Sample of Gramps, A Short Story

Sample from Gramps, a short story, by Ernie Howard

“I’m not asleep, boy. Just resting my eyes,” Gramps said.

Gramps had said this since Tate was little. It was like his grandpa thought taking naps were a sign of weakness.

“I didn’t think you were, Gramps, just had a catch in my throat,” Tate said. He was trying to hide the mischievous smile that was threatening to show itself.

“Ya, sure. And I’m a springy young boy, prancing through a meadow of flowers,” Gramps said.

Same old Gramps. The man was on death’s door and still, the sarcasm flowed out of his mouth like honey on a warm summer day. “How are you feeling, Gramps?”

“You know, that’s the problem with your generation. Always wanting to know how everyone feels. Well, Tate my boy.” Gramps paused and smiled a mischievous smile that looked very similar to Tate’s a moment ago. “I feel like shit. I happen to be dying.” Gramps let out with a raspy laugh that turned into a coughing fit. Tate looked around for a Kleenex or cloth but couldn’t find one in the vicinity. Gramps was shooing him away with his left hand and wiping his mouth with his sheet with his right hand. Tate sat back into his chair and waited for his grandpa to settle before he started up the conversation again.

“You know what I meant, Gramps,” Tate said.

Gramps put his hand up to stop him. “I know Tate, just giving you some grief. Enough with the pleasantries, son. Let’s get to the point, why I wanted to see you before I die.”

         Tate looked at his grandpa’s wrinkled face. The general facial features said old, but Gramps’ eyes danced and were full of fire that his own had never held. The man had something important to say. “I’m here Gramps.” He reached out for his Grandpa’s hand. Gramps grabbed Tate’s hand and squeezed. He was surprised at the strength his Grandfather still possessed. The old man sighed and patted Tate’s hand, his smile left.

I need you to believe everything I am about to say. It’s not going to be a long spiel, just a declaration, and some instructions. All I ask is that you believe it because I have never lied to you. Can you do that for me?”

This short story was originally published in Tales from the Canyons of the Damned #16

S.O.B.

New release Ebook by Ernie Howard. On Holiday with an S.O.B. Originally published in Tales from the Canyons of the Damned #9

“To hell with oneness. To hell with meditation. To hell with this S.O.B.,” – Eric

Everyone has been on a holiday with one. They are the ones that can’t open their eyes and see they are in a beautiful place. They are the ones that can’t break down and buy the stupid souvenir. They say it’s a cheap knock off and they don’t want to waste their money. They are the ones that don’t realize when they are laying on their death-bed, that they’re going to wish that they had spent that money, and had a good time with the ones they loved. These are the people who you try to stay away from. So I decided to write about a fictional one. I hope you enjoy the story that was originally published in Tales from the Canyons of the Damned #9

Get On Holiday with an S.O.B. Here >>>> https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MR3OWHD

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Hey! Those X-Ray glasses were legit!

When I was a kid, I loved comic books. I loved the stories filled with action and accompanied by drawings that seemed to jump off the page into my wide excited eyes. As I got older, I read books without the pictures. Instead, the writing drew the pictures in my head. The stories were the same though. These stories called Pulp fiction. I read writers like Richard Matheson, and Phillip K. Dick. I read Sci-Fi Anthologies, and collections of stories by Stephen King. These writers wrote the stories I liked. They came complete with dark stairs that lead to the basement where you knew the monster lived, but still you read.

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They were stories about regular people who got taught lessons in life by supernatural characters. Some of the stories were funny, and always entertaining, and some were dark and scary. These made you think about all of those weird noises you heard late at night. “What was that…” Just the wind I guess.

These “Pulp” stories were the ones that made me want to become a writer. I would read these and try to weave my own ending, trying to figure out the conclusion before I got to the end of the story. Most times I was wrong, but I got better as I got older and read more.

Pulp fiction gets the least amount of credit these days. People look at it as not serious writing. They call these stories “Twilight Zoners” A term I have never understood because the twilight zone always told the best and most entertaining stories! I don’t think you would have the smash hit Stranger Things, or the oldie but goodie Lost, if it wasn’t for the Twilight Zone.

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Why do people read if they don’t want to be entertained? If you are reading a book so you can give it a review, or tell your friends you read it. Just so you can sound smart in certain circles… You have missed the point of reading fiction! You will never get that time back. The time you spent reading that boring book that some critic called a tour de force!

You get older and almost feel you will be shunned by the “serious readers” if you say your favorite writer is Stephen King. Hey, I’ve read Infinite Jest. David Foster Wallace was a great writer, and I loved that book. But as far as storytelling goes, he couldn’t hold a candle to Richard Matheson’s Bid Time Return. You may know it as a movie called Somewhere in Time, starring a young Christopher Reeve, and Jane Seymour. Yes, Matheson wrote that. And he wrote many Twilight Zone episodes.

So before I get long winded, let me tell you why I wrote this. I wrote this because I have seen reviews that seemed to have missed the point. Reviews that called stories I loved, or wrote for that matter, “Twilight Zoners.” To which I have to say Thank you! I’ll take your three star “Twilight Zoner” Review. But what I want to know is, were you entertained? Did the story help you leave your hassle filled life just for a moment? Did you get to escape? Because that is all that matters.

Don’t be the person who doesn’t want to know if that Submarine in the back of the comic book really worked. You remember, the one for $6.98 plus postage.

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Don’t be the person who is too smart to believe those X-Ray glasses were just worthless pieces of plastic.

Be a kid! You don’t have to grow up if you will simply let yourself enjoy the story you are reading without critiquing it as you go. Not everything has to be Shakespeare. Who was a great Pulp fiction writer I might add. Yes, feed your brain, but don’t forget to have fun.

I write Pulp Fiction in these Anthologies. With other “Twilight Zoner” writers, of “Twilight Zoner” stories. If you would like to read and be entertained, you can pick up the latest Tales from the Canyons of the Damned.

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Maybe it will remind you what it was like to read under covers with a flashlight late at night. You remember. Your mom told you to go to bed. You dutifully laid down. She kissed you on the cheek and said good night. She closed the door, leaving just a crack, so some light would come through. You waited for her footsteps to get down the hall. Reaching under your pillow, (never under the bed), and grabbed your flash light and latest edition of Tales from the Crypt. You read for hours, getting to the part where the Mummies hand is pushing back the large stone of his dusty grave.

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You hear a noise in your silent house… “What was that…?” Probably just the wind… 

Get Tales from the Canyons of the Damned No. 9

tales9

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