Man’s Best Friend Has A Secret…Maybe Two


A very short story for animal lovers today:

When the front door locked and all the lights were turned off, except for the front window display, Seth, the German Shepard (who had the best view), barked once and said, “All’s clear!”

“Just in time too,” said Penelope the Poodle, “I was ready to tell that human to shut up already!”

“Easy with the tough talk missy,” Perry the Pug warned. “You’re supposed to be a sweet little doggie that someone would want to adopt.”

“Blow it out of your ear you stupid pug!” Penelope huffed.

“Both of you take a chilly bone. We don’t want to hear you two argue again all night,” Bob the Beagle interrupted. “Oh look! Larry got out again…” 

Just then Larry the Labrador Retriever came around the corner. He stopped in the middle of the aisle and greeted them all; “Told you. No stupid human can keep me locked up if I don’t want to be.” 

“Why you calling humans stupid Larry? Bob asked, with his  southern drawl. “They feed us, give us a place to live, play with us and if we’re lucky they love us.” 

“You know what I like about you Bob?” said Larry.

Bob smushed his snout into the cage door bars and asked, “What?”

“Your an optimist. You also come from a championship litter and humans like that. Take mutts. Mutts usually end up in dog pounds and shelters where their options are; get put down for the endless nap; live their entire life in a five-by-five cage; or someone MIGHT adopt them.”

“You can’t compare pedigree breeds with mutts. We’re bred to be superior, while mutts are usually an accident between two breeds,” Penelope proclaimed in her high (and highly irritating) snooty voice.

Well, we must be as stupid as humans if that’s the case,” Chico the Chihuahua chimed in.

“Why’s that?” Perry asked.

“This talk about one type of dog being better than another is racist. Just look at the humans. They’re divided up into groups who barely tolerate one another because they look different or have different beliefs,” Chico explained.

Horace, the Blood Hound puppy, had been listening intently to the conversation. He finally spoke up, “Hey guys! How come we don’t talk with humans?” 

A stunned silence.

“It’s to our advantage.” Seth said. “We always know what’s on their mind because they don’t think we understand them and speak freely in front of us. It’s way better than trying to read expressions.”

Horace seemed happy with the answer, and snuggled up with his two litter mates.

Larry then made his rounds seeing if any dogs needed anything – a midnight snack? No problem. The place was full of treats. Whenever Larry got adopted someday they’d all miss him.

It’s nearly time for the human to show up!” Larry warned as he headed back to his cage.

“At least I won’t have to listen to you talk anymore you ugly pug,” Penelope snidely whispered.

As Jean the shop owner unlocked the front door store she thought – just for a moment – that someone said, “Stick it up your ass bitch!”

As It Stands, when I was young I really believed animals could talk and I just wasn’t lucky enough to catch them conversing. It’s a fantasy I still have.



A Space Hunter’s Story


“So how long has it been since you’ve hunted on earth?” Islipt asked.

Nrfum considered the question as he polished his sword. The eye in the back of his head blinked rapidly.

I’m going to say about 700 years, gave or take a decade.” 

“A blink of the eye!” Islipt chortled. “You know that some things are going to be different now right?”

Nrfum stopped polishing his weapon and stood up. He wasn’t very tall for a Nurtligster, just seven feet, but he held himself with dignity.

“We’ll still be hunting a hapless human right? They haven’t evolved have they?”

“Not physically.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Nrfum asked.

“We think their using their brains more now,” Islipt explained.

I doubt that, my friend. I’ve read planetary reports that they’re still killing each other in record numbers every day. Wars and famine. Governments rising and falling. Nothing but chaos.” 

The ships landing lights came on bathing the room in a blue glow as the onboard computer politely requested they take their seats and prepare for the descent..

“It’s 1:00 p.m., EST, in The United States, and the temperature is mild – low 70s – but slightly humid,” the computer informed them. They touched down in a big grassy meadow surrounded by hardwood trees in full fall colors.

Islipt and Nrfum stepped out of the craft and into a riot of colors – leaves dancing down as the rush of air from the ship picked them up again and made them dance once more across the clearing.  The two aliens strapped their swords across their backs and started walking.

Dusk came shortly, and then darkness fell as the two space travelers picked their way through the dense forest – their eyes going from black to white – as they naturally gained their night vision.

Last time I was on this planet I killed a king, and had him stuffed like my other trophies. I think his name was Arthur, or something like that,” Nrfum boasted. Islipt wasn’t listening. He was making plans to bag a president.

After weeks of careful planning it came to this. That’s why Islipt led the way. He had first dibs on this hunt. Nrfum had agreed to come along as a witness and to finish what he couldn’t.”

The big white house was lit up like a Starfleet holiday parade when they arrived. It was child’s play to hop over the gate – one bound and they were heading for the entrance of the building.

If it wasn’t for their invisibility shields the two tall aliens would have stood out like blue storks. Up the stairs. To the right. Open the door. Then another door. The president was sitting on his golden throne – aka shitter – and tweeting something to his minions.

They turned off their invisibility shields and grinned at the chubby man with his pants around his ankles franticly typing a tweet with his little fingers..

“This guys the leader of the free world?” Islipt asked, sarcasm dripping from each word.

Nrfum shook his head in wonder, his third eye blinking rapidly, as he shared Islipt’s disgust.

As they carried his corpulent body back to the ship, the two aliens agreed he was the worst excuse for a leader they’d ever seen. If it wasn’t for that Wanted “Dead or Alive” poster in a Cyclia bar offering 1,000,000,000 Dortzaps for him, they would have gone after Russia’s leader Putin.

Now that would have been a good kill.

As It Stands, I like mixing science fiction and satire around in a wok, and seeing what the results are.



How Bob’s Lyin’ Eyes Led To Doom


Another very short story for your entertainment; 

You can’t hide your lyin’ eyes
And your smile is a thin disguise
I thought by now you’d realize
There ain’t no way to hide your lyin eyes”

The Eagles

Julie and Ben loved their son Bob, but realized at an earlier age he was a consummate liar.

His first word was a lie.

Did you do that?” Julie asked while pointing at an overturned trash can in the middle of the kitchen.

“No,” the two-year old replied, as he looked directly into her eyes. She didn’t know whether to celebrate that he had spoken his first word, or to be concerned that his first word was a lie. Laugh, or cry?

She decided to laugh that time.

As Bob got older, the lies became more clever. He was blessed with a quick wit and the ability to size up a situation instantly. By grade school, Bob had a bad reputation because he was caught lying numerous times.

Outwardly he was a social guy, had a good sense of humor, and was a quick learner. Despite his tainted reputation, Bob had friends, both male and female. He wasn’t interested in athletics, but was interested in computers from the fourth grade on.

His teachers tolerated his lies, always calling him on them, but they also seemed to like him as a person. By junior high, Bob was a certified nerd. His grasp of computer programing brought him praise from his teacher.

In the 11th grade Bob built his own computer. While scanning the internet one night he came across an article about the dark web. He discovered that there were dark nets – overlay networks which use the internet but require specific software, configurations or authorization to access.

The dark web is not indexed by search engines. This fascinated Bob. He knew right then that he had to get the software and instructions on configurations and authorizations to satisfy his curiosity.

First time visit. Bob found software exploits, weapons for sale, illegal drugs (one of the most popular sellers was a site called Evolution), child porn, how to build bombs, and how to hire a killer.

The second time he visited a chatroom. The discussion was about how well the participants concealed their home-made bombs at Washington High School for tomorrows big surprise. Bob’s high school!

He looked up at the Spiderman clock above his computer. Two a.m. What should he do? What could he do? His eyes returned to the screen as the participants signed off. A video suddenly appeared of Alice Cooper in concert.

He was singing “Schools out Forever!”

“School’s out for summer
School’s out forever
School’s been blown to pieces…”

First choice. Wake mom and dad up. He did. They looked him in the eyes and, as usual, couldn’t tell if he was lying or telling the truth. It was a toss-up. They tried to compromise by telling him they’d talk about it in the morning.

Go to bed now dear,” His mother said.

“No!” he screeched, “you don’t understand!”

Trying to keep the irritation out of his voice, his dad said, “Go back to bed son. It’s probably a bad dream.”

The End

As It Stands, I’ve always enjoyed the story about the little boy who cried wolf once too often. This is my version of that wonderful tale.

You Can’t Always Get What You Want


A very short story for your amusement today:

Mick Jagger’s voice somewhere in the night singing “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”

Drunks staggering out of a bar after last call. Grotesque creatures casting shadows beneath the neon sign of a cowboy riding a horse. They scurry off into the darkness and get into waiting cabs.

Jagger’s voice, high and shrill, emanated from the juke box inside and sent shivers down Alice’s back.

She stands next to the open bar door. Waiting for her taxi that was late. The silky midnight blue dress clung to her amble breasts and hips like a second skin. She clutched a blue satin purse that sparkled with rhinestones.

Alice was fuming. The jackass that had come on to her too heavily in the bar had gotten under her skin. He ended up getting arrested for disturbing the peace. That was hours ago.

Here was the thing. Alice was used to getting what she wanted. As an only child she was spoiled beyond redemption. Throw that in with her natural beauty and you had one headstrong woman.

The jerk backed out of helping finance Alice’s latest tech start-up unexpectedly. He wanted some fringe benefits – as in sex – before he’d spring for any cash. Alice would have preferred to have sex with a camel before letting that greasy little imp touch her.

Looking back.

Alice always got her way. That’s just the way it was all her life. A new dress. As many pets as she wanted. Cash stuffed into her purse from her mother, who wrestling with demons whenever she ran out of booze.

Daddy’s girl. He never said no to her. Even now, at thirty-two years-old, he could not refuse whenever she requested help – financially, emotionally, or otherwise.

Alice was getting ready to go back inside to call the taxi company again when a late-model white Chevy with a Taxi sign strapped onto the roof pulled up. The driver was wearing a baseball cap (Arizona Diamondbacks) sidewise, and had a bushy white beard.

You’re not City Cab, ” she accused him when he rolled his window down.

“Damn sharp of you to notice that missy!” 

“I called City Cab. Why are you here?”

Us cabbies work together sometimes when it’s really busy. I’m the sole owner of White Cab and I get City Cab’s overflow. Do you want a drive or not?”

Two thoughts in Alice’s mind. One, why did she have to go to such an out-of-the way place tonight? Two, the bar’s owner was locking up, turning off the lights, and walking to his pickup truck. Her options narrowed considerably.

She was alone. Not quite. There was grandpa playing with the car radio searching for a song. Waiting for her to decide what she was going to do. She didn’t have many friends, and none that would driven so far out-of-town (out in the middle of the desert) at 2:00 a.m.

She had no choice. Reluctantly, she opened the rear door (it groaned and made a grinding noise). “Gotta fix that,” the old man said. “Where to?”

Alice hesitated to give out the information, but knew she had to. She gave him the address of her cottage-style three bedroom house in an affluent neighborhood  (Paid for. Thanks Daddy!).

She settled into the back seat, cursing her luck. This was not supposed to happen.

Oh hell, no! It was a nice little club with good music and they were going to become partners in an enterprise that would make them both wealthy wonders. But the ass couldn’t hold his liquor and got sleazy as the night wore on.

When he lunged after her, several men in the bar suddenly appeared and restrained him. The police were called. Her would-be partner was frog-walked out the door between two burly deputies.

Which left her here, in the backseat of some poorly cared for taxi. After awhile she noticed the bright city lights were receding. Not getting closer. The old man was humming something and still fiddling with the radio.

Alarm bells! Something was wrong. “You’re going the wrong way you old duffer! she suddenly cried out.

Just then the old man found the song he was looking for, You can’t always get what you want…” He turned his head around and slowly peeled off his fake white beard. Then he smiled at her.

The End

As It Stands, the moral of the story is…take a guess?

One Flew ‘Out’ Of The Cuckoo’s Nest



A very short story told by Dave Stancliff…

When the raisins told Harold the cashews and peanuts were plotting to give him an upset stomach, he threw the bag across the room.

It was the only thing to do, of course. One does not ignore such warnings without consequences. Harold was no dummy. He covered all the bases. He learned to do that in the last 15 years.

They didn’t kill him for stabbing that man because a jury thought he was crazy. Instead they put him in this gray and dull place with other damaged men. The two hulking orderlies there didn’t like him, so he avoided them.

His main entertainment was sparring with the doctors who came in to see him daily. He played them like violins. From Day One they bought his stupid childlike act, and worked with him so that someday he might become a sane and productive person.

It took years. He took their tests to measure his cognitive progress without complaint. He smiled a lot. He learned medical buzz words and when to use them.

He did this while dealing with the conflicting voices in his head. They didn’t know about the voices. That would ruin everything. He’d never get out if they did. It wasn’t easy. Those voices got pretty bossy sometimes.

After a year, he was allowed to watch pre-selected movies every Friday night in the home‘s viewing room. The second year saw him with a TV in his own room. He worked hard to impress those doctors. Day ,after day, year, after year.

Meanwhile, the doctors talked about Harold’s progress and grew to like him. They all secretly felt they were turning a crazy man’s life around with their inspiring words.

They would go home, and during dinner would tell their families what a service they were providing for this man who’d been misunderstood and misdiagnosed all of his life.

There was one big problem for Harold. It got harder every month, every year, trying to control the warring voices in his head. After twelve years, he started responding out loud and cursing the difficult voices.

His will power was tested daily as he fought against blurting out something in response to the voices while the doctors were in the room. Three more years trudged by.
Finally, Harold was up for a parole hearing that could set him free. The doctors bought him a pair of new shoes and suit. It was an auspicious sign. He even got a haircut the night before.

The morning of his big hearing the voices weren’t arguing. They were being sarcastic, but he could deal with that. As he slipped on a new pair of socks the voices offered him a deal.

They would be silent, and just sit in his head nicely if he did them a favor. Not even a murmur, as the worthies questioned him. For the first time in years, Harold began to relax.

Without hesitation Harold agreed with the voices, even though he didn’t know what they wanted in return.

He was escorted by his main doctor to another wing he’d never been in before. They entered a small room with a table, and chairs behind it. One lone chair sat before the long table.

The doctor indicated for him to sit down, then went to one of the empty chairs behind the table. Shortly there after, five more people entered the room. Three men and two women.

He calmly answered their questions and made sure to smile a lot. After an hour passed Harold was asked to step outside and wait in a small lobby across from the hearing room.

One of the hulking orderlies he disliked stood by the door. Time went slowly for Harold. The voices were starting to argue again. He had to be careful. Couldn’t respond to the voices with the orderly so close by.

Finally, the door opened and his judges walked out. His doctor was smiling when he came up to Harold.

“Your going to be a free man soon,“ he said with a twinkle in his eyes.”

They sent him to a transition house two days later. Within six months, counselors there helped him get a job and find a small apartment. They showed him how to open a bank account and how to budget his meager pay.

The voices had been strangely quiet during the whole transition. Six more months passed and he no longer had to see a counselor every week. It was after his last visit that the voices suddenly returned.

“It’s time,” they said, “to hold up your end of the bargain.

He walked over to the bike rack and unlocked his bicycle from the stand. Riding home he asked, “What do you want?

“Human sacrifices!” the chorus of voices shouted.

A month later. A newspaper’s headlines: Ritual Killer Strikes Again,” and “Victim Count Up To Eight.” A monster was loose.

Meanwhile, back at the facility where Harold spent 15 years, his doctors were in the break room wondering how their favorite patient was doing?

The End

As It Stands, I’ve always enjoyed a sense of irony in a story.

An Incident On A Chicago Street Corner


I’ve got a very short story with a twist for you today:

Scene: a street corner in Chicago.

LeVar’s mouth was cotton dry with fear.

He was surrounded by a group of 18th Street Boys showing guns. As a Loco Boy he was fair game and LeVar  knew they would toy with him before killing him.

LeVar’s thoughts turned back into his past. He saw his mother and father, alive then, smiling at him and telling him he was a smart boy. He was protective of his little sister Diedre. He was a good son.

A police siren shrieked somewhere nearby. Startled by the sound LeVar looked around him for an opening. There were four of them. Heavily armed, bad ass killers, with no souls. Their dark eyes were pinpoints of hate.

Just yesterday someone warned LeVar that some 18th Street Boys were looking for him. He said quit messing around with one of their women, they’re crazy. He should have listened to his homie.

LeVar rallied his courage. His voice sounded high and almost girlish as he told them he was sorry and that he would give them all a lot of money if they let him live. One of the gang knew who LeVar was. His uncle, who he lived with, was a rich retired athlete.

The possibility that LeVar could come up with a lot of money had them thinking. Silence while LeVar sweated. Waiting for their answer. The leader put his Glock down and walked up to LeVar…breathing in his face he was so close.

We want a million dollars. Tomorrow. Call your uncle. LeVar pulled his cell phone out of his back pocket. In moments his fate would be decided. When his uncle came on the line and he explained the situation his uncle simply said, “Where do they want it delivered?”

A rush of relief that he was going to live made LeVar’s body tremble with joy.

When the police discovered the body of a young black man full of bullet holes on 18th Street, they sighed and went to work on the crime scene. Another death. They knew who did it. What they didn’t know was why.

The End

My apologies to the great American writer Ambrose Bierce who wrote the classic An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” one of the most famous and frequently anthologized stories in American literature.

As It Stands, Bierce’s story showed there was no glory in war. My take on it is there’s no glory in being a gangster.



Silence is not Golden: Stand Up To ‘Unite the Right’ Rally

If we work together Love will trump Hate


Photo Author
Fibonacci Blue from Minnesota, USA

Update: 11:00 a.m. PST – State of emergency as white nationalist rally in Charlottesville turns violent

Thanks to Trump, the alt-rights national recruitment program in America is thriving.

Today, Neo-Nazis and KKKer’s will take over the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia. The event is being called “Unite the Right.” It’s a siren call to fascists, racists, Neo-Nazis, Klan members, and anarchists.

Organizers are expecting 1000 people to attend. Perhaps more, if their pre-rally recruiting did well. Some are calling it the biggest racist rally in recent memory.

While there have been dozens of far-right rallies since Trump’s election, this will be the first major, national rally run by the alt-right’s openly white nationalist wing. 

Charlottesville has seen multiple white nationalist rallies this year. The first, a May 2017 daytime event, was followed by a nighttime torchlight photo-op.

Led by alt-right poster boy Richard Spencer, attendees chanted Nazi slogans like “blood and soil.” The second, in July, was a KKK rally.

The white nationalist rallies have been ostensibly held to oppose the removal of a statue of former Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee. But don’t kid yourself; it’s not that the alt-right gives a tinker’s damn about history, but they do know how to exploit it for their agenda.

Some progressive groups will be there to counter-demonstrate. Hopefully, it won’t turn into a riot. Americans are not particularley happy right now with how things are going; the threat of a nuclear war with Korea, and Trump’s racist immigration policies have set the stage for a high level of tension right now.

The last thing this country needs is idealogical warfare turning into massive street fights across the country.

Counterprotests serve as an immediate denucication of a current event – like this hate rally – but they are not the answer to the problem. The answer lies in sharing the truth about these groups.

Exposing the hate in the alt-right movement is not hard to do. Countering it takes more than a one-off protest against a current event. Silence is not golden when it comes to opposing hate.

We all need to voice our oppostion to this wave of hate through whatever means are available to us. Nearly everyone has access to a computer and social media. We can all write our legislators and voice our opinion.

Finally, most importantly, we can all be examples of tolerance by the way we live, and how we interact with others.

As It Stands, call me old-fashioned…but I believe love trumps hate.