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October '05 -- stories that Brad likes

Poker Night
  by Andy Henion

More Than a Little Impressed
  by Peggy Johnson

Down With the Ship, Yo
  by Brian Beatty

Crazy Jake and Me
  by Lincoln Michel

Sportscaster Reporting About Dwarf Athletes at the 1984 Olympic Games
  by Jonathan Shipley

The Time Hopping Inter-Era Pirate Talk Show Host
  by Nick Mainieri

Selected pages from a 'Choose the Adventure You Want' story
  by Brooks Callison

I felt the ship rocking, the creaking of the wood all around me, and dozed back to sleep. We hadn't been aboard very long and I was getting pretty used to the rocking and swaying. A few more months to go and then home. My room mate for this trip was only about three and a half feet tall, but he was a true warrior at heart. My dreams were filled with the excitement of the last few days. It was amazing just how we had gotten to this point, the point of still breathing. Truly amazing. My dreams were in color. I could still see the bright lights of Las Vegas and the excitement of the peddlers trying to get us to come inside and give them our money. They acted like we were simple, one celled organisms, with no sense at all. Maybe they were right. They did get my money before the night was over. After losing all of it at the carnival game section, where throwing ninja stars could bring in big money, I decided to go to the animal acts club down the block. I have never ever seen anyone control a bear or a lion like that, especially a Grizzly that large. It was really horrible when it bit the hand of a customer who was just stupid enough to pay to get his photo taken with it. I was next in line.

By midnight I was pretty hungry and went down to the restaurant next to the Chinese gardens. They had a great act going on there too. All the walls were covered with ancient weapons, battle axes, cross bows. You name it, it was there. The crowd, including me, clapped as they moved into our view. A group of Ninjas circled the audience and everyone laughed and thought it was great, until we found out they were robbing the place, not the show. The real performers were Samurai warriors performing a play from an ancient master, music and all. What a sight to see when they took out their phony swords to fight off the would be attackers. The ninjas slashed and cut their way clear of them all, they were gone. A large burley man, resembling a hairy alien of some sort, sitting at the table across from me, grabbed one of the axes hanging on the wall and threw it at one of the ninjas. No ones knows for sure if it hit him or not. The cops showed up and almost arrested the performers. Thank goodness it was all caught on security tape.

I walked down the street and decided to call it a night. A laser light show lit up the darkness. You could hear fireworks and see the colors as they exploded above the town. This place seems like someone's dream.

I met the little gentleman, a midget, excuse the term, at the hotel. I remember picking up my key from the deskman and noting him standing there. He couldn't see over the top of the counter. I tapped the desk. "I think this gentleman would like some help."

I motioned beside me. The clerk was very apologetic and explained thoughtfully that all the rooms were full tonight. I thought about it a moment and spoke up.

"Tell you what, I have a room with two beds, you can share with me tonight if you don't mind the company."

The small man grinned and held his hand out to me. "That would be great. Let me buy you breakfast in the morning. The Japanese restaurant down the block serves great food and if you like shark with Wasabai, you'll love it. Well, maybe not for breakfast.."

Well, that's where I made my mistake. I had no idea the man worked for the government. CIA to be exact. We hadn't been in our room for thirty minutes when there was a knock. I walked casually to the door and the next thing I knew, it all went dark.

I woke up onboard a ship. Of course I couldn't tell what kind but everyone wore U.S. military uniforms. I tried the door knob. It was locked. Sitting back on the hard cot I decided to just wait, like I had a choice.

Smiling and dusting off his hands as he opened the door, stood my small friend.

"I am so sorry. They thought you were holding me hostage and when they broke into the room to rescue me, well, here you are. As soon as we're finished with our mission we'll take you back, no worse for wear. Besides, how many civilians get to take a short vacation on a nuclear sub.

I finally learned his name, Harold, what a name for an operative. He took me topside and I climbed the ladder right behind him. There, all-round me was ocean. Clear blue, hints of green floating on the surface, bits of bullwhip-like seaweed, uprooted by the sub. It was really a sight to see. Later that day a smaller craft docked along side and I was offered a trip to the shore. I guess everyone knew no one would ever believe a thing I said and they'd be safe.

The hotel was old, smelled of must and mold. Harold talked quietly with the clerk, who kept nodding and smiling.

"We got you all lined up. A room, all expenses paid for a week. We'll contact your company so you'll have no problems. We'll be back in a few days to pick you up or send a helicopter.

I was speechless, here I am on some who-knows-where island. No money, just a midget's word that it's all going to be fine."

I looked across at the beach beyond the plate glass window. Kids were playing whiffle ball and lawn darts in the sand. Another boy played Frisbee with a dog that looked like Cujo. Gee, where am I?"

I stood there speechless as Harold paid the man and waved good bye. I wasn't sure what to do.

I made my way to my room. Grey looking walls and mosquito netting. The bathroom and shower, just down the hall. I decided to take a walk around this little resort, maybe get an idea where I was.

I passed a small bar of some kind when I heard a commotion from behind me, I turned and saw three large island looking people carrying Harold across the alley. Quickly and silently I followed. I watched as they disappeared into a small door. Pressing myself against the wall I waited. I slowly moved closer, hearing voices from inside.

I heard the explosion and then once again everything went black. So here I am. Laying on this hard, old bed, Harold on the top bunk, waiting for our turn topside. The walls are bare except for an old worn picture of a unicorn.

My cabin door opened and the one eyed man motioned for me to follow. You could smell the sea as its spray danced over the deck of the ship. My eyes adjusted to the light. I looked up to see what the flapping noise was from above me. I couldn't believe it. The Jolly Roger, the bright white skull smiling down at me.

Peggy Johnson has published 2 books with another on the way.A livng history/ rendezvous re enactor getting a lot of her stories from there. 2005 on week days and 1840's on the week ends, time travel at its finest.

Always tries to have a bit of an O henry ending to most of her work. Written stories for magazines like Easy Rider Kansas City Star and even for the Satellite television industry. Currently living in BF Missouri, with more cats than her husband prefers.