Celery City’s Racist Ghost


In August 2012, African-American Terrance McNeil was traveling from Greenville, South Carolina to Orlando, Florida. Before reaching Orlando, he stopped in the small town of Celery City, Florida. On the Internet, he had read about Celery City’s friendly residents and sunsets over Lake Jackson.

Driving on Lake Jackson’s riverfront, he ran across Monroe Hotel.  McNeil later reported a middle-aged white man checked him in for two nights. The man wore glasses.  Also, he owned short grey hair.

“Nice to have you, Mr. McNeil,” the man said. “My name is Walter.”

After checking in, McNeil walked to a nearby picnic pavilion located on the riverfront.

Sitting on top of a picnic table, McNeil watched the sunset over the lake. Fish jumped out of the water and plopped back down below the surface. A few sailboats glided across the water.  McNeil also spotted a lone alligator.

He later reported that as he watched the sunset, he heard a voice behind him.

“Hey, boy, what are you doing out here?”

McNeil turned his head. He later claimed seeing a white man wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. A brown fedora rested on top of the man’s head.  Also, the man was chewing tobacco.

“I said what are you doing out here?” the man said.

Burning with rage, McNeil turned his whole body around and faced the man.

“Minding my own business,” McNeil said. “And watch who you’re calling ‘boy’.”

“Listen here, boy,” the man said.

“Didn’t I tell you stop calling me ‘boy’?!”

“In this section of the riverfront? Coloreds aren’t allowed.”

“Say what?!”

“You best get going. Or else your uppity black ass is gonna live to regret it.”

“Says who?”

McNeil later reported the man spat towards him. Brown liquid splashed on the concrete in front of the picnic table.

McNeil also later claimed the man completely vanished into thin air.

“I did not see that,” McNeil said he told himself. “Ghosts are not real.”


Later that night, McNeil was walking from nearby Manatee’s Bar and Grill back to Monroe Hotel.

He later claimed hearing an infant crying. He looked around. Nothing. He didn’t see anything. The crying continued.

Next, he heard the infant screaming as if in pain.

Then, a familiar voice said, “I thought I told you coloreds aren’t allowed here.”

McNeil turned around. Standing in front of him and holding a shotgun was the man he saw earlier.

Again, the man was chewing tobacco. He spat on the ground. Next, he aimed his gun at McNeil.

Then, he said, “Run, nigger.”

Quickly, McNeil turned around and ran. He heard a gunshot. Then, he heard the man laughing.

McNeil ran all the way to Monroe Hotel and started pounding on a room’s door.

“Help me!” he yelled. “Somebody help me. A man out here is trying to kill me!”

He continued pounding, but the door never opened.

Another gunshot ranged out.

McNeil ran towards the hotel stairs and ran up to his room located on the second floor.  As soon as he opened the door, he saw a bull alligator waiting for him.  Suddenly with speed, the alligator moved towards McNeil.

McNeil turned and ran.

Yet, coming up the steps was the gun toting man. When he reached the floor, the man looked at McNeil and smiled an evil grin.

Then, he said, “Well, if it isn’t uppity Little Black Sambo.”

The man aimed his gun at McNeil.

McNeil turned to run but he saw the alligator was out of the hotel room. And he was moving towards McNeil.

Then, McNeil looked at the hotel’s railing. He ran towards it and moved over it. Then, from the ledge, he jumped.

After landing on the ground, McNeil started running again.

Yet, he bumped into Walter the hotel clerk.

“Man, what kind of place is this?” McNeil said.

With a calm face, the clerk said, “Let’s go back to your room.”

“I’m not going back there! Fuck that!”

“They’re not going to hurt you. They just scare people. Now, let’s go back to your room. I’ll help you pack. Then, you can check out.”

“You damned right, I’m checking out!”

McNeil followed Walter back to the room.  The alligator was gone.

Like he promised, the hotel clerk helped McNeil.

Next, they headed to checkout. As he stood behind the desk, Walter reached down and pulled out a greetings card. He handed the card to McNeil.

On the card, a black baby was sitting on a riverfront’s coast. Behind the baby, an open-mouthed alligator was moving in.

“What the hell is this?!” McNeil said.

Then, Walter said, “On the riverfront, there was a time when black babies were used as alligator bait. The guy you saw with the gun? That was Harry Roberts. He ran the whole thing. Spectators from all over Florida would come and watch those alligator events. Of course, things like that don’t happen here anymore. Yet, the ghosts live on. ”

McNeil started handing the card back over to Walter.

“No,” Walter said. “You keep that as a souvenir.”

“Thanks, man,” McNeil said.

Soon, McNeil was on the road to Orlando.

After telling his story, interesting facts were found. In Celery City’s nasty past, the alligator events involving black babies actually happened. Yet, during the time McNeal claimed he visited the town, Monroe Hotel was closed for almost a year.  Also, before the hotel’s closing, longtime hotel clerk Walter Rinehart had already died. Due to ghost rumors at the time, no one wanted to buy Monroe Hotel.

Terrance McNeil still claims his story is true.

photo credit: E. Krall via photopin (license)

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Lake Jackson’s Riverfront Ghosts (A Short Story)


“How long are you staying?” the hotel clerk asked him.

It was an elderly white guy who wore glasses.  Also, the guy owned short white hair.

“Two nights,” Terrence said.

Terrence noticed the pause on the clerk’s face.

“Something wrong?” he asked.

He hoped this wasn’t some racial shit.  Terrence thought black people’s money spent just as well as everyone else’s. The last thing he needed was some redneck clerk believing differently.

The clerk smiled.

“Oh no,” he said. “I just thought of something else. It isn’t related to this. Of course, you can stay two nights.  There’s no problem. Stay as long as you want, sir. It’s nice to have you.”


Later that evening, the summer sun still shined over Bradford Hotel.  The hotel existed on Lake Jackson’s riverfront. A few cars were parked in front of Bradford.  On the hotel’s far right existed the restaurant Riverfront Eats.  Further down, a marina existed.  On the hotel’s left stood Manatee’s Bar and Grill.

As the evening sun continued shining, Terrence walked out of his second floor room.  He walked off the hotel’s property, passed Riverfront Eats and found a brown wooden pavilion sheltering over two picnic tables.

He sat on top of a picnic table and watched the sun set over Lake Jackson.  He saw a few sailboats.  Sometimes, a fish would jump up out of the water. Then, would plop back below the surface.

As he looked across the lake, Terrence saw mostly trees. Yet, a few houses existed here and there.

Suddenly, a voice from behind said, “Hey, boy, what are you doing out here?”

A chill crawled down Terrence’s spine.

He turned his head and saw a white guy wearing a white shirt and blue jeans. A brown fedora rested on top of his head.  Also, he was chewing tobacco.

“I said what are you doing out here?” the fedora guy said.

Burning rage filled Terrence. He turned his whole body around and faced the man.

“Minding my own goddamned business,” Terrence said. “And watch who you’re calling ‘boy’.”

“Listen here, boy,” the man said.

“Didn’t I tell you stop calling me ‘boy’?!”

“Coloreds aren’t allowed out here after sunset.”

“Say what?!”

“ You best get going. Or else your uppity black ass is gonna live to regret it.”

“Says who?”

The man spit towards Terrence. The brown liquid splashed on the concrete in front of the picnic table

Then, the man vanished.

“I did not see that,” Terrence said to himself. “No, I refuse to believe I saw that. Ghosts are not real.”


At Manatee’s, Terrence sat at the bar counter.  Another black guy was sitting beside him.

In front of the bar, a middle-aged white guy wearing shades sung the blues as he strummed his electric guitar.

“So, where are you from?” the black guy asked Terrence. He was a big dude, looked like he hadn’t skipped a four course meal in his whole entire life. Earlier, Terrence learned his name was Carl.

“South Carolina,” Terrence said. “I’m on vacation. Thought I’d stop here before I hit Orlando.”

“Why this town, bro?”

“Read on the Internet it was a nice town to visit. Why do you ask? You don’t like it here?”

Carl looked down.

“What’s the matter?” Terrence asked.

Carl looked back at Terrence.

Then, he said, “Nothing. It’s an okay town.”

Then, Terence said, “You know, you’re the second one I saw doing that today.”

“Doing  what?”

“First, when I mentioned staying here two nights, the hotel clerk paused.”

“You’re staying here two nights? You didn’t mention that.”

“You see? Now, when I mention my staying here to you, you act funny too.  The way folks are behaving? I guess what I saw earlier must have been real.”

Carl aimed a serious look at Terrence.

Then, he asked, “What did you see earlier?”

Then, Terrence said, “I was sitting at the riverfront. Next thing I know, a hillbilly ghost was telling me to leave. He even spit chewing tobacco at me.  What kind of ghost spits chewing tobacco, man?”

Carl remained silent and continued looking at Terrence.

”Because I don’t believe in ghosts,” Terrence started again. “I thought I imagined the whole thing. Seeing how locals are acting, I guess I didn’t.”

Carl tilted up his beer mug and swallowed it empty. Then, he slammed the mug down on the counter.

“Look here, bro,” he said. “Leave this town.”

“So, I did see a ghost.”

“Just leave.  Go back to your hotel room. Pack your things and haul ass. Forget you even passed through this town. Just go.”

Carl stood up.

“Was that really a ghost, man?” Terrence asked.

Then, he noticed a few other patrons of various races staring at him.

Then, Carl said, “Just get the hell out of here, man.”

With that, he walked away.


From Manatee’s, Terrence headed towards the hotel. He noticed a small bat flying through the air.

Then, he heard an infant crying. He looked around.  He still heard the crying but didn’t see anything. Yet, he heard the direction the sound was coming from. The picnic tables.

He walked towards the direction. As the infant continued crying, Terrance stepped up the pace.

He almost reached the picnic tables. Then, he heard the child screaming

“Holy shit!” Terrence said.

Next, a familiar voice from behind said, “I thought I told you no coloreds are allowed here after sunset.”

Terrence turned around. Standing in front of him and holding a shotgun was the tobacco-chewing hillbilly he saw earlier.  The hillbilly aimed his gun at Terrence.

Terrence’s heart started beating rapidly.

Then, the hillbilly spit on the ground next to him. Next, he re-aimed the gun back at Terrence and smiled.

Then, he said, “Run, nigger.”

With the quickness, Terrance turned around and ran. He heard a gunshot. Then, he heard the hillbilly laughing. Then, he heard another gunshot. Then, he heard more laughter. Then another gunshot.

Terrance ran all the way and started pounding on a door.

“Help me!” he yelled. “Somebody help me. A man out here is trying to shoot me!”

He continued pounding, but the door never opened.

Another gunshot ranged out.

Terrence ran towards the stairs and ran up to his room.  As soon as he opened the door, he saw a bull alligator waiting for him.  Suddenly with speed, the alligator moved towards him.

Terrence turned and ran down the hall.

Yet, coming up steps was the hillbilly. When he reached the floor, he looked at Terrence and smiled.

Then, he said, “Hey, Little Black Sambo, I got a present for you.”

The hillbilly aimed his gun at Terrance.

Terrance turned to run but he saw the alligator looking at him.

Then, Terrance looked at the railing. He ran towards it and moved over it. Then, he jumped.

After landing on the ground, he started running again. Yet, he bumped into the hotel clerk.

“Man, what kind of place is this?” Terrance said. “This hotel is haunted!”

With a calm face, the clerk said, “Let’s go back to your room.”

“I’m not going back there! Fuck that!”

“They’re not going to hurt you. They just scare people. Now, let’s go back to your room. I’ll help you pack. Then, you can check out.”

“You damned right, I’m checking out!”

Terrance followed the hotel clerk back to the room.  The alligator was gone.

Like he promised, the clerk helped Terrance.

Next, they headed to checkout. As he stood behind the desk, the clerk reached down and pulled out a greetings card. On the card, a black baby was sitting on a riverfront’s coast. Behind the baby, an alligator was moving in.

“What the hell is?!” Terrence said.

Then, the hotel clerk said, “On the riverfront, there was a time when black babies were used as alligator bait. The guy you saw with the gun? He ran the whole thing. Spectators from all over Florida would come and watch. Of course, things like that don’t happen here anymore. Yet, the ghosts live on. It’s as if they want folks to remember this town’s ugly past.”

Terrance started handing the card over to the clerk.

“No,” the clerk said. “You keep that as a souvenir.”

“Thanks, man,” Terrence said.

The clerk watched him leave.  Next, he walked to the door and watched Terrance drive off.

Suddenly, the few cars in the parking lot disappeared.

Then, the clerk spit tobacco on the floor.

In the hillbilly’s voice he said, “Run, nigger.”

photo credit: Aesum Restless Gondolas [Explored] via photopin (license)

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The Disturbing Ex-Girlfriend Visions (A Short Story)


1990s Downtown Orlando. Back when EDM was called techno and rave music.  Yet, during this particular time, rappers Tupac and Biggie were already murdered.

I was hanging out at a favorite sleaze joint, a nightclub which shall remain nameless.

At this spot, the ladies always danced on a stage. If a dude jumped onstage, a bouncer would tell him to get down. Even the DJ would get on his microphone and yell at a guy who jumped onstage.

One night, I walked near the right side of the stage. From there, I watched an onstage girl dance.  A brunette with curves.

As I watched the dancing brunette, a bad feeling crawled over me. I started thinking about my ex-girlfriend Stephanie, a biracial woman who wore thick dreadlocks. She was the creation from a black father and white mother.

A mental picture showed Stephanie standing in front of me in the nightclub.  An angry look on her face was aiming directly at me. As this happened, I feared for Stephanie’s future.

By the way, she never patronized the nightclub. She said it was too sleazy.

At the time, I thought nothing of the vision. I forgot all about it. And I never got with the dancing brunette either.

Another night. The same nightclub.  Same spot near the stage. This time, I was watching two girls onstage grinding against each other. A Hispanic and a blonde. Regulate by Warren G and Nate Dog was playing. The two women continued grinding and grinding against each other.  The freakiness was going down.

But what happened? The Stephanie vision returned.  Again, she was standing in front of me in the nightclub.

“You asshole,” she yelled. “You never cared about me!”

In the real world, I did care about Stephanie. True enough, she was a nutcase that almost ran me crazy, but I still cared about her.

Still, in this vision, I didn’t give two shits about Stephanie. Didn’t have any feelings for her at all.  I just wanted her to go.

Yet, again, I feared something bad happening in her future.

Again, I thought nothing of the vision. I just continued watching the two freaky girls onstage.

Yet, later that night, I dreamed about Stephanie. In the dream, we’re back in the nightclub. This time, Stephanie was lying on the floor on her back. Eyes opened as blood leaked everywhere from her.

That dream haunted me for months. Even years. Yet, I eventually forgot about it.

As for what happened to Stephanie for real? Last time I heard, she got married. She’s still alive.

Recently in a bar, I ran into Keith, a sandy-haired white guy I used to always see in the nightclubs.

Sitting at the bar counter, we started reminiscing about old times. Somewhere along the line, I mentioned the fun I used to have at the nameless nightclub.

Suddenly, Keith paused and stared at me.

“Something wrong?” I asked.

“I guess you never heard about Linda Davis,” Keith said.


Then, Keith told me the story.

Around 1990, a woman named Linda Davis worked at the nightclub. She was a blonde woman who shared a romantic fling with one of the nightclub owners. Yet, the owner was married.

One day, they were standing in front of the stage.

“I’m not leaving my wife and kids,” the owner said.

“You asshole,” Linda said. “You never cared about me.  I was just a whore to you.”

Then, Linda reached into her purse. Pulled out a gun. Aimed the gun at her temple. Pow! Linda shot herself in the head right in front of the owner.

The media never made a big deal out it. The suicide only gained a small paragraph in the Orlando Sentinel’s local section. Plus there was no mention of a secret romance. The only thing mentioned was Linda Davis killing herself after being fired. Of course, she was never fired.

After that, the owner sold his share of the business. His wife left him anyway. Divorce gained his wife a lot from him. Money. Kids. The house. She even got the dog.

After Keith told me this story, I remembered those visions and the dream I had about Stephanie back in the 90s. I had forgotten all about them. Didn’t even think about them until I heard this story about Linda Davis.

I realized those visions and the dream were about Linda and the nightclub owner.  In the visions and the dream, Stephanie was Linda. And I was the nightclub owner.

photo credit: ikopix Angie // Little Vampire via photopin (license)

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Lost in Downtown Orlando (A Short Story)

Downtown Orlando Skyline Buildings

On a Saturday night, Alyssa’s older brother Paul was driving down Orlando’s Interstate 4. Paul owned medium-brown skin and wore short dreadlocks.

Next to him sat his girlfriend Cheryl. Cheryl owned light-brown skin and wore blonde extensions that touched her shoulders.

Alyssa was sitting in the back as she scrolled Facebook on her cellphone. Alyssa was the same medium brown complexion as Paul. Also, she wore braid extensions.

“It’s three bars,” Paul said. “There’s Baton Rouge, Vintage and Rooftop Lounge. Baton Rouge is where we’re going.”

Then Cheryl asked, “Why do they call it Baton Rouge?”

“I think one of the owners is from Louisiana. Thus the name Baton Rouge.”

“Oh, okay. And you say they play rap music.”


“Okay, I guess I can try a different place tonight.”

Alyssa was still scrolling Facebook.


When the three entered the Downtown Orlando spot, rap music was playing just like Paul said it would.

Soon, they joined the multiracial crowd on the dance floor.

After four more songs, Alyssa said, “I’ll be back.”

Paul’s face turned sour.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

“To the bathroom,” Alyssa said.

“Take Cheryl with you.”

Then, Cheryl said, “Yea, I’ll go with you.”

Then, Alyssa said, “No, I’ll be okay.”

Then, Paul said, “Take Cheryl with you, Alyssa.”

“I’ll be okay.”

Alyssa started walking away.

“Alyssa!” Paul yelled.

Yet, Alyssa continued on.


After using the restroom, Alyssa noticed the hall leading to Vintage. A black security guy stood near the entrance. He was a tall light-skinned dude who appeared age thirty-something.

Twice Alyssa had been to Baton Rouge with Paul but she never walked into Vintage.

To cure her curiosity, she decided she would walk around Vintage for a few moments. Then, she would rejoin Paul and Cheryl in Baton Rouge.

Alyssa passed the security guy and wandered into Vintage. On the walls, vintage concert posters displayed. Music from Baton Rouge played on the speakers. A bar counter took up most of the space.

Figuring there wasn’t anything special, Alyssa walked back to Baton Rouge.

Yet, when she returned, Paul and Cheryl were gone.

She decided to text them. When she reached into her purse, it was minus her phone. She realized after scrolling Facebook in the car, she forgot to put the phone back in her purse.

Now, she had no way of contacting them. Alyssa searched around Baton Rouge. Nothing. She couldn’t find Paul and Cheryl anywhere.

Next, she walked back to Vintage and looked around. They weren’t here either.

As Alyssa left Vintage, she noticed the security guy watching her.

When she entered Baton Rouge again, Alyssa walked the stairs that led up to The Rooftop Lounge.

An outdoor spot, electronic music played as people danced.

As she pushed through the crowded area, Alyssa looked around. Paul and Cheryl weren’t here either.

Fear gripped her. Did Paul and Cheryl leave her? How would she get home? She was now probably stuck in Downtown Orlando.

She walked back to Baton Rouge. She searched around and still couldn’t find Paul and Cheryl.

Then, she headed towards Vintage. The security guy looked at her again.

“Are you lost?” he asked.

Alyssa looked at him. His face seemed friendly, almost like a favorite uncle’s face.

“I can’t find my brother and his girlfriend,” Alyssa said as she almost cried. “And I lost my phone.”

“I got a phone,” the security guy said.

He pulled out his phone.

“I don’t remember anyone’s number,” Alyssa said.

Now, she really felt stranded.

“Oh shit,” the security guy said.

Panic continued driving Alyssa damned near crazy. What was she going to do?

She remembered stories about Downtown Orlando. Shootings. Muggings. Rapes. The rape stories shivered her nerves the worst.

Then, the security guy said, “How about we talk to the DJ? Then, we can get him to call out your brother and his girlfriend.”

“Okay,” Alyssa said.

“And if that don’t work, we’ll think of something. Don’t worry. You’ll be okay.”

The security guy started walking to Baton Rouge. Alyssa grabbed his grabbed his left arm and walked behind him.

At Baton Rouge, she saw Paul and Cheryl. And Paul looked pissed.

“Come on,” he said.

Alyssa released the security guy’s arm and walked off with Paul and Cheryl.

Then, Paul asked, “Why were you following that guy?”

“He was security,” Alyssa said.

“I don’t care who he was,” Paul said. “That nigga looked dangerous.”

“No, he didn’t. He was helping me.”

“Forget it. Let’s go. We’re going somewhere else now.”


Months later, Paul sent Alyssa a text message. The message contained a link to an article.

The first thing Alyssa noticed was the mug shot photo. Her eyes widened as she covered her mouth. It was the security guy from Vintage and Baton Rouge.
Next, Alyssa read the article.

Sunday afternoon, Orange County Police arrested 32 year old Alexander Stevens. A homeless runaway claimed Stevens befriended her and offered her his place to sleep. There, the sixteen year old runaway claims Stevens handed her a glass of Coke. After drinking the soda, the runaway became drowsy. Then, the runaway claims Stevens repeatedly raped her. Also, during the rapes, the runaway claims Stevens repeatedly slapped her across the face.

When Stevens left his house, the victim managed to escape. She ran to a nearby neighbor and begged them to call the police.

Alyssa remembered what Stevens told her at Vintage.

How about we talk to the DJ? Then, we can get him to call out your brother and his girlfriend. And if that don’t work, we’ll think of something. Don’t worry. You’ll be okay.

The last part ran through Alyssa’s head again.

And if that don’t work, we’ll think of something. Don’t worry. You’ll be okay.

Then, the most disturbing part ran through her head.

And if that don’t work, we’ll think of something.

Alyssa realized the same thing that happened to the runaway could have happened to her.

Paul’s guess was right. The nigga was dangerous.

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Stalking on Trivia Night (A Short Story)

Trivia Night 2“I can’t even stand that place,” Jonathan protested.

He was talking on the cellphone with his girlfriend Julia.

“Trust me,” Julia said in her German accent. “You’ll love trivia. If you don’t like it, we can always leave.”

Jonathan really hated going to Duke’s. Every time he entered the place with a woman, some idiot always tried hitting on her. Also, not many black people went there. Many times, Jonathan was the only black dot in the bar. Seeing other black faces in a bar always made him feel comfortable. Years ago, those were the two main reasons he stopped going to Duke’s, the morons hitting on your woman and not enough black people showing up.

Yet, he wanted to make his girlfriend happy.

“Okay,” he said. “We can go.”


Later in the early evening, Jonathan drove to Julia’s apartment. When he arrived, her roommate Natalie answered the door. Natalie owned short brunette hair.

“Hi,” she said. “Come in.”

Jonathan entered.

Then Natalie said, “Julia is still getting dressed. I’ll tell her you’re here.”

Jonathan sat on the living room couch.

As time passed, Jonathan noticed Julia took forever getting ready, which was unusual. When he picked her up, Julia was always ready to leave.

He looked at the time on his cellphone. The time was now 7:49. According to Julia, trivia started at 8. They were going to be late, something Jonathan found annoying. He liked being on time.

Finally, Julia entered the room. Her normally straight blonde hair was now curled. Also, she wore a tight white dress outlining her curves.

“Hi, baby,” she said.

In that instant, he forgave Julia’s tardiness.


At Duke’s, groups sat at tables playing trivia. Almost all of the tables were occupied. Even at the bar counter, almost all the stools were taken.

At one table, Jonathan noticed a black face among the predominately white crowd. Actually, it was an old hanging partner. His full name was Anthony Patterson. Yet, folks called him Ant for short.

Two white guys sat at Ant’s table. When his eyes caught Jonathan’s, Ant smiled and waved. Then, when Ant’s eyes landed on Julia, Jonathan could have sworn he saw anger flash across Ant’s face.

It appeared his old friend was jealous of him.

Jonathan and Julia found a table and sat down.

“They have three rounds,” Julia whispered. “After this round, I’ll grab an answer sheet.”

“I’m still surprised you wanted to play trivia,” Jonathan whispered back.

“I always liked trivia.”

Jonathan and Julia had been dating for over four months. During this whole time, not once did Jonathan ever remember Julia mentioning trivia.

During the break as Julia went for the answer sheet, Jonathan walked over to Ant’s table.

“Hey, man,” Jonathan said. “Long time no see.”

Ant smiled and held out his hand.

“What’s up, man?” he said. “I didn’t know you play trivia.”

Jonathan shook Ant’s hand and said, “My girl wanted to come here.”

A dirty grin formed on Ant’s face.

Jonathan felt like decking him.

Then Ant said, “That’s a nice-looking woman, bro.”

Jonathan turned towards his table and saw Julia with the answer sheet.

Then Jonathan said, “Let me introduce her to you.”

With his right hand, Jonathan motioned for Julia to come over. Julia did just that. Because of Ant’s obvious jealousy, the idea was to rub Julia in Ant’s face.

“Julia,” Jonathan said. “This is my buddy Ant. Ant, this is Julia.”

For a few long seconds, Ant and Julia stared at each other.

“Hello,” Ant finally said.

Julia smiled and said, “Hello.”

Julia’s smiling riled Jonathan. Yet, he chose to remain quiet.

“We’re going back to our table,” he told Ant. “We’ll talk to you later, man.”

“Cool,” Ant said. “Nice meeting you, Julia.”

Julia smiled back at Ant.

“Nice meeting you too,” she said.

Jonathan noticed Ant continued staring at Julia. Then, Julia continued smiling back.

Right then, Jonathan wished to smack both of them. He couldn’t believe it. Ant was trying to hit on his girlfriend right in front of him. Plus this silly woman seemed to enjoy it.

“Come on, Julia,” Jonathan said.

They walked back to the table.

As the second round continued, again Jonathan saw Ant looking at Julia. When Ant met Jonathan’s eyes, he smiled and looked away.

“That’s it,” Jonathan whispered. “Let’s go.”

“What’s the matter?” Julia whispered back.

“Ant keeps looking at you.”

“Ignore him, baby.”

“I don’t like it. That’s why I stopped coming to this place. Idiots always trying to hit on your woman.”

“I told you. Ignore him, Jonathan. Don’t let him get to you.”

“I think you like the attention, Julia.”

“Jonathan, you should be proud another man is looking at your girlfriend. Now, let’s just play the game.”

When the second round ended, Jonathan said, “Let’s go.”

Julia aimed him a dirty look and said, “Okay.”

The two stood up.

As they walked away, Jonathan noticed Ant watching them. He told himself one night, him and Ant were going to exchange some words.


“That pissed me off,” Jonathan said as he drove the car.

Lil Wayne played on the radio.

“Relax, Jonathan,” Julia said.

“And why were you smiling back at him, Julia?”

“I was just being friendly.”

“Friendly, my ass. You behaved as if you wanted to sit down with him.”

“Jonathan, have you been smoking something? I would never do that in front of you. With that guy? Oh please.”

Julia turned up the radio.

Soon, she asked, “Can we stop at Murphy’s? I want to get a drink.”

“You never go in there,” Jonathan said.

“We’re close by and I need a drink. You should get a drink too. You need it.”

“First, the trivia. Now, you want to go to Murphy’s. You’re full of surprises tonight.”

Julia sighed.

Then, she said, “Let’s stop at Murphy’s, Jonathan.”

He loved Julia with all his heart. When he had problems, she always listened to him. Some nights, she gave him back rubs. These were things American women never did for him.

“Okay,” Jonathan said. “Anything to make my German beauty happy.”


Murphy’s was nearly empty. At the bar counter, Jonathan and Julia sat down and ordered drinks.

As time passed, Jonathan enjoyed the intimacy with Julia. They even engaged in a long kissing session.

Yet, in walked Ant.

Immediately, Ant looked over at the couple. He grinned and shook his head.

Ant’s annoying behavior roasted Jonathan’s nuts all night. He definitely felt the urge to knock Ant the fuck out.

Ant walked over to them.

“You two stalking me?” he said.

He continued smiling.

“No, bro,” Jonathan said. “Looks like you’re stalking us.”

Then, Julia said, “I’m going to the bathroom.”

Then, she got up and walked off.

“Hey, man,” Jonathan said. “Why are you constantly looking at my lady?”

Ant’s smile transformed into seriousness.

“How long have you known her, Jonathan?” Ant asked.

“Why?” Jonathan asked.

“How long have you known her?”

“Ant, you act like you know her or something.”

Ant shook his head again.

Then, he said, “Nigga, how long have you been dating Julia?”

“About four months.”

Ant smiled.

“What?” Jonathan said. “You know, you’re pissing me off with all that smiling.”

“Four months, right?” Ant asked.


“That’s funny because I broke up with her about three months ago.”

Shock slapped Jonathan silly.

“For one month,” Ant continued. “It seems like Julia was dating both you and me at the same time.“

Then, Jonathan said, “You’re lying.”

“She has a daughter that doesn’t live her with, right?”


“Her ex-husband was ten years older than her, right?”

To Jonathan, the world turned from a rose garden into a dog shit garden. Right now, he was swallowing dog shit.

“Yea,” he answered. “He was ten years older.”

“Think about this, bro,” Ant said. “Twice in one night, you run into her ex-boyfriend. Doesn’t that seem unusual? Too coincidental, if you ask me.”

“I didn’t ask you,” Jonathan said.

“Hey, you don’t have to get snappy with me. I’m just pointing out the obvious.”

Jonathan hated agreeing with the ugly truth. Tonight, Julia played him.

“And I have never known Julia to have any interests in trivia,” Ant said.

“Me neither,” Jonathan said.

“Looks like she’s been cyber stalking my Facebook page.”

“What do you mean?”

“You see, I always post my whereabouts on Facebook. That’s probably how she knew where to find me.”

The idea of Julia viewing Ant’s Facebook page raged inside Jonathan.

“I don’t use Facebook much,” Jonathan said.

“Well, did you really have a look at her profile page?”

“Not really. I just saw that she was single.”

“Her birthplace says Vienna.”


“Julia says she’s German. But Vienna is in Austria.”

Embarrassment burned Jonathan’s face.

“Why she says she’s German, I don’t know,” Ant said. “Maybe, it had something to do with her being adopted. Maybe, she moved there later on. Yet, she damned sure isn’t German.”

Then, Jonathan said, “She never mentioned being born in Austria.”

Next, he placed his face into his hands and said, “This can’t be happening tonight.”

“Sorry, bro,” Ant said.

“It isn’t your fault.”

“Looks like I better go, man.”

“Wait a minute, why did you break up with Julia?”

Anger twisted Ant’s face.

“One night, we’re lying in bed,” he started. “She has her iPad with her. She wanted to show me something on YouTube. After she turns the iPad on, I see some other black dude’s Facebook page. Without saying anything, she went straight to YouTube. I didn’t ask about the page. Yet, right then and there, I knew I couldn’t trust her ass.”

“It could’ve been a friend.”

“It could’ve been. Still, my gut feeling said different. So, I text message her saying it was over. Her and I were through. Didn’t even say why. I just walked away.”

“But that could’ve been a friend, Ant.”

“I don’t think so now.”

“Why is that?”

“Because now I know whose Facebook page she was looking at. The morning I caught her ass, I didn’t get a good look at the page. Yet, during trivia tonight, an idea hit me. After you two left, I searched Julia’s Facebook on my cellphone. Then, I looked at her friend list. On the friend list, I saw the dude who Facebook she was looking at. He never changed his profile picture. And you know whose Facebook page I found out Julia was looking at? It was yours, Jonathan.”

Jonathan wished for his rose garden back, the one containing the beautiful girlfriend. Not the dog shit garden containing the lying slut.

Julia returned wearing a frowning face.

Again, Ant smiled a dirty grin.

“I’m leaving,” he said. “You two lovebirds enjoy your evening.”

“See ya, man,” Jonathan said.

When Ant walked away, Julia looked at Jonathan.

Then, she said, “I guess Anthony told you.”

Jonathan stared at Julia. Apparently, Ant didn’t want her back. If he did, Ant probably would have stayed and attempted hitting on Julia in front of Jonathan. Yet, when Julia returned, Ant left bar. So, despite Julia’s foolishness tonight, it appeared Jonathan and Julia was still a couple.

Then, Jonathan said, “Well, I guess instead of calling you my German beauty. I might as well call you my Austrian beauty.”

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Fake Crying at Uncle Ellis’s Funeral (A Short Story)

Roy's Funeral

At Uncle Ellis’s funeral, Marvin hated wearing his nice-nephew mask. Yet, this mask was a necessity.

As light brown-skinned Elder Hollingsworth gave the eulogy, Marvin sniffled and pretended wiping away a tear.

Sitting next to him, Aunt Gwendolyn patted Marvin’s knee. A slender Aunt Gwendolyn owned medium-brown skin, almost Marvin’s skin complexion. Today, she wore a reddish-brown wig.

Years ago, Uncle Ellis told Marvin he was the primary beneficiary of his life insurance policy. Today, to prove he deserved his uncle’s money, Marvin wore the nice-nephew mask.

Again, Marvin sniffled and wiped away a fake tear. Again, Aunt Gwendolyn patted his knee.

The eulogy soon ended. Now, it was time to move Uncle Ellis to his final resting place.

Volunteers for pallbearers were called. Marvin stood up and joined the other volunteers at the casket, something he really didn’t want to do. Yet, this was part of the act. He needed to fool people.

Soon, Marvin and the other pallbearers walked the casket out of the church. Outside, the casket was lifted into the back of the hearse. Marvin hoped this created a good impression.

Next, he entered a limousine and sat next to Aunt Gwendolyn.

With one hand, Marvin covered his eyes and continued sniffling over and over again.

Also sniffling, Aunt Gwendolyn grabbed his other hand and held it.

At the cemetery, Marvin joined the other pallbearers. As they started carrying the casket, he noticed the long walk to Uncle Ellis’s final resting place.

Last night, Marvin was boozing and partying at the nightclub. Plus he didn’t hit the bed until morning. Also, Marvin hadn’t eaten anything since last night.

All this worked against him as he helped carry Uncle Ellis’s heavy casket. As sweat formed on his forehead, Marvin felt almost faint.

Yet, he dared not pass out. He figured fainting may ruin his mask. Instead of looking like the nice nephew, he might look like the idiot nephew.

Still, the heavy casket continued wearing Marvin’s body down. The heaviness forced him to place both hands on his part of the casket handle.

Finally, they reached the resting spot. In the few chairs in front of the casket, Marvin again sat by Aunt Gwendolyn.

When the casket lowered into the ground, Marvin yelled, “Oh lord! Good bye, Uncle Ellis!”

Then, he lowered his face into his hands and faked a loud cry.

Next, Aunt Gwendolyn cried also and wrapped an arm around Marvin’s shoulders.

Dinner was served at a local club house. At a table, Marvin sat across from Aunt Gwendolyn. As he dined on mashed potatoes, he felt Aunt Gwendolyn’s eyes on him.

He looked up at her. Aunt Gwendolyn continued staring at him.

“Something wrong, Aunt T?” he said.

In Marvin’s family, every aunt was called Aunt T.

“Don’t Aunt T me,” Aunt Gwendolyn said. “I didn’t see one tear come out of your eyes. All through the funeral just sniffling. Boy, I knew you were faking.”

Embarrassment burned Marvin’s face.

“Don’t worry, honey,” Aunt Gwendolyn continued. “I was faking too.”

Suddenly, Marvin looked Aunt Gwendolyn right into her eyes.

“Oh yea,” Aunt Gwendolyn continued. “Everybody knew how Ellis was. That man was his own worst enemy. That’s why he never got anywhere. When folks tried to help him, he wouldn’t listen. Yet, behaved as if he was the smartest man in the world. Could never win an argument with him. He was Mr. Know-It-All. Now, Mr. Know-It-All died a damned fool.”

Marvin couldn’t believe the words coming from Aunt Gwendolyn’s mouth. For all these years, he thought her and Uncle Ellis got along. Throughout the years, Aunt Gwendolyn always sent Uncle Ellis money.

Aunt Gwendolyn was a registered nurse who gained a master’s degree. She was now retired.

Then, Marvin asked, “Are you going to miss him?”

“I guess so,” Aunt Gwendolyn said. “He was my brother.”

“Well, he took care of me.”

“How’s that?”

“He left me his life insurance policy.”

Aunt Gwendolyn remained silent.

Then, Marvin asked, “What’s the matter?”

“Lord, ha’ mercy,” Aunt Gwendolyn said.

In a sad manner, she shook her head.

Fear gripped Marvin.

“What’s the matter, Aunt Gwendolyn?” Marvin asked.

“I guess you didn’t hear about that policy, did you?” Aunt Gwendolyn said.

“What…what…what do you mean?”

“He stopped paying for it, Marvin. Didn’t have the money. Ellis lost that insurance, honey.”

“Say what?!”

Marvin noticed relatives at the other tables staring at him. He then decided to keep his voice down.

Then, Aunt Gwendolyn said, “I had to pay for the funeral. Ellis didn’t have any money. Not one red cent. Probably gambled all of his money at the dog track.”

Marvin witnessed his world shattering, nothing left but broken pieces. He did all this damned acting for nothing.

“What’s the matter, Marvin?” Aunt Gwendolyn asked. “Angry about the money?”

Marvin remained silent.

Aunt Gwendolyn started laughing.

Then, she said, “Well, aren’t you something? After your uncle’s money. Marvin, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. It’s a good thing your mama isn’t alive to see this.”

That stung. Marvin stood up.

“Are you leaving?” Aunt Gwendolyn asked.

Marvin grabbed his plate and started walking off.

“What’s the matter?” he heard another relative ask. It sounded like Aunt Clara.

Then, Aunt Gwendolyn said, “Oh, he’s angry, honey.”

“Angry about what?”

“I told him Ellis lost his insurance money. And that’s why Marvin came to the funeral.”

“After Ellis’s money?”

“Yes, honey.”

“Well, isn’t he something?”

“Clara, I said the same thing.”

Again, Aunt Gwendolyn started laughing. Aunt Clara started laughing right along with her.

Marvin threw his plate in the trash. Then, he headed for the door.

Then, he heard Aunt Gwendolyn say, “Bye, Marvin. Maybe Christmastime, I’ll send you a five dollar gift card.”

Both aunts started laughing again.

After picking at him, Marvin was now done with his relatives. As far as he was concerned, his relatives could kiss his natural black ass.

With that thought, Marvin walked out the door.

Photo by Don LaVange.

Comments and criticism welcomed.

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A Crappy Bus Ride to Work (A Short Story)


As he waited at the bus stop, Greg watched the dark clouds move across the morning sky. He hoped and prayed it wouldn’t rain. At least, not before the bus arrived.

At some bus stops, shelters existed for folks to sit under. Only thing Greg’s bus stop had? A bench and a sign saying Route 74.

Checking the time, he looked at his cellphone.

Then, rain drops fell.

“Shit,” Greg said.

As the rain drops pelted him, he thought the last thing he needed was a cold.

He hated his car was in the shop. Then, he wouldn’t have to rely on public transportation. He would be out of this damned rain and on the way to work.

A few moments later, Bus 74 arrived.

As he searched for a seat, a wet Greg noticed most of the passengers were black. Because he was black too, he didn’t have a problem with that. The other few passengers were white and Hispanic.

Greg chose one of the middle seats on his left. As soon as he sat down, a funky body odor seeped into his nostrils.

He noticed the middle-aged black woman sitting in front of him. A dark blue knit cap covered her head. She also wore a green sweater.

Ol’ stankin’ ass, Greg thought.

His cellphone started ringing. He saw Jeffrey’s number, and allowed the phone to continue ringing.

The smell continued seeping into Greg’s nostrils. He turned his head away from the woman. That didn’t help. The funk still seeped into his nostrils.

He looked around searching for an empty seat. All of the seats were occupied.

At the next stop, a passenger exited. But another passenger walked on and eventually occupied the empty seat.

Greg was still stuck smelling the funky body odor.

Because some seats contained only one person, Greg thought about getting up and sitting next to someone in one of those seats. Yet, he didn’t want to appear rude. Still, that odor was too damned much.

His cellphone rang again. Again, Greg saw Jeffrey’s number, and allowed the phone to continue ringing.

As the bus slowed for the upcoming stop light, squealing tires were heard from the back. Next, right along with the other passengers, Greg felt an automobile crash into the back of the bus.

The driver stopped and walked off the bus.

At that moment, Greg realized he was going to be late for work. Fear froze his body. Already his job warned him about tardiness. One more day arriving late? And he was out the door.

Greg dialed his work number. Because the crash was beyond his control, he hoped his job would forgive him.

He heard the phone line ring and ring. And it continued ringing. Greg thought that was strange. Usually, a coworker always answered the phone. He clicked his phone off.

Next, Jeffrey’s line rang through.

This time, Greg answered it.

Annoyed, he said, “Hello.”

“How come you didn’t let me take you to work?” Jeffrey’s voice said. “You know I had the day off.”

“ I’m still upset with you.”


“Yes, still. You told me you were too busy to see me.”

“I was busy, Greg.”

“Uh huh. Yet, when I go downtown one night, I see your busy ass in a bar. Sitting at a table with a Chinese boy.”

“He’s Korean.”

“I don’t care what he is. After telling me you were so busy, I saw you in a bar talking to Sulu from Star Trek.”

“He was a co-worker, Greg. I told you that. It was his last night in Orlando.”

“So, instead of being with me, your busy ass all of a sudden had the quality time to spend with him.”

“Oh, Jesus Christ.”

“Don’t you bring Christ into this. I swear, I’m still so upset with you, Jeffrey. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

“Oh, quit being a drama queen. You know I love you, Greg.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I do too.”

“You love Sulu from Star Trek.”

“His name is John Kim. Now, stop that Sulu shit.”


Greg clicked off the phone. He looked up and noticed a black guy sitting across the aisle staring at him. The guy wore a McDonald’s uniform.

With attitude, Greg said, “Can I help you, sir?”

The man looked away.

Lord, what a morning, Greg thought.

Greg dialed work again. Again, nobody picked up the phone.

Also, the funky body odor still invaded his nostrils.

Soon, the police and fire truck arrived.

The bus moved to the side of the road. Now, passengers could see the damaged blue car. The car’s front was smashed in.

Next, an ambulance arrived. The white female driver was placed on a stretcher.

For fair compensation, passengers filled out a form asking for name and address.

As it continued raining, they were boarded onto another bus. This time, as the funky woman sat in a seat near the front, Greg sat far away into one near the back.

He dialed work again. Still, nobody answered.

During the new bus’s travels, the rain ceased.

Soon, Greg’s stop finally arrived. After getting off the bus, he walked further down to Edna’s Restaurant. He noticed the empty parking lot.

A sudden panic gripped him. He hoped what he was thinking didn’t happen.

He walked to the glass door entrance. When he attempted opening the door, he found it locked.

Then, he saw the sign in the door.

Permanently closed. We appreciate your business throughout the years.

Without thinking, he dialed Jeffrey on his cellphone.

“Hey,” Jeffery said.

“These people done closed this restaurant down,” Greg said.


“They closed the restaurant down. And didn’t tell anybody they were doing it.”

“Oh my goodness.”

“After all the mess I went through this morning, my job is now gone.”

“How are you going to get paid? They still owe you money.”

“I don’t know how I’m going to get paid. I do know I need money for my bills. Plus I got to pay for my car getting fixed. What am I going to do now?”

There was a brief silence.

Then, Jeffery said, “You want me to come get you?”

Greg sighed. He really didn’t want to rely on Jeffrey. That’s why he used the bus in the first place.

“Yea,” he said. “Come get me.”

“I’ll be there as soon as possible.”

Greg clicked off the phone. Next, on the same phone, he chose a playlist of his favorite music. Then, he sat down in front of the restaurant and waited for his man to pick him up.

photo credit: Monkey D. Luffy ギア2(セカンド) Yellow Bus Line A-39 via photopin (license)

Comments and criticism welcomed.

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