Evan Quinlan

Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

Dressed to Kill

In Drabbles, Fiction, Short Stories on March 29, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Pete shone his flashlight into the iguana tank.  Just iguanas.  No deadly snakes.

“Why the flashlight?” Alan asked.  “The lights are on.  You’re being overcautious.”

“For Pete’s sake,” replied Pete.

“Man, that stopped being funny last year.”

“I remember,” said Pete, poking a tortoise with a stick. “September fourteenth.”

“You’re a really weird guy.  Alright, enough chitchat.  We’ve got to find this escaped Egyptian cobra.  And I’m guessing it’s not in that tortoise’s shell.”

“Never can be too careful,” said Pete.  “By the way, Alan, I love your snake hat.”

“What?” Alan asked, alarmed.

Don’t look up, thought the cobra.

Thank you, news.

Gloria, Too

In Drabbles, Fiction, Short Stories on March 28, 2011 at 12:50 pm

The flight attendant authorized use of electronics so Elizabeth logged into her email account.  There was a message from Rick, that bastard.  She’d endured four months of his twisted, psychological machinations intended to mold her, as it turned out, to be as much like his dead ex-fiancée Gloria as possible.  The creep even maintained a shrine to Gloria in his closet.

She opened the message.

Dear Elizabeth,

You really are so much like her.  She died in a plane crash, after all. Bon voyage again, my love.  Enjoy your flight.

Then Elizabeth felt the cabin shake and the screaming began.

Thank you, Erin, for the inspiration.

The Tragedy of Hindsight

In Drabbles, Fiction, Short Stories on March 27, 2011 at 5:44 pm

The worst part of living isn’t dying; it’s that there are no redos.

Last summer my friend Elliot and I tried to climb into my bedroom window from the big oak outside.  I can still see Elliot trying to lift the pane when the branch snapped and he fell and broke his neck on the patio table.

The nights grew warm again and oak branches started scratching at my window, so Dad trimmed them.  I wish he hadn’t.  Because now I’m awake, still hearing something scratching at my window and knowing it’s not branches.  But like I said, no redos.

This story was written for the 100 Word Stories podcast’s Weekly Challenge #258.

A Few Chores Before Dying

In Drabbles, Fiction, Short Stories on March 26, 2011 at 8:41 pm

“Tired of taking out the trash?”  Suggested the ad on Ed’s screen.  “Tired of picking up Jimmy from school? Dreading that family reunion?  Do It Later! With Do It Later brand Temporal Procrastination™ technology, you can literally enjoy tomorrow’s work today!”

Ed was sold.  He barely heard the verbal fine print; something about “responsibility” and “paradoxes.”


“Who are you?” Jimmy asked the decrepit old man behind the wheel as he climbed into his father’s sedan.

“I’m your father,” he said. “Get used to me looking like this at most family events.  I’m sorry, Jim, I procrastinated some important work.”

Make Sure They’re Dry Before You Frame Them

In Drabbles, Fiction, Short Stories on March 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm

“I began by pressing flowers in books,” Jean-Francois told visitors to his gallery, “but like a fine dress, a flower is most beautiful in a living context.  Thus…”  He’d gesture toward his dozens of framed masterpieces, entire floral panoramas crushed into two dimensions with lush backdrops.  Pressed insects crawled on pressed stems; pressed frogs on pressed lily pads caught pressed flies with pressed tongues.  Jean-Francois had nearly perfected his technique.  Nearly.  Witnesses still recall the fateful summer he opened an exhibition of family portraits and the screams of onlookers as the air conditioners failed and the portraits began to bleed.