Monday, September 24, 2007

Deadly Happenings

Bobby was sitting on the bus headed for home when he saw a billboard for a new tour company called Deadly Happenings. The sign said, “See death as it happens.” They listed a toll-free number and Bobby jotted it down on his PDA.

When he got home, he called them. “Hello, I would like more information about your tours,” he told the receptionist at the tour company. He provided his home address so they could send out a packet. She told him it would be arriving shortly.

He hung up the phone and there was a knock on the door. A delivery man was standing there with the packet. “Wow! Now that’s great service!” Bobby said. The delivery man responded with a grunt and was gone before Bobby could reach into his pocket for a tip.

Bobby opened the packet and started reading the brochures. They offered tours that took you back in time to see natural disasters, plagues, executions of famous people, assassinations, and famous murders. Bobby, who had always been secretly fascinated by all things macabre, was trying to decide which would be the most fun to go on when a slip of paper fell to the floor.

“Grim Reaper Special. Join the Grim Reaper as he goes around the world and watch as he brings lives to an end,” Bobby read. “This tour is not for the faint of heart. All candidates will be interviewed before acceptance. All tourists are required to sign a waiver. Failure to comply will result in dire consequences.”

This was exactly what Bobby had been looking for: a chance to witness all sorts of deaths as they were happening. He quickly filled out the application and faxed it to the company.

Within minutes there was a knock on his door. He opened the door and a very pale woman in a deep red business suit stood there. She had a briefcase in one hand and an umbrella in the other. He looked up at the sky and there wasn’t a cloud in sight. “Is it supposed to rain?” he asked.

“The forecast is for a whopper of a storm later. My name is Ms. Snelling and I’m with Deadly Happenings Tours,” she answered as Bobby stepped aside to let her in. Bobby smelled a hint of embalming fluid as she passed him.

She followed Bobby into the dining room. When they were seated she opened the briefcase and removed a pile of papers. “We’ve already done a background check on you,” she told him. “I just have a few questions to ask. Have you ever met the Grim Reaper?”

“If I had, would I be here?”

“Why do you wish to go on this tour?”

“I love watching death occur, which is why I work at a nursing home. People are always dying, and I can just watch it happen.”

“Very good. Please read the waiver fully before signing,” she said as she handed him a dusty sheet of paper and a pen. He brushed the dust away and quickly read the waiver. It simply stated that he agreed to never tell a living soul about the tour or what he saw there and would sign his life insurance policy over to them should he default on this agreement.

“Does that mean if I talk about the tour, you will kill me?”

“In a nutshell, yes.”

Bobby swallowed hard. He didn’t have anyone to tell really, but, then, how would they know? “Okay, I can agree to that.”

“We took the liberty of obtaining your life insurance policy so that you can change us as the beneficiaries,” she said.

“You’re certainly efficient!” Bobby commented after signing the documents.

“We pride ourselves with expedient service,” she replied. “When would you like to take your tour?”

“As soon as possible, I need to use up my vacation time at work.”

“How about next Monday for three days? Meet at our offices at midnight,” she wrote it down in her appointment book and a reminder card for Bobby. “The address will appear on the card no later than 11:30 p.m. on Sunday night. The non-refundable cost for the trip has already been deducted from your bank account.”

He escorted her to the door. “Thank you, Ms.Snelling, I am looking forward …” he started to say but she vanished into thin air.

Bobby shook his head. He wasn’t at all sure about this tour or the company, but it was done now. He just needed to call work to set up the vacation time and wait.

He called his boss. “Hey, Barb, I am going to be going on vacation next week. Can you put it down on the schedule?”

“Sure. Where are you going?” she asked.

“On a really dark tour about death,” he answered. Outside the clouds gathered and a torrent of rain fell from the skies. There was a clap of thunder then a streak of lightning.

“Sounds like your thing,” she said as she heard a loud zap like a huge static shock then silence. “Bobby? Are you there?”

She hung up the phone and dialed 9-1-1. They discovered Bobby on the floor. He’d been struck with lightning from the unexpected storm. The phone was still clutched in his hand. There was a pile of ashes where the Deadly Happenings tour brochures had been on the table.

The rain stopped almost as suddenly as it had started, and Ms. Snelling put her umbrella away. Her cell phone beeped telling her she had a text message. It was from her boss, the Grim Reaper: “Great work! That’s four deaths today! Expect a bonus in your paycheck this week!”

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Pandora's Folly

“Open my box,” a gravelly voice whispered as a decorative box on the mantle started glowing.

Pandora sighed. “You know I can’t.”

“Turn my key and set me free,” said the spirit in the box. Pandora ignored it and went back to her reading.

“I’m bored! Let me out!”

“You’ve caused enough trouble for all eternity.”

“Please, I promise I’ll behave,” the spirit pleaded.

“I’ve heard that before! Like when you killed so many with the Black Plague and the San Francisco earthquake, or when you infected the world with AIDS. Never again!”

“If you let me out I will allow you to have one day’s freedom from watching over me,” the spirit tempted. “And I promise that Zeus will never know you set me free.”

Pandora, who had been gifted with curiosity and weakness when she was created, looked at the glowing box again, considering the offer. It was so tempting—a day of not having to sit in that room would be so nice. But Zeus had told her if she opened the box ever again she would join the evil spirit that was trapped there.

“No, I can’t,” Pandora resolved. She tried to go back to her reading but her mind was filled with thoughts of what she could do on her ‘day off’.

“You swear Zeus will never know?”

The spirit smiled deviously. “I swear it.”

Pandora raced across the room and turned the key. The box glowed brighter with each turn. Suddenly a flash of lightning shot into the room. Pandora screamed as she was transported across the dimensions into the box.

“Curiosity killed the cat, and ended my loneliness,” the spirit chuckled as Pandora appeared next to it in the box.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Feeding the Sharks

Bubba carefully wrapped his boss’ body parts in newspaper like he’d seen the fishermen do down at the wharf. He was going to put them in the aquarium freezer and use them to feed the sharks. Maybe the piranha keepers would want some too. They always seemed to be looking for protein for the little flesh eaters.

He hadn’t planned on killing his boss; he just wanted to teach him a lesson. No one said anything bad about his momma and got away with it. He knew they were going to tell him he needed to go to anger management classes again.

He looked down at the hand he was wrapping and saw the help wanted ads. "THUGS: Morally unhindered individuals wanted. Apply in person at Pauly's Deli, bring work samples."

Hmm … maybe instead of the classes I just need a second job,” Bubba thought as he finished his work. When he was done he set his boss’ hand and left leg to the side and put the rest of the body in the freezer then locked the door.

Before he left, he tossed the leg into the shark tank and watched the feeding frenzy. He patted the hand in the bag and headed downtown to the deli for an interview.

After work, he had a big Reuben sandwich for dinner and his first assignment: kill a mafia snitch and dispose of the body.

The sharks would definitely be eating well in the future.

Friday, May 11, 2007


“We will be infiltrating the subversive group called Using Peace to Universally Reprogram Society,” General Warengore announced.

“What are we up against?” Captain Strong asked.

“Everything we have on UPURS is in your briefings,” he answered. “Be careful men. Their leader, code name, “Purple Dinosaur,” is highly dangerous. Dismissed!”

.     .     .     .     .

“General, we just received a radio transmission from Strong. They captured him.”

Warengore read the message: Can’t escape … we’re a happy family … resistance fading … a hug and a kiss … must give in … won’t you say you love me too?