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Latest Stories

May 19, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jo Carroll

The Curl and Vampire

She was a pretty thing to be sure, the little girl with the curl. Her cheeks were as red as blood and her skin as smooth as porcelain. And yet there was something odd about her clear blue eyes—something empty and soulless. She sat atop her throne of building…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Nicole Robb

New Frontier

Still groggy from her hibernation chamber, Stacey checked the readings once again on the ship's control panel.She had read them right. "Tom! Something's wrong." "What is it?" Tom emerged from the back where he had been checking on the twelve hundred sleeping…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Laura Ellison

Remedy

The smell of death hung heavy and pungent in the air. Sickness touched the skin and covered it in a dewy glow that in any other situation could have been attractive. Castellan held a scented handkerchief over her nose as she walked through the village to the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Dylan Thomas Nichol

Forged in Shadows

Screaming was all that could be heard through the bone chilling halls of the dungeon. This was what the supposedly great nation of Hace really was. An ugly abomination lay underneath the stunning Admor Keep, and Caelin made the long journey through it, his…
May 17, 2018
Mystery Stories Isabel Schwaak

Something Stronger

A thick grey stone wall separated the village of Telly Fenn from the wilderness. A narrow path led the way out of the village and melted into a crossroad, from which a crooked path strayed far into the dark forest. The inhabitants of Telly Fenn were content…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jade De-Terville

A Light Bulb Called Tink

“This is more than just a bloody mid life crisis,” Karen said clutching a tattered red book, until her knuckles started going white. She savagely threw the book onto the chequered dining cloth, and ran her hands through her untamed hair. “Oi, mind the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories April Winters

Area Twenty Four and a Half

I, Jim Roberts, got fired today. I didn’t realize Mr. Kerr, my boss, was standing behind me when I referred to him as Kerr-mitt. He failed to see the humor, and now I have no source of income. Looks like my journalistic aspirations are out the window. I…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Jeremy Szal

Crimson Snow

16th Day of Regon, Year 455 of the First Dawn I could feel the cold as we climbed higher, the chill reaching into my bones. The wind whispered across the grassland, flapping my black hair over my face. I wanted to lie down. I wanted to sleep. I wanted to…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories B.J.Neblett

Forever

“Segue the next couple of records with a jingle then go into a stop set. I’m gonna get some air.” Hy Lit flashed his agreeable smile, adjusted his trade mark tinted glasses and winked. “You’re a natural, kid.” Then he disappeared out the studio door. The…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories BJ Neblett

Pockets Full Of Wishes

“Don’t put your hands in the pockets!” Jimmy looked at his sister. It was just a winter coat, a used one. It was all his parents could afford. But it was his. He picked it out. Now he stood proudly before the store mirror admiring the blue denim coat with the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Laura Ellison

Consumed

Arlia knelt down on a silk cushion in the middle of the room. She took a deep breath and centred herself. Gramps always told her to do this, sometimes he jabbed her in the sides with his walking stick if he thought she rushed meditation. In front of her the…
May 17, 2018
Fantasy Stories Paul Magnan

Scorned

I grasped the rough edges of the tombstone and pulled it from the strands of thick, yellowed grass upon which it lay. I set it in an upright position. The words “Dear Love” were carved along the top of the stone. I had carved those words. For a few seconds…

 

 

“I want my name back.”

“Well, you have certainly come to the right place, Mr..?”

“What’ll it cost?”

“Hmm. There will be a cost. Your request is unusual. To reunite you with your real name? You must understand that...”

“Name a price.”

The office was airy and minimalist – blonde woodwork, steel and glass, kind of Scandinavian on steroids. The man behind the desk smiled; the sort of smile that might have been accompanied by a spangled glint and the sound of cash registers.

“Please take a seat.”

Murph looked at the name tag on the desk. Hitachi Siemens-McDonalds. Identity broker.

“Yes, I see you eyeballing my name,” said McDonalds. “Three Fortune 500 companies. I clear half a million per annum in presumed nomenclature royalties alone. I’m not even going to hint at what I earn from specifics, but I carry a three-figure CPM rate. A secondary income is important. Affords one a certain presence amongst the ladies, you follow? Sharp suit, fine car, sculpted looks. Money can get you all of these things, my friend. You like the surname? MacDonalds? Minimum sacrifice. Born McDonald - all I did was add the ‘S’. Mythic. All processed here at IdentMart. Our CEO, Mr General Electric BP Royal Dutch Shell, put the package together personally. I can do the same for you, my friend. We are the country’s leading brokers in identity vending. We guarantee increased bandwidth. We’ll triple your exposure profile within two weeks.”

“A nice sales pitch Mr McDonalds, but I don’t want to increase my profile. I just want my old name back.”

He gave McDonalds a defiant stare. “Please?” He added, as an afterthought.

“Could I ask that you call me Mr Siemens-McDonalds? You may call me Hitachi once in every three addresses. My current revenue maximisation ratio, you see. Compliance will, of course, earn you the usual five-percent in reciprocals.”

“Mr Siemens-McDonalds, can you help me?”

“It would help if I understood your reasons.”

“Well, I want my wife back. She’s left me for a... Well I guess she was uncomfortable with my new name.”

“A recent contract? Which agency did the brokerage?”

“Niftynames. I found them in the back of the newspaper.”

“Ahh. Shysters. Cheap-and-not-so-cheerful. Quick returns with no consultation. Flat fee, no royalties. Am I right?”

“Yes.”

“So, what did they saddle you with, Mr..?”

“Murphy. RoxieOLearyWhoreHouses.com Murphy.”

“And let me guess, your wife is unhappy about being Mrs RoxieOLearyWhoreHouses.com Murphy.”

“Just a bit.”

“I’ll need to see your present contract.”

RoxieOLearyWhoreHouses.com Murphy handed over a dog-eared scrap of paper, whereupon Siemens-McDonalds began the ritual sucking-of-air-through-teeth noises.

“You see Mr RoxieOleary...”

“Murph is fine. My friends call me Murph.”

“Ahh, but then you’d be placed in breach of nondisclosure. You are bound by contract, Mr RoxieOLearyWhoreHouses.com Murphy. And from what I can see it is a rather watertight contract.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“I believe a trade-off is our only option here.

“I don’t want another corporate name. I just want to be called Frank again.”

“Frank was it? I could work with that. ‘Frankie & Bennys’? Do you like pizza?”

“No. Not Frankie. My name is Frank. Francis Sean Murphy.”

“Was.”

The man formerly known as Frank gave a sickly smile.

Mr McDonalds leaned forward in his chair, a sudden look of gravity in his eye.

“There is another avenue. You could try the priesthood. The Roman Catholic Church provides a small bursary for registering a change of name. Father Francis has a certain ring to it don’t you think? And I doubt if Father RoxieOLearyWhoreHouses.com would sit well with the Vatican.

“I don’t want to be a priest. Remember? I want my wife back?”

“I can see how the celibate life might be an obstacle.”

McDonalds took out an A4 pad and a biro.

“What about your exposure?”

“I, er... not good.”

“Blogs or other by-lines or attributions?”

“No.”

“Subscriptions? Professional bodies?”

“No.”

“Passport?”

“Never travel.”

“Driver’s licence?”

“Sorry.”

“Well, er... library card?”

“Withheld. Overdue fines.”

“You really haven’t put your name out there, have you, Rox... Mr Murphy.”

Murph gave a shrug.

“Can I ask? What was the consideration in the contract with Ms O’Leary’s organisation?”

“Five hundred quid.”

“Per week, month?”

“One-off.”

“I see. There are perks then? Benefits in kind?”

“No, I’m married. I’d never...”

“So why, Mr Murphy? Five hundred pounds? What on Earth were you..?”

“I needed the cash. For a... professional arrangement. I saw the ad in the paper. Make money fast. I applied online. Instant service – new name, print the certificate, cash deposited in the bank.”

“What about cooling off? Did they advise you about the cooling off period?”

“Fourteen days, yes.”

“And did you...”

“I called. They were out. I emailed. Mailer-Daemon sent it back. I wrote. The letter was returned. Then the fourteen days expired.”

“I think you need a lawyer, Mr Murphy.”

“They cost.”

“So do we.”

“I’d hoped we might be able to... come to an arrangement?”

“Such as?”

“We could talk about my wife,” said Murph. “Samsung.”

“Samsung?” MacDonalds turned pale.

“Yes. You know Samsung Murphy? Your mistress?”

“Oh.”

“Oh, indeed.”

“And how did you..?”

“A private detective. Cost me five hundred pounds.”

“I see.”

“Money well spent. He was very diligent.”

“Diligent?” said Hitachi Siemens-MacDonalds. He started to tremble.

“It appears you have been increasing your own exposure, Mr MacDonalds. Not only my wife but that of your employer, Mr GeneralElectric BP Royal Dutch Shell. What kind of a man is your boss? How might he react if I were to, say, forward him the email that is sitting on my PC right now?”

“What do you want from me, Mr... er, Murph.”

Murph nodded. He smiled. “Not sure if I want her back, now. I’ll think on it. But thinking on what you said earlier. ‘A secondary income stream is important; gives one a certain presence amongst the ladies?’”

MacDonalds squirmed and perspired.

“That is a temptation,” said Murph. “But for now, Mr MacDonalds... How about we just get my name back?”

<END>

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