Sunday, August 28, 2016

Excerpt from FISH STORY - KU/KOLL Free Reads

FISH STORY is a selection of three tales from my collection, "Mixed Bag 2: Supersized." Smashwords doesn't want to carry samplers, so Amazon gets to keep this one in KDP. That means it's free to Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Owners Lending Library subscribers.

Today's excerpt is from the second story. It has a bit of creepiness that some readers kind of liked. I hope you'll enjoy the excerpt and borrow the book free on Amazon's KU and KOLL programs.

Do you like my fish? It goes with the first story in the 3-tale collection. I came up with something different for story #2, "The Vision." Check
out the short book and read all about an interesting inhabitant of a small town in the Cascade Mountains, "Chilpequin - 22 Miles."


Previously published in “Weirdly, Volume 2” from WildChild Publishing

Real Mind-Reading Magician.
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Charlie just had his first real vision, and it couldn’t have surprised him more. He glanced out at Mary Beth in the audience giving him frantic, although subtle, signals. He shook his head and almost heard Mary Beth gasp. Charlie shouldn’t move his head more than a centimeter, and he’d clearly moved it at least ten. Ten left, ten right, and ten left again.

He saw Mary Beth register his confusion. “Charles the Great is tiring, so that’s all the answers for this evening, folks. Next up, Gale and Her Magic Chickens!” she said.

Charlie took Mary Beth’s hint for a way out. He bowed to the audience a couple of times to a light smatter of applause, exiting stage left as fast as he could. Charlie collapsed on the folding chair sitting off stage as the startled Gale trooped by him with her colorful box full of chickens.

“Just what is wrong with you?” Mary Beth hissed the instant she arrived behind the curtains.

“I don’t know. I just got dizzy for a second,” Charlie said, bending his head down between his knees to emphasize his statement. He didn’t feel dizzy at all, but he wasn’t ready to tell Mary Beth about the vision. He had to sort it out himself first.

The partners of the mind-reading act of Charles the Great stumbled through the dark backstage to their dressing room. Mary Beth sat at the dressing table, pulled off her costume jewelry, and applied cleansing cream to her face. By the set of her mouth, Charlie knew that the rest of the evening might not be a pleasant one.

Charlie and Mary Beth had a great little mind-reading act. Mary Beth selected a person from the audience and chatted with them for a few moments before holding up the microphone.

“Charles, are you receiving anything from this person?” she’d say.

Charlie would already have taken on the glazed look of a person in a deep trance. Staring directly at Mary Beth, he picked up the cues which provided the information he used to ‘read’ minds.

“The lady is married,” he intoned. The wedding ring on her left hand provided the clue. Mary Beth’s lips barely moved, no more than a ventriloquist. She held the mike close to her mouth, but angled slightly to one side. Her mouth formed the letters, and more often, the shorthand codes they used.

“M. I see an M. The lady’s name begins with M?”

Mary Beth’s head twitched to the right. “No, she’s married to an M.” Mary Beth smiled.

“Is it Mike?”

Mary Beth twitched her mouth to the left. “No, no. It is M A, I can see it starts with M, then A.” An imperceptible nod, and her right little finger curled a micrometer.

“Marvin!” the woman blurted.

“Yes, you are married to Marvin,” Charlie said.

Charlie loved it when the audience did his work for him. The smart ones kept a straight face and didn’t say a word.

Charlie noted the woman’s smile turning downward. Could it be? He took a stab at the meaning of the expression. “Is Marvin no longer with us?”

“Yes, I mean no. That is, he died last summer,” the woman sputtered.

“I’m very sorry for your loss.” Mary Beth moved quickly to the next person. A raised left eyebrow, and she hauled the microphone through the audience looking for the clues that told a person’s story. Wedding rings, expensive watches, callouses, scars, clothing…open books to Mary Beth and Charlie’s skills.


  1. Good writing! But...where are the fish?


    Good luck with all that you do. From one fellow writer to another.

  2. Hi Charlie: There are three different genre stories in the sampler. The first one is scifi and concerns the fish, the excerpt shown here is horror, the third is humorous fantasy. These three plus a lot more in all genres are in the collection "Mixed Bag 2".