Tag Archives: New England

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?


Just Beyond the Bend

This is a more contemporary, tongue-in-cheek sort of story than is my usual. There is no splatter. In fact, it’s barely horror. Though I hope you ask yourself by the end, “Where are we going and why are we in this handbasket.”

When you get to the end, the last line is a double entendre — something I’m quite fond of.


December 01, 2010

My first day on the job and I am so excited. After being unemployed for most of this year, a small software company in Boston has hired me. It only took three weeks to relocate to a house south of the city in the community of Pekingnocginot Heights.

My wife, Elizabeth, has never been out of southern Florida and can’t wait to see New England snow for the first time.

December 12, 2010

Snowing! My wife is giddy as a school girl. The snow barely covered the lawn and she went out trying to make snow angels.

I stopped by Home Depot to pick up a snow shovel and noticed they had quite a selection of snow blowers. I can’t imagine being that lazy.

December 13, 2010

Too bad the snow finally stopped. It makes the outdoors so pretty. The blanket of white makes everything so much brighter—happier. The snow plow operator even waved to me.

My commute to work went a little slower. At mid-point, we were forced down to one lane. The only plow I saw was going the other way.

Driving home, I picked up a puppy so Elizabeth has some company while I’m at work. She hasn’t named the little Shih Tzu yet. He is mostly white and fluffy.

December 20, 2010

More snow and everyone’s excited that we’ll have a white Christmas.

Elizabeth decided to name the puppy Snowball.

The commute to Boston was messy this morning and my Toyota Yaris doesn’t do well in the slushy ruts.

You’d think with all the plows on the road it wouldn’t be a problem. But I noticed that most of the trucks with plows don’t even seem to use them. They just hang there, a foot off the pavement.

December 21, 2010

I stopped at the mall on the way back from Boston to do a little Christmas shopping for Elizabeth. The parking lot has huge mounds of snow in the few remaining parking spaces. It took a while to find a place to park.

I slipped and fell crossing to the mall entrance. I was worried that the oncoming plow operator might not see me. Apparently he did. He stopped and waited for me to get up. I think I hurt my tail bone, and I hope the dirty slush doesn’t stain the elbows of my coat.

December 26, 2010

Blizzard! How lucky is it that it’s Sunday. No driving — or so I thought.

Elizabeth sent me out for milk and eggs, so I went over to Cumberland Farms. In the parking lot, a pickup truck with a big yellow plow pulled out while I was pulling in and it scared the bejeezus out of me. I got my supplies and slid down the sloping entry into oncoming traffic. The first four cars honked their horns but none of them hit me. When I got home I quietly changed my drawers.

December 27, 2010

They’re asking everyone to stay home today, so I called-in to work. No one answered the phone.

I shoveled as well as I could, but my back is bothering me and it isn’t helping that my tailbone still hurts. By late afternoon I had the driveway cleared enough to get the car out if I need to; then the plow went by and blocked me in again.

There should be a law against that.


January 01, 2011

They’re calling for more snow and I told Elizabeth I couldn’t shovel any more. She said it was just a little snow. Inside I raged like a madman, outwardly I smiled and left for Home Depot.

When I got there, the thousands of snow blowers were gone; so I went to the front desk and asked a woman behind the counter where they were. She said they were sold out of them and wouldn’t be getting any more till next season.

I managed to hold my composure until I got back in my car.

January 02, 2011

Snow: not much but still. I put out three bags of rock salt and threw two handfuls at the passing plow.

January 08, 2011

Snow, again. It’s, like, every frickin’ weekend. I’m not clearing it because the plow guy will just block me back in again. I swear he waits just out of sight. Bastard.

And it’s gotten really cold. I opened the door to let Slushball, the puppy, out. He gave a shudder, turned back to the kitchen where he squatted and did his business.

January 12, 2011

Have we had a week without snow falling? I traded my Yaris in for a Highlander which rolled three times while getting off the highway here at the exit ramp leading to Pekinocginot Heights.

After I came to a stop, the plow went by—probably just to get a closer look.

I hurt my neck when I released the seatbelt and landed on my head.

January 19, 2011

My insurance policy set me up with a rental car. It’s a new red Yaris. In the middle of my hideous laughing, the rental agent began backing away.

In the short time I was driving the Highlander, I got used to being taller in the saddle, so-to-speak. So when I didn’t see anything coming beyond the snow bank at the first intersection, I made a right turn and was promptly creamed by an oncoming snowplow. The impact twirled my car around, bouncing from one snow bank to the other.

He helped me out of my violent red Yaris, and I chased him down the street swinging the remains of the steering wheel, still in my clutches.

February 04, 2011

White sheets, white robe, white curtains that open to a white world.

The nurse has little dinosaurs on her blue uniform.

She comes by, like clockwork, with a tiny white cup to dispense a tiny white pill.

Outside, I can hear the scraping howl of the plow.

It’s waiting, just beyond the bend.