August Full Moon Story: Denny Goes to Heaven

Here’s a new story for this month’s full moon. This is a long one, clocking in at over 12,000 words. I hope you like it!

Denny Goes to Heaven

This is another Denny story (see last month’s Denny Hitches a Ride), which takes place in my Abdera, Florida universe, but this one has more depth to it, and reveals a little more about swamp ape culture. Denny is a swamp ape, one of the clan of cryptid apes that include yeti, sasquatch, big foots, etc. Denny is also a ‘shaver’ a derogatory term used by the apes for someone who passes in human society by keeping themselves more-or-less groomed to be acceptable to humans.

I love stories where the characters end up in Hell, but it seems like stories where characters end up in Heaven are under-represented. I think this is because Heaven sounds boring. What do angels do in paradise all day? This story takes a look at the idea of paradise, and finds that maybe it’s not as awesome as it sounds.

Denny Goes to Heaven

“Angels are dicks.” Denny nursed a beer at the El Diablo Bar and Grill in the heart of a hot and humid Wednesday afternoon.

“Give ‘em a break, Denny. They’re dead.” Tomas sat at the end of the bar smoking a cigarette and doing something with his smart phone. The bar was dimly lit and quiet. Denny was the only customer and Tomas the only staff. The front door stood open to let in the bright Florida sunlight, and catch whatever breeze might accidentally slip inside. “You’d probably be partying all the time too if you were dead and became an angel.”

“First of all, I’ll probably never become an angel, second, I don’t like to party, and third, why the fuck did they have to move into my trailer park?” Denny had already been through this with Boris, Tomas’s father who had opened the bar for lunch, but had yet to exhaust his complaints with Tomas. Boris left after the brief lunch rush to run errands, leaving Tomas behind to pour Denny’s beer and listen to his tales of woe.

“Being an angel is better than being the other thing. Besides, you party all the time, Denny. And why wouldn’t angels move here? It’s beautiful here.” Tomas had known Denny since he was a child. He grew up in this bar. For as long as he could remember Denny had been a regular. He was almost like an uncle. An abnormally large, shaggy uncle.

“Drinking beer and smoking pot is not the same thing as partying, Tomas. These guys are doing fucking karaoke all fucking night.” Denny finished his beer and contemplated ordering another.

“Yeah, but they sing like angels.”

Denny had to give him that. Apparently becoming an angel made you the best possible version of yourself. Whether or not you could sing in life, you could sing as an angel. You were also transformed into the most beautiful version of you possible. The big mystery was why they were back on Earth. Not even the angels knew. They were plenty unhappy about it, so they said, but it was hard to tell from their non-stop carousing and fornicating. They were used to Heavenly indulgences and most weren’t interested in giving them up just because they were back on Earth.

Denny decided against another beer. He’d been drinking out too much lately to avoid the angels and money was getting tight. He paid Tomas and shambled his way to his shitty Toyota truck. He was too large to fit inside his truck with the seats in place, so he’d removed the truck seats and replaced them with a simple bench. Even with the seat removed he could barely squeeze himself inside.

Denny stood six foot six, slouched. Average height for a swamp ape. Denny was a shaver, a derogatory term used by swamp apes, yetis, bigfoot and their ilk for those who kept their hair trimmed so they could pass among the humans. When harassed by his cousins Denny would hold up a closed fist and intone solemnly while slowly opening his fingers to reveal an empty palm. “Here in my hand is how many fucks I give.”

READ THE REST HERE

Full Moon Story for July: Denny Hitches a Ride

In autumn 2014 I was fishing around for a story to write for that year’s NaNoWriMo. I knew I wanted to write a story with mythological creatures in a contemporary setting, but I didn’t want to write about vampires or werewolves.

When it was the swamp ape’s time to be considered I had a vision of the character and a name. Denny. Big hairy guy with a gap-toothed smile. In that moment I realized all giant ape cryptids were part of the same species. And, with some judicious shaving and hair-cutting, some of the great apes passed in human society.

I wrote a short novel about Denny in 2014, and from that sprang the world of Abdera, Florida. I wanted my own cities with magical histories mingled in with Florida’s mundane cities.

In 2015, when I was writing a lot of short stories I returned to Abdera and to Denny. One Denny story, “Denny Hitches a Ride,” is the one posted this full moon, and I think I might post “Denny Goes to Heaven” next month. I’ll have to pull it out and take a look at it.

An Unhaunted House,” posted earlier this year, takes place in the same world, though in a different fictional Florida city.

Here is “Denny Hitches a Ride.” Hope you enjoy it!

The drive west was hot. Denny sat in the back of a battered pale green ‘67 Chevy truck. The wind blew through his long hair, which was good, but there wasn’t a cloud in the August sky and it was brutal under the burning Florida sun, sitting uncomfortably on top of the scalding metal of the truck. The bed of the truck still reeked of the bales of marijuana it had been hauling, which wasn’t so bad. It had been used most recently to transport the bales from a small marina outside Miami to Daytona Beach where Denny had been spending the weekend with his cousin Stink.

Denny was hitchhiking back home to Abdera on the gulf side of Florida, and Reedy said he’d give him a ride as far as Kissimmee. Reedy pretended Denny didn’t sit up front because of his size, but they both knew Reedy wouldn’t allow a black man or an Indian to share the same cab. Reedy wasn’t exactly sure what Denny was, but he sure as hell wasn’t white.

Reedy pulled over when they got just south of Kissimmee on the Old Tampa Highway. Reedy leaned out the window and told Denny not to take any wooden nickels, laughed at his joke, and drove away. Denny said nothing. After a few moments he flipped off the dwindling back of the truck. He turned around to face traffic and stuck out his thumb.

He started walking backwards. Like most of his clan Denny was a gifted walker. If he had to he’d walk the rest of the way home. He sincerely hoped it wouldn’t come to that.

He’d trudged backwards for nearly ten miles when the cherry-red Cadillac convertible with a creamy white interior pulled over. Denny smiled. It was perfect timing. A bank of black clouds were moving in from the southwest. Before long a thunderstorm would be washing over the highway tarmac.

Inside the caddy was a young woman wearing a tie-dyed scarf holding her hair in place.

“Hey, big fella. Want a ride?”

Denny considered leaping over the door, but instead opened the passenger-side door and eased his six foot six inch two hundred and eighty pound frame onto the white leather seats.

“Thanks. This is one sweet ride,” said Denny admiringly.

“What’s your name?”

“Denny.”

“Hi, Denny. My name’s Cherry. Where ya headed?”

“Abdera.”

“Hey! Me too.” She pulled out onto the highway. Denny noticed she did not use the mirror or look behind her. He was pretty sure he heard the squeal of brakes, but refused to look back. “Except I got to stop over at my brother’s house first. Wanna come with? Then I can take you all the way to Abdera.”

“Sure. It beats walking.”

Read the rest here.

Third of the Way

The goal is 90,000 to 100,000 words and today I passed the 30,000 mark. Yay!

I’m behind where I wanted to be at this time, but I’m happy to see that I am persisting.

At this point, however, it’s clear that abundant re-writing and editing will be necessary. So, what I’m doing now is really creating material to re-write. It’s a bunch of clay to shape.

Full Moon Story: The Night Parade

It’s another full moon and time for a new story. This month it’s “The Night Parade.”

You’ve never seen anything like the night parade, and you probably never want to.

The Night Parade

Lily knelt and listened intently. She’d never seen anyone around the building and felt confident it was abandoned, but she’d learned the hard way you can’t be too careful living on the streets.

The police had been hanging around her usual sleeping place under the bridge. She didn’t stick around long enough to find out why. She scoped out this abandoned building weeks ago for just such an emergency. She couldn’t tell exactly what it might have been in the past. Some sort of business, maybe a neighborhood bar or small restaurant. The fact that it wasn’t raining, it was a full moon, that she’d located this place previously, and that she’d seen the cops before they’d seen her was all good fortune. She’d had worse nights. Much worse.

Read the rest here.

Full Moon Story: The Thanatourists

It’s another full moon, which means it’s time for a new story.

Ghosts are real and science has discovered a method of revealing their presence. The tourism industry takes advantage of this new discovery and a young tour guide meets a ghost different than the rest. Back at home her mother is dealing with death in her own way.

***

The Thanatourists

Ghosts aren’t supposed to know other people’s names, but Ndidi knew mine. She said I “talked different” than the others, but she couldn’t explain how. After giving tours I would look for her on a little ledge overlooking a kelp forest not far from her shipwreck. She said it reminded her of sunset even though the sun didn’t sink this deep into the ocean. The company set up artificial lights so the tourists could see the wreck and the ghosts. Ndidi found a spot where the light source silhouetted the tall swaying cords of artificial kelp. It looked like a permanent underwater sunset wrapped in liquid sapphire.

I called her Dee-Dee, but that wasn’t really her name. I spent days trying to pronounce her name correctly, to learn how to speak with her with the translator off. Every time she’d laugh and say it again. It sounded to me like I was saying exactly the same thing, but she’d laugh and say it again.

I asked her about her life before she died and her life as a ghost. She asked me about the world since she died and wanted me to describe and explain everything. The first thing I had to explain was drones. She said at first it was weird to talk to a little metal animal, but not any weirder than being a ghost. The second thing I explained were ghosts.

She told me about her death.

Read the rest of “The Thanatourists” here.

Full Moon Story: An Unhaunted House

It’s another full moon, and time for a new story. This entry is a comedic tale about real estate agent Country Rose Wiley and her attempt to sell the only unhaunted house in Miliwata, Florida. Every home in Miliwata is haunted except for the old Miller place, but Country Rose has a plan.

Read An Unhaunted House.

***

Boyd Fester was a man who loved quiet and cherished the moments when he could find it. Early mornings at the real estate office, before anyone arrived, were his favorite time of the day. He drank his coffee, looked out the window, and listened to the distant thrum of cars on the highway. When he heard the door slam he sighed. Quiet time was over.

Country Rose Wiley marched into her boss’s office without knocking. Boyd could judge her progress precisely by the sound of her heavy walk. Everything about Country Rose was loud, including her clothes, her hair, and her footsteps. And her voice. Especially her voice. “Boyd, I want the Miller house.”

Read the rest here.

Full Moon Story: Blissful Skies

It’s another full moon, which means it’s time for a new story. This moon’s story involves a peculiar celestial event as the earth passes through a field of cosmic debris that creates periodic meteor showers. But, really, it’s a story about a little boy that hates his grandmother.

Blissful Skies

Through his bedroom window Rolando watched the cascade of shimmery lines sparkle on and off across the horizon as the tiny fires lit up the night sky. He knelt on a wicker laundry hamper his mother rescued from a curbside years before, his arms folded on the window ledge, his head pressed against the screen. He was small for his age and the fraying wicker felt sturdy under his knees. The meteor shower sent a literal shiver of delight up his spine.

“Close your window.” He was startled by his abuela’s sudden presence behind him. She reached over him, slammed the window shut, locked it, and let down the blinds. Rolando’s abuela, his grandmother his mother always corrected him, could barely reach the window over the hamper. She wore a threadbare and stained floral nightgown, her parakeet Prettypretty perched on her shoulder.

“It is not safe when the meteors are falling. Go brush your teeth, it is time for bed.” Without a word Rolando carefully slipped from the hamper, then moved quickly to the small bathroom to brush his teeth with a Mickey Mouse toothbrush he’d used as long as he could remember.

Read the rest here.

New Story: The Conscience Switch

It’s the first full moon of 2017! That means it’s story time.

The blog goal for this year is to publish a story every full moon. This moon’s story is “The Conscience Switch.”

Ever wonder why humanity’s humanity seems intermittent? It turns out there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation.

“The Conscience Switch”

“All morning he watched reports of soldiers abandoning their posts, drone operators walking away from their consoles, billionaires donating substantial sums to charity, pundits recanting their hate speech, criminals turning themselves into the police, high-level politicians resigning their positions, priests and rabbis and pastors and imams admitting they didn’t believe in God. Every moment, someone was clearing their conscience.”