Category: Short stories


Programming note and Twisted Disney

Well folks. Things are hectic here on the Edgewriter Family Ranch. I am sorry that it has been longer between posts than normal. This will change I assure you.

Programming note: Short Stories

Last week I wrote a short story and posted it on the blog here. I had fun writing it too. It wasn’t my normal writing style. I am more of a Fantasy/Action guy. But it was fun.

So I’m giving you folks a heads up. Most likely I will be posting short stories more often on this site. They will be custom written for the site by me. Most likely they will be more of my regular flavor than this last one.

For those of you that don’t know, I have written an 800 page fantasy novel that I am currently working on splitting into two books. It is part of a series called The Bowl of Souls. Iwish I could post excerpts from it here, but I have been informed by people far wiser than myself that publishing even a small portion of it on my blog will make it harder for me to get a publisher to buy my book.

So I have decided to settle for writing original short stories that involve characters from my book that happen on the periphery of the story. I will post those here and hopefully that will give you guys a feel for what my story is about. Also when I do finally find a publisher for the book, you could pick it up and know a little bit more about what is going on in the world.

At any rate, this is an exciting prospect for me. Hopefully I don’t lose too much of my readership doing this. I will still continue with posts about movies and MST3K and whatever other vagaries pop into my fevered mind, so don’t leave because of this. You will just see short stories more often. Hopefully you will enjoy them.

Movies:

Growing up, my siblings and I watched a lot of Disney movies. Now that I have four kids of my own, I am once again watching a lot of Disney movies. And you know, even though I have a fondness for these movies there is such a thing as Daddy overload.

So the other day I ran across some videos and they had me laughing out loud. Here are trailers for Disney films if they had been filmed in some evil alternate universe.

(Note: If some of these videos don’t work for you, I have no idea why. They work on Youtube. So if the video clip won’t play, just click on link below each video to see them.)

The Incredibles:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdW_GxefIU4&feature=related

Scary Mary:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T5_0AGdFic

Toy Story:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuNF7Z7sAt8&feature=related

Bedknobs and Broomsticks:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YrX8ExtRUQ

The Lion King:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbBNqNaZVc8&feature=related

Pete’s Dragon:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gR1Yypm9GiM&feature=related

Willy Wonka:
(Yes I know this isn’t Disney. Besides this may actually be the original trailer for all I know.)


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1lWF-_Lpic&feature=related

And on an opposite note, here is a Romantic Comedy Trailer for Silence of The Lambs:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCxF6idjqnk&feature=related

If you come across any more, feel free to post them in comments and I will add them to the article.

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Shoelaces . . . a short story

Shoelaces

Pops didn’t talk much.

At least not to me. Not in the beginning anyway. Not until he was in the hospital. And then the things he said taught me something. I wasn’t expecting that from him.

I grew up in a small town in southern Idaho. A hick town you might say. Dad worked at the paper. He made decent money at it. For our town anyway. At any rate we didn’t seem to want for much. There was always dinner on the table and if we worked hard, (and didn’t get in trouble) mom would pass out some spending money on Fridays.

Me and my brother, maybe a couple other boys would bike across the neighborhood and head to the corner store. It was mostly downhill the whole way there so it was fun to coast along, our spending money burning a hole in our pockets. It was a pain biking home, though. We’d end up pushing our bikes the last half of the trip.

Pops owned the corner store. We didn’t know his real name. Everyone called him Pops. Even the old timers. His store was a relic of its time.

It looked like it had once been one of those stores you’d see in the 50’s movies, but updated to 80’s standards. Wooden floors. Wooden paneled walls. A long wooden bar with stools that had perhaps once been used for serving sodas and milkshakes now held an electric hot dog turner, Icee machine, and a nacho cheese dispenser. In the middle of the store were wire racks containing the sundries that you expect to find in any modern convenience store.

There were other hints of what the store had once been. In the back, there was a table with an ancient chess set ready for people to play. Sometimes a couple old timers would be sitting there playing, but usually the table was vacant. Then at the front counter was an old time pickle barrel. Big sour dills. Pops made them himself and sold them for 50 cents each.

But none of those things were what drew us to the place. Pops had installed two old arcade games in the back. Pac-Man and Space Invaders. Sure those machines ate up our quarters pretty quick, but we didn’t care. Our four or five bucks would last us maybe an hour if there were more than two of us. Whatever change we had left over, we would spend on penny candies. Gummy bears, gummy sours, or Jolly Ranchers. Stuff like that.

Before we left, Pops always had the same routine. He would always ask us if our parents needed anything. (They never did of course. Mom got her shopping done at the grocery store.) Then he would ask us if we wanted any shoelaces.

Right beside the cash register Pops had a shoelace rack. It was one of those four sided jobs that sat on a lazy susan so you could turn it to look at everything. Not that anyone did. It was shoelaces for cripes sake. We never understood his fascination with them.

Pops would stand there in his faded coveralls and collared shirt and say, “Now boys, I see you coming in here every week and you piddle your money away on candies and games. But look at your shoes. A boy needs good sturdy laces on his shoes.”

We would say, “No thanks, Pops.” and roll our eyes as we left the place.

Once I asked him how much the laces were. Those were high dollar shoelaces. Three, four bucks for a pair! Why would a kid want to waste that kind of money on shoelaces? Besides, if we needed something like that, we would just go to mom.

Well, this went on almost every weekend for years while I was growing up. Over that time, I grew fond of Pops. We all did.

Then one day he got sick and ended up in the hospital. It was weird going down to the corner store that weekend and seeing a closed sign on the door. Pops never closed the store during the day unless it was a holiday or something.

The whole town heard about it. One day at church they had all of us kids draw get-well cards for Pops. My dad and I were asked to deliver them.

When we got down to the hospital I wasn’t prepared for the way Pops would look. The man had always stood behind that counter like a weathered boulder. Unyielding. Eternal. But in that hospital bed with IV fluids hooked up, he just looked like a pale old man. His skin clung to his face wrinkled and paper thin.

My dad chatted with him for awhile while I stood quietly beside him. I didn’t know what to say.

Pops told us that he had a bad case of pneumonia. He had been fighting it for days and going to work anyway. But he had collapsed trying to climb the stairs that lead to the apartment he lived in above the store and had finally called the doctor.

I handed Pops the cards that the kids at church had made and he seemed genuinely touched. He then caught my hand and talked directly to me.

“Boy I have something I want to give you.” He wheezed as he spoke. “Bring me my jacket, would you?”

I grabbed the gray jacket that was draped over the chair near the door and brought it to him. He reached into the inside pocket with the hand free of IVs. He pulled something out and pressed it into my hand.

“You have never listened to me boy.”

I looked into my hand to see a pair of those four dollar shoelaces.

“I always keep a pair on me for luck, but I don’t think I’ll need them where I’m going.”

“The doctor says that you are doing a lot better or he wouldn’t have let us see you,” Dad said, but I was still confused.

“Why shoelaces, Pops?”

“Shoelaces saved my life once.” Pops looked me straight in the eyes as he spoke. “When I got out of school I tried to make my living as a salesman. My first big job was selling cook books and knick knacks. I traveled to all the towns in southeast Idaho, selling that crap and I was pretty good at it too. The key was to hit the houses in the middle of the day when the husbands weren’t home and the wives was getting bored.

But one day I was driving over the Tetons hoping to try my luck on the other side and my car just done broke down. I decided to hike down and see if I could get a tow and I got lost. I was stuck in the wild for a week till they found me.”

“A week?”

“I know it sounds funny to you nowadays but in the 50’s it wasn’t so easy to find your way around. I never was much into scouts or nothing anyway. So when I got lost, I was stuck in a bad way. All I had on me was a candy bar, my pocket knife, and some of the knick knacks I sold that I kept in a briefcase.

Wasn’t much good in there either. Some spices and whatnot that the housewives liked. And shoelaces. I had three or four pair. Good strong ones. Not the crap they put on kid’s sneakers these days. Them laces kept me alive. It’s true.

I used them to make some animal traps and to tie my stuff together. And since they were good, strong laces, I was able to use them over and over again. Once I found a stream and had the water I needed, I did just fine thanks to those laces. I was able to trap squirrels and birds to eat. I had my eye on a rabbit when I heard the sheriff yelling over the ridge.”

Pops became something of a folk hero to my friends and I after that. He got better and ran that corner store for another ten years. All the boys made sure to buy some of his shoe laces. We made him tell us stories about that time he got lost whenever we stopped by his store. He had a lot of other good stories too.

A few months ago I drove back through my old town. Pops’ corner store is gone. There is a Shell station there now. It’s sad how things change. I still think about Pops from time to time and the lesson he taught me.

I don’t go hiking off into the wilderness unprepared for one thing. And I always make sure that I have good shoelaces. Good strong ones.

Frog

Are you sure you want to do this? Truly?

Well before you do, there are some things you may want to consider. What about our friendship? What about the many years we spent lollygagging around? The eating contests. The diving competitions. What about those?

Remember that time we went to the fair and you fell? It was scary wasn’t it? Did you think you would die? I caught you that time, but will I be there next time you fall off the ferris wheel? Think about that.

Green frog

If you do what you are thinking about doing it might be over between us. No more jumping hopping or skipping together. No more trips to the museum.

What about that?

Do you really want to go to the museum alone. All those people walking around looking at old stuff without me there with you. That old lady with the gigantic purse. What does she have in that purse anyway? She could probably keep four Monopoly sets in there.

She probably has Simpsons Monopoly, Star Wars Monopoly, Nascar Monopoly, and the 30th aniversary edition Monopoly in there. Do you seriously want to go to the museum without me there to point that out?

Frog school

There might be large families at the museum. Two parents with six kids. The mom might be carrying the baby carelessly with one arm while chasing a three year old away from the dinosaur bones. The oldest teen might be texting her boyfriend while the second oldest teases her relentlessy about it.

All the while the dad looks tired and foot-sore. You can tell that he doesn’t want to be there. The mom probably dragged him away from watching football for this. He half-heartedly tries to keep the kids in line, but by the way he keeps checking his watch you know he has plans elsewhere.

But if you do what you are planning, I won’t be there to stop you from tripping the seven year old that stuck his gum on the marble statue of President Washington. What would happen then? would the tired dad notice? Would the mother look at you with horror in her eyes? How long would the seven year old lay on the floor in shock before rolling over and looking at you with accusing eyes? Do you want that on your concience?

DO YOU?

If you do as you are planning there will be no more jumping on my trampoline. That’s right, I won’t bounce you higher. I know you think you are a great jumper and all, but let me tell you a secret. All those times that you thought you had jumped a new record, I totally gave you that bounce.

No more checker tournaments. No more badmitton. No more rock skipping at the lake.

And next Thanksgiving I’m totally not eating your pie for you.

That’s right.

Grandma Edna will keep scooting the plate closer to you, but I wont take the piece while she isn’t looking. I love pecan pie but I can get my own piece. Granny’s eyes will look at you with a questioning gaze. Her eyebrows will raise in concern, crinkling her forehead. She will ask you why you aren’t eating that slice of pie. The pie that Gransy made with her own withered hands.

She picked those pecans out at the store. She made that pie crust with her own recipe. She toasted the pecans. She poured the sugar. She hummed those old 40’s dance tunes while she worked. The whole time it was cooking, she thought about how much you loved her pie. She knew that you would eat it up, crumbs and all. Then you would thank her and give her a sugary kiss on the cheek.

But not this year. Not if you do as you plan. You know she won’t take the “I am full” excuse either. Do you want to break her poor old heart?

Frog in water

So stop and think about what you are doing. Judy won’t call anymore after this. Billy won’t play ball with you. Remember Elisabeth, that shy girl who kissed your firehead at the picnic and left that red smear of lipstick? She won’t do that again. Not after this

I won’t be there to comfort you either. Sure you might enjoy the solitude for a while. Maybe for a short time you might relish the thought that no one will tease you anymore. But when that brief moment has passed and you start missing us, it will be too late. You won’t get us back. Not again.

Last time you tried this we forgave you. I took you to the mall with me the very next day. Sure you almost got thrown out, but that was good times. That security guard chased us, but we were too fast for him. He must have been like eighty pounds overweight. He might be fast enough to catch that old lady we saw sneaking that candy bar into her purse, but not us. All he could do was clutch his side and bend over, breathing heavily while talking into his walkie talkie. No one saw us go out the side door of the JC Pennys.

Who knows what would have happened if he had caught you. Would you be banned from the mall? Would he have called your parents. By the look of that guy he might even have eaten you. You escaped that time with my help. But not again.

But all that’s in the past. Your plans will make sure we don’t have that kind of fun again. So let me ask you one last time,

Are you sure you want to do this?

sad frog