Archive for October, 2015

horrorA couple of years ago, I found some truly terrifying two-sentence horror stories on the Internet. I decided to try writing a few of my own. Now, for Halloween, I present another batch. And once again, you may want to avoid reading them if you have a heart condition.

The meeting starts in five minutes. The office copier says “CALIBRATE COLLATION DENSITY PARAMETERS.”

I accept my father-in-law’s friend request. Five minutes later, he posts his first racist joke on my timeline.

“You thought this was a date?” she says. “Oh gosh.”

“I like to think of my poetry as ‘anarcho-conceptualist,'” he said. “Let me explain.”

“You have a choice,” the wedding reception bartender says. “Coors or Coors Light.”

Your new supervisor likes playing music at work. He’s into rap metal.

You accidentally make eye contact with the loud, drunk guy at the bar. He smiles and begins approaching you.

You turn on the light in the Motel 6 bathroom. There are short, curly hairs in the sink.

“Let me tell you about our rewards program,” the cashier says. You take a frantic look at your watch and try to tell her you aren’t interested, but she presses on anyway.

I look across the restaurant and spot a fat, older guy. I realize it’s a mirror.

You complete the 20-page online form and hit “SEND.” Your screen locks up.

“First of all, I apologize that we’re running so much longer than we anticipated,” the guy at the front of the room says. “Now we have a Powerpoint presentation for you.”

 

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My Photo Album

Posted: October 29, 2015 in My Photo Album

Took my girlfriend’s kids out trick-or-treating. Addison went as a bunny. Sammy went as “Mr. Give Me Some Friggin Candy.” Employing a bit of creativity and a Sharpie, I went as a chain-link fence. After the third house where I asked the people to guess what I was, Addison and Sammy said they’d be fine on their own. After the fifth, they became quite insistent. After the seventh, they got violent.

Awkward Sharpie

Noir2Tomorrow night (Oct, 29), I will be one of the crime and thriller writers doing a reading at Noir at the Bar in Philadelphia. Join us! But look, you. I took the fall for a dame who played me for an all-day sucker. Now I’m on the lam for a murder rap. If John Law shows up, you never saw me. Keep that pretty kisser of yours shut, got me?
Anyway, we’ll be at the Misconduct Tavern, 1511 Locust St., from 7 to 9 p.m. Many great writers will be on hand to do readings, including Jon McGoran, Dennis Tafoya, Bill Lashner, Erik Arneson, Wendy Tyson, Robb Cadigan, Don Lafferty, Merry Deedee Jones, and Duane Swiercynski. With an introduction from Peter Rozovsky, the father of Noir at the Bar.

See more information here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1915303498693979/

For a while now, I’ve been doing something on my personal Facebook page that a lot of my friends seem to find entertaining. Quite a few of them have suggested that I start including it on my blog, so I’ll give it a shot. You may have seen “Throwback Thursday” on Facebook, where people post old photos of themselves. I started finding random, goofy pictures on the Web — usually from the wonderful “Awkward Family Photos” — and posting them with accompanying captions for Throwback Thursday. At first, I pretended they were old photos of me. As time went on, I discarded that. Some captions I wrote in the first person, and some I didn’t. Anyway, I’m going to start sharing some of them on the blog. Since we’re coming up on Halloween, I guess I might as well start with the Halloween-themed ones. Hope you enjoy them.

In retrospect, Dad’s basic idea wasn’t so bad. New in town. Wanted to let people know about his urology practice. Since it was close to Halloween, thought that a mass-mailed brochure featuring a group picture of us in Mom’s hand-sewn costumes would be quirky and memorable, and show that he’s a family man. I guess his big mistake was trying to save on printing costs by going with a black-and-white reproduction, so people couldn’t see the orange color. Once the complaints started coming in, he went so far as to send out another mass mailing explaining that they were pumpkin costumes. But by then, it was too late. For the next few years, we were widely known throughout our town as The Scrotum Family.

Awkward pumpkins

I’m excited about the coming weekend. I’ll be attending the 9th Annual Western Maryland Independent Lit Festival in Frostburg, Md. I’ve gone for the past couple of years and it’s always a very rewarding experience. I get to meet some very talented authors and publishers, exchange ideas and network.

I’m particularly psyched this time around, because I’ll get to do a reading from my upcoming short story collection, “The Devil’s Kazoo Band Don’t Take No Requests.” I’ll also be selling advance copies, as well as copies of my 2013 novel, “The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report.”

Joining me at the Codorus Press table will be Wayne Lockwood, author of “Acid Indigestion Eyes,” and Scott Pruden, author of “Immaculate Deception.”

http://www.frostburg.edu/cla/indie-lit-festival/

My apologies. The blog’s been dormant for a while. A bunch of stuff came up — primarily a new job — and I was obliged to put it on the back burner. But I’d like to start it back up. So how about I begin with a new, original novelette, presented to you for free?

Here’s the deal. I have a young, talented friend named Frank who portrays a character known as “Cuddles McSpanky” at haunted attractions. He knows I’m a writer. At a recent party, we got into a discussion about our mutual love of horror and noir. And we agreed that it might be fun if I tried writing a story featuring his character. I found myself really getting into it. To my surprise, the short story I initially intended to write somehow expanded into a novelette.

I tried including it in my short story collection, “The Devil’s Kazoo Band Don’t Take No Requests,” due out from Codorus Press early in 2016. But my publisher told me we’re a bit late in the process for that.

So I figured, what the heck. I wrote it mainly as a fun project anyway. And I’d like Frank to be able to share it with his friends and followers. So here it is, presented as a freebie. Enjoy. Share it, if you’re so inclined. And if you like it, keep an eye out for “The Devil’s Kazoo Band Don’t Take No Requests.” Or check out my Pushcart-Prize-nominated debut novel, “The Freak Foundation Operative’s Report.” You can find Cuddles McSpanky’s page here. And if you’re REALLY brave and/or crazy, you can go see him in person here.

For the record, this is a work of fiction and is not intended maliciously. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any other resemblance to actual events, groups or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

So here goes:

 

THE LEGEND OF CUDDLES MCSPANKY

By Tom Joyce

Based on a character created by Frank Paul Staff IV

 

 

Somewhere in the night-darkened pines to Kevin’s left, chainsaws buzzed like mechanical hornets. Followed by screaming.

Startled, a cluster of girls in Kevin’s group let out screams of their own, giggling at themselves immediately afterward. The Trail of Terror at the BloodShed Farms haunted attraction in Pierce Township, N.J., followed a snaking trajectory, frequently turning back on itself. Intermittent cries from the densely encroaching pines on either side signaling that the group ahead had encountered whatever as-yet-unseen horror would ambush Kevin’s group next, be it zombie, vampire or psychopath.

An unnerving effect, Kevin had to admit, jangling his already jangled nerves.

Kevin trailed behind a dozen or so teens and adults venturing through October darkness punctuated by pale lights on poles set at infrequent intervals along the paved path. Wishing that the night’s errand was already over. He yanked the brim of his baseball cap down lower on his forehead and pulled the hood of his sweatshirt tighter about his face.

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