Halloween Decor

Halloween decor

“Is that guy ever going to take down his Halloween decorations?” Rob said, as he rubbed the crust from the corner of his eye.

“Honey, he’s an old man, and it is probably hard for him to take them down. Everyone likes Mr. Samson’s Halloween decorations, they are always so, elaborate.” Samantha always found the good in people, it was her downfall. If you didn’t stick up for yourself people would walk all over you, Rob thought.

“His Halloween decorations are always great because he just adds to them from the year before. I mean look at that damn scare crow, it’s falling apart! I have had it! The HOA lets this guy leave his crap up all year, but if I have one weed in my yard I get a fine. I’m bringing it up at the next meeting.” Robs ears were getting hot, which meant he was about to lose it.

“It’s not a big deal, leave it alone.” Samantha grabbed both of his ears and pulled him to her lips, kissing him and making an exaggerated smooch sound. “I’ll see you tonight Honey.” She was out the door before Rob could get in a rebuttal.

He watched as she put her purse in the car, and looked across the street. Mr. Samson was fussing with a plastic bat that had seen better days. The string that attached it to the front door was frayed and looked like it would break in a slight breeze. His wife turned towards the window and mouthed the words, “calm down.” Rob raised one eyebrow and shook his head. Samantha threw up her hands as she got into the car and drove away.

Rob continued to watch the old man through the window. He fiddled with one of the Styrofoam tombstones that had fallen over and made his way back to the front door, pausing at the ragged scare crow that sat on a cobwebbed bench on his front porch. Mr. Samson reached out with his shaky old hand and patted the infernal thing on the head. Rob scratched the dime sized birthmark on the top of his hand, as he did when he was anxious, or something unnerved him.

****

The HOA meeting went just like Rob thought it would, with him shouting, and nothing being done about the eyesore across the street. They didn’t want to hear about Mr Samson’s never ending Halloween Decor. They had bigger problems. Like broken sprinkler heads, weeds, and a dwindling budget. Rob was asked to leave and never return to another meeting; which resulted in him getting physically removed by a large man who had the smell of liquor on his breath.

Rob frantically scratched his birthmark as he walked down the street. His ears felt like they were on fire when he paused in front of Mr. Samson’s yard. The tattered cloth ghosts, and sun bleached spiders only adding to the heat that originated in his ears, but now seemed to have found a home in the front of his head. He was done. If you wanted to have something done in this world you had to do it yourself. The first thing he would throw away was that damn scarecrow! He walked up the man’s driveway, kicking a rotting pumpkin out-of-the-way as he went. He lost his balance when he reached the front porch, slipping on the rotted pumpkin juice on his shoe. He reached out as he fell, grabbing onto one of the scarecrows arms, ripping it from its body. A stream of maggots and cockroaches came flowing out of the hole falling onto Rob’s face.

“What the hell!” He said, sending a maggot that had made it to his mouth, flying. He didn’t even feel the needle go into his neck, the old man was lightning fast for his age.

****

Those weeds are getting out of hand, Mr. Samson thought, as he stared across the street. He needed to notify the HOA. He hadn’t seen Mrs. Lawson work on her lawn since last February. He realized she was in mourning, but her yard was getting ridiculous. I mean what were they? Savages? He sighed, looking down at his new scarecrow. Well new as of last year. After Halloween he would have to replace it, it was just getting to tattered. The straw smelt funny, and look at that, one of the gloves was coming off. Mr. Samson pulled the glove up, covering the dime sized birthmark it had exposed. That will have to do for now. Halloween is only a day away. He patted the top of the scarecrows head and went inside.

Happy Halloween!!!

If you liked this story, please visit my author profile on Amazon.com/Ernie-Howard

Nothing to see

Nothing to see

“Excuse me, are you Steven James?”

The guy looked like a CIA agent, complete with plain black suit and sunglasses, that were not needed since it was almost dark. In one well manicured hand he held an envelope that had the name in question written in what looked like old cursive, or calligraphy. The envelope was old, it was browning at the edges and looked like it would fall apart at the slightest touch. I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. Every time I glanced up at the man, my eyes would dart back down, as if the paper were made from a magnet exclusively for the two round objects that fit neatly in my skull.

I was not Steven James, the mysterious man who gets hand delivered letters from guys dressed up like secret service. No, I wasn’t him, but at that moment I wanted to be him. It seemed his life was a lot more interesting than mine. Bet he wasn’t an assistant manager of a gas and sip, who came home every night to sit alone and watch bad TV and eating bad food.

The man extended the envelope towards me, and not even thinking I said “Yes I am,” and snatched the note from his hand. He gave me a smirk as if saying he knew damn well I wasn’t who I said I was, making me instantly want to give him the envelope back. “Humanity thanks you.” He said. The man tipped his head as he walked away. I could hear his footfalls echoing, each one making the foreboding feeling that had come over me almost unbearable. I turned around to tell him the truth of my identity, and give him back the letter, but he was gone like he had become one with the molecules in the air.

The envelope seemed to burn in my hand. It wanted to be open, the note wanted to be read.

I opened the envelope. The brittle paper crumbled in my hands. Glue that had been sealed long ago obliterated into dust, leaving my hands a chalky yellowish color. The note looked newer, and was folded in classic letter style. I unfolded the paper methodically, relishing the moment even being overcome with the most horrible fear. It said in big red letters, “Look behind you.” As I turned I felt the cold hand of death on my shoulder, and then I was staring it in the face.

The emptiness is what I remember most. Where my soul resides is a dark place where monsters lurk in every corner. Yes my friends, hell is not the fire and brimstone kind of hell. Hell resides in your mind, on a Tuesday, when your bored, and coming home from work.

Oh are you wondering what I saw…? Well I saw nothing.

Other writing by me that you can find on Amazon. Click the images if you have further interest.

a_world_without_book_cover (3)b82d3-smash

Increments (unlock the next level)

I have learned a lot in the last few years. I learned that people you thought would always be in your life tend to fade out. But not in a bad way, they just are there one minute and gone the next. They taught you what you needed to know and served their purpose. I learned that raw emotion is good when you’re young, but doesn’t fit when you have a toddler. Toddlers don’t care that you want to do your art.

The biggest thing I have learned, is that in life, things happen in increments.

 

in·cre·ment
ˈiNGkrəmənt/
noun
plural noun: increments
  1. 1.
    an increase or addition, especially one of a series on a fixed scale.
    “the inmates’ pay can escalate in five-cent increments to a maximum of 90 cents an hour”
    synonyms: increase, addition, supplement, gain, augmentation, accretion,addendum; More

    Or very small increments, and this is as it should be. The reason being, if I had the kind of life I had now when I was in my twenties I would not have been able to handle it. I would have screwed up my life and the lives of others. Everything has a balance, a flow you might say. The life you are living now may not be what you think you should be living, but it is! It is the one you are suppose to be living because any other life would not work at this moment in your time. You are not ready yet for what comes next. You have to live a little, experience this life right now, to become ready, and willing, for the things that life has in store for you. Your ideal life is coming, it is a slow process for a reason. If you need an example of people who did not live there life in increments, check out any tabloid the next time you are buying groceries.

    It needs to happen in increments to make it right. Take it slow, learn, and make it right.

    a_world_without_book_cover (3)
    Click the image

Flash Fiction “Peephole”

Peephole

James didn’t believe he deserved any of the things in his apartment. The big screen TV sitting on the solid oak entertainment center was a constant reminder of how he didn’t deserve to be alive. His chest moving up and down was a constant reminder. He didn’t deserve to be alive after what he had done. Not after the screeching tires broken glass, blood, and the screams. Oh god the screams. The screams woke him up at night.

Everyone told him it wasn’t his fault, even his parents. But every time he looked into their eyes he saw how they felt. It was there. The place behind their eyes, as obvious as a blinking light. “You killed her.” It said. “You killed our baby girl, you killed your sister.” Non of the late night crying sessions with his mother, or the reassuring pats on the back from his father made the blinking light go away.

Sara never wanted to wear her seatbelt. James never made her. She was 20 years old and an adult, at least on paper. Gone were the days of being big brother. He wished he had endured the eye roll and made her wear the damn thing. He relived that moment backing out of the drive way every day for the last 2 years, going over every detail, the sun setting, his sisters hair blowing across her face, the flash of the truck bumper, the screams, and then silence. He couldn’t relive that moment anymore, and he wasn’t going to. The gun he purchased a day ago would remedy that. One bullet and things would be set right. One pull of the trigger and the agonizing guilt would be laid low like the bad guy in a spaghetti western.

The gun sat like a brick in the palm of his hand as he raised it to his temple. He felt a lightness come over him. In two years he hadn’t felt this good. This is right, he thought.

He almost pulled the trigger when he heard the knock at the door. The suddenness of the rap left him confused for a second and made him think the gun had gone off and ended his miserable life. He looked around the room, and everything was as it was. James got up from the couch and walked like a zombie to the door. He leaned his head against the hard wood, exhausted by just a few feet. He contemplated going back to the couch and getting on with it.

The door vibrated against his head as he leaned. His desperate feeling turning to anger. He looked through the peephole. The image on the other side of the door wavered as James’ eye adjusted finally focusing on a face he had not seen in 2 years. His sisters face looked perfect. Beautiful like he always remembered. He sighed and opened the door, not glancing back at the physical deed done. Not looking at the wreckage that laid on the couch clutching cool hard steel.

If you liked this story, you can purchase my short story, “A World Without” on Amazon. Just click the image.

a_world_without_book_cover (3)

Domestic Twilight Zone

wormholeI am obsessed with the old Twilight Zone episodes. One of my favorites is “The Parallel.” If you haven’t seen it  I suggest you do. The story is about an astronaut orbiting the earth whose communication systems stop functioning and he blacks out. he wakes up back on earth with no memory on how he got there. When he finally meets back up with his family everything is the same,  just with subtle differences. I won’t tell you the ending.

A month ago I was looking at my 15 month old baby boy. I watched him play with his new plastic truck as he squealed with joy. My eyes went from him to my wife, and back.  I had been blessed with such happiness that I could not believe I deserved. This little piece of the big world was mine. This is my reality and believe me I cherish and would guard it with my life if I had too.

After a while of letting the joy I felt in that moment wash over me, dark thoughts started to creep. The darkest one being what would I do if I lost my family, or if something within my life were to drastically change. This is a normal thing for me because I started watching the Twilight zone at age 8, and started reading Stephen King novels at age 13.

I started thinking  what it would be like to come home to an empty house. The routine of my life gone and never to return… It gave me a stomach ache just to think about it. Don’t get me wrong. I love silence and being by myself every once in a while, but to never walk through the door and hear my sons squeals of laughter, or feel my wife’s hands around me ever again… Just writing about it makes me shudder.

So to be exercising the demons so to speak, I wrote a story of a husband and wife. It was amazing how fast it came out of my over active, and somewhat demented brain. The short story is called “A World Without.” It is short and sweet, I didn’t want to stay in that world for too long. I hope you enjoy it. Click the book cover below to purchase  it on Amazon Kindle.

a_world_without_book_cover (3)“At Norworld, we prolong life through A.I. We take away the suffering with technology.” 

 

We have been lied to!

Yes people, they have lied to us. They Lied to us in the most heinous of ways. Who lied to us you ask? Well Science Fiction movies, TV shows, and books. The lies started for me when I was a very small boy. I would sit on the living room floor eating my Cap N Crunch watching The Jetsons. I would watch George go to work in the sky, in his flying car that folded up into a briefcase once he parked. I believed that in the not too distant future we would have those flying cars that folded up into luggage. Not so my friends. We still drive around on rubber, and have to park our big lumbering non folding cars into parking spots! Parking spots people! In 2013 no less!

Today I watched Blade Runner for the 100th time. And seeing the “Replicants” In 2019 Los Angeles got me thinking how much Science Fiction lied to us! Where’s my house cleaning android, my flying car, and my fricken teleporter! Blade Runner is just one example of these lying Sci Fi stories.  Below are 10 of the biggest offenders in my opinion.

The Abyss told us that in the not to distant future we would have command centers in the deepest part of the ocean. We would breathe liquid oxygen, speak with ancient aliens that had been on the oceans floor for thousands of years. Liars! The only thing I have seen happen is James Cameron has made about 14 documentaries about the Titanic. You can only see a rusty ship with “My heart will go on” playing in the background before you want to rip out your eyes, and shove sharp things in your ears. You lied to us James Cameron… You lied to us. And I had so much hope for deep-sea exploration…

The Fifth Element, is set in the 23rd century, but it still made the list because I don’t think we should have to wait that long for flying cars, hot looking hybrid humans that can download every piece of information into their brains in a nano second, and guns that remember where to shoot. You can keep the weird-looking skull-cap thing that Gary Oldman’s character wear’s, and Chris Tucker’s annoying character.

The Minority Report is an awesome book by Philip K, Dick, made into an awesome movie. But again they lied to us. In this movie you can actually predict when a murder is going to happen. Which is kinda cool unless you are on the receiving end like Tom Cruises character. You have holographic computers, cars that drive up buildings, and multiple future outcomes. I will be expecting at least holographic computers in the near future. Shame on you Philip K, Dick… Shame on you.

The Island is a movie that has technology that isn’t quite here yet, and maybe should never be. In this movie the people get told that the earth is too contaminated to live in. The community has a lottery every so often, and the inhabitants believe they are going to an Island that is the last habitable place on earth. The truth is they are spare parts for their rich twins who live in the real world. Harvest-able human spare parts is not something we should ever have, but out of all my movie picks it’s the one that is close to happening.

Total Recall said we will go to Mars for vacations, and be able to wear human suit disguises… I think not!. Not to mention we would get to take virtual vacations in our mind. Very cool concepts but they have not happened. I don’t think I would like to go to Mars, and call me old-fashioned, but I want to actually experience my vacation for real. It was funny seeing Arnold’s eyes bulge out of his head though. And the mutant people were pretty interesting.

Robocop… Hmmm I don’t want Robotic cops. I don’t want cops that do not have the ability to choose between shooting you for jaywalking or just giving you a ticket. Cyborgs have always creep-ed me out a bit, humans with robot parts. Robots malfunction, and humans lose their minds, not a good combo in my opinion. The car alarm that electrocuted people was kind of cool, but what if you forgot to shut it off when you get into your car, and it turns you into a human pop-tart? I guess in a way we already have robot cops, they are every where, and they see everything.

2001: A Space Odyssey missed the mark big time. If it wasn’t space travel for the public, gigantic deep space ships, crazy weird clothes, and emotional computers it wouldn’t be on this list. Crazy good director Stanley Kubrick strikes again. This movie however had big dreams, and they were all suppose to happen in 2001… It’s 2013 damn it! This movie when it came out had futurist’s salivating, now it is just something to grin at, and ah…, write blogs about… My god… It’s full of crap…

Star Trek movie’s and TV shows have been repeat offenders for years. Warp speed, weird clothes, and tribbles to say the least. However this was all suppose to take place in the 23rd century. I will say many of the things that have appeared on the TV shows, and the movie’s were invented in real life. Maybe because a lot of the contributors of the shows and movies are real scientist, and physicists. We have ipads, Google glasses, and cell phones. All of these have showed up in the Star Trek movies, and TV shows. But that doesn’t excuse them from the whole transporter thing! Beem me up Hollywood!

A.I. is a movie about an android boy made to take the place of a mothers dying son. It is one of the most depressing films I have ever seen in my opinion. The boy robot can never die, and the mother throws him away like a piece of trash, after the lady’s real kid wakes up from his coma… Its pretty messed up! We do not have robots taking the place of real kids, and its a good thing. I just wanted to remark on how this movie made me feel morbid, and depressed for about a week after I saw it…


And now we come to the last pick on this list of lying Sci Fi movies. This pick is the master of the lie, and has had my generation going for years. The movie I speak of is Back To The Future 2. Not just flying cars in this one, we have a whole slew of lies such as Hoverboards, Holographic billboards, double ties, and alternate realities, It’s enough to make Biff want to “make like a tree, and get out of here!” All of this takes place in 2015! You only have less than two years left Mcfly! Well at least we could buy some cool futuristic Nike’s from the movie, and the proceeds went to a good cause. Great Scott!!

I love all of these movies, and I pretended being mad strictly for writing purposes. Science Fiction movies, books, and TV shows have inspired many people to invent great things, and I can’t wait for the next big technology that we can mark off the list. If I missed any, which I know I did. Please feel free to comment. thanks for reading.

Telling a story

 I think telling a story/being a writer has always been in my blood. My father, although he never wrote anything down, could spin a good yarn. He was always regaling anyone that would listen, with the stories of his youth. Like the time he wiped out a corn field with an Indian motorcycle, or when he swam across a lake that was ten miles long just to get to work! Did I mention he could spin a good yarn?


My mother on the other hand, did not tell embellished stories of life experience, but she could spin a yarn like my father as well. She wrote scripts, and even sold a few before she passed away. She never made any serious money with her writing, but when I would find her sitting at the kitchen table with a pen and a legal pad, scribbling away she always had a smile on her face. Just as my father would be smiling ear to ear having an audience, with his interactive storytelling. Both of them told stories for the sheer joy of it. Much as I do now.

Getting pleasure from writing is something I am grateful my parents instilled in me at a young age. As a writer you have to love what you are doing. You have to love words. You have to love putting those words into sentences, those sentences into paragraphs, those paragraphs into stories. You have to write every day, and do it with a smile on your face. If writing gives you pleasure, than you are already a success. This is one of the main points of my Kindle article “
Inspiration for the struggling writer.” The most important thing in life that we all strive for is to like what we do. And writing is no exception. As the old saying goes, “Find what you like doing, and do it well.”

My mother and father were never famous writers, but they told a story with exuberance and great joy. They were story tellers. They were successful writers. It gave them pleasure to entertain people with their stories. And that is what all writers are striving for in the long run. If you’re a writer take a second not to worry about the money or fame. Instead think about the pure joy you give yourself and others just by telling a story. It really is a wonderful thing.  
%d bloggers like this: