Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Flash Fiction: "The Unexpected Guest"

Here I go again with another entry in Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge over at Terribleminds. This week's prompt is the unexpected guest, and whatever that conjurs in your mind. I have to say it conjured something pretty crude. But what can you do? I guess you can be less crude, or not crude at all. But that'd be no fun. I hope you can stomach what I wrote, and don't forget to check out the other stories posted over at Terribleminds. #BTFO



The Bogeyman’s Right Hand



“Ox, my friend, I sense a child is ripe for the taking tonight.”

“Yes Sir.”

“A doppelganger can’t be trusted. I want you to personally see to it I have the child.”

“Yes Sir.”

***

“Daddy!”

Heavy footsteps echo up the hallway as a child looks up into his father’s eyes.

“What’s wrong Christopher? You should have been in bed ten minutes ago.”

“I can’t go to bed yet.” Chris said.

“Why is that?”

“I need you to protect me from the Bogeyman.”

Chris clings to a sheet of paper as his father closes his eyes and rubs his forehead in exasperation. He takes a deep breath and focuses his attention back on his son with a sympathetic smile.

“What can I do to help?” He asks.

Chris hands the paper to his father. “I need you to read this.”

“What is it?”

“It’s a prayer.”

“A prayer?”

“Yes. Please read it. If you don’t, the Bogeyman will get me.”

“And you’ll go straight to bed?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, but off to bed right after.”



Oh no, Bogeyman.

You cannot stay, you must go.

Because I say so.



Chris takes a deep breath and visibly relaxes. “Thanks.”

“Your prayer is a haiku?”

“What’s a haiku?” Chris asks.

“Nevermind. Bed.”

***

Hours later, Christopher’s father is asleep in a recliner by the fireplace. A shadow passes over him and he is rudely awakened by a slap to the back of his head. He jumps out of his chair looking behind him.

“What the hell?”

“Sit down Harold.”

Harold spins around trying to find the source of the voice. “Who’s there?”

“I am. Now sit down.”

“Who? Where are you? Am I dreaming?”

“Hmm, if I say yes will you stop rambling and sit down?”

“What’s going on?”

A sigh circles Harold and a weight presses against his chest forcing him back down into the recliner.

“That’s better. Now that you’re seated we can have a nice chat. But I warn you, patience is not something I have in abundance, and I’ve already run out.”

Harold tries to stand up again, but the weight on his chest continues to hold him in place. “Who are you? Why are you here?”

“My name is Ox, and I was here for the child. He ordered it.”

“Don’t you dare touch my son you son of a bitch.” Harold said.

“Please. I am the son of no one, and I’ve already dared. But you fouled up His plans. So, I want to know one thing. Where did you find the prayer?”

“What prayer?”

“The prayer you read to protect your child from Him.”

“That? I didn’t get it from anywhere. What do you want with my son, and why can’t I get out of this fucking chair?”

“I thought I told you I had no patience left, but if a little exposition will convince you to provide the information I require then so be it.”

Another sigh circles Harold and a hulking shadow of a man appears before him with his foot clearly planted on Harold’s chest. Ox removes his foot and stands upright, barely clearing the ceiling. Harold, gripped by terror, is still unable to move.

“It’s simple. We haunt children while they sleep, feeding on the unconditional terror in their eyes, their cries.”

Ox begins to pace around the room as he continues his tale.

“Unfortunately, the prayer you read tonight has emblazoned itself across the threshold of your child’s room, preventing access, preventing sustenance.”

Harold slowly builds up the courage to reach behind him toward the fireplace as Ox continues to speak with his backed turned.

“This is especially unacceptable this evening. He has ordered your child brought to Him, and this prayer makes that impossible. So, I must know where you got it.”

“You were going to kidnap my son?” Harold asks.

“Surely you’ve heard of the occasional child that disappears right out of their room in the middle of the night? No struggle. No trace.”

“Why?” Harold asks as his hand closes around a fireplace poker.

“It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s like a five star meal for days on end. There’s nothing better, and only He knows when it’s time. That is why I need to know where you got the prayer, so I can prevent this from ever happening again.”

Ox turns back to face Harold, and as he does so, Harold lunges from the recliner driving the poker into Ox’s chest. “Fuck you!”

Ox briefly steps back in surprise and a sinister grin slowly creeps across his face as Harold gasps for breath, trying to swallow his fear.

“Not the best idea.” Ox says as he grabs Harold by the jaw, lifting him off the ground and pinning him against the wall. “I see our chat hasn’t ended well. But at least we’ll be able to get something from the child when he gets up in the morning.”

Ox leans forward to whisper in Harold’s ear. “I am the shadow in the corner of your eye. I cannot be swayed.” He licks the side of Harold’s face and inhales with satisfaction.

Harold’s eyes bulge out of his head and his screams are stopped by the hand pressing against his head as Ox reaches down with his free hand and rips Harold’s genitals off and feeds on them as blood freely pools beneath the two of them.

Ox releases his grip on Harold’s lifeless body and licks his fingers clean as he finishes his meal. “Oh my, it was a jungle down there.” Ox says and he disappears as quickly as he appeared leaving the poker to fall to the floor next to the corpse.

***

Ox stands in meditation in the shadows as the screams of a child explode from the house and carries throughout the neighborhood.

He takes a deep breath and frowns. “I guess He will have to be satisfied with just an appetizer."

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Flash Fiction: The Cocktail

The challenge from Chuck Wendig over at terribleminds this week was to pick a cocktail and name our story after it. The twist this time is the story is limited to just 500 words. And I'm going for the bonus points too, so the recipe follows. Enjoy your drink.


Primal Scream

The longer he paced along the rooftop, the more despondent he got, pausing every so often to peer down into the blackness below.
“Where is he?” Johnny asked. He crushed a half smoked cigarette beneath his feet, immediately lit up a fresh one and began pacing again. He walked to the corner of the rooftop and slowly turned around to retrace his steps.
“You look a bit nervous J. Are you nervous?”
Johnny started and instinctively took a step back. His feet hit the brick line and he started to flail his arms to regain the balance he just lost.
A hand shot out and grabbed hold of his coat. The grip was strong and held him in place.
“Now, now J. This is no way to deal with your problems.”
“Oh. Shit. Not. Cool.” Johnny took a deep breath. “I could have died, Styles.”
“That’s the only logical conclusion if you throw yourself off of a twenty story building.” Styles said. “Did you get the key?”
“Yes.” Styles pulled Johnny upright and released his hold. “Why did you have to pick a place like this for the meet?”
“Oh, we don’t want a Rear Window on our hands.” Styles said.
Styles’ statement was returned with a blank stare.
“Forget it. It’s before your time. Does anybody know you’re here?”
“Of course not,” Johnny said. “I know how this works.”
“Okay then, hand over the key.” Styles said.
“What about my sister and her kid?” Johnny asked. “How do I know they’re still safe?”
Styles sighed. “You clearly don’t know how this works J. The only way this ends happily is if you do what you are told. You don’t have any choice but to trust me. Or bad shit happens.”
“Okay, okay.” Johnny pulled the key out of his coat pocket and handed it to Styles. “What does it go to?”
“A door,” Styles said.
“What does the door lead to?”
“Possibilities”
“Fine, I get it. It’s none of my business.” Johnny said. “I won’t ask about it.”
“Now you’re catching on J.”
“So, now can you tell me about my sister?”
“I don’t know anything about her.” Styles said.
Johnny looked crestfallen. “But I thought you said everything would be fine once I did what you asked?”
“It is fine.”
“What?”
“I got nothing against women and children. I’m not a sociopath.”
“So they aren’t in any danger?” Johnny asked. “I don’t understand.”
“Clearly,” Styles said. “It’s all about motivation J. You can get a lot accomplished with the proper motivation.”
“You lied to me?”
“Now don’t go filling yourself up with righteous indignation.” Styles straightened the wrinkles in Johnny’s coat and placed his palm flat against his chest. “Everybody wins in the end.”
Styles shoved forcefully, sending Johnny toppling over the edge of the rooftop, a primal scream echoing across the skyline as he sped to earth.
Styles turned to leave with a satisfied grin on his face. “Now that deserves a drink.”


Primal Scream Cocktail
1/2 shot Kahlua
1/2 shot Tequila
Soda Water Splash

Pour the Kahlua and Tequila into a tall shot glass. Add the soda. Place your hand over the glass and bang it on the table so it fizzes. Down it and scream!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Flash Fiction: "The Portrait"

Once again I have reached into the darkness of my imagination to serve up more flash fiction for Chuck Wendig at terribleminds. The prompt this week is "The Portrait".


Guilty Filthy Soul

“Okay folks, we’ve arrived at the climactic conclusion of our journey.”
The guide led the group into the den at the rear of the house. He closed the door behind them and dimmed the lights before taking his place up front.
“The scene before you is exactly as the room appeared on the morning of the Dearman Family Massacre.”
The room was almost entirely bare but for a hard back chair set against the back wall and an old Sanderson plate and stand camera set up three feet away.
“Not much of a climax,” a boy at the front of the group said.
The guide smiled. “Well, the situation does call for a bit of back story.”
***
Age:  7 Minutes
The doctor knew there was something amiss. The child appeared healthy enough, he was calm, breathing was normal. But the fever was so bad he didn’t think the child would survive the night. And his hair would stand on end when listening to his heartbeat. It sounded like two hearts beating simultaneously. He had never experienced anything like it, and though best not to mention it.
The clincher was when he turned to attend to the child’s mother, and the cord had already been severed. It appeared to have been gnawed through by an animal. The mother was cooing to her newborn, wiping the corner of his mouth with the blanket. Was that blood?
The child then turned his head toward the doctor and stared directly into his eyes. His mouth turned upward into a malicious grin, daring him to question what he just saw.

Age:  4 Years
The groundskeeper launched himself into the kitchen. “They’re all dead!”
Mrs. Dearman dropped her laundry in surprise. “What are you talking about, Mr. Blythe?”
“Every hound in the kennel is dead. Their heads have been crushed and the bellies chewed out.”
“Well that’s just nonsense.” Mrs. Dearman said. “Why Aiden had a visit with the dogs this morning. I’m sure if something that disgusting had happened he would have come back in a horrible state.” She glanced down at her son seated at the kitchen table.
“Maybe you should ask him, if he was the last one to see them alive.”
“Please.” Mrs. Dearman said. “Even if Aiden did see something, what four year old could possibly put that into words? Isn’t that right sweetie?”
“Hungry.” Aiden said.
“See? How could he possibly have an appetite if he saw something like that?”
“There’s something going on around here.” Mr. Blythe said. “And I mean to find out.”
Mr. Blythe stormed out of the kitchen. Mrs. Dearman picked up her son and said, “That man gets stranger and stranger every day. We might have to let him go if this keeps up.”
“Hungry.” He said.
The next day Mr. Blythe was found hanging from a tree outside the kennel. His head had been crushed and his midsection opened up for the world to see. His intestines used as the killing rope.

Age:  12 Years
“I don’t want my picture taken,” Aiden cried.
“I don’t have time to argue about this Aiden.” Mrs. Dearman said. “The appointment with the photographer has been set for weeks. And we have to hurry if we’re to make it to Mrs. Downing’s funeral in time.”
“I don’t want to go to the funeral either,” Aiden said. “Dirty Downing was horrible. She yelled at me every time she saw me.”
Mr. Dearman stormed into the room and grabbed Aiden by the arm and flung him into the chair. “Don’t you ever speak like that in my house, and stop talking back to your mother.” Mr. Dearman nodded to the photographer who was standing uncomfortably beside his camera.
“This won’t end well.” Aiden said as the photographer looked through his viewfinder.
“What?”
The photographer said something about cheese and held the flash above his head.
If anyone had been outside, they would have seen a bright flash and sudden darkness from within the Dearman home. They would have heard the gasps and the screams and the sound of bodies being thrown about. And they would have heard the faintest whisper in the air.
Hungry
What the authorities found was too disturbing to recount.
***
“Everybody in the house was killed. There were no witnesses.”
“How do you know,” asked the boy in front. “How do you know what happened inside if everyone was killed?”
The guide smiled. “Because I was there.”
The bottom of his jaw lowered as if attached with hinges. A blackened hand with razor sharp fingers jettisoned from the opening and clamped firmly onto the boy’s head.
Hungry

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Flash Fiction - "Baby Pulp"

Okay. Here is my latest entry in Chuck Wendig's flash fiction challenge posted over at Terribleminds. The prompt this week is "Baby Pulp". Now, I'm not entirely sure if I got this right. I had to wiki pulp. But here goes nothing.


A Dame in Distress

I knew the instant she walked into my life that this one was going to be different. In a big way. You see, the dame didn’t crawl to me on her hands and knees. She walked with confidence, with only the occasional balance check. God, how I loved an independent woman. She had me sucked in immediately. The tears in her eyes were only the cherry on top.
She was so despondent she could barely speak. Mostly sobs and hand gestures. But I got the gist. Her binky was missing. Gone without a trace. I know what you must be thinking. Big deal, right? She can get a new one. But you shouldn’t discount the sentimental value of the first binky. She’s had it her whole life and her life is in tatters now that it’s gone. Sure, she has dependency issues, but only long term therapy can fix that. What I can do is address the here and now. Find that binky and bring some normalcy back to her life. And I had a pretty good idea where to find it. But I didn’t tell her this. Best let her think I had to work to locate it. That way I could reasonably ensure repeat business.
I led her over to the corner with the squeaky toys so she could keep herself occupied while I set my plan in motion. The first step was always the trickiest. I needed to get out of the room without the Mommy taking notice. I could do it with ease, but if caught in the act, additional security measures may be put in place. And then I’d never get any work done. I took my blanky and flung it over the top of the gate. I learned fast that I’m pretty impressionable. The blanky was for my protection. Without it the marks would last for days rather than minutes. Authorities would be brought in to investigate, and the jig would be up.
I climbed over the top of the gate resting on top of my blanky and lifted the catch. The gate swung open and I was once again free of my prison. I pulled off the blanky and tossed it back into the room. Closing the gate behind me to hide my tracks, I began the long slow walk to the end of the hall. I quickened my pace. Nap time was approaching fast. I thought I was home free when without reason I fell to my hands, stifling a cry. And that’s when She spotted me.
“How in the world do you keep getting out of that room?”
The Mommy picked me up and carried me into the feeding room. She wasn’t alone. There were mommies all around the table. But I didn’t care. The Mommy had me in Her arms and I was in heaven. The smell of Her hair. The rhythm of Her heartbeat. I was trapped in Her spell and I wanted nothing more than to hold onto Her with all of my might.
Too soon I was torn from Her grasp. Passed around the room like a hot bottle. A pinched cheek here. A kiss there. The sensory overload was almost too much to endure. Free of the Mommy’s spell, I realized I only had one last resort if I was going to get back on task. It wouldn’t be pretty. I had no choice.
“Whew, I think the little one has a gift for his mother.”
Yes! Back in Her arms, I was carried to the changing room. The spell didn’t have any effect on me now. What with the load in my pants and all. I know it’s dirty, but sometimes you need to play hardball to succeed. And I’m all about success. The Mommy quickly undid the damage I caused and placed me on the floor while she disposed of the waste. And that’s when I eyed the prize.
There in the dame’s transport was the binky I was working so hard to locate. Quick as a gas bubble I took possession and stuffed it in my catch all. What? I was sanitized. Don’t judge. I do what I have to, to get the job done. And this job was all but done.
The Mommy led me back to the toy depository. By the looks of things, the dame was preparing to leave. I made it just in time. I sidled up beside her, making sure the Mommy’s view was obstructed and produced the found binky. The look on her face was priceless. I get the same way every time I discover an empty box. Her next action was less than satisfactory. She put the binky in her mouth and proceeded to hug me like no tomorrow.
“Aww, that is soooo adorable.”
“To be young again.”
“Looks like we might have a wedding to plan.”
She couldn’t leave fast enough. Cooties, you know?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Flash Fiction: "The Hotel"

I realized I neglected to provide a proper introduction to my previous post. So I shall rectify that post haste. What follows is my flash fiction entry in Chuck Wendig's latest challenge over at Terribleminds. One week. 1000 words. And a suitably eerie photo of a hotel for inspiration. Dive in and check out what everyone has to offer. Good times.



Sisters in Melancholy

The warm spring afternoon quickly turned into a brisk and windy evening. Ominous shadows crept away from the fa├žade of the abandoned hotel, leaving intermittent patches of darkness all the way to the girls standing by the gate. The air was thick with gasps of air coming from the hotel. Gusts of wind blowing through the broken windows left the impression that it was alive.
“I don’t like it here Cheryl.” Theresa said.
“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Cheryl asked.
“There’s a reason nobody comes out here.”
“Why is that?”
“I’m not about to say any of that out loud. Besides, you know all the stories too Cheryl.”
“Your spine leaves a lot to be desired Theresa.”
“I’m just saying there are less hazardous things on the list. I know where we can find a glow in the dark Frisbee. And I know of at least three different cats that’ll let us put a tutu on ‘em.”
“And how many points would that get us?” Cheryl asked. “No way, I’m going for the big guns right up front. This will net us two hundred points and all we need is video of one of us walking up to the front steps. We’ll be out of here in no time.”
A hunched figure moving into the moonlight by the gate went unnoticed by the bickering duo until he brought a shovel crashing against the gate latch, causing it to swing outward. The girls screamed in unison and scurried backwards in each other’s arms.
“Heh heh heh,” the stranger laughed. “That gets ‘em every time.”
Cheryl recovered first. “Are you out of your fucking mind? Who the fuck do you think you are motherfucker?”
“I think I’m Nelson, and I’m completely inside my mind.”
“Those questions were rhetorical asshole.”
Nelson put up his hands in surrender. “I’m sorry. A guy’s gotta find a way to break the monotony when he can. Besides, you wouldn’t be able to get your video if I hadn’t opened the gate. It only opens from the inside.”
Theresa took a hesitant step forward. “You don’t mind us trespassing on your property?”
“Not my property. I just try to keep the weeds at bay.”
“What about the owners then?” Theresa asked. “Won’t they mind?”
“Somehow I doubt the bank will really care” Nelson said. “Besides, the hotel isn’t anything to worry about. Just a bunch of bricks and broken glass. Nope, the hotel’s harmless. What you should really be wary of is the gazebo around the south side.”
“Why?” Cheryl asked.
“That’s where Mr. Baker, the original owner, had his daughters killed.” Nelson said.
***
Mr. Baker led the procession out of the hotel and towards the south side of the property. The twins fought against the bindings on their wrists to no avail. Upon their arrival at the gazebo, Mr. Baker instructed the servants to tie his daughters to the beam spanning the length of the small building.
“I forgave your mother when she dared teach the two of you how to read.” Mr. Baker said. “But that was on the condition it be limited to the Good Book. I am a respected business man in this community, and I will not have that filth poison your minds and in turn my hotel. You know the rules.”
Mr. Baker nodded to the servants and they walked back to the hotel. The girls’ screams were carried off with the wind, to be heard by no one.
The lifeless bodies of the sisters were discovered by their mother the next morning. After the funeral an inquiry was conducted and Mr. Baker was charged with their murder. He died in prison awaiting the death penalty. Mrs. Baker abandoned the hotel shortly after her husband’s trial, and was never seen again.
***
“Wow.” Cheryl said.
 “Yep, it was a horrible tragedy,” Nelson said. “Thing like that leaves a mark, you know? How could anybody rest in peace after going through that?”
“You think it’s haunted?” Theresa asked.
“I know so.”
“Alright, I call bullshit.” Cheryl said. “A couple of chicks die of frostbite and now their spirits creep about looking for payback?”
“Believe what you want.” Nelson said. “But you best hurry, or you two will miss the last bus back to town.”
He turned away and walked back into the shadows towards the back of the hotel. Cheryl stepped towards the gate, but Theresa didn’t move.
“I’m not doing this Cheryl.”
Cheryl turned back. “Fine. Just fine. Why don’t you run off to find your kittens? I can shoot the video myself. I’ll meet you back at the auditorium later.”
Cheryl spun on her heel and purposely walked through the gate. Theresa hesitated briefly then turned to walk towards the bus stop. She didn’t see Cheryl take a turn to the south.
***
Cheryl slowed her pace as the gazebo came into view. Its appearance surprised her. In stark contrast to the rest of the property, the gazebo was in pristine condition. It looked brand new and smelled of fresh paint.
“Weird.” Cheryl said as she stepped under the gazebo’s roof.
A torrent of air suddenly swarmed Cheryl. She became disoriented and fell to the freshly sanded floor. She slowly rolled over onto her back and looking down on her were two sets of blue eyes. Those eyes descended on her in a flash and before Cheryl could scream, she was devoured. Nothing was left but pools of blood which began seeping through the floorboards of the gazebo.
“I just sanded that floor.” Nelson said as he stepped up and leaned on the railing.
There were supposed to be two.
Yes two.
“I know, I know.” Nelson said. “I had two, but the other took off at the last minute.”
Just as Nelson finished speaking a sharp pain pierced his left cheek. He raised his fingers and they returned with blood from a cut that appeared out of thin air.
You must bring another.
Yes another.
You know the rules.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Flash Fiction: "Irregular Creature"

Snowbirds

The two co-workers begrudgingly made their way to the parking lot. The work day was over but neither was looking forward to the task ahead. Such is the case when winter arrives in Florida, and the snowbirds descend upon the land like a scourge. The evening commute was sure to be a nightmare. It always was.
“God, this really is the worst part of the day,” Trevor said.
Sammy didn’t respond, he just kept his head down willing one foot to step in front of the other. Beads of sweat had already begun to form on his forehead.
Trevor sighed. “Oh well, nothing to it but to do it, right? Rip it off fast like a band aid and it’ll be over before you know it.” He broke away, heading for his car. “Drive safe Sammy. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Sammy slowed his pace and began fumbling with his keys. All too soon he was beside his car, opening the door, and gingerly positioning himself in the driver’s seat. Sammy started the ignition and began to ease out of the parking lot.
“Twenty-five miles, Sammy” he whispered. “You can make it.”
***
Sammy pulled up to the stop light, waiting to make a left turn when he spotted the first one. There on the corner stood a most irregular creature. A snowbird. His floral print shirt clashed horrifically with his black socks and sandals. But most striking of all was his hair. So white, so pure. The power emanating from his locks could light up a sunless sky. And he was looking in Sammy’s direction, daring him to make the first move.
“Go.” Sammy panted. “You’re safe as long as you get moving before he steps off the curb.”
But his pep talk took too long. The snowbird stepped into the intersection and began shuffling his way across the street. Trying not to look at him directly in the eyes, Sammy began to nudge his car into the intersection in anticipation of getting away as soon as the coast was clear, when the hair on the back of his neck stood on end.
The snowbird paused in the middle of the road and turned to face Sammy’s car. All of a sudden a surge of electricity travelled up from the snowbird’s sandals and out the top of its head and rocked Sammy’s car with such force that he surely would have been thrown into the passenger seat if not for his seatbelt.
“Where are you going in such a hurry?” it growled and began making its way to the other side of the street.  “A little patience would do you good.”
Sammy just sat holding his breath with his foot mashing the brake pedal through the floorboard until he was brought to his senses by the honking of a horn. He glanced into his rearview mirror, saw no sign of the creature, and completed his turn just as the light turned red.
***
The next few miles passed without incident. Sammy started to relax, steadily driving with the flow of traffic.
“Maybe the worst is over,” he said to himself, “Only twenty miles to go.”
Up ahead, traffic in his lane began slowing to a crawl. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find a gap open long enough to change lanes and was soon stuck behind a UPS truck going fifteen below the speed limit. But his spirits were lifted when the truck turned into a nearby parking lot, only to have them dashed again when he came onto the cause of his malaise.
“Oh no,” Sammy whimpered, “Oh no, no, no, no.”
Ahead of him was a thoroughly common four door sedan. Only this one appeared to be driving itself. The place usually reserved for the back of one’s head was just empty space. Sammy then glanced at the rear of the vehicle and was immediately hypnotized by what he saw. The blinker was flashing. Like the Pied Piper and his flute, Sammy was drawn into the power of the orange light. Soon the procession of cars increased to ten, then fifteen, twenty.
“Orange really is a pretty color,” Sammy cooed.
Just as suddenly, Sammy was snapped out of his stupor by another blaring horn. Someone had broken free of the line of cars and was speeding by in the other lane.
Sammy gasped, “I can’t do this now.” He quickly pulled off the main road and into a gas station parking lot. “A drink, that’s what I need; something to help me relax.”
Sammy walked into the gas station, grabbed an energy drink and walked up to the cash register. That’s when he saw another one. This one was heavy set and wearing a sun dress. She was bent over the counter pondering over which scratch-off ticket to purchase. The veins. There were so many veins it looked like a road map that would make Rand McNally envious.
Sammy sucked in his breath and began nervously tapping his foot. Then, like a bullet from a gun, the veins came loose from the snowbird’s legs and began lashing out at him. Sammy felt his stomach do a somersault as they wrapped themselves around his legs. He lost his balance and with nothing to grab onto, he fell to the floor.
He opened his eyes and what he saw caused his heart to skip mid beat.
“Cankles!” he bellowed, “Oh Holy Christ, not the Cankles!”
***
Sammy slowly opened his eyes and saw Trevor knocking on his car window. He was still in the parking lot at work.
“So, how far did you make it this time?” Trevor asked.
Sammy rolled down his window, “The gas station.”
“Ooh, only ten miles in.” Trevor barbed. “That is definitely not a good way to end the day.” He lightly punched Sammy in the shoulder and headed back for his car. “Chop chop Sammy. That car isn’t going to drive itself home.”
Sammy thought for a second and huffed, “I think I’d rather wait till summer.”

Oof

Hungry Howie's is hazardous to my health....Heh, alliteration.