• The pistol pointing at me has my attention. It’s like surprising a Grizzly on a hiking trail: It focuses me completely. The raspy voice of my business partner slices into my awareness.

    “We had a sweet thing her […]

    • Interesting take on the prompt. Very good ending. The title spoke to me – and I was compelled to read it. Well done.

    • So now when I start reading stories, I come here first.

      Totally rewarding.

      There are so many things I like about this story. But mostly the witness’s apparent nonchalance, despite the personal tragedy, and the ‘voodoo BS’. He jokes, as some of us often do, to hide a deeper sentiment.

      The confrontations are not any less scary because they are not real. And ‘being murdered every time he goes to work’ is somehow easy to relate to.

      Finally, there’s the frame by frame repeat. Of the betrayal. Of the surreal stillness of time. Of being frozen by defeat, fear, and hope. Then, the meaninglessness of it all. The pistol roars.

      Love it!

    • Another brilliant piece from you, Bob. I absolutely love the action and grit interwoven with a rugged fantasy element. The ending was pure gold for me too. Thank you for sharing

    • WOW! This was amazing. I got a little confused in the beginning, but once I figured out where this was going, I knew you had another winner.

      This piece is well thought out and executed with such precision. I adore your talent!

      My favorite line;
      When I wake up I’m the Mayor of Deadsville.”

      That line cracked me up! Great job as always,

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  • Hello Michael,

    I appreciate your spot on critique. I agree about his relentless success. He’s a very tough guy completely in his element, but as my father used to tell me, “there ain’t a horse that can’t be rode and there ain’t a man that can’t be throwed.”
    He would be more interesting if he took more punishment, suffered more emotionally,…[Read more]

  • Hi Michael,
    The Equalizer was a good TV series and a very entertaining movie. Interestingly enough, the world is full of guys very similar to his character, as far as skill goes. I remember working as a bouncer in a bar about a hundred years ago and a serious brawl erupted. My crew got busy, but in the middle of it all, I saw this guy sitting at…[Read more]

  • Hello Peggy,
    Thank you for your thoughtful comments.
    My experience has been that guys that are looking for trouble are rarely prepared to meet someone who’s ready for it.
    I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  • Hello Paul,
    I’m grateful for your kind comments. I have a book lurking around in my head somewhere. When it surfaces I’ll certainly reach out to you and m.x.s. for critique and editing help.

  • Bob and Profile picture of MichaelMichael are now friends 3 weeks, 3 days ago

  • Hi Riham,
    Thank you for your kind words.
    Rodrigo is an amalgam of several guys I knew and worked with back when I was a bodyguard. I employed retired Navy SEALS, Force Recon Marines and Army Rangers. Typically, they are polite and kind, until provoked. The fearlessness comes from the training and experience.
    Thanks for reading.

  • Hi Olivia,
    Thanks for reading. I glad you enjoyed it.

  • Hi Paul,
    I loved the bartering / thievery going on between the two MC’s. It had a natural rhythm that moved well within the narrative.
    The whole story worked well and I look forward to your next effort.

  • Hi Peggy,
    What a powerful, beautifully written tale of woe. You drew me in and kept me there. Outstanding.
    Human trafficking? What loathsome creatures. They should all be dragged into the street and given a lead headache.
    Thanks for such a lovely effort on such a brutal subject.
    Really well done.

  • Grain alcohol, the Devil and his zombie faced girlfriend: What could go wrong?
    I liked this story so much. Pacing, dialogue, details, all of it worked beautifully.
    And this line, “When Lilly smiles, it casts an unnatural expression. I believe the motion surprises her face.”

  • Hi Harvey,
    This has a cool, “Noir” vibe that drew me in. The working man, blue collar, world you put on Mars reminded me of the film, “Outland” and a little bit of, “Blade Runner.”
    Obviously an opener for a longer work, this was entertaining and readable.
    Looking forward to more from you.

  • Hi Michael,
    The opening illustrated the utter futility of war, reminiscent of the trench warfare of World War 1.
    Excellent twist into the simulator. Yes, the word count was tough, but don’t be so hard on yourself. You pulled it off.
    Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your next effort.

  • Bob commented on the post, Tool by Olivia 3 weeks, 5 days ago

    Very engaging and entertaining. This is practically the definition of a good short story.
    You create a unique world where the Three Laws of Robotics don’t apply because the Tools aren’t robots.
    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

  • This is a lovely memoir and would be well served in a larger framework. As stated above, a short story succeeds on a smaller scale, a detailed examination of an event.
    I see the coalition between the MC and Ben. It’s quirky enough to be engaging and interesting. I would suggest taking their story and making it THE story, focusing on their lives…[Read more]

  • Hi Adriaan,

    I agree with the critique above.

    I think this good story could be great with a couple of changes. I would suggest starting the action much later in the narrative stream, perhaps when the MC is already in Russia. This would focus the narrative / action into a more urgent, emotionally impactful landscape.
    I would also spend more…[Read more]

  • Hi K,
    I like this story. It has a lot of potential, but it doesn’t feel fully realized. I think it can’t make up its mind about whether it’s’ a comedy or a horror or a space opera. It has elements of all three.
    The opening has elements of a dream sequence, but the reader is left hanging.
    The MC’s quest for a place to be sick works as the…[Read more]

  • Michael,
    I really liked this story. You packed a lot into a small box, but the unpacking was worth it.
    I picked up on the Dune reference with the “Navigators” and Asimov with the galactic empire. Surely, huge shoulders to stand upon while creating your worlds.
    This line, “They found a world within a singularity where a thousand years passed on…[Read more]

  • Hi,
    I think this story has potential, but I struggled with the run-on sentences. I write a lot of military action stories and one method I highly recommend is to read your story, to yourself, out loud. Doing this will quickly illustrate when a sentence should be broken down into smaller, more manageable bites.

    It’s a good start. I’d like to…[Read more]

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