Why three SUVs?

We have a flower-garden with nice trees and flowers that my father has been neglecting over the past few years, but last week he started pulling weeds. He told me to dump the wheelbarrow in the back and collect all of his clippings and weeds he pulled. I’ve cleared the aria the past few mornings after walking the dog, “Chance” around the block in the morning.

On Saturday I thought I would help my father out and suggested that I could use a strong metal rake over the arias he cleared to clean it up. The next morning’s I’ve raked out all of the clippings and thin vines that were covering the ground. He had found some fall flowers that had grown some leaves in the next aria he cleared.

My father told me to watch out for them the next time I raked the garden. The next morning after walking Chance I went to the front and saw the nice leaves and started using the rake. After the first raking I looked around to avoid the new leaves, but I couldn’t find them and without another thought I raked the rest of the aria.

Later that day my father called for me and with his graying black Irish hair and blue eyes, said, “John you, there are just stems where the flowers were, I asked you to look out for.”

My first reply was, “Sorry, I saw the leaves?” Then I said, “But after my first swipe with the rake, they were gone.”

The next day I was taking Chance for his afternoon walk, but before I got to the end of the long driveway I saw my father pulling weeds, and he called me over. I thought he wanted help, so I let go of the leash and guessed Chance would stay close. He pointed out some plants that he didn’t want me to disturb tomorrow morning.

After he was finished pointing out each plant, Chance was nowhere to be seen. I said, “You made me lose Chance.”

He shook his head, and said, “I didn’t make you do anything. Why did you let go of the leash?”

“I thought you needed help.”

“I just wanted to show you the plants, so you don’t pull them out.”

Chance was in the neighbor’s yard eating freshly laid mulch. I pulled him away and took him for his afternoon walk.

The next morning my father had an early doctor’s appointment, and I heard him stirring as I let the house with Chance for his morning walk. After the walk I fed Chance, had a drink, and changed the long sleeve shirt for a sleeveless one. I started gathering the clippings and big weeds when my father slowly pulled down the driveway to where I was.

He lowered the car’s window, and said, “You know which the good plants are.”

“Yeah, I’ll be sure to pull them out.”

He grinned, because it’s usually him who uses that kind of humor and then drove off.

I was raking the aria and avoiding the plants my father wanted to keep, when three black SUVs with tinted windows pulled in our long driveway. I dropped the rake and thought, this can’t be good, and I picked up a fist size rock I found in the garden.

I’m not a big man standing at five foot six, but I am stronger than most would think. Even-though I am thirty eight years old, I look like a punk kid, because of my height and the Irish baby face I was cursed with.

The first SUV stopped when it reached me, and I raised the rock as the door opened, and said, “Stay in the car. What business do you have with me?”

“We are looking for John Manning.”

I look down the driveway thinking, of reasons why they would send three trucks of men, and said, “Why are you looking for my father? If you’re trying to sell him something, he’s an 80 year old man, and he doesn’t need any more junk.”

My fathers’ name is John also, so I’m hoping they decide they have wrong information and drive off. The man closes the door and turns to the back, and I raze the rock in my hand as a tall man steps out.

This man isn’t just over six feet, he almost reaches seven. Looking down at me he said, “Drop that rock John. We aren’t looking for your father.”

Two men of all different shapes came out of each of the other SUVs, and were closing in on me. I figured a rock wouldn’t scare these guys, so I dropped it and transformed myself into__________.

Good Old Cartoons?

I was thinking about old cartoons I used to watch and what interested me to keep watching. One of them was “Tailspin” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TaleSpin

The lead character was Baloo from “Disney’s, The Jungle Book” with the young side kick Kit, he piloted a propeller driven carrier plain, delivering packages for “Higher for Hire”. A delivery service owned by a single mother “Rebeca” who was trying to keep her small business running.

While making deliveries Baloo would have to avoid “Air Pirates” and would have odd encounters with other pilots. Shere Khan from “The Jungle Book” who ran Khan Industries that Higher for Hire competed with.

The hero of the story was Baloo, the villains were the Air Pirates, with the corporate leader Shere Khan as a rival. The show had a number of characters to carry the stories, including the relationship between Baloo and Rebeca.

I was thinking, every good book of short story needs those 5 characters with a steady plot to keep the stories in focus.

My first thought was to write a story about a space ship delivering goods from solar system to solar system. Firefly, Serenity, was my next thought, and I thought about why that show didn’t last. In my opinion Firefly was a great show, but the plot wasn’t focused enough.

Now I’m thing of a delivery service in the mid-1800s. A delivery man with two horses and one trailer finds an investor in Huston, Texas to start a delivery service from Huston to Chicago. The delivery man now has two trailers and four horses and a man riding shotgun. The man who is riding shotgun has an actual shotgun to word off black hat cowboys who may pilfer their cargo.

The relationship between the two men has its troubles that start some arguments, but they find a common ground. The investor came from big corporate New York to start business in the central U.S. Nether of the two men like corporations, they believe the corporations are taking over.

I won’t write that story, never mind the fact that Corporate America has saved the economy…I don’t like stories about the past, because people start believing those stories are how it was…

Keeping busy?

I haven’t been active on this blog, but I’m trying….

The contest is for 500 word story’s. Contests like this are good to keep you writing. I wrote a story with a Halloween theme I guess. What do you think of when you see a doll on Halloween? Anyone is welcome, and it’s free….

If I don’t win the contest than you’ll see the story here soon.

There has been a lot going on in the world today?

There has been a lot going on in the world today and I would like to say something, but how? Will I be heard if I post a random comment on my blog or Facebook? I doubt it, so please repost my comments on your blog or Facebook pages.

There’s trouble in a city in the U.S.A. because an officer was doing his job.

The officer was on a sick call, he was accompanying an ambulance to a house, and was informed of a robbery in the aria. He saw a boy of 6 feet+ that fit the description, so he stopped him to question him. The 250+ pound boy didn’t want to stop, so there was a skirmish and the officer was hurt.

How I see it is that the officer pulled out his gun with fear for his life and started shooting towards the boy, even though he was having trouble seeing.  The fact that the boy broke the officer’s face that distorted his sight, so even if the boy had his hands up all the officer saw was a bear of a man coming for him.


Ask yourself if a man the size of this boy was coming at you and you had a gun, would you question using it….


The conflict in the Middle East should have never gotten this bad. Obama is at fault for not taking proper action two years ago. That’s all I’m going to say about that, because I don’t want to upset my stomach…. Obama is not doing his job!


Binary options are the way to lose money, but if you are thinking of doing it, now is the time. Don’t read a book and think you know…there’s not much to know…. If you are set on getting rich, be careful not to risk too much money. How to, is simple, everything is online, even a site that tells you to buy or sell, up or down in binary terms.

Be safe and don’t risk more than you “want” to lose.

Short Stories?

I was thinking about how to write short stories. I’m not a teacher, so I hope you don’t learn anything from this post. You need to tell/show the reader the location and plot in the first paragraph. In the next two you introduce the hero and the antagonist, and then you show the reader how the hero is antagonized.

That’s the hard art about writing short stories…I thought, how do you make it easier? I had an idea that has been used…I thought, use known characters, but that’s not original…. You know characters from movies that get redone over and over…like Batman!


Ryan Wayne was out late last night, he woke after eleven to find just one girl in bed with him. He slowly looked around the shady room, and said, “Bell, where’s Ivy?”

Bell pulled the sheet to her neck, and said, “Owe, Ry-Ry stay in bed with me.”


Ryan shrugged and started to lay back when he heard a thump from down stairs, and said, “Burney, you know I like sleeping late on Saturdays, so keep it down!”

He waits for the common response, Sorry Master, won’t happen again, but he heard nothing. Ryan shoots up thinking, Wait, Burney’s on vacation today…so what was that?


Ryan is on his feet now and looks to Bell, and said, “Stay here.”

As he is leaving the room Bell cries out, “Wayne’s awake, let’s go.” A fully dressed Bell buzzes past him for the stairs.


Ryan is a huffed as he runs for the stairs, looks down to see two men carrying a painting sized box. The big guy dropped it, and said, “Get John to help you.”

“Bear, don’t use our real names.”

“Ok Weasel, get Coyote!”


Ryan shouts at them and runs to his closet for a rifle, and loads it with bird pellets. He hears thump after thump up the stairs, and he runs out of the bedroom, rifle in hand to find Bear coming for him.

Ryan didn’t have a chance to say, Stop, so he pulled the trigger, and Bear was thrown into the wall. As Ryan walked by him he saw he hit him squarely in the chest, but he was gasping for air.


Down stairs Weasel was getting the last bags, and from a distant Ryan shot again, but Weasel just jumped and kept running to the car.




I’m not one to write detective stories but you can see where this is headed. A Detective Gordon, will do his/her investigation and find a ring of thefts and an organized group of criminals that they take down. If I would continue the story it would get too long, and the story has been told time and time again….


What would make it new would be different characters with different views of how to save the city of Gotham.  Yes, there is a new TV series this fall that takes place in the Gotham before there was a Batman. I hope they aren’t the same old stories.

Two sentence stories?

I found these stories and had a laugh…. Thought I’d share them to encourage you all to try and write your own.

Think of an event and write a one-liner about it with a response.

Have a laugh….

I was having a pleasant dream when what sounded like hammering woke me. After that, i could barely hear the muffled sound of dirt covering the coffin over my own screams!

“I cant sleep”, she whispered, crawling into bed with me. I woke up cold, clutching the dress she was buried in.

I begin tucking him into bed and he tells me, “daddy, check for monsters under my bed”. I look underneath for his amusement and see him, another him, under the bed, staring back at me quivering and he whispered “daddy, theres somebody on my bed!”

You get home, tired after a long days work and ready for a relaxing night alone. You reach for the light switch, but another hand is what you feel instead on top of it!

I cant move, breathe, speak, or hear and its so dark all the time. Had i known it would be this lonely, I would have been cremated instead…

She went upstairs to check on her sleeping toddler. The window was open and the bed was empty… what happened?

I never go to sleep… So why do I keep waking up?

My daughter wont stop crying and screaming in the middle of the night. Visiting her grave and asking her to stop doesnt help either.

After working a hard day, I came home to see my girlfriend cradling our child. I didnt know which was more frightening, seeing my dead girlfriend and stillborn child, or knowing that someone broke into my apartment and place them there.

There was a picture of me sleeping in my phone. I live alone.

I hope up to hear knocking on glass. At first I thought it was the window, until I
heard it coming from the mirror again.

The last thing I saw was my alarm clock flashing 12:07 before she pushed her long rotting nails through my chest. her other hand muffling my screams. I sat bolt upright, relieved it was only a dream, but as I saw my alarm clock 12:07, I heard my closet door creak open.

Growing up with cats and dogs, I got used to the sounds of scratching at my door while I slept. Now that i live alone, its much more unsettling.

In all of this time that I have lived alone in this house, I could swear that I have closed more doors than I have opened.

I heard my mother calling me from downstairs. As I started making my way down the stairs and towards the dark living room downstairs, I heard my mothers voice from upstairs yelling “DONT GO DOWN THERE, I HEARD THAT TOO”, as I found myself frozen in the middle of the dark stairs… (my personal favourite!)

She asked me why was I breathing so heavily. I wasnt.

My wife woke me up last night to tell me there was an intruder in our house. She was murdered by an intruder 2 years ago.

I awoke to the sound of the baby monitor crackling with a female voice comforting my firstborn child. As I adjusted to a new position, my arm brushed against my wife, sleeping next to me.

I always thought my cat had a staring problem – she always seemed fixated on my face, until one day, after looking at a picture of mine recently taken, she was always looking just right behind me…

There is nothing like the laughter of a baby. Unless its 1 A.M. and you’re home alone.

Full moon?


A young innocent-looking girl says with a devilish grin. “The full moon is tonight!”

A boy in his early teens looks down at the girl with a questionable look. “No kidding? I could feel it coming all-day.  I am thinking of going out tonight.”

The little girl puts her hands to her hips, and said. “John, you aren’t going to run with the gang of mutts in the park, are you?”

John puts his hand to his chest, and said. “Barb, how could you think that I would hang with those mutts? But, I am tired of spending the best night of the month hiding.”

Barb thought she should show concern, and questioned. “But, it’s not safe…?”

John didn’t want to hear it, and interrupted her. “Oh, I can take care of myself…I’m thirteen, and I’m strong enough to keep myself, out of trouble!

Barb played the concerned good little sister, and told her parents what John was up to. Later that evening Barb met her mother with in the gated yard of her father’s estate.

With an innocent look on her face she looked up at her mother, and said. “Mom, where’s Daddy and John?”

“Your father’s dealing with John.”

Barb was watching the gates with anticipation, expecting to see her father dragging John through them. It was getting late and Barb started to become disappointed, and asked. “Where are they?”

Barb’s mother was watching the horizon for the rising moon, and said “Don’t worry your father already locked the gate.”

Barb was becoming upset, “What? Isn’t Dad bringing John home?”

“Your father knows the safe places deep in the woods.”

Barb was more disappointed that she won’t get to see her father disciplining John than worried for their safety, but asked. “What about the hunters?”

Her mother almost laughed, and said. “I would be more worried about the other wolves than any human.”

The two of them started howling as the full moon rose over the horizon.

Earlier at the park John met some boys not much older than him.

As he was approaching the group in the park, one said. “John you made it. Good to see that your father’s not treating you like a kid.”

With a few stomps to the dirt, John said. “Yeah, I put him in his place.”

After hearing that his father, Mark, almost laughed, but thought he should make his presents known, and called out. “John, what are you doing here? I understand, you don’t want to run with your sister after what happened,” With an obvious swallow, he continued. “during the last full moon.”

The boys started laughing out loud. With a questionable look on his face, John started saying. “What I didn’t….”

One of the other boys said. “John, I thought you had more control. Chris, man you’re lucky your sister didn’t come with you, tonight.”

Another boys said. “Yeah John, you better control yourself around me. I don’t swing that way, anymore. You’ll get yourself hurt.”

After one of the older boys said that they couldn’t stop laughing. John ran to his father not realizing that he was trying to embarrass him. “I didn’t?”

Mark grabbed his arm and turned him towards the woods. “Oh come on let’s leave these mutts to their laughing.”

John looked to the setting sun, and said. “There’s no time?”

“I know stay close.”

The two of them started running deeper into the woods until they came upon a clearing with groups of people looking to the sky.

John stopped short as his father pulled him to the clearing, and asked. “Who are they?”

Mark let go of his sun, and said. “This is where some of the other wolves go to run, so stay close. I see an old friend.”

Mark greeted his friend, but then heard John yelp as he started to change. Mark’s friend Bill, looked to him, and said. “Your boy needs to learn to control himself more.”

“That’s why….”

Bill was nerves, but said. “Yes, yes, but it’s been years.”

“Yeah for me too. Let’s wait until he’s changed.”

John was still howling after his change was complete, and was looking all around at the others changing, some as violently as he did. Then he saw that his father and his friend hadn’t started their change yet.

They stood together in a pose that John had seen in his father’s memorabilia from school. The two men started a dance of some sorts, but then they started their transformation. It looked as if they were fighting, but they weren’t hurting each other.

The wolves who had changed were not running uncontrollably like they usually do. They were gathering around John to watch Mark and Bill.

The performance ended after the transformation came to a completion, even though it looked as if they were fighting, they looked unharmed. The two of them started a howling the other wolves joined in concert with the same persistence, which was not with anger or sorrow.

The howling lasted for only a few minutes when Mark and Bill started a run with all the wolves from the clearing following. They all ran deeper into the woods to a stream where the pack stopped for a drink. Mark led the pack for a run along the stream that ended by the cliff. There was a waterfall with a shallow pond that the wolves bathed in and were safe for the night.

The next morning John had questions for his father, and he did his best to explain. “When we were in graduate school Bill and I were part of a team who felt that control was more important than strength. We found that with the control our strength was unmatched. The kata we did last night displayed the control that gave us the respect of the pack to be the alphas, if only for the run.”

John looked at his father and without a second thought, he asked again, but more directly. “Why did they respect you?”

Mark was exhausted after last night’s run and wanted to get home for an early shower, but he said. “John think of control and how you haven’t shown it throughout your life, and then you’ll be able to answer your question yourself.”

By J.L. Manning


This story turned out about 100 words too long for the contest at; http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/may-short-fiction-contest.html  I don’t expect to win these contests, but they give me new ideas for stories.

June 18th;

I have updated the story and submitted it to Strange Musings Press and was rejected…. I’m not surprised, the story has an uncommon look at Werewolves. I reiceved a rejection from Emby Press http://embypress.com/monster-hunting-quarterly/ the story about Grimms and the blood trait has thinned, but a son of a half Grimm was surprising.

If you know of any press that is looking for 8k words stories, let me know.