All tagged short stories

"WAKING" Prose by Gabriel Thomas

I woke to the phone screaming at six am. I slapped the fucker off and returned to slumber. Then, not long later, massive trucks moved in on me. Their gargantuan engines, their exhausts shaking the world. It was like some type of demonic sub woofer blasting from inside a cave in the furthest depths of hell. And then, all that noise rising, Rising, RISING, in bandshell uniformity, coming up and entering this world right under my bed, jolting me awake a second time. 

The beast machines soon past and I was able to sleep again in short order. Then the sun got its shit together. Got it goin’ good. The sun decided to radiate my bedroom like a microwave oven. 

I threw the covers off and lay in sticky sweat; so I set a box fan on high and blared it over me. The rushing hum drawing me out of this world and toward the nether one. And in that burrrrrr, that rushing wind, my mind felt relief. There was peace in that air. There was love and the world was a good place. I drifted back down. I drifted back down then my girl moved into me. She moved into me with her cuddliness and her HEAT, and my mind was buoyed up from the depths. 

Patience is not my virtue. Images of fires and explosions and shopping malls at Christmas entered my mind. I calmed myself. Somehow, I calmed myself. I knew my girl meant no harm in what she was doing. So I laid there. I laid and took the heat of the sun and of her body, and I took her love with it, and I sweated through. I endured, and even though my comfort was less, my mind numbed in the heat. I was soon going back down, back to peace, back to oblivion, and as soon as I reached that distant sanctuary, my girl moved. 

She moved her hand on my belly, grabbing a pinch on my fat, waking me out of it. In furry, I grabbed her hand and threw it away from me like it was an empty beer can. There was no thought in the action. It was like slapping a bug away. 

My girl moved more then, rising from the bed, and next, I could hear her stomping around the apartment. Then I couldn’t hear her anymore. I was going down further. Down further and further, past dreams, past anything, maybe to death. I slept for an hour. One perfect hour. 

When I woke, my girl was not in a good mood. She was riled and wrathful and too much time had passed for me to change any of it. 

Some days, you just can’t win.  

"WAKING" Prose by Gabriel Thomas




Friday evening,

I was starving.

So, I went to The All-You-Can-Eat Buffet.


Jesus! Oh-God-help-me.


There were about a thousand of us in there,

at the buffet –

packed in –

little piggies jostling for Mama Swine's tit.


I juked and maneuvered and elbowed and made my way in,


then a ten-year-old boy threatened me.


He threatened me for the last

baconcheeseburger slider.


Ten years old,

biceps like hams,

he did it with his eyes.


I backed off,

out matched.

Slopped some pot roast,

made it back to a tiny booth table.


I ate in fear while looking around.

There was a tension in the air

like just before a riot.



as the breach memories of the buffet faded,

as my adrenaline subsided,    

as my mind calmed,


I began listening to a Loud woman in a group near me.


"Our next class is Wednesday after the service. It’s over Greed and Envy" she said, "I'm really looking forward to it. I must confess, I AM envious of Carrie's vacuum cleaner. It's beautiful. Perfectly balanced. Got to be one of those industrial ones. It’s got that feel, you know?... Anyway, I AM envious of her and that vacuum cleaner. I feel guilty about it, and I think this class will really help me with that. I'm tired of feeling guilty."


She kept rambling.

My jaw slowly dropped

and stayed there.


from my fingers,

a french fry tumbled away.

I looked around then,

panning the space,

the crowd,

the masses,

the chewing and sucking and sweating,

the screaming young,

the women chatting,

men standing watch over families,

sons searching for guidance,

other men in the midst

just sitting,

like me,

defeated in some way,

time etched into their faces,

their bodies limp and exhausted and beaten.

Then I noticed the eyes.

Some of their eyes wondered the room,

like mine,


this place,

this moment.

Pondering it

and their place in it.

A hopeless acceptance

weighing down upon

slumped shoulders.

Some knowing,

I think,

of how they got here.

Maybe what went wrong.

Maybe there was never any real chance,

and this is how they got here.

Most just seeing it as it was,

I think,

their life.

A pointlessness.

A grasp for a meaning.

A settling for any possible comfort.


A settling,

and this is a highlight.

This right here.

A Friday night

at a cheap buffet

in a mass of chaos.  


I see their eyes.

I see their souls through their eyes.


Inside of me,

at that moment,

something broke.  


I rose then.

I rose slow

from the table

then moved silently,

walking fast.


But Not Too Fast!


I was afraid, you see?

Scared some unknown power might take notice.

Something of power and malevolence and godlike and an enforcer of predetermination…

It might see me and try to stop me!


I stepped on.

I burst through exit doors

into the night,

into cold air,

into black sky.

Then I turned,

looking back

at the bright building.


From life’s insanity,

from original sin,

from some kind of guilt instilled into the common heart,




I’ve escaped.