Oh, Stately Bird—November 24, 2016, Thanksgiving

2102_1wild_turkey__merriams_07293dNote: I wrote the original version of this a number of years ago. Here’s a Thanksgiving feast. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

                                   Oh Stately Bird

                                      By Jeff Baker

 

            Oh stately bird

            Who is there that does not love you

            Our family gathered together, you the centerpiece of the table altar

            Old Ben Franklin, I am told

            Wanted you as the symbol of our fledgling nation

            Not the Eagle.

            If things had gone the other way, I cannot imagine us sitting down

            To a meal of tough, sinewy Eagle.

            Wild, bred, captured, fighting, wandering, independent, forever free.

            In many ways, our national symbol you may yet well be.

 

                                    –end–

 

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The Forest—Monday Flash Fics, November 21, 2016

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Note: Actually had trouble getting the “voice” in this one down, then all of a sudden I had it and I also have an additional page—this may develop into something a bit longer although this type of fantasy setting is hardly original with me. ——Jeff

                                              The Forest

                                              By Jeff Baker

 

            I jumped down to the lower branch and watched the men approach. When they were closer, one of them burly with a sword in his belt, called up.

            “Ho, boy! I am Andiak of the Oaiod. What place is this?”

            I nearly took offense; I was fourteen, no longer a boy.

            “I am Ezidiah,” I said. “And this is the Great Forest.”

            “We are cut off from our people,” Andiak said. “We seek refuge.”

            “Only the one who lives in the Great Tree can offer refuge,” I said. “Follow me.”

            I leaped to a branch of the nearest tree, heading deeper from the outskirts into the forest.

            “Wait!” Andiak said. “We can’t climb trees like that. Come on down here!”

            I laughed.

            “I have only been on the ground twice before in my life,” I said.

            “Then move slowly, so we can follow you,” Andiak said.

            I smiled to myself, at the same time taking my role as guide seriously. One day I might be selected to be named In Care Of the Owl and to inhabit the Great Tree. In that light, I took my time as the two strangers on the ground followed my progress hopping from tree to tree above them, heading deeper into the forest.

            Even in midday, the deep forest was dark and I could see the men reacting with surprise to the lights in the trees and people looking down from their homes amid the branches and thick leaves, staring with equal astonishment at the strangers walking on the forest floor. The men stopped and pointed at the system of pulleys and swings that we use to move items from one tree to another. We kept moving and I passed the familiar big lit branches of the shop where I bought nuts and occasionally fruit. In fact, I felt the money I had been saving in my coin-pouch for my next visit. For an instant, I let myself breathe in the shop’s smells but then I caught a glimpse ahead of the ancient oak, festooned with streamers, glittering in the light from the carefully pruned branches of the canopy of leaves stretching above it. I waved at the men below and pointed.

            “The Great Tree,” I announced.

           

                                                —end—

 

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Window on the World, Monday Flash Fics

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Almost didn’t write one this week, but this just poured out of me in the middle of the week. Call it an attempt to say something optimistic, or just tell a good story. —–j                                                                                 

                                Window on the World

                                        By Jeff Baker

 

            “Isn’t this the same motel room?” Brian asked.

            “Yeah, I think so,” Dennis said. “Coincidence.”

            “How’d we luck out on this?” Brian said.

            “Only room still vacant,” Dennis said. “Rest of ‘em all filled up.”

            “Fifteen years since we vacationed here, a lifetime ago,” Brian said. “And now this.”

            “The plumbing here works now at least,” Dennis said. “After all the work we’ve been doing. It won’t be like before but…”

            Brian leaned over and kissed him. They lingered.

            “Nice,” Dennis breathed a moment later. “Yeah.” They both laughed.

            “We’re going to be up for a bit,” Brian said. “I’ve got rations in my bag, and some candles.”

            “You haven’t noticed, have you?” Dennis said grinning and pointing out the window. “Look.”

            “Motel,” Brian read. “Hey, lights! The power’s on!”

            “Maybe all over the country soon,” Dennis said.

            “I guess the end of the world wasn’t the end of the world,” Brian said leaning over to Dennis again.

                                                    —end—

                                                                                                                   

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Dance of the Hours–Monday Flash Fics

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This one was written heavily under the influence of Halloween!

                                   Dance of the Hours

                                        By Jeff Baker

 

            “Sssst! Over here! By this wall! Try not to attract attention!”

            “We’re naked. Anybody sees us, we get attention! Just glad you have a big backyard.”

            “Look! There they are!”

            “Which one’s yours?”

            “That one. The grey one with the creases.”

            “Eeeeew! That tie!”

            “Yeah. Birthday present. Any of those your clothes?”

            “Yeah. Those are all the ones I tried to put on this morning.”

            “What did you do, anyway?”

            “Same thing you did. Told the old lady she was too old for trick-or-treating.”

            “I told her she was pretty convincing as a witch but that we didn’t have any candy. Then, when I tried to get dressed for work this morning, my clothes just danced away!”

            “Same here. I didn’t think she was a real witch!”

            “Me either. Hey, there’s my bathrobe!”

            “Yeah, it’s dancing with my swimming trunks. I tried putting them on when my other clothes danced away.”

            “Just glad nobody can see us back here.”

            “Especially with that tan line, eeeeew!”

            “You’re nobody to talk!”

            “You going in to work like that?”

            “Nope. You?”

            “I have a home office. No video conference calls today, I hope.”

            “I’d better call in and, oh, crap!”

            “What?”

            “My cellphone’s in my jeans pocket. They’re out there dancing with your sweats!”

 

                                                —end—

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Topper Tricks or Treats–flash fiction for Halloween

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I’ve posted mystery fiction, science fiction, horror fiction but this is Fan Fiction. The main characters , first in a 1920’s novel by Thorne Smith, were in a 1950’s T.V. series. The series, oddly enough, never did a Halloween episode, so here it is! Happy Halloween, everybody!

                             Topper Tricks or Treats

                                         By Jeff Baker

 

            “George, Marion, you can’t be serious!” Cosmo Topper said. “Real ghosts going trick-or-treating!”

            “Why not?” Marion Kirby said. “Why should little kids have all the fun?”

            “Free candy! Doesn’t get any better than that!” George Kirby said, sipping a martini from the sidebar.

            “What are you two going to do, knock on people’s doors and ask for scotch?” Topper asked, thinking about a martini himself.

            “Woof!”

            “Might have known that would get your attention,” Topper said to the big, transparent dog sitting on the floor.

            “We’ve got an old trick-or-treat bag,” Marion said.

            “Yes, but you’re forgetting one thing, nobody can see or hear you except me,” Topper said.

            “That’s why we need you to come with us, Toppy,” said George.

            “What? No, never! Not even if you two wear sheets and hold up cards with ‘Boo’ written on them.” Topper said.

            “Aw, ‘c’mon!” Marion said. “It’ll be fun!”

            “Never!” Topper said. “I’m too old, for one. It’s after work for another and if we need candy I’ll go buy some at the store, not go begging. And that,” he said glaring at Neil who was looking up with big, doggy eyes, “is final.”

            Topper walked along the sidewalk a block away from his house carrying a trick-or-treat bag.

            “Look, Toppy!” Marion said, pointing to a sign. “A haunted house!”

            “Looks like fun! Let’s go!” George said.

            “Why?” Topper said. “I already live in a haunted house.”

            “The sign says they give treats at the end!” George said.

            “Well, all right,” Topper said. “But let me carry your trick-or-treat bags. There will be enough spooky things going on without paper sacks floating in the air.”

            “How many, bub?” said the kid taking tickets at the haunted house.

            “Three,” Topper said.

            “Woof!”

            “Four, I mean.”

            “I only see one of you,” the kid said.

            “Oh, right.” Topper said. “Anyway, one is probably cheaper.”

            Inside was a maze of corridors divided by some artificial walls.

            “Stick close together you two” Topper said.

            “Where’s the part with the treats?” George said.

            “Hey! Look what Neil found!” Marion said. The big St. Bernard was growling at a stairwell in which was poised a full-sized werewolf.

            “I think that’s a fake, old boy,” George said. “Here, let’s have a look at it.”

            George and Marion hoisted the werewolf from the stairwell and held it up for Topper’s inspection. At that moment, three of the house’s costumed employees, a vampire, a masked man carrying a chainsaw and a hoodlum in a sleeveless shirt with a baseball bat turned the corner, ready to frighten more customers.

            “Oh, is this yours?” Topper asked.

            What the three men saw was a large werewolf floating in mid-air in front of a man in a business suit carrying three trick-or-treat bags. The three men ran off in a panic as the werewolf floated towards them.

            “Oh, for goodness sakes you two,” Topper said. “Put that down and let’s go home. We’ve got enough candy and I think there’s some gin at the house.”

            Anyone on a certain street that Halloween evening would have seen a strange sight; a man in a suit and matching hat walking behind two trick-or-treat bags which were bouncing along in mid-air ahead of him.

                                               

                                                —end—

 

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Unbreakable, Monday Flash Fics

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(Author’s note: This actually is an excerpt from something larger that I’m writing under my occasional pen name. More on all this later! —-J)

                                            Unbreakable

                            By Jeff Baker (As by Michael J. Mayak)

 

            “He got out?” Herriman said.

            “He didn’t escape, he collapsed as soon as he broke out of the tube,” Smith said. “He was hardly at his full strength.”

            “That glass cylinder is supposed to be unbreakable,” Herriman spat out. “And he’s supposed to stay in suspended animation. What happens when word of this gets out?”

            “It won’t get out,” Smith said.

            “Well, he almost did,” Herriman said. He paused and looked around the room, at the other men in the liquid-filled cylinders. “Does McCay know yet?”

            “I sent him an e-mail an hour ago.” Smith said.

            There was silence for a few moments and the two men could hear each other breathing in front of the silent, illuminated tubes filled with green liquid.

            “Thank God it wasn’t Doctor Apocalypse,” Herriman said. “This facility’s reputation would have been destroyed.”

            Doctor Apocalypse would have destroyed a lot more than Nix Olympica’s reputation. The corporation had put a lot on the line constructing a supposedly inescapable super-max facility. Supposedly inescapable.

            “Good work. You and your team, I mean,” Herriman said. “Getting him back in his cylinder before he could come to.”

            They stared in silence again.

            “Well,” Herriman finally said. “This should keep him suspended for at least another decade unless the solution runs out.”

            “Four months, tops,” Smith said.

            “Four months?” Herriman said, startled.

            “It’s when his sentence expires,” Smith said.

 

                                    —end—

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Interlude With Wolves–October 17, 2016.

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                                    Interlude With Wolves

                                           By Jeff Baker

 

            The man had been sitting on the cliff overlooking the lake for some time when the wolves approached.

            “See,” the younger wolf said. “He’s barely moved since I was here this morning. And he didn’t notice me.”

            “No wonder,” said the older wolf. “I see humans like this one at this spot quite frequently. They come here to stare at the lake, the sky and the trees.” The older wolf flicked his tail. “But they come this distance to stare at wonders and ignore the wonders in the places they live; the growing grass, children, the beginning of a new day.”

            “How is it that you know so much?” the younger wolf asked.

            “Experience. Taking the time to observe with all my senses,” the older wolf said. “This man will return to his civilization and go back to his way of not noticing.”

            “Is he here to jump?” the younger wolf asked.

            “No,” said the older wolf. “There is no smell of death here, but he may fall if he is not careful. It is how men live their lives; between death and caution.”

            The two wolves turned and walked down the cliff, the younger wolf glancing back.

            “Our lives are better,” the older wolf said.  “We meet our food. We know how to breathe and how to live.”

            The younger wolf thought about this but he still looked back at the man one more time.

 

                                                —end—

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