Category Archives: Unwashed Fiction

Short fiction works as they escape my keyboard. Feel free to comment!

Re-animation for Dummies

“Wheel it in, Igor. Carefully please, don’t bump the skull.”

Igor, as usual, did not have much to say. He pushed the gurney into the lab and stood back, crossing his arms and waiting expectantly. He knew what to expect; perverse glee and pontification. His foot began a slow tap as I examined our new guest this evening.

“Goodness Igor. She’s lovely. You have a thing for brunettes, don’t you? Lovely hands, this one hasn’t done much floor-scrubbing. Nice muscle tone. I suspect we have a jogger, maybe tennis? Yes, at the very least we’ll have a fine supply of parts from this one. Almost a shame to eviscerate her, eh Igor?”

I began making the first incision, starting atop the sternum and down the length of her central torso, a median sternotomy incision.

“You know, when I was about young lady’s age I was attending the finest medical schools in Europe. I studied under all of the greats, you know. Oxford, Heidelberg, Karolinska. I was such a busy boy, study and practice and study some more.”

Thoracotomy, opening up the side of her chest.

“You could attend medical school, Igor. I’m sure I could swing you an invitation to study a Harvard, at the very least. And your knowledge of anatomy grows almost daily. This specimen, for example. We’re so lucky you stumbled on such a young and healthy beaut—

“What’s this?”

I stooped and examined the scar, good surgical work, very fine and hard to detect but it was there.

“Oh, Igor. Breast implants?”

Igor began cowering back, raising his hands to protect his head from the beating. “Sorry, master!”

“I have told you to again and again to stay away from those gentlemen’s clubs.”

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Take a complicated subject you know more about than most people, and explain it to a friend who knows nothing about it at all.

Igor’s eyes, bigger than his brain

Maybe I’m a-mazed

I clip my way over the face of the hedgerow. It’s good for the plants, keeping them trimmed allows them to grow healthy new leaves. My job is upkeep and maintenance for this old maze, from entrance to end, keeping it green and healthy and squared off nicely. It’s a lifetime project. My hedges look nice, don’t they?

On the trail between the hedges I stumble across another string, leading off into the maze. Gods, it must be the fourth time this century.

I shake my horns and heft my battle axe. Damned heroes, who keeps letting them in here?

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Inspired by this weeks Friday Fictioneers prompt:

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Melanie Greenwood



Thespian Curse

Madam Petulengro leaned forward, examining the ancient skeleton with interest. Bones here was found in an isolated cabin rotting away in the Barataria Preserve in Louisiana.

“I ain’t got all day, boy.”

Bones’ skull turned in the gypsy’s direction.

“That’s more like it,” she said. “What’s yer story then?”

“Cursed, of course. Jean Lafitte’s crew, a smuggler. One of your ancestors took a dislike to me, because my bones have been in the bog for more than a hundred years.”

“Well, you probably deserved it.”

“Madam, does any soul deserve to linger forever without rest? I never wanted to be pirate crew anyway, all I ever wanted to be—”

“If you say ‘Lumberjack’, you’re going right back in the bog,” Madam Petulengro scowled.

“What? Don’t be ridiculous. All I ever wanted was to act. On the stage.”

The gypsy rubbed her chin and said, “Done!”

After a few mystic passes and some magic dust, Bones regrew his flesh. He stood before her and bowed, restored. And broke into song:

“For I am a Pirate King!
And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Pirate King!”

“Oh, no no.” Madam Petulengro covered her face and sobbed. “Not Penzance.”

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Apologies to Rodgers & Hammerstein

Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt:

Posed skeleton in a shed


Burning Love

I watch the building burn to the ground. The fire department responded in sufficient force and early enough to save the building, yet somehow all of their efforts to put the fire out were ineffective. I heard the fire inspector talking to the engine company chief about accelerants, the unnatural heat of this fire, a probable arson case.

And I remained quietly in the crowd, invisible in plain sight. Until it became clear the battle was lost on this particular night. And I walked away with amidst a crowd of other departing spectators, my natural camouflage.

The fire inspector was correct about one thing—this fire had been unnaturally persistent and too hot to extinguish. But he’d never find any accelerant. It’s my business making sure he doesn’t.

You might call me an insurance adjuster. But working on the opposite side of the equation from the fire department and the insurance companies. I am paid to be certain a building fire is successful, the buildings perish in the flames. You would probably call me an arsonist, but my methods are more foolproof and also much harder to detect.

Something was left behind in this fire, something precious for which I would have to return. But only when the coast was clear.

The next afternoon, after the Inspector’s forensic crew had come and gone without discovering any trace evidence or accelerants, I lurked around the corner from the site.

My accelerant can actively avoid detection, you see. He’s been well trained to burrow and hide in the ashes and debris left behind by any fire. Some minutes later, I stooped and picked up my partner as he scuttled from the alley’s shadow. Bert the Salamander warmed my palm for a moment before I slipped him into my overcoat pocket and whistled as I ambled away.

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Remember this prompt, when your home was on fire and you got to save five items? That means you left a lot of stuff behind. What are the things you wish you could have taken, but had to leave behind?

Burning Itch?

Midsummer Grove

“Don’t go,” I begged her.

“You know I must,” she responded as she stroked my face with her fingertips. “She calls me home, always. You knew she does.”

“We will appeal to Oberon, surely he could help us?”

“Dear one. Don’t ask me to deny my nature and my kin, to cut myself off from my folk and my grove. As much as you love me, you simply ask too much. And as much as I love you, I cannot stay forever in your world.”

When I opened my eyes, my nymph was gone. Forever departed through Titania’s forest portal.

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A product of this week’s Picture It & Write prompt:

Forest Sculpture by Spencer Byles

In My Garage

I used to keep the Jaguarzord parked right over there. You can still see the breaker-box and the power hookup where I kept it recharging over night.

I helped defend the town from rogue Kaiju and plague-zombie waves several times. Jaguarzord was sleek and powerful and dangerous. The perfect blend of captured Gamma Leonis ex-military tech and good old American know-how. You could see me driving it on Main Street in the Memorial Day parade. I was even a minor local celebrity.

Everything went fine until those neighborhood punks broke in and took it joy-riding.

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Inspired by this weeks Friday Ficitoneers prompt:

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright Ted Strutz

Hey, come on, I managed to do something with a fuse box. Bonus points for difficulty?

The Shop

There is a place where hidden treasures can be found.

A tiny storefront of an old building, in the middle of the avenue. Number 15. Surrounded by more modern shops, most passersby fail to even notice the place.

“Welcome,” offered the store’s proprietor as I entered. A wizened little gnome of a man, his spectacles perched before beady eyes. “May I help you with something?”

“This place is marvelous,” I breathed. “Might I look around?”

“Of course.” The gnome turned back to scratching away in his ledger.

I browsed the shelves and stacks of old books, discovering marvels. First editions, beautifully illustrated folios. Treasures! I wallowed in the smells and sensations of a dusty book shop.

Finally, I discovered the best. Making my choice, I took my book to the register, and the little gnome looked up from his careful handwriting.

“This one,” I said. “I’d like to purchase this first edition Ivanhoe.”

“Not for sale,” harumphed the Gnome.


“This isn’t a book shop.”

I blinked in confusion. “It isn’t?”

“This is a book shop shop. I sell book stores. They’re going out of business by the cartload, you know. You’re standing in my Demonstrator Model.”

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Inspired by this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction photo:

A book shop that is no longer there

Prophetic caption on that photo…


“You kids be quiet,” Old Tom scowled at us, “Hush up and listen.”

We were on the sideslope on a stretch of the B&O Railroad, waiting for the train Old Tom promised us tonight.

My little brother kept fidgetin’. I slugged him and listened.

Maury died last night, Old Tom had told us. The Grand Patriarch of the Hobo Nation. When Old Tom talked about Maury, it was in hushed and respectful tones. Reading us the obituary earlier, Tom’s eyes filled up with tears. He told us Maury was the last true hobo alive, and what passed today was the final chapter of an entire way of life.

“Listen,” Old Tom whispered.

We heard it. Excitement built in me with the distant steam whistle. I smacked Jimmy to remind him stay still.

Rumbling, growing in volume. Huffing and chuffing, steady earthquake beneath us growing and growing. And the squeal of iron on the rail.

I glanced at Old Tom. She was coming to a stop. The majestic engine swept past us. And the coal cars, passenger cars— The sharp squeal of brakes, the rattle of boxcars beginning to crawl past us one by…

She stopped.

The boxcar door rolled back, and inside was Maury. Leaning out and offering a hand.

“Come on Tom,” said the ghost of Maury, “I reckon there’s room for one more. Come to Glory.”

Old Tom died happy, and just in time to hitch a ride on the final run of the Wabash Cannonball.

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249 words. Inspired by this Storybook Corner prompt: – The Old Train

And my Dad, he was fond of the (Roy Acuff? I think) version of the song, back in the day.

I suppose the story makes more sense if you know the mythology of the Wabash Cannonball. But it’s not required.

Old man’s boat

The souls of the dead queue on the rickety old dock. Their shuffling for position can only be heard by those who were sensitive to the voices of the dead.

I sit alone on the dock with my bucket of pennies. It’s the only way to clear the crowd from the dock, because not many still follow the Old Ways. Without me to cover fares, the line would never stop growing.

Charon doesn’t like it much. He snarls and considers it cheating the rules.

But as long as I have plenty of coins, I can stay off his boat myself.

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Inspired by this Friday Fictioneers prompt:

PHOTO PROMPT – Copyright – Georgia Koch