Lazy Man’s Progress Report, from Jeff Baker. June 18, 2020.


This is a lazy man’s progress report.

I’ve spent the last few days being lazy. Oh, I’ve gotten a few real-world things done (shopping, bill-paying) but I’ve been very lazy on the writing. The only work I’ve done in those last few days is working on (and finishing!) the flash fiction story for Friday (harkening unexpectedly to a couple of classic horror stories) and changing a main character’s name because it rhymes with another main character’s name and I don’t want the confusion.  Had to decide which cool name I wanted to keep; and made the compromise. Now, I just have to write the story. And I haven’t touched the mystery I thought I’d have done although I did edit out the last of the NOTES IN CAPITAL LETTERS from the manuscript.

Maybe I was a little pooped writing-wise over the last few days, just sleeping in after staying up late. I do feel a little energized this evening/morning (it is about 5:03a.m. right now!)

Read through one of L. Frank Baum’s short stories and a couple of other things I ought to read. And we’ve been binge-watching “Sisters” (from the early 90s) and “That 70s Show.” The former is a neglected gem, forerunner to “Desperate Housewives,” and the latter blends a perfect feel for the period with a painfully, hilariously accurate recapturing of adolescence, and is worth a column all its own.

And, I got some good news an hour or two ago, more on that later. Good news these days is about as rare as a rabbit that plays the zither.

Or even one who can just do the chords.

That’s all for now.

Posted in L. Frank Baum, Progress Reports, Rabbits playing zithers, That 70s Show, Uncategorized, Writing | Leave a comment

Masque: Friday Flash Fics for June 12, 2020 by Jeff Baker


The Masquers of Clouds

By Jeff Baker


The clouds were here before we were. They have soared over the Midwestern prairie, over its highways, over its furrowed ground waving wheat, over the processions of tribes, over the masses of long-gone Bison. They floated, massive towers of near-insubstantiality, filled with the untapped power of the lightning and rain. And what moves the clouds, no one has truly known.

The Bison may have known, they may have been told. And the first human Natives, yet even in their quest for wisdom from the skies they did not know. Children have known, however. Especially the children of the prairie. For it is over the prairie that the Masquers of Clouds become careless, and are sometimes seen.

A figure, lithe and clear, blending with the blue of sky and the bluish tint of white cloud may be seen diving from the tip of a cloud and falling, skirting the edge of the cloud only to swoop gracefully, near-unseen by those in the waking world, swooping over field and even highway. Their shrill shouts of joy go unheard or mistaken for bird call or insect buzz.

The Masquers of Clouds shape the cloud’s forms from the inside. It is not the wind far above the land, no. For if the cloud’s shape changes the Masquers remain unseen.

Glimpsed only in those instants when they cannot resist the unbridled joy of a trip between sky and Earth, only to hurtle upward once again.



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Progress Reports for June 10-11, 2020 by Jeff Baker.

Wrote some on a flash fiction and finished the monthly QSF column. Also went down and printed out the ms of the (not finished) mystery and then edited out the capitalized notes. I have the printed ms on the couch and will go through it. And I also wrote out a page of notes on the mystery and the main characters.

That’s all for now.

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Progress Report, June 8, 2020, 2:55 a.m. by Jeff Baker

Thought I was going to go to bed and blow off the writing for the night, but I just finished the Friday Flash story! Quite the surprise! I think one of my niches is as an author of Kansas stories and this fits. There may just be a little influence of L. Frank Baum in there too: I’ve been reading a lot of his short-stories and I read most of the Oz books when I was a kid.

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Jeff Baker Bibliography


NOTE: I’m planning to put this on  bibliography page, complete with links, but for now this is a working list of my published stories (not counting self-published stuff.)

Bibliography for Jeff Baker

As of June 6, 2020


“Oh Henry”—-The World’s Shortest Stories of Love and Death. (1999)

“Back In Time” (with John R. Bogner) —– The World’s Shortest Stories of Love and Death (1999)

“The Pilfergeist”—-The Open Casket, KMUW Radio, October 31, 2001.

“Night Game”—-Black Petals #55, Spring 2011.

“The Problem of Cell A307”—-Over My Dead Body, (online) June 8, 2011.

“HORSE”—-Over My Dead Body (online) May 2014

“Hit One Out of the Park”—Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #8, 2012.

“Mister Brownstone”—-Zombie Lockdown, pub. May/December Publications. 2013

“Night Work If You Can Get It”—-These Vampires Don’t Sparkle, Pub. Sky Warrior Books, 2014

“The White Flower”—-The Yellow Booke, Pub. Oldstyle Press, 2014

“The Vacant House” —–The Yellow Booke, Vol. II, Pub. Oldstyle Press, 2015

“Dream a Little Dream of Me”—Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine #21, 2016.

“Wing’d His Roving Flight”—Flight, Pub. Mischief Corner Books, 2016

“The House of the Skinwalker”—Shopping List, Pub. Hellbound Books, 2017

“The Bob Show”—Spoon Knife 3 Incursions, Pub. By Autonomous Press, 2017

“Restoration, Inc.”—Renewal, Pub. Mischief Corner Books, 2017.

“Something In the Dark”—-Monsters Out of the Closet (online) 2018.

“Solar Pons and the Testament in Ice”—-The Necronomicon of Solar Pons, Pub. Belanger Books 2020


Demeter’s Bar (series)

“Through the Forest-Green Metalic-Painted Door”—Discovery, Pub. Mischief Corner Books 2015.

“The Shifter”—SciFan Magazine, February 2017


As Mike Mayak

“Wolves in the Cloisters”—–Werewolves Versus Fascism, Pub. Argyle Werewolf, 2017

“The Clean Room”—The Big Book of Bootleg Horror Vol. 2, Pub. Hellbound Books 2017.



“You Never Know What’s Going to Walk in Through the Door”

(Accepted for Dick Stoghill memorial anthology “House of Many Rooms” in 2010.)

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The Travels of Galahad the Squirrel. June 2020s Flash Fiction Draw Challenge story by Jeff Baker


The Travels of Galahad the Squirrel

By Jeff Baker


AUTHOR’S NOTE: If you’re just joining us, the monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge (presided over by Cait Gordon, thank you very much!) involves the drawing of three cards, each of which corresponds to a genre, a setting and an object that must be in the story. This time, the three were a historical fiction, an empty pill bottle and Parliament Hill or the White House as the setting. I went whole hog with the setting, and I put in the northern Black Squirrels which I have seen in Marsyville and Hanover, Kansas.


The late spring air was beginning to fill with the scents of summer when the Aged Squirrel called four of the younger ones to the Hollow Tree. The Aged Squirrel surveyed the four as they stood at attention, ears pricked, tails twitching, black fur freshly brushed. The Aged Squirrel twitched his tail once, his white hairs appearing bright against his black coat as he glanced from one to the other.

“We live in perilous times,” the Aged Squirrel began. “We have received a dire warning from the Colony in Marysville, news which precipitated sending of a nut-message.”

One of the young squirrels gasped; a nut-message was only used in the most urgent circumstances: their fellows had died before delivering such messages. The Aged Squirrel went on.

“In such times, it is vital that we deliver the response immediately. This message could prevent the extinction of one of our colonies.”

“So, we must go to Marysville?” one of the young squirrels asked, in direct violation of the protocalls and manners of the Hollow Tree.

“The message is from Marysville,” the Aged Squirrel said, ignoring the breach in dignity. “It had to travel a great deal and the last of the relay messengers is exhausted and may not survive.” He twitched his tail again. “Our fellows in the trees outside Human’s Parliament keep their ears open. The Humans War may be on the verge of destroying the world.”

The four young squirrels looked at each other; more nervous than they usually were.

“Over twenty summers ago, we tried to warn humans in the building when it burned. They do not listen to us. The least we can do in this hour of peril is relay whatever this message is,” the Aged Squirrel said. He looked directly at one of the four. “Galahad, you have been chosen by destiny, as you are the swiftest. You will relay the nut-message to the tallest tree on the grounds of the White House. Bring the message…”

Another squirrel, even older, stepped forward and handed Galahad a carved wooden nut, small enough to fit in a squirrel’s paw.

“When you arrive at the tall tree, you may not be strong enough to relay the message back. Their colony will send messengers to the other colonies. You were given the human name spoke often in the Parliament in days gone: the name Galahad. A name of bravery, endurance and sacrifice.”

Galahad looked up from the nut-message he was clutching and spoke.

“How…how will I find the way to the tall tree and the white home?” he asked.

The Aged Squirrel indicated Galahad should follow him to the back of the trunk. There were several small bottles lined up in rows. There were three which had been pulled to the front.

“These containers have been cleansed of the human chemicals,” the Aged Squirrel said,     “and we have placed inside items with the scents which will guide you on your journey. Smell this one fist, then this, then this. Remember the scents and follow them in order.”

Galahad took a deep breath from the first bottle, then the second, then the third.

“We have also found a way to quicken your journey,” the Aged Squirrel said. “A dangerous way: the metal containers that carry humans on their metal rails have prescribed destinations. If you hide yourself on the one that leaves from near here as the sun is setting you will find yourself infinitely closer to the Tall Tree in a shorter amount of time. These visitors will show you where the traveling container is and tell you where and how to hide yourself and when to leave the container and travel the rest of the way on your own.”

Two red squirrels stepped forward and bowed low to the Aged Squirrel. Galahad bowed to the Aged Squirrel and to the newcomers. He closed his eyes, remembering the scents, and then followed the two red squirrels into the outside world, the world of tension and impending human war.




grayscale photo of rodent

Photo by Jean van der Meulen on

Posted in Cait Gordon, Fantasy, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge, Short-Stories, Squirrel, Uncategorized | 3 Comments

House on Benatau Hill, Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker for May 5, 2020.


The House on Benatau Hill

By Jeff Baker


“I loved this place since I first saw it years ago.” Alejandro said, turning around to look out the big windows on either side of the living room. “And you can’t beat that view.”

He was right: the living room windows opened on three sides with a spectacular view of the canyons, cliffs and hills. The house, built and furnished in a modern 1950s-style was built on the top of Benatau Hill, actually a sort of mesa, the top of which was covered almost entirely by the house and linked to the large mountain with a road by a bridge.

“I used to see this in the middle of the night with all the lights lit up. When I heard old man Benatau had died, I rushed to buy this from his estate.”

“It’s fantastic!” Rafael said, gawking at the view. “And the furniture looks new! It’s like stepping into a film set, or going back to 1952!”

“Benatau was married five times and he managed to get richer with each new marriage,” Alejandro said. Divorced twice, widowed once officially, two more times unofficially, I say unofficially because he had two of his exes declared dead.” He stared at the tall cliff faces that stretched around for miles, reminding him of places in South America. “If this was the U.S., he probably would have gone to prison, but bribery carries a lot more weight here than it does there.”

“I guess,” Rafael said.

“Hey! Look at this! This is cool!” Alejandro led Rafael around a corner to a wide set of stairs. Halfway up, he reached over and pulled at a corner of a small alcove. There was a “pop” and the arched wall in the alcove swung open, revealing a small room inside.

“Secret guest bedroom, with its own bathroom!” Alejandro said. “But that’s nothing. There are a couple of secret passages leading to a secret basement built into the mountain. And watch this.”

They were at the top of the stairs, there was a tall bookcase built into the wall and a hallway leading to another set of bedrooms. Alejandro pulled a book from the shelf and there was a silent “click” and the bookcase opened outward, revealing a dark interior.

“After you,” Alejandro said. Grinning, Rafael stepped inside. There was a clunk as the trapdoor opened and a loud scream as Rafael fell all the way down the Cliffside to the roaring river below.

Alejandro shut the bookcase with another clicking sound.

“Well,” Alejandro said to the empty house. “…at least we had a pre-nup.”



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Progress Report, June 3/4, 2020 by Jeff Baker.

A quickie. Finished both the Friday Flash story and the Flash Fiction Draw Challenge story for June.

That’s all for now.

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Lazy-Ass Progress Report by Jeff Baker, June 1, 2020 (and earlier.)

Didn’t do a lot of writing over the weekend, but did write part of the column for QSF. I wrote it when I was angry, I may have to rewrite it or discard it altogether. That’s the mood the U.S. is in right now. Also did two (!!!) interviews. One with the Two Gay Geeks for their podcast (on which more later) and the other with Anthony Cardno for Pride Month.  Both went well. Pwhew! Two bits of promo in a couple of days! Career is on an upswing! I have the idea for the Friday Flash story, I just have to write it down, and I started the weekly Flash Fiction Draw story, but I goofed up and almost didn’t include one of the things that’s supposed to be in the story.

And, I finally learned to spell “squirrel.”

I need to do some work on the mystery story and on the pulp-adventure story I can submit this Fall, but I will get to those later.

That’s all for now.

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Subway Series Played on Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker (May 29, 2020)


Subway Series

by Jeff Baker


Where U @ ?

Just Past March Street Station.

Find it yet?

Nope. L

Where U looking?

Under all the seats in the station.

U on the tracks?

Hell No! Not stupid!

Hey! There’s abandoned station north of there. March Street is bigger one.

Okay. How far?

About half a block, I think.

Give me a bit.

U There?

Yeah. Found the old entrance. Hey!


There’s no cache, just U!

Yeah! Nice, huh?

Why are we still texting face to face?

Let’s stop texting and start necking!









Posted in Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Romance, Short-Stories, Uncategorized | 1 Comment