Tag Archives: teeth


Another story about places where the borders are thin and things get through, Click on the arrow and let me tell you about it.


It didn’t occur to Zachary Mosko that anything was amiss when he awoke to the static and hiss. He felt around the bed for the remote and found it near Margaret’s pillow. She remained sound asleep. He pressed the power button, which shut down the LCD monitor and the cable box.

In the quiet of the darkened bedroom, after setting the remote on the nightstand and lying back down, he could still hear the static in his own mind. There had to be some sort of input for static to occur, a channel number without a channel. Zachary realized that what woke him up might not have been the lack of a cable program and the resulting hiss of static.

In the static was another sound: lip smacking was the description which came to mind; as if someone or something had just taken a taste, licked the flavor off its lips a couple of times. Casually. Repeatedly.

Zachary’s eyes were open, searching—guiding his other senses in that way. He was on his left side, facing away from Margaret, facing the closet. He rolled to his back so he could blindly assess the darkness more fully.

The red LED of the television didn’t light the room at all. It glowed like a single eye peering from the edge of the monitor. It remained unmoving, watching its prey in constant calculation. The rest of the creature to which the LED-eye might belong resolved in Zachary’s mind as muted shades of terror and teeth.

Zachary slowly and carefully propped himself up on his elbows, daring not to make a sound. He regretted the recent death of his alarm clock, the room’s lone nightlight. Mental note: go shopping tomorrow.

With a hand on the chain-pull, he focused on the part of the bedroom most likely to have a lurking presence. He prepared to shed light on the situation.

When he turned on the light, he followed the illumination as it reached walls and corners—a tsunami of light; finally casting shadows where there had only been murk, shades of gray replacing the deep darkness of space. His space.

There wasn’t anything to reveal. All threats disapparated under the illumination of truth. No foe could move faster than the speed of light; his retinal perception had a hard enough time just keeping up.

He turned the light back off before it woke Margaret. She might not understand his heebie-jeebies over a little static. Hell, he didn’t understand his heebie-jeebies. He grunted a little chuckle and paid a smirk into the dark.

Outside, the wind gusted up, sounding like the tide coming ashore. As that sound dissipated, another rose to replace it—a high pitched sound, electrical and faint. It was a sound which would prick the ears of a dog before human perception. But there it was, feeling like predatory tinnitus.

The red LED of the LCD monitor went out showing that it had been powered up and in the darkness of his bedroom he felt alone, utterly alone; left to deal with whatever was lurking in the darkness—something he knew was there even after confirming it wasn’t. He was still propped up on his elbows so he could see what happened next.


Static began to show up on the screen. It began in black turned to a deep impenetrable gray as it washed in on the speakers. A few scattered bits of light, mere pixels really, scurried across the screen. More pixels vaguely made manifest a shape. As the head and shoulders of the static-thing resolved, the screen seemed to bow and flex, warp and ripple.

Two hands, then two arms reached out across Zachary Mosko’s dresser to pull the static-thing out as if drawing itself from a pool after a few laps. It yanked once and had its chest resting on the dresser. The hiss of its breathing, shallow yet rapid with its exertions, should have woken Margaret. But she remained unmoving and deeply asleep.

After the short rest, the static-thing took a great inhalation filled with electrical interference and launched itself at Zachary. It grabbed him by the legs and began drawing him back, back toward the LCD display.

Zachary reached to anchor himself in the room. One hand landed on the remote control and he frantically tried to turn off the television—turn off the terrorizing presence that couldn’t possibly exist.

Again, and again, and again—he stabbed at the power button.

When that didn’t do anything for him, he dropped the remote on the bed and grabbed at the footboard in a last ditch effort.

The electrical discharge grew louder as Zachary’s feet and legs passed through the surface of the LCD monitor. Pixels parted in fluid motion, engulfing Zachary and taking shape around him.

He inexplicably uttered no cry of help, too busy in the attempt of staying alive. He flailed in desperation as he was drawn in; denial written plainly on his face.

And then he was gone.

He had passed on to another where. A looking glass made by Samsung.

Margaret Mosko woke up then. She felt around on Zachary’s side of the bed and came up with the remote. She used it to turn off the television which was reduced to a light static anyway. She figured Zachary had gone for a snack when the cable went out.

Irony in that. Think about it.

Later, the police didn’t believe her. The spouse is always the first suspect.

But the surveillance video was pretty clear.

So now you know what happened to Zachary Mosko.

I understand it’s going around.


Table Saw Slam

I like acrostics. They offer a chance to write like a rapper, like a poetry slammer. Read this one through once. Then stand up, close the door and read it out loud—with feeling. Go ahead, no one’s watching…

Teeth circle, hungry for more. The last pass complete, he freezes; looks around without moving. The motor’s whir is unbound and clean. There is a sublime hum to the whir; something he just now notices as time ratchets away in nano-beats. Full speed sound in a slo-mo moment. The scent of fresh cut pine is strong, nearly cloying.

Asymmetric view through a line of fleshy crimson dots; they run up his face shield like red pulp from a spastic juicer. The memory of flinching back is still fresh. He kept control of the board though—lest it become a projectile.

Boards: propped against the workbench, ready for assembly. This was to be the first of many money saving projects around the home with the new tool; justification for its purchase; a hobby that paid dividends—unlike golf. The scent of the boards is an intoxicant and will forever be a reminder of this day. His eyes go watery and the lights intensify the swimmery-shimmery view.

Lights, installed to illuminate the new tool and the current project, shine brightly on the aftermath. Lately he has been trying to save money in case something catastrophic should happen. The irony, even as a fleeting idea, does not elude him. He finally increases his view of things by moving his head.

End-cuts are generally easier and safer than the rip-cuts he was making tonight. But the boards had to be narrower in order to fit. Regret creeps in, cold as leftovers—cold as a detachment; phantom digits complain of that detachment. And the cold has less to do with temperature and more to do with temperament; a deliberation of calculation.

Saw blade whirring; she calls him for dinner, has no idea the current dilemma. For her it’s all about chicken and rice and a new sauce she found on a blog focusing on south Asian cuisine—an oxymoron if there ever was one. The idea of Asian food conjures flavors both piquant and spicy, and he cannot say why this diversion now but the hot spicy pepper effect on the tongue suddenly transfers its bite to his hand.

Arm held up because all in a rush the nerves in his hand register a problem — scream a warning that something’s amiss. The whirr of the new tool becomes a buzz—a hum in his head, and later the sound will conjure a sense of horror and dread; reminiscent of the day he lost so much.

Whirrrr; it’s all he can hear. Even as he addresses his wife—tells her he’ll be right there, which is a lie from a man in denial—it is the whirring sound that defines his day, his week, his month. It is a sound he’ll hear for the rest of his life — elevator music for the damned.

So did you? Feel it, that is…

Roddy and the Hairball

Hello readers. This is a bizarro fantasy sort of tale, which seems to be my thing lately. Tell me what you think, even if you think it blows chunks.

Donald Conrad

Roddy and the Hairball

It all began for Rodolph Engel in the most unlikely of places; the shower. What he saw when he looked into the stark white plastic shower enclosure, directly under the soap shelf, was round and hairy. Smaller than a marble and larger than a pea, he thought it was a bug of some ominous design. He half expected eight legs to unfold and suspend the hairy body in preparation for attack.

He reached in, turned the faucet, and aimed the shower head to rinse away the intruder while waiting for the hot water to arrive from the basement boiler. The intruder did not sprout legs. It was as if someone had run a few fingers over the drain, extracted what hair was there and rolled it into a small ball. It was a disheveled thing with loops and ends sticking out randomly.

The hairball seemed reluctant, resisting the water flow as if it had weight to it—as if it had a choice. Once it had washed down the drain, Roddy took his shower with a nagging apprehension that the hairball was somehow alive and lurking just below the chrome drain, ready to do its nastiest deed while he was naked and vulnerable. By the time his shower was finished, the hairball was forgotten and Roddy was thinking about other things.


The next morning Roddy woke with a start well before the alarm. His bed was jumping around as if it had a mind of its own, set on escape. Roddy kept from rolling off his bed by throwing his arms wide to ride out the storm. He couldn’t understand why no one came to his aid; surely someone had to hear the ruckus.

The bed was still for some time before Roddy’s eyes returned to their normal size and he retracted his arms. Whatever it was that caused all the commotion must still be under the bed. He sat up and looked around the room. What caught his eye was a baseball bat standing in the corner.

With furtive movements he crawled out from under his covers to the corner of the bed. He paused; all was quiet except his breathing which came in quavering exhalations. Roddy was a naturally slow waker-upper, but this morning he was hopped up on adrenaline and hyperaware. He launched out and away to avoid the lunatic malevolence hiding in the nether reaches of the under-bed. He hit the ground running for the bat; collapsing into the corner while raising it as if to bunt. It was an instinctive move to defend.

He crouched low for a better view, saw nothing until it blinked in the darkness.

“Come out,” he demanded. “Come out from under there.”

He was surprised at the determined sound of his own voice. He rose to standing as it came out. It got to its knees and then to its feet and Roddy saw that it was taller than he, yet not as tall as an adult. Through the mat of tangled hair he could only make out the eyes for certain; lots of white surrounded one bright red eye and one violent green eye. Recognition came to Roddy slowly, that this creature looked so very like the hairball he had rinsed down the drain the night before, yet much larger. It blinked at Roddy who was ready to swing for the fences. They remained at an impasse until it began to yawn like a large Muppet.

“Stay where you are,” said Roddy.

It did that very thing while Roddy got dressed and went down for breakfast, always an eye out for the hairball. His mother served up Pop Tarts and chocolate milk without a word. He liked the blue dress she wore but thought the gi-normous red clown shoes were a bit over the top. So he left for school.


In between classes, Roddy went to the boys-room nearest the gym. It was the least used. Just as he was finishing up he heard the door rush open followed by voices. He turned to face the three boys who had been bullying him relentlessly throughout the school year. They were all together, a triple threat. Roddy swallowed a dry lump.

“Well,” said David whose horns were partly hidden by a shock of red hair, “look who we have here.”

“Rudolph the red-nosed butt head,” said Jason. His horns were the largest.

Roddy was looking behind the three, watching as the hairball entered. It had grown to over seven feet tall.

David said, “What are you looking at, faggot?”

Tom, the third horned bully said, “Let’s try flushing his head.”

The hairball moved in behind the three. It raised a mitt-like hand.

Roddy said to the hairball with some concern in his voice, “I wouldn’t do that.”

Jason said, “Why? Who’s going to stop us?”

David and Tom began moving in on Roddy. Jason couldn’t; a single hairy mitt held one of his horns.

What happened after that, none of the three would talk about. Not to Mr. Steele, the gym instructor, who found them sprawled in separate corners dripping wet, battered, bruised, and out cold. They said nothing to the Vice-Principal and then the Principal of the school. They were even interrogated individually by a visiting police detective who was determined to get to the bottom of things quickly so he could return to his online chat with a girl from Ukrainebrides.com (but that’s another story).

Roddy was long gone when the three were found. He left the melee early and because the other three said nothing on the subject, he was never brought in on it. The rest of the school year moved along uneventfully and nobody bullied Roddy ever again.

Several years later, Roddy saw the hairball lurking outside the library and waved. The hairball smiled back with a mouth full of jagged chrome teeth. Roddy kept walking, vaguely wondering about those teeth and what they might mean.


I borrowed the idea of the Ukrainebrides.com website from an audiobook I recently listened to. I had no idea it would actually link to something until I checked it. I left it in, figuring that anything I put in its place would probably link as well. At least it’s not porn.