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  1. It was just the kind of bar he was looking for. The sign above the door hung askew. Two drunks lay on the cracked and broken sidewalk. A cold wind pushed fitfully at Fick's thin jacket. Trash lay piled in odd corners. He stepped over one of the drunks and went inside. The room lay cloaked in shadow. Fick stood for a moment, savoring the rancid mix of waterfront mixed with stench of cheap beer and vomit. It reminded him of his favorite dive in Kiel, when he ran a couple girls back in the thirties. “Looking for someone?” The speaker slouched on a stool at the end of the b
  2. The muse appeared after a long absence, somewhat disheveled and reeking of bad whisky. Anyhow, she carried a page torn from a book. Scrawled on the page was the basic idea for this tale. Having writ, I decided to inflict it on you lot. Ahab in the Afterlife Fifth Under Clerk Boswell watched as the last occupant of Purgatory made his way up to the reception desk. The man stumped his way slowly up the last steps and looked around. “A sailor, sir,” whispered Bartleby, Second Scrivener. He stood behind and slightly to one side of the Under Clerk.
  3. Old Guy

    Exiled

    I started this story in a post some time ago, then never went beyond that first short blurb. I can't recall why. Maybe I forgot about it. Anyway, I've been working on it and here are the first two parts. The initial section has been somewhat rewritten. Volunteers Gunnyduce, once a lochias (sergeant) in the army of Leonidas, stooped to enter the Simian Spartan barracks. The word "hovel" came to mind as he stood inside the entrance. The interior looked to have been systematically ransacked. Blankets lay helter-skelter. Bits of hardtack and half-eaten onions were strewn
  4. The big Tyrannosaurus leaned against an innocent tree and began scratching his shoulder. A pack of small raptors dashed between his legs and vanished into the underbrush, all the while screeching insults about slow, old, fat-bellied slugs. Gunny paused in his scratching. “Was them zip-turds talkin' ta me?” Stans, the duckbill, looked up from his fern lunch. “I dunno. Maybe they was talking about Donnie. He's the only one with a fat belly.” A massive stegosaurus raised his head and bleated, “It's a grass belly, dang it! How many times I gotta tell you clowns.” He went back to chomping a
  5. Boredom in High Places It was quiet in the Star Chamber. Too quiet. Councilor Number Six swiveled back and forth. His bland features suggested mild discontent. Only two of the nine chairs surrounding the Ring of Sorrows were occupied. Number Four slumped in her chair, snoring. Six signaled the First Assistant. “Smedley, I'm bored.” FA Smedley pasted a smile on his ugly phiz. His circular desk sat in the center of the Ring, ten feet below the Chamber floor. At the end of busy days he often suffered from excruciating neck pain. He touched a button. His desk obediently turned so he wa
  6. The Ordeal Donnie paused, leaning on his shovel. “Where are we?” “You're standing in a hole about two feet deeper than necessary. I'm sitting on a case of artillery shells talking to you.” Old Guy snickered. He always appreciated his own humor. “You know what I mean.” Donnie went back to his digging. “We're in Belgium. Not far from Mons, I think.” Old Guy produced a map. “Near a place called Florennes, unless that last MP was lying to us.” “Any chance of beer? Women?” “Beer is brewed everywhere, Donnie. And women seem to occupy at least half the Earth. Chances are we'll
  7. Out of Bondage Three days after the enraged infantry lieutenant had them tossed in the stockade (a much damaged warehouse in Carentan) the captain in charge released Old Guy and Donnie. He had too many POWs and not enough guards. “You two take a batch of prisoners down to the beach. Then you can return to your unit.” “What about the officer who had us confined?” asked Old Guy. “I don't want to run into him and have the bas -- uh -- have him think we escaped or something.” “Don't worry about him. He didn't charge you with anything. Just told me to hold you for a couple days and
  8. I wrote this one today. You guys might like it. “Not doing so well, eh?” A high-pitched voice roused Milo. He shifted slightly, trying to see. “Who . . .” Searing pain stopped his words. Bones grated in his left shoulder. Gritting his teeth, Milo tried to roll over, away from the pain. Nothing happened. He could see his right leg. The top of his boot had been ripped away, leaving behind a bloody mass of trouser and knee. The leg didn't hurt, which seemed both good and bad. “Don't worry about the knee. In fact, don't worry about anything. You'll be dead in a few minutes.
  9. I submitted this one to EDF, but even if they accept the story it won't appear for a month or two. I figure this is a good day to post it here. JRH I never wanted to visit the Wall. For many years Vietnam veterans had only each other; as a memorial the Wall seemed too little, too late. Besides, there were too many names -- too many memories. I often dream of one night in August, 1968. All was black. I rubbed sweat from my eyes. Under the wavering light of a parachute flare squat bunkers and tangles of concertina wire emerged. I smelled blood, hot weapons, burned powder. My b
  10. What has gone before: see “Scouts in the French Resistance” for the sordid tale of Oberst Fick, his terrible affliction, and his eventual capture by Allied forces. Scene: Hospital torture treatment room. Those present: Doctor “Dynamo” Joker, Nurse Bountiful, two burly trustees orderlies, and one victim patient -- Oberst Fick. Doc Dynamo and Nurse Bountiful stood to one side as the orderlies transferred the struggling Oberst to a large stone slab decorated with grinning gargoyles at each corner. “Nein! I do not need ein electroschlock. Let me go!” Ignoring his protests, the t
  11. Old Guy

    Scragnet

    The Lost My partner, Whizkid, and I were working the day watch out of Nine Mile Station when we spotted the perp. "Gotta Leaker, Whiz." I pointed at the pudgy, bald man standing on the sidewalk in front of Sid's Cat House. He was staring goggle-eyed at the life size poster depicting Sid's most famous stripper, Lola Palooza. "Not from around here, that's certain," said Whiz. He's an odd-looking sort, what with all the purple spots and being shaped sorta like a turnip, but we get all kinds, and he's a good partner, if a little quick on the trigger. The other cops call him Whiz becaus
  12. Evening twilight was giving away to true night as Old Guy and Donnie coasted to a stop at a road junction. Engines off, they sat listening. Distant artillery boomed fitfully. Nothing could be seen in either direction on the cross road. The road they'd come south on ended at the intersection. Old Guy dismounted and walked across the road where neatly lettered signs pointed left and right. “First signs I've seen,” said Donnie. “I thought the Frenchies tore 'em all down.” “German efficiency, Donnie. And they ain't sloppy knock-offs either. Neat black lettering on white paint. They pro
  13. Old Guy

    Scouts Out!

    Yep, our two heros -- and other Simians -- are still out there! The two motorcyclists rolled to a halt in front of a building sporting a hand-painted sign which read, 3rd BAT OPERASHUNS. Major Dude stepped outside and stopped to light a cigarette. He caught sight of his two dispatch riders. “How the hell did you get here so fast?” Old Guy made a vague motion that might have been a salute. “We came in by glider. Donnie got us a ride with some 82nd Airborne guys. He nearly got us killed to boot. So here we are.” Dude glanced toward the beach. “I guess you noticed the mess. Ever
  14. (This is a prelude to the previous story) “I don't remember volunteering for this,” grumbled Old Guy. He had to shout in Donnie's ear, wedged as he was between a strapped-down Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a burly paratrooper sergeant, and Donnie, his fellow dispatch rider/scout. “You didn't,” cried Donnie. “I volunteered us both. The alternative was going across in a landing craft. You know I get seasick.” The glider lurched and shuddered. Nobody breathed for several seconds. As the craft steadied the men huddling on troop seats relaxed ever so slightly. Somewhere below lay the Engl
  15. (A little story suggested by today's "This Day in ..." post) “I'm gonna buy one of these when I get home.” Donnie patted the gas tank of his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. He flipped a cigarette butt toward a puddle and immediately lit another. Old Guy glanced up from a map. He sat astride an identical motorcycle. Both men wore tanker jackets and paratrooper trousers, mud splattered and showing the effects of long use. Like Donnie, he carried a .45 Colt in a shoulder holster. An M-1 Garand rested in a scabbard mounted on the right side of the front fender. Various bags and ammo boxes w
  16. Yarbo Slarg, PI Dogs Ugly. Well. In polite society they sort folks by physical appearance, but never use words like 'ugly' or 'horse-faced' or 'too tall'. I move in less elevated circles. This broad had nothing to recommend her. Besides all of the above, her hair was stringing in her face and she was thin beyond belief. The small ice chest she carried looked to be more than her body could handle. She plunked it down on a coffee table -- the one fronting the big comfy couch where I liked to entertain my usual clients, well-rounded women with low morals, short skirts, and nice chests
  17. My new book is out. It's a collection of flash fiction and short stories. http://booklocker.com/books/7256.html You guys have seen most of the flash fiction and probably all of the short stories, although all of those have been heavily edited and even re-written for this book. Check it out. Versions from Amazon and B&N will be available soon. The cost will be the same. Jim
  18. I updated my website to include a picture of the Flashes and Shorts cover, a short description, a sample from the book and links to the various online sources to purchase the Ebook in whatever format is needed. Jim's website
  19. Night -- on the Street Fleet Street Donnie lounged under an awning that extended a few feet from the entrance to Flanigan's Market. Across the street the clock located in the 2nd National Bank tower chimed the hour -- 4:00 am. The market, like the other legitimate businesses in the area, was closed. Donnie had no known surname. The Fleet Street moniker came about because he was generally to be found haunting the gin mills of that infamous West End street. A beefy man ambled out of the drizzling rain and greeted Donnie with a mumbled, "Whazzup, man?" He pulled out a dirty handkerchi
  20. Finding Christmas A Plague of Woe The man on the ledge jerked and shuffled away from the window. "Don't touch me!" Officer Ramirez eased into a seated position on the window sill. "I'm just here to talk, man. Nobody's gonna try to haul you in. What's your name?" "Name? I don't have to tell you anything." "Sure. No problem. It's just that it helps the coroner. Otherwise they have to paw through your remains to find some ID." "Uh -- ." Thoughts of falling four stories and smashing into the pavement flashed in the jumper's mind. "John -- John Kellerman." He clutched at
  21. I don't know where it came from but it's one of those stories that must be told. The Mauve Knight -- Gloom "Now what?" Stag watched as a cryptic warning message flashed on his computer monitor. The red-bordered block of unreadable script sank slowly to the bottom of the display and vanished in a faint pulse of color. The screen faded to black and began to emit a thin trickle of smoke. He switched it off. Plastic sagged and began to burn. Circuits sizzled. Sparks flew. Cursing, he crawled under the command console and jerked at power cords until the sparking ceased. A few second
  22. Well, once the Frogg Nebula was created something had to be done with it. The Frogg Incident Donnie yawned as he stepped into the kitchen. It was nearly 5:00 AM, time for him to post his daily literary material on Combatsim. He opened the cupboard and reached for his usual breakfast drink, Ovaltine Classic Malt. Jar in hand, he shut the cupboard door -- and froze. Someone else was in the kitchen. A furry object brushed against his ankle. "Damn cat," he muttered, sighing with relief. "Good mornink, Mr. Donzter." The voice had a scratchy quality, as if it came from a badly d
  23. The Reporter "So, Dr. Stans, what can you tell the viewers of DIY Network about building your very own monster in your basement?" Cub reporter, Dude, extended a recorder. "Well -- uh -- first off -- I didn't build it in the basement. Most of the work was done in my garage. Some of -- let's see -- some of the early selection processes were done at my cousin Melvin's mortuary." "Right. In the garage. What kind of equipment did you use?" "Equipment? Oh, gee. Not much. If I had it to do over again, I'd buy some second-hand meat cutting tools. The old hacksaw and dull hatchet made f
  24. Check out Everyday Fiction. My story, "Steel Killer" is today's feature. http://www.everydayfiction.com/ OG
  25. The Simian Scourge Arthur cradled his mug of mulled wine and cast a venomous glare at his magician. "I'm tired of being cold, Merlin. Can't you magic up a decent way to heat this stone pile?" "Sadly, no, Highness. Central heating won't be invented for another thousand years -- maybe longer." "Damn," whined the king. "Any damned serf has a warmer hovel than this place. Why can't I live in a turf hut? Something that can actually be heated." "Tradition, sire." Merlin tucked cold fingers into his armpits, causing the upper part of his robe to slide down. Cursing quietly, he rearranged
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