Friday, July 04, 2014

New short story: "The Pond"

Here is an excerpt from my latest short story, "The Pond."

That night at dinner, Vin’s discovery was lost in the chatter. “It’s something with three fingers.”
            “Pass the mashed potatoes,” said his father. “Animal tracks. Christ, can you believe the Cubs lost again? Five in a row. I don’t know why I care—“
            “Jim, watch the swearing, please.”
            “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” joked his father in a deep voice.
            “I wish.”
            “Mom, I want a bikini,” pleaded Alice.
            “Over my dead body. Is the pork done enough?”
            “It’s fine. A bikini?”
            “What animal has a hand like a human with only three fingers?”
            “Emily’s mom let her get one.”
            “Get what?”
            “A bikini.”
            “Well, we don’t do things simply because somebody else does them. Especially the Lamberts.”
            “What’s wrong with the Lamberts?”
            Vin gave up and put his half eaten dinner in the sink. It was Wednesday, so he was supposed to be cleaning his room, but he was soon lost in the Encyclopedia Britannica looking at animal tracks with background music from his sister’s room courtesy of the Everly Brothers’ “Cathy’s Clown.” Nothing matched the prints he saw in the mud earlier. Tink. Tink. Vin went to the window and peered out. Derek stood in the yard looking up. “I got a surprise,” he said, wearing a clownish grin.
            Derek had on a jacket on a very warm, muggy evening. He looked around Vin’s bedroom suspiciously.
            “What’s wrong with you?” asked Vin.
            The boy slid a magazine out from under his jacket and held it up triumphantly. “Playboy. July, 1961.”
            Vin grabbed it out of his friend’s hand. “What? Are you kidding me?”
            “It’s the real deal, my friend. The best thing is that my dad will never ask me where it is because then he’d have to explain why he has it in the first place.”
            “You are good. Very, very good.”
            The boys spent the next half hour ogling the voluptuous women of July, until Vin’s mother knocked on the door. “Bath time.”
            “Derek’s here, can’t I do it in a half hour?”
            “Okay. A half hour.”
             “Look at those tits,” said a dreamy Derek.
            “There’s no animal that makes prints like the ones by the pond.”
            Derek looked at Vin as if he was speaking a foreign language. “What?”
            “The prints by the pond. It’s not an animal.”
            “So what made the prints?”
            Perturbed that Vin was off topic, Derek closed the magazine. “How the heck should I know?”
            “What if it’s a monster? Huh?”
            Derek rubbed his nose nervously. “A monster? Monsters are in the movies. There aren’t any real monsters. Are you crazy?”
            “Then explain the prints.”
            “The prints. The prints. I bring you the latest issue of Playboy, and you’re worried about some prints in the mud. You can be pretty strange sometimes.” Derek put the magazine back under his coat and walked to the door. “See you later, Vin.”

Check out the rest of the story at They're Only Shadows.

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