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Short Story Collection

  Alan Just Likes To Fly


“I take off pretty darn good if I say so myself. I do fly fairly straight and don’t hardly ever get real lost. I do have a just a little trouble with landings. See, when you take off, you just get a whole lot of speed going, pull back the stick and up you go. Works every time, at least so far. Now landing, well, that’s a whole different thing all together. I sometimes,well, bounce a little bit. Well, I always bounce a little bit. Just sometimes worse than others. So, when I land you better put a pillow on top of your head.” He failed to mention they should then put their head in a bucket.

Alan used to scare his passengers taking off too. He was never too sure he was going fast enough so he’d wait until he got to the end of the runway to liftoff. Sometimes he’d misjudge that and end up plowing through the cornfield at the end of the runway. He hadn’t done that in years, though. Damn farmer always charged him top dollar for the corn. He once charged him before he had it planted. Alan was pissed but it was better than talking to the NTSB.

Over-correcting to stay level was something else he worked hard at. Alan can’t remember the number of puking passengers he had until he got that one straightened out. He used to have to hose the plane out after every charter. Sometimes the odor of puking passengers would make Alan puke. Then the plane was all over the sky. It looked like trick flying to those on the ground who didn’t know Alan. That made the passengers puke that much more. It was like a dog chasing his tail.

Alan stayed in business by being a lot cheaper than anyone else. Alan didn’t spend a lot on repairs. If it wasn’t loose, and if duct tape didn’t tighten it, he did’t worry about it. Alan lived in his plane...no rent. A baloney sandwich made a fine dinner.

Alan didn’t spend a lot on girlfriends. He simply picked the oldest one on the street. The older the cheaper if not better. Alan wasn’t all that choosy. He thought about getting a nice, wholesome girlfriend once. Only once. No, Alan kept his courting to a minimum.

Alan lived to fly. He didn’t like taking off or landing. Just flying. He didn’t like the smell of puke but, “that’s the price you pay to do what you want in life.” Alan never talked about parachutes. Not because it made the passengers nervous since Alan didn’t care about that. Parachutes is a plural word. Alan had one parachute...for him.



Lonnie always told people that living in Kansas had many advantages. For starters, no worrying about whether or not lightning was going to hit the tree and have it fall on the house. There are no trees in Kansas. You’re lucky to see a tall shrub. Lots of lightning but no trees. The lightning might hit you but you won’t cause the roof to cave in.

“Well, I got struck again”, Clyde said. He said it very casually as if it were an everyday occurrence. It wasn’t or he’d be dead. It was a regular occurrence though.

“Guessing that’s why you’re shaking so much”, Lonnie said. Clyde was shaking do much you’d think he was having a fit.

“Huh? You’re the one shaking, not me."

There ’s the weather. it ’s very predictable. It ’s always bad. Too much winter, too much summer, not enough rain. It never changes. Mark Twain was either wrong or never lived in Kansas. The weather report is always rerun.

“Well, folks, the weather is going to be bad. It ’s going to be bad for the next week. That ’s as far ahead as I want to predict”, the local weatherman would say. Don’t have to worry about keeping up with the Jones’ in Kansas, Toto. The Jones are just as poor as you unless they moved to California. It’s possible they hadn’t planned on moving there. They may have gotten there courtesy of a tornado.

“Havin’ a right poor year”, Clyde said.

“Well, so am I”, Lonnie replies. That’s just about it for conversation. There’s nothing else to talk about in Kansas except for tornadoes. Tornadoes can move your truck someplace else. It can move your house someplace else. It can move your land someplace else.

Lots of corn in Kansas. Corn cakes for breakfast and lunch and dinner. The good side is, corn liquor for drowning your sorrows and you ’ll have plenty of them. Good thing you have the corn liquor since you can’t find enough water in Kansas to drown a fly.

“Jeez, my land’s so dry you can fall in the cracks”, Clyde said.

“I did. Tha ’s how I found my tractor ”, Lonnie told him.

Incidentally, Toto knew this wasn’t Kansas. He was glad of that. When he and Dorothy got back to Kansas, Toto bit Dorothy and ran off. Toto wouldn’t piss on Kansas. They don’t tell you that part of the story. Driving across Kansas is a snap. You get to the state line, put the cruise control on, lock the wheel, lean back and go to sleep. It’s perfectly safe. There are no curves in Kansas. Even the women don’t have curves in Kansas. Great birth control method.

“Say, Lonnie, I finally got a tv. Did you know there are women in other places that don’t look like us men?”, Clyde said.

“Yea? So?”, Lonnie said.

“Well, I was getting some strange thoughts. I liked them too”, Clyde said.

“Well, maybe I ought to get one of them women don’t look like me ”, Lonnie told him.

“You got a wife, Lonnie”, Clyde responded.

“Oh, yea, her.”

  Arlene and Lips


Arlene tended the bar at the Roadside Inn. Her husband, Lips, was the bouncer. Lips was 6-4, 300 lb., and had a bad temper, a very bad temper. Arlene was the only one who could settle him when he got riled. He was nuts for her.

Arlene had heard it all.

“My wife doesn’t understand me.”

“You know why that is, Jimmy? Because no one understands you. You’re drunk most of the time and make no sense. You make even less sense when you’re drunk. What I don’t understand is why she’s still with you. Be quiet and drink up. Don’t make me call Lips over here.”

“Say, Sweetcakes, you’re quite a looker. How about...arghh!!!”

“Who you callin’ a hooker, doofus. I’m goin’ to break two or maybe three of your bones you-”, Lips said as he scooped the guy up off the bar stool. He no longer threw them through the windows after Arlene explained the costs.

“Settle, Lips. He didn’t call me a hooker. He called me a looker. I still have it, right?”, Arlene called out to him. Yea, to Lips she still had it. To a drunk she still had it. To everyone else she looked like she once had it but it went the way of the wind.

“Oh. Does that mean I shouldn’t break any bones?” Lips was always disappointed when he couldn’t take some guy apart at least a little bit.

“Barkeep, can I get a hamburger? ”, another one asked.

Barkeep? Arlene told him, “Yea, go to McD’s. Hope you choke on it.”

Lips was dragging McDougal out to his car. This was a nightly chore. He used to carry him out until the night McDougal brought his booze back up hitting Lips right in the face. Lips dropped him and was going to kick him around like a football until he realized that McDougal was passed out and wouldn’t know it anyway. What fun would that be? After that he dragged him out and threw him into the back seat and took his keys away from him. Sometimes he throw them in the bushes. It depended on his attitude at the moment.

He came back in to find Henny there with his duck. That duck was smelly and ugly. Lips hated that duck. Hated the duck’s owner too. Arlene thought it was cute. The duck just sat there watching Henny drink. Then Henny would leave and take the duck back to the pond. It wasn’t Henn ’s duck. He just liked to drink with someone dumber than he was. Since no human being was, he brought a duck with him. The duck was still better than the parrot. Chalky White always brought his parrot in with him. This was a talkative parrot. What he said didn’t make a lot of sense unless, maybe, to another parrot. Still, Lips would rather talk to the parrot than to Chalky. The parrot had a bigger vocabulary. Chalky made more sense but it was a close call.

Lips thought he should have stayed with the state police. Would have too if they hadn’t had that stupid weight limit. Lips figured the extra weight would help to settle the criminal element down. His Captain disagreed.

“How can you settle anyone if they can outrun you.... as everyone can?”, he asked Lips.

“Outrun. Can they outrun a bullet? Huh? I think not.”

“Lips, you can’t just shoot everyone. They have to have a weapon and at least try to point it at you. I can’t cover for you anymore. It’s time for you to move on to something else. The Cap got him a disability retirement. He used his weight but would have gone for a psycho retirement if he’d needed too. That would be easy to prove but lips might have taken exception to it. That would have made the captain a psycho. Outrun a bullet. Thank God he was married to Arlene or he’d be doing time. Arlene was the only one who could settle him.

“Cap, he means well. He’s like a big, overgrown bear”, she once told the Captain.

“He’s like a bear? He’s like the kind of bear that has to hunted down and shot for eating humans. That’s what he is, Arlene. I think it’s time for him to take his gun off.”

The Captain stopped at the Roadside Tavern on occasion and Lips still called him Cap. Cap still called Lips a psycho, just not so’s Lips could hear it. Arlene might fail to settle Lips one time and the Captain didn’t want to be the one time.


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