My Short Story “Retired” is to be Published by HellBound Books

toilet zone

Promotional image for the HellBound Books upcoming horror anthology “Toilet Zone”

I just got word from the folks at HellBound Books that my short story “Retired” will be appearing in their forthcoming horror anthology Toilet Zone. No, wait! It’s not what you think. Here’s the blurb from the submissions page:

…no, don’t panic, we are not looking for lavatory-themed tales of terror – although should your short story involve the smallest room in the house, we’d be more than delighted to read it! The theme for this anthology is short horror stories that will make an ideal sit-down read, just long enough for those extended stays at the convenience, and terrifying enough that they really are best read whilst over water….

This anthology will be compiled by the incomparable author and filmmaker Bret McCormick, so be sure to write to impress!

We have based story length upon the average time spent upon the convenience (10-15 mins) and the average reading speed (200-250 words per minute), so that the stories within this exceptionally unique anthology will be the perfect ‘per visit’ length!

Needless to say, I’m thrilled.

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When Jimmy Was Five

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Spanish Flamingo Dancer circa 1950 – Photo credit unknown

When Jimmy was five, he got in the car with Mom and Dad and they went for a ride. Jimmy was worried when they drove through the little town with all the broken buildings. Little boys and girls like him had no pants on and were going wee-wee in the ditch. Why didn’t their Moms and Dads give them clothes?

When Jimmy was five, Mom and Dad took him to Sevilla. They walked and walked and walked through museums and up and down streets until his feet were really sore.

When Jimmy was five, Dad dressed him up in a costume with a short blue cape with glitter on it and a black bolero hat. They went to something called a Fiesta which was a big, big party all over the city. Dad wanted to take Jimmy’s picture with two older Spanish girls, but he was too shy.

When Jimmy was five, Dad took him outside one night and showed him the stars in the sky. Then he pointed to something bright in the sky and said it was Sputnik. Sputnik was something people had put in the sky by launching it on a rocket. Dad said someday, rockets would take people into space, too.

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New Brain

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Image: Fox News

Alec Reed was at the end of his rope. At age 62, he could no longer keep up with the younger software developers at Intellidrive and accusations of “ageism” or not, if his performance fell too much further, he’d be out of a job.

Before the divorce, he’d have just put in for early retirement, but when Neena left him, she took just about everything including a non-trival percentage of their savings. Now he needed to keep working another five years at least if he hoped to maintain even a halfway decent portion of his current standard of living once he decided to retire.

Getting older was a curse in an industry of the young. Alec’s thinking, reasoning abilities, problem solving skills were all lagging behind the twenty-somethings that were being hired at a startling rate by Intellidrive.

Seniority and a generally good work record kept Alec at the company for the past twenty-two years, but his new, young supervisor wasn’t letting him rest on his so-called laurels. Alec was supposed to produce on par with his junior peers and if he couldn’t, he was easily replaced.

That’s why he had stolen his son’s supply of New Brain.

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