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‘Bite-size Fiction’ Category

  1. I Wanted to Be Something Grand

    October 21, 2013 by Diane

    beach, wave and footsteps at sunset time

    I could have been something, back in the day. Now I’m retired.

    From what?

    Odd jobs. Handyman.

    Not quite what our forefathers envisioned when they sat around that old nicked table forming plans for our vast country—all that uncharted land, all those unexplored shadows, those oceans wrapping the country in gentle waves.

    I wanted to be something grand, but somewhere along the line I went south instead of north, and then jogged west instead of east and wound up looking at my own reflection in the Pacific. And that’s where I found the bottom of my soul. There along the ocean’s edge. There, I pressed my hand to my heart and vowed that if I had made different choices, I would have had something to offer. But as it was, all I had was myself: my skin and bones and organs and blood and what scattered buckshot thoughts I managed to keep in my skull. Not enough.

    Not enough? Isn’t that what God gave you?

    A gift, all right.

    A gift worth preserving.

  2. Government Shutdown? Santa to the Rescue

    October 4, 2013 by Diane

    Santa Claus On Sledge recycled papercraft

    You better watch out when Santa takes action. And one October night in 2013, that’s exactly what he did.

    Santa was fed up with the politicians and their political bluster, claiming to know what every American citizen wanted. He was fed up with their shenanigans, swinging the country toward the fiscal cliff and then shutting the government down. Santa usually waited until Halloween to fatten himself up, but in 2013 he started early. He shook the moth balls from his red suit and polished his big black boots and practiced his ho ho hos and called the reindeers in from their reindeer games and notified the media, warning them that Christmas was coming early this year, and he asked the FAA to clear the skies, and then, skipping his customary whistle, he shouted “Now Dasher, Now Dancer…” but before he could finish, the reindeer surged upwards because they were fed up too.

    Santa plucked every politician from their beds and tossed them into the sleigh. He even roused Obama, letting him ride shotgun. And he carried them through the skies, the whole lot of them bickering and pushing and shoving and blaming and demanding to be let out. He dropped the Republicans in the blue states, and the Democrats in the red states, and he shoved Obama down Donald Trump’s chimney.

    Then Santa gathered up the homeless and the needy and the hungry senior citizens and all those kids who usually spend their days at Head Start and sent them down the chimneys of the wealthy. And he rounded up everyone who had ever been swindled by the banks too big to fail, and dropped them down the chimneys of the swindlers.

    And finally, he buzzed low over the museums and national parks, so low that his reindeer’s hooves clipped the barricades and knocked them all down. A father and son, camping in a parking lot outside the Grand Canyon instead of embarking on a three-week rafting vacation as planned, watched slack-jawed as Santa tipped a gloved hand in their direction before zooming away. They heard a hearty ho ho ho and then the faint jingle of bells and then nothing but their own astonished breathing.

    The next day the U.S. postal service delivered checks to the mailboxes of every furloughed worker, money that would have paid the salaries of every politican. And by the time those politicians returned to Capitol Hill via bus and taxi and train, some of them thumbing a ride, one of them walking the whole way in shoes that pinched tight, they discovered that their beloved aisle was gone. The chairs in both chambers had been uprooted and rearranged into two giant circles. In the center of one circle was a pile of every can that had been kicked down the road. And in the center of the other: a mound of reindeer droppings.


  3. Reeling ’em in

    September 7, 2013 by Diane

    “Nice fishing rod you’ve got there.”

    “This? Oh, it’s  just your average rod. Belonged to my father. But I’ll let you in on a secret. It reels in the most amazing things. Wouldn’t want to spoil it for you, though. Pull up a rock and try your own hand.”

    “Anything biting?”

    “Oh, yes. Plenty of bites.”

    “Have you reeled in any Ants?”

    “What’s that?’

    “Automatic Negative Thoughts. You know, Ants.”

    “Oh sure sure. Don’t hold much stock in them. We call them Nats around here. Negative Automatic Thoughts. This sinkhole was full of ‘em. My father snagged ’em all the time. Had my fill growing up.”

    “Any left?”

    “Oh, I reel one in now and then. Caught a whopper just yesterday.”

    “How big?”

    “Well, have you ever seen: I’m a failure?”

    “As a matter of fact I caught one myself not too long ago. Gave me the worst heartburn. Couldn’t sleep for a week.”

    “This was bigger.”

    “No kidding.”

    “Nothing to kid about this one. Took a lot of muscle reeling it in.”

    “What was it?”

    Nobody loves me.

    “That is a biggie.”

    “The week before that: Nothing works out for me.”

    “Holy mackerel. I haven’t seen one of those in I don’t know how long. With any luck I’ll hook one myself.”

    “I don’t think luck has anything to do with it.”

    “Whatever you call it, as long as I’ve got something to chew on for a good long…holy smokes, looks like I’ve got something here. I’ve got something! And it’s a biggie.”

    “Careful now.”

    “This one’s a monster! It’s about to rip my shoulder off!”


    “It’s gonna snap my rod in two! Come to Papa.”

    “You’ve almost got it.”

    “Come to Papa, come to…Got it! Got it! Wow. Will you look at the size of that sucker! Jimminy crickets. Will you look at the size of that thing?”

    “It’s a monster, all right.”

    “Unhook it, will ya? Unhook it before it gets away!”

    “You’ve caught yourself a real humdinger.”

    “What is it? What is it?”

    I’ll be alone forever.

    “Holy cow. That is a humdinger. Where’s my bucket. Where did I put that thing? Here, toss it in here, toss it….Hey! What are you doing? You don’t have to take a hammer to it. What are you doing?”

    “Throwing it back.”

    “Why’d you do that!”

    “It’s no good.”

    “Are you nuts?”

    “Don’t worry, it won’t be bobbing up anytime soon. I shoved some rocks down its gullet. Wouldn’t want anyone else catching it.”

    “You are nuts!”

    “You should be thanking me! Do you know what happens when you eat one of those? You won’t be able to pull yourself out of bed for a month. You should be thanking me! I saved you a month of misery. Doggonit, I thought I’d seen the last of them. Usually when I catch one, I bury it under that Cottonwood.”

    “You bury it?”

    “Along with all the other Nats I reel in. But I was afraid you’d dig it up.”

    “What do you expect folks to feed on? A man’s gotta eat.”

    “Here, take this. I’ve got plenty in my bucket.”

    “That? Doesn’t look much bigger than a snack.”

    “Oh it’ll keep you satisfied for a good long while.”

    “What is it?”

    You can’t predict the future, things have a way of working out.”

    “Sounds like a mouthful.”

    “It is, it is. And I’ll wager that if you bait up again, and keep at, it you’ll catch one of those rare finds:  Just because I think it, doesn’t mean it’s true.

    “No kidding.”

    “No sir. Catch one of those and it’ll last you a week.”

    “A week? Boy would that put a smile on the wife’s face.”

    “I guarantee it.”

    “Well, if you say so.”

    “What’s your name, by the way?”


    “Glad to meet you, Joe. I’m Bert. Pull up a rock.”