Inspiration for MAKE IT WRITE

Belfast Co-op Community BoardWhy I took this photo of a typical community board remains a mystery even to me. But it soon became the inspiration for my short story Make it Write. The photograph was taken at the Belfast Co-op in Maine.

belfast

Like all community boards, it’s filled with notices of local events, lost pets, local concerts, and business cards for lawyers, dog walkers, cat sitters, etc. This ordinary looking community board made me think about what would happen if there was a business card that read, I CAN HELP. Nothing else on the card except for a phone number. Help with what was the first question that popped up in my mind followed by this must be a scam. I then wondered what would happen if I took one of the cards and called. What would the price be? For my character, George Jensen, a failed novelist, in  Make it Write the price may be more than he bargained for.

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MAKE IT WRITE is available at Amazon and Smashwords.

 

 

Short Story: Social Distancing

Tad was a wild and reckless kid. We’ve known each other since middle school, hanging out many afternoons when we cut classes: smoking pot, drinking, and picking up girls. They were good times until we’d get caught. Our parents reacted in different ways to the news. Tad’s father always physically hit him. There were times he came to school with visible bruises. When the teachers questioned him, he always said he got into a fight with some kids who he refused to name. My father never hit me. Instead, he’d sermonize. No, he’s no preacher, at least not in the traditional sense. Dad would sit me down and give me what he called a good talking to or a lecture: why cutting classes is wrong, why it is wrong to lie, why it is wrong to be friends with a kid like Tad. The talks were long, lasting close to an hour each time. By the end of his sermon, I prayed he would just hit me and get it over with.

As time passed, I became more responsible: graduated high school, went to college, and got a good job. I guess my father’s sermon’s sunk in; I did not want to jeopardize my future by having a bad reputation that would follow me through the years. Tad didn’t give a damn. He barely graduated from high school. Had one low-paying job after another, none of which lasted long. Through it all we remained best friends, though he thought I became a flaming pussy. Afraid to take chances I wasn’t, I just grew up and learned that many of those chances were not worth taking, like sleeping with your best friend’s wife. Technically, Jenny wasn’t my wife at the time; we were engaged. Tad later said that still made her available.

Jenny and I married. I didn’t know about their hooking up at the time. Neither of them ever mentioned it. After Jenny and I divorced ten years later, Tad assumed it was okay to tell me about it since Jenny and I no longer were husband and wife.

I never forgave him.

I finally understood what my father told me at the end of all those lengthy sermons which he always finished by saying, “Tad’s a jerk.” That he was. Still, we remained friends. Don’t ask me why? I don’t think I can explain why.

Jerks! There are plenty of jerks around these days. Stupid may be a better word, and unlike COVID19 when someday there will be a cure. There will never be a cure for stupid. After being caged up in his apartment for more than a month, Tad couldn’t take it any longer and decided he needed to get some beach time in now that the county reopened the beaches.

“Tad, I don’t think it’s a great idea, going to the beach,” I said. “There will be hundreds of people there and who knows who is carrying the virus.”

“Hey man, we live in Florida! The beach is what we live for, Sand and surf, watching women strolling along in bikinis, fishing, watching women hanging out in bikinis, what could be better?”

“It’s reckless!”

“All these years and you’re still a flaming pussy.”

“People are not going to social distance.”

“The sun and heat kill the germs.”

“Tad, there is no proof of that.”

“The President wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.”

“Listen to the scientist and doctors. You’re better off.”

“You’re coming with me, my friend.”

“No, I’m not.”

Tad laughed. “Fine, I’ll go myself. Sit in your apartment all day, every day, doing whatever you do. I can’t take it anymore. No one in our lifetime has ever had to sacrifice like we’re doing now. This is America, man, we have rights, and we have the freedom to do what we want.”

“You make it sound like staying home is the biggest sacrifice ever. How about the people who went through the years of the Great Depression, World War

i and II? And what about Anne Frank and her family who hid from the Nazis for over two years? No sun, no rain, they couldn’t see the sky or the grass.  All we have to do is stay home and watch Netflix, and you can’t do it!”

“That’s all bullshit; this is not a war. And we have our rights.”

“Oh yes, it is a war, and we will lose it, or at least those of us who are reckless enough will lose it. Freedom doesn’t mean you can be reckless and get other people sick and die!”

Tad didn’t pay attention. He called me a drama queen and went to the beach.

That night on TV they showed the crowds on the newly opened beach, hundreds, if not thousands, of people. There was no room for social distancing, even if you wanted to observe it. Tad made it on the news that night. As the local news commentator spoke and the camera scanned the crowded beach, there stood Tad next to this beautiful blonde in a skimpy bikini. They were part of the crowd in the background cramped together with other beachgoers, Tad, the blonde and everyone waving at the camera attempting to get their one moment of TV fame. Less than a minute later, as the commentator wrapped up the segment, Tad and the blonde were hugging and kissing each other as the surrounding crowd egged them on, and giving each other hi-fives.

Tad told me the next day over the phone, since I refused now to see him in person, that her name was Sandy; they met that day. Like Tad, Sandy loved the beach.

That was the last time I spoke to Tad. His father called me a few weeks later; he was crying. Tad was dead from COVID 19.

Copyrighted 2020 by John Greco

You can find more of my short stories at Amazon.

Book Review: The Burglar Who Smelled Smoke

Smoke

Lawrence Block’s Bernie Rhodenbarr is one of my favorite fictional characters. This short story, co-written with Lynn Wood Block who as Mr. Block explains came up with the original idea and did the research. He later sat down and wrote the story.

Bernie Rhodenbarr, used bookstore owner and master thief, meets with Karl Bellermann, an eccentric book collector. Karl’s books are the most important things in his life. Bernie’s there to offer Karl a rare special edition to add to his collection in return for a nice price. Upon his arrival Karl shows Bernie his private library containing his massive collection and tells him of the great lengths he has gone to protect his books from any sort of thief or man-made or natural disaster.

Bernie and Karl have lunch together. Afterward, before any transaction can proceed, it’s time for the eccentric collector to lock himself in his library to read for four hours, something he does like clockwork every day from 2PM to 6PM.

During this four hour interlude, Bernie gets a bit “familiar” with Karl’s beautiful wife. The time passes quickly. When Karl’s wife realizes it’s almost 6PM and her husband will be exiting his book room right on time like he always does, it’s panic time! She jumps out of bed, gets dressed and runs downstairs. The panic increases when the always punctual Karl does not come out of the library at exactly 6PM as he always does. Something’s wrong. Something’s very wrong.

Lawrence Block has written a fascinating short story, a locked room mystery both absorbing and with an ending carefully explained. The one problem is there are only a few characters making the ‘who done it’ part rather evident but that does not negate from enjoying this tale.

Book Review: Rides A Stranger

Rides

Don Kurtwood, a university professor, and his father were never close. The only thing they had in common was a love of books, though their tastes were far apart. Don favored the classics while his father was strictly a reader of pulp fiction: mysteries, thrillers and especially westerns and the works of Max Brand and Louis L’ Amour. He read them over and over/

Notified of his father’s death, Don returns home to attend the funeral, help his Mom grieve, and clean up the hundreds and hundreds of paperbacks collected over the years (Mom already disposed of many boxes filled with books, but there are more). During the Viewing, surrounded by family and friends, a stranger approaches Don. He wants Don to come to his bookstore later that evening, claiming to have important information about Don’s father. Don felt the man was a greedy collector interested in buying his father’s collection of pulp fiction and had nerve showing up before his Dad was even in the ground.

Late that evening, Don goes to the man’s used bookstore, only to find the owner dead. During the police investigation into the store owner’s death, Don discovers the owner was not interested in purchasing his father’s book collection, his interest was in only one particular book. A western novel (Rides A Stranger) written by his father.  This comes as a shock! His father never wrote a book and never spoke about writing a book. Don’s mother claims he did nothing but reading and watch TV during all their years of marriage. Did Dad have another life in the past that he never revealed?

Written by David Bell, Rides A Stranger, a short story, is not only a good mystery but an insightful look into asking how well do we know people, even our closest family members.

Book Review: The Sublime Life

Sublime  In Jenna Moquin’s short story, The Sublime Life, we meet Deke Mueller. Deke is an aspiring writer, but he fears success. He learned early on bad things can happen. You see, Deke’s mother was an author too and right after she became a success she died of pancreatic cancer. Deke fears life will repeat itself and his life will also be cut short if he is successful. He rather be a living failure than a dead success. Jenna Moquin has created a cautionary tale focusing on the fear of success. You want it but at what cost. Many creative artists fear both failure and success and will easily relate.

Make it Write – New Short Story

Twenty Four Frames

If you are a fan of The Twilight Zone you may want to check out my new short story, MAKE IT WRITE.  It’s a slight departure from my usual tales tossing in a bit of Rod Serling fantasy along with the usual darker deadly deeds.  I hope you’ll like it.

“Another great story by John Greco. This one reads like a Twilight Zone episode. Every author can relate to this creepy story. And what a twisty ending.” Joseph Souza – Author of Pray for the Girl and The Neighbor.

MAKE IT WRITE is available as an ebook on Amazon for only .99 cents.

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Make it Write Now Available on Amazon

My latest short story Make it Write has been published and is now available on Amazon for only .99 cents. It’s a slight departure from my usual tales tossing in a bit of fantasy along with the usual darker deadly deeds.  I hope you’ll like it.

Make it Write Book Cover Final2r-003

Extra, Extra! If you haven’t read my short story, The Bombay Hook Incident in A Million and One magazine just click on the link here.  Enjoy!

 

 

New Short Story – The Bombay Hook Incident Published by A Million and One Magazine

 

Sunrise Bombay Hook NWR Delaware CW-1572.jpgPhotograph from the Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge

 

I am happy to announce the on-line arts magazine, A Million and One Magazine has recently published my new short story, The Bombay Hook Incident.

The idea for the story came to me during a week long photographic trip to the Delmarva Peninsula. One of three wildlife refuges we visited was The Bombay Hook Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. One morning while driving through the refuge we came across some sand dunes and nearby someone had pitched a small tent. I began to wonder who would set up a tent on a wildlife refuge and what were they doing there? You can find out by reading the complete story. Just click on A Million and One Magazine.