Flash Fiction Friday Number 14: Spare

Okay guys. I’m finally back. My back still isn’t 100%, but I’m afraid it’s about as good as it’s going to get, at least without lost of strenuous work and possibly surgery. Anyway, I feel better than I have in quite awhile.

I’m declaring today the first day of Halloween season since today is the first day it’s really felt like Autumn. I know we still have another week until it’s officially Fall, but it seems everyone I know around here can feel the change of the season in their bones.

Today’s story isn’t a true flash piece since the upper limit of flash is 1000 words, and this one comes in at 1482, but I just couldn’t cut it down much more. Anyway, enjoy.

I call this one…

Spare

When my twin brother Dave died, it was like half of me had been cut out and discarded. We’d always had a special bond. I don’t mean we shared some sort of telepathy, although I could usually sense his emotions and he mine, even when we were nowhere near each other. I just mean that we were very close to each other.

Even after we moved out of our parents house and into our own separate lives, I usually ended my day with a call from him where we would catch each other up on our lives. At the end of every call, he would always sign off with “Talk to you tomorrow, Spare.”

That was his nickname for me. Spare. Since he was born first by a few minutes, he would always joke that he was the original, and I was just there to provide him with spare parts if he needed a transplant. If only I could have given him those spare parts after his accident, but there was no hope of saving him. He died from the car crash before they could even get him out of the wreck.

For months after, I wandered listlessly. I stopped going to work and started going to the bar. At first, my wife was as understanding as she could be. She knew how close Dave and I had been. She did her level best to be understanding, but after a few months, I could tell her patience was wearing thin. I just couldn’t find it in me to care. I think she was on the verge of kicking me out of the house when it happened.

I was sitting at Tiny’s, about to raise another shot of whiskey to my lips, when I heard a voice ask me if I hadn’t had enough. I looked around, the full shot glass grasped in my trembling hand. It wasn’t just any random voice. It was Dave.

I searched the bar with my eyes, hoping to see him even though I knew it wasn’t possible. We had buried Dave. I’d been the one to throw the first handful of dirt on his casket. There was no way Dave could be talking to me. Then I heard him again.

“Come on, Spare. What are you doing? You have a beautiful wife at home who loves you. Yet you’re sitting at a bar, spending her hard-earned money. For what? Are you trying to kill yourself so we can be together again? That’s just dumb. I’m here. You can put the drink down.”

I slowly realized that I wasn’t actually hearing him. He was in my head.

“Dave?” I asked.

“Shh. You don’t have to speak. Just think it and I’ll hear it. You don’t want people thinking you’re crazier than they already do.”

“But how are you here?”

“I don’t know. I just sensed you needed me and here I am. But the bad news is, I’m gonna need a little more practice at this. Just this little conversation is exhausting. I’m going to have to get some rest. You should too. Put the drink down, settle your tab, go home, and beg your wife for forgiveness. Oh, and don’t mention the fact that I’m in your head. Not even to her.”

“Okay Dave, goodnight.”

“Talk to you tomorrow, Spare.”

Hearing those words again, even in my head, gave me a chill. I never thought I’d hear them again. I quickly took his advice. Cindy was clearly dubious about my claims that I’d reform. Understandably, considering I was still very drunk. The next day, despite my hangover, I woke up early, put on my best suit, and set out to get my job back.

Unfortunately, the school had heard about my bender, and decided I shouldn’t be working with children.

As the weeks went by, I began to understand that word of my drinking had gotten around to the other schools in town as well. Nobody would hire me.

At least Dave was getting stronger. There were some days that I had to ask him to stop talking to me just so I could think.

One day, as I was resigning myself to flipping burgers while one of my former students lorded over me as my manager, Dave came up with a plan.

“Why don’t you look for something in the tech industry?”

“Because I was an English major. I don’t know anything about that stuff.”

“Yeah, but I do. Just let me take over during the interview. We’ll get the job. I promise.”

“Let you take over? How am I supposed to even do that?”

“Just let go. I’ll take care of the rest.”

“Okay, that’s great. But let’s say you get us the job. What am I supposed to do when I’m expected to actually do the work?”

“Right. You should probably let me take over then too. We’ll just call it a time-share. Hey, you’re getting the longer end of the stick. I do all the work, you get to enjoy the off time with our, I mean your, wife.”

His little slip should have raised a red flag. But he was my brother. I quickly agreed to his plan. Letting him take control took a little practice, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly. To tell the truth, it was kind of nice.  I could let my mind wander while Dave did all the heavy lifting. I even started working on that book I’d always planned to write. Only in my head, of course. I couldn’t actually write it while Dave was using my body.

True to his word, Dave got us the job. I was a little envious when we got our first check. It was enormous compared to my piddly teacher’s salary. Needless to say, even though Cindy was concerned about my sudden career change, that first check made her a believer.

It seemed we had the perfect arrangement. True to his word, Dave did all the work, then I took over in the evening to spend time with my wife. Then one morning everything changed. I was in the bathroom shaving when I felt Cindy’s arms wrap around me.

“Thank you.” She said.

“For what?”

“For last night. I was beginning to think you weren’t attracted to me anymore. Thank you for showing me I still turn you on.”

A pit settled into my stomach as I began to understand what had happened. The truth was, I had been avoiding sex with her because that was one thing I didn’t want to share with Dave. Apparently, Dave had other ideas.

“DAVE!” I screamed inside my head.

I could feel his reluctance to answer. Understandable, since I was trying to figure out a way to punch him without hurting myself.

“Look. I’m sorry bro.” He said, somewhat sheepishly. “It’s just that you were completely neglecting this beautiful woman.”

“You know damned well why I was avoiding sex.”

“What, because you didn’t want to share her? I’ve got news for you, we are sharing her. Besides, did you notice the look in her eyes every time you refused to touch her? You might have straightened up, but we were still losing her. I just did what needed to be done.”

“No. You did what you’ve always wanted to do.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You know exactly what I’m talking about. All our lives, you’ve gotten the best of everything. Better job, more money, nicer car. Cindy is the one thing that I had that you couldn’t. She chose me and it ate you up inside. Admit it.”

“Okay, fine. I admit it. You never deserved her. I deserved to have her, not you. You’re just the spare!”

I was stunned speechless. He’d never called me that like he really meant it. Now he was dead serious.

“What did you say?” I finally stammered.

“You heard me. You’re nothing. You’ve always been nothing. Just my spare.”

“That’s it. I’m telling her everything.” I said through angry tears.

“Go ahead.” He said, mockingly.

I opened my mouth to do just that. At least I tried to. I couldn’t make my mouth move. Dave started to chuckle. I tried to turn to her, to reach out to her. To do anything at all. All the while, Dave’s laughter rose.

“It’s okay, Spare. She never would have believed you anyway. Probably would have thrown you in the nuthouse where you belong. Unfortunately, I would’ve had to join you. I can’t have that. I’ve got big plans in store for the wife and I.”

Unable to do anything else, I began to scream inside our head, loud enough to make Dave wince.

“What’s wrong?” Cindy asked.

“Hmm? Oh, nothing. Just thinking about my brother.” I felt my mouth say.

“You still miss him. Don’t you?”

“I’m getting over it.” Dave said, as he smiled into the mirror and resumed shaving.

.     .     .

And there you have it. Like I said, I’ve declared this the official start of Halloween season, so I thought I’d kick it off with something at least moderately scary. I feel like this one needs to be made into a longer story. I’d like to do a much slower burn with Dave taking things over, but as long as it’s been since I’ve posted a story, I felt like I owed it to you to get something out.

Author’s edit: Even though this story was still written on Friday, it just wasn’t ready to be published until Saturday. Hey, give me a break. I’m still trying to get back on the horse.

Anyway, that’s it for today. I’ll see you on What’s Up Wednesday.

Remember to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon

What’s Up Wednesday: I Want It All, And I Want It Now!!!

I’m back for real this time. At least I think I am unless I have another setback. But I really feel that I’m not just able, but eager to get back to work. There are even times when I don’t feel any discomfort in my back at all. It’s probably time to give yoga a serious try.

Anyway, now to the regularly scheduled post.

Based on the title, you might be assuming that I’ve been listening to a lot of Queen lately. Particularly this song.

While Queen is one of my favorite bands of all time, that just isn’t the case. Actually, I’ve been on an 80’s glam/hair rock kick for pretty much the past month. Although I guess you could technically put Queen in that group, (if you’re a dick,) but I’m talking about bands more like Poison and Motley Crue.

Anyway, the point is, I haven’t been listening to Queen lately. In fact, I hadn’t heard “I Want It All” in months. That just happens to be the song that plays on an endless loop in my head whenever my brain is trying to tell me it’s time to really grind. I’m finally feeling good enough that all I want to do is sit down in my office and put some serious words on the page.

It’s a good thing I’m feeling this way, because as of yesterday we are ten months away from Thrillerfest 2018, and more importantly, Pitchfest. I have every intention of actually having something finished by then. Hopefully multiple somethings. I am going to have a manuscript that, when an agent says yes, I can send off right away instead of having to make excuses as to why it isn’t ready like I did in 2016. We’ll call that one a trial run. Practice.

Now before you get too excited, keep in mind that this blog post is the first bit of actual writing I’ve done all week. I know it’s still a form of procrastination, but I just had to get my office back in order. Most of the last month has been spent flat on my back on the couch in there bingeing Supernatural. Needless to say, it was a disaster. I’m proud to say that, as of yesterday, I’ve gotten it back in ship shape and I’m ready to get to work. Now I just have to talk myself into spending my time at the hotel as productive as I plan to be while at home.

I have to. Especially since I’m considering adding yet another project to my inbox. I’ve never tried to write a murder mystery, but I’ve read plenty and I have a great main character in mind. Any murder/mystery/police-procedural fans out there?

Now for a bit of bad news. As much as I know you guys seem to like them, I can’t promise to put out a Flash Fiction Friday every week. (Not that I really made good on that promise anyway.) Don’t get me wrong. I will try to write them as often as possible, but I have to really focus on getting my novels and longer shorts done so I can submit them.

I think I’m going to give journaling a go yet again. I’ve tried it several times over the years, but I’ve never been able to stick with it. I’m considering making it part of my writing time each day. Jut a little warm up while I drink my “morning” coffee to get the brain working. I have an awesome leather-bound journal that’s just going to waste. I might as well use it.

I’ll probably put my daily word count in it just to keep me honest.

I know it’s probably too early in my career to even think about this. I’m not sure I even have “fans”. But I’m considering tarting a Patreon page. Would anyone be interested in supporting me? If so, what kind of rewards would you like to see? I’m thinking maybe exclusive access to short stories months before they’re seen anywhere else. Maybe a free signed copy of my book when it comes out, but I’m open to suggestions. I hate to seem like a greedy bastard, but the money sure would help and it would give me more time to write. Please let me know what you think in the comments.

Anyway, I think that’s about all I’ve got for you this week. I’m probably forgetting loads of stuff, but there’s always next week.

I will try to put something up on Friday. Just don’t hate me if I don’t get around to it.

I realize that even though I may want it now, it’s going to take some time. Still, wanting it now means that I need to do my damnedest to get it done as soon as possible.

Remember to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon

What’s Up Thursday: Rejection

What’s up, guys. It’s Thursday.

I know I’m a day late this week. That’s because yesterday kind of sucked.

Before I get into that, let me tell you about the week that led up to yesterday.

First off, I missed Flash Fiction Friday yet again. I have no real excuse, other than the fact that y back was still hurting a bit, but that’s not really an excuse, it was down to a dull throb at that point. The fact of the matter is, I just got lazy. I didn’t really have the energy to do much of anything. Injury can really wear you out.

Over the weekend, Shannon and I almost got caught up on Doctor Who. we still have three episodes to go, but should be able to knock those out this weekend. Hopefully we’ll also have time to binge at least part of AHS Roanoke as well.

Monday,  I actually felt mostly better. Well, at least I could walk. I still felt as if someone was sticking a knife in my lower back and twisting it, but it was the kind of hurt that tells you you’re on the mend. I felt so much better in fact, that after I got off work, while waiting for the celestial festivities, I decided to catch up on the housework I hadn’t been able to do for the previous month. This proved to be a mistake. By the time I finished, my back was screaming. But hey, at least the house was semi-clean. I then went outside and read while I waited to watch the eclipse through my trusty welding mask.

Tuesday, I attended the August meeting of the Black Hills Writer’s Group. We spent most of the meeting discussing the future of the group. I think we made some positive steps. If you happen to be a writer in the black hills area, Check us out at http://blackhillswritersgroup.org

And that brings us to Wednesday. I suppose I should start at the beginning. I got off work ready for my physical therapy appointment which would hopefully help me fix my back for good. On the way there, I took a wrong turn and found myself in suburban hell. It really was a nice looking residential area. The only problem was, for the life of me, I could not find my way out of it. I kept expecting to come out onto a main road, but it took quite awhile to find my out of it. What’s worse, it seemed like every street went uphill at a fairly sharp grade. I can’t imagine how much winters must suck. Anyway, from the constant climbing and the fact that it’s been a while since I’ve checked my coolant levels, my suv started to overheat.

I finally found my way out of my private hell and found the PT office without overheating. I filled out my paperwork and sat down to wait. While I waited, I decided to check my e-mail. When I opened the app, I was excited to see a response for two of the stories I had submitted for publication. As you might have guessed, they were both rejections. Now I know getting rejected is part of the process, but it still felt like, well, rejection.

As I was still processing this information, I was taken back into an exam room and told the doctor would be in shortly. I waited patiently, and after a few minutes, the door opens, but it isn’t the doctor. It’s one of the receptionists to tell me that my insurance won’t cover the two to three hundred dollar bill for my visit. They would however put the cost toward my deductible. Translation, unless something major happens to me in the next couple of months, I would have to pay for it myself. Instead, I chose to walk out and find the exact same stretches and exercises on YouTube.

Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was pretty angry and disheartened and just didn’t have it in me to write a blog. I hope you can forgive me. Hopefully next week will go smoother. Now, I have to find new markets to send my orphaned stories to. Hopefully I’ll see you on Friday.

Remember to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon

 

What’s Up Wednesday: Gremlin Attack!!!

Hey guys.

You might have noticed that I didn’t post anything last week. That’s because, to be perfectly honest, it’s been one hell of  a week.

Like most of the country, we’ve been suffering from a killer heat wave. I think today was the first day below ninety in weeks and we’ve had several hundred plus days.

This is where the gremlins come in.

I thought my whiskey decanter was getting a little low.

So far this summer, I’ve already had to fix my refrigerator. Then my water heater broke. I called a plumber to fix it, but I just didn’t have the money to have him fix it properly, so he did what he could to get it working again with the caveat that his fix might not last.

Then, on one of the hottest days of the summer, our beloved air conditioner broke. Technically, it still worked. It would just blow a breaker every time the compressor tried to come on. Now, to be fair, after a little research, I discovered that the unit was made in either ’83 or ’84. (About the time the Gremlins movie came out, actually. Coincidence?) Still, it came at the worst possible time. We were hoping it would last us through the summer so that we could install central air next spring.

Unfortunately, our dreams of sinful central air were dashed by the demise of our wall unit. We decided we couldn’t go the rest of the summer without air conditioning, so we scrambled to find a suitable replacement.

While we waited for the new air conditioner to arrive, guess what. That’s right, our water heater went out again. Luckily, I have the internet. With the help of Google and YouTube, I figured out how to install a new pilot light assembly and found one for thirty dollars as opposed the the hundred and fifty the plumber wanted to charge me just for the part.

Unfortunately, this too had to be ordered.

What with the house being a sweltering oven, and not being able to get properly clean, I just couldn’t keep my mind on creating stories. Not to mention, I was concentrating on researching home repairs. A wise man once said, if you’re going to own a home, either make enough money to hire a handyman or learn to be one yourself. (I’m not sure if that man was me or someone I heard it from.)

The new air conditioner arrived last Thursday and with the help of my younger, much stronger cousin, we got it in without too much trouble, so the weekend was nice and cool in our home.

Then on Saturday, I got to move two refrigerators. My father-in-law’s fridge has been broken for a while. We have been looking for a decent used one that we could afford and finally found one, but the clock was ticking to get it before someone else claimed it. We got the old one out of the house and put the new one in fairly easily. It was only when I was lifting the old one into the truck that I felt a twinge in my back.

The part for the water heater arrived on Monday, but I was too sore and broken to put it in until Tuesday. Luckily, once I finally got to it, it was a fairly easy install. Getting up off the floor when I was done was actually the hardest part. So now we have hot water again and my back is thanking my mom for installing a whirlpool bath when she owned the house.

So that’s been my week. We have cool air and hot water again and I’m praying the gremlins leave us alone for a while. I knew when we bought the house that things were going to break on occasion. I just didn’t expect everything to break at once. I wonder if you can get a house sized gremlin bell.

So that’s about it for this week. Provided nothing else breaks, I’ll post a new story on Friday.

As always, check me out online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

And, of course, please buy my debut short story, Blood Moon .

More is coming soon, as long as things quit breaking.

Flash Fiction Friday Number 11: Haunted

Hey guys. Welcome to another Flash Fiction Friday. I don’t really have much to say in the way of prologue this week, so let’s just get to it, shall we? I call this one, Haunted.

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Haunted

I squeezed my already closed eyes even tighter, doing my best impersonation of a sleeping human being. I knew it wouldn’t work, but I at least had to try.

“Hey. Are you awake?” He asked, his whisper nearly a hiss.

I felt his cold, clammy hand on the back of my neck and unsuccessfully tried to suppress a shudder. It wasn’t that I was afraid. I just knew how hard the residue left by his touch would be to clean off.

He wasn’t a bad sort, for a ghost. In fact, other than a little moaning in the night and the occasional rattling of chains, he was a nearly perfect roommate. Sure, the noises in the night took some getting used to and I had to clean up the occasional ectoplasm stain, but I never had to worry about my house being broken into when I was away and he never ate my food. Or any, for that matter. Besides, I’d known the house was haunted when I signed the lease. How else was someone supposed to get a place in the heart of the city on my salary?

Still, I’d thought we’d gotten past the whole waking me in the middle of the night thing.

“Mortal. Please wake up.”

“I told you, my name is Jason, and I have to work in the morning.” I said into the pillow.

“But you have to do something.”

“All I have to do is get old and die. Then I can stay up all night with you and we can have a chain rattling party, or whatever you guys like to do, but as long as I need money to eat and pay rent, I need my job. So let me sleep.”

“Can… can I at least sleep with you?”

“What? No! You’d get your slime all over my sheets and I’d never get it out.”

“But I’m scared!”

This gave me pause. I’d heard him moan before, but never with this particular pleading tone. I rolled over and sat up.

“What could you, a ghost who has been dead for years, possibly have to be afraid of?” I asked, looking him in the sockets where his eyes should have been.

He lifted a slightly glowing hand and pointed to my bedroom door.

“Him.” Was all he said.

I looked toward the door and saw, in the deep darkness beyond the jamb, a pair of glowing red eyes staring back at me.

 

And that’s it for this week. Hopefully I’ll have another one for you next Friday.

Until then, be sure to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

The Return Of What’s Up Wednesday: SoDakCon, My First Book Signing, And Giving My First Interview

Hey Guys. Long time no see.

As always, life is still crazy, but at least this time it’s been in a good way.

I may have mentioned a little event known as SoDakCon before. If I haven’t or you’ve forgotten, SoDakCon is the biggest anime/nerd convention in the black hills. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still small comparatively, but it’s growing every year. This year’s theme was Pirates versus ninjas. (Yes, the choice of capitalization was intentional.)

Having identified as a pirate for many years, I of course had to finish my cosplay. Still, there’s a long tradition among cosplayers and being new to the scene, who am I to break it? In keeping with tradition, I waited to finish my costume until the last minute. Still, I think it turned out pretty well and I got a lot of compliments on it. I was even stopped by the event photographer and asked to pose for several pictures. They haven’t been posted yet, but when they are I’ll post them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For now, here are a couple of shots Shannon took of me.

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What do you think?

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I just had to stop by the green-screen booth and have a professional picture taken.

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Check my Instagram for more of me and a few of the other amazing cosplayers who put me to shame.

So anyway, while I love going to con every year as a spectator and mingling with my kind,

nerds

this year was somewhat special. Thanks to my friend and fellow author Adrian Ludens, I was able to set up at his table to sell some of my own books. While I can’t say I sold as many as I’d hoped I would, I did sell a lot more than I’d feared I might.

I was hoping that I’d have something professionally printed in time, but yet again, I dropped the ball so at the last minute, I had to come up with what I could. I ended up designing a cover for my short story “Blood Moon” that translated to black and white. I was shooting for something reminiscent of the old dime store novels.

I think they turned out nicely. I still have plenty of copies. If anyone is interested, I’ll be selling them on my website. www.JustinMKelly.com.

One of the most thrilling moments of the weekend was being interviewed for public radio about being a writer. I have to admit, I got tongue-tied and stumbled a bit, but I made it through even though my heart was beating like crazy.

Then of course came THE moment. The moment when I sold my first copy and got to sign my first autograph. I wish I could say I did it smoothly, but the combination of it being such a momentous occasion and the fact that I honestly hardly ever write longhand, especially in cursive anymore, made me even more awkward than normal. I actually had to stop and try to remember how to make the letters I needed. Luckily, my first sale was to a friend who didn’t mind so much.

After that, things went a lot more smoothly.

All in all, it was an amazing, if exhausting weekend.

And that’s where I think I’ll stop. I could tell you more, but if I told you about every amazing thing that happened over the weekend, this post would be a mile long and I wouldn’t finish writing it until next Wednesday.

I’ll see you all on Friday with a fresh piece of flash fiction.

As always, you can find me all these places online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

I’m even on Pinterest

Flash Fiction Friday Number 10: Playing The Game

Happy Flash Fiction Friday, everyone. This week’s offering is a little weird. I’m not sure how I feel about it. Part of me thinks it’s silly. Another part of me feels like it should be expanded into a longer story. Let me know what you think.

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Playing The Game

He sat on the bench, staring down at his feet. He kicked at one of the balls of wispy, white fluff that littered the ground. He didn’t have to look up to know he was no longer alone. He could sense his friend’s energy settling onto the bench next to him.

“So what’s with you?” His friend asked.

“What are you talking about?”

“Oh please. You’re sitting here brooding and your best friend isn’t supposed to notice? Spill it. What’s eating you?”

“It’s nothing. Really.”

He could feel his friend staring at him.

“It’s just that… Doesn’t this place ever get to you?” He finally continued.

“What? Of course not. We have absolutely everything we could ever want here. If there’s something we want that isn’t here, all we have to do is ask the man and we get it. This place is perfect.”

“That’s the problem. It’s too perfect. Everyone’s always so damned polite and happy all the time. And god, if I hear one more rendition of In The Garden Of Eden played on the harp, I’m going to punch one of those flying babies in the face!”

“Woah. Calm down. That kind of talk could get you kicked out of here.” His friend said, looking around nervously.

“I wasn’t serious.”

They sat in silence for a long time.

“You’re thinking about going back into the game. Aren’t you?” His friend said, finally.

“What if I am?”

“Nothing. I think it’s a great idea. I mean, that’s what the game was designed for, wasn’t it? So where were you thinking about going this time?”

He didn’t have to answer.

“Seriously? Again? Why are you so obsessed with that little blue marble? Why don’t you shake things up and try someplace else? I hear there’s even a new one.”

“Yeah. I looked at that one just out of curiosity. The only avatar you can choose is an amoeba.”

“So Earth, huh?”

He nodded.

“Well, it sounds like your mind’s made up. So what’s stopping you?”

He hung his head. He didn’t want to admit why he was hesitant. His friend waited patiently.

“I kind of used up all my karma points last time.” He admitted finally.

“Oh no. What did you do?”

“Well, before the game started, I used some of my points to choose the rich advantage. I figured I could earn them back by using my money for good while I was in game.”

“But it didn’t work out that way.” His friend said.

“No.”

“It rarely does.”

“I used up the rest of my points in game by being a general asshole. With no starting perks this time around, who knows what I’ll end up as?”

“Well, hey. You could always be a dog. They earn tons of KPs. It’s a much shorter game too.”

“Yeah.” He said. “Well, I guess I should go accept my fate. I’ll see you in a hundred years or so. Unless you want to come too.”

“No thanks. I think I’m going to stay here and enjoy having my every desire fulfilled. You have fun.”

He waved to his friend and made his way to the arcade.

 

So that’s it. I hope you enjoyed it and didn’t think it was too blasphemous. It’s kind of loosely based on my idea of heaven and how I reconcile both an afterlife and reincarnation. Two opposing ideas that I believe in. The idea of life being a game just came to me last night, though.

Anyway, that’s all for this week. I’ll hopefully see you on Monday with an update on what I’m reading.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

On Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Up… Thursday?: A Day Late And A Dollar Short

What’s up guys? How has your week been? Mine has been absolutely insane.

Last Friday was my mom’s birthday. I won’t tell you which one, because I’d prefer to make it to my next one. On her birthday, we took her out to a nice dinner and gave her our gifts. I got her an action camera like the one I’ve used to record a couple of videos on my YouTube channel. Shannon got her a ticket to go see Home Free this October. If you don’t know, they’re a great country acapella group. I don’t even like much country, but these guys are awesome.

On Saturday, Shannon, my Mom, and I  took a ride on the 1880 Train from Hill City, SD to Keystone, SD and back. It was a lot of fun and something Shannon and I have been wanting to do for years, but never found the time. It was great being to be able to step back in time as we entered vintage rail cars being pulled by an actual steam engine. I took a video and posted it on my YouTube channel here. Warning, it’s close to a two hour video, but I think it’s a reasonably soothing watch. You wouldn’t think riding in a convertible and then a train would wear you out so much, but we were both beat by the time we got home.

Of course, Sunday was back to the grind. What I wasn’t prepared for was the hotel being nearly or completely sold out every night. Some nights, even when we’re sold out, I still have most of the night to myself. Not so this week. It seemed like every five minutes or so, somebody needed something. I was hoping to get some writing done, but to tell the truth, this blog post is all the writing at work I’ve been able to do all week. I would try to get something on the page, but it always seemed that as soon as I would start to type, either the phone would ring, or someone would magically appear at my desk. Finally I gave up and cued up the next episode of Black Sails and dreamed of running away and turning pirate myself.

Of course, one full night was devoted to editing the aforementioned two hour YouTube video. I’m getting better with my editing skills. I’m even considering getting a green screen so I can replace the ugly background when I shoot vlogs at work. Now I just need to work on my on-screen presence.

The good news is that during my time at home I’ve been fairly productive. The bad news is, what I’ve been productive at is procrastination. Yes, my office is spotless so that when I do finally sit down to write, I shouldn’t have any distractions, but I’ve yet to test this theory by actually sitting down to write. Oh well, this weekend is supposed to be ridiculously hot and Shannon has a lot of homework to do for her masters in English, so I plan on giving her space and working on my own homework. I’m hoping to even get some serious reading time in over the weekend as we hide from Mister Heat Miser.

I guess that’s about it. It may not sound like much to some of you who actually work for a living, but it’s really frustrating to not be able to get work done when you actually want to.

I do have a good idea for this week’s Flash Fiction Friday, but I’m a little afraid it’ll end up turning into a full-fledged short story that I’ll want to try to submit somewhere, in which case, I won’t be posting it here. Keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t turn out as good as I think it might. 😀

Anyway, I guess that’s about this week. I will post something tomorrow, I promise.

As always, you can find me all these places online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube I finally hit 100 subscribers. Thank you everyone for your help. The new custom URL is https://www.youtube.com/justinmkellywriter

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

I’m even on Pinterest

It’s Monday! The Man In The High Castle, Starters

Hey guys.

This is the first post of this type for me. On Mondays, I’ll fill you in on what I’ve been reading. My girlfriend turned me on to this and I’m hoping it’ll help keep my reading on track.

I’ll start with, The Man In The High Castle, by Philip K. Dick2016-12-19-1482180717-9274817-themaninthehighcastlepaperback

I know it’s blasphemy, but I’m having a really hard time getting through this one. I started reading it after watching the Amazon series of the same name. (I highly recommend watching it if you have an Amazon Prime account.) Unfortunately, the book isn’t nearly as exciting as the show that was adapted from it.

Like the show, the book is about what the world would have been like had the Nazi’s and Japan won the war. Unfortunately, save for a few characters, that’s about where the similarities end.  I’m over two thirds through it and to be perfectly honest, with the exception of one brief scene, I’m still waiting for something to happen. Maybe I got my hopes up too high after watching the show, but the book so far is just what it appears to be on the face. An alternate history of the United States. Other than that, there’s no real sci-fi element so far. I’m afraid if something big doesn’t happen soon, it’s not going to.

I’m also reading Starters, By Lissa Price.

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I’m not very far into this one yet, but so far it’s fascinating. A year after the war wiped out all adults, all that are left ate the young (starters) and the elderly (enders). The enders have taken all the wealth and left the starters with nothing. Callie is a starter looking out for her little brother. Since the laws don’t allow anyone under eighteen to take a job, she resorts to the only way people her age are able to make money. She rents out her body to enders looking to relive their youth. Now, I’m not talking about prostitution. She signs with a company that’s developed a way to let enders take control of her body and live as a young girl for a time. I don’t want to give too much away, but an elderly person borrowing her body is just the beginning of her problems.

As a side note, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Price in person at Pitchfest where she coached me before I pitched to actual agents and she was incredibly sweet and helpful. I ended up buying two copies of both Starters and Enders, the sequel for her to sign. One set for Shannon and I, and another for a friend of ours who had loved Starters.

Finally, for my nonfiction selection, I read Lifelong Writing Habit: The Secret To Writing Every Day by Chris Fox

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It’s been an invaluable resource for helping me get organized and write every day (okay, okay, not every day, but I’m getting there). I’m slowly becoming more productive too, although I don’t think I’ll ever get to the five thousand words a day he says I can. I have a feeling those kinds of numbers only come with meticulous outlining and I’m a dyed in the wool pantser. To be honest, the main reason I write is for my own entertainment and I lose that if I have more than a basic idea of what might happen in the story.

Still, a lot of his advice still has value for a stubborn old pantser like me. Thanks to Mr. Fox, hopefully you’ll soon start seeing lots of new work from me. I’m reading his 5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter, next. Hopefully he can get me to at least three thousand words a day.

Well, that’s about it for today. Come back on Wednesday for the rest of my adventures at Thrillerfest and, if there’s time, loose in the city.

As always, check me out at…

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And on YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr