Short Stories

The Hunter

The Hunter

Encouragment, Short Stories
The mark was easy. A country hick that wandered into the wrong alley of City Center, my alley. So, I welcomed him to our crusty city by relieving him of his bulging wallet and cheap watch. I didn’t even have to pull out Bertha, my six-inch bowie knife. Just the threat had him shaking like a California earthquake. I can hear the sirens already; the rube must have called 911 from Sam’s Corner Deli. No worries, there are plenty of alleys, backstreets, and dark corners in my hunting grounds. Tucked in a shadow of another alley I watch as my most recent benefactor recreates his story to two patrol officers. I almost laughed out loud when he stands in my footprints and tries to look like me. I’m more menacing than I thought. Good. “There is no fear of God in your eyes,” a voice said wit

The Family Rules – A Short Story

Encouragment, Short Stories
Bob’s Foot-Stompin Barbeque is the place to be. Or at least it seems that way given the overflowing lunchtime parking lot and the buzz of the dining room. Being near the busy Branson strip Bob’s customers come from many backgrounds. The locals, the sophisticates fresh from a round of golf, the shoppers taking a break from the local craft and outlet malls. There are tables of work buddies, young families, older couples, and a few generational tables. Our table may be unique however since we’re a honeymoon table. Debbie and I have only been married a few days. And sure, there are other more attractive places for a honeymoon. But when you barely have two nickels to rub together and your aunt gives you a free week in her time-share condo, well it beats a weekend at the Motel Eight by a coun
The Fountain

The Fountain

Encouragment, Short Stories
When the weather is clear and the sun warm, people gather around Andrew’s Fountain. There’s just something about its simple white marble columns and splashing water that attracts a crowd. Some choose to sit on the rim of the receiving pond and playfully run their hands through the cool water. Others sit on the benches surrounding the fountain and watch as it dances in the sunlight. A middle-aged man in black pinstripe brags, “I tell you pork bellies are the way to go, time it right and you can make a fortune.” “You’re sure about that?” Sneers a similarly dressed older man.  “Securities are much safer over the long haul. I’ve seen way too many lose their shirt on risky commodities.” “True, but when I hit it I’ll be set for life, retire early and enjoy the sunshine,” the younger
Benjamin Zook – A Short Story

Benjamin Zook – A Short Story

Encouragment, Short Stories
“Benjamin Zook Carter! Put the tablet away and get down here right now!” a harried black mother called from the kitchen. “Breakfast is on the table and we have to go in five minutes!” Ben knew how far to push it and mom had just activated the panic button by using his full name. A name he hated. He bounded downstairs and began shoveling his mom’s pancakes into his mouth. Between his fourth and fifth forkful he said, “Mom, can I ask you something?” Without pausing, “How come you called me Benjamin Zook and not something cool like Kayne or Keshan?” “How old are you? Eight?” Mom asked. “Come on Mom, you know I’ll be ten next week.” “Ten, well I guess it’s time you ask your granddaddy about your name. How about we go see him next Saturday for your birthday?” “Fun!” Ben replied a
The Biker and the Bees

The Biker and the Bees

Encouragment, Short Stories
It was one of those days. The gang fight at Block 98, home of the Midnight Riders Motorcycle Club, was the talk of every alley, tenement, and dark shadow. The fight looked to be a straight-up turf war between the Riders and the Aces. Somehow a third gang became involved, one new to the streets. Rumor has it they’re an all-girl gang called the Bees. Everything else is rumor and guesses made worse by the fog of gossip. Every customer visiting my tattoo parlor has their ideas about what went down. None of them the same. Now, I try to keep my business neutral between the various biker gangs, some them are my best customers. It’s not easy, but this means I do have hooks into each of them. So, while the streets mull over rumor I take my Harley to find the truth. My first stop is Block 98,
Chasing Sunsets

Chasing Sunsets

Encouragment, Short Stories
It was a late spring day and the garden needed some fence wire to tame an over-exuberant blackberry vine. The wire happened to be in the barn. I don’t go out to the old barn very often.  The animals are all gone now and cousin Ronnie is farming our ground. My wife Dot and I still live on the home place but probably not for much longer. I was born on this plot of ground in the middle of Illinois and my children were raised here. Our barn is close to 100 years old and it’s one of my favorite places. The ground level livestock area has given shelter to every kind of farm animal you can think of. The stalls are all cleaned out now, the only residents being a few cats and some stubborn mice. Upstairs is the hayloft. Nothing smells like summer more than drying hay. It’s hard to descri
Danny’s Firetruck 2017

Danny’s Firetruck 2017

Christmas, Short Stories
During this Christmas season, I'll be republishing many of the Christmas short stories I've written over the years. Danny's Firetruck was written many years ago but re-edited for publication this year.  - Dale Six-year-old Ben was the first to wake up that Christmas morning. He took a look to see if it was light out yet. Mom had been explicit last night, they couldn’t get up until the sun was. “It must be light out,” he thought, squinting to make out Winnie the Pooh watching from the dresser. Deciding it was ok he jumped out of his bed. "Danny wake up! It's Christmas,” he said while giving his three-year-old brother a shake. In a few moments, Ben’s excitement registered with Danny and he was out of his bed in a flash. Both boys sprinted down the hallway and burst into their parent’s
A Pearl of Forgiveness

A Pearl of Forgiveness

Christmas, Short Stories
Pearl lives on the south edge of town in a sprawling two room bungalow. Well, it seems sprawling to me because it’s more than what I have which is whatever open bed I can find at one of the downtown shelters. But this story isn’t about me. Pearl and I became friends back in High School. We were never lovers or anything like that, just friends. Through war, college, weddings, careers, and failures we managed to keep track of each other. Now we’re old and alone. The one thing you need to know about Pearl is she is steady, her life is ordered and as predictable as she can make it. I’m part of that order I suppose although I share none of her desire to keep certain ducks in their place.  On Thursdays, never on any other day, Pearl picks me up in her old Buick. I do whatever handyman kind
The Helmet – Love

The Helmet – Love

Short Stories
This is my first short story. Betty and I had stopped at an Applebee's after some Christmas shopping. All the stories in the fruit series were based on some piece of memorabilia from the walls of that restaurant.  This one is prompted by a white and red football helmet that reminded me of triple practices in the summer heat.  Zimmy was exactly normal in almost everything. He was right smack dab at the top of the infamous bell curve. Average grades, average smarts, average ambition, average strength, average ability, and average height  Zimmy had very short, rust-colored hair with matching freckles, an infectious laugh, and an easy going attitude. He lived in a two story white house with his parents, older brother and younger sister. There were, in fact, only 2 things in which Zimmy
The Weather Vane – Joy

The Weather Vane – Joy

Short Stories
This story was originally written in 2004 and has been edited for Lambchow. The Tractor Seat, another story in that original series, share the same setting although a different time period. Both stories borrow my memories of a real-life neighbor from my childhood, Johnny Darst. In an era of farm modernization he still did things the old-fashioned way. Not because he had to but because he wanted to. He found joy in working the land, I hope that you find joy in this short story. “Lisa! Look what the mailman delivered,” Ryan said holding up a large package. “Well, what is it? I can’t tell through the brown paper you know,” she asked. Ryan put the package down and carefully opened it. Once the brown paper was gone and the excelsior packing had been removed, a bright copper, rooster-
The Life Preserver – Peace

The Life Preserver – Peace

Short Stories
The Life Preserver Dale Heinold - 2004 Edited for Lambchow - 2016 The Mary Ann is a sailboat with a white bottom with blue trim. She is large enough to live in and has a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom. The interior of her cabin is paneled in teak and walnut, and although she is over seven years old, her owner has made only minor changes to the cabin decor. When she is not on Big River, she is moored at the Monroe Yacht Club or MYC. The MYC is like a country club for yacht owners and is situated on the west side of Big River. MYC’s main building is a brick, Victorian affair with a gigantic chandelier in the lobby. Due to an impending flood, the Mary Ann’s skipper had to move her down to the public dock on the east side of Big River. There she would be more protected from the tre
The Fishing Pole – Paitence

The Fishing Pole – Paitence

Short Stories
My family has been making the annual trek up to Sunshine Lake for years. The appointed time is over October’s Columbus Day weekend. Three days of camping and fishing with friends and relatives. Over the years, there’s been a variety of family members who have taken this annual journey. One year, it was Grandpa and Grandma, Mom and Dad, and us three kids: Dale, David, and Dianne. I was 10, David, 8, and Dianne was 6. It was a special year because Dianne was old enough to actually go fishing instead of just pretending with a cane pole that had no hook. Dad had the Galaxy 500 packed and ready to go. The luggage, Coleman stove, and food were stowed in the trunk. A big canvas tent was across the floor of the back seat, leveling the whole area. That gave us plenty of room to move around or li