Click to read Mike's Diner Read book online free

Donald O'Donovan 
Mike's Diner Read book online free 

One morning I was walking along Broadway. I was famished. I hardly knew where I was. Suddenly a squarely-built man in cook's whites stepped out of a doorway and seized my shoulder in a powerful grip.

 "You help me move steam tebble," he said. "You come. I show."
 
Like a predator, this meatball dragged me inside a cafe, Mike's Diner, and before I knew it I was lifting a steam table, a chopping block, a giant mixer, a broiler and an oven, several steel cabinets, huge kettles, and dozens of sacks of potatoes and flour. We hustled this stuff from one side of the cafe, which was apparently being remodeled, to the other. Intermittently, as we lurched and grunted and struggled, Mike (so his nametag read) continued to cook breakfast for his patrons, seated at a counter, assisted by a fetching young waitress in a short tight skirt.
 
During a pause in the proceedings Mike suddenly handed me a heavy kettle that he lifted easily. The kettle immediately slipped through my fingers and clattered on the floor, almost smash­ing my toes. I couldn't grip the kettle as Mike did. His hands were enormous, his fingers like brat­wursts. He was about 60, with a head like a bullet. I noticed that he wore a hearing aid. He looked like a big evil monkey in a starched cook's hat and shiny steel-rimmed glasses.
 
Finally it was over. I plopped down at the counter, next to one of the customers, who was busy shoveling it in. "I've just made myself five bucks," I'm thinking proudly. But no. Mike nods brusquely at me, wiping off his spatula with a dirty towel. "You can go now."
 
"Bullshit!" I says, rising to my feet. "I helped you out. You pay me something, bro. I'm hungry."
 
Mike gazed at me evenly, his steely eyes glinting behind the shiny glasses. I thought for a moment he was going to hit me, but suddenly without a word he turned on his heel and stepped to the grill. Moments later he returned with three eggs over easy, hash browns, bacon, toast and coffee. He slammed the plates down in front of me, then he stood there, arms folded, like a foreman, ready to make sure I ate it all.
 
I didn't disappoint him. In seconds, I put the breakfast away. He came back at me with a plate of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, gravy, a roll, and diced carrots and peas. This too, I gulped down in record time. Next, he slammed down a bowl of cabbage soup, not bad, homemade, it was the real thing. At last I was getting full.
 
"What's for dessert?" I asked confidently, shoving the empty soup bowl away.
 
"What you want?" Mike said, glaring at me like an inquisitioner.
 
"Apple pie and ice cream."

Read book online free Donald O'Donovan The Seven Sisters Gospel Family

Read book online free Donald O'Donovan 

The Seven Sisters Gospel Family


My friend Bronislaw Majeski once remarked in a letter, "Donald O'Donovan, you've certainly had a great many adventures." That may be true. But maybe it only seems that I've had a lot of adventures because I can recall so many exact details about what took place. And details, as every writer knows, are the life of the story. And maybe the reason for this "total recall" of mine is because somehow I was always participating and watching, at the same time. And taking notes, so to speak. What I mean to say is that I had a sense that I was not only a participant, but also an actor in a drama. I was a very bad actor, it's true. My performances were lamentable! I suppose that's why I feel compelled to write about my so-called adventures—in order to live them over again, and, with a little luck, turn in a better performance the second time around. I say "so-called adventures" because I never sought adventure. I am the very opposite of the bold adventurer. My life happened to me.
 
For example, I never in this world set out to become an evangelist. I had never dreamed of doing such a thing. And yet, somehow it came about that I found myself traveling with the Reverend Orville D. Gamble and the Seven Sisters Gospel Family.
 
I was running with Roddy Joplin out of Clear Lake Iowa. Roddy had just financed his own tractor, every truck driver's dream. His marriage had crumbled and he was trying to make a new start. But he was drinking harder than ever, and from the get-go I smelled disaster. Still, I desperately needed the money.
 
We laid over in LA and Roddy went on a bender. We were staying at the Rosslyn Hotel, a real shithole. We got thrown out of Legends in Hollywood and then out of the Club Savoy, the taxi-dance palace on 6th, downtown. Days went by and Roddy did nothing about getting a load. It's true that we quarreled. I wanted to get on with the show, but Roddy was hell-bent on finding out what was at the bottom of the bottle. One day we went to a tiny restaurant, Mi Guatemala, up near 6th and Wilshire, in Little Central America, and that's where it happened. Roddy met up with an alcoholic diva from Bogotá, and before I knew it the two of them had vamoosed, leaving me high and dry—on my uppers, as they say.

Read book online free Mind Cafe

Read book online free Mind Cafe
Download Mind Cafe for Free

The extremely well reviewed short story "Mind Cafe" is now available for free download for you Kindle, Nook, Kobo or Sony e Reader.

The Mind Café: death's waiting room and the only refuge for a woman trapped in her body after a tragic accident leaves her unable to do anything but watch the world and think. A fiction, paranormal short story just under 5,000 words, part of a larger collection of stories depicting a day in the life of the unique.


Read book online free Kelly’s Shadow

Read book online free Kelly's Shadow

My mother loved my sister-in-law more than me.  More than she loved my brother, I think.

My brother met Kelly in high school; the first day of high school, outside the library when they bumped into each other.  It could have been a scene from a TV show.  Kelly could have starred in a TV show; she was beautiful, funny, and kind.

Everyone was heartbroken when she broke up with my brother at the end of high school.  They went to different colleges and Kelly didn't want to do long distance, she said it was better to break it off right away than let it end messily over email.  They could still be friends.

I say everyone was heartbroken but that's not the truth.  My brother and my parents were heartbroken, but I wasn't.  I pretended to be, as I'd always pretended to like Kelly, but I didn't really like Kelly so I wasn't really heartbroken.  I was glad to see her go.  Now I know what you're thinking, you're thinking I was jealous of Kelly, but that's not true.  I knew my mother loved her more, but I didn't really mind, my mother and I always got along and just because she loved Kelly more didn't mean she didn't love me at all.

I couldn't like Kelly, because of her shadow.  She didn't have a shadow like other people, her shadow was a stumped, crooked thing, that hopped and limped behind her when she walked.  I'd stare at it and wonder what kind of thing would cast a shadow like that.  Sometimes, when Kelly laughed, I caught the shadow opening its mouth to bare rows of sharp, snaggled teeth.

The only time I didn't see the shadow was when Kelly ran.  She was a track star in high school, and when she ran she had no shadow.  I didn't like it when Kelly ran because I didn't know where her shadow had gone.  Maybe the shadow didn't like it either, because Kelly didn't make the track team in college and I never saw her run again.

No one else saw the shadow for what it was.  At least, not that I know of.  I never told anyone, or asked them if they noticed anything strange about Kelly.  My brother would probably punch me and my father would say I read too many trashy books with monsters in them.  My mother might think I was jealous.

If I told anyone else it would surely get back to them.  Or Kelly.

My brother and Kelly got back together after college.  (My brother's name was Jack, by the way.)  They had both dated other people, but none of the others stuck, and when they came back home they bumped into each other.  Fate, or Kelly's shadow, didn't want them to be apart.  They got married a year later.  I was Kelly's maid of honor.  The wedding was outside, and I had to stand in her shadow.

Sometimes I'd think that I was imagining the shadow.  That maybe I did read too many horror novels, that maybe I was just a tiny bit jealous.  Once, when Kelly stood with her back to me, it turned to look at me and flicked a long, snaky tail at me.

Jack and Kelly didn't have any children, because Jack died on their honeymoon.  They went to Japan and he ate bad sushi and died in extreme pain.  Kelly came home sobbing; a complete wreck, a bride and a widow at the same time.  My mother and father asked her to move in with us, and she did.

I was halfway through high school at this time, and whenever a boy asked me out on a date, I looked at his shadow.  I looked at everyone's shadows.  They were all normal.  But still, I didn't like to go out on dates, because it was usually nighttime.  I didn't like to be out with people at night.  You couldn't see anyone's shadows.  You had no idea what they were or what they were doing.

I was supposed to go off to college this year, to the same college my brother and mother and father all went to.  Both of my parents have died this year, though, and I don't think I'll be going.  My mother died of a sudden stroke and my father crashed his car into a tree.  We went to my mother's funeral in February and my father's was just today.

I'm sitting at home now with Kelly; she has been doing nothing for the past hour but stare at her hands in her lap, and now she looks up at me.  "What are you doing, Anna?" she asks.

"I'm writing a story," I reply, blocking the computer screen from her view.

Read books online free Unlocked Tomb by Adam Decker

Read books online free Unlocked Tomb
by Adam Decker

Wake up. 
The words snap me out of sleep.  They are not my words but the voice sounds very familiar.  So dark.  I've never been anywhere that it was this black.  Wait a minute.  Are my eyes open?  I blink to make sure, but there is no difference between the blackness in front of me and the blackness under my eyelids.  I take a deep breath to make sure I'm not dreaming.  The air is cold down the back of my throat
Cold air, unlike that of a crisp winter evening or the chilly breeze of an open freezer.  There is something different about it, something heavy and almost sinister.  Where in the hell am I?  Wait, back up, who in the hell am I?
Bill Parsons.  That's my name.  I'm thirty years old, married, have two kids and a beautiful wife.  Okay that's a start.  I just woke up so that means I've been asleep.  I'm sitting in a chair.  I try to raise up but something holds me to the seat.  Someone has tied me down.  My fingers, then my hands, put this irrational idea to rest as they slide down the strap that crosses my body from my left shoulder to my waist.  I press the button next to my hip, releasing the belt.  I am in a vehicle.
My own vehicle actually.  I still cannot see two inches in front of my face but I know it is my vehicle because of the distance between the steering wheel and the gearshift, the height of the dashboard, and the location of the console on my right.  A Dodge Durango.  It is less than two months old, but there is no illumination from the dashboard, no life humming from under the hood.
Immediately I try to open the door.  It won't budge.  Maybe it's locked.  I push up the door lock and tug on the handle again.  The lever comes forward but the door does not open.  Something is blocking it.  Where the hell am I?
I can hear something dripping from under the dash.  I hope it is not gas.  I listen more closely and hear dripping from all around the interior of the vehicle.  I reach toward the ignition hoping to switch on the engine if only for some light.  I turn the key.  Nothing.
I feel sharp little pains in my feet, like a million hot needles piercing every inch of my skin.  But it isn't really a hot sensation, it's so cold it feels hot.   I breathe into the darkness.  I cannot see the steam from my breath in front of me, but I know it is there.
I reach into my jeans pocket and push my fingers to the bottom.  I retrieve the lighter.  I have a lighter because I smoke.  Actually, I did smoke; I quit a year ago but sneak a cig or two when nobody's looking, like during the holidays.  Suddenly it hits me.  It's Christmas.  That's right, we spent the day at Jen's folks.  I drove separately.  What the hell happened?
I roll my thumb over the little wheel on the back of the lighter.  On the second stroke there is spark and then a flame.  Bingo.  Just as I thought, I'm in the Durango.  I move the flame in front of me, turning my head at the same rate as the lighter, as if they're connected somehow.  The seat beside me is empty.
I hold the flame to the windshield and then to my window.  There is nothing but blackness beyond the glass.  The needles stab me in the feet again.  This time I try to wiggle my toes inside my shoes and then move my feet.  I hear a splash.  I angle the light down to the floor and see there is water up to my ankles.  A chill of realization shoots up my spine.  Somehow I am underwater.  The lighter slips from my fingers and drops into the growing pool of water covering my floorboard.
In a flash, I remember every detail of my life: the good times and the bad, the happy and the sad.   The thoughts come to an abrupt halt.  I can't think of a more terrible situation to be in.  I've woken up trapped in a pitch-black tomb of metal that is sinking slowly to the bottom of some dark lake, taking me down to my final resting place.
I draw in three deep breaths in a row, not because the water has risen that high—although it will—but because I am panicking.  Somewhere deep inside I am aware of a steady voice repeating the words "stay" calm." That voice however is being drowned out by my own screaming "get out, you're never going to see your kids again, you're going to drown, you're not ready to die."
Stop.   That first voice again, then silence, except for the dripping water.  It now occurs to me why I cannot open my door.  It has something to do with the pressure of the water surrounding the Durango.  There is air in the interior.  The door will open easily once the cab has filled with water.  I'm not sure how I know this, but I do.  It could have something to do with the Discovery Channel.  It could be because of physics class back in high school.
The water is getting higher, reaching almost to my knees now.  I am oddly calm, taking comfort in the idea of letting the Durango fill up with water.  Once it has, I will push open the door and swim to freedom.  Sounds simple.  I wonder how long I will have to hold my breath.  I wonder how deep I have sunk.  Am I still sinking?  If I do manage to escape, will I know which way is up?  It is so dark.  It is night and there is no light from above.
I turn the key backwards in the ignition and for a brief instant the power comes on—the radio blares, the speedometer and odometer glow green, the clock reads 9:55, and hanging from the ceiling the temperature gauge displays the number 34.  How long can a person last in 34-degree water?  My Discovery Channel knowledge fails to answer this time.  I refuse to be negative.  I have a wife and two kids.  Survival is the only option.  Once again it is dark. 
I reach into my back pocket and retrieve my wallet.  I flip it open and thumb to where my favorite picture of the kids should be.  Although I can't see the picture with my eyes, I can see it with my mind.  Little Rachel is on the couch holding Ryan.  She is two and a half.  He is four months old.  Rachel has blond hair and blue, almost silver eyes.  She goes to dance classes, can count to ten, and thinks that I am Superman.  Ryan smiles all the time.  He watches his big sister run and play, and seems to be taking it all in so when the time is right he will know exactly what to do.  For an infant he cries very little and he has a laugh that can melt my heart.  I kiss the picture and smile.
My smile is erased a split second later when I hear a sound behind me.  It is a small cough.  All at once my memory is restored.  Christmas.  Dinner at the in-law's.  Jen and I drove separately.  I left first and…I took the kids with me.


Historical Fiction from McBooks Press

Historical Fiction | Healthy Living | NY State | Sports

July 2013--Highlights 
 
 
William H. White, author of
Gun Bay discusses his new novel

Clark Faulkner remembers the pivotal battle of Midway

George Jepson reviews
Gun Bay
 

 

 
Quarterdeck cover, July 2013
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