Humor

Return of the Granny Ninjas

Every year I get two’s and sometimes three’s of requests to bring back a particular character from a past story and this year is no different. If you would like to read the original story from which this character originated, you can find it here. Enjoy.

Most September evenings, when the heat of the day had been swept aside by the cool breeze rolling in from the mountains and more often than not the Cubs had thrown away a lead in last few innings, I would often meander out to my third floor balcony to watch the world from above. It was on one such night that my imaginary walls of safety were demolished, exposing me to the true danger of the world in which we live. But more importantly, it was the night I had the best snickerdoodle I have ever tasted.

Thinking back, I cannot remember a single detail that would have hinted that the night ahead of me should be any different from the 9,524 nights that had passed before it. Shortly after the last tendrils of sunlight released their grip on the city, an Eastern wind announced its arrival through the branches of a large birch that scraped against the side of my apartment. My sliding glass door shifted and knocked against its track as if to confirm the wind’s entrance into the city. With Chicago leading by four runs, a tiny flame of hope danced wildly inside me as if the breeze outside my windows had a secret passageway to my heart. Over the next hour I would witness the inevitable collapse of my team in 52 inches of glorious color and pain. (more…)

Bait

The sharp crack of a door jam exploding snapped me out of a lovely dream and into the darkness of the cheap apartment I had occupied for the past week. Muffled orders preceded more doors being kicked in. Each one echoed down the hallway as they cleared every room en route to mine.

Throwing the covers aside, I rolled onto my back and wove my fingers together in a makeshift pillow behind my head. I knew what the risks were when I accepted the assignment. And there was no escape now.

As my door frame shattered into a hundred pieces, the instructions that I had spent the last six months learning ran through my mind. A soft hiss and the thud of a dart sent me quietly back to dream land. (more…)

The Rooster

The drumbeat of footsteps shook the floor announcing the arrival of my nephew seconds before his face appeared in my doorway.

“Uncle Joe! Uncle Joe! Tell me a story!”

This high-pitched request broke sanctity of my Saturday morning sleep. I would be lying if I did not tell you that my first thought was to teach the boy a lesson in courtesy involving a boot and a butt. As I sat up I saw that his eager smile lacked any mischief and it quickly melted my anger into a warm pile of compassion. (more…)

One Huge Mistake

In my defense, I was desperate. If my mother would have been there she would have pointed out that my desperation was directly related to my lack of patience, but I tend to ignore my mom when she brings up my flaws anyway.

It all started with a craving for a taco. This was no ordinary taco craving though. It was a Seventh Street and Bell, outside the Hard Eight Billiard Club, taco stand taco craving. No one can make a street taco like Jose. (To be honest, I’m not actually sure that Jose is his name. He doesn’t speak English and it’s just easy for me to remember.)

(more…)

How To Become An Adult

I lived a mediocre life before I met a cranky old man named Russell. He told me a story that changed everything for me. Then he called me a sissy and told me to go get him some pudding.

The Garden Grove Senior Living Community was a grandparent’s dream. It had a first class staff, pristine landscaping, and a Baskin-Robbins less than a block away. I was afraid it would have an “old people” smell, but as the glass doors slid apart the only smells that greeted me were the fresh flowers throughout the lobby and a faint afterglow of cleaning supplies. (more…)

True Love

My Dearest Love,

The long winter is gone and my heart is slowly returning to life. I am overwhelmed with excitement as our time together draws near. When we are apart, I am only a shell of man. I don’t want you to think that I have chosen you just because no one else would have me. I know what I want and it is you. I just hate that I will never be able to buy you a diamond bigger than the one you already have.

Some people may question our age difference, but their looks will only serve as a reminder that love is blind. I may be quite a bit younger, but I have a wise soul. And my soul could no more pick another than a fish could climb a tree. (more…)

Kryptonite

“I found my kryptonite man.”

Josh looked up to see Adam flop into the chair across the table.

“That would explain a lot. Like why you own tights.”

Adam winced at the well-used jab.

“I told you, those are thermal running pants for the winter!”

The loud response drew a few looks from nearby tables.

“Riiiiiight. Anyway, what is your kryptonite?”

(more…)

The War

Thick clouds stretched from one horizon to the other, filtering the sun’s light of all the cheerful colors and casting a gray pallor over the landscape. Trees, having cast off their wardrobe of leaves, sat lifeless throughout the land like monuments of seasons filled with the laughter of children.

Adam stood motionless as he studied the army that stretched out before him. Their forces had surpassed a million by the way they covered the land like paint over a canvas. His shoulders rose slowly with a deep inhale of the stale morning air. Having reached their apex, they dropped suddenly as a silent sigh passed through his barely parted lips.

(more…)

Weeds

Nick leaned against the passenger side window as his mom backed out of the driveway and tried fall back into the world of sleep he had been forced to abandon. His scruffy brown hair was just long enough help block out some of the morning light. If the judge had told him that waking up at 8:30 each Saturday was part of the deal, he might have opted for the jail time instead.

A constant jostle of stops and starts kept the dream world at bay, but thoughts of the day that denied him his sleep filled his mind. His dress shoes squeaked noticeably from lack of use in the quiet of the courtroom. Fear struck him like a sledgehammer to the chest when the bailiff would not let his mom join him in the front. That was the moment he knew the judge was going to treat him like an adult even though he had just turned 17.

(more…)