About Tom

60 y/o male, husband, father. Retired military. Strong liberal.

New Story, The Rule

Anonymous wrote this about The Rule. There are some spoilers:

Hi Tom,

Your title grabbed me. It told too little to guess anything about the story, and it was too intriguing to ignore. It’s a good title. You could say the rule is what gets Kelly killed.

(…) skipping spoilers

Your writing is to-the-point, and you don’t shy away from difficult topics or scenes. It’s something I appreciate… The story is sad indeed, in the “this needs to be written about” kind of sad. What I mean is that this story could have happened, and maybe did (though I hope not).

Kelly’s character is described in precise strokes, in how he speaks, what he wears, the feelings he has for Devin. I think the name “Kelly” is feminine too, is it not? At any rate, his characterisation is excellent, and there is just too much to it for me to quote all bits that make me imagine him so clearly. I feel bad for him, that his life ended the way it did. He may have been a transgender, but we’ll never know.

You addressed the issue of guilt, of who has the fault. I’m glad you did, because it’s a question with no answer, but the story would have felt incomplete without it. It gets the reader to think, as well. We still have discrimination nowadays, although in most countries it has gotten much better.

Your story is not only sad, but revolting. The contrast between the peace and love attitude, and Kelly having to abide by the rule of not showing his feelings, not following his heart, is striking. I enjoyed reading it for the way you handle the words and craft the story, but the thematic left a lump in my throat.

Well done.

Buffaloes (flash fiction)


“Ouch!” Gary grabbed the calf of his leg and knelt on the linoleum floor.

“Get up off the kitchen floor! What’s the matter with you?” Louise yelled into the kitchen from the recliner in the living room.

“The cat bit me again!” Gary looked around him for the cat.

Louise laughed with her mouth open and her face went red. She didn’t have any teeth. “Stupid old man! We ain’t had the cat for ten years!” Louise laughed and turned back to watching television.

“Ow, darned cat, ow! I thought we found a home for that darned thing! It kept biting me.”

“AH! HA! HA! HA!” Came from the living room. “Come watch these monkeys! They’re throwing poop!”

“Come help me with this cat!” Gary put his palm on the countertop and pulled himself up. The cat bit him again, this time hard. It hurt all the away up his leg and he clutched the back of his thigh. “Louise? Come in here, I think the cat did something to me, bit a vein or something!”

Louise watched TV and laughed.

Pain from the back of his leg turned into a dull ache and moved into his stomach. He vomited in the middle of the kitchen floor and it scared him. He finished pulling himself up and drug his dead leg over to the yellow wall phone and called 911.

“911. What is your emergency?”

“I’m an old man and my leg and gut hurts. I vomited.”

“Okay, I have your address, sir, how old are you?”

“I’m ninety-three.”

“Is there anyone there to assist you?”

Gary stared into the living room and thought hard about that. “I guess not,” he said softly. The thought hurt his heart. They had been together sixty-eight years. His eyes watered. His lip quivered.

Pain slammed his chest. “Ung! Chest!”

“Help is coming, sir. You should be hearing sirens now.”

A few moments later two EMT persons with a gurney were inside Louise and Gary’s home. The EMT’s revived Gary got him out the door quickly. The female EMT asked Louise if she wanted to ride with her husband to the hospital.

“Are you kidding me?” Louise asked. “My animal show’s got buffaloes mating on it. I can’t miss that, can I!”

As they loaded Gary, the male EMT asked, “She’s coming?”

“She’s watching buffaloes getting busy,” the female EMT said, nodding toward the house, then sadly, “I’ll tell you on the way.” She climbed in back with Gary.

On the way the ER, his heart went into fibrillation. They could not shock it back into normal rhythm. The cause of death was an aneurysm. A large clot broke free in the leg his imaginary cat tormented. There was nothing Louise, or anyone, could have done to save him.

New Story Posted!

The Banal, Entangled (updated)

The blasé, twisted. The ennui wound around in a new way. Normality goes all twisty as lifelong friends find themselves catching feelings for one another. Don’t yawn too hard, there is a twist in the end that will catch you by surprise. This was my submission to a writing contest. I did not win, as usual, but I wrote the best story I could at the time and under the circumstances. There was a 1500 word limit, so I had to say everything quickly.

Recommended Reading

The Turkey

An insecure guy follows his wife around their house one afternoon while she’s picking up and doing laundry. He gets crazy ideas about what’s going on in her head. See if you can figure out which turkey is the real turkey!

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Yea! {Horns playing a flourish}

Poony is about the laughing-stock elf who becomes the unlikely hero who fights to save Twee, the girl of his dreams.

All four Poony stories are posted under the parent story of Poony! Mouse over Poony and the drop will give you Poony and the other three stories.