All in Short Stories

The Farmer - Part I - Out of Credit

There was no sense in delaying the conversation, might as well face it head on. At least that’s what I said to myself. Truth be told, I wanted to run. Leaving Mary and the boys behind wasn’t an option. That decision was made ten years ago when Mary and I settled down on the farm. At the time it seemed like the right thing to do. One decision can dictate the rest of your days on earth, life is strange that way.

Ridin' for the Brand - Part V

Sam set a plate of bear sign and fresh pot of coffee on the table. A trail cook that could make bear sign was a rare thing in the West, those fluffy sugar filled biscuits could put a smile on the roughest cowboy’s face. I waited until we ate the tray clean before asking the question that had been rolling around like a boulder in my head all night.

Ridin' for the Brand - Part IV

Sheriff Anderson was crooked as a Virginia fence and not much of a lawman either. My  plan was to wait for him to go on his nightly rounds and take the Deputy by surprise. Then I just needed to persuade the Deputy to unlock the cell holding Mr. Jacobs, the Bar-T ranch owner and Bill Nelson, the Bar-T foreman. As far as I could figure, that was the easy part, escaping the lynch mob that would show up at the ranch in the morning … well, there wasn’t a plan for that yet.

Ridin' for the Brand - Part III

The Bird Cage hotel was not where I wanted to be, the place was filthy. When a man lives out on the range he gets to know the difference between clean dirt and and filthy disease ridden dirt. If a cattle outfit camps in one place for more than a few days, which is rare, the dirt gets a grimy disease ridden feel to it. At that point, you don’t even want a bath, you just want some clean dirt.

Ridin' for the Brand - Part II

I sighed. It isn’t often than a man in the West runs across a woman like Kate. We were what a more educated man would call ‘kindred spirits’, I just figured we were sinners. Kate and I both had problems, but somehow we meshed together. Yes, Kate is a lady of the night, but I have my own flaws and see no point in making judgements. Things just felt right when we were together, I'll leave it at that.

Ridin' for the Brand - Part I

I smiled at the sight of Georgina’s long ears flopping in the moonlight. Every cowboy I rode with questioned me about riding a mule. I didn’t have enough fingers and toes to count the times Georgina saved my bacon. Mules have a bad reputation because they won’t allow themselves to be mistreated, they’re a heck of a lot smarter than horses. You can beat a horse and get it to follow your orders. That doesn’t work with a mule, a mule is your partner. You treat them right, and they’ll respect you. They’ll also keep you out of trouble on the trail. A horse will put itself in a precarious position on the trail without knowing it, then spook at the first sign of danger, not caring whether you stay in the saddle or not. A mule on the other hand will rarely get itself into a bad situation, they’ve got more trail sense than any cowboy I've ever met.

Lust for Life

Ian pulled into the parking lot of the Arqia corporate headquarters building at 9:15 a.m. on a Wednesday. He opened the car door and took a deep breath of fresh air, the smell of apple blossoms calmed his mind for a moment. He reached into the backseat for his laptop case and pulled the zipper open a few inches, one last check before going inside.

Replaced by Shadows

There are no humans in my world, I walk among shadows. The humans faded into shadows five years ago. A meteor didn't collide with the earth, there was no flu pandemic, and artificial intelligence robots did not turn the human race into batteries. If one of those scenarios happened, Bruce Willis, Dustin Hoffman, or Keanu Reeves would be there to save us.

The Call Center Memo

The voices in your head are real. They are not what you imagined them to be, but they are real. You might ask, what makes you so sure? Well, I’m the one responsible for the voices, my name is Erick. To be clear, I might not be responsible for the voice in your head, I’m only assigned one thousand customers at a time.