Nine Roses and Three (a short story)

I was in Walmart the evening before Valentine’s Day, picking up an item or two. On my way out, I saw an old man holding a bouquet of roses he had just bought. He didn’t seem to be in a hurry to go anywhere. He was just standing and looking at the roses. Somehow, that put me in a writing mood. So I wrote this little thing that night, polished it the following morning, and e-mailed it to my mother-in-law for Valentine’s Day.

Rather than putting the story itself in this post, I’m linking to a PDF file of it, for the sake of preserving the font I used.

For the record, it’s not about anyone in particular. It’s just what my brain conjured up when I saw an old man holding a bouquet.

Nine Roses and Three (a Short Story)

Here’s a mobile-friendly PDF (with much larger print), in case you’re reading on a small screen.

Nine Roses and Three (a Short Story) — mobile version

It’s five pages long, or about 1700 words.

A Failure of Imagination (a short story)

Though his body was still healthy, Walter’s mind faded quickly after that. Gravely concerned, his two children arranged for him to live in a care facility, where highly trained caregivers could help him grapple with what had become the central fact of his old age: his childhood nightmare had returned, and now it wasn’t just a dream.

(This story was written for the American Fork Library’s 2013 Scary Story Contest. You’ve been warned.)

Author’s Note
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V

Eleven-B (a short story)

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This is a short story I wrote 20 years ago, after a plane trip and a fortuitous find or two in a newspaper. It was formerly published at an old site of mine, BookishThoughts.com. I wonder how I would write it differently 20 years later, or if I would write it at all. It seems a trifle overdone.

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“Good morning.” The inevitable red, white, and blue flight attendant smiled a practiced smile. Smith scowled in her general direction, mumbled something between “good morning” and “what’s it to you?” and moved on, looking for his aisle seat, 11C. More paint than a billboard, he thought. I’ll bet she buys her eye shadow wholesale.

He found his seat. 11A and 11B were unoccupied. His cheap new briefcase, which contained the few material possessions he troubled himself to care about, went into the overhead compartment among the pillows and blankets. He growled softly at nothing in particular, then strapped himself into his seat. Finding the appropriate button, he pushed it, tipping the seat back. He yawned discretely, almost timidly, and shut his eyes.