Monday, February 10, 2014

Story # 3: "The Bed Bugs Bite"

This one is more like a nightmare than a story, but make no mistake – it's most definitely fiction. I would implore you to enjoy it, but I know you won't. I didn't while I was writing it. The best I can say is: endure it. It's sick, it's icky, but it all ends quickly.  ~  JH

It never occurred to me to wash the sheets. I don't mean recently. I mean ever. So it shouldn't have come as a surprise when the itching started. At first, it was my ear, just above the lobe. I wrote it off as perhaps a stray hair that had found its way where it didn't belong. Then it was my back, right at the center in between the shoulder blades. I did think I was bitten that time. But it certainly wasn't the first time, and I'd never died of a bug bite before. So I scratched the spot as best I could and rolled over to go back to sleep. But sleep would not come again this night. As soon as my face hit the pillow, the itching began again, creeping down from my scalp to my neck, across my chest, and down one arm. I scratched at my skin urgently, violently, doubtlessly drawing my own blood. After a brief respite, I felt the too-familiar burning, itchy feeling at my waist and then down the front of both my legs. I scratched and scratched until my skin hung in shreds. Literally. And then I knew. It was time to wash the sheets.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Story # 2: "The Rub"

So I guess I'm in "story mode" again. Here's another new one I just cooked up. It was inspired by a curious green car I saw driving down the road this morning. Enjoy!  ~  JH


You painted your car a vibrant mint green color. It's by no means the best paint job you've ever seen, but certainly not the worst either. At the very least, it serves its purpose. Despite its light pastel shade, you can no longer clearly see the blood stains. You were surprised when the car wash didn't take care of that. The car's interior was a different matter altogether. The seats were fabric -- albeit a deep gray -- but the blood had soaked in deep and there was no concealing those rust-colored stains or that coppery smell. You had to rip it all out and start over. You'd never reupholstered a car before, despite your extensive experience in the business. It's every bit as hard as you thought. In this, however, you believe you succeeded greatly -- even beyond that of your amateurish but surprisingly effective paint job. There's only one thing that troubles you now. No matter what you've tried -- patching it, filling it, etc. -- you can't manage to make the bullet hole appear to be anything other than it is. And there's the rub. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Story #1: "Arrow Head"

I didn't set any specific goal for story-writing this year, simply deciding instead to write whenever and however I feel inspired. And this afternoon I was. Here's a brief, 185-word excursion into a very twisted imagination – mine. Enjoy?  ~  JH


I wake up with an arrow in my head. I don't know how it got there, but it hurts quite a bit. Apparently, I have an enemy I didn't know I'd made. There's a pool of dried or drying blood on my pillow, so I either napped at the scene of the crime or was dumped here after the fact. As I try to sit up, I realize that I'm feeling more than a little woozy. I must have lost a fair amount of blood. Which isn't surprising considering I've always been a free bleeder. (Don't ask why I know that.) I'm also a little confused, so I think I had better call the cops. Why would someone want to kill me? I'm not that annoying, am I? Perhaps an enthusiastic but spatially misguided child was practicing his archery skills and I inadvertently stepped into his path – just a simple case of being in the wrong place at the right time. Or maybe it's just because it's Tuesday and that's the way it is. Either way, I'd better notify someone before I completely lose consciousne...

Monday, February 3, 2014

Interesting Quotes By Guys Named Malcolm

"Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, 
contains its own seed, its own lesson on 
how to improve your performance the next time."
~  Malcolm X, activist

"The purpose of education is to replace 
an empty mind with an open one."
~  Malcolm Forbes, publisher

"Monkeys are superior to men in this: when a 
monkey looks into a mirror, he sees a monkey."
~  Malcolm de Chazal, writer

"Let us be honest with each other. The threat to 
marriage is not the gays. It is a lack of loving 
commitment – whether it is found in the form of 
neglect, indifference, cruelty, or adultery – 
to name just a few manifestations of the loveless 
desert in which too many marriages come to grief."
~  Malcolm Turnbull, politician

"One of the peculiar sins of the twentieth 
century which we've developed to a very 
high level is the sin of credulity. It has been 
said that when human beings stop believing 
in God they believe in nothing. The truth is 
much worse: they believe in anything."
~  Malcolm Muggeridge, journalist

"Government, which does not and did not 
grant us our rights, must not now seek to 
deny them by using fear as its justification."
~  Malcolm Wallop, politician

"I was taught that to create anything you had 
to believe in failure, simply because you had 
to be prepared to go through an idea without 
any fear. Failure, you learned, to be a wonderful 
thing. It allowed you to get up in the morning 
and take the pillow off your head."
~  Malcolm McLaren, musician

"Reconciliation requires changes of heart and
spirit, as well as social and economic change.
It requires symbolic as well as practical action."
~  Malcolm Fraser, politician

"However one might pray – in any verbal way 
or completely without words – is unimportant 
to God. What matters is the heart's intent."
~  Malcolm Boyd, clergyman

"Music is the social act of communication among 
people, a gesture of friendship, the strongest there is."
~  Malcolm Arnold, composer

"What do we tell our children? Haste makes waste. 
Look before you leap. Stop and think. Don't judge
 a book by its cover. We believe that we are always
 better off gathering as much information as possible 
and spending as much time as possible in deliberation."
~  Malcolm Gladwell, author

"Culture is a way of coping with 
the world by defining it in detail."
~  Malcolm Bradbury, novelist

"Age is not different from earlier life 
as long as you're sitting down."
~  Malcolm Cowley, critic

"If our civilization were to 
sober up for a couple of days,
 it'd die of remorse on the third."
~  Malcolm Lowry, poet

"Appreciate every opportunity that comes to you."
~  Malcolm Smith, Super Bowl XLVIII MVP