Category: flash fiction

pulpy fiction

This may end up coming down shortly, as it’s quite a random bit of work, but we’ll see when I’ve got more time on my hands to think about it.

It was a public place, but a private booth. The old man had visited this McDonald’s every day for nearly three years. His heart was bad, so he rarely ate any of the grease that came over the counter, but he’d relatively acclimatised himself to the coffee, and he enjoyed the occasional muffin.

Well – in truth he hated the cheap food, the cheap coffee and the cheap seating, but in the mornings it was relatively quiet and he missed being around people.

The newspaper lay dead on the table, split open and forgotten, a few rogue caffeine causing inky blots amongst the paragraphs.

The day’s news had been left when the lanky youth in the black hoodie dropped himself onto the booth’s opposite bench, interrupting the old man’s two-sugar-two-milk dessert.

“Mr Tenetti?” the interloper said, unzipping his sweater.

“Who are you?” Tenetti replied, giving his thick gray moustache a quick rub to shake loose any bran crumbs that might remain.

“It’s funny, if you ask enough people if they are who they are, you start to notice patterns. People only respond with a question of their own if they are in fact that actual person, so, it’s nice to meet you Mr Tenetti, my name is Mulligan Smith.”

“Mulligan?” The old man’s eyes panned around the room while he talked. “Is that your actual name or a nickname? Isn’t a mulligan a do-over in golf?”

“My Dad’s name was John Smith, and he hated how generic it sounded. He also happened to love the PGA tour.”

“I see, I see.” The old man’s search came up empty, and he sank into the vinyl cushion. “How can I help you?”

“Well, first you can stop looking for a guy to hit me with a wrench. Most of the folks in here look like they’re just trying to have a quick Saturday breakfast, not watch a man beaten to death. Secondly, I thought you were supposed to be a clean man since your stroke?”

The old man coughed.

“Yes… well, I’ve heard many stories of the man I was supposed to be before my episode – occasionally from people who drop in on me unexpectedly, without invitation, and frankly, without the best of intentions.”

“Ahh, well, there’s where you’ve got me pegged wrong. It’s my job to show up unexpected and without invitation, but in this instance I have nothing but the best of intentions.” Mulligan reached into his sweater, pulled a thick envelope from an interior pocket.

“Just what is your job?”

“Private investigator mostly, although at the moment I’m moonlighting as a pediatrician.”

He slid the package across the table.

“Congratulations! It’s a girl! Hope you know a good lawyer.”


Mulligan stood, zipped his hoodie.

“Tenetti, you may conveniently not recall a couple of decades before your stroke, but in Miami there’s a single Mom who sure remembers you – and the amount of money you made.”

Sunday Cthulhu

To bring back an ancient tradition:

It was the third day of Alfred and William’s thirty-first harvest as neighbours. Both hoped it would be their last – as they had for two decades.

Their time was split. Half was spent staring at the other, either in the eyes or in the back, droning along their rows of wheat. The other half was a blessed relief: their tractors carried them away to the furthest ends of their fields.

Unknown to either, they had each spent long hours prowling around the other’s home, shotgun in hand. In the end both men were too stubborn to surrender by being the one who pulled the final straw.

Without warning each man’s engine stalled.

At that same moment, in a small off-off-Broadway theater, the men’s ex-wives were holding hands and watching a terrible play. Despite the poor acting and pretentious script, they were smiling.

In the distance dogs and cows began to howl, in Alfred’s chicken coop his two dozen hens dropped dead.

Gouts of dirt began to erupt in each man’s field.

Hay bails, at least a hundred pounds a piece, were tossed into the air and became grassy bombs as they shattered on the earth.

This day, their last, both men would know the horror of Cthulhu.