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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


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


“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


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


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 put my old Silvertone guitar up for sale and advertised it at a hundred dollars in the local Penny Saver.  A young guy called about it then came to the house.  He could play some.  Not stuff I'd ever heard, but not bad stuff.  He asked me, “Is there any wiggle room on the hundred? I'd have to put new strings on it.”I said, “Yeah, I can wiggle down to ninety bucks.  And I got a new set of Martin strings you can have.  This old guitar has a lot of history.  If you wanna buy it, you got to hear the story that goes with it.” The kid looked dubious about that, but he agreed.  I poured us both iced teas and we went out on the front porch and sat on the swing.  I use to play that guitar out there a lot.  I played the kid a couple verses of  'Step It Up And Go,' and then started in on the story.

Johnny Gillespie and I went out to Rapid City in the summer of 75'  for a Waylon Jennings concert and to see the Black Hills.  Great concert and I loved it up there around Sylvan Lake and the Custer area. We saw bison, Mount Rushmore and most of the usual stuff.

We came down out of South Dakota through the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Not the best place to break down, but that's where the car overheated.  We were driving my 63' Chevy Biscayne.  Medium blue, four door, six cylinders, three on the tree, upholstery pretty much destroyed by a beagle I left in the car one time.  The sides of the body were beat to heck. It had been my grand dad's and toward the end of his driving days, it made a lot of contact with the sides of the garage.

We found a little gas station and bought some radiator stop leak.  We filled the radiator up with straight water and made it down into Nebraska.  We were heading back home to Iowa on Nebraska Highway 20 which runs West to East up near the South Dakota border.  Pretty country.   A lot of cows and not a lot of people.  We were crossing Cherry County, which looked huge on the map.  Like a square fifty miles by fifty miles and five piss-ant little towns until we got to Valentine, which was bigger.

Between us, me and Johnny had enough money for gas to get home and to maybe eat somewhere. We had a Styrofoam cooler with five cans of Coors, five hot dogs and four buns.  Then the heat gauge topped out and steam started wafting up out of the hood.  We refilled the radiator with coolers full of creek water and babied the Chevy into Valentine....   Where the heat gauge topped out again.  Shit!

We rolled into a tiny little Sinclair station with two ancient gas pumps.  An old guy in a faded red cowboy shirt and trucker hat came out and talked to us.  Funny, me and Johnny had on cowboy shirts and trucker hats too.  That's what the young guys wore back then.  Country rock was big.

Gees, that old guy must have been around eighty.   We got the Chevy into his one service bay and he sent me and Johnny into the office which was about eight feet by eight feet and crammed full with a candy machine, cigarette machine, ancient cash register, a few tires ~ and propped against the counter was this very guitar.  It had a yellowed piece of paper on it that said,  'For Sale - $25 - to the rite byer'.

The old gas station guy, his name was Cecil, was poking around on the Chevy's radiator. I asked him, “Mind if I try this guitar?”

He said, “Go ahead, son.  But treat her gentle.”

I didn't have my own guitar but had been learning on Bob Snyder's.  I knew a one finger G chord a D and A7.  I could play like three songs.  You Are My Sunshine was my specialty and I'd been trying to learn Me and My Bobby McGee.

Cecil came in while I was playing and inquired, “You put a bunch of stop leak in that radiator?”

“Yup. Three cans in the last week.”

“Well, boy, it stopped up the whole radiator cept'  the one bad leak. That radiator has bought the farm.”

Cecil made a call and found a used radiator and would put it in for us pretty reasonable, but we didn't have the money for that. The Chevy had almost a hundred thousand miles on it and that was a lot for a car in those days.  I asked Cecil if he could give me thirty bucks for the Chevy. That's about what the junk yard price would have been.

He said, “Maybe. You like that old guitar?”

I sensed a deal in the making and pictured us hitchhiking back to Iowa with the old guitar in hand.  That seemed pretty cool at the time.  I said, “Sure.”

Cecil pushed up the brim of his Caterpillar trucker hat, scratched his chin and said, “You might be the right feller for that guitar.”

Then he proceeded to tell me about it.  He said, “Well, sir. That guitar belonged to my dear old friend, Shorty Schwarte.  His real name was Vernon and he was over six feet tall, but folks called him Shorty.  He was a for sure real cowboy, born in a Soddy here in Cherry County in the year eighteen and 99.  He wanted to go fight in the first world war, but he had him a gimpy leg from getting hooked by a steer when he was just a little shaver.

Shorty bought that guitar brand new from the Sears catalog. That Silvertone was made in 55' in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. of A.   Shorty loved that guitar and played the tar out of it.  He played You Are My Sunshine, just like you was just playing.   He played all them old cowboy songs like I Ride An Old Paint and Streets Of Laredo and Red River Valley. He died this last winter. I know he wanted somebody that would play them old songs to have this. Would you be that feller?”

I picked that guitar back up and played and sang him the first song I ever learned.  A two chorder.   Down In The Valley.

That did it.  The deal was done.  I traded the Chevy for the Silvertone and a five dollar bill.  Johnny and I hitchhiked home.   And that was a whole another story.

Brief  Bio: John Bolton.   I am retired.  My interests and hobbies include building and playing roots music and instruments, primarily Gospel and Blues.   I wrote several novels in the 1980s, but was not able to publish them.   Recenty I have posted my short stories in a blog on a music related website.  The stories have received good interest and comments.


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