I wrote the following short story during the school year this year. It is autobiographical and partially true ;)
"The Empty Chair"
The teacher walked next to the wheeled hoveround that belonged to his special student down the long hallway just like every day. Today, however, the student was not in it. He had been dismissed early for a dentist appointment. Turning the corner, the teacher rotated the navigational joystick so that the chair’s motorized servos caused it to maneuver its wheels, rounding nicely to the right and into to the next, shorter hallway.
The teacher stopped and opened the heavy, metal, gray-painted door to the welding classroom. He nudged the wooden wedge into the gap beneath the door, keeping it open, then returned to the chair. He noted the silence as he did so, missing his student, with whom he normally conversed and enjoyed talking to each afternoon. Crossing the welding classroom, wherein the students had concluded their metal bonding work for the day and returned to their desks, the teacher passed by a group of familiar pupils. Several of these young gentlemen subscribed to the school’s perennial group of “usual suspects,” being written up more frequently for misdeeds than others of their peers.
Being bored and lacking the stimulation of his usual stimulating conversation with his student, the teacher’s own deviant streak pulled strings in his brain, winding up a mechanism that caused his mischievous, boyish gears to kick off their cobwebs and begin to turn. Looking at the seated students, he suddenly changed his expression from its standard, vacant one to one of quiet disconsolation and panic. Turning to one of the boys, whom he had rather recently prescribed after school detention, the teacher asked in a calm yet concerned tone, “have you seen the kid that goes with this chair?”
The students’ expressions changed from boredom and mundane lack of thrill to an alarmed worry in measurable increments, until their eyeballs grew wide, with diameters rivaling those of dinner saucers. They gazed, confused and concerned, at the teacher, their mouths hanging agape. Was he serious? Had he really lost the kid they saw him assisting through their shared learning space each afternoon? Where was the kid? How could he have gotten away? Where would he have gone or be hiding? They didn’t remember him crawling through here…
The teacher’s expression changed suddenly again. His lips curled up into a grin, and his eyes lightened. “Just kidding.” he said. The two students’ expressions changed again, their comprehension equally as measurably deliberate as before, their facial features morphing from unsettled to amused. They began giggling in deep, laughing grunts. The teacher left them there laughing, and resumed his walk, piloting the empty chair out the large, mechanized bay door and down the ramp at the back of the school. There he met the driver of the pale, yellow diesel-fueled vehicle, just like every day. As the bell toned releasing the still grunting students, the weary teacher assisted the driver with lowering the mechanical ramp and loading the hoveround onto it.
There the chair would remain anchored til next day when the student returned, casting off the wheelchair his parents owned like a spent section of a Saturn V rocket, and returning to school to scoot the hallways of the high school in his sitting command module vehicle once more.
The teacher smiled. Job done. He returned to his classroom to complete some work, before finally heading home to rest his weary head for the day. Plot twist: that teacher was me.
Hello everyone and Happy Memorial Day! I hope you get this day as a day of rest and relaxation. If you get a chance, thank a Veteran for their service. Also, thank you Veterans from me!
In Star Sharks, my first novel, the main characters are all interplanetary military officers who are part of an organization called the Interstellar Brigade. Some of them are based on friends who served in the military.
I am new to this whole self/indie publishing thing, so when the initial print edition of Star Sharks: Beneath a Swift Sunrise was released last month, I released a double-spaced version of my manuscript that spaced things out on the page oddly and made the book way too many pages, thus the price of $15.99. I have corrected that spacing issue at the behest of several family members and friends who were gracious enough to purchase the book. It is now much smaller and manageable to read, and looks nicer on the page. The cost of Amazon printing is also cheaper now, as a result, too! So Star Sharks can be yours, a REDUCED PRICE OF $9.99 NOW, just in time for Memorial Day! I sincerely apologize to those who purchased a longer and weirdly spaced print copy. I truly appreciate your support and apologize for you having to pay a little extra. I truly do think the book looks better now, though.
You can find that book HERE.
Also, I wanted to announce again that my next book, a children's novel called The Lucky Run: A Magical Tale of a Boy and His Dog, is available now on Amazon for pre-order! It will be available for download June 17th, Father's Day! So you can go ahead and order the book today (Kindle Version, Print WILL be available starting June 17th) on Memorial Day, and have it beamed to you in time for Father's Day! Hooray!
That book can be found HERE.
Again, thank you for checking this website and my writings out. Please read and support my books! I appreciate all of you and wish you a Happy Memorial Day. I greatly appreciate the efforts and sacrifices of our Veterans and remain in memorial of those family and friends of mine who have served. Great respect and love and I am so grateful for your sacrifices so that I can sit here now and write freely like I do.
Keep checking this back for more short stories and musings!
Yours truly in creative musings,
Memorial Day 2018
Here is another 100 word story exercise I’ve written. Hope you enjoy!
“The Black Box”
It crashed. Nobody knew why. Two hazmat suited men walked through twisted, smoldering wreckage. Their mission, their quest, as they maneuvered through the kindling aluminum jungle sending billowing black-white smoke upward into the ozone, was to find a hallowed object.
Clambering through wreckage, stepping over frayed, sparking wires, avoiding molten plastic deposits, they heaved open a panel, pulling forth their unscathed, pristine prize: the black box.
At base, it bleeped a message, informing why, how to prevent another catastrophe. Scrolling letters across the screen into which the black box was plugged: “Next time, make the entire plane the black box.”
It's time again for another short story! This one is set in my own hometown of Roanoke, and its characters are based (and named, although last names have been left out, to protect identities) on my old high school buddies, who had many a misadventure throughout our teen years. This is an entirely fictional plot, although it has echoes to reality, and certain characters' personality/character traits are true to the people on whom they are based.
I loved these guys in high school and still do. We keep in touch and hang out occasionally. They have turned out to be wonderful people, each of them, with wonderful families, careers, dogs, children, wives, and lives. It is my pleasure to know them and be friends. Our adventures and tall tales of their adventures and mischief they told me when I was too busy with track to join in while we were busy growing up inspired this story.
Now to the horror/scary part(s).
I remember being terrified of him in Disney's Fantasia. Chernobog, Lord of the Bald Mountain. Being much older now and interested in myths, legends, and folk religions, I researched Chernobog more thoroughly and learned about his Slavic roots as a god of the night and creatures that creep and crawl in that dark night. I imagined a world where he was a sort of anti-hero, and wishing to write a "scary" piece, I concocted this story of Chernobog's quest to bring his friends and subjects, monsters, ghosts, ghouls, and the like, back to life. I honestly don't know how haunting or scary it is. I may have epically failed at this.
I shared the story with my friends who star in it. I apologize to them if they hated it! It is a weird story, I'll give you that, but promise you, many of my stories are linked, and it will all make sense eventually if you continue reading them in sequence. It's all part of a greater narrative, a "battle for Roanoke" if you will I have plotted out. I hope that you, the reader of this website enjoy it and find it well and the story is an enjoyable read.
The story is attached as a pdf download below.
Also, I will shamelessly plug my newest novel, The Lucky Run, again, now available for pre-order on Amazon and arriving on Kindles and Print on June 17th, just in time for Father's Day! Please check it out and give it a read!
Thank you, and I remain truly yours in creative musings,
I am super stoked to announce that my next novel, The Lucky Run: A Magical Tale of a Boy and His Dog, is now available for pre-order, with your copy being delivered to your Kindle on June 17th, Father's Day!
Please support me and my work and go ahead and reserve your download, and enjoy the book once it comes out! This one is a children's book about knights, a boy, and his dog. The boy's identity is shrouded in mystery until he discovers things as he runs through a magical kingdom chasing his pup, Lucky who runs away one day. Adults will enjoy it too, whether reading it themselves, to their children, or both!
I hope you read it, it finds you well, and you enjoy it!
Print copies will become available on June 17th.
The link to the pre-order your Kindle copy is HERE!
My baby brother, P, (yes the very same who is helping me produce my audiobook and did the cover art for Star Sharks,) is 18 now. I can hardly believe it. He will be a college freshman next year.
Last year was a difficult year for the family. In March 2017, as I've mentioned before, our mother was diagnosed with a glioblastoma, a brain tumor, and found out she had Stage 4 brain cancer. She had it removed at Duke University in April. By May, my brother's 17th birthday, she was still recovering from that and struggling with short-term memory loss, vision, and a number of other maladies, as you can imagine. Needless to say, I wanted to make my brother's birthday special. He, like me, has always liked knights, swords, and the like. I got him an authentic sword from a site he had shown me. I decided to spruce up the giving and make it more exciting.
I wrote him a poem full of clues, with a treasure map scribbled on the back that would lead him to other clues around the house, until finally finding the blade and its sheath in the fireplace in the living room behind its closed, glass doors. It was fun for both of us.
This year, my mom is still with us. She is fighting. She is one of the strongest people I have ever known. She continues to teach Kindergarten each day, effectively (she has the test scores to prove it!) by some combination, I speculate miracle and sheer power of the human will.
In the spirit of my brother's 18th birthday the other week, and me having just finished my 2nd novel that I'm now revising and getting ready to launch, that has, without giving too much away, knights and swords as an element in it, and just being happy in general that mom is still with us, I decided to post the poem with its clues and wordplay that led P to his sword last year for you to read. It's a pdf posted below.
I am very proud of my brother, the young man he has and continues to become. He is a brave and valiant young knight.
As always, I hope you enjoy the read and get some sort of positive benefit/vibe from it.
Enjoy, and yours always in creative musings,
I am pleased to announce that I an audio-book version of Star Sharks: Beneath a Swift Sunrise is now in production. Like the novel's Kindle and Print editions, I am self-publishing and producing it. I am narrating the novel, and my brother P. Smith (who in addition to an amazing artist is also quite good at video and audio editing) is collaborating and doing the fine editing of the audio files.
Keep checking back for updates on the process and when it will be available!
And continue on in reading and creative musings!
Just a 100 word story I wrote as a challenge. Thought I'd post for today. It's based on a Tumblr or Twitter post I read, can't remember which.
Anyway, here it is! Enjoy!
"The Slurpee Promise"
I flail and kick, tears streaming from three-year-old eyes.
“SLURPEE!” I bellow.
“Absolutely not,” counters Father, “Not with such behavior!”
“SLURPEE NOW!!!!” I screech, digging my heels into his seat.
His patience disintegrates.
“I WILL NEVER GIVE YOU A SLURPEE!!!” he shouts, more fiercely than I.
I am grown now. The day is sweltering. While I pump gas, frail Father wobbles into the supermarket, gripping his cane. Tank filled, I reenter his car, blasting the AC. He returns, delightedly sipping the giant Slurpee he holds.
Wise, old Father responds slyly, with a sneer: “Remember when you were three?”
I don't know who started drawing the cartoon characters you see in the photo of my doodle above, my elementary school friend Chris or myself, but once we started drawing them and made up an inside joke about them, I continued doodling them in the margins of notebooks and class note handouts throughout elementary, middle, and high school.
At one point I made an entire comic book in a notebook full of multiple panels about these little guys in space suits and their adventures, but that is long lost, like so many other things I made as a child. The memory has endured, though and is still one of the standard go-to things I doodle when I'm stressed, bored, or just start subconsciously doodling for whatever reason.
The joke, I'm afraid, isn't really translatable from Little Kid to Adultese. So much is lost in translation after we've grown up. However, the cartoon involved several space suit wearing agents or rangers using grappling hooks to make their way from their rocket ship to an alien ship. The smart one, who had a smiley face on the outside of his helmet, for reasons I don't know (maybe Chris did, but he never told me!) always found a way to access the aliens' transporter beam somehow and made his way up and into the ship, dismantling it from the inside while his bumbling comrades failed outside on the ship's hull.
All these years later I got to thinking and wrote a short story about these characters, making up some additional details and imagining backstories for them. I imagined an adult version of the story, based on the original doodlings of two elementary school aged boys, something darker like you might find on the SyFy channel. I have attached the completed story for your enjoyment here today. Like so many other stories, it opens the gateway for more, leaving open ended questions and mysteries which may just in fact be worth exploring further. I hope you enjoy it!
My new short story, "Life Imitates Art," is here! I wrote it in my journal, then typed up my handwritten manuscript, edited, and digitized it last night. It is quite long, so I decided to post it as a downloadable PDF here on the site. I hope you enjoy reading it.
As always, please do not copy, edit, reprint, sell or otherwise reproduce it for anything other than purely entertainment and/or educational purposes.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the read, and remain most especially yours in creative musings,
Friends of T.D. Smith