The Last Call

It’s the end of the night.
I haven’t written a story yet.
I ask the bartender if he knows any.
He says he does. He heard a good one this afternoon on the way to the bar.
And he tells it to me.
“Wasn’t that great?” he says.
“Yeah,” I say. “Thanks. I owe you one.”
And I pay my tab and leave him a twenty.
On the way home, I think about the story the bartender told me, and how I can add one of my twist endings to it.
Wait. The story he told.
It’s one of mine.

Hyphenate, Aspirate

For the longest time I thought that lowercase was spelled with a hyphen, but it’s actually spelled without one. And the preferred spelling is without a space between lower and case at all.
My mind reels. How long have I been doing this? When did I think that a hyphen was needed? Why didn’t spellcheck and autocorrect fix it all these years?
I open my custom dictionary, add the entry, and click Save.
What else have I misspelled all these years like some country bumpkin?
I shut down the laptop and write down a reminder on my notepad. In upper-case.


People said that after all these years of writing and podcasting stories, I’d jumped the shark.
No, not me. I’d never just jump the shark.
I’d jump a hundred of them. A hundred live sharks, all jumped at once.
And I’m not going to jump them Fonzie-style. Boats and waterski jumps are so yesterday.
I’m going to freakin’ bungee jump the sharks.
My awesome plan involves lots of rigging of cables and pulleys and safety harnesses. I’ll write and podcast a perfect story, sail gracefully over all the sharks, and make a perfect landing.
Um, where does this bolt go?

The Gift Of Story

“A book can take you places,” my uncle said. “Wonderful places.”
You see a stack of fresh notepads and unused pens. I see stories that are waiting to be imagined and written.
So many places to discover and explore, then commit to the page. With each revision, the story becomes clearer, and the reader comes closer to actually being there.
I hold a notepad in my hand, pick up a pen, and remember my uncle trying to teach me to write.
But I couldn’t. I didn’t have the gift.
I close the rolltop desk and lock it.
Stories, lost forever.

The Complainer

Fred is a complainer. All he ever does is complain.
“How are you, Fred?” are the four most dangerous words in the English language. And, if Fred spoke any other language, they’d be just as dangerous in that, too. Instead, he complains about people who speak other languages.
“Why must people speak these other languages? Are they hiding something from us?”
Then he changes the subject to something like the weather, his job, his health, or whatever is bothering him.
Then, one day, when asked how he’s doing, he said “Eh, I can’t complain.”
We called the ambulance for him.

The Heat

I don’t know how people can stand the heat in Phoenix. Is there some secret underground tunnel system, because there aren’t enough skybridge tubes full of chilled mercy from one building to another.
Maybe they go around at night after the sun grants temporary reprieve from its searing wrath?
Centuries ago, my people wandered 40 years in the desert before they reached The Promised Land.
Me, I’d have given up after a day.
“Was Pharaoh really all that bad? I bet the labor market would be in our favor now.”
I step into a building.
Cool, refreshing air conditioning.


Just Google It

I don’t like to answer the same question twice, let alone a hundred times, so I tend to tell people to just Google something… I’ll say “Just Google it!”
If someone doesn’t know how to Google something, my answer won’t make any sense to them.
If someone is too busy to Google something themselves, then they are probably too impatient to listen to me and comprehend what I tell them.
If someone is too lazy to Google something themselves, then they’re probably too lazy to stop, drop, and roll when I drench them with gasoline and light them on fire.

Color Lists

When you blacklist an address, everything sent by that address is deleted.
When you whitelist an address, everything sent by that address is received.
What about greenlists? Or bluelists? Or redlists?
What do those lists do?
Would they still do those things if you were color-blind, or would they just be different shades of grey lists?
I, for one, haven’t read that Fifty Shades Of Grey book, but I’ve heard that it’s full of smut.
I don’t want to read smut, so I’d probably just blacklist all that stuff.
Even though I’m not actually color-blind.
But if I were, certainly.

Rum Sleep

It’s been a while since I last had rum.
Usually, I drink Jack Daniels or amaretto. Or beer.
But rum? I mean, if I want to get messed up so I can go to sleep, I’ll do vodka. Or walk around the block to wear myself out.
Rum isn’t my go-to sleep potion.
Still, rum is rum, and my coworker brought me back a bottle from Puerto Rico.
How can I say no?
After mixing my third rum-and-Coke, I realized that it wasn’t going to help me get to sleep.
Regular Coke. With caffeine.
Not the gold-label uncaffeinated Coke.

Change The Names

Not only did we change the names to protect the innocent, but we’ve changed them to condemn the guilty.
So, instead of just keeping Monica Smith’s name out of the papers for writing bad checks, which was all just a big misunderstanding and a simple math error by the bank, we’ll put Christina Bloomgarden’s name in there for drinking up and gambling away all of her kids’ college funds.
What? Monica wrote those bad checks to Christina when she bought Christina’s old car? So the college fund thing all her fault, not Christina’s.
Stop the presses. Change the names again!