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Story time

At STORYTELLERS UNPLUGGED, October has traditionally been “Story Month.” For some of us. Not all of us. Others have chosen to make it “Be Kind to Vegetables” month. (And there’s no denying it, vegetables are nice and deserve our kindness.)

But me, I’m giving you a story, which originally appeared in Bob Madia’s fine little magazine TENSE MOMENTS, which had a limited readership – meaning you probably haven’t read this one – and which will appear in NEW MOON ON THE WATER from Full Moon Press, tentatively scheduled for some time in the future.

This is called … CRUELTY

He answered the telephone at the third ring.


“Mr. Marvis?” The voice was young and high pitched.  “Could I please talk to Jimmy…”

“No,” he interrupted.  “We’re eating dinner. Right afterward, Jimmy is going to bed.  He’s grounded for a month.”


“And you’re the reason Jimmy’s always in trouble, young man. I don’t want you over here anymore.  Jimmy won’t be visiting you, either. Goodbye.”

He hung up.

He went back to the kitchen.

“Who was that?” his wife asked.  She sat alone at the drop-leaf table.

“Wrong number,” he said.

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