday Submission” and send your piece as an attachment (.doc/.docx would be best). Any other questions, feel free to comment here or contact me through the blog’s contact form.

Hope to hear from some writers soon!

A Grandpa’s Tale, a dusted off #shortstory

Since National Poetry Month kind of died out on the blog about halfway through, and I didn’t wrote much (if any) poetry…you deserve a treat if you’ve been wanting something to read.

I went into my documents and found a story I was semi-proud of and dusted it off. This story has taken MANY different forms since I first wrote it. In the end, I made it simpler during a writing course because there was a more bizarre version before this, one that needed a lot more work than I had time for. I just went through and did a quick edit of the “final version” that was handed in for the course. I still think it needs work, especially since it’s about 99.9% dialogue and could probably use a bit more than just dialogue, even if it’s just a few dialogue tags.

I hope you enjoy this short piece, even if I feel it’s not complete. Feel free to comment with any feedback. As you know, I’m not much of a prose writer, so I’m always open to how I can work on it.

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A Grandpa’s Tale

Life can’t get better than this, can it?, I thought to myself. I was lying on the bottom of a rowboat in the waters of a hidden lake. It was one of those lakes deeply secluded in a forest on a mountaintop. All around me, I could feel the heartbeat of the early morning as it was awakening. Birds were chirping. I could hear squirrels making their way through the trees on their rounds, doing what squirrels do in trees.

“I thought this could be the best morning of my life. It was so beautiful with the sun rising in through the trees. As the forest was awakening and starting its day, I felt the need to start mine, as well. Reaching over to take my breakfast from my knapsack I saw a thing almost too out of the ordinary to tell to you, my boy.”

“Grandpa come on, tell me. I can handle it.”

“No, no, I don’t think your mom would approve. This slimy thing, it was too slimy to talk about.”

“But Grandpa, I’m almost nine. I can handle anything, I’m practically a man.”

“A man? You don’t say? I guess you really are growing up. You know, I told this story to your mom when she was about your age. She had nightmares for weeks. Are you sure you can handle it?”

“Who do you think I am, Grandpa? Mom’s even scared of spiders. I’m not scared of nothing. I won’t be afraid.”

“Very well, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. You’re mom thought she was tough enough at your age, too.

“Where was I again? Ah, I remember. So, I was there in my rowboat. At this point I was sitting up like a…like a…well I was sitting up at this point and all I could do was watch as the slimiest, bluest, greenest, bumpiest tentacle I’ve ever seen…well, it was stealing and my knapsack with all my things in it. My breakfast was in there. I was frozen to in my place.”

“What’d you do next Grandpa? Did you beat it with your oars like when that shark attacked you? I bet you did. Do you have it stuffed somewhere in the basement?”

“No, no, I didn’t, son. I couldn’t. I was at a loss for what to do. I could have taken up my oar and gotten my stuff back, but when I looked around the tentacle and my knapsack were both gone. The trees and water and even the animals were all gone. The sun was the only thing left that was familiar to me.”

“They just left? No way. Those things can’t just disappear.”

“They can if you have been to the places I’ve seen. I gather I must have stumbled upon an enchanted lake and something didn’t want me to be there anymore.”

“Then where were you? If there was no water or trees where’d you go?”

“Timmy, I was transported to the middle of a desert. This must not have been an ordinary desert, either, because once I got out of the boat things changed, again. The ground was made up of hard packed sand, baking in the sun, but the air was so cold. I could see my breath.

“With nothing in sight and none of my belonging left behind, I decided to leave my rowboat behind and try to find my way back to the world I knew.”

“How’d you know where to walk? You were in the middle of a desert.”

“You are a smart little boy, aren’t you? I didn’t know where I was headed, just so you know. All I knew was that when I found the lake, I was heading west. I decided to head in the opposite direction, hoping that this desert was in the same place the lake was. So I went against the sun’s path to the east. I needed to decide fast or I might have frozen to death, even with my feet warmed by the sand.”

“What happened next? Did you find your way out of the desert, Grandpa?”

“Well how do you think I’m here to tell you this story?” The old man was pleased with the boy’s reaction. Timmy seemed to remind him of how we was in his earlier years.

“Wow Grandpa, you have been on the best adventures. I want to go with you when I grow up.”

“I think my days of taking exotic trips are over. But you can have your own when you get a little older Timmy, I promise.”

Timmy’s mother was standing against the doorjamb for the whole story. She had heard these tales many times over the years. She just stood there smiling at her son’s enthusiasm. Despite her enjoyment of the stories, she never believed them to be real. She always had questions for her dad when he told his tales, and she was always left feeling like something was off, especially as she grew older.

What she and Timmy weren’t told is that instead of looking for a way out, the old man followed a faint trail leading deeper into the desert. In the end, Timmy’s grandpa did get his knapsack and breakfast back. He still has the sack in a chest in the basement of his house, though the slime from the tentacle never fully washed off. He also has what was inside that sack. His wife wore it on her finger for 40 years, and Timmy’s mother wears it on a chain to this day. He never told them this part of the story. He felt it was too much of a stretch for them to believe, but one day they’ll understand.