This is the story of how a novelty toaster ruined my life. First of all, I want to clarify that I’m not the kind of guy who buys a novelty toaster. I got it at a white elephant gift exchange a couple of years back. You...

On what would have been our fiftieth anniversary, I bought you a marble headstone.  Stone is the recommended gift for ninety years of marriage, but my being around another forty is a gamble for which the odds are too long.  Gold is the traditional gift...

7:35 pm, November 28. Sheriff Ron Ball and Deputy Ernest Dingle: On-duty. Unit 1, we got a 10-70 at Royalty Deluxe Luxury Mobile Estates. I repeat, a 10-70. Unit One, do you copy? Sheriff Ball looked at Dingle. No more than five minutes after they’d parked for...

The shivering Cro-Magnon man shifted uncomfortably in the dark. His back across the hard rocky surface was certainly an untenable reality for any decent sleep. He grunted and moaned and awoke with a start. Another nightmare. He wiped the sweat from his forehead. His back...

Kept company by a lone streetlamp’s flickering cone of light, Donovan Clark and Ellen Cruz reviewed the facts. Unlike many of their cases, this one seemed positively packed with substance. The leads were strong, the accounts were corroborated, and the net of skepticism seemed to...

The midday sun stood at its zenith, bathing them in unforgiving heat. Brendan wiped sweat from his brow with the heel of his hand, then dried it on the edge of his shirt. “Christ, it’s hot,” Brendan said. “Remind me never to go to an amusement...

The Chicago suburb of Englewood is no stranger to murder.  In 1893, it was home to Dr. H. H. Holmes, who built a hotel with the sole purpose of murdering his employees and patrons.  A good hundred or so died in his gas-rigged rooms, their...

My father has always been somewhat eccentric, prone to tall tales of his childhood, keeping collections of old knickknacks and assorted antiquities he’d find at auction, and strict adherence to bizarre house rules.  Growing up in his home, the same home he grew up in,...

“I’m not going to let you do this,” said Eugene. “You’re the closest thing I have to a brother and I don’t want you to die.” His eleven-year-old knees shook and buckled on the sidewalk of Mountain Road, that cold night in November. The bracing...

I have slept six hours in the past eight days. Time is beginning to slow to a crawl, dragging my perception behind it like an anchor that just won’t pull out from the mud. The more I try to organize my thoughts the more muddled...

“So, you ready?” Will stands proudly at the bedroom door. His backpack is strapped on securely, but he still holds on to the straps, a ready and willing adventurer. His hoodie is zipped up to his neck but he keeps the hood down. He knows better...

After World War II, Russian agents descended upon German specialists habituating in the Soviet Occupation Zone, and forcefully deported them to the USSR to work on their own scientific projects.  This maneuver, dubbed Operation Osoaviakhim, included renowned astrophysicist Dr. Dietrich Volkov.  He performed cosmonautical operations...

A heavy mist rolled over the lush grass of the cemetery, muting the hues of green land and blue sky with a heavy veil of grey. The already morose atmosphere was exaggerated with the crowd of friends and family members swallowed in black clothes.  We...

My Aunt Mel was one of the strongest women I ever knew.  She stepped in to raise my little brother Keith and me after we lost our mother to ovarian cancer.   Not many other people would have done the same, especially having to step in...

You know those people who you tell the time of events to fifteen minutes earlier than they start because you know they’ll be late?  The people who would be late to their own funerals, as the saying goes.  Well...

I worked for over twenty years as a police officer for the Lindley County Sheriff’s Office before retiring at the beginning of last year.  I’ve often been asked a lot of questions about my time in law enforcement, the main one of course being, ‘What...

Like most teenage boys, I believed that I was a wolf, not a sheep. And, like most teenage boys I was wrong. I was very much a follower. Specifically, a follower of Daniel Lawman. Daniel Lawman was the coolest boy in school. Handsome, charming and effortlessly intelligent....

My neighbor Dr. Gregovich suffered both of life’s greatest calamities.  The first was falling in love.  This is a rebellious and generally discouraged affliction to which he accidentally exposed himself when he was just five years old.  Elaine, age four at the time, had given...

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