Tag Archives: alternate universe

No One Wants to be Rover’s Chew Toy

I never really know what genre my nonsense fits into. This one starts out as a Slice of Life tale. But then, as in most of my stories, things go awry…which can be said of normal life as well. Give a listen by clicking below, and then tell me what you would call it.
Is is Slice of Life (gone awry)?
Is it Horror?



Late on a Friday at the end of July in a park somewhere in New England a couple walk their dogs along the footpath that winds its way under great Pin Oaks and Long Toothed Aspens. On one side of the path is a stream with a swarm of mosquitos hovering over an eddy. On the other side is grass, thin and weedy due to the shade of the mature trees. Plenty of people use the park to walk their dogs during the better part of the day, yet the usual land mines one would come to expect are absent due to the poop-bag dispenser right at the entrance. Coming from the other direction, an older woman walks her golden retriever and when she approaches the couple walking their dogs, the man has to reel his charge in because the little pooch has gone temporarily insane—snarling and barking. The man chuckles politely in a bid to minimize.

On one of the park benches sits a man in his late thirties who is aged beyond his years due to nicotine, alcohol, and a seven year affair with heroin. He wears his tattered Boston Red Sox cap backward and in the bag on the bench next to him is his self-allotted buzz for the evening—a forty of cheap-ass beer. He rations what he can barely afford, and sits in the park because its cooler here than in his second floor apartment with the single fan stuffed in the most likely window to offer relief that never seems to be enough. Everyone knows what’s in the bag. Everyone sees but doesn’t see. No one wants a confrontation mainly because it’s just too damned hot for that.

Two boys coming down the path command the attention of Mr. Ball Cap. They are young, between ten and twelve. Well dressed for boys that age, their gait is casual, and their conversation is animated. For them, it appears, the rest of the world has melted away. They are alone with each other and the man on the bench notices this, would like to take advantage of their apparent naïveté. The man would like to bolster his financial situation any way he can and as the boys draw nearer, Mr. Ball Cap decides that two forties might make the night more tolerable and the boys look like they can help the cause.

High overhead a bird calls out to the others that the show is about to start. Mr. Ball Cap doesn’t see another soul around as the boys approach and prepares for the occasion of their meeting by slipping a folding knife from his back pocket and opening it, out of sight along his leg of course, and when they are within earshot he offers his greeting. The boys are understandably wary. They look like the sorts who have been coached about strangers from a very early age. They don’t say anything and avoid eye contact enough to get the point across. During their final approach, the man stands, blade jutting from his hand and says, “Why don’t you boys give me everything in your pockets.”

The boys stop. They look at each other with stoic calm and then turn back to the gentleman with the knife. “We don’t got nuthin’ mister,” claims the boy with the blue tee shirt.

That the boys appear unflappable unnerves the man. He’s used to being feared in such situations. He swirls the blade in the air and a brief stint in a restaurant kitchen comes to mind as a flashback. He says, “Turn ’em out. I want to see those pockets.”

They rabbit ear their pockets, then Blue Tee Shirt says, “We got some money stashed under a rock by that overpass mister.”

Sure, you’d think that would raise some suspicion. But this guy’s used some of his deck in the spokes of his life. He says, “How much?”

The kid in the yellow tee shirt says, “My twenty is there.”

“And I’ve got two tens and a five.”

Mr. Ball Cap scratches at his arm and asks “Why you put your money under a rock?”

“Big kids,” the two chime in together.

That answers everything for Mr. Ball Cap and he motions for the boys to lead the way with his knife. At the overpass, the boys begin looking around like they can’t figure out which rock it might be. Soon enough, they’re on either side of Mr. Ball Cap, heads down and looking all around.

As soon as Mr. Ball Cap focuses on Blue Tee and asks, “Where’s this rock?” Yellow Tee runs at him, pulls the knife-hand into Mr. Ball Cap’s chest and wiggles and jiggles while clamping down on his jugular with a pair of teeth designed to extract a person’s life force in mere moments.

Blue Tee joins in by removing the knife and sucking on the gaping wound.

When they’re done—faces gruesomely red, Blue Tee says, “Rover will love this chew toy. Let’s go.”

They exit through a shimmer in the wall under the overpass dragging Mr. Ball Cap into their where—a place much different than the park it shares a border with—a border that is thinner right there in that spot. Inside—beyond the shimmer—Rover does a happy little jig on six legs that are oddly jointed. His mandibles flex open and closed while sending telepathic barking sounds to a select few.

This is the most anyone has seen of that other place, and we’re lucky—you and I—to be mere ethereal audience participants. No one wants to be Rover’s chew toy.



I hope you enjoyed this craziness. So what genre would YOU tuck this one into?


On the Hunt for Eastus Hutt

This is an odd Keelian sort of story. John Keel wrote The Mothman Prophecies, which is even weirder than the movie.


“Records indicate Eastus Hutt bought the place—a total of ten point eight acres—last October. Nobody at town hall heard of Swiller Road. I had to look it up at the Registry of Deeds. Turns out it’s an old fire road that leads out to the middle of nowhere.

“Turn here—”

The rutted access road was potholed at the beginning. Thirty feet in the hard-pack smoothed out.

The older of the two detectives, Becker, rode shotgun and read the map. He had a clean cut look that reminded Rodrigues of the nineteen-forties.

Rodrigues said, “Perp knows how to hide, eh?”

Becker looked over at Rodrigues and said, “Everyone’s got an address, Rodrigues. You get that angle and you’ll get your perp.”

“I’d just be happy to see that car again. You know it was a ’91 Town Car? Fine ride man. Had some trick rims or some shit. They looked like they weren’t moving. I want a closer look.”

“All I know, it was black and had no plates to run.”

The road crested a hill and there was a house fifty feet away. Rodrigues stopped the car to survey the scene. It was a single story home with a white picket fence. The fence had no posts or rails, just pickets sticking up.

Neither detective said anything so Rodrigues released the brakes and rolled in closer. Out in front of the house was a well-appointed living room with hardwood floors. Off to one side was a dining room and to the other side was the kitchen with all its appliances.

Becker said, “This doesn’t look right to me.”

Rodrigues looked at Becker, tossed the gearshift into park and said, “Yeah? No shit?”

Becker looked at Rodrigues then back at the house. “I don’t see the car.”

“You want point?”

“Yeah. I don’t think anything will happen, but I still want you drawn and ready. Got it?”

“Let’s do this.”

They got out together—synchronized cops, and walked to the door through the living room, skirting furniture. Becker made to ring the doorbell, but there was no button. They looked at each other again before Becker knocked on the door. After the third knock, he tried the knob and was surprised to find the door open. The knob was only a knob; it didn’t turn, there was no keyhole, and there was no latch.

Becker raised his weapon, nodded to Rodrigues and then entered, aiming as he scanned the inside. Rodrigues was right behind him, scanning and aiming as well. Both came out of their crouch, lowering their weapons.

They had stepped out into a dark, parched, and barren landscape. The few trees in sight were phantoms; leafless and stunted. There was a distant muted light in the sky as if from a fingernail moon on a foggy night. Something bug-like skittered across at a distance.

“Fuuuuck me,” Rodrigues said.

They both looked back through the door into a sunny day. The door began to close and Rodrigues stepped back into the doorway to keep that from happening.

Becker turned with his gun hanging by his side and made to walk back out, an exit which was relative. Rodrigues stepped aside to allow Becker egress into the living room and then followed to sit on the arm of a couch.

“What now boss?”

“I’m not sure. I mean, what the hell was that?”

“I didn’t see no Lincoln.”

“The inside is outside and the far-out is inside.”

“Say again?”

Becker looked at Rodrigues, just to see if he was fucking with him. Rodrigues looked sincere.

“All this inside stuff; the furniture, the flooring, the appliances. It all belongs inside, right?”

“With you so far.”

“We go inside and there’s…what?”

“A whole ‘nother outside. A dark and freaky place, man.”

“Does that make any sense to you?”

“I gave up trying to figure out why some people live the way they do. As long as my crib works for me…Know what I’m saying?”

Becker walked out of the living room and when he got to the picket fence he turned to face the house. Everything here was so blatantly wrong. But you couldn’t bust a guy for that if no rules had been broken. They didn’t deal with code violations.

They were only here because Eastus Hutt, a total stranger to everyone and a guy who wore sunglasses everywhere, had spent an undue amount of time in town just before the water tower collapse which crushed three houses and several occupants. Also…his car had no plates to run.

Something as big and hairy as a German Shepard darted out the front door of the house. It was heading toward Rodrigues on six legs with its mandibles spread wide.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Becker raised his gun to fire. Before he could get a round off, something exploded behind him.

The bug thing burst in an eruption of blueberry colored glop.

Becker turned and Eastus Hutt said, “Wolf Ant. Communicate telepathically.” He pointed to Rodrigues, who was still looking around trying to figure out what happened, and said, “You there, kindly close that door please.”

The gun Eastus Hutt was pointing had a bore bigger than anything Becker had ever seen before, easily an inch in diameter. It was a revolver of cartoon-like dimensions.

Becker faced Eastus Hutt, his gun still drawn. He was ready to make an arrest. Before he could say anything, Eastus Hutt spoke up.

Flashing a badge quickly, he said, “You two have stumbled upon a secret facility. It would be smart of both of you if you forgot everything you have seen here today. For the sake of national security, I ask you to return to your car and leave immediately.”

They did just that.

Later, Becker said, “It’s after noon and I can’t remember what we did this morning.”

Rodrigues cocked his head, eyes searching, and said, “Huh, me neither.”


If this sort of thing interests you, pick up anything written by John Keel. Most of it is out of print now, though you’ll likely find his stuff at the local library. The Mothman Prophecies are highly recommended by yours truly.

Other names to look for include Ivan T. Sanderson, and Charles Fort.