The following are short stories and excerpts written by Jon Recluse. He is a two time winner of the monthly writing contests conducted on this blog. Jon has not published any books or collections to date, but maybe we’ll convince him someday.
For now, I’ve placed everything of his I have on this site in one place so that anyone wanting to see it could do so without a lengthy search (there are links to the postings). Feel free to leave comments. Everything here is in the order it came to be on my blog.
Feldman D. Frog Goes Froot Loops
It was a dark and stormy night in Happy Vale. Beneath the old oak tree where Screwy Squirrel held his nuts and dreamed of Spring, down among the roots, lay the warren of Fluffy D. Bunny, his lovely wife Fluffay, and their 67 children. The only sound emanating from the interior, normally echoing with whines, laughter and chronic mattress abuse, was of liquid dripping and the maniacal giggling of Feldman D. Frog, who was rocking in the center of the gore splattered living room which appeared to be raining blood. Feldman raised his eyes towards the ceiling, where the Bunny family was decoratively nailed, and burst into another fit of the giggles. Although chasing down and nailing 69 bunnies up there was tiring, the effect was wonderfully tacky. With a groan and a flurry of dried, flaky blood, Feldman rose to his feet and glanced about the room. Had he forgotten anything? A quick pat of his pockets confirmed the location of his trusty hammer and his squeaky rubber waffle. He gave it a loving squeeze. “By George, you’re right, Waffle! Mustn’t forget that! Now, where did I put it?” A quick scan of the room offered up no answers. Feldman tapped his foot and glanced at the ceiling once more. “There you are, you silly old thing!” he cried as he reached up to remove his violin from Fluffy’s lower intestinal tract with a lovely squishy twang, and his bow from Fluffay’s nasal cavity. With a jaunty tip of his hat to the late Bunny clan, he traipsed out the door and into the storm. Tucking his violin under his chin, he began to play as he danced into the night, his voice raised in song “I’m singing in the rain, what a glorious feeling, I’m happy again!”
Stone Cold Kill
I was sitting behind my desk, watching the clock and contemplating doing something stupid when O’Weinstein, the Chief of Police, stormed in, steam pouring out of his ears. He threw down a copy of the late edition on my desk and glared at me.
“What the Hell is this?”
“It’s the Pravda Nuevo Times, Chief.”
“Don’t get smart with me, Chase!”
He jabbed the paper with a fat forefinger, his face turning an unhealthy purple.
“Care to explain this to me?”
“Well, I don’t read that rag myself. There’s a little too much red in their yellow journalism for my taste.”
I smiled up at the Chief, going for cute. I guess I missed.
O’Weinstein leaned across my desk, grabbed my lapels and proceeded to blow the scent of gefilte corned beef into my face.
“Where do you get off telling them that you can stop the Midnight Mauler but I warned you off the case?!”
Not wanting to put my hands on the touchy Chief, I stood up from my chair, as his hands slipped off my lapels.
“I told them the truth, Chief. Who knew they would actually change tactics and print it?”
To be honest, I was surprised I had gotten drunk enough to actually tell that little weasel reporter the truth, that he was sober enough to remember it, and that his editor had enough common sense to print it. The Midnight Mauler had brutally murdered 16 people, all working late, crushing them to death, according to Magget, the coroner, before throwing them through highrise windows. The police had nothing. Not really surprising, they couldn’t spot the obvious if it was sitting on their faces and wiggling. They even lost an undercover and a pair of detectives in a half witted attempt to trap the killer. I knew what it was, and was willing to risk my bright future as a live P.I. to stop it. O’Weinstein was too afraid to lose his job to listen. All things being equal, hopefully that drunken mistake on my part might save some lives.
“My offer still stands, Chief. You give me one shot, no questions asked. I pull it off, you get the credit. I get the reward. I screw up, you can urinate on my grave with clean hands.”
He closed his eyes and slumped.
“That maniac killed three of my best men. Do it. And God help you if you screw up, Chase. What do you need?”
“Just access to the High Infidelity Building’s 30th floor. I have everything else I need.”
That night, I was doing my corporate gerbil impression, acting harried at a desk in the High Infidelity Disclaims office. Things began to jump around midnight, when the Mauler came through the window. Gotta love a punctual killer. Not so thrilled to learn that I was right. The Midnight Mauler was a full blown gargoyle. An animate stone killing machine. I gave it the finger and ran for the hallway. I stopped, checked to see that the elevator was open and waiting, then backed towards it enough to give me some room.
The gargoyle came through the door like a freight train, spotted me and tried to stop, sliding on the marble floor and slamming into the opposite wall. I stuck my tongue out at it. It roared and charged. I ran for the elevator, watching the floor. There! I threw myself over the pool of silicone lubricant, to the right of the elevator, landing on my stomach. The gargoyle, a ton and a half of stone moving at high speed, tried to stop, found no traction and slammed into the open elevator. I pulled the rubber stop out, letting the door slide shut. The creature never got the chance to turn around when the acid weakened cable snapped, sending it on a oneway trip to the sub-basement. The building shook with the impact. I brushed myself off and decided to let O’Weinstein’s men sift through the gravel. I needed a drink.
The following is a little fun post I started back in August where people could write from the perspective of an inanimate object (or something to that effect). Jon placed two entries (I’ve linked them to the original place they were posted):
It sounded routine enough. After all, no one ever said being a Secret Service Agent was easy. They didn’t warn me. I wouldn’t have believed it if they did. I know better now. I lie here, stitched together like Frankenstein’s monster, my face gone, my body shredded. You will never know my name but I have to share with you my sacrifice. The horror of it all. I was the one who volunteered to prepare the beast every 30 days. So it was fit to be seen. I…I am the one who shaved Hillary Clinton for public appearances. I am the sole survivor of Operation: PMS.
I lie here in the nightstand drawer, with the darkness, the smell…my Hell. Dragged screaming into the light when it is randy, to be plunged into the darkness again and again and again. It says it loves me, and dumps me, reeking back in the drawer. Why can’t it switch sides, this Oprah, so it won’t use me anymore.
The Spirit of the Season
I was driving back to the office after having dealt with a couple of would be Satanists up at the Hallowed Hollow boneyard and feeling pretty good about having locked them in the Hamperdamp family mausoleum. Old Man Hamperdamp had been a bastard when he was alive. Death hadn’t mellowed him and he hated being disturbed. If their hearts held out till morning, someone would be along to let them out eventually. And DeRigor Mortis, the funeral director, had paid in cash, no questions asked. Life was good.
I was cruising along, keeping an eye out for any sugar crazed costumed midgets who might dart out into the street and put a damper on my evening, and a costly dent in my grille when something in my peripheral vision caught my attention. I pulled over and slowly scanned the street. The house I had just passed was dark, the only undecorated one on the street. Nothing odd there. So, what was making the hair on the back of my neck do the wave? A group of kids passed by the dark house and moved on to the next. About 20 yards behind them, a lone boy in pirate gear, maybe 9 years old was fishing around in his bag of booty and dawdling along. Suddenly, the porchlight at the darkened house came on. The boy finished fiddling with candy and began angling towards the house. And a cold hand grabbed my guts. I pulled a fast u-turn, parked in front of the joint, and got out of the car to intercept the kid.
The boy saw me and stopped short. Smart boy. I pointed up at the house and shook my head.
“Forget that one, buddy. Light’s are on a timer, y’know?”
He glanced at the house, then back at me and nodded slowly.
I pulled a wad of cash out of my pocket, peeled off a couple of twenties, wadded them up and tossed them into his bag as I headed up the walk to the house.
“Happy Halloween, kid. Now go catch up with the others, okay?”
He took off like a shot, calling “Thanks, mister!” over his shoulder.
Quietly, I stepped up to the front door, rang the bell and sidestepped to the left. One beat too fast, the door opened.
“Ahoy, what a fine pir…” was all he got out before I had him by the throat.
I knew why this place set off my alarms the minute I got a good look at the home owner.
“Sonovavich…Bobby Lee Gagney! How’s tricks, you little freak?”
Bobby Lee was a child molestor and registered sex offender who had gotten out of prison about a month ago. The house had belonged to his mother.
He struggled to break my grip, squeaking something that sounded like “lawyer” and “sue”.
“Bobby, you know the damn rules! No lights. No decorations. And where is your warning sign?”
A quick dart of his eyes pointed out where the official “Sex Offender Warning” sign lay on the table next to the door.
I dragged his sorry butt out of the house and down to my car.
A quick rap of his head against the roof put him down for the count and I tossed him into the backseat. I started the car and headed for the Boggman place.
Every town has a haunted house, a place everyone avoids. Ours was the Boggman house. The place has been empty for over 75 years. Sort of.
Bobby was just coming around when I parked in front of the old Gothic pile. I dragged him out by his collar and hauled him to the front door. Bobby babbled the whole way.
“This is kidnapping! I’m gonna have you arrested! I didn’t do nothing! I’m sick! I’m gonna sue!”
I gave him a good shake and pointed at the front door.
“Shut up and listen! Here’s the deal: I dare you to knock on that door. Do that and you’re outta here. You don’t and we go visit your parole officer. Choose!”
He looked at me like I had lost my mind. I was used to it and let it go.
“Seriously? I just knock and I can split?”
“Three times, yes.”
A creepy little smile crept across his face as he turned to the door and rapped his knuckles three times.
He started giggling and whispered
“Trick or trea…..”
when the door swung open in well oiled silence, the shadows yanked him in, and the door swung shut once more.
I lit a smoke as I waited. I had only taken two drags when Bobby screamed. He stopped before I finished my third. I heard the door open behind me and turned to see a figure in the doorway, formed by writhing shadows. A pair of glowing orange eyes watched me from beneath the edge of a tattered hood as a wide, sharp toothed smile that would have made the Joker green with envy split it’s otherwise featureless black face.
“Good evening, Mr. Chase.”
“Same to you, Mr. Boggman.”
“Please, call me Bogart. It amuses me and is close enough to my given name.”
“No problem. I gotta tell you, I’m a bit surprised to find you doing this sort of thing.”
“Why, Mr. Chase? I deal in fear. Some say I am Fear itself. Frightening children to teach them caution is my reputation. Giving terror back to those who find pleasure in spreading it is a higher calling, wouldn’t you agree?”
“Works for me, Bogart.”
“Excellent! Now, since you have brought me such a thoughtful treat, tradition demands I give you one.”
He reached into his own substance and withdrew a jingling bag the size of a melon and handed it to me.
“I cross your palm with clean silver, Mr. Chase, for the gift of one black soul. Now I must bid you good night, for Mr. Gagney has a great deal more screaming to do. Happy Halloween, Mr. Chase.”
“Happy Halloween, Bogart.”
He shut the door as I headed for my car. I hefted Bogart’s gift and smiled. They say you should never make deals with the Devil, but no one ever said you couldn’t bargain with the Bogeyman.
It was nearly 5 pm on Christmas Eve, and I was banging my head against my desk like a deranged woodpecker. Can’t say it was doing much for my thinking and the desk was ready to throw in the towel. There just had to be a way to pull this off. Why is the right thing always the hardest to do? I had spent the last three weeks talking to the best in the business, and all I had to show for it was a concussion and some heartfelt questions concerning my sanity.
I pulled a bottle of scotch out of the desk drawer, threw the cap across the room and took a healthy slug. How do you give a gift to someone who can’t accept it? It’s the thought that counts, but that doesn’t mean much if they don’t know it.
I glanced at the calendar, one of those sappy Norman Rockwell type jobs the bank gives out, and my brain stalled. There was the answer, staring me in the face. What every child wants! But still impossible.
I killed the bottle and was about to do myself some grave bodily harm when the obvious ran my dumb ass over. A quick check of the phone book and I was out the door.
I stopped the car behind the ASPCA building and got out. If there is a place more heartbreaking than a neglected pet cemetery on Christmas Eve, I don’t want to know about it. I pulled the whistle from my pocket and blew it, then got back in the car. I wasn’t sure if it had worked until I felt the cold wet touch against the back of my neck. I started the car and headed for my final stop of the night.
It was just starting to snow when I pulled up to the gates of the foster home. Or what was left of it. Not much remained of the building, save for some fire blackened brickwork. Back when it was open, it housed about 200 kids. It wasn’t a bad place, as orphanages go, once upon a time. I survived it, and have some fond memories. But things change. Especially when money means more than the children. Things started to go downhill, accelerating along the way. Things came to a head five years ago, when an electrical fire burned the place to the ground. On Christmas Eve. 167 kids lost their lives that night. And most of them are still here. I could hear the sound of their crying, a faint whisper in the night.
I got out of the car and opened the back door.
“Go on now. Go play!”
Everything got real quiet for a moment, and then, ever so faintly, I could hear the sweet laughter of the children, the excited yipping of puppies at play. I wiped the tears from my eyes as I turned away, a smile in my heart.
“Merry Christmas, little ones. Time to play.”
An Evening with Bob
I was driving back to the office from Old Man Kadiddlehopper’s farm, having finally convinced him that it wasn’t aliens that were messing with his daughter, Beula, but the local fraternity. In shifts. He didn’t take the news much better than if he really was going to be the grandfather of a bugeyed monster. Although, considering Beula’s looks, the possibility was still in play. But, my work was done. Kadiddlehopper paid me what he owed me in cash and threw in a jug of his moonshine as a bonus, if I could run down the one Beula swore was the daddy, a football player named Nad. Life was, if not good, at least keeping it’s head above the sewer line.
I had just turned onto Old Highway 16 when I noticed the lights approaching. They were coming in fast, quiet and from the air. I briefly wondered who I had annoyed that owned a stealth helicopter with a mauve searchlight, when I got a clear look at the aircraft. Check that. Flying object. Because, from where I was sitting, it looked like a giant pink spongeball. I leaned on the gas to get myself away from whatever it was and considered the possibility that I was high from the fumes leaking from the moonshine. I should be so lucky. The thing put on a burst of speed, caught up with my car and the last thing I remember, the lights got very bright before I lost consciousness.
I came to sitting behind the wheel of my car, but I hoped to Hell I wasn’t on Jupiter, or in Kansas for that matter, because I knew that, without opening my eyes, that I wasn’t on Old Highway 16 anymore. Unless the moon had become a disturbing shade of puce while I was out, because the lighting was wrong. Then something spoke.
“Are you awake,Mr. Chase?”
“Maybe. Does Mr. Chase want to be awake?”
“Awake, we can talk. Open your eyes, Mr. Chase.”
“Will I regret it if I do open them?”
I got a hurt silence for that one, and decided what the Hell, things couldn’t get worse. If it did, I would just bang my head against the steering wheel until I didn’t care anymore. I opened my eyes and saw what was standing on the hood of my car. It wasn’t wet your pants and scream like a girl horrific, but I was still thankful that years of hard drinking made it easier to swallow.
It was about 4′ tall, with an egg shaped body, short little legs and huge feet. It’s arms were like an orangutan’s, long and held over its head. Only it didn’t have a head. It’s shoulders were set just below the smallest end of the egg shape, so only a little hump lay where a head should be. It did have a face, though. Big, green eyes, two. No nose. And a wide, lipless mouth in a big smile. Smack dab in the middle of it’s belly. It appeared to be naked, perfectly smooth, sexless and pink as a rubber sponge ball. It gestured for me to exit the car and hopped down from the hood.
I opened the door and stepped out onto the rubbery pink floor of some kind of loading bay. It appeared to be the same material that my host was made out of. My mind filed that piece of info away and then set it on fire. The alien beamed up at me and offered it’s hand. It sported 6 fingers and two thumbs.
” I am Bob, of the Bob, Mr. Chase. My apologies for meeting like this.”
I shook it’s hand, which was also rubbery.
“Pleased to meetcha. Bob of the Bob?”
“You have religon, Mr. Chase?”
I nodded for the giggles.
“Well, we do, also. Our creator, BOB, made us in his image. Ergo, we are the Bob. I am Bob of the Bob. See?”
I didn’t want to, but I nodded again.
“How do you know me, Bob of the Bob?”
“Please, just Bob. You are known through many dimensions, Mr. Chase. Even mine. I am a dimensional traveller. I come from one down, three diagonally and up yours. I need your help with things that go hump in the night.”
“Bump in the night, Bob. Things that hump in the night involve a different kind of detective.”
“So sorry! Bumping in the night. Yes! My ship is haunted, I’m thinking, so I come find you.”
“Haunted by what, Bob? The restless spirit of another Bob?” I was gonna need therapy after this.
“Oh, no! Bobs don’t have ghosts. Bobs are recycled. I have been Bob of the Bob 1,734,892 times. Ghost is ghost of something else. Or not ghost, Bob not sure.”
Lot’s of therapy.
“What do you mean, you aren’t sure?”
“Ghost solid, Bob thinks.”
Great. Solid alien ghosts. I should have been a proctologist.
“So, where do you see this ghost, Bob?”
“Running around ship, yelling, different places. It is big, like you. Bobs are peaceful. I have no weapons. I hide from it.”
” How long since the haunting started?”
“Two days. Since I came here to check on cows.”
I didn’t want to know, and I didn’t ask. But I was gonna have my hand sterilized if I got outta here.
“Kadiddlehopper’s cows? The one named Beula?”
“No, cows. Beula’s no cow…….is she?”
“Close. What else does the ghost do?”
“Steals food. Touches controls. Leaves puddles, sometimes piles that stink. Writes on walls. I show you.”
I followed Bob out into a corridor that was defaced by gibberish. I couldn’t read it, but I didn’t expect to be able to. I had seen this kind of thing before. I knew what I was dealing with, now.
” Bob, I think I can help you.”
“Thank you, Mr. Chase! How may I be of assistance?”
Suddenly, a wild scream echoed down the corridor, followed by thumping footsteps, running hard. Bob dove into the loading bay, bounced and landed behind my car. I pressed myself against the wall hard enough to sink in and waited.
From down the corridor came a white sheeted figure, bouncing off the walls like a deranged cartoon character, yelling “BOO!”. Just as it reached me, I stepped out and clotheslined it across the chest. The “ghost” hit the floor and bounced a few feet until it finally came to rest against the far wall, out cold.
Strolling over, I pulled off the sheet and took in the low brow, block head and letterman jacket. Two for two. I caught the ghost and baby daddy in one shot. Things actually stopped sucking for a moment. I didn’t get comfortable.
“Bob, come on out”
“You caught the ghost?” He looked down at the napping frat boy. “That is not a ghost.”
“No, Bob, that is a hitchhiker you picked up at Old Man Kadiddlehopper’s farm.”
“What do we do with him, Mr. Chase?”
“I have a pretty good idea, Bob.”
After securing Bob’s “ghost”, and explaining what needed to be done, we dropped the frat boy off at Old Man Kadiddlehopper’s. From 60 feet up. He hit the compost like a meat carpet. I hopped out from a safer height and introduced Kadiddlehopper to his future son in law, or fertilizer, as the case may be. The old man was so beside himself with gratitude, he never noticed the pink ball floating in his front yard. Bob took me back to Old Highway 16, thanking me every second of the way. After putting my car back on the roadway, he gave me a hefty bag of gold and silver bars, a doohickey to contact him if I ever wanted to chat and asked if he could be my interdimensional agent. I patted the little dope on the shoulder and told him to call me before accepting any jobs on my behalf. These carjackings on lonely roads weren’t good for my mental health. With a final wave, he went back to his ship, and with a loud raspberry, vanished into the whatever. Shaking my head, I climbed back into my car and sat quietly, wondering if I ever would repeat the events of this evening to anyone. After some contemplation, I realized that even my own bartender would have me carted off to the screwball academy, where I would spend my days hanging around with the assorted nuts, playing Go Fish and waiting for a big Indian fella with a pillow. With a sigh, I started the car and headed for the questionable, but familiar insanity of hearth and home. I only slowed down once, to run a little blue guy holding a card that said “Uranus” into the ditch. I needed a drink.
Any future additions will be placed here!