Danbecca Espionage

Here’s a short story. Typo hunters, welcome. Hope you enjoy my fiction. Still working on my microfiction skills.

I lost the race. I was panting when you patted me on the back. After that last smack, your hand slid down my spine a ways. Rebecca from billing was at your side already, announcing how proud she was of you and the diet she’s got you on. I decided I’d have to double the extra sugars I’ve been dumping into your coffee. The next day, you asked me about the tally marks on the laminated paper hung up in my cubical. I told you it was how many times you’d left your desk to fix Elroy’s laptop. You counted them and you looked amazed. Yes, it was a lot, I said. After you hung up your phone later that day and told me to put another tally on the board, I complied. I rubbed it off before you got back. When Rebecca called you just before your lunch, I put in my headphones. When you laughed at something she said, my stomach soured. I went through the lunch boxes in the breakroom until I found the gray one with DANNY written with purple sharpie. I replaced your light mayo tuna sandwiches with one of my real mayonnaise ones. Tomorrow I’ll swap out your avocado for a turkey. I also cook a few extra strips of bacon every few mornings, just in case. One day soon I won’t have to put a tally on the board. One day, she’ll smell the wrong food on your breath or notice the pudge over your abs. One day she’ll leave you.

Danbecca Espionage Short Fiction
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The Five-Star Courthouse

Here is a very short story. I’m working on my microfiction skills. Comments and typo hunters, welcome.

The Five-Star Courthouse

Ray didn’t say no when John asked him if his dog was the one who dug the hole in the park by the bench. Ray didn’t even have a dog. Did a blue cotton suit and shoes that shined like polished tree-bark look like clothes that a dog owner would wear? When John asked him if he paid a deposit for the cat that was sitting in his apartment window, Ray didn’t say no. Ray didn’t know what cat he was talking about. Would a single guy who wears white shirts under his suit and fucks so many women ever be caught dead with a cat in his studio? When John handed him the eviction notice in the doorway, Ray wouldn’t take it. Why would a naked man standing in the doorway with no clothes to his name be living in that apartment? Ray made a fake Google account and left a one-star review that mentioned the rude pet owners who let their pets dig in the park, lost pet deposits, and the intolerance of hard-working American’s lifestyles. The police officer with the messed-up shave said to work it out in court.

John was in the office behind the courtroom when Ray arrived. John said he couldn’t prove that Ray was a cat person, but he could prove that it was Ray’s dog that dug the hole in the park. The judge told Ray he was late and asked him why he was naked in a courtroom. Did a small office with a red wooden table and a white minifridge in the corner look like a courtroom to you? On top of that, why would anyone show up to court naked? The judge thought about it and broke down and said he wasn’t really a judge. His diplomas were fakes and his references were fraudulent. John punched Ray in the face. The judge dialed 9-1-1. The police officer arrested John for assault and for making fun of his funky stubble. Ray said he could keep a secret and asked the judge if he wanted a cat or a dog. The judge said both. John left five stars on Google for the courthouse.

fiction The Five-Star Courthouse
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Remembering Miss French Press

I wrote a different short story last night, but it was actually kinda good so I decided to save it to rewrite it a hundred times and submit to literary journals. I wrote a different story for today. It’s called Remembering Miss French Press. Enjoy this first draft.

Fiction – Remembering Miss French Press

I dried my hands on my apron and clicked my pen a few times while I watched her come in. Her dress was brown. She wore a dark red sash around it that matched her lipstick. Her brown hair was not moving in the wind. I looked to Ronald. He turned his head away from me and grabbed the broom and dustpan. I sighed. She stood near the host counter.

“Good morning. Booth or table?” I asked. She pointed at a booth. When she sat down, I handed her a menu. She looked it over and then pointed to the coffee and then to the eggs and toast. I marked my ticket. I took my ticket to the kitchen counter. Fred watched his empty pans.

“Miss French Press?” Fred asked. He dribbled oil from a spoon over one of the cast iron skillets.

“Miss French Press?” I asked. Fred pointed to a small French press behind the coffee pot. It had molded coffee grounds in it. I banged them into the trash and washed it at the sink. I washed and sanitized the French press in the sinks. I washed my hands with soap and wiped them on my apron. I could still smell the mold. Fred called over Ronald. Ronald propped the broom up behind the wall to the prep area and stood by me. Fred showed us the French press. After dumping some coffee grounds inside, we filled it halfway with water, poured hot water in, and waited two minutes. Ronald watched with his hand over his mouth. After two minutes, we filled it with more water. Ronald watched me as I pressed the filter down. When I turned around, Miss French Press stared.

I smiled. I brought her some creams. She didn’t use them. Fred moved the French press back behind the coffee pot. Ronald took a father and son that had walked in. He sat them at a booth in the back. Fred handed me my eggs. I walked them over. I bumped Ronald. A small amount of coffee splashed into his apron. He touched his face. I walked around him. I set the eggs down. Ronald handed me a roll of silverware before taking his ticket to Fred. Miss French Press curled and her middle and index fingers on each hand and brought them together. She pointed behind the counter. Ronald stood by the coffee pot.

 “More coffee?” I asked. She pointed at the coffee pot, pulled her index and thumb away from her face, and then pointed at me. I brought the French press over and refilled her coffee. She ate. I cashed her out. She left her coffee and a three-dollar tip. Ronald stood behind me and watched her walk away. He cleaned my table for me.

Short Story Notes

If I like this one in a few months I’ll rewrite it and stuff. There are things I don’t like about it, but there were things I found useful from it. I like Miss French Press. I don’t like it for the title, but I like her. But it was all I could come up with for now. Also, needs more tension.

Thanks for reading and as always, comment below about whatever. Typo hunters welcome. Admiration of me is also encouraged. As always, thank you all for reading, and I hope you like my stories, or at least like watching me struggle with them. After a while, sometimes my stories graduate to my stories section of my website.

You can follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Eric Shay Howard selfie
Me, my lunchtime latte, and my proof copy of my fiction collection, Crushes.
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On The Gym

Everything I currently know about how the gym works can be summed up in this short story I drafted last night. If you know more about how the gym works, please comment below.

On Gyms

Jack followed Ronald into the gym while I held the door. The receptionist welcomed us and asked if we were members. Ronald took out a card from his back jeans pocket.

“These two are my guests. It’s my mom’s account,” he said. He cleared his throat and pulled his shirt tail down over his belly. “I’m Ronald. I come in here all the time,” he said. He brushed his hair back. She looked the pass over and handed it back. We went further inside. Women in shorts ran on treadmills. I saw one blonde-haired guy running at the one in the back corner. There was an empty one next to his. I stopped there and looked at the buttons.

“No. That’s what you need,” Jack said. He pointed to the chest press machine. Between the treadmills and the chest press were yoga mats. Ronald stared at the girls on the floor.

We passed a pull-up bar and a leg press machine. I studied the muscles on the arms of the guys on the way through the room. Once we were at the chest press, Jack sat me down and adjusted the weights. He pulled the bands out with his skinny arms and reattached them.

“Lift,” he said. I pulled the arms in towards my chest and then pushed them back out.

“Was it hard?” Jack asked.

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Ronald, sit,” Jack said. Ronald did a few sets. Jack adjusted the weights. Ronald did a few more sets.

“You should try this one,” Ronald said. I sat back down and pulled.

“It’s not hard,” I said.

“Do it again,” Jack said.

The second time was harder. I could only do five reps. I stopped midway through the sixth.

“Do 4 more,” Jack said. I let go of the handles.

“I can’t,” I said. When I stood, I nearly fell over. Jack sat down in the seat.

“You’re supposed to wipe it,” Ronald said. He went searching for a towel. Jack started his set. He did 7 reps quickly, then pushed through three more. He released the handles and breathed out.

“You think we’ll get as big some of the guys in there?” I asked. A muscular guy in green shorts over at the free weights had my attention.

“I think if we want girlfriends, we’re going to have to do something,” he said. He watched a blonde girl over on the pull-up bar.

“Better quit staring. You’re in athletic shorts,” I said. Jack punched my arm and laughed. “How many was that? ten?”

“I’m resting between sets,” he said. I nodded. “You’ve really never been in a gym before?”

“No.” Jack licked his lips and scratched his thigh. I looked at my feet. Jack worked on his other two sets of reps. I stared at guys for brief moments. When Jack was done, I did four more reps.

“Where’s Ronald?” Jack asked. We found him in the hall near the entrance. He was staring towards the front of the gym holding a towel. He turned around when we got closer to him. His face was red.

“The receptionist?” Jack said.

“Heh, yeah,” Ronald said. Jack pulled him away by the towel. We went to the free weight equipment. There were more women than men lifting. Jack watched them all for a moment. Ronald fixated on a bigger black-haired woman doing curls. Both of their faces were too red to do the free weights.

The doorway to the men’s locker room and showers was just before the free weights. We peaked around the corner inside and then ran back out.

“You guys ever?” I asked.

“No,” Ronald said. I looked to Jack. He shook his head. We walked back past the free weights, through the pull-up bars and the leg and chest presses, past the treadmills, and past the receptionist.  She thanked us. Ronald thanked her back, smiled, and giggled until we pulled him out by the towel in his hand.

Short Story Notes

I drafted the story last night. I didn’t worry about it too much. When writing, you have to just get it down first, right? I may rewrite it a few times. Reading it the next morning, I can already tell you that I need ramp up the tension in this story a lot. I’m not sure if I’ll post new versions or not. Maybe sometimes. However, I tend to just let things stay as they are on here, other than light touch ups every now and then. I’ll fix the typos eventually. I don’t usually care about typos that much with early drafts. I’d rather just move on to asking you how you figured out the gym?

How does exercise work?

I know exercise is important. I mean, I went to the gym a few times at the beginning of the year before the pandemic and everything closed. Recently, I checked out Krav Maga classes at another gym, but I’m not sure about it. It was okay, but it didn’t feel right.

When my gym opens back up, or when I find a new one, I think I’ll focus on the chest press for a while. I also need to work on my arms, abs, legs, and butt. However, I think I’d like my body more if I had a bigger chest. I already know how the chest press works because it was the one machine I used when I started my gym membership at the beginning of the year. Well, that and the treadmill.

How did you learn the gym? Did you teach yourself or id you learn in a class, like a high school with a weight-lifting class for instance? Did your friends or family show you? Comment below!

I’m probably going to have to end up getting a personal trainer or something to help me figure out the gym.

I may not be a gym goer, but I bike almost every day. At least that’s SOMETHING.

You can follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook. Seriously, let’s help each other figure out the gym.

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On Football Video Games

I never played physical football. The only thing I know about football is that they wear tight clothes. I did pretend to like football once with a high school crush.

On Football Video Games

I walked down the steps, through the den, and into Jack’s bedroom behind him. He offered me a corner to put my backpack.

“So, this is it,” Jack said. His bed was on the left side of the room. There were folded clothes next to his pillows. Above his bed had an Evanescence and a Lacuna Coil poster. Rob Zombie was behind the television on his dresser. There was a blue bean bag chair at the foot of his bed. His brother’s bed was bigger and on the right side of the room. His brother’s dresser was against the opposite wall, and he had a larger television.

Jack took off his shirt and sprayed some cologne. “You want anything to drink?” There was a small refrigerator just outside his room. It held an assortment of cheap department store branded sodas. Red cream and strawberry flavors dominated the few cans of grape. There was one diet Coke.

“I’m okay for now,” I said. Jack took a red cream soda and chugged it. His elbow extended and his chest stretched. There was hair under his arms, but no hair on his chest. “You can get comfortable,” he said. He changed into a pair of athletic shorts. His legs were skinny and were as tan as his chest. I brought a pair of sweatpants in my backpack, but I left my jeans and thin black sweater on. I took off my shoes.

He laid out some video games over the blue and white quilt on his bed. He switched on the PlayStation 2 as I checked out his collection. The title screen of Madden 2002 loaded. Footsteps walked across the floor above us. He closed his bedroom door.

“Do you play Madden?” He asked.

“I have before,” I said. It was a lie. He handed me a controller. He sat on the edge of his bed with his legs spread apart. I pulled the bean bag chair away from his bed a ways and sat down in it. I picked the 49ers. He was the Broncos. Plays were presented along the bottom of the screen. I mostly lost yards and failed at blocking Jack. When I meant to sprint, I passed. I preferred playing defense, that way I could look up and over my shoulder more. I scored a touchdown accidentally once. He got down off his bed and grappled me at my shoulders.

“You’re getting it!” He said. I blushed when he touched me. I realized this, so I laughed.

We played Madden all evening until we got tired. The only thing I learned about football that night was that they wore tight clothes.

“You can sleep in my brother’s bed if you want. He won’t be here. Or the couch out in the den. Wherever you want,” Jack said. He went upstairs to the bathroom. His brother’s bed had Guns and Roses and Black Sabbath posters, and their records hung above it. They were all symmetrically separated. The records were placed like bricks in masonry work. When Jack returned, I walked all the way up the stairs to the bathroom to change into my sweatpants. When I got back to his brother’s bed, I took off my sweater. I slept in my white shirt. I knew I was gay.

I’ve been blogging about my childhood and high school a lot lately. I wrote this post about the first time I cooked mac and cheese. I wrote this post about one of the times I came out as gay to a friend.

Have you ever pretended to like something because of a crush?

I don’t think I’ve played a football video game since then. Someone will have to actually teach me how football works one day. Have you ever pretended to like something for a crush?

Comment below! You can also follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

Also, the edits for the paperback of my book, Crushes, are coming along. I promise it’ll be out and available for purchase soon. It’s a short fiction collection.

Selfie me of with my fiction collection Crushes, and coffee.
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