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Archive for the category “Short Story”

Fingers of Fury

Smoke emits from my keyboard. My finger tips glow like irons in a fire. Words race across the page.

What’s that I’m doing? Oh, just writing about a million articles for contests. Nothing to see here….unless you enjoy hand injuries. Today I’ve been researching writing contests in an attempt to submit articles as a supplementary source of income. Unfortunately, there are hundreds of these and while I may be able to submit duplicate articles to some, others require very specific subject matter and length.

On top of that, there are fees for entering certain contests, and admittedly rewards. The fees really add up. I wasn’t thinking when I put a $15 entry here, a $20 entry there, but now I’m somewhere in the 300s (if I complete all of them…which I won’t). If I fail at my objective, I’m not only getting rejected, but I’m losing all my entry fees as well.

To be honest, I’m only dramatizing it. I will only submit to a handful of them because I have limited funding. I’ll probably end up spending 50-100 dollars in the next two months. If I win a single contest I could recoup all my losses. However, if I lose all of them (which is more likely as this is my first attempt at competition writing), I will be even broker than before.

The good news is that I’ll get to read lots of, hopefully, creative rejection letters.

“Dear Sir or Madam,

We regret to inform you that while you think your story worthy of publication, we do not.

Regretfully(for having read your entry)

Evil Corp”

Confidence Kenneth! Confidence! I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh darn it…PEOPLE LIKE ME!!!


New Literary Worx Post

Please forgive me for this post. Today my mind feels stuck and overworked. This birthed itself as a result:

Ravenous Stagnation

New Literary Worx Post

I’m locked up, they won’t let me out. Nooooo, they won’t let me out.

Concrete and Razor Wire

New Literary Worx Post

I finished playing my league game tonight so I was inspired to write something about my favorite hobby(although the story probably isn’t what you think):

The Game of 8-Ball

New Literary Worx Post

…this one is sort of….out there…

It shouldn’t surprise some of you, but this isn’t my normal writing. I felt like being a little comical and weird at the same time.

Super Denny

New Literary Worx Post

Bringing it to you space style…

The Encounter

New Literary Worx Post

Read it, feel it, let it feel you. Well, maybe not that last one. That’s just kind of creepy.

Cops and Robbers

New Literary Worx Post

I posted a new short story which you can find here:

The Monastery

I must admit, it’s not my greatest work, but I stuck to my goal of writing a short story despite lack of ambition. It’s not bad either though. It lacks emotion, but makes up for it in simpleness.



Hello From Veracruz

Sun light hit each glass, illuminating them to show various shades depending on what each one held. Cars sputtered by noisily with the faint murmur of their rubber wheels underway. A woman at the back sat alone, reading a newspaper and squinting as each word phased into view. The patio had many patrons, but the most noted were the businessmen who expediently drank their magenta wine and rambled on, combatant, about politics and finance. Their neatly pressed shirts hid beneath clean and de-frayed suits. They seemed a sea of grey among the greens and tans of the patio atmosphere.

Clattering of plates and glasses clinked and clanged as busboys scurried like angered ants to clear vacant tables. They wore black attire with red aprons bound about their waist, a trademark of their profession and closely resembling the abstractness of a bullfighter. Most of them were dark-skinned indios, the true working class of the Mexican states. Their hands rough and nimble, eyes always lowered and constantly shifting.

From the interior of the café, constant whispering and chatter carried as it often does in small spaces. The fans above wafted cool air down and escalated the warm, dry air upward.  A soft hum emitted from their motors, hardly audible to anyone except the hostess, to whom it was a constant complaint. “These fans are too noisy, we must buy new ones”, she would remark, her brown eyes intense and devout. The manager ignored her request, but always politely listened and nodded approvingly.

Francisco was a good manager. He never worked the staff beyond their ability and gave them most holidays, when he could. Often times he would even take the half-empty, forgotten bottles from tables and ferry them to the back to share. His battle with alcohol was a fierce one. In truth, it was the half-empty bottles that got him through the day, until he got home and quietly meandered to his balcony. Dressed in only his undershirt and boxers, he would watch the sun fall below the rooftops with brilliant oranges and pinks and sip bacanora until his eyes refused to open. There he rested for the night, bottle emptied and head slumped in snoring approval.  Once, Francisco had a wife that lived with him, but she had gone long ago after his ambition ran dry and their childless marriage grew unbearable.  Lolita was pretty, young, and full of life. She loved to dance into the night, when Francisco’s feet could no longer keep pace. Her smile was the envy of all the women and the light in her eyes once filled Francisco’s heart with joy. In the end, her smile faded and the light dimmed ever so slightly, replaced by disdain.

During the daytime, the business men came in droves, followed by similar company but at night, they walked in with young women draped around their arms. Their high pitched giggles could be heard from down the street and would attract the admiration of the young street-urchins who played guitar for tourists or anyone who would lend their ear and sympathy.  Benny, or Benito as his mother called him, was a virile young buck. Bravery and boldness suited him well, but scorn often veiled them both. He would posture up on the wall across from the café every evening and play Son Huasteco from his native land. His fingers would pluck out the parts that were normally reserved for the fiddle.  The strings resonated harmoniously as Benny’s slender fingers strummed and brushed against the creamy wood grain of the ancient guitar. Four years ago he traveled from Zacatecas to Veracruz in search of money and escaping a prison of farming, which his father wished to force upon him. Then, only sixteen, he traveled on poultry trucks and buses until he reached his destination. Veracruz was meant to be his salvation, but it proved to be only a stumbling block as unemployment was rampant and his lack of experience forced him to do the only thing he knew; play music.

The state of Veracruz was full of tourists, its many shoreline hotels hosting various travelers, whom Benny relied on for his meals. Night life was glamorous and lights from the cities sparkled in the darkness like prosthetic stars. The Pico De Orizaba rose above the foliage below and wore a cap of white snow year round. It was the tallest mountain in all of Mexico and many travelers ventured to its peak, hoping to get a rare glimpse of the stratovolcano’s activity. At its summit sprang forth numerous rivers and tributaries which also attracted gawkers and acted as a route for merchants to pedal their wares. The boats, seemingly barely afloat, were loaded with trinkets, meats, and colorful knick-knacks that piled upon the floor and hung from loosely braided ropes. Vultures of commerce would paddle up to potential buyers, yelling out their stock and showing them off as if they were trophies. It was not uncommon to see a merchant who had lost his paddle using a shoe or a piece of broken driftwood to navigate the channels.  Sometimes, they would spot prey at the same time and it was a race to get there first. The loser would turn his boat around, looking on sadly, and the winner would shout joyfully as he, no doubt, sold recycled items at inflated prices.

Francisco took the position at the café because it was one of historical importance. Once, Manuel Avila Camacho had sat at a table on the patio and declared war on the Axis powers after German submarines sunk oil boats off of the coast. He would frequent that spot long after his presidency and became a local attraction. Francisco was too young to have seen President Camacho, but his grandfather would tell him about, as a young man, sitting on the floor near his table and listening to the stories of his time in the military. At times, Francisco imagined the president sitting out on the patio, cigar in one hand, brandy in the other, staring off into the distance at the great country he had helped build. There were problems, of course, but the difference from before the revolution was institutionalized was great.

Benny now sat with his hands folded over his guitar, hat lowered to cover his eyes from the menacing sun. In a few hours his guitar would sing for the citizens of wealth, but now was a time of rest. Looking across, he spotted Francisco, whose name was unknown to him, helping a busboy carry a large tub of dishes. He also noticed a man cleaning his suit with a napkin and looking upward in disgust. Perched safely above was a seagull, resting on the trellis, sun-bathing and not seeming to notice the angered businessman below.  A few seconds later, a car pulled up and a young woman stepped out onto the curb from a taxi. A man of about the same age held the door open and escorted her into the café. The woman wore a pale yellow dress that clung tightly to her form and contrasted against the long black hair that hung strait down her back. Benny couldn’t see her face, but if the rest of her was any indication, she must be of some remarkable beauty. He watched as the man held the door to the café and Rose, the hostess, greeted them warmly then proceeded to show them outside to the patio. Seated at a table, Benny finally glimpsed her beauty. It was even more than he had imagined. Each feature was carefully carved out of marble, the color added from the flowers of the Earth, and her eyes stolen from the heavens. With this, Benny was inspired. He sat up a little and began to move his fingers over his guitar strings, his voice carrying just enough so that the woman could make out the sound, but not every word. She and her mate looked over admiringly to Benny, not realizing the reason behind his singing, and then quickly glanced back toward each other.

The night approached and a soft wind arose from the west. The air was still filled with heat, but the wind helped it to migrate so that it felt more pleasant. Benny was still singing, his hat filled with assorted pesos and dollars. The patio now buzzed with patrons, all rejoicing merrily and toasting to the day. Francisco was in the kitchen talking to the few cooks and Rose stood guard at the front door, ushering in guests patiently as more room appeared. Busboys worked like rats in a maze, weaving in and out of the crowd, taking glasses here, filling glasses there. Fans whirled repetitively above. In the background the city lights gleamed and twinkled, illuminating streets and buildings that stood as watchers of a great festival. Pico De Orizaba loomed in the distance. Quietly, the silhouette spread its vast rocky embattlements and guarded the inhabitants below. All was well in Veracruz tonight.

The Heart’s Betrayal

The rough canvas green brushed across his shoulder as he placed the bag on the ground. Inside, a month’s worth of clothes, filled with the stagnant stench of stale air, slumped over slightly. Submarines were known for the pungent odor that seemed to seep into every pore and protrude within a radius of your body. Normally they just referred to it as “the boat smell”.

Henry’s hand raised to knock on the door and, at the same time, he was noticing the subtle changes that had taken place during his absence. A few new wilted flowers lay in the garden bed and ruddy brown drapes adorned the small window. He’d never known Krista to like gardening, or home decor for that matter.

“Knock, Knock”, reported the heavy and tense hand upon the pressed wood.

Henry didn’t know what to expect: a long kiss, a joyous sob, perhaps even savage and passionate love-making. When the door creaked slowly open, he knew. Her eyes told it all. They peered at him with cold, blue somberness.

“I’m back.”, he greeted in an apprehensive tone.

A slight smile cut across the corner of Krista’s mouth, but her eyes gave no ground. They stood defiant to her joy and indignant to his happiness, which was slowly fading.

“We got in an hour ago, but I had to listen to the chief and his usual bullshit. I missed you.”, he persisted.

“We have to talk.”, her pale pink lips finally responded.

A kiss, a hug, hell even a slap would have been gladly accepted. But this, this open-ended statement stirred his stomach and stood the hairs of his neck on end.

Sitting at the dusty imitation wood table, his fingers nervously rapped. He knew the next few sentences would be paramount, but his gaze couldn’t be broken from the slurry of coffee in front of him. Maybe he could prolong whatever this was if he stared long enough. Perhaps he would stare into eternity, his body becoming petrified and the world around him immortalizing his statuesque form in forgetful decency.

“I missed you, I really did…”, she said,”…but I don’t think I can do this anymore. I’ll spend half my life waiting on you. It’s just not fair for you to ask me to do this and it’s not fair for me to do this to you.”

Her words resounded with the hopelessness of her eyes. The tone betrayed her message leaving no doubt that her heart had long sailed away, perhaps to another shore. Henry sat for a moment, trying to grasp everything. He tried to think of a response good enough that it would right the world; take this unfortunate reality and revert it back to an earlier time.

“You knew what it was going to be like in the beginning. I told you that I would have to be away for now. If you can only wait four more years until my enlistment is up, we’ll have all the time in the world.”, he pleaded.

“I can’t wait, that’s just it…”, she paused, “…and I found someone who I don’t have to wait for.”

A ripping chasm cut right through the pulsing life-force that was his heart. His stomach sank as if filled with the weight of the world. At that moment, the room started to spin and Henry started to petition for understanding, beg for mercy. But then his thoughts turned and faced reality, bringing about a new depth of change. His anger channeled down to his fists, the heat and sweat mingling in symphonic rage.

“You fucking whore! I knew I should never have married you. Why the hell would you do this to me? I gave you everything I had. Now, you can’t even wait seventy-six days and you spread your legs for the first guy that comes along! You are a piece of shit!”, his voice strenuously rebelled against the air that limited his lungs. On impulse, Henry picked up the coffee cup and hurled it into the air, hitting the counter top with such ferocity that ceramic shards scattered in all directions. The hot, muddy liquid splattered, reminiscent of blood stains at a murder scene.

“That’s not fair. I know you’re mad, but you have no right…”

“I have no right!? I have every right! You are my fucking wife!”, he protested vehemently.

Krista started to protest, but her shame and cowardice shown through like bright rays that break free of hazy clouds. Instead, her head dropped quickly and she started sobbing. Tears rolled down her freckled cheeks, falling fatally and wetting the denim below.

“What are you crying about? I didn’t cheat on you.”, he remarked coolly.

Her head did not lift, nor did her sobs cease. She only sat there, in a pathetic state, unable to form a sentence.

Rising from the chair, Henry grabbed the canvas bag and slung it over his shoulder. His eyes glanced around quickly for something to salvage: pictures, electronics, furniture? Then he saw it, the barren smooth steel jutting out from its place of refuge. The knife set had been a wedding present from his mother to the couple. She didn’t have much money, so it meant a great deal that she had even bought them a gift. As he reached toward the knife, Krista’s eyes met his gaze and they alarmingly widened. Before she could utter a word, he grabbed at the base of the wooden knife holder and jerked it up underneath his arm. Then, with a second gesture, he clutched at a bottle of  rum sitting near the microwave. It sloshed in rebellion.

“I’m going out. I will be back tomorrow. When I get back, I want you gone.”

She understood. Nothing else needed to be said.

Briskly, Henry walked out the door and slammed it behind him. The next moment, he had taken off down the small avenue toward an unknown destination.

The dusty lamp cast a shadow across the floor and to the foot of the bed. It’s comforter, which was all but, was emblazoned with generic hotel print that left the impression of a lack of quality. He sat, feet outstretched, with his head cocked upon the headboard and the glazed look of drunkenness in his eyes. The now empty bottle, was tossed aside and could hardly be seen from underneath the poorly fabricated dresser. The dresser had a mirror attached atop it, but Henry didn’t dare look into it, for fear of what might stare back at him.

A few hours had passed while he drank himself into a stupor and his body hardly wavered, except to silently tremble when he felt on the verge of tears. He didn’t dare cry. His dignity was the only thing he could control. She wouldn’t take that away from him, Henry thought. A few more minutes of silence prevailed until finally, as if some epiphany fell upon him, his legs lurched forward and he stood upright. Grabbing his wallet from the table near the door, and littering a freshly torn photo about, Henry reached for the knob and stepped out into the hall.

Thirty minutes later, Henry found himself standing at a bar; an onlooker of numerous jubilant dancers flailing about nearby. The baby-faced bartender eyed him cautiously and then poured his requested drink; rum and coke. Henry tossed them back consecutively, each warming his throat and quenching a deep-seated animosity that was steadily growing within.

Women were flagrantly grinding on men underneath the multicolored beams of light. Their short dresses and smiles, inviting.

“Sluts!”, he yelled drunkenly.

The bartender eyed him even more cautiously and then picked up a small, black plastic phone under the bar. A short conversation later, two men approached Henry. One, a stocky man with a blonde goatee, put his hand on Henry’s shoulder.

“Why don’t you come with us. I want to show you something.”, the man said calmly.

“Get your hands off me!”, Henry protested.

The man stared blankly. “Please just come with us, I just want to talk. I’ll buy you a drink.”

He hardly got out a word before Henry propelled his fist through the noisy atmosphere. An easy duck, assured the bouncer’s safety and a follow-up right hook met Henry’s jaw with a force that caused him to stumble backward. A second bouncer had crept up behind him and now was wrapping his forearm around Henry’s throat, softly lulling him into darkness. They dragged him out naturally, Henry now immobile and sullen.

Pavement was the next thing he remembered. The cool, rough, and hard embrace it placed on his body as the crimson blood trickled from his mouth. Gravity seemed a relentless enemy as Henry struggled to rise from his position. He wasn’t badly hurt, just a few scrapes and cuts. More than he deserved. Henry’s keys were neatly tucked away in his pocket, immune from the previous scuffle and, finding them, he started toward the car.

By this time he had sobered a bit, but still felt the woozy imbalance of alcohol. If it were any other time, he wouldn’t have driven. What did it matter now?

Foot smashed defiantly to the floor, he sped off toward the direction of base. The square-jawed marine with an assault rifle checked his ID and seemed not to notice the stench emanating from his vehicle. Doubts flooded his mind as he drove on. Henry planned to get on hands and knees and beg, tell her that he was going to quit, go AWOL. Anything to keep her.

The trustworthy key slid into the lock, then turned with a click.

“Baby…I’m here. I want to talk about this.”, his voice now softened. No response.

Stumbling into the living room, he felt like an intruder, an outcast in his own home. The brown carpet swished underneath his dragging feet and furniture objected to his every movement. Through the gauntlet, he reached the bedroom door and paused.

Lying there in bed, were numerous dresses cascaded on parade. The red open-backed dress on top invoked a memory. He remembered the first time he saw Krista in that dress. For the first time that day, his anger had subsided enough that a spindle of hope and love shot through, causing his face to warm as if effervescent. Looking around the room, his heart sank again. Among the various dresses, there was also a man’s clothing. A pair of boxers mocked him from the floor, a stray sock berated him with maniacal laughter. The coup de grace was an empty condom wrapper thrown carelessly on the nightstand.

Henry walked over to it, examining it as if it would give him answers. The piece of foil just sat there, no more helpful than the attire on the floor. It was then that a cold, indifferent wave of emotion swept over him. He walked outside, opened the back passenger door of his car and grabbed the nine-inch butcher knife from its holder. Closing the door, he plodded back in and sank down into the couch. First, he had thoughts of waiting for them in the dark, surprising them when they were at their peak enjoyment, no doubt passionately encroached. Then he spied the stove and pondered burning all of their possessions, but quickly decided against it. At last, Henry’s eyes fell upon a wedding photo that still perched upon the fireplace mantle. It seemed a sham of a picture now, but he couldn’t help his feelings of hurt, love, and hatred as he stared at her in pearl white, gently clutching his arm.

Silently, he slid himself back into the bedroom, then further to the closet. He brushed the hanging shirts aside and sat on the floor. It was here that Henry faced his demons. Emotion surged through his body and spirit captivating his essence. There was no longer a man of reason, but left in its place a whirling behemoth of raw melancholy. Slowly, Henry drew back the knife and even slower he started its guided descent into his chest. The pain momentarily shocked him, but the emotion quickly overwhelmed him again and he felt the progression of cold steel followed by warm blood. As it approached his epicenter, clarity pushed back the veil of confusion; a clarity that left him in an absence of everything. Remorse, pain…everything.

Seconds later, he drifted into the ever-lasting slumber which all will eventually know, hands bloodied and clutching a symbol of salvation. His last thoughts about how fitting an end, the same knife that started his journey would also greet him at its conclusion. With that last though, Henry was no more.

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