Posts Tagged ‘Rush’

Lucifer In High-heels (Short Story Excerpt)

May 2, 2016

August 16th, 2017.
Hinckley, Oregon.
4:23 p.m.

Disgusted, Lance Felder held Ursula’s hips as she gripped the oak headboard. Moaning, the thin, oversexed woman ground her pubic bone into his upper mandible. Painful, but not unbearable. Ursula had wanted to make love—again—but Lance hadn’t been able to muster the strength for another mattress rodeo. So he’d begged off, claiming fatigue—not mentioning the half bottle of wine he’d polished off after lunch—and offered her what he called “his specialty” instead: a Felder Tongue Ride. With a sigh and a roll of her Botoxed eyes, Ursula had shrugged off her silk robe and shoved him onto her king-sized bed. Then she’d climbed aboard, straddling Lance’s face while he forced his tongue onto her flesh.

Not that Ursula tasted bad. Not at all. She groomed and took care of herself. She just didn’t taste young. She didn’t taste fresh.

“Oh, honey!” the enraptured woman moaned, rocking her hips to and fro. “Oh, Lance, baby! Oh, yeah! Just…uh!…oh, yeah, right…THERE!”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Ursie. Just get off already.

When she had, Ursula slid to Lance’s right, collapsing in a sweaty heap. Hands pressed to her face. Lips sputtering. Legs quivering. Bleach-blonde hair a mess. Lance couldn’t help but notice the graying roots, the veins in her weathered hands.

“God, Lance! You do that so well!”

“Thanks, babe. You know I love getting you wet.”

With an inner sigh, Lance rolled over and gave Ursula an obligatory kiss. She thrust her tongue in his mouth. He winced but reciprocated.

“What a day. Think I’ll take a nap.”

“Sounds good, Ursie.” I guess fucking and lounging by the pool all day is pretty tiresome.

“Wanna join me?”

Lance sat up, hoping his desperation didn’t show. “Uh, I’d love to, babe, but I got some work to do.”

Ursula grinned. “The novel, eh?”

“Yeah…the novel.” Just another piece of my heart. Destined to be ignored.

“Is it as good as the first two, you think?”

You mean the first two that were rejected by every publisher on both coasts? “Oh, it’s even better.”

“That’s great, darling! I can’t wait to read it…”

“When it’s finished, babe. You know that.”

“I know.” Ursula yawned, exposing capped, bleached teeth. “But you know I get impatient.”

“Oh, I know,” Lance replied with no trace of sarcasm.

“Hey, would you be a doll and mix me a rum and Coke.”

“Yeah, sure.” And I’ll be sure to take it easy on the Coke.

Another yawn. “Thank you, honey.”

Lance climbed over Ursula—enduring another kiss—and strode into the hall. Barefoot. Shirtless. His upper body toned and tanned. Dark hair jouncing on his shoulders. A thick beard hiding his forlorn expression. He wore a pair of ripped designer jeans, slacker style; low on his hips, top button undone. At thirty-two, he still looked twenty, but felt much older. A Bohemian soul, no longer young at heart.

All that money, and all she does is drown her troubles in booze day after day…


Hands thrust in his jean pockets, Lance turned left, walking down the wide staircase.
The day had gotten off to a bad start, and promised to end even worse. Lance had awoken next to Ursula, slipped out of bed without waking her, and crept downstairs. The maid, Louisa, had wished him a good morning and started a pot of coffee. Outside, Lance had gone through his morning workout of push-ups, crunches, and twenty laps in the pool. Then, coffee in hand, he’d opened his e-mail to find two rejection notices from two different publishers:

Dear Mr. Felder,

Thank you for your recent submission. Unfortunately, this doesn’t meet our publishing needs at this time. Feel free to submit again. Good luck publishing your novel elsewhere.



Two of those in one day. Talk about heartache.

Lance had sat, head in hand, for awhile, then plunged back into his current novel. The story of a man traveling cross-country by train, en route to see his dying father one last time. A good story. A worthwhile story. A story he had to finish. Lance had gotten a few strong sentences down when Louisa appeared to inform him that Ursula had awoken. Of course, he didn’t have to drop everything and rush to her side…but he did, anyway.

Gotta keep the bread buttered.

Ursula always slept in the nude; said it made her feel young. Looking at her naked form, Lance couldn’t help but notice the wrinkles and creases creeping into her flesh. She tried, though. Oh, how she tried. Personal trainers. Weird diets. Plastic surgery. But Father Time had grabbed hold, and wouldn’t let go. She had twenty years on Lance; old enough to be his mother. Still, he’d climbed back into bed as he had so many mornings and reassured Ursula as best he could. Still beautiful. Still desirable. They’d begun in the normal way, but after growing tired of her desperate kisses, Lance had flipped her over and vented his frustrations at not being published with every thrust.

And Ursula had loved it.

“Lucifer In High-heels” was published in Ramingo’s Porch Issue #1, now available @

Thank you for reading!


Bobby’s Dream (Novel Excerpt)

September 1, 2014

bobbys-dreamPrologue: Daddy’s Hurt


December 13th, 1988.

Stark City, Oregon.

4:57 p.m.

The phone rang.

Colleen Williams looked up, shut the heavy book in her lap.

Great. Just great.

The phone lay across the room, mounted on the wall. To answer, she’d have to rise and walk, and she’d just gotten comfortable. “Always when I’m busy,” she muttered, setting her book aside.

Another shrill ring. This time, a happy voice answered with a cry of: “Daddy!

Hands on her hips, Colleen looked at her son. He sat in the middle of the hardwood floor, surrounded by Legos.

“How do you know, Buster?”

“Daddy,” he replied, examining his toy. To the untrained eye, it looked like a mish-mosh of plastic blocks. But to Bobby, its creator, it looked like a wondrous spaceship.

Smiling, Colleen plucked the receiver from its cradle, and leant back, facing her son.


“Hey, babe.”

Colleen’s smile widened. Her husband, Jake. Even after four years of marriage, just hearing his mellow voice made her tingle. “Hey there, handsome. How was work?”

Jake groaned. “Typical, I guess. One of the loaders broke down, and Brennan almost fell off a high beam.”

Sounds typical.”

“What’cha doin’?”

“Nothing much. Just cramming for my test…and waiting for my husband.”

Colleen heard music on Jake’s end; faint rock n’ roll. Heavy eighties sound. The Cars? Rush, maybe? She strained but couldn’t place it.

“I’m flattered. How’s my little Vulcan?”

“Oh, he’s fine. Just playing with his Legos.”

Colleen heard the singer, high pitched and wailing. Yep, definitely Rush. Figures. He must be calling from the foreman’s trailer.

“Off in his own little world, eh?”

“Yep. Quiet as a church mouse.” She cupped her left hand over the receiver and lowered her voice. “Now, I don’t wanna ruin the surprise, but he may have a present for you when you get home.”

“Dynamite!” Jake replied with genuine enthusiasm. “I can’t wait. But, since you mentioned me coming home, I was wondering how you might feel if I was a little late.”

Colleen’s eyes narrowed. “Late, huh?” She pictured him there, grinning; knowing full well he could charm the scales off a snake.

“Well, it’s Dan’s birthday and the guys wanna go out for a few beers.”

Pursing her lips, Colleen stiffened. Good ol’ Daniel Brennan. He’d thrown Jake’s bachelor party four years ago and wound up unconscious on his parents’ front lawn. A night out with that lunatic could lead anywhere.

“Danny’s another year older today, huh?”

“Yeah. I’d like to buy him a beer, beat his ass at darts, and tell the crew about the time we went out on that double date. You remember that one, right?”

She did. That story ended with Jake, Dan, and two disgraced Mormon girls; drunk, naked, and almost getting arrested. Great. Now she had to decide if she trusted Jake to behave himself around Brennan.

“You guys aren’t planning to go streaking tonight are you?”

Jake laughed. “No streaking tonight, babe. Honest.”

Sure,” Colleen replied, her cynicism waning.

“One beer, one round of darts. Whaddya say?”

Thinking, Colleen took a deep breath…

What do I say?


Sure, I want my husband to come home. Of course. I’ve been cooped up in this apartment all day, waiting for him. Why should he get to go out and have fun without me?


I can’t keep him on a leash. And I sure as hell don’t want him to end up like my father; going straight home every day, no friends, so miserable that he can’t stand it.

No fucking way!

“Alright,” she decided. “Spank Dan for me.”

“You got it, babe! Thanks! And, hey, don’t bother to cook. I’ll bring home a nice big pizza. You know how Bobby loves pizza…”

Pizza? But we have plenty of food…

Colleen began to protest, but gave up. Jake wanted to be nice, considerate. Those qualities came as natural as his penchant for mischief; as his goading, diabolical charm.

“Pizza sounds fine. I won’t have to cook.”

“And,” Jake continued, lowering his voice, “after dinner I’m gonna take you out…”

“Out? But—” She’d almost said: But who’s gonna watch Bobby?, then caught on. Grinning, Colleen chewed her lip and waited for the punch line.

“Well, there’s a really great place I’d like to take you to…”


“Yes. It’s called…The Shower!

Colleen felt another tingle. “Ooh…is there a dress code?”

“Oh, yeah. Don’t wear any.”

Now she blushed as Jake’s voice rippled through her. “Sounds steamy,” she whispered.

“It will be, babe. I promise.”

“Then don’t be late—”

“—’cause it’s a very important date.”

“I love you.” And if you were here right now, I’d show you how much.

“I love you, too.”

“Have fun, then.”

“I will, babe. Bye.”


Colleen heard a brief swell in the background music, then a dial-tone.

Oh, my Jake…what you do to me.

The young woman slipped the receiver into its cradle, pressed her forehead to the wall. Eyes closed, Colleen stood there awhile, taking long breaths until her pulse settled. She hated to let go of that warm, gooey feeling, but reminded herself that it would return. Oh, yes…later on, when her husband took her in his arms beneath the hot shower spray.

A very important date…

Colleen turned, facing her son. Bobby still sat there, clicking his plastic blocks together with a look of deep concentration.

Ah, my special boy.

Yawning, Colleen shuffled to the sofa, sat down, and heaved the fat book onto her lap. She needed to study, but Bobby remained a terrific distraction. As a mother, she’d hit the jackpot. A healthy son who almost never got sick, and made little noise, even as an infant. Sure, he grew fussy from time to time, but nothing more. In fact, he never bawled like an average baby. Even when she’d taken him for his immunizations.

Oh, God!

Colleen smiled, recalling how her pediatrician had dropped his syringe just before giving Bobby the last round of shots. He’d tried to play it cool, insisting that something knocked the needle out of his hand, and his feigned perplexity still cracked her up.

Good ol’ Dr. Larsen.

Aside from being quiet, the boy also soared in all areas of development. Bobby, Dr. Larsen assured, rated in the top one percentile regarding vocabulary…whatever the hell that meant. Colleen just knew she had a budding genius on her hands—which she found amusing, since she and Jake had both been average students.

Maybe Jake’s right. Maybe he really is a Vulcan.

Bobby, still sitting with his Legos, felt Mommy watching him; her gaze like sunshine on his naked skin. Warm. Comforting. And when Daddy came home, he’d feel the warmth of his love, too. Not just for him, but also for Mommy. A shared heartbeat, pulsing between them.

Come home soon, Daddy, he thought, snapping another Lego block into place.

Come home soon.

Behind him, Colleen sighed, opened the book, and returned to her dull studies.


5:31 p.m.

I’m done!

After thirty minutes of studying, Colleen couldn’t take another second. Bobby had wandered into his room, and now the apartment seemed a little too quiet. So, yawning, she set the book aside and went to check on her son.

What’s the little Vulcan up to?

Colleen found him sitting on his bed.

“Wanna watch a movie, hon?”

Bobby smiled. “Movie!”

She smiled back. “Then come on.”

Colleen chose Enemy Mine, one of Jake’s favorites. Jake had loved science fiction ever since he’d been Bobby’s age, and owned VHS copies of all the classics. His love had already rubbed off on Bobby, but spaceships and laser guns didn’t interest Colleen. At least this one starred Dennis Quaid, her favorite actor.

With any luck, I’ll even stay awake.


An hour into the movie, Bobby heard it:

(Oh, no! Please, no! NOT NOW!)

As if from a bullhorn, the words shot through his mind, resonating static.

(NOT NOW!) it echoed. (NOT Now!)

He stiffened.

(Not Now!)

That voice—so anguished, so unmistakable—belonged to Daddy!

(not now!)

Fading, yet the horrid, writhing emotions remained.

(not now!)

Fright; outrage; pain.

(not now!)

Then, gone. Nothing but a memory.

Weeping, Bobby turned to Mommy. She sat next to him, hands in her lap, ankles crossed. “Mommy!” he cried, tugging on her arm. “Daddy’s hurt!”


Dozing, Colleen’s eyes snapped open.


She turned to Bobby, saw tears on his face, and swept him onto her lap.

“Honey, what’s wrong?”

“Daddy’s hurt!”


Bobby curled into Mommy, becoming fetal in her arms. “Daddy!” he cried, clutching two fistfuls of her pink tank top. “Daddy’s hurt!”

Daddy’s—? Aw, shit…

“No, no, no,” Colleen said, thinking she understood. “Daddy’s okay, honey. He’s just late, that’s all. He’s with his friends.” She glanced at the VCR clock to reassure herself:

6:33 p.m.

He’ll be home soon…

Sniffing, Bobby shook his head. “No, Mommy! Daddy’s hurt!” The tears had slowed but the urgency remained.

See what happens when you don’t come home, Jake?

“Bobby, I’m telling you that your dad is—”

“He screamed.” Bobby looked up, his dark eyes far too intense for any four-year-old. “Daddy screamed.”

Colleen fell silent. Bobby looked so serious, so certain—so adult-like—that it frightened her. What the hell could he be talking about? she wondered, and before she realized that Bobby might know something, her grown-up sensibilities intervened.

Honey, you just heard something that scared you, that’s all. Everything’s okay.”

Bobby sniffed, shook his head. “No, Mommy.”

Yes,” Colleen insisted. “It was either the movie or…or maybe somebody yelled out in the hallway.”

“No! It was Daddy!” Pleading with her now, eyes wet and bloodshot.

Daddy’s not here right now,” she said, steeling herself to teach a harsh lesson. “How could you have heard him?”

Confused, Bobby stared at Mommy. He couldn’t explain how; couldn’t even begin to understand. But he knew, and as he looked into Mommy’s eyes he understood that she didn’t believe him. Wouldn’t try to believe him, either.


Sighing, Bobby released Mommy’s shirt.

“See?” Colleen said, cradling him. “Everything’s okay.”

And even though he knew otherwise, Bobby felt better. The warmth of Mommy’s embrace soothed him. So he decided to be quiet until Daddy came home, or news of the Bad Thing arrived.

Thank God.

Disturbed and anxious, Colleen tried to focus on the movie…but to no avail. She’d seen Enemy Mine too many times.

Been there, done that.

Now where the fuck are you, Jake?

Still curled in Mommy’s lap, Bobby tried to sleep…but the phantom outburst returned; echoing, keeping him awake.

Keeping him petrified:

(not now!)

(not now!)

(not now!)


7:35 p.m.

Colleen stared at the digital clock, and in the short eternity between seven thirty-five and seven thirty-six, she grew very concerned:

Goddamnit…where is he? Why doesn’t he at least call?

Enemy Mine had ended. In its place, a banal game show, unwatched by either Colleen or Bobby. Colleen hadn’t left the sofa, and Bobby still lay in her lap. The living room had grown dark, bathed in the TV screen’s soft glow. Colleen would’ve gotten up and turned on a lamp, but that would’ve meant disturbing Bobby; perhaps upsetting him again.

‘One beer, one round of darts’ my ass! You’d better get home quick, babe. You’d better be sober, and you’d better have a good fucking excuse for freaking your son out and making me worry…

This is bullshit!

Ninety percent bluster, of course. But sitting in the shadows, wondering about Jake, had gotten scary.

Oh, how she wished Bobby hadn’t put that horrible thought in her mind:

Daddy’s hurt.

Now it didn’t seem so foolish.

“Damnit, Jake!” she whispered, remembering Bobby’s panic-stricken voice:

He screamed.

Daddy screamed.

But then it clicked. If Bobby hadn’t been on her lap, she would’ve face-palmed in disgust. The answer had been right there all along. Dan Brennan. Good ol’ Dan, Captain of the Midnight Streakers Club. This had to be all his fault. He and Jake must’ve started drinking, telling stories, and now, well, who knew what they’d gotten up to?

Well, let them have their fun. Colleen couldn’t stay mad at Jake.

But she wanted to strangle Dan.

Oh yeah, Danny-boy…you and me are gonna have words. You and me are gonna—

The phone rang.

Colleen scooped Bobby off her lap and rushed over, bare feet slapping the wood floor. Behind her, Bobby uncurled himself. He watched, serious and expectant, as she ripped the receiver from its cradle.


Heart sputtering, Colleen flicked on the light.


A man’s voice; not Jake’s. Panic rose up in a cold wave.

“Yes! Who’s this?”

A deep sigh, then, “It’s Dan.”


“Where’s Jake?”

Dan’s voice broke into wet sobs. “Oh, Christ…I’m so sorry!

“Dan? Where’s Jake, Dan?” Screaming now; growing hysterical. “You tell me what’s going on, right now!”

“There was an accident—”


“Punks, Colleen. Goddamn punks. They…stole a car. Ran a red light. Hit us in the intersection…”

Shit!” Colleen gasped. “Are you alright? What about Jake?

“I’m at the hospital. The Camaro’s total—”

Another gasp. “Put Jake on the phone!

“That’s the thing, Colleen. Jake didn’t…uh…he didn’t—”


Before Dan could finish, Colleen threw the phone down. For a few horrible minutes nothing mattered; not even her son. Grimacing, convulsing with tears, she pressed her hands to her face and slid down the wall behind her.


Quiet and morose, Bobby watched Mommy unravel from the sofa.


By the time Mommy sank to the floor, he’d lapsed into tears with her.


Bawling, because he’d been right.

Daddy screamed.


Daddy was hurt.


And now—


Daddy’s never coming home again.


11:43 p.m.

Colleen and Bobby lie in bed, both exhausted. She hugs him close, and he curls into a ball of soft flesh. This ordeal has been unbearable. The future, once so bright and full of love, now seems cold, bleak, and empty.

Neither knows what lies ahead.

Both are plagued with abstract fear.

Fading, Colleen kisses her son. The reality of Jake’s death is still new and horrible, but at least she has Bobby. And lying there, holding him, an unanswered question weighs heavy on her mind. Something she’d meant to ask hours ago, before the police arrived. Before she’d been asked to identify her husband’s mangled remains at the morgue.

“Bobby?” she whispers, unable to wait any longer.

“Bobby…how did you know?”

A moment passes.

Colleen feels the gentle rise and fall of her son’s chest, and knows that he’s asleep. The moment’s lost, and in the coming days, with so much hardship, the question will slip from her harrowed mind.

Eyes closing, she sighs.

The morgue…

…that…was…the worst…

Beaten, Colleen gives herself to gentle slumber.

On this night, there are no bad dreams.

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“Bobby’s Dream” is available in paperback and digital formats here:

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