Sunday, February 9, 2020

Cat Chapin




Rollie opened one eye to a squint and looked around the room.


He opened his other eye and stood up, grabbed his phone, wallet, keys, necklace, jacket, shoes, and left his apartment. Other doors opened and closed down the hall and the corridor quickly filled with groggy-looking people. Confusion in the air. Rollie turned around and went back to his apartment for a minute to avoid the commotion.


Rollie heard fire engines nearby and went over to the window and looked out. The light was soft and pale and three trucks approached his building and parked out front. He smelled smoke, burning plastic. The noise, the whole situation, all of it was giving him a headache. He grabbed his AirPods and left.

“Can you believe this?” one neighbor said to no one in particular outside. “At this time of morning…”

“I had to choose between saving either my cat or my laptop,” another neighbor said.

“Laptops are easier to replace than cats,” said Rollie.


Rollie posted up against the side of the building. A few dogs on leashes inched their way closer to him looking for attention. They smelled his legs, he patted their heads.

A woman with an elegant Greyhound approached him. “You’re that writer,” she said. “You wrote that book.”

“Yes I did,” said Rollie. He stuck out his hand. “Rollie Richie.”

She smiled and shook his hand. “Sarah. I look forward to reading it."

“That's great,” he said.

“This is Cat Chapin. He’s a good boy! Aren’t you Cat?”

Cat wagged his tail back and forth and then buried his nose in Rollie’s crotch. Sarah laughed and pulled him back. “It’s okay,” said Rollie.

Cat Chapin smelled something on the sidewalk and urged Sarah down the hill to check it out. “See you!” she said.


"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 2"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"

Saturday, February 8, 2020

The Kid (Rainy Day)

“Jesus, Kid. Are you a psychic?”

“I’m calculated.”

“You’ve hit every spin. You’re up 25,000.”

“Larry, I know.”

“Well are you cashing out? I’ve never seen anything like this before. What’s your next move?”

He moved his chips on the table to the calculated position. “All in," he said. "On the third dozen.”

Larry looked at him almost bewilderedly. “You’ve got balls, Kid.”

“Well. That’s why they call me The Kid.” The Kid reached down and fixed his junk. Larry flung the ball around the wheel. They waited.

"How long have you been playing Roulette?" asked Larry.

"It's my first time."

"You know, it can be a fun game."

The Kid nodded his head, didn't say anything. He thought, Could be a dangerous one.

The white ball bounced and hopped around the numbers, then sat still on 31.

“Just incredible,” said Larry. He slid The Kid’s winnings across the table and admired the stack in front of him.

The Kid took a third of the stack and placed the chips on the table where he wanted them. “Twenty-five on red,” he said.

Larry’s heart was racing. He nodded his head, flung the ball, watched The Kid. He was young, The Kid, but he was calm and had a relaxed confidence. The ball stopped.


Larry took the chips away. A few beads of sweat broke out on The Kid’s forehead. Larry noticed this and felt brief relief. He thought, No man is perfect. Each man eventually falls.

"How old are you, Kid?"


The Kid counted and then split his chips. He slowly slid two stacks across the table to their desired positions. “Thirteen on the first dozen. And twelve,” The Kid said, “on zero.”

“Twelve thousand,” said Larry.

“I know.”

Larry felt slightly offended. “You’re crazy, Kid.” He flung the ball around the wheel.

The ball spun around in fast circles hugging the wall for what seemed like an eternity. The Kid’s face was straight and fixed on the green 0 as the wheel steadily revolved. Larry’s face was red and had broken out in sweat as soon as he flung the ball.

The ball slowed, fell into play, bounced around.

Larry watched the ball dribble, The Kid watched the green 0 spin. The ball stopped and sat still.

“Fuck a duck, Kid!”

Both men grinned for a moment. “That’s it, Larry. I’m done.”

“What are you going to do?”

The Kid shrugged. “Put it away for a rainy day.”

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 2"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"

Well Aren't You A Good Boy (Never Give Up)

"Why are you still in school, Jax?"

"I like to finish what I start."

"Remind me, what are you studying?"


Lionel nodded his head. "Are you sure that's what you want to do with your life?"

"Is anyone really sure?" said Jax.

"Well. No."


"Do you know why?" Lionel asked.



Jax shook his head. A harsh gust of wind swept through the air and pressed the two men against their chair. The cables above shook violently and made a spectacular screeching noise with each vibration. The sun was high and bright in the sky but cast down no warmth.

"Why, Jax?"

"Shit, Leo. I don't know. 'Cause most people don't put enough thought into what they want do in this life."

"You're right, Jax. Now what's the moral of that idea."

"Do what makes you happiest," he said. "And the most money."


"Use your intuition."

"And smash while you can."

"Jesus, Leo."

The two men sat in the blistering cold, the windchill down to just 2°F.

"Now, Jax. What do you want to be in this life?"

"The greatest living writer."

Lionel nodded his head. "It'll take much practice and a long time to achieve that title."

"I know, Leo. But I'm in it for the long haul."

"Are you?"

"Absolutely," the young man said. "Every day, every breath, I'm blessed. Matter of fact, I was even blessed with some advice that might help me out. To achieve that title, you know."

"Well, Jax. What is it?"

"Never give up."

The cold guests of wind changed direction and morphed into a cool breeze. The sun still shone, now stronger than ever. Jax inhaled, exhaled.

"So tell me..." Lionel started to say.

"Yeah?" said Jax.

"You're almost twenty-three. Why are you still in school, really?"

"Any degree is better than nothing."

"Yes. And..."

"And I want to make my mother and father happy."

"Well aren't you a good boy," said Lionel.

Jax didn't say anything, tilted his head, introspected.

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 2"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"

Here's The Issue With That

Lisa lay sound asleep on the couch. She farted, turned over on her side.

Flint, Troy, and Ders were standing in the kitchen. They all stopped talking. Flint tried hard not to laugh. "A while ago," said Flint, "I heard that people fart twenty-six times daily, on average."

"Flint, what's the matter with you?"

He smirked, shrugged.

"Who's going to clean up?"

"I will, later."

"No, we all will."

Ders didn't say anything. He had been quiet the entire time.

Lisa rolled over again, got up, walked down the hall and opened a door. Flint and Troy went over to the couch and sat down. Ders stayed in the kitchen.

"Ders, are you going to watch Surviving the Times with us?"

"No, you can count me out."


"I'd rather write a story than watch a show."


"Right now, yeah."

"What are you going to write about?"

"Maybe this," said Ders. "Whatever comes to mind."

"You don't like Surviving the Times, Ders?"

"I don't like most shows."

"But it's a great show, Ders. Everyone likes it."

"Here's the issue with that, Flint. Most people have become so accustomed to watching trash on TV that they no longer realize it actually is trash."

Flint and Troy both sat still on the couch, didn't say anything, thought about it for a moment.

The mad writer poured a glass of water and walked off down the hall. He stopped outside of his room, looked across the hall. Lisa appeared to be typing on her laptop in the other room. He waited for a minute, thinking about nothing, waiting as if that was the only thing to do. He didn't hear a noise from the living room, not the TV, talking, movement, nothing. Ders went into his room, closed the door, sat at his desk, got to work.

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 2"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"

Friday, February 7, 2020

Strange Day (Need Peace)

The phone rang. Al set his teacup on the table and looked at the screen. Unknown number.


"...Hrrrf... Hrrrf..." said a deep voice, the sound of heavy breathing.

"Who this?"

"I—I –"


"I'll crush you."


"Hear me, muthafucka?"

"Sure, fool."


Al hung up, set his phone down. He took a sip of tea. He leaned back in his chair and put his feet on the table. He appreciated the past, imagined the future, felt comfortable in the present. He tried to find peace in the present. He found it. The phone rang. 1-800 number.

Al answered, said nothing.

"This is agent Jock Johnson with the United States Department of Homeland Security." Jock had a pronounced Hispanic accent.

"Hi, Jock."

"Who am I speaking to?"


"Al, your full name..."

"Albert Motzbach."

"Listen, Alberto," Jock first said in his strong accent. "Excuse me, Albert. I need you to tell me your date of birth, your home address, and your social security number."

"Not happening," replied Al.

"Albert, I need you to cooperate. This is to verify your identity."

"What for?"

"There have been a number of crimes committed in your name. Narco-related crimes in narco-countries."

"You didn't even know my name when I first answered," said Al. "And I'm American."

"That's irrelevant," said Jock, rolling his r's like a man who speaks Spanish. "We—"

Al hung up. He got up and went to the kitchen. He filled a saucepan with water, set it on the stove and turned the burner on high heat. He added salt to the water, covered the pot, sat down in his chair. The phone rang. Al felt livelier.


"Hi Al!"

"Hi Karen."

"Guess where I am?"

Al made sort of a groaning noise. "Where?"

"Solid Chaos. I have tons of work to do. Wanna come down and have a beer with me?"

"Sorry, I can't," said Al.

"I saw your car on the street, Al. I know you're home."

"That's true," said Al. "But I'm going to play pool after I eat."

"Play pool?"

"You know, billiards."

"Oh. Well let me know when you're done. I might still be here."

"Sorry, Karen. I'm turning my phone off for the rest of the night."

"Is everything all right?"

"Yeah. Strange day, I need some peace."

"Oh, I see."

"Karen, I'll stop in after shooting pool."

"When will that be?"

"A couple hours, probably."

"A couple hours."

"Will you still be there?" asked Al.

"I might be," said Karen.

"The Outskirts - Short Stories Vol. 2"
"The Outskirts - Stories and Poetry Vol. 3"
"The Outskirts - Streams"