Appointment With an Angel on Monday Flash Fics, for February 26, 2018, by Jeff Baker.

28166917_10156055238284787_4361940059813681003_n                                                               Though The Brightest Fell                                                                           

By Jeff Baker

“This is a strange request,” the Angel said. “I’m supposed to be taking you to paradise, not on a detour.”

“I get a last request, don’t I?” Eddie asked.

“It’s a little past that, but I suppose…” the Angel said.

“All I want is to go back,” Eddie said. To the summer I was fourteen.”

“To be young and re-live your life again? This isn’t like a movie.” The Angel said.

“No. Just a little bit of it. Something I thought about for the rest of my life.” Eddie said. “A summer afternoon when I was about sixteen. There was this, this guy…”

“Gino,” the Angel said.

Eddie wasn’t surprised an angel would know about Gino. They’d been fifteen that summer; Gino had been young, dark and gorgeous. They’d hung out at the lake. On the final day, Eddie had tried kissing Gino and Gino had shoved him away and called him a dirty faggot. Thank God he’d never told anybody. But before that, the summer had been wonderful.

“This one afternoon,” Eddie told the Angel. “It was July twentieth. I’ve thought about this one minute of that afternoon forever…”

Before Eddie could continue, everything blurred. He was in swim trunks in bright sunlight standing on a rise overlooking a lake in his fifteenth year. To one side was Gino, young, dark, wet and gorgeous. They were both laughing. Eddie only remembered that they were at the lake and he was fifteen.

“C’mon! Let’s jump!” Gino said.

“Uh, no, it’s too high,” Eddie said, suddenly remembering that this had happened before and they hadn’t jumped. He grabbed Gino’s hand and jumped off the edge, the two of them whooping as they fell into the warm, beautiful water, surrounded by bubbles. As they broke the surface, laughing and splashing towards shore, Eddie took a last glance at young, gorgeous Gino and stepped onto the bank as he felt himself drawn upwards towards eternity.




AUTHOR’S NOTE: The title is from Act 4, Scene 3 of Shakespeare’s Macbeth: “Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell.”




Posted in Fantasy, Fiction, LGBT, Monday Flash Fiction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Roomies, for Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker.

27858167_344673762696868_4872330516714195836_n                                                                          Man, About the House…


By Jeff Baker


“I’m not going back in that apartment,” Rich said. “And that’s final. It’s getting embarrassing!”

“It’s not gonna happen again, I promise,” Johnny said.

“Chris should never have fixed me up like that! I mean, Joseph is a nice guy, but I wasn’t interested.” Rich said.

“You’re straight,” Johnny said.

“Yeah, really not interested,” Rich said grinning.

“But, you know if you want to keep living there you have to keep telling people you’re gay.” Johnny said.

“I know, I know. My life is a seventies sitcom. I keep expecting the celibate landlord to show up,” Rich said.

“Unlikely.” Johnny. “Since the landlord is a corporation off in Tokyo.”

Rich and Johnny had been best friends since junior high. He’d shown up on Johnny’s doorstep three months ago after being tossed out of his old apartment by his now ex-girlfriend. At first, Rich had just crashed in their guest room, but Johnny and his roommate Chris liked having somebody to split the rent with. The only hitch was the Harvey Milk Apartments had strict rules about tenants. You had to be gay to actually live there. Most of the time it was no hassle; Rich just told people he was between relationships.

Last night, however, Chris had surprised them with a triple date. It had been too sudden for Rich to beg off. Joseph (his date) had been a nice guy and (thank God) was from out of state.

Rich had faked a headache and left the restaurant early. Right now he was sitting on a bench on the beach. Johnny had tracked him down. No big trick when the bench was about fifteen yards from the apartment building.

“I’m seriously thinking about camping out here,” Rich said. “Then finding someplace else tomorrow.”

“Aw, c’mon!” Johnny said. “You can’t bail on us! That dating thing wasn’t Chris’ fault! His boss wanted Chris to take out whatsisname. The other guys came with the package.”

“And that’s actually the closest to a date I’m probably going to have!” Rich said.

“Yeah, and the guy Chris fixed me up with smelled like he hadn’t washed in a week!”

“I couldn’t tell,” Rich said grinning, “Joseph had layered on the aftershave—I couldn’t smell anything else!” The two of them laughed for a minute.

“So, you still staying with us?” Johnny asked, putting an arm around his old buddy.

“Why not?” Rich said. “Besides, we’ll be home in time to catch all the old reruns on cable.”


I’ll thank my hubby Darryl for this one—he wondered about a gay version of a certain hit T.V. show from the late ’70’s. Hence, this tale!

Posted in Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“The Switch.” Monday Flash Fics for February 19, 2018.

27752491_10156035917654787_7599880281512251410_n                                                                                          The Switch                                                                                                                                                 By Jeff Baker                                                                                                             “You’re going through with it?” I asked.

            “Yeah. This weekend,” Paul said. “I just got word.” Paul was lounging around in his shorts in his penthouse apartment reading the paper. He’d called me over saying he had news.

            “How much is this going to cost?” I said.

            “A lot,” Paul said with a grim smile. “Don’t ask.”

            “I still don’t see why you want to trade off like this?” I said.

            “Hey, look at me,” Paul said. “I’m skinny, geeky, clumsy, and pale. Dracula got more sun than I do.”

            “And look at what happened to him,” I said. Being geeky hadn’t hurt Paul, he’d gotten rich founding his own tech company; 23rd Century Tectonics. (“Play on words,’ he’d said.) But since I’d known him he’d had this terrible self-image. Some of the girls and guys we’d gone to school with had thought he was cute, but he’d been obsessed with studying over everything else. I’d thought he was cute, but we’d just stayed friends. Now he spent a lot of time worrying about his business. No social life. When they legalized the body-transfer technology a few years ago, Paul started talking about trading with some buff, young guy. I’d thought he was kidding. Apparently, he wasn’t.

            “So, how am I going to recognize you?” I asked. “I mean, after the switch what are you going to look like?”

            “You’ll figure out in a few minutes,” Paul said. “He’s coming here.”

            “Here? Now?” I said.

            “Yeah, I figured you’d better meet,” Paul said. “We switch next Tuesday, and we sign a bunch of papers before that. I’m still me; I still keep all my stuff. But changing all our I.D. is going to be a pain.”

            I was going to say something when the door opened and the guy walked in. Just like Paul had said; young, muscular. Cute Latino guy. I guessed he was a youngish 30. Just a little shorter than Paul was. I was gawking.

            “Oh, uh, James, this is, uh…” Paul started to say.

            “Alfredo,” the young man said, grinning and extending a hand.

            “James,” I said. “Look, do you mind if I ask you something?” His smile was dazzling.

            “Why am I doing this?” Alfredo said. “I need the money. I figure it’s worth it.” He grinned again, halfheartedly I thought.

            “This is why I’m paying him for this,” Paul said. “I mean, who wouldn’t want to look like this guy?”

            “Yeah,” Alfredo said.

            “Look,” I said. “Are you sure you want to do this?” I said. “I mean, you’re giving up a lot. Both of you.”

            “I’m not giving up anything,” Paul said. “Neither of us are. We have all the legal stuff ready.”

            “We’re about the same age,” Alfredo said. “And we had our physicals.”

            “Geez, did we have our physicals!” Paul said. “Every test imaginable!”

            “You checked everything,” I said, “like, you’re both gay, right? I mean if I was switching with somebody I’d hate to find out I suddenly didn’t feel the same about my boyfriend.” (I didn’t actually have a boyfriend.)

            Alfredo and Paul nodded. Then Alfredo sighed.

            “My Mom’s sick,” Alfredo said. “Real sick. This is the only way I can afford to save her.” He looked down at his shoes. “The thing is, Mom’s the one who always told me to take pride in myself.” He looked up, determined. “So I’m doing this for her.”

            I gave Paul a look. He was staring at Alfredo. Paul took a deep breath.

            “I’m not doing it,” Paul said. “Not going through with this.”

            “What?” Alfredo said. “But I need this…”

            Paul held up a hand. “You’re getting the money I promised you. But I can’t let you trade off even part of yourself.”

            We all shook hands and Alfredo left.

            “I’m crazy,” Paul said, sitting down again.

            “No you’re not,” I said grinning. “You’re you. “

            I hoped Paul’s image of himself had improved in the last few minutes. Mine certainly had.



Posted in Fiction, LGBT, Monday Flash Fiction, Science Fiction, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

J. Scott Coatsworth’s new book: Lander.


My friend J. Scott Coatsworth’s new book “Lander,” (sequel to “Skythane”) is out, and from what I’ve read so far it’s damn good!

Book Blurb:


Sometimes the world needs saving twice.


In the sequel to the Rainbow-Award-winning Skythane, Xander and Jameson thought they’d fulfilled their destiny when they brought the worlds of Oberon and Titania back together, but their short-lived moment of triumph is over.


Reunification has thrown the world into chaos. A great storm ravaged Xander’s kingdom of Gaelan, leaving the winged skythane people struggling to survive. Their old enemy, Obercorp, is biding its time, waiting to strike. And to the north, a dangerous new adversary gathers strength, while an unexpected ally awaits them.


In the midst of it all, Xander’s ex Alix returns, and Xander and Jameson discover that their love for each other may have been drug-induced.


Are they truly destined for each other, or is what they feel concocted? And can they face an even greater challenge when their world needs them most?


The Oberon Cycle: Book Two


Series Blurb:


Xander is a skythane man whose wings have always been a liability on the lander-dominated half world of Oberon.


Jameson is a lander who has been sent to Oberon to find out why the supply of the psycho-amoratic drug pith has dropped off.


What neither knows is that they have a shared destiny that will change the two of them – and all of Oberon – forever.


500 Word Excerpt (Non Exclusive):


Jameson savored the kiss, his arms around Xander, the way they fit together just right. They were finally together, and Titania and Oberon were one again.

Erro, Quince had called this new world. Like the skythane god of the sun, the one Errian and the Erriani were named for.

For the moment, everything was right in his life, and he never wanted it to end.

A cold drop of water on his cheek brought him out of his reverie. He glanced up. Storm clouds were piled high, swiftly overtaking them. Rain began to pour out of the sky like a waterfall, and thunder echoed in the clouds as the valley went dark, sunlight smothered by the onrushing clouds. Nearby trees thrashed about in the wind, their purple leaves fluttering in distress.

“What the hell?” Xander said as the winds picked up and ruffled the feathers of his wings. He stared up at the black tempest.

“The Split!” Jameson shouted over the howling of the wind. He mimed the two halves of the world, each with their own atmosphere, suddenly being forced together in the middle. “When the Oberon half shifted, all the atmosphere it brought with it along the Split was forced up here!”

A bolt of lightning struck a nearby tree, crisping it to ashes and standing Jameson’s hair on end.

“Run!” Xander shouted.

Jameson’s vision swam, and a memory slipped into his conscious mind from that other part of him—a high-ceilinged cavern that was more like a faery palace than a cave—where he’d stolen away with a lover. More than once.

His stomach heaved at the displacement, and he clenched his hands. That wasn’t me. They were someone else’s memories.

“Follow me!” he shouted at his four companions—Xander, Quince, Kadin, and Venin—and ran toward the cliffs that were rapidly fading to invisibility behind the rain. He pushed down the memory-nausea, tasting bile in the back of his mouth.

Alia was missing. He’d last seen her as they had fled the Mountain, when it had begun to collapse. Jameson looked around wildly, but she was nowhere to be seen. “Where’s Alia?” he shouted at Kadin as they ran. Thunder shook the valley.

Kadin shook his head, mouthing, “I don’t know.”

Rain swirled all around them, coming down so fast that it pooled on the ground and ran in rivulets downhill toward the lake that was now half filled with the broken remains of the Mountain.

The mud made the footing treacherous. Jameson clambered up the hill, using roots and rocks that offered a firmer surface than the naked ground. The wind tugged at his wings, threatening to flip him over. He pulled them in tightly and glanced back to be sure the others were following him through the tempest.

Jameson reached the cover of the forest, plunging under the protection of the canopy. The trees here were tall and thin with white bark trunks and broad purple leaves that were being shredded by the storm.


1000 Word Excerpt (Non Exclusive):


Xander stared at the torrent of water pouring over the cavern entrance. Somewhere out there, Quince and the others were lost in the storm.

“What happened to everyone else?” Jameson shouted, putting his hand on Xander’s shoulder.

“I don’t know. Last I saw them was before the lightning strike.” How had things changed so quickly?

Jameson started toward the exit. “We have to look for them!”

Xander pulled him back.

Jameson’s eyes were wild.

He squeezed Jameson’s hands, trying to reassure him. “Hey, calm down. There’s nothing we can do right now.”

“We already lost Morgan.” Jameson’s eyes pleaded with him. “I can’t lose the rest of them.”

Xander shook his head. “It’s no use. We’ll never find them in this tempest. They’re seasoned veterans. They can take care of themselves. We’ll go looking after the storm passes.” The loss of Morgan weighed on him too, though he was less and less certain that Morgan had been a human boy at all.

Jameson looked doubtful.

Xander felt it too, but there really was nothing they could do. “Hey, it’s gonna be all right.” He pulled Jameson to him, enfolding the two of them with his wings. Jameson was soaked, but Xander didn’t care.

Jameson nodded against his chest. “You’re right. Gods, I know you’re right. I’m sorry. I thought we were done with all this.”

Xander held him out at arm’s length. “Gods, huh? We’re doing the plural thing now?”

Jameson gave him a half smile. “Trying it out? When in Rome….”

“How’s your hearing?”

Jameson cocked his head. “It’s better. But everything sounds muffled.”

Xander nodded. “I can tell.”

Jameson blushed. “Am I talking too loud?”

“Just a little.”

Jameson smiled sheepishly. “It’s weird. It feels like my ears are full of water.”

Xander kissed him gently. “It’ll pass.” He looked around the cavern at last, his eyes gradually adjusting to the dim blue light.

The place was a faeryland, filled with rows of golden stalactites and stalagmites, like the bulwarks of an eldritch castle. Each one was a miracle of minute detail, like candle wax dripped from above. The whole cavern was lit by a turquoise-blue glow.

Xander looked around for the source. It came from pools of water on either side of the cavern. The scintillating light shimmered along the walls, creating complex, ever-changing patterns.

“Look, Jameson… it’s beautiful.” They were both a muddy mess. “We’re stuck here until the storm blows itself out. Why don’t we get cleaned up and try to rest? Then we can figure out what to do next. We have a long flight to Gaelan.” He was still shivering from the rain.

“A bath sounds like heaven.” Jameson let Xander lead him to one of the glowing ponds.

“Do you think it’s safe to go in?” Xander asked, pulling off his boots and testing the water with his toes. It was warm.

Jameson looked queasy, but then he smiled. “They called them faery ponds. There’s a microscopic organism that makes the light. It’s harmless, but beautiful.” He grinned. “Romantic, even.”

Ah, that’s how you knew this place. “You’ve been here before, haven’t you?” he said, slowly and clearly, gesturing to indicate Jameson and the cavern. His own generational memories were still fleeting, occasional things.

Jameson’s smile fled. He shrugged. “Not me personally….”

“Shhh. I know.” If he closed his eyes and focused, he could see this place too, but he seemed to be able to block them out when they were inconvenient. “Too many memories.” Xander pointed at his head.

Jameson nodded. He looked relieved. He reached out and pulled Xander close, his hands warm on Xander’s waist.

Xander slipped his arms around Jameson and kissed him once, twice. He wrinkled his nose. “You’re filthy and you stink! So do I.” He held up his shirt as proof. It was covered in mud stains.

Jameson laughed. “We can fix that.”

He helped Jameson unlace the sides of his shirt, pulling it off to reveal the naked skin underneath. Jameson returned the favor, his hands lingering for a moment before withdrawing to pull down his own pants.

They shucked their wet and dirty clothes and descended into the water. It was surprisingly warm, silky and smooth around Xander’s waist.

The pool was about three meters across and sloped down to about a meter deep at the far end. There was a warm, gentle current drifting past Xander’s legs, and the stone beneath his feet had been worn smooth by water and time.

Xander washed the grime off his skin, and it drifted off into the water around him.

Jameson pulled him in deeper and gestured for him to lower his head.

Xander lay in Jameson’s arms, and warm water washed over him, carrying the mud and dirt out of his hair. Jameson massaged his scalp, pulling away the twigs and bits of gunk he’d accumulated on the mad run through the forest in the storm.

Xander’s desire threatened to overwhelm him at Jameson’s gentle touch. He dipped his face into the water and rinsed off. It was so fucking good to get clean.

He shook his head, splashing Jameson, who shot him an aggrieved look.

The look turned into a wicked grin, and Jameson splashed him back. Then they were going after each other and laughing, a fine mist of water flying through the air.

Damn, it’s good to hear you laugh again. Xander grabbed Jameson and kissed him, harder this time, and Jameson’s body responded. They fell back into the water, and Jameson was hard against him, his own need naked before Xander’s desire.

After all that had happened, Xander needed to feel human and alive again. He tugged Jameson back to the shallow part of the pool and pulled his skythane down on top of him, Jameson’s skin warm against his own.

He kissed Jameson’s neck and nibbled on his ear, eliciting a low moan.

Jameson wanted this as much as he did. He could tell.

For a long, slow, ecstatic hour, Xander forgot all about the storm.


1500 Word Excerpt (Non Exclusive):


Jameson kissed Xander again, his passion fading, but his ardor for the man still in full bloom. It was good to find time for the two of them in the middle of madness.

Xander was at rest, peaceful as he floated on the surface of the water, his eyes closed and his muscles slack. His black wings trailed off below into the glow of the pond. He looked more like an angel to Jameson than he had since the first time they’d met.

Images flashed in his head—this place, other people, other times. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing them to go away.

Reluctantly they subsided. Jameson stood to get out of the water, shaking his head as if to dry his hair.

Xander pulled him back down for one more kiss. “What’s the hurry? I can still hear the storm roaring outside.”

Jameson growled. “I’m hungry. Don’t you ever get your fill?” He should have told Xander about the memories. He knew Xander saw them too, sometimes, but Jameson didn’t want to ruin the moment.

“Apparently not.” Xander let him go. “But I like to watch your backside, so I guess this is some kind of compensation.”

“Pervert.” Jameson smiled to himself. He was still sore from their exertions, but it was a good kind of sore.

He climbed up to the rock floor next to the pool, using one of the columns to steady himself. Something skittered across the edge of his vision. A bat? Or something like it? He looked after it, but it had vanished.

He went to pull his pants back on and wrinkled his nose. His clothes were filthy.

He opened his pack and grabbed a fresh set. He pulled on his underwear first, then laced up his shirt while Xander watched appreciatively. Getting dressed had been a hell of a lot easier before he’d gotten his wings. To compensate for his lack of skythane clothing, they’d raided the king’s closet, and it had been a challenge to find anything without a fur lining or silver buttons. King Theron had been a big man too—thick in the middle, if his clothes were any indication. Frowning, Jameson cinched his belt tight to hold up his pants.

“It suits you.” Xander smirked, getting out of the water and giving Jameson a full-on view of his beautiful body. He was muscled, but not overly so, his stomach firm and his body sleek. He was perfect.

Jameson felt a surge of love for Xander. He took full advantage of the unguarded moment, enjoying the show. Xander’s well-defined abs and his lopsided grin were almost enough to entice Jameson to give it another go, but the memories were messing with his head, and he really was hungry.

“Let’s eat.” Xander pulled out his own change of clothes and sniffed them.

“A little damp?”

“Yeah. Mildew from all the rain. Still, it’s better than the alternative.”

He grinned. It was a shame Xander needed to wear anything at all. “Um, food. Yeah. Sounds good.”

“We need to be ready to leave as soon as the storm lets up.” Xander pulled on his pants. “That means keeping up our strength. Getting fed, getting some sleep…. I want to look for Quince and the others, and my people need me back home. Things will be confused in Gaelan after the shift.”

My people. Jameson had his own people too, somewhere across the continent. “Things will be crazy in Oberon City too, I’d imagine.”

Xander nodded. As he finished dressing, Jameson took a look around the cavern. It was maybe fifty meters across, and half that deep, and there were dark shadows at several places near the back, leading off to other caves or rooms.

He wondered how far this cavern system went. His new gift—or curse?—wasn’t specific on details like that, though sometimes memories sprang wholly formed in his head.

Back home on Beta Tau, caverns could stretch on for hundreds of kilometers. The Great Rift system went on for at least three hundred and fifty, meaning it was theoretically possible to get from New Davos to Arctus without ever going aboveground.

He closed his eyes, trying to remember this place. The ability seemed to come and go randomly, but there had to be a way to summon it up at will. It had come to him when he needed it, but not of his own volition.

Again, there was a flickering, like something fluttering past in his peripheral vision. This time it slipped past on both sides. He looked around wildly, but there was nothing there. Not bats, then. He was losing his mind.

“What are you thinking about?” Xander asked. “You seem a little… distracted.”

“You didn’t see that?”


“Never mind.” He sighed. “It’s probably just this place. I… remember it, but I don’t.”

“I know. Since that kiss, it’s been hit and miss for me too.”

Jameson nodded. That kiss. The one at the House of the Moon, when memories had flooded through him, through Xander, like a torrent. It had been the second time for him, but for Xander….

“Do you ever… see things that aren’t there?”

“Sometimes. Quick images. Like brief overlays of the past on the present.”

“Do you see them now?”

Xander looked around. “No, nothing now. You?”

“No. I….” He stopped. Something was moving at the edge of his vision. He looked around. The cavern seemed to shift, becoming brighter. There was a weird fluttering, as if a hundred dark wings were flapping just out of sight.

“Jameson, you okay?”

Everything went fuzzy for a moment, and his stomach clenched in protest. When he could see again, golden light flickered from candles placed all around the room. Where had they come from?

He turned back to Xander, but Elyra stood there instead, grinning at him, leaning forward, her breasts like two perfect moons under her vest. “You came. I’ve been waiting for hours.” She pulled him close. He could smell her musky perfume, feel her long raven-black hair brush against his cheeks as their lips met….

The world shifted again.

The cavern was dark, lit by only the smallest blue illumination from the pool, and he was all alone. The deep, keening sadness of loss cut him with a sharp physical pain. In his left hand was a bloody dagger, and his right cupped his torn intestines.


A massive furry creature with eight arms and long teeth like a saber-toothed tiger rose up with a growl, and six eyes stared at him over its wrinkled snout. It swiped at him with a hairy paw tipped with sharp claws and he danced away….


He was out of breath, gasping for air, and covered in sweat. He held on to one of the rock columns for support, staring over his shoulder. Surely they hadn’t followed him all the way back here.

There were shouts behind him, in the main cavern, and he took a desperate gulp of air and pushed himself onward, toward the darkness at the back of the cavern….


He/They/We were joined, feeling a sense of peace and harmony at their union. He/They/We fed on the nutrients in the water, joined body and mind, and mused about the world outside and the events of the last few days. Each part of He/They/We shared its experiences out in the world, the others they had encountered before returning with their knowledge to enrich the whole. The time of the Great Move was coming….




Scott is giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate and three copies of his queer sci fi eBook “The Stark Divide.” Use the rafflecopter code:


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Or the direct link:


Buy Links:


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Author Bio:


Scott lives between the here and now and the what could be. Indoctrinated into fantasy and sci fi by his mother at the tender age of nine, he devoured her library. But as he grew up, he wondered where the people like him were.


He decided it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at Waldenbooks. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.


His friends say Scott’s brain works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He seeks to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.


He runs Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own reality.


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Posted in Books, Fantasy, Fiction, J. Scott Coatsworth, Lander, LGBT, Science Fiction | Leave a comment

Monthly Flash Fiction Challenge for February, 2018 by Jeff Baker (2/11/18)

Note: The three items drawn for this month’s Flash Fiction Draw Challenge (by ‘Nathan Burgoine) were a compass, a soup kitchen and a crime caper. This is what I came up with—-jeff baker.

The Way Which Thou Shalt Go

By Jeff Baker


Pete stood in the line with Max and The Kid, hoping they looked enough like they’d been sleeping on the street. He stared up at the sign: Sup With The Lord, hoping whatever food and lecture they were serving was worth one-hundred-and-fifty-thousand-dollars. Pete sighed, he’d double-checked this time; this was the same soup kitchen started by Reverend George Paskey who probably didn’t realize the antique compass he had was worth a small fortune.

Pete shifted from one foot to the other, glancing back at Max and The Kid. Early spring but still cold. He pulled his coat around him and wondered what made an old compass so valuable. Maybe it was gold? Or maybe it pointed the way to treasure? Either way Pete was sure Rev. Passkey’s great-grandson didn’t realize what he had or he would have sold it, and Sup With The Lord wouldn’t operate out of an old building that looked like it was about to fall down.

Sup With The Lord opened for dinner at five p.m. and Max, Pete and The Kid filed in with the rest. Pete could whiskey breath and old clothes. He looked around; long clean tables, folding chairs, looked ready for bingo night. The kitchen was in the room behind the long serving table at the front of the room. And the office door was on a wall to one side, partially hidden by a large standing American flag. Pete glanced at Max and The Kid. He wouldn’t have brought them along except that it was their family’s story that had clued Pete to all of this. He sighed again and waited patiently for his turn at the serving table.

The room was a mass of humanity when Pete saw his chance. He nonchalantly wandered around the room and then tried the knob to the office door. It was unlocked. God bless good, trusting people, Pete thought to himself as he slipped into the small office.

Pete had checked the closet, riffled through the pockets of the jacket he found and was ransacking the desk when Max and The Kid slipped into the room. He swore under his breath.

“What took you so long?” Pete asked.

“There’s all kinds of people out there,” The Kid said.

“You find the solid gold compass?” Max asked.

“No, just papers and junk,” Pete said tossing aside a handful of pencils, pens and a tool with a pointed tip. “Maybe it’s hidden behind one of those pictures.”

“All right, boys, that’s enough,” Reverend Paskey said from the doorway, standing between two armed policemen.  Pete swore again, this time not under his breath.

“It didn’t help that the one guy was on social media, posting pictures of the outside of the building and bragging that he was going to heist a solid gold compass,” the officer said later. “But that’s not the kind of compass they should have been looking for, and it’s not gold.” He picked something out of the desk drawer. “Remember using these in school? To draw things like circles? This one may have more than sentimental value. It was given to Paskey’s great grandfather, his grandfather showed it to me a couple of times. Wasn’t a big deal then, but a collector might pay top dollar for it today. Look, there’s the name of the man who originally owned it.”

Inscribed on the side of the V-shaped tool was a familiar name; Frank Lloyd Wright.



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Turn on the light for Monday Flash Fics for February 12, 2018 by Jeff Baker

27858356_10156016243254787_5951548315620653690_n                                                                                  Night Thoughts

                                                     By Jeff Baker 

            Liz sighed and switched on the bedroom light.

            “Are you awake?” she said.

            “No.” Carl said without looking up. “Is something wrong with the light?”

            “Something’s wrong with me.” She said.

            “What?” Carl said sitting up in bed.

            “That picture,” she said pointing at the wall. “Jeremy and Margie. When she was a few months old.”

            “What picture? What about a picture? I thought you loved that picture.” Carl said.

            “Our son has a baby,” Liz said. “We’re grandparents. We’re old. I’m old.”

            “Forty nine isn’t old.” Carl said.

            “Forty nine years, three months and six days.” Liz said, sulking. “Next come wrinkles, age spots, grey hair. I’m old. Oh, God, I remember ‘Your Show of Shows’ being on when I was a kid.”

            “Liz, you’re not old,” Carl said. “You just feel old. Because your son is changing diapers and we aren’t. Anyway, I’m fifty-one, I’m older than you. Only time I feel old is when I watch the ballgame and realize I saw some of those guys fathers play. Let’s go back to sleep.”

            “We’re both old,” Liz said. “There’s no way out of that.”

            “Come on, aren’t you proud of Jeremy?” Carl asked. “Single father? Magazine writer?”

            “Mmmm-hmmmm.” Liz said, settling her head back on the pillow.

            “Remember that big article he published last year that you framed and hung up?” Carl asked.

            “’Safe Sex in the Nineties.’ I remember,” Liz said with a smile.

            “Your sister didn’t know what to think,” Carl said.

            “My bridge club wanted to burn him at the stake,” Liz said.

            “Our gay, unmarried single-parent son likes to scandalize the neighborhood,” Carl said.

            “You mean, our gay single-parent son. ‘Unmarried’ is redundant,” Liz said.

            “Mother warned me about marrying an English teacher.” Carl said grinning,

            “I guess I’m just in one of those moods,” Liz said. “But I love that picture of Jeremy and little Margie. Oh, my God…My Little Margie! I just realized that! I wonder If Jeremy caught that?”

            “He’s gay, of course he did,” Carl said. “Turning out the light?”


            “Look, speaking of, you know, safe, you know. Do you want to…you know?” Carl asked, grinning again.

            “Oh, it’s late,” Liz said. “What is it, three in the morning?”

            “Eleven-fifteen,” Carl said.


            “We went to bed at nine-thirty, remember?” Carl said.

            “Since when do we go to bed so early?” Liz asked.

            “Since Carson retired. Nothing on T.V.,” Carl said. “It’s Friday,”

            “Besides, we’re old,” Liz said. They laughed. They kissed. “I’ve got the light.”

            In another moment the room went dark. After another moment, Liz spoke up.

            “Oh, God, I’m old; I remember ‘My Little Margie.’”



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Exercise, for Friday Flash, by Jeff Baker. Fics, February 9, 2018


When We Hit The Strait of Gibraltar, Somebody Tell Ben-Hur                                         

                                                             By Jeff Baker


            With a clack and a buzz, the machine fired to life.

            “Oh, Geez, here we go again!” The voice blended in with the assorted grunts and groans in the long, narrow room. Patrick gripped the handles on the metal oars and grit his teeth as he pulled, leaning back on the bench, then leaning forward as he pushed.

            “That’s one,” he thought.

            The Restitutional Penitent Servitude Act had been passed five years earlier. It was responsible for Patrick and sixty-eight of his fellow convicts sitting in what was basically a glorified rowing machine. It looked like the metal frames for a weight set gone berserk. But the government felt this was more humane than having inmates working on a prison farm.

            “At least the benches are padded,” Patrick grumbled, listening to the loudspeakers keeping time so they rowed in unison, even though they were underground beneath a penitentiary, not on the ocean. Patrick threw himself into the rhythm, letting his mind wander. Pull. Push. Pull. Push. Pull. Push. His muscles burned, his butt chaffed.

            Three hours later, Patrick was drinking the water he’d been issued on their break when he heard the voice over the din of other inmate voices.

            “Hey! Up front! New guy!”

            Patrick turned in his seat.

            “Yeah, you!” Patrick could barely see the speaker, behind a steel girder angling up from the floor. “How you holding up?”

            “I’m okay,” Patrick said, with a caution born of time behind bars. “You?”

            “I’m all right. I get a workout. Never thought I’d miss sitting around in my old cell. I’m Julio.”

            “Patrick. How long you been here Julio?”

            “Here about two years. Been in the system about six,” Julio said. “You?”

            “Been down two years,” Patrick said. “Got rolled here about a month ago.  Armed robbery. Not gonna see the parole board for another three years at least. How ‘bout you?”

            Julio didn’t say anything for a moment. Then; “I killed a guy in a bar fight. I was stoned out of my mind. I barely remember it.”

            “When you up for parole?”  Patrick asked.

            “I’m not.” Julio said. There was another moment that seemed quiet, even with the yelling, talking, grumbling and threatening going on around them.

            There was the clack and buzz and Patrick felt the machine vibrate.

            “Back to work!” Julio called out.

            “You hang in there!” Patrick replied.

            “You too!” Julio said.

            Over the noise of the oars and the machine came an administrative voice:

            “Attention. Due to an attempted escape, you are now on twenty-four hour duty. Four-hour sleep breaks in place. You will row the equivalent of the distance from Athens to the Strait of Gibraltar before regular hours are resumed.”

            “Great,” Patrick grumbled.  “Somebody tell Ben-Hur.”

            Nonetheless, as he pulled back on the oars, Patrick felt lucky for the first time in a while.




Posted in Fiction, Friday Flash Fics, Science Fiction, Uncategorized | 2 Comments