Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Thanksgiving story, “Coming With Forks”

“Coming With Forks”

“The in-laws are coming.  The in-laws are coming.”

“Okay everyone, calm down.” General Turkey looked over his troops.  “We knew this hour would come.  It will do us no good if we panic.”

Once everyone had settled down, Colonel Ham asked, “What’s your battle plan, Sir?”

“We’ll hit them in waves.  The first in will be the Cookie Unit.”

Lieutenant Chocolate Chip stepped forward and saluted.  “Sir, on behalf of my unit, I wish to thank you for giving us the honor of being first into battle.”

The General returned the salute.  Looking to the rest of his troops, he continued, “Once the Cookies have broken through, the rest of us will follow.  The spearhead of our attack will consist of myself, Colonel Ham, and Major Mashed, with Majors Gravy and Stuffing in support.”

“Hear, hear,” Colonel Ham piped in, while Majors Mashed and Stuffing said only, “Very well.”

After a moment Colonel Ham asked, “Major Gravy, your thoughts?”

For a few seconds there was silence, then Major Gravy blurbled a reply.

“Um, yes.  Well said.  While we make our advance,” General Turkey hurried on, “Lieutenants Casserole, Sweet Potato, and Peas and Carrots will protect our flanks.”

“What about my unit?” Lieutenant Roll asked.

“Deploy your men to fill any gaps.”

“Yes, Sir.”

Taking a look around at the assembled troops, General Turkey asked, “Do you all know your missions?”

He was treated to a chorus of “Yes, Sir.”

“Good.  Now, I won’t lie to you.  All of us will take heavy casualties today, but some will be lucky enough to live on as leftovers for a few days.  But know this, every bite they take of us will be one less bite they’ll be able to take of our precious pies.  Earlier, I spoke with Apple and Cherry and His Eminence the Pumpkin, and they wanted you to know that they thank you – from the bottom of their crusts – for your courage today.”

The General let that soak in, then cried, “Lieutenant Chocolate Chip.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“Take your men in.”

“Yes, Sir.  Cookies, front.”

Once the Cookies were lined up in ranks of Oatmeal Raisin, Chocolate Chip with Walnuts, Chocolate Chip without Walnuts, Peanut Butter, and Sugar, Lieutenant Chocolate Chip cried out, “For the Pies!”

Watching the Cookies charge, General Turkey put a wing to his breast and whispered, “Such giblets.”


Some years ago before Halloween, some friends and I went to a Poe event where these actors acted out some of his stories.  Before one of these, an actresses was talking with the audience and somehow the subject of pumpkin pies came up.  Specifically how they “sweat.” Her explanation as to the reason they sweat is that they know “the in-laws are coming … coming with forks.” I thought that was a great line, so I jotted it down and wrote a story to go with it.
Some people who critiqued this story took issue with the cookies going in first.  In their families, the cookies stayed back with the pies.  But in my family, my mom bakes cookies a day or two before and they immediately begin taking casualties.  I guess I just grew up with cookies being the skirmishers.

Anyway, this story was published in my collection A Man of Few Words.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Short story – “Vote Yak”

This is a slightly revised version of a story that appeared in my collection, The All-You-Can-Read Buffet. 

“Vote Yak”

“Mister Yak, I’m Agent Rob Miller of the United States Secret Service.” The tall, muscular man in a blue suit flashed his badge.

The floor creaked as Yak walked around his desk for a closer look at the badge.  After studying it for a few seconds, he asked, “Agent Miller, is the Secret Service taking my candidacy seriously?”

Putting his badge back in his coat pocket, Miller answered, “Sir, the way it was explained to me was that the courts will decide the legality of your candidacy.  If they decide it is illegal, then we will go our separate ways.  But as long as you are on the ballot in at least one state – and given your … special circumstances – you are to be protected.”

Yak returned to behind his desk.  “But the other candidates have teams of agents protecting them.  They only sent you.  Why?”

“I’m not to be your total protection, Mister Yak.  I’m just here to get the ball rolling.” Agent Miller opened his briefcase and took out a data pad.  “This contains our basic manual for protecting dignitaries.  Is your Head of Security here?”

Yak gave a deep, barking laugh.  “My Head of Security is also my speechwriter, my spokesman, and about twenty other things.  Right now I have no idea where he is.”

“Well then,” Miller set the pad down on the desk.  “I’ll just leave it here for him.” Taking out his wallet, Miller added, “Here’s my card.” He set the card on top of the data pad.  “Have your Head of Security contact me after he’s read through it.”

Yak nodded.

Miller nodded back.  “I’m sure you have a lot to do, so, good day, Sir.”

“Before you go, Agent Miller,” Yak asked, “would you answer a question?”

Miller paused for a moment, then said, “Of course.”

“Would you vote for me?”

Miller stared at Yak for several long moments.  He finally answered, “With all due respect, Sir, I oppose on a multitude of levels giving human intelligence to animals.  But you, like all other manimals, are innocent of your creation.  Now, do you have the qualifications to be President?  I don’t think so.  But does that mean I think no manimal could ever have those qualifications?” Miller paused for a moment.  “I don’t know.”

Yak sat down on his haunches.  “Thank you, Agent Miller, for your honesty.” After a moment, he asked, “Would you indulge me in answering another question?”

Miller checked his watch, then nodded.

“How many death threats has Governor Hayes and Senator Weinbaum received in the past month?”

“I am not at liberty to discuss that.”

“Two or three, perhaps?”

Miller shook his head.  “I am not at liberty to discuss it.”

“I’ve probably received that many this morning,” Yak stated.  “They’re on the ballot in all fifty-two states, while I’m only on one.”

After a moment, Yak added, “Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate what the Secret Service is trying to do, but as you saw by just walking in here, I don’t have much in the way of security.  Part of that is because so few people are willing to work for me, and the other is that I won’t have others sacrifice their lives for me.  Going into this I knew it was unlikely I would survive to the election.  My very existence threatens the beliefs of too many people.” Yak shook his head, then looked up to Agent Miller.  “I’m sorry.  I’ve become rather maudlin these past few months.”

Miller smiled.  “No apology needed, Sir.”

Standing back up, Yak said, “My Head of Security and I will have a long discussion when he comes back, and we’ll decide what protection I’ll need.”

“Very well,” Miller said.  “And even if you refuse our protection, we may still be able to give you some assistance.”

“Thank you, Agent Miller.”


Miller walked out the front door of the decrepit Yak Headquarters and crossed the street.  He took the badge out and dropped it in the first garbage can he came to, even though it was a waste of a quality forgery.

Half a block later he heard the explosion and frowned.


If this made you interested in more of my stories – especially those of a political nature – than you are in luck.  Because by the time this goes up, Political Pies – my other collection of short, political stories – will be free to download on Kindle.  It will be free until next Tuesday, November 6, 2018, which happens to be Election Day.  So grab a free ebook to read while you wait in line to vote, or to reward yourself for doing your patriotic duty.