Then Tomorrow

Turning the key felt as a lock slamming in a vault. But, as Adam stared through the large window, nothing was left to steal. Beyond the for sale sign: emptiness. Something never imagined when Adam took over the store from Dad, who inherited it from Gramps. Then worried over when cavernous stores outside of downtown changed the landscape. Fewer shopping baskets plopped next to his cash register. Then the Internet, and people filled virtual shopping carts.

Adam shook his head for the millionth time and asked, “What now?”

“Dinner,” Carla said, giving him a small smile. “Then sleep. Then tomorrow.”

Grandparents’ House

I’m in my grandparents’ house, but I’m not a kid — I’m the middle-aged adult I am now. Friends are with me, and I’m showing them around the house. The kitchen with lots of cabinets, the jutting-out peninsula of a dining room with windows on three sides, the two-story living room with fireplace. Tourists are lounging about the yard. Why? It’s a lovely house, but it’s not as if celebrities lived here. Graceland Mansion, it’s definitely not. Yet tourists open the door, and a group of them streams inside, gazing around and clicking photos with their phones. Baffled, I tell them to leave, tell them that this is a private house. Their stares at me seem confused, and the man in front holds up a piece of paper, and he waves it as he says, “But we already bought tickets.”

A Sad Ending

Beaming down at the superhero chained to a column, the villain said, “By destroying your pub, I have disbarred you. By throwing away all your weapons, I have disarmed you. I didn’t chop off your arms because I’m not that evil. By burning your precious costume, I have disrobed you. I have disrespected you in every way I can think possible.”

“No!” the hero yelled, tilting his chin upward. “I still have my respect. You haven’t destroyed that!”

The villain cackled. “Oh, really? Because I should’ve mentioned the beat-down I gave you outside the bank I robbed. All those people with their phones taking videos of you getting beat. Social media’s gonna love that.”

“I got in some good punches!”

“A couple, I’ll grant you that,” the villain said. “But my potion to enhance my strength worked even better than I hoped. What a shock that must’ve been for you.”

“Let me loose! I’ll beat you in a new round!”

The villain cackled louder. “Never! I’ll never let you loose! And there’s no partner or sidekick who’s gonna come to your rescue. No automatic supercar’s gonna burst through the wall to save you. You’re not that super. Your protection of the city ends here!”

Again the hero flexed his mighty muscles, trying to break the chains. But his effort made no difference. For all he’d given the city, here was the end for him, in this abandoned warehouse full of junk. The location felt as an added insult to his defeat.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Polk It Up

President Polk entered the tavern and made his way around the full tables and knifed through the bustling crowd at the bar to order an ale from the harried bartender. Nobody showed a sign of recognizing the president of their country being among them. They were busy drinking, eating, and making boisterously merry with their fellow countrymen.

Once served, Polk took a large gulp of the brew, appreciated the taste, and then raised the tankard high and bellowed, “Polk it up!”

Silence clapped the room.

Chair legs scrapped the floor as a customer slid so as to easier see the speaker. Silence swallowed the sound and digested for another long second.

“Eh?” asked an extravagantly bearded man standing next to the president. “Polk it up? What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It’s a catchphrase, my good man!” the president belted. “It means be bold, be daring, be adventurous!”

“Do you mean Polk as in President Polk?” another man asked.

“The very one!” the president said. “Recently inaugurated and ready to get things done!”

“Don’t know anything about him,” another man said. “Is he really bold and daring?”

“Remains to be seen,” someone said. “I’m just glad Tyler’s out of there.”

“We all are!” the president said. “I’m simply spreading this soon-to-be-very-popular catchphrase!”

“I miss Van Buren’s sideburns,” the extravagantly bearded man said.

“I voted for Clay,” another man said.

“Clay’s done,” the president growled and raised his tankard again and again bellowed, “It’s time to Polk it up!”

Frowns deepened and curious expressions grew curiouser–until someone at a table started laughing, and then the laughter spread like frantic wildfire, racing ’round the tavern, with the place quickly rolling in mirth.

President Polk scowled at the lot, took a deep swig of ale, theatrically wiped his lips from the back of his hand to the end of his forearm, and stormed out of the place.

A dark cloud followed the president as he made his way back the the President’s Mansion, inside to his desk, where he scratched the tavern’s name off a list and peered at the remaining three taverns at the end of the list.

He nodded at the names and said, “It’ll catch on eventually,” then went to bed.

Got a Light?

“Here comes a group,” Bob whispered. “Summer’s almost as good as Halloween. Warm nights, no school.”

Todd nodded. “Love it. They’ve brought a goat, too. Some sort of sacrifice, I suppose.”

“Let’s wait a little. Remember, it’s my turn to ask.”

Bob and Todd stayed hidden behind gravestones. The four teenagers set up a circle of candles nearby, the goat watching curiously.

Bob gave a thumbs up, and the two of them stood.

“Hey,” Bob called out. “You got a light?” Two of his bony fingers touched his teeth as if he held a cigarette.

The teenagers stared wide-eyed at the skeletons, then ran off screaming as the skeletons watched them and laughed. The goat bleated curiously.

When You Live Inside a Pumpkin

When you live inside a pumpkin, the sudden arrival of a knife’s point comes as a complete shock–which quickly turns into fear as the point and blade come at you in a stabbing assault, so you huddle as close as possible to the interior wall until the knife goes away, the lid’s removed, and the sudden arrival of sunlight blinds my large eyes, penetrating my thin eyelids. Then the spoon plummets into the cavity, scoops out the pumpkin’s guts and seeds, only to be replaced by the knife continuing its attack, from the side this time, creating windows that allow more light to rush in and expose me even more–but thankfully not enough for the owner of the hand that’s bringing shock and awe down upon my formerly dark home to notice me. Once the knife leaves and does not come back for quite a while, my heart finally calms, and I get to see the world outside: the sky and trees and cars and people walking dogs. Then, in the evening, there’s even candlelight I can read by. It’s been stressful, but all in all a nice change.

Pool Story

Photo of water ripples in a pool. The text on top of the water is also rippled, and the text is Pool Story by Dave Williams

One saying is “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” That’s kind of the gist of how this story and video were created.

My mom and I were on a trip when my minivan broke down on the highway. We were towed to a mechanic’s garage in a nearby town. We spent the night in a hotel and waited the next day for the minivan to be fixed. It was an opportunity to spend more time with my mom and chat about the old days, and I enjoyed listening to stories of when she was growing up.

During our wait, I filmed a four minute video of the hotel’s pool. I wasn’t sure what I’d do with the video, just that I thought the water’s ripples made for interesting visuals.

Later, I had the idea to write a story. Not about hotel guests splashing about the pool, but of the water in the pool, about what could be going on with it.

So I narrated the story and paired that with the video of the water, and here it is. If you’d rather watch the video on YouTube, click here.

Send in the Piano Clown

“I don’t know if I should laugh or cry into my beer,” Leon said.

“Do both at the same time,” Samantha said.

“Feels like we’re stuck in limbo in this bar,” Leon said. “Like we need to do something to get to heaven.”

“That’s easy,” Sam replied. “Just walk out of here.”

Leon said, “But I’m riveted to this guy’s spoken-word poetry about his doomed relationship with Carol while he plays piano and sings ‘Send in the Clowns ‘and ‘Piano Man’ and tosses back cocktails.”

“It’s a weird mix, that’s for sure,” Samantha said. “Is this what people mean by ‘avant-garde’?”

Leon shrugged. “I think it means whatever you want it to mean.”

“That’s not helpful. Why is he dressed as a clown? Is it some kind of symbol for how he feels inside?”

“Maybe,” Leon said. “Or what if it’s a social commentary on being a performer? You know, like a trained monkey?”

Sam shook her head. “We’ll never know. Look at that. He passed out.”

“Poor bastard.”

“Him?” Sam said with a laugh. “We’re the poor bastards who had to listen to him. C’mon, let’s go. We’ve been granted freedom.”

As the couple walked toward the bar’s exit, they saw the other patrons were still watching the clown draped over the piano. Perhaps they wondered if the clown would sputter back to consciousness and continue to entertain them with his act. Or perhaps, after a rest, the clown would start the second act of his performance that was different than the first. Samantha and Leon would never know, as they left the bar and walked towards another bar across the street, their feet moving with the hope of a more “normal” situation in the other bar.


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams

Album Cover

“Are you sure it’s your band?” she asked.

“C’mon, Mom, it’s really us.”

“But you can’t see any of your faces on the album cover!”

“That was an… um… artistic choice,” Brandon said. “Our music is atmospheric, so we thought the cover art should be like that, too. Kinda blurry.”

“OK, honey,” she said. “That’s nice. I’m glad you moved on from that ruckus you boys used to play in the garage. That stuff gave me headaches.”

“We played punk rock, Mom. Headaches go with the territory.”


copyright © 2021 Dave Williams