Don’t Say A Word

Red Sky-5

So there I was…with a finished novel after just eight years. Not that it took me eight years to write it. I took about four years off to study photography and another couple of years to apply some of that studying to the actual pursuit of picture taking.

During this time, I used the storyboard for my novel as an example of story boarding in my Writing Hurts Like Hell workshops. I also talked about the novel profusely, to anyone who would listen. I even posted excerpts on my blog.

Let’s turn the clock back a bit…to long before I started the novel…way back to the days of Sinclair Lewis. He and his wife would never utter out loud the title of his book Main Street for fear that another writer would pick up on it psychically and use it. Which, of course, assumes that writers are somehow psychically connected.

Maybe so, maybe not so.

I finished the novel over a year ago and put it aside for a few months before going through it for one last round of revisions. Then, I started contacting literary agents. Lots of them. After a few weeks, they started getting back to me with the usual death threats and warnings of legal action. I’m used to this. I bask in the dark light of agent rejection and use it to fuel my enthusiasm for the impossible.

But I didn’t like some of their comments, especially the ones who said things like:

‘We don’t need another Three Faces of Eve book. What the hell were you thinking when you wrote this garbage?’ 

‘Have you seen the movie Seven Sisters? Obviously you have, because this novel of yours is just a rewrite of the movie with a different title, different characters, different story line and different concept. And different uses of the word “and.” Rejected!’

Bastards.

But now that the word’s out, I can talk about the word. The name of the novel is The Weekly Man, not Six Brothers and One Sister. Both have seven main characters.

Seven Sisters has three women born the same day in a society that only allows one baby, so they hide their identity and each of the sisters can go outside their home one day of the week and they name themselves after the day they can go out (i.e., Monday, Tuesday…you know, days of the week).

The Weekly Man has seven personalities living in the same body. The one who was born in that body on Monday exists every Monday (but isn’t named after the day). The one who was born in that body on Tuesday only exists on Tuesdays (and he isn’t named after the day either). So, a different personality each day, ending with a female personality on Sunday (but she’s not named Sunday).

In Seven Sisters, the characters all know of each other’s existence; in fact, they live together. In The Weekly Man, the characters (even though they live in the same body) don’t know of each other’s existence until they’re in their 30s and they start meeting on social media. It took over a year of research and banging my head on table tops in the coffee shops around the city where I did my writing to work this out.

In Seven Sisters, the characters are focused on keeping their existence secret from the rest of the world . In The Weekly Man, the characters are kept secret from each other. Seven Sisters is a serious movie. The Weekly Man is humor. For instance, the Tuesday character is trying to murder the Thursday character but can’t because the they don’t exist on the same day. And, of course, the Sunday character is thinking about getting a sex change.

Now, I’m not saying that the people who wrote and produced Seven Sisters picked up on my idea through some kind of psychic connection. I would never say such a foolish thing, Sinclair Lewis or not. However, I did learn a lesson from this: When you start a novel, finish it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t be distracted by photography or other pursuits. Don’t use your novel’s storyboard in your writing workshops.

And don’t let the agents get you down when they point at you and laugh. It’s their job. It’s nothing personal. Well, the death threats are kind of personal, but I get those all the time, and not just from agents.

I guess the thing to do is sit on the book for a couple of years until there’re all new agents out there who don’t watch movies and have never read books on multiple personalities. Yeah…a couple of years.

In the meantime, I’m working on another novel. But I’m not going to talk about it. And I’m sure as hell not going to say the title out loud.

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Thinking Hurts

Silver

Thinking hurts.

Think about it.

No, don’t think about it…you’ll hurt your head. But if you were to think about it, if you were to endure the pain, you might ask yourself, “Why does thinking hurt?”

Let’s look at this question and see if we can answer it. Without thinking. The obvious truth throws itself across the path of our search for an answer: Because it’s complicated and it means looking at things from all angles whether I’m comfortable with them or not and maybe being faced with opposing views that demand that I make a decision or even a series of decisions with one decision creating the need for yet another decision and possibly another and another and maybe I don’t agree in my gut with those decisions but I know they’re right in my mind and this might just require that I act on the decisions arising from my thinking and that means getting off my ass and doing something or I could just sit and think and rethink and counter think and get all angsty and depressed because I started thinking and now I can’t stop because once you start thinking it’s like taking your thumb out of a dam that’s leaking all around you and now you can see those leaks.

Got that?

You could drown in the truth…just by thinking about its possibility. I guess that’s what really hurts about thinking: Once you start, you have to decide whether you’re going to finish the thought, or whether you’re going to drop the thought and just let it dangle in your head like a discontinued piece of yourself.

Having to finish a thought can be tough for the above started reasons: It can lead to truth. Truth can be a bitch. You might have to do something.

Not finishing a thought can be tough because its incompleteness will park itself just under the surface of your days like a broken tile that you have to continuously avoid stepping on.

And then there are the unobvious truths about why thinking hurts:

  • We might have to stop fooling ourselves
  • We might have to admit we were wrong
  • We might have to admit someone else was right
  • We might start asking questions
  • We might start getting answers

And who, these days, really wants to hear answers to their questions? I mean, isn’t it enough to just ask the question? And just leave it at that? Personally, I have a hard time dealing with the questions. I don’t need a bunch of answers to complicate things. When the questions are just hanging there, swinging in the wind, thumbs out for a ride on the answer bus, you don’t have to do anything but drive past them. But if the bus stops…

Ouch!

Something to think about.

 

(www.biffmitchell.com)

100 People, 10 Bats and 1 Cat Blowing Up – Episode 5 (Death to the Slurper)

SeaShore

(Yesterday, I blew up a bunch of programmers looking to drive you crazy for profit. Today, Bonita Valdez is the kind of person who incites murder. She does it with coffee. How? Read on.

Today’s gratuitous photo is a seashore at low tide. Never be fooled by seashores at low tide. They don’t just come in from the oceanside, they come in from both sides and, somehow, from behind you.)

 

Bonita Valdez loved slurping her coffee…as in, she never sipped. No, that would be a waste of good coffee according to Bonita. “You have to slurp it to get the full taste. It has to be noisy to be tasty.” Some people swore that she inhaled her coffee with the gusto and volume of a steroid-pumped-up metal band from hell to the extent that you could feel her drinking coffee from two blocks away. Dianne Swazey watched in horror as Bonita lifted the cup to her mouth. Dianne hated Bonita. They both arrived at the Bayside Coffee Shop at the same time every morning. They worked in different buildings, but they spent their coffee breaks in the same place. Dianne had no choice. It was the closest coffee shop to her work, the only one close enough that she would have time for a coffee and there was no way she was taking it back to the office and get stuck working on something on her coffee break. She was trapped. She had to listen to that “fat horse bad-hair-day-everyday loud insufferable bitch” drink coffee like a pig at the trough. Dianne wanted to look into Bonita’s eyes as she strangled her to death and say things into her dying eyes like, “Didn’t expect this on your coffee break today did you?” “I hate you. I hate you. I hate you.”

Things like that. And there she was, the cup inches away from her mouth, her lips parting slightly to breath in the coffee, getting ready to announce to the entire coffee shop that she was drinking her coffee. Dianne’s finger tips tingled. She wanted to feel them on Bonita’s throat. The cup was just about to touch Bonita’s lips. Dianne cringed. The lip of the cup touched the lower lip of the pig monstrosity and Dianne closed her eyes wishing that she could cover her ears, but that would probably make Bonita slurp louder, make the others in the coffee shop point at her and giggle among themselves. Just as Bonita was about to slurp, the wall behind her disintegrated and all the disintegrated parts of it streaked right through Bonita, disintegrated her before she could slurp. Oh thank God, thought Dianne just before she disintegrated along with Bonita.

Oh thank God, thought Doris Hanover, who was sitting two tables away from Bonita and had been fantasizing strangling her to death for almost two years.

Oh thank God, thought Barb Watters, who wanted to run across the room, grab Bonita by the hair and pound her face into the table over and over as she shouted, “I hate you! I hate you! I hate you!”

Oh thank God, thought Damien White who’d been secretly in love with Dianne for over a year but was too shy to approach her. Instead, five days a week, he watched the woman he loved suffer from the sounds of the “the fat one’s” inexcusable bad manners. The metal knife he was holding as he thought about walking up to Bonita’s table and slashing her throat turned to liquid in his hand as his hand turned to ash and roared away with the coffee shop.


For more crazy writing by Biff Mitchel, visit Amazon.

100 People, 10 Bats and 1 Cat Blowing Up: Episode 3 – To Be Eaten by Dragons?

CityNight

(Yesterday, I blew up a bank as eight year old Jenny Steward was about to withdraw enough money to buy a baseball bat so that she could beat her bullying older brother to death. Someone tried to rob the bank at about the same time that several other people were about to rob the bank. None of them got to rob the bank and Jenny never got to beat her brother to death with a baseball bat. Today, Louise Harmon wants to be blown up and her best friend, Kyle Saunders, wants to be eaten by dragons. WTF)

 

Louise Harmon was obsessed with being blown up. As long as she could remember, she’d had fantasies about being blown up. Her favorite dreams were the ones in which parts of her body were flying all over the landscape. She read stories about people being blown up in Afghanistan and India and she was jealous. She couldn’t understand why she’d been born into a small town a million miles away from where everyone was being blown up.

Louise, of course, had few friends. In fact, she had just one friend, Kyle Saunders. Kyle wanted to be eaten alive by dragons. Louise felt that she could respect Kyle’s desire, even though she felt that her death wish was a little more realistic. And he didn’t talk much about it. He just stated clearly and concisely, “I want to be eaten alive by dragons.” And left it at that, which was fine with Louise because it meant that she could spend all their mutual time talking about being blown up.

“I mean, don’t you think it would be cool to feel every cell in your body separating from every other cell in your body?” said Louise as she and Kyle sat on lawn chairs in his back yard. Kyle always nodded agreement, even though he thought it would be much better to have all your cells digested together inside a dragon’s stomach.

“Can you imagine that feeling just before you feel the full force of the explosion?” she said dreamily. “I mean, that split second right before. What would that be like? Would it be heat? Numbness? A full-body itch? A tingle? I somethings think that it would be like picking the scab off a sore…like ripping up the top layer and then the next layer and the next.” Kyle nodded agreement, noting mentally that his friend was missing the joy of feeling razor sharp teeth dicing her body into succulent portions ready to be swallowed.

“And just imagine…being completely evaporated. Can you imagine?” Louise’s eyes were beginning to bulge a little with excitement. “Evaporated! I mean, turned into mist, gas, vapor. Wouldn’t that just be the coolest thing you could imagine?” Kyle nodded, but he really couldn’t understand how Louise could miss the exquisite splendor of having her body torn to shreds by giant reptilian claws and tossed into a maw smelling of brimstone. What was wrong with her?

“I mean, nothing left of you but a giant hole in the ground where you were standing.” She was beginning to froth at the mouth. “Your vapor mixing with the smoke and fire.” Kyle nodded cautiously. It looked like Louise was about to explode just from wanting to be blown up. He imagined her head expanding so that all the parts of it separated into blood soaked projectiles and he had to admit…it seemed like a pretty cool idea. But it lacked the dignity of a mythic creature, something feared and referred through the ages. Something so fearsome you could stand proud and say, “I was eaten by a dragon.”

Louise suddenly went silent. Her eyes sunk back into their sockets. She wiped the froth from her lips. “I don’t know, Kyle,” she said wistfully. “Is it too much to hope for? I mean, I could die tomorrow from a car swerving off the road and onto the sidewalk. Where’s the beauty in that? Run down by a frickin’ car.”

“So ordinary,” said Kyle, nodding agreement. “Everybody gets run down by cars.”

“Exactly,” said Louise. “I mean, why couldn’t I have been born some place where people are being blown up more than they’re being run over by cars. It’s just not fair!”

Kyle forced a smile and said, “Don’t worry, Louise. Some day you’re going to be blown up. I just know it. You are.”

“Really, Kyle?” she said, imploringly. “You really believe that?”

“I sure do,” he said. A smile curled across the lower half of his face. “I have an idea. Let’s try something.”

“Does it have something to do with being blown up?”

“Yep.”

“Not being eaten by dragons? Blown up.”

“Blown up.”

“OK, what is it?”

“Let’s both close our eyes and visualize being blown up.”

Louise rolled her eyes. “Kyle…I do that all the time.”

“But this time we’ll be doing it together. A group effort. We both merge our energies and lift ourselves to another plane of being where you get blown up.”

Louise laughed. “Kyle! That’s crazy!” She punched him lightly on the shoulder. “But…OK. Let’s do  it. It might be fun.”

“OK. But first we have to touch foreheads.”

Louise looked at him suspiciously. “Kyle, if you try to kiss me…”

“I’m not trying to kiss you! Eeuw.” He made a face convincing enough to convince Louise that he didn’t ever under any circumstances want to kiss her.

She wasn’t sure how she felt about that but this game was starting to excite her. “OK,” she said as she leaned her head forward.

Kyle did the same and they were touching foreheads. “Now,” said Kyle, “put all your thoughts and energy into being blown up.”

They both squinted their eyes as they concentrated. And concentrated.

After a few moments, Louise said, “You’re not thinking about being eaten by dragons, are you, Kyle?”

“No. I’m thinking about your head disintegrating and spraying all over the walls and ceiling.”

“OK. Good, keep focusing on that.”

They squinted their eyes and…

“Did you feel that?” said Louise.

“I’m not sure. You mean the rumble?”

“Yeah. The…”

And in that instant, Kyle knew that he was never going to be eaten by dragons as he and Louise evaporated together.

___

Ever thought about writing a novel but don’t know how to get started or keep the steam up until you have something in your hands ready for a publisher? You need Writing Hurts Like Hell: How to Write a Novel When You Don’t Have Time to Write a Short Story.

 

Under the Parking Lot

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I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but I want to make it annoyingly clear that I hate winter. I know I’ve made promises to people that I’ll try to get along with winter…and I have. I’ve actually gotten out of bed a few times. Like right now. I put on clothes and buried myself in a winter parka. I went into the the parking lot, into the frigid January daylight which, as soon as I stepped outdoors, turned to overcast skies, and a sub-zero wind that would lay a membrane of frost around Hell whipped out of the frozen air.

“Hey, Biff,” said the fox. “Like my new coat?”

Damn fox was wearing a mink coat.

“You do understand that you might be related to that coat, don’t you?”

“Are you giving the fox a hard time again, Biff?”

I looked behind me. Floating in the air in lotus position and wearing a 10 gallon hat full of steaming hot water from which pipes extended to form a circular heating system around him was J. Richard Jacobs, aka J. He wore a housecoat with a ninja turtle motif.

“J,” I said. “So, that really was you the other day, sitting on my kitchen counter.”

“Yes, Biff, it was. I read your blog and realized that the fox wasn’t making your life miserable enough. It takes an editor make life truly painful for a writer…even one like you, who just barely meets the qualifications for being literate and can’t follow simple formatting standards.”

“Biff,” said the fox, “J and I talked about your plans and your purpose for being. We decided that your search for peace was…well, you know…kind of futile. I mean, look around. Nobody wants peace anymore. There’s no money in it. There’re no movies in it. And besides, people like hating each other.”

“We don’t necessarily like our conclusions,” said J, “but, yes, the fox is right…we put more effort into hating than we do into loving.”

“Hating is more profitable,” said the fox. “And it makes for better best sellers.”

“People have more fun hating than loving,” said J. “Haven’t you ever watched reality TV? It’s what we’ve become.”

“It’s all a big TV show with bad script writers,” said the fox.

“So we’ve decided that you need to focus your less than ample talents on something else,” said J.

I felt like I was between a brick wall and a thousand foot precipice with flying demons trying to bite my ass off. “OK,” I said. “I’m game. What should I focus on?”

The fox and J went silent. They looked at each other. They looked around. They looked at me. They looked back at each other. They looked up. They looked down. They looked all around. J started to speak…but looked up instead. The fox scratched his head…and looked at J.

J suddenly smiled and beamed and the pipes surrounding him tooted.

I swear…they tooted.

“I have an idea,” he said. The fox snapped to attention. I dropped my forehead into my right palm. This was going to be bad. I mean…he tooted.

“Biff,” he said, “it’s time for you to come to grips with winter.

***

There followed two hours of silence as J’s words tumbled around inside my head trying to fall into some kind of coherent meaning. J and the fox stared at me during this time. Just…stared.

***

There followed another two hours during which I chased J and the fox around the parking lot, needing desperately to beat both of them to death with my camera.

***

Just as I was about to bring my camera down onto the head of the mink-coated fox, a lid in the parking lot flipped down and I fell into the paving.

How did I never notice this before? I thought.

I tumbled through a tunnel under the parking lot, thinking, This is probably how Alice must have felt.

It seemed like I tumbled for several minutes that turned into several hours and turned into days and into months…and entire lifetimes flashed by my right and my left and right through my head and body as I tumbled into the openings of void after void and I thought: How did I not know this about the parking lot?

Eventually, I landed, camera in hand, on the walking bridge. So I took a couple of pictures before the other two figured out where I was and set out to torment me.

And I still hate winter.

 green-2

 

 

Ross Howard – Psychic

Ross

Ross Howard was a psychic. A real-life, bonafide, honest-to-goodness psychic. And he’d been a psychic for, oh, let’s see now…six hours. Ever since he’d been banged on the head by a hammer that morning on his way to work. He wasn’t sure how that had happened; probably just a random head banging but, when it was over, Ross was a psychic.

He could read minds. Predict the future. Lift heavy objects through the power of thought. He hadn’t tried the last one yet, but he could predict the future and he’d predicted that he would soon be lifting heavy objects just by thinking it.

In the meantime, he was having one hell of a time reading peoples’ minds, delving into their most inner secrets, peeking into the stuff of their lives, prying away the illusory boards shuttering the windows into their pasts.

Only problem was…people kept lying to him. In their thoughts. And he had ample proof of this. For instance, he read the thoughts of a woman in the coffee shop line-up just a few hours ago. She was thinking about buying a regular coffee with lite cream but, when she opened her mouth to order, she said, “I’ll have a double caramel latte.”

Liar.

And he could have sworn he’d seen the hint of a malicious smile as she placed her order.

An hour before that, a man driving an SUV in front of Ross was thinking about turning right but almost as soon as Ross read the man’s thoughts he suddenly turned left without any warning and cut across traffic at a busy intersection, almost crashing into a Ford pickup, a convertible Punch Buggy and a woman on a mountain bike.

Crazy liar.

And had Ross seen the man laughing into his rear view mirror?

So he figured he’d try a little reverse psychology. A woman sitting at a restaurant counter bounced her choice between the lemon meringue and apple pie before deciding on the lemon meringue. But Ross knew she was lying and knew that she would pick the apple. When the waitress came over to her, she said, “Could I have a slice of that lemon meringue pie, please.”

These people couldn’t even tell the truth when they were lying. And again, he could have sworn he’d seen a nasty grin on the woman’s face as she ordered her lemon meringue pie.

It was mid-afternoon in suburbia and the sun was shining, not a cloud in the sky, but there was just the slightest of breezes to keep everything warm but comfortable. It was a beautiful day to be a psychic…if he could just figure a way to get people to think the truth. The woman at the restaurant kept with her decision to the lemon meringue pie, but she’d led him to believe that she would get the apple pie by deciding not to get the apple pie.

Had she done that deliberately, just to mess with his head? Or…were mysterious forces at work? With the gift of his new powers, maybe he’d opened some sort of portal into states of being beyond the ordinary. Had he disturbed things that were better left alone? He thought about this for a few minutes and decided it was time to lift heavy objects with his mind.

He focused on a garbage truck parked by the side of the road about thirty feet away. He thought deeply. Very deeply. He visualized the truck lifting gently upwards from the pavement. He closed his eyes and imagined all weight and substance drifting out of the truck so that it would rise, rise, rise from the pavement. He opened his eyes and the truck was still grounded. So he commanded out loud that the truck rise. He lifted his hands, palms upwards, as though he were lifting the truck with his arms, and said, “I command you to rise! I command you to rise!” The truck stubbornly stayed where it was.

Ross decided that he’d probably seen a little further into the future than he’d guessed when he predicted he could lift heavy objects with his mind.

Back to mind reading.

He saw the mini mall a few blocks ahead with the bright blue sign announcing his favorite cyberbar, The Lively Laptop Cyberbar and Grill. Beer and a laptop. That’s what he needed. He passed a yard surrounded by a metal fence and looked into the future, predicting that a dog would bark at him. As the walked by the fence, sure enough, a vicious Dachshund barked indolently at him as it lay on its side in the cool grass. His ability to look into the future was starting to develop.

He walked through the tinted glass doors of The Lively Laptop Cyberbar and Grill into a large LED lighted room with a bar running the length of one wall, booths attached to the other wall, and coffee tables surrounded by easy chairs filling the floors. The glow of monitor screens lit the faces of about a dozen people hunched fervently over laptops. No one was talking. He’d never paid much attention to the other customers in the past, but today he would be paying much attention.

Time to read some minds and find out who was downloading porno. He bought a Corona from a young woman wearing thick glasses who dragged herself reluctantly from her laptop behind the bar. He read her mind. She was irritated with him. She frowned when she passed the beer over the counter to him. Ah, he thought, someone’s finally thinking the truth. He paid for his beer and walked slowly, so as not to attract attention, to one of the tables against the wall. He opened a dated laptop sitting in the center of the table and pressed the ON button. While the laptop booted up, he looked around the room. Who’s mind would he read?

His eyes settled on a middle aged man in a two piece suit with his tie and shirt collar loosened around his neck. He focused on the man’s head, looking deep into his brain, opening his own mind to whatever thoughts would flow from the man’s cranium. Almost immediately, he knew the man’s name—Bob. Bob something. He knew the man was writing an email to a business associate. He knew that man was writing, “I’m sure Hanson will go along with the plan, but we’ll have to watch Mercer carefully.”

Good.

That was a successful mind read. He thought about approaching the man and asking his name and what he was doing, but the thought crossed his mind that the man might suspect that his mind had just been read. That was something he’d have to think about. Secrecy. If other people found out about his powers he could find himself in a bit of a pickle. How would they react to his ability to peer into their deepest secrets? Would there be those who would want to hire him for his psychic talents? Would there be those who would fear his talents and want him dead? Would they see him as a precursor to a new race of superior human beings and fear for the extinction of the human race as it is? Would he be seen as a threat to national security? Would they send teams of men in black suits and black SUVs in the wee hours of the night to wisk him off to some secret laboratory where he would spend the rest of his life under observation, poked with cold steel instruments, interrogated endlessly, hooked to wires and electrodes, subjected to psychological testing at all hours of the day and night?

No…he would have keep his new powers secret. At least, for the time being. In the meantime, he would work on them, develop them, get a grip on his full potential. And right now, he would read someone else’s mind. Let’s see. The woman in the corner with the glasses that seemed to cover most of her oval face. Her eyes were the size of silver dollars as they stared into the laptop monitor, her face illuminated eerily, like a phantom object shining out of the darkness of the corner. He stared intently at her high forehead, stared into her forehead where the gray matter was, where her thoughts were. Her name was Sara. She was thinking, “…mmm, ffttt. Mmmm…rrrrgggg; mmm…fftt…”

No way could that be a lie. So her name had to be Sara. His powers were in top form. He was reading minds like a pro. He was on the cusp of great things. No one could stop him now. If they came for him in the wee hours of the night, he would know. He would know before they knew. He would lift them into the skies with his ability to lift heavy objects just by thinking about it and let them hover over their fate until they screamed for their mommies.

He took a long celebratory drink of beer, then watched as his laptop screen finally displayed Firefox. He cursored to the Google search box and entered: mind reading for beginners. 556,000,000 results. He decided to do some research later. In the meantime, he would just learn by doing. He turned the laptop off and chugged the rest of his beer.

Outside, the sky was beginning to cloud over. Ross predicted rain.

He spotted a small plane in the sky and decided to try his hand at long distance mind reading. He projected his thought reading power into the sky and centered on the plane, penetrating the fuselage, directly into the mind of the pilot, whose name was Bob. Bob was thinking about his approach to the airport, which seemed strange. Ross thought that the airport was in the opposite direction. But he wasn’t sure. So he wouldn’t accuse Bob of lying. As he thought this, he noticed that the plane dipped its wing. Wasn’t that how pilots saluted and acknowledged someone on the ground? Well, he wished Bob a happy landing.

Yes, his powers were getting stronger by the moment. He was reading people’s minds like reading comic books. He was the master of transparency. He started thinking about how best to use his powers and the answer came into his mind immediately: time to get rich.

He headed straight for the Tenth Street Casino. It was time for some poker, and it didn’t matter how straight faced the other players were. But he would let them win some small amounts, at first. Let them get over confident, ready for some big bets. He would know exactly when to lose and win. He would play them from within their own minds.

An hour later, he walked out of the Tenth Street Casino broke, his wallet cleaned out, his savings cleaned out, his wrist minus a watch.

Liars !

He couldn’t believe it. It was as though they all knew that their minds were being read and deliberately did the opposite of what they were thinking. Even when they were about to do the opposite of what they were thinking, they suddenly did the opposite of that.

Cheating liars!

He was stunned. Heading towards him down the sidewalk was a woman pushing a stroller with something bundled up so tightly it was impossible to tell if it was a baby or a dog. He read the woman’s mind as she was about to pass him. It was a baby boy. His name was Bob. Finally, another successful mind reading.

The woman stopped and looked at him quizzically. Uh-oh. Was his secret out? Did she, through some form of mother’s intuition, sense that he’d been reading her mind? Would they be coming for him in the wee hours of the night?

“Traci,” said the woman.

Ross stared at her. What the hell was she talking about?

“My baby is a girl. Her name is Traci, not Bob. And that’s a nasty bump you have on your head.”

(Note: This is one of the many fine stories in the Twisted Tails VIII anthology. You can order a copy of it and read many fine stories better than the one you just read by clicking HERE.)

TT VIII