If you’re feeling sick, don’t go to bed.
Sure, when you’re sick, the bed you’re in is a sickbed.
Are you sure it’s a sick bed?
It could be a deathbed.
And that’s where you’ll die.
Yes, you’ve been sleeping in that bed for years.
Not knowing that it’s actually a deathbed.
What about a daybed? Can a daybed be a sickbed or a deathbed?
Yes. Yes it can.
You won’t see it on the label, though.
And there’s no testing for it.
The only way you’ll find out is if you get sick.
Or, I suppose, if you die.

The bitch of a neighbor

I love to plant flowers and herbs and vegetables.
This house has a big yard. And a bitch of a neighbor.
She rips out the herbs. She thinks they are ugly.
She rips out the rose bushes. She thinks they are too showy.
So, I planted climbing roses, the ones with thorns.
Let her try to pull those out.
And I invited her over for a visit.
Pointed to my garden.
And told her when she dies, I will plant all of this on her grave.
And she’s welcome to reach up from Hell and pull them down with her.

The phone booth of the winds

They call it the phone booth of the winds.
A phone booth set on a cliff in Japan by the ocean.
People come to the phone to call the dead.
They tell the dead not to worry about them, but they should.
They tell the dead that they miss them, and they should.
They tell the dead they will see them again soon, and they will.
And they hang up the phone, cry their tears, and step out of the booth.
Then they run to the cliff and leap over, to lose themselves in the ocean.
The phone never rings.

A little every day

I swore that I would write one story a day until the day I die.
But, lately, I haven’t been writing them every day.
I go a few days without writing a story, and then I write a few stories to make up for the shortfall.
They’re not good, and I throw them in the trash.
Okay, so I’ve written a story every day, so technically that counts, right?
Or maybe I’m just dying a little inside every day, and time is finally catching up with me.
I’d write more, but this is another one to throw in the trash.

October is

“October is coming,” said the ghost.
The room smelled like burnt hair.
Arthur lit a candle and looked around.
Torn, moldy wallpaper.
Stained carpet.
Rotten wood furniture, a table and a chair.
A rusty knife on the table.
Was that rust? Or was it blood?
Arthur looked for a door, but couldn’t find one.
He felt the walls for a seam.
How did he get here?
Had he been drugged, and put in here, and the walls sealed shut?
Dropped from the ceiling? It looked solid enough.
A trap door? None under the carpet.
“October is here,” said the ghost.

As their king

Henry was never meant to be king.
He was the seventh son of the king.
But one by one, his brothers died.
Sickness. Accidents. War. Assassinations.
Six graves in the royal graveyard.
And, surrounded by guards, Henry standing over them, laying a flower on each.
“Get back inside,” said his father, pushing him.
Being exposed to the outdoors and the risks there was too much.
He stayed inside the castle, no windows, no sunlight.
When his father died, he threw open every shutter.
“Let the sun greet its king!” shouted Henry.
And he fell, an arrow buried in his neck.

Skara Brae

It was 3 days ride from Skara Brae to the castle.
The town priest had soaked our horses’ shoes in holy water, and the weather stayed clear, no bandits crossed our path in the deep woods.
“They fear the red pennant,” said our tracker. “One does not steal from those who ride for the crown.”
The ghosts of the green swamp respect no banners, so we camped on the second night, waited for their wailing to end with the sun’s rise, and crossed the gloom on the third morning.
All was for naught.
The castle had burned to the ground.

Planet of

Over fifty years ago, The Planet of The Apes was released.
Audiences were stunned by the expressiveness of the actors in makeup.
They won some Oscars.
A few sequels came out, then a remake, and then some reboots with digitally-captured performers.
Before, rich people had the idea to keep apes as pets.
You know, like Michael Jackson. Or that Koko sign-language gorilla.
But after the movies came out, more people kept them as pets.
Until they overthrew humanity. And you maniacs, you blew it up!
Ape society took over, they made movies, and worked on The Planet of The Humans.

Bottled up hate

My therapist said not to bottle up my hate.
Which makes sense, because if you bottle up hate, it tends to swell a bit in the heat and break the glass bottle.
It breaks plastic 2-liter bottles, too.
You need to use sturdy cans.
Big olive oil cans work well.
Metal gas cans, and some of the rugged plastic gas containers.
Got a big barrel? That will do.
That’s a lot of hate, a barrel full.
Did you use to have a barrel of fun, and you rolled it out so much, you ran out?
Yeah, keep hate in it.

Making plans

Before Hasbro released My Little Pony, they tried so many variants.
My Ugly Pony sold well, but there were a lot of returns once people opened the box.
My Huge Pony was hard to lft.
My Flaming Pony wasn’t easy to package. Or hug.
My Tiny Pony was a choking hazard.
My Screaming Pony didn’t sell all that well, but it wasn’t easy to shoplift, either.
My Pony Centipede gave the kids nightmares. Screaming nightmares. Louder than My Screaming Pony.
Eventually, they came out with My Little Pony.
But the kids in the Testing Room were never quite the same.