Take a peak into Dracula's diet journal. Sadly, poor Drac has about the same amount of success as I do with my diets.
These Vampires Don't Sparkle is now available on Amazon. My story Drac's Diet appears in it:
Take a peak into Dracula's diet journal. Sadly, poor Drac has about the same amount of success as I do with my diets.
I continue to be baffled by the reality show genre.
"I think my boots are melting. And what is that smell?" Clutching a flashlight, Stewart splashed through the foot of water accumulating in the boat bottom. He had pulled an orange life vest over his head and its straps strained against his doughy gut. "What are you doing?"
Stewart's wife, Shelly, was waving her iPhone over her head. "Trying to get service," she said.
"Service? Are you crazy? We just got swallowed by a giant sha-"
"Got it! Three bars!" exclaimed Shelly.
Stewart's mouth hung open. "You're kidding."
Shelly didn't reply, her thumbs wildly tapping the screen.
"Are you calling the coast guard?"
"I'll do that in a minute."
Shelly shook her head.
"The air force? The marines? Your mother? Please tell me you're not trying to call your mother."
"I'm not trying to call anyone. I'm sending a text."
Stewart waited, then sighed and prompted, "To...?"
"Mr. Miller?You mean the director? From the show?"
"Yes. I think he's going to be very excited by these developments!"
Stewart sat down on what remained of the gunwale. "I can't believe this is happening. We've been swallowed by a shark while trying to sail across the Pacific in a twenty foot sailboat to win, what was the name of the show again?"
"People Will Do Anything To Be On TV! I watch it every week. You could at least pretend to be paying attention."
"People Will Do Anything To Be On TV! Now there's truth in advertising. Ok, so, we're trying to sail across the Pacific in a twenty foot sailboat to win the grand prize of People Will Do Anything To Be On TV! which is, how much, 10,000 dollars?"
"Four thousand? Are you sure? I could have sworn the contract said 10,000."
"The boat cost six thousand dollars."
"You're kidding. You would have thought we'd get more boat for that much money."
"Oooo, it's Mr. Miller. He texted back!"
"Is he going to get us help?"
"He says he can't text right now. He's at dinner with his daughter. But he'll get back to us later tonight. Isn't that sweet?"
"He and his wife are going through a divorce. I think he's trying to keep the lines of communication open with his daughter. Divorce is always hardest on the kids."
"This is not what I had in mind when you said we were going to travel when we retired, Shelly."
"Oh poo, you worry too much Stew."
"Shelly, we're in the belly of a shark. I think of all the times to worry, this is..."
"We've been swallowed by a Megalodon. An extinct species of shark. Although, apparently not so extinct after all. Isn't that wonderful? Just when you thought all the environmental news is doom and gloom, we rediscover a species that everyone thought died out millions of years ago. We'll probably make National Geographic. Maybe even the cover."
"How do you know..."
Shelly held up her phone. "My Wikipedia app. I told you to download it. It's wonderful. Wait until Mr. Miller hears about this."
"Does Wikipedia say anything about how to get out of a Mega-whozi-whatsit after you've been swallowed?"
"Megalodon. And don't be silly, Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, it only deals with facts. I'll Google it. W-H-A-T T-O D-O I-F A M-EG-A-L-O-D-O-N S-W-A oh, here it is.Funny, it's the second recommended search."
"What's the first one?"
Shelly blushed. "I'm not sure, but it sounds very inappropriate."
"Oh look, this site has a video and everything. This doesn't look hard at all."
Steward squinted over Shelly's shoulder. "I don't understand, what are they doing?"
"They're crawling out the sharks, errr, rear exit."
"Yes, yes it is," said Shelly as she detached one of the cameras that had been mounted on the rail of the sailboat. "And nothing sells a reality television show like disgusting footage. This is going to make for a great episode! We're sure to win now. They might even bring us back next season, they do that will the really good contestants,"
"Wonderful," Stewart replied.
THE END copyright 2014 John Lance
Sorry it's been so long, I've been writing and submitting short stories to magazines and anthologies, which has kept me from focusing on this blog (it's really best not to mess with the muse when she's on a role). But here's a quick one to keep the blog from going completely stale.
"Are you taking your vitamins?" Doctor Brown asked as he played his penlight in the eyes of his patient.
"Well, I am," Abigail said with a sidelong glance at her sister Patrice. Her gaze didn't have far to go. Abigail and her conjoined twin were literally fused at the hip and shoulder.
Four legs, three arms, and two stubborn heads, their father always joked.
"Hmmph," Patrice sniffed and looked away.
"For the health of the baby, it's important that the two of you stick to the diet we agreed upon. What goes in one..."
"Goes in the other," Abigail finished the saying that Doctor Brown had spent months drilling into them. Abigail patted her round, seven-month belly and gave her sister an 'I told you so,' look.
"That's right," Doctor Brown nodded his silver haired head.
"I'm not the one that is pregnant! I didn't ask for this!" Patrice shot back.
Abigail looked at Doctor Brown like a defendant seeking justice from a judge. "She's threatening to take up smoking. And when we were out at a restaurant the other night, she tried to order a glass of wine!"
Doctor Brown frowned. "Patrice, this isn't like you. You're the responsible one."
"Maybe I'm tired of being the responsible one," Patrice shot back. "Maybe I would have liked to go through a Goth phase. Or gotten a butterfly tattoo. Or things pierced that we could never, ever, tell Daddy about because he would have had a heart attack. But I didn't. I was responsible. I was the good girl. And look what it got me. My sister is having my husband's baby!" Patrice began sobbing.
Doctor Brown held out a box of tissues he kept in reserve. Over the last five months every appointment ended in tears. He considered adding a tissue restocking fee to the sisters' bill.
Patrice yanked out a Kleenex and blew her nose, sounding like a pack of migrating ducks.
"Just let it out," Doctor Brown encouraged.
Abigail looked annoyed. "For the five thousandth time, Patrice, it was an accident."
"An accident? AN ACCIDENT?!""
"I can see you still have things to discuss, so I'll leave you to it. Remember, stay on the diet," Doctor Brown quickly stepped out of the room and closed the door as the wailing began behind him. He let out a relieved sigh.
But the reprieve didn't last long. Nurse Smith approached him waving a clipboard and barely restrained panic.
"What's wrong?" he asked. The normally stalwart Smith could only point at the page.
Doctor Brown read the description, his eyebrows rising higher and higher. Then he reread it. "I see, and your sure it's still, um, in there?"
The nurse aggressively shook her head.
"Well, get the surgical pliers and my head lamp, and meet me in room B."
Doctor Brown realized that a long day was about to get a lot longer.
THE END copyright 2014 John Lance
Dark Moon Digest - Issue #15 is available from Amazon. Doctor Brown and the Tentacles of Doom!!!! is included. "Some patients can be so difficult. Doctor Brown has to save his pal Jimmy from a foul mouthed demon intent on world domination (is there any other kind?)."
I've always wondered how they decide to add sports to the Olympics.
"Thank you for your interest, Mr. Bosh. I'm afraid that Olympic events need to have some historical basis, and, er, ferret pant stuffing doesn't have that historical weight," said Lyle Aaker, Vice Chair of the Winter Olympic Committee.
Vladamir Bosh didn't flinch. Arms crossed, he glared at the three committee members with the murderous gaze of a cold war KGB agent. A ferret's head popped out of the top of his trousers. The brown and white face wiggled its nose, then ducked back under Bosh's waistband to join its siblings scurrying up and down the Russian's pant legs.
Lyle looked at Secretary Amelia Brown for support, but Amelia made a point of re-examining Bosh's application and did not meet Lyle's gaze.
With a sigh, Lyle turned to the honorary member on his left, Heinrich Vole. In the two years Heinrich served on the committee, Lyle had heard the man speak only four times, and not a single memorable phrase.
Desperate times called for desperate measures. "Heinrich, do you have anything to add?"
The bow tied little German pushed his glasses up on the bridge of his nose, and said, "Perhaps this event belongs in the Summer Olympics? I know the ancient Egyptians were quite fond of ferrets, even going so far as to worship them. It seems likely they occasionally stuffed them down their, um, loincloths."
Setting aside Heinrich's confusion regarding Egyptian's affinity for cats versus ferrets, Lyle was shocked by the man's ingeniousness. Why hadn't it occurred to Lyle sooner? Turning this into the Summer Olympic Committee's problem was the perfect escape.
"I already speak to them. They said it was winter sport because ferrets have fur," Bosh said in a flat tone more menacing than any angry outburst.
Bastards Lyle thought. He would have to figure out how to get even with Vice Chair Delilah. In the meantime, he needed to deal with the angry Russian.
"What if you changed it to hairless cat stuffing? I think the Egyptians also liked cats?" Lyle asked in a desperate bid to salvage the Summer Olympics angle.
"No, must be ferrets."
"Mr. Bosh, there just isn't any classical corollary to this sport," Lyle said.
"You mean like curling?" Bosh sneered.
There was a rattle of papers on Lyle's right.
Uh oh, Lyle thought. Amelia Brown fought long and hard to get curling recognized as a winter sport, investing countless personal hours of research and politicking.
Amelia launched into her knee jerk defense. "Curling is a time honored tradition. It was originally played on the Russian steppes by the Cossaks with..."
"The decapitated heads of their enemies," Bosh finished, beaming. "Yes, I know. I have pictures of my great grandfather with his trophy and the head he swept to victory. The other picture I have is of him and the three ferrets that he kept in his pants for two days to prove his manhood. You think it is just anyone that can have a ferret in their pants? It takes guts.."
The Russian's pants ceased undulating and six little ratlike faces stared at Lyle. The rodents' lips were drawn back and he could see rows of needle like teeth.
Amelia cleared her throat. "Now that you mention it, I do recall encountering stories of Cossak's training hunting ferrets. They used them to track bear and, errr, enemies of the Czar."
The ferrets purred.Or was that a growl?
Lyle cleared his throat. "In light of this new evidence, I propose accepting Ferret Stuffing as an official Olympic sport. All in favor."
"Aye!" Heinrich and Amelia quickly exclaimed.
"Excellent, congratulations Mr. Bosh."
The Russian bowed stiffly and left.
"Who's next on the agenda?" Lyle asked.
"A Mr. Plopper. He would like to propose we make Quidditch an Olympic sport," said Amelia.
Lyle said, "From Harry Potter? That's from a work of fiction. We can't seriously consider..."
"He says he knows the Cruciatus Curse."
Lyle sighed. "Show him in."
THE END copyright 2014 John Lance
It's been a while since I posted, sorry about that. The good news is that I've been on a bit of streak with my short stories. I've had three accepted. So while the blog has suffered some, I am still writing. I'll be trying to get some fiction up here before too long. In the mean time, a quick update on the stories on the horizon.
Doctor Brown and the Tentacles of DOOM!!!! will appear in Dark Moon Digest 15 from Dark Moon Books in April.
Some patients can be so difficult. Doctor Brown has to save his pal Jimmy from a foul mouthed demon intent on world domination (is there any other kind?).
Back from the Dead will appear in Stupefying Stories in the second half of the year.
Ancient necromancers don't die, they just, well, what exactly? Somehow "retirement" crept up on Cassius when he wasn't looking and now he finds himself longing for the good old days of summoning demons and spirits. Can he get his mojo back? Or has the magic left him for good?
Drac's Diet will appear in These Vampires Don't Sparkle from Wolfsinger Publications (release date TBD).
Drac (yes, that Drac) has to lose a few pounds. Sadly, poor Drac has about the same amount of success as I do with my diets.
copyright 2014 John Lance
I have yet to meet a man who belongs to a "book club." Women, on the other hand, seem to collect the darn things. Having seen some of the "selections," I find it difficult to believe anyone reads those books for enjoyment, which begs the question: what really happens on those nights out?
"Abigal, are you just getting in now? I was growing worried," John Adams said as his wife entered their Beacon Hill residence. It was a cold Boston evening in the closing weeks of the year 1773.
"Pish-posh, you worry too much John. Brrr, I'm chilled to the bone. Is the fire still going?" Abigal replied as she brushed the snow from her shoulders and hung up her coat.
"Abigail, are those feathers in your hair? And what's on your face?" John asked as he followed her into the sitting room. Abigail took her seat by the roaring fire and rubbed her arms to warm herself.
"Oh," she touched her cheek and her finger tip came away stained red. "It was Martha's idea. The club was reading Mary Rowlandson's narrative about her capture by Native Americans. Martha thought the warpaint might put us in the proper mood."
John sniffed the air. "It smells like a brewery in here."
Abigail covered her mouth. "I'm afraid that would be me. Normally we would have had tea, but the embargo prevents that. So, we drank cider instead. When that ran out, however, the conversation started to lag. The narrative is a little dry. Fortunately, Sarah Revere had some rum on hand. Which was fun. Fun rum. We could probably sell that."
"Anyway, the rum was delightful, but didn't last very long, which made us all feel quite cross. Particularly since all we really wanted was a spot of tea. And we knew there were loads of tea on the ships in the harbor," Abigail leaned back and started to nod off.
"Abigail, what did you do? You didn't steal the tea, did you?"
Abigail shook her head sleepily. "Steal it? Like a common thief? Goodness no. But we did have a party." She smiled, then her head nodded forward and she started snoring.
"Uh oh," John shook his head. "I always knew those Daughters of Liberty were a bad influence."
THE END copyright 2014 John Lance
Note: I read Mary Rowlandson captivity narrative when I was an English major many eons ago. It was actually quite readable and an engaging picture of early colonial history.
The title of this story is actually a "short story" written by Ernest Hemingway (more at wikipedia). When you first read it, you are struck with a deep sense of tragedy. It really is a quite powerful line. And then, it occurred to me, there may be more to the story...
"Congratulations Mr. Jackson, it's a boy."
The nurse handed the crying bundle to Bob Jackson. He grunted a little, surprised at the heft of his newborn son.
"Got a little football player here hon," he called to his wife Gillian. She gave him an exhausted smile.
The boy had a shock of wild black hair and when he briefly opened his eyes Bob glimpsed deep brown orbs. He was a little disappointed. He hoped his children would inherit his red hair and blue eyes or Gillian's fair hair and green eyes.
The nurse peaked over his shoulder, "He looks just like..." she looked from the baby's face to Bob's. "Um, he looks just like his..." she turned and Looked at Gillian."Errr, well, kind of like, there's some resemblance, you know, I really need to check that drip..." The nurse hurried away.
"Let me hold him," Gillian reached out to Bob. As he handed his son over, the bundle twisted and squirmed and a foot the size of Bob's hand kicked free of the swaddling.
"Good lord, he's part jack rabbit!" he exclaimed. Now he understood the doctor's muttered comment, 'Usually the head is the tricky part.'
Gillian quickly covered the baby's foot. "Oh Bob, don't be silly."
"Well, there's no way the baby shoes we bought are going to fit. We're going to have to sell them."
"Bob, you're overreact-"
Gillian was interrupted by a nurse. "Excuse me, there's a Mr. Foot insisting on seeing you. He says he's family. I can send him away if you..."
The tallest man Bob had ever seen ducked in through the door. His wild, shaggy black beard hid three-quarters of his face, with a set of brown eyes peering out from the thicket. Tufts of hair spouted out from between the buttons of Foot's long trench coat and then Bob spotted the size 18 feet, completely bare despite the hospital's many signs requiring shoes.
"Gillian, who is this?" Bob asked.
"It's Mr. Foot, the, um, gardener," Gillian replied.
"We don't have a gardener."
"Oh, right, I meant to say, um, tree trimmer?"
Bob shook his head.
Gillian sighed, "You know, Bob, it's been a long day and I'm a little tired. Why don't you just tell me who you think he is."
Just then the baby kicked his foot free and waved it in the air. Mister Foot straightened up and grinned proudly. The truth dawned on Bob.
"Well, I hope it was worth it, Gillian!" he yelled.
Gillian shrugged. "Well, you know what they say about men with large feet."
Mister Foot's grin grew even larger.
THE END Copyright 2013 John M Lance
The ebook version of Confederacy of Steam Vs Zombies from Marion Margaret Press is available from Smashwords. It will soon be available from Amazon and Barnes & Nobles as well. It was fun to write a SteamPunk story.
Here's a quick synopsis: Two years after the Spanish-American war ended in a zombie infestation that destroyed both armies, agents John and Jane Smith have been dispatched to the island to investigate some alarming reports. Traveling undercover, they take a cruise to the island and participate in a sight seeing tour to witness the zombies in their natural habitat, only to stumble upon a terrible revelation. Will they escape to warn the world? Or will the secret die with them on the slopes of San Juan Hill?
Seems inevitable, really...
"I'm telling you, Rob will double your sales," Jeremiah Snert said with the astounding conviction shared by great politicians, CEOs, and sales people the world over. His eyes were keen and honest and his gestures sharp and controlled, emphasizing his point without being distracting. The gray suit and subtle, elegant tie he wore were calculated to please.
Jason Black, owner of Black's Used Cars and high priest of sales, was immediately on his guard. He leaned back in his leather chair and surveyed the giant metal man Snert had wheeled into his office on a hand truck. The photo of Black's sailboat on the wall, The Lemon Squeezer, was reflected in the robot's shiny chest plate.
"I have plenty of sales people, why do I need another?" Black allowed his skepticism to show, even as his brain began considering the marketing possibilities and the number of customers a robot salesman would draw to his lot.
"Human employees come with all kinds of overhead. Health insurance, vacation, donuts for the break room. Rob here works nonstop around the clock and never complains. How can you put a price on that?" Snert said.
"Try me," Black replied, pretending to make a note on the yellow legal pad on his desk. It was actually just a scribble, but it would make Snert work harder.
"Fifteen grand and he's all yours."
Black laughed out loud. "Nice to see you have a sense of humor. This thing looks like one big maintenance nightmare. How often does it need oil?"
"Rob will generate so many sales you won't even notice the tiny upkeep cost. But why listen to me? These things sell themselves," Snert flipped a switch on the robot's back.
There was a whine from the robot's torso and the machine's red LED eyes lit up.
Black shifted uneasily. "I really don't have time for a sales pitch."
Buy me. said the robot.
Black frowned. "No, I don't think so."
Buy me. the robot insisted.
Black looked at Snert, a questioning eyebrow raised. "That's it? That's the pitch? I've heard better stuff from an auto-dialer."
Buy me. the robot repeated. Then it smashed its arm down on Black's desk, snapping the pine table top in half.
"What the..." Black said, shoving his leather chair back just in time to avoid having his legs crushed.
The robot stepped over the ruined desk, yanked Black out of his chair by his shirt collar, and slammed the car salesman against the wall so hard the plasterboard cracked.
The glowing eyes burned into Black's soul.
"Fine, fine, I'll take it! My checkbook is in the top drawer!"
"Sorry, cash only," Snert said. "Where's the safe?"
"Behind the sailboat," Black replied.
Snert lifted the painting off the wall to expose the safe.
"If you would do the honors," he said to the robot.
The robot reached over and tore the door off its hinges. Snert scooped the stacks of bills into a large duffel bag.
"Hey, there's 20 g's in there!" Black said.
"How fortunate, that's the exact price of the robot," Snert replied.
"You said fifteen!"
"Let's call the extra five a delivery fee," Snert replied. "He's all yours," Snert slapped Black on the shoulder and hurried out the door.
"Put me down!" Black yelled at the robot. To his surprise, the robot did.
"Pick up the safe door." The robot bent over and retrieved the bent, crumpled, metal door.
"Not bad," Black stroked his chin. "Go get my money back," he ordered.
The robot turned its head toward the door, and it kept spinning, around and around.
Does not compute. Does not compute. Wailed the machine. Black smoke curled up from the robot's neck, there was a flash, and its head popped off.
With the final flicker of its red eyes, the robot said No refunds. All sales fina....
Black bent over and picked up the warm, smoking head.
"Damn lemon," he groaned, and dropped it in the wastebasket.
THE END copyright 2013 John Lance
I like to write. Sometimes what I write gets published.