The Storyteller’s Warning

gather ’round you ogres, trolls, fairies, wizards, elves, and giants, for I have a story to tell…

your days are numbered by the emergence of mankind

your histories will become mysteries until the end of time

your lives reduced to children’s fables and tales

where mankind is the hero who always prevails

so gather around my children and we’ll pretend

that this isn’t your end

The Coyote’s Mistake

Flash Fiction -260 words

They crossed over to the Texas border on a moonless night. Six immigrants hailing from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador bearing backpacks. The coyote, who name was Carlos, urged them to move faster.

“Estoy exenuado!” a young man from Guatemala complained.

“Seguier avanzando!” Carlos warned him not to stop.

The four men and two women who followed Carlos were silent after that, not wanting to anger the coyote and be left to die in the Rio Grande Valley’s harsh environment.

Just before daylight Carlos led them to a wooden shack that was almost entirely concealed by clusters of small barrel cactus and honey mesquite. The one room shack was just big enough for the tiny group.

“Descansa y duerme,” he advised the immigrants, knowing they would need all the rest they could get, because the next night was the most perilous part of the journey.

The next night the moon crept up over the horizon like a silver ball as Carlos looked out the one window in the shack. A full moon. How could that be, he wondered? He checked the almanac, and the national weather service. It was supposed to be a quarter moon tonight!

His perfect record of delivering his cargo to a safe haven on the other side of the border was going to be ruined. He hoped he wouldn’t get a bad reputation. There weren’t too many jobs for werewolves these days.

As his body morphed into a mass of muscle and hair he briefly felt sorry for the group. Then he let out a howl!


Mermaid Mammaries

when ancient mariners tell tales of things they see at sea

mermaids come up a lot, half woman, half fish, and pretty

without so much as blushing they praise their mammaries

the old sea dogs smile with their imaginative memories

there’s stories of mermaids told throughout history

their true intentions for sailors always a mystery

mermaids, salty dogs claim, sometimes go ashore

falling in love with men for evermore

Car Mythology

it all started with the great mechanic in the sky

who inspired Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot to try

to build the first car to deify

It was powered with steam

soon only a rich man’s dream

and the mythology of cars was born

birthing a pantheon of gods to adorn

Ford, Chevrolet, Dodge, Studebaker

each worshiped as a moneymaker

spawning Lords of the Road

unrestricted by any code

devotees all of car mythology

and all of it’s terminology

deciples driving at all speeds

unconcerned with other’s needs

followers of self-driving cars

dreaming of a track to Mars

while the great mechanic in the sky

looks on with an approving eye

The Fickle Gods Own Bartender

600 words –

“I’ll have a scotch on the rocks when your done serving those sissies at the end of the bar!” a belligerent customer bellowed.

Willie the bartender glanced over his shoulder at the loudmouth on the other end of the bar while continuing to serve the two men beer and pretzels.

He’d seen his type before. A mean drunk. Rather than violently kick him out, which he had every right to do, Willie walked over to him and looked him straight in the eye. Something in his stare caused the rowdy customer to instantly calm down.

“You sure you haven’t had enough for the night buddy?” he asked. The would-be customer slid off the bar stool and muttered that he was taking his business elsewhere as his unsteady legs propelled him towards the door.

In Willie’s world, the bar was a waiting room for restless souls, not yet gone on to any reward, and not likely too either. The tortured souls who sat at his bar looked for advise and solace. They were confused and he found that most were looking for heaven. They came to the bar to learn about their next step in the process of passing from one life to another.

They told him their life stories over shots of tequila and whiskey; wondering why their drinks didn’t make the misery of this alcoholic purgatory disappear.

Then there were those carefree souls who laughed and partied through the endless nights, calling Willie, “St. Peter,” and begging him to escort them through invisible Pearly Gates. But it wasn’t Willie’s job. All he was supposed to do was listen and offer his two-cents worth while serving endless alcoholic drinks.

Long ago Willie realized his karma was damaged beyond repair. That was why the gods (there had to be more than one) put him where he was. A lifelong alcoholic who drank himself to death and was resurrected as a messenger between worlds. What irony. The gods sense of humor was impossible for Willie to understand. He was a hostage for eternity.

One day all that changed.

The god of chaos sent other deities spinning through dimensions and worlds unborn, in a burst of cosmic energy that tore souls loose from the places they were stuck. Adrift, the souls turned to space, eagerly looking for new landings. New starts.

Willie found himself on earth again. It was 1923 and he owned a whiskey distillery that supplied gangsters from Chicago to New York. As he watched the last truck pull out, packed with crates of his signature booze, Willie had a nagging feeling that the good times weren’t going to last. He was rich beyond his wildest dreams, but business was just too good to walk away from. Besides, he felt alcohol was part of his destiny. His rise to glory.

Willie was on to something. He just didn’t realize it then.

When the mobsters attacked his distillery one night he was killed playing a game of poker with his two bodyguards. His suddenly rich wife buried him quietly.

Dimensions shifted. Alternate universes collided. The gods fought for time and space. New worlds were springing up in far away solar systems. Galaxies groaned as solar systems stretched and contracted, collecting stars like seashells on earth’s beaches.

And Willie found himself pouring a beer from behind a long mahogany bar while listening to a sad soul’s story. He sighed because he knew it was going to take a very long time.

The gods shrill laughter echoed throughout the heavens, and meteors continued to scream through outer space on a mission to mock mankind.

The Ghost

Since the ghost first appeared while Jena was making herself dinner, she was determined to ignore it.

No such things as ghosts. Common knowledge. Still it was getting harder to ignore her dead husband who only showed up when she was alone. His appearances were becoming more frequent lately.

One day she decided the “ghost” might be her conscience. If so, it was a first. Even her family thought she was “calculating and cold-blooded.

With restored belief there were no ghosts, she smiled the next time she saw him, even though he was holding the revolver she killed him with.

The Line

Storm clouds gathering as the endless line disappeared in miles of concrete jungles surrounded by crumbling buildings.

The edge of reality and civilization. 

The line’s inhabitants dumbly moving forward, like lemmings on a mystery tour. Rumors of food and shelter passed up and down the line, giving some hope. Most were skeptical, having been in the line for an eternity.

The storm clouds never seemed to go away. Always looking like they were going to burst any second, causing a catastrophic flood where they would be no safe places.

No one knew if there was an end to the line.

(Author’s note: I continue to experiment with telling a story in 100 words. What do you think about this format?)