15 Minute Story #25: Survival

Survival 25

How did I get here? It’s kind of a funny story. It started with a simple plan to make some money. I heard about this crew that was moving a lot of dope. One of the guys, a guy named James, is a friend of mine. He told me the price they were buying their dope. I had a Connect that would get me dope for far less than that, so I made James a better offer.

This seemed like a good thing. I talked to my guy. Upped my regular order and prepared to count some money. I make the delivery a few days later. James and his people are happy with the price. I’m happy with my new source of income and all is well with the world, right? Not exactly.

I get the call from James the following week:

“Dude, you’ve got trouble.”
“What do you mean, James?”
“The guys we used to buy from, they ain’t happy.”
“I bet not. But that’s business. You and I both making money.”
“Yeah, but these guys, they’re connected….and they know who you are.”
“Are you telling me you ratted me out to them?”
“They’re dangerous guys. I didn’t want any trouble. But now they’ve put a contract out on you.”
“Thanks a load, James.  Now you’ve managed to piss off your old dealer and your new dealer. Good luck finding a new supplier, asshole.”

I hang up the phone. Sure I have some cash. But I don’t have ‘disappear from the mafia’ cash. With the contract already out, it’s clear there isn’t any way to negotiate. But my Dad always said, “Survive first. Everything else, second.”

So I go to that T-Shirt place in the mall and have a shirt made with the ISIS flag. I call the White House from my home phone and make a threaten them. Then I buy a first class airplane ticket to Washington DC. I’m stopped just past the metal detectors and detained. They put a bag over my head and now I’m here in some no name facility. It’s not the best accommodations, but the mob will have a hard time getting me here. If the people here demand I name accomplices, I think James will be at the top of my list.

Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas

About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to do NaNoWriMo every month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.

So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story.  Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma called The Nearsighted Narwhal

15 Minute Story #21: Magic

Magic 21

When you’re a kid it’s easy to believe in things like imaginary friends and super powers and spells and witches and that sort of thing, but when you grow up, it gets drummed out of you. You find out Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny aren’t real. You notice that no one else can see your imaginary friend. You realize that everything can be explained one way or another and that explanation is never ‘It’s magic.’

So when I was young and chose to become a magician, I did it still thinking magic existed. However, I learned fairly quickly that it’s all slight of hand and obfuscation. It’s making someone look here while you do something over there. Magic tricks aren’t magic. They’re just tricks.

While I got very good at performing these tricks and people loved it, the child inside me was sad that I wasn’t performing real magic.

I collected old magic books. More out of curiosity than anything else. I didn’t expect to find anything in there except maybe some material I could use for the act.

I think the book came from somewhere in Eastern Europe. It was made sometime in the 1700s. It’s all hand written. And there are no tricks. Just words. Words I’ve never heard before. I was alone at night in my apartment. I said the words.

My point is that the monsters you hear about? Those ones that were responsible for what happened in Brazil…and Cuba….and Florida? They’re my fault. But it’s not a trick. It’s magic. While I understand that the loss of life is tragic, the child in me is jumping in glee. Magic is real.

Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas

About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to do NaNoWriMo every month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.

So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story.  Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma called The Nearsighted Narwhal

15 Minute Story #20: Love In Flames

Love in Flames 20

“He broke your heart.”  Natalie said, “Fucker.” Kate watched Natalie down the last of her third martini in solid female solidarity. Woe to the next dumbass fratboy who tried a pick up line on this table. Kate smiled. It was her first smile three days. Kate sipped her drink and thought about how a week ago she thought she was going to marry Thomas.

Thomas Ping. Cute. Wealthy. Fun. A house here in Portland AND in Hong Kong. He felt like the first man Kate had ever dated. The others were just boys. Two years and three months seemed like a pretty sure thing. She’d played it slow though. She didn’t move in, though weeks would go by without stopping by her apartment. And when her grandmother died, Thomas was there for her. He paid for the funeral and the limos for her family. He held her and made her feel safe.

All that was gone now. He wasn’t even supposed to be in town. He was supposedly in New York closing a business deal of some sort. But he was in his giant house on a hill in Beaverton just outside of Portland getting drunk with not one but two other women. They say there was some sort of electrical problem that started the fire. Thomas and Bimbo #1  were rescued. Bimbo #2 didn’t make it. Neither did Kate’s relationship.

Kate thought about it and realized Natalie was wrong.

“He didn’t break my heart, Nat.” Natalie gave an inquiring look, “He broke my trust. He broke my plans. He broke our relationship. He broke a lot, but my heart’s just fine. It keeps beating and keeps going. Just like me. Let’s get one more round.”

Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas

About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to do NaNoWriMo every month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.

So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story.  Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma called The Nearsighted Narwhal

15 Minute Story #17: Two Boxes

TwoBoxes 17
I have two boxes in my head. One is where I put all the shit I understand. And the other is the box I put all the shit I don’t understand. Whenever I put something in the second box, I open the box just long enough to put something in and then I seal it shut. I don’t think about the things in the second box. But every now and then it cracks open a bit.

There was the dead mirror. A friend of mine had a mirror. It was mounted in what look like the portal of ship. You looked in it and you looked like you were dead. There was no other way to describe it. It was genuinely creepy.

There was that time that I was walking through the forest with a friend and for no reason at all I started talking about a big white dog and five minutes later a big white dog appeared.

There was the man running through the train tunnel. He jogged as if it were the most natural thing in the world seemingly oblivious to the fact that there was no light in that tunnel. He didn’t even squint at the sunlight as he jogged out. That tunnel was three miles long.

There was the time that pallet landed on Joey’s foot. Me and Cody lifted it off. It had to have been over a ton. There was no way we should have been able to lift it no matter how much adrenaline was pumping through our veins.

There was that time I saw an actual ghost and just as quickly watched him disappear right in front of me.

All of these things are things I don’t think about because whenever I do, I feel like I’m going crazy. They don’t fit with the rest of the world I know. But the latest addition to the box tops them all. Don’t get me wrong. I believe it and I accept it. I’m even happy about it. But there’s no way I’ll ever understand it.

The latest addition to the box? She’s in love with me.

Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas

About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to do NaNoWriMo every month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.

So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story.  Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma called The Nearsighted Narwhal

15 Minute Story #16: Lunacy

Lunacy 16
“Let me tell you about the moon, buddy.” The guy talking to me showed up about a half hour ago and sat on the stool next to me despite the bar being almost entirely empty. He called me ‘buddy’ immediately. He then spent a good while telling me how hard it was to find a bar in this town without any ‘Jews or Arabs or colored folk’. I almost laughed out loud because it was hard to believe this guy was serious.

It’s been my experience that when you have a crazy drunk talking your ear off, the worst thing you can do is engage him. So I quietly drank my beer and looked straight ahead as he started telling me about the moon.

“The last time we went to the moon was 1972. And then we stopped. You know why? Civil rights. Twelve white heterosexual American males walked on that moon. The moon has only ever known the footprint of the white man. And to keep it pure, the government stopped the Apollo program before the blacks could get to the moon.”

I couldn’t help it, I actually turned to look at him to see if there was any trace of humor, but he was dead serious.

“Yup. That’s what they did alright.” He continued. “I’m building my own rocket, y’know. I’m going to the moon. I’m going up to that moon where a white man can be free.”

“Wait a minute.” I said setting my beer down. “You mean to tell me that you’re building a spaceship?”

“Yup. There’s room for three or four. If you earn your keep, you can come along.”

I had tried to ignore him but I was too curious. “So where’s this spaceship?”

“I ain’t built it yet. But I’ve got plans. Saturn V rocket technology is half a century old. I can do it. Though I do need a little funding. That’s why I’ve started me a Kickstarter campaign. With just $30,000,000, I’ll be able to go to the moon and start my own white moon colony.”

“Thirty million dollars?”

“I know it seems like a lot, but there’s like two hundred million white folk out there in America. I only need fifteen cents from each of them of course some won’t do it because they’re race traitors. So what I really need is twenty-five cents from each Believer.”

“Sir,” I said, “I am not giving you a quarter.”

Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas

About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to do NaNoWriMo every month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.

So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story.  Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma called The Nearsighted Narwhal

15 Minute Story #14: Ben And the Infinite

Bill and the Infinite 14

When Ben was little his parents took him to a Methodist Church. Some of his earliest memories were of responsive readings. He’d watch as the pastor said something to the congregation and the congregation would all respond. This would go one back and forth for a few minutes. He was too young to know that the congregation was reading the responses. All he saw was the pastor say something and the people say something back. He thought God was making them speak. And for some reason God wasn’t letting Ben know the right words to say.

Growing up, his family went to church less and less. He still believed in God, but didn’t this too much about it. Then as a teenager he met a girl who went to church. So he started going to church too. He got into it. He was in love and they were both totally into Jesus. They’d live their whole lives together and when they died be reunited in Heaven where they’d be together forever and ever.

But then the girl broke up with Ben. He stayed with the church a while more but it wasn’t the same. He started to think that maybe Jesus was exactly as reliable as his relationship had been. He started asking big questions. He thought about the Romans and the Norwegians and their Gods and Goddesses and how they believed their Gods were just as real as Jesus…and they were wrong.

In time Ben lost his faith and belief in God. He wanted to believe but simply saw no evidence of a God anywhere. He eventually accepted that he was now an atheist. This presented him with a significant problem. If there was no God, then when Ben died he would go back to the nothingness before he was born. He would stop existing. And Ben wanted to exist forever.

Ben looked at science. Cryonics could freeze him when he died and bring him back at some point in the future when the technology allowed him to come back. Then he’d be alive in the future and presumably they’d be able to stop him from dying again with all their technology…but eventually the Earth would be unlivable due to environmental changes or because the Sun exploded. Luckily there were already spaceships. Technology could save him yet again…but after hundreds of billions of years, the universe itself would collapse and where would Ben be then? He could see no way around it. If there was no God and he lived in a finite universe how might he escape? Time travel or dimension hopping he supposed….but how would he do that?  Well, he had a few hundred billion years to figure that one out.

Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas

About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to do NaNoWriMo every month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.

So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story.  Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma called The Nearsighted Narwhal

15 Minute Story #12: The New Pet

The New Pet 12

My girlfriend works in an occult shop. This means that the candles in my house don’t only smell nice, they have a meaning. The green candle is supposed to give you success in money. The black one takes away nightmares. I have a dozen different kinds of incense at all times. There’s almost always at least a tiny bit of glitter somewhere on her body. It also means that sometimes she brings home strange things that I didn’t know actually existed.

I first noticed there was something in the turtle tank when I got home from work. I might not have noticed. It’s been a while since we cleaned the thing, but I heard the audible pop of a bubble. I glanced at the tank from the couch and saw two more purple bubbles float to the surface of the water and then pop.

I stood up to take a closer look. I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. While the turtle was sitting on his floating piece of bark, there was something else at the bottom of the tank. It was about the size of the turtle, but its face was full of tentacles and when I looked at it, it looked right back at me. Another purple bubble appeared in front of it and floated up. When it popped, I noticed the brimstone smell.

“Honey,” I said, “What’s in the turtle tank?”

“Oh.” I heard her say from upstairs, “I got him from work.”

“What’s in the turtle tank?” I repeated.

“It’s Cthulhu. A baby one.”

“What?”

“It’s okay. The turtle will enjoy the company.” She came downstairs and looked at it as another purple bubble popped.

“What’s it doing?” I asked.

“It’s conjuring.”

We’d talked about pets before. I was fine with the turtle. Ultra low maintenance pet that doesn’t shit around the house. No big deal. We’d talked about getting a dog, but neither of us are home enough for that. But we had definitely not talked about bringing home a Dark God to make friends with our turtle.

Just for the record, it did NOT make friends with the turtle. The next morning when I turned the light on in the turtle tank, I noticed something different about the turtle. It took me a minute to realize that it wasn’t the turtle at all. It was Cthulhu wearing the turtle’s shell.

It turns out there’s no returns when you buy Cthulhu from a new age shop. Not even if you’re an employee. There’s also no selling Cthulhu or moving Cthulhu if Cthulhu doesn’t want to be moved. And while it may be cute as a baby (if you find tentacle faced green monster baby Dark Gods cute), it’s important to note that Cthulhu gets bigger.  A lot bigger.

Words by Jack Cameron
Illustration by Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas

About 15 Minute Stories
It’s good for writers to write every day, but it’s easy for life to get in the way of that. One solution I read about recently was to write a 15 minute piece of short fiction every single day for a month. You may not have time to do NaNoWriMo every month, but if you like writing, you can always find 15 minutes.

So for the month of January, I’ll be writing and posting pieces of very short fiction that I took 15 minutes to write. I’ve asked that my friend, Ossaín Ávila Cárdenas join me by taking 15 minutes to draw an accompanying image for each story.  Ossaín is one of the owners of a local zine shop in Tacoma called The Nearsighted Narwhal