Category: Free Flash Fiction

A Halloween Poem / Halloween Jack

There is an old hermit
Who lives in a shack.
The Town kids all call him –
Halloween Jack.

He lived in the forest –
Almost never came out.
But on Halloween night –
He was always about.

Jack so loved Halloween –
And all that it brought.
Creatures and candy –
And all of that rot.

Ghosties and witches –
And monsters and such.
But Jack didn’t like –
The town’s kids so much.

For all of his kindness –
And all of his care.
Those stingy little children –
Just would not share.

Jack begged and he pleaded –
But they just would not share.
Those stingy little bastards –
Just would not share!

Jack quickly realized –
That to get any play.
He’d have to dress up –
And do it their way.

So he knocked and he rang –
And he sang, “Trick or Treat!”
“Trick or Treat – smell my feet.”
“Give me something good to eat!”

But every door that he went to –
They slammed in his face.
They screamed and they panicked –
And sprayed him with mace.

“These goodies are for children.”
“Every candy bar and chew”
“Halloween is for kids.”
“Not for weirdoes like you!”

There was only so much –
That poor Jack could take.
Rejected – dejected –
He sat down to think.

There was plenty of candy –
And Halloween gloom.
But with all the kids hogging it –
What was poor Jack to do?

The voices in Jack’s head –
Told him just what to do.
The buddies in his head –
Named Worm #1 and Worm #2.

“You should take all their candy.”
“’Cause that’s what monsters do.”
“You should teach those little bastards.”
“Not to be rude!”

So with a swing of his cane –
He gave them a whack!
And with a chop of his hatchet –
He gave them a hack!

He whacked and he hacked –
And he hacked and he whacked.
Hack-hack, whack-whack –
Whack-hack-whack.

Jack finished that Halloween –
With a grin on his face.
He chopped up the woman –
Who had sprayed him with mace.

He pooped in her flowers –
And he peed on her bed.
And gobbled his candy –
From her hollowed out head.

The moral of this story?
When Jack is about.
Hand over your candy –
And clear the hell out.

That night the town’s kids –
Learned one simple fact.
Nobody messes –
With Halloween Jack!

Flash Fiction / Butch, Be Quick!

I know I’m pushing the boundaries of what you could consider flash fiction this time, but it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, and I don’t want you to think I’ve forgotten about you. I don’t have anything worth pontificating about tonight, and I happen to be very fond of this particular very short misadventure, so here you are. I may have sent this out before in my old newsletter, so forgive me if you’re getting this for the second time. If you haven’t read it before, I hope you will now.

If you happen to enjoy Butch, you should check out his other misadventures.

Brian Knight.


Butch, Be Quick!
From the Misadventures of Butch Quick

Frankie saw me the moment I waked through the door and tensed as if to bolt. I could almost read his thoughts in his dark little eyes. He wasn’t surprised to see me – not happy either, but the people I call on usually aren’t. He’d probably been warned in advance to expect me. If so, I knew who to thank for that.

For a moment I thought he might run, try to make it to the back door, but a few seconds passed and he didn’t. I guess he knew the time for running had come and gone. I was here. He’d just have to deal with me now.

Frankie sighed, resigned.

Seeing his ugly mug wasn’t going to be the highlight of my morning either, but I was there, and we had business to take care of.

I deal with a lot of lowlifes in my job, rub shoulders, and sometimes knuckles, with the scum of Paradise Valley on a daily basis, but some people really do piss me off worse than others.

Frankie for instance. Tall, scrawny, big hair and little eyes that remind me of a rat’s oil drop peepers. A perpetual and loathsome smirk on his narrow face. A face made for punching.

Some people say my attitude sucks, I say it could be worse.

I was going to play nice this time though. Try to at least.

To be fair to Frankie, which I’m only doing in the interest of personal improvement, he probably felt the same way about me.

My name is Butch Quick, and I deal with Paradise Valley’s less savory residents for a living. I work for my Uncle Higheagle and his various enterprises. Depending on his current needs I am a nightclub bouncer, a repo man, a bail bond recovery agent, and pretty much any other job too dangerous or dirty for anyone else to do.

Like dealing with Frankie.

I am especially well equipped for this type of work. At two hundred and fifty pounds and just a hair under seven feet tall, I find that most people are happy enough to let me do my job with minimal interference. My red skin is almost overkill, an unfair advantage to the white folks who are still afraid of Indians.

I blame the media. Too many cheesy spaghetti westerns on AMC maybe.

All of that and a face not even a mother could love. None too pretty to start with, my rough job and talent for trouble has added to the overall effect. I’ve been shot, stabbed, beaten, run over and generally badly used in the execution of my work.

And people wonder why I have a bad attitude.

Frankie clearly belonged to the White Dudes Who Are Afraid of Indians tribe, but I wasn’t going to let that break my heart. He was the guy currently providing the good citizens of Paradise Valley with massive quantities of potentially life shortening stimulants, not me.

I closed the door behind myself and took my first steps toward Frankie with a stomach full of bitter bile and a head full of antisocial ideas. A bubble of tension seemed to grow between us, as real and noxious as a deviled egg fart.

Frankie was not alone. A dozen sharp and suspicious eyes aimed themselves at me like loaded guns, moved to follow my slow progress. Frankie’s customers and associates. A sharply dressed blonde with the body of a model and the face of a predatory bird sat alone at a small table, the legal pad she’d been writing in forgotten for the moment. Her right hand dropped down toward a black leather holster not quite concealed under the loose fold of her light jacket.

I wondered if I should have come armed, but after a moment’s consideration decided that would only have provoked them.

I should have just stayed in bed that morning.

***

My Uncle Higheagle is a good guy, the best in fact, and I would do just about anything for him. Sometimes I’m surprised by the list of crazy things I have done for him. Whatever I have done or will do, it’s nothing compared to everything he’s done for me. He took me in when my mom died, raised me from a teenager to the almost respectable man who bounces drunks, jacks cars from deadbeat customers, and drags bail-jumpers back to their cells.

The surprising fact that I’m not occupying one of those cells myself says a lot for him, considering the raw material he had to work with.

He has his bad days though, and that had been one of them. It was that time of the month, payroll, and he was still dealing with the cleanup from my recent misadventure with a homicidal prostitute and a pissed off drug dealer. He had taken most of the fallout in good grace, but the strain was beginning to show.

We were in the combined offices of Higheagle Classics (the best selection of clean classic cars in Paradise Valley!) and Eagle Eye Bail Bonds, him seated in the chair behind a desk stacked high with paperwork that needed his attention, me in the nice leather chair in the corner by the potted palm trees he habitually kept in his office. I’m especially fond of that chair, partly because the palms match all my best shirts. I’m a sucker for Hawaiian shirts. The louder the better.

The mountain of paperwork, which he was fervently ignoring for the time being, was a good indication of how his morning was going. The phone, which rang constantly until he unplugged it and dropped it into his wastepaper basket, was an even better one. Despite these clear warning sings I felt compelled to object to the task he’d asked of me that morning.

“You want me to what? Seriously?” I wasn’t trying to be a pain in the ass, but the task he’d given me was clearly outside my range of prescribed duties. I also felt it was a waste of my time and talent. “Isn’t there a stripping midget I can rescue? Maybe a drug lord who needs his car repossessed? That’s always good fun!”

Anybody but Frankie, I thought. I’d gotten Frankie duty before and he had not endeared himself to me on those previous occasions.

Uncle Higheagle clearly thought otherwise, and felt compelled as my father figure and employer to make his opinion clear.

“Butch,” he said, eyeing me from beneath the ridiculous feathered headdress he sometimes wore for the amusement of his customers. “I don’t have time for this shit. I’m up to my feathers in payroll, that old bastard with the shot up storage unit is threatening to sue, and my mechanic called in sick this morning because, his words, he’s pissing blood and fire and, his doodle is turning purple.”

We both shuddered. Curtis was one of those guys who always shared a little too much. He’s a good enough mechanic I guess, but socially retarded. Uncle Higheagle though he was a wizard with a wrench. I though he had questionable taste in women.

Uncle Higheagle took a few deep breaths and continued with what I considered an admirable lack of hostility and foul language.

“I hope you don’t think I’m overstating my case when I say this is the single most important piece of unfinished business I have this morning, and there is no one else to handle it for me.”

He forced a smile. It was not a pleasant one.

“Okay, I’m on it,” I said making for the door before his ghastly smile could brand itself forever on my subconscious.

“Good! Thank you!” He slapped the top of his desk and the tallest of the piles tipped over and spilled into his lap. “Go on now Butch, be quick!”

***

And so, there I stood, facing my nemesis and taking care of my uncle’s very urgent business while a crowd of Frankie’s associates and customers braced themselves for trouble.

I pretended not to notice as the predatory blonde’s hand moved a little closer to the holster, or how two of Frankie’s associates broke off their conversation to track my movement through the suddenly silent room before flanking him.

His reinforcements in place, Frankie’s punch-worthy smirk grew. He leaned against the counter and waited for me.

Feeling like the world’s biggest and dumbest mouse in a den of scrawny, starved cats, I closed the distance.

The tension in the room peaked as I took my last step and stopped.

Someone coughed. Someone else cleared their throat.

I looked down at him.

He looked up at me and smiled. A smile as unconvincing as Uncle Higheagle’s had been.

He spoke.

“Welcome to Starbucks … what can I get for you?”

I gave Frankie the Barista my uncle’s order.

Our transaction broke the tension.

Behind him a machine steamed milk with great, noisy gusto. The blonde slid her cell phone back into its black leather holster and refocused on her legal pad and latte.

Frankie’s associates got busy ignoring me again.

I forked over a five-dollar bill for a single cup of coffee and died a little inside.

Join Butch Quick on his other misadventures!

Flash Fiction / All the Puchikai at Wallyworld Suck

You’ve seen them wandering aimlessly, staring down at their phones, off in their own little virtual worlds. You might even be one yourself, so focused on the chase that you wouldn’t even notice if you fell right into the game. The game even warns you to be observant, to be aware of your surroundings.

If you can’t keep at keep at least one foot in the real world, you never know where you might end up.


 

All the Puchikai at Wallyworld Suck

Beth paused at the corner and grabbed Terry’s shoulder to keep him from stepping into the street and getting creamed by a panel truck that sped up to beat the light at the intersection. Terry didn’t even look up from his phone.

“Look where you’re going, dumbass.”

“We gotta hurry,” Terry said, oblivious to the close call. “There’s a Gozuu in there!”

He pointed across the street at the Walmart.

“Bullshit,” Beth said. “All the Puchikai at Wallyworld suck.”

A shirtless pedestrian taking in summer sun sneered down at them as he passed by. “Stupid fucking kids.”

Beth, who was fourteen and hadn’t considered herself a kid since she was raped at twelve, ignored him. Terry, who Beth did kind of consider a kid even if he was a year older, appeared not to have heard the man at all.

“Puchi-Map says it is.” He tapped his phone’s screen, a virtual map with them at the center. “Puchi-Map is never wrong, but it won’t stay there forever.”

The Don’t Walk at their crosswalk turned to Walk, so she grabbed him by the arm and led him across the street. He followed without even looking up from his phone.

Puchikai World, the latest craze in VR mobile gaming, was kind of kid’s stuff, but Terry was wild about it, and Beth was kind of wild about Terry, so they played and collected together.

Terry’s collection of Puchikai, little cartoon creatures, was big enough that he ignored the scores of wild Puchikai roaming around the Walmart parking lot. He had all of them. He stayed on Puchi-Map, a third-party app that was against Puchikai World’s terms of service, technically speaking, even though a lot of people used it.

Beth found and caught three new ones as they crossed the parking lot, then realized she was almost out of traps and restrained herself. If there really was a Gozuu, the holy grail of Puchikai, in Wallyworld, she might need all the traps she had left to catch it. Most Puchikai were cute, in a Japanese Anime kind of way, but next to useless when fighting other players in the game. Gozuu was a true monster, one of the few near unbeatable catches. So rumor said, anyway. She didn’t know anyone who had caught one, or even seen one.

She watched her screen to see if it would appear to her. She also continued to watch traffic, and steer Terry out of harm’s way when he tried to wander into it.

He kept his eyes on the map, then zoomed in on the building they were about to enter.

“Looks like it’s in Electronics,” he said, and finally looked up as they stepped through the automatic doors and into the air-conditioned chaos of Walmart.

Beth checked again, but it wasn’t showing up on her game app yet.

Terry clicked out of the map and opened the game.

Gozuu finally appeared on her game as they walked past the pet food isles, and Beth began to share Terry’s excitement. She didn’t start feeling nervous until they passed a display of new iPads and entered Electronics.

It was deserted. Not a single customer browsed the DVDs or video games. There were no employees around to mean mug them, the way store employees always seemed to do with teenagers, as if they were up to no good.

They followed the short-range trackers on their game apps, then stopped in front of a pair of black swinging doors. Employees was written in big letters across one, Only across the other.

“It’s in there,” Terry said.

Beth took a step back and looked around.

“Come on,” Terry said. “There’s no one around to bust us.”

“Yeah, about that …”

Terry ignored her and pushed through the swinging doors, into the darkness beyond.

“Shit!” Beth looked around again, then stepped in behind him.

“Terry?” Beth whispered, then gave a little whistle to get his attention. There was no reply.

She looked down at her screen, saw Gozuu ahead and to the right. She tapped the Traps icon to get them ready and followed after Terry. The glow from her screen gave enough light to see directly around and in front of her, but no more. She moved slowly.

No sign of Terry, but Gozuu appeared on her screen, ready to fight. She threw a trap and waited to see if she would need another.

A growl from directly in front of her drew her attention away from her phone.

Two large red eyes opened up the darkness just outside her circle of light, then the thing in the darkness rushed forward to get her.

Beth opened her mouth to scream …

Flash Fiction / Papa

I sent this story out to my Knightmares newsletter before I merged the newsletter with this blog. I thought I should share it here too. If you like it, then subscribe to Knightmares and never miss a post or future flash fiction.


 

Papa

Alex squirmed in the front passenger seat, strained to see over the dashboard. It was dark out, snowing, and the headlights shining through the falling snow made him feel like he was in a spaceship flying past stars. The drive from grandma’s house was long and boring, but flying through space was fun.

“Sit still!” Papa was in a bad mood, a don’t mess with me boy mood, so Alex settled back and tried to sit still.

It wasn’t easy. They never let him sit in front, something about airbags killing little kids like him, and it was a whole new perspective.

“Papa?”

Nothing. Papa squeezed the steering wheel until his fingers turned white.

Alex turned to look in the back seat.

“Sit still!”

Alex jumped, slammed himself back into the seat.

He waited for mommy to say something, to tell papa not to shout, but she didn’t. They’d been fighting all night, so she was probably giving him the silent treatment.

“Mommy?”

“Hush, Alex,” papa said. “Leave your mommy alone.”

“Papa,” Alex said, then remembered he was supposed to hush, and whispered. “Papa.”

Papa ignored him for a moment, then sighed. “What, Alex?”

“Why am I sitting up here instead of mommy?”

They’d traded spots at the last rest area. Alex had to piss big time, and he’d wanted a few minutes away from the arguing, so he’d taken his time. His papa came into the bathroom while he was washing up and hurried him back out to the car, almost shoving him into the front seat and buckling him in.

“Your mommy was tired,” papa said, and there was something in his voice Alex didn’t like. He whispered, maybe so mommy wouldn’t hear him, “all that running her mouth wore her out.”

“Mommy’s taking a nap?”

Papa looked into the rear-view mirror, then back to the road.

“Yeah, mommy’s taking a nap. You should too. We won’t get home for a few more hours.”

“Okay,” Alex said, and he tried, but something was still bothering him.

“Papa.”

“What, Alex … what?”

“You got blood on you.”

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