What the Donkey Saw

FF 208 J Hardy Carroll

copyright J Hardy Carroll

What the Donkey Saw

The blindfolded child tottered towards the two-dimensional donkey, another victim of her uncle’s over-enthusiastic spinning.

The point of the pin swayed. Then, with a deft thrust, she skewered the animal’s eye.

In a bunker near Pyongyang, technicians watched the screen turn to static.

“Sir, camera destroyed.”

“Clearly,” the captain said. “Well, Operation Birthday Party was yielding less intelligence than anticipated.”

“Sir, I was wondering—”

“For the last time, no bouncy castle!” the captain shouted. Twelve faces drooped. “Well, maybe for the Dear Leader’s birthday. Now, switch to Operation Chucky Cheese. That mouse has some dark secrets. I guarantee it.”


Starring in the Very Special Olympics

I will admit, I was in kind of a weird mood when I wrote this. But it makes me laugh, so I make no apologies.

It was like a nightmare, standing before crowds of drunken fans, naked, but for a Speedo. How had he gotten here?

The gun fired. Six people dived, followed by six wet slaps.

The water was Jello.

The crowd whooped. They’d known.

He pulled himself along, wallowing like an epileptic badger. Some got in his mouth: Tropical Fusion flavor, damn them.

He woke with a start in the locker room. It was a dream.

“Harrison, there you are!” the coach said from the door. “You got your 10-meter maple syrup dive in five minutes. Come on!”

He pinched himself.

No luck.

 

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Moaning the Lonely Ghost Blues

FF206 Jean L Hays

Copyright Jean L. Hays

The late Johnny White sulked. He barely had enough spirit to make the temperature dip.

“Hey, Boo!” Jessica said, sliding through the wall. “How’s the haunting?” She looked around the empty ruined house. “Oh.”

“You’re lucky,” Johnny said. “Your house gets lots of visitors. Nobody even knows I died.”

“My husband did brutally murder me,” she said sympathetically. “Look, if I ever manage to write in blood, I’ll say ‘Go down the road three miles. It’s super scary.’”

“You don’t think we could . . . co-haunt?”

Jessica looked skeptical. “That’s sweet, but I’ve only known you a few centuries. Maybe next millennium.”

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The Lost Tribe of Levy

appalachian mountains

Benjamin Levy eased the Model T onto the berm next to the sign for First Mountain Baptist Church. He tried to remember whose idea it had been to spend their honeymoon exploring the hinterlands of Appalachia. He blamed his wife—privately, of course. They had spent the last few hours jolting along on dusty mountain roads and now it was mid-afternoon, and they were low on gas and thoroughly lost.

“You sure this is a good idea?” Miriam asked, peering out at the picnic.

“We have to ask someone.” He could feel his heart beat faster. Looking around, the people seemed normal. No white hoods, not even any guns in sight.

A rotund man in a brown suit had spotted them and was ambling over. Ben rolled down the window.

“What town is this?” Ben asked when the man was close enough.

“This here’s Vicco. Where y’all headed?”

“We don’t know exactly. We’re just exploring. Is there a town near here with gas and a hotel?”

“Sure, sure. There’s a couple. Hey, ya hungry? We got lots of food here.”

“No, that’s fine—”

“Oh, come on,” the man said, opening the car door. “You must be famished.” He stuck out his hand. “Name’s Bobby Lindon.”

“Benjamin Levy,” Ben said, climbing out and shaking the man’s hand.

Bobby nodded, pumping Ben’s hand in unison with his head. Then his eyes widened. “Hey, are y’all Jews?”

Here it comes. “Uh, yeah.” Ben’s eyes swiveled, looking for pitchforks.

“That’s great! Come on and meet everyone. There’s no Jews in these parts, but the pastor talks about them nearly every Sunday. Hey Pastor, come meet the Jews!”

A moment later, Ben and Miriam were surrounded by a crowd of eager faces, looking at them like a pair of recently arrived angels. They were seated at a table and plates of food were heaped up in front of them. They looked at each other and started eating. Ben tactfully avoided the pork ribs, even though they been piled extra high on half his plate.

“So, have you been to the Holy Land?” Pastor Gorton said as he sat down across from them, apparently starting a second meal to keep them company. “I’ve studied Palestine for years but it’s a long way away.”

“I’ve never been there,” Ben said. “I’m from New Jersey.”

“Do you know Hebrew?” The pastor’s eyes lit up. He jumped up and returned a minute later with a battered commentary. As Ben ate, Pastor Gorton peppered him with questions about the translations of various words in the Old Testament and Ben wracked his brain to remember Hebrew lessons from a decade before.

Meanwhile a group of young people were trying to get Miriam to sing and dance with a tambourine like the Miriam in the Bible. One went and got a tambourine and set it on the table near her just in case she changed her mind. They seemed disappointed, too, that neither she nor Ben knew how to play a shofar, but they were fascinated with her descriptions of Hanukkah. A few of the boys pulled out jackknives and started whittling dreidels as if they were going to play then and there.

Pastor Gorton brought Ben in to see a Star of David he had on the wall of his office. He came back out to find Miriam surrounded by a group of children, all making choking sounds as if they had fishbones stuck in their throats.

“They wanted to learn some Hebrew words,” she said. “They’re fascinated with that one sound.”

She stood up and grabbed his lapel, pulling him closer. “They want us to stay here tonight,” she said in a fierce whisper. “They’re talking about having a seder supper and making a replica of the Tent of Meeting.” He saw the panic in her eyes. “We gotta get out of here,” she said. “I don’t think I can take much more of this pro-Semitism.”


Torahman

FF 205 Roger Bultot

copyright Roger Bultot

“I want something like Bibleman, but cooler. And for Jews.”

Jeff wasn’t sure how the rabbi had heard of Bibleman. “So, you want me to create . . . Torahman?”

“No, that’s too stereotypical. I want something original. And tougher. How about The Maccabee?”

“Okay.” Jeff didn’t know how to draw a Maccabee. “Does he throw stars of David?”

“Sure.”

“And his sidekick could be Dreidl Boy.”

The rabbi frowned. “That seems stereotypical.”

“Does he kill people?”

“No! He just teaches kids about Judaism.”

“He teaches? So he’s basically. . . Torahman then.”

The rabbi looked deflated. “Fine, Torahman. And stick Dreidl Boy in there too.”

 

 

When I finished writing this, I did a Google search and apparently there is a Torahman already, although his sidekick is called Mitzvah Boy. It seems you can’t make this stuff up.

 

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I Walked with Jesus

A piece of Bible fan fiction that I posted on my other blog, the Green-Walled Chapel.

The Green-Walled Chapel

I debated where to put this post, either on my fiction blog or my Christianity/religion blog since it kind of goes on either. When I read the Bible, I’m struck by the interesting details it decides to put in, or leave out. For instance, Exodus tells us the names of three Israelite midwives, but not the name of the Pharaoh. There are a lot of stories hinted at behind the text. This is a piece of speculative fiction that guesses at what might have taken place behind the scenes of one of the most famous events of the Bible.

emmausSource

I Walked with Jesus

I was shaken awake to the worst day of my life. The room was still dark and for a moment, I wasn’t sure where I was. Then I remembered I was in Matthias’s house, and it was he that was shaking me.

“Cleopas, get up. They’ve…

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Low Tide

I’m always happy to use the words eldritch and horror in the same sentence. The stone the tide unearthed showed carvings of creatures: which creatures I wasn’t sure, but they possessed a heaping helping of tentacles, wings, eyes, and talons.

That explained a lot. The mysterious disappearances from the beach, the green lights hovering over the moonless bay, the shrieking of ghastly voices on windless nights.

This was perfect.

There is a demographic who would risk madness and death to glimpse anything described as eldritch horror.

I started the R’yleh Diving Club and waited for the freaks to pour in.

 

 

 

The nightmare corpse-city of R’lyeh…was built in measureless eons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars. There lay great Cthulhu and his hordes, hidden in green slimy vaults.

— H. P. Lovecraft, “The Call of Cthulhu” (1928)

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