The Spare Husband, a Short Story

      Angus Brownfield
The Spare Husband, a Short Story

Jack Bishop avoids a second trip to the altar until his first wife and her maid of honor close in on him, posing a dilemma.Timing. Bad timing. Married too young, married before all the possibilities can be explored, Jack and Carol Bishop part ways but after the raw wounds heal become friends. Meanwhile, Jack maintains a perpetual letch for Lorna, Carol’s bridesmaid. Years later he discovers she always felt the same about him. Bad timing: now she’s married. Time had brought about another change in Carol’s life, a second husband cut down prematurely, leaving a sadder, wiser and strangely more alluring widow. Jack’s consoling takes a decidedly physical turn: now he can't get enough of Carol. She holds out for marriage and Jack, not getting any younger, accedes . . . only to learn Lorna’s a free woman. Bad timing.
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    Bread to the Wise--Book I of The Libertine

      Angus Brownfield
Bread to the Wise--Book I of The Libertine

Bread to the Wise is Book I of The Libertine trilogy. Robert Gattling falls in love with Mary Clare Morrison, but won’t woo her because he’s lost his mojo after accidentally killing a man. Mary Clare, on her way up from the pit of despair, decides to woo him. But she is used to the good life provided by sugar daddy V. M. Meany. Meany goes after Gattling. Gattling fights back. Who will win?Bread to the Wise is Book I of The Libertine trilogy. In 1964 Robert Gattling is an assistant vice-president at a prestigious university, a wunderkind. By 1972 he’s a janitor. Bad things end a life-long lucky streak. He begins recovering his mojo when a mentor, Jake Pritchett, urges him to woo beautiful, classy Mary Clare Morrison. Obstacles impede the way to true love. He’s used to easy conquests of women who attract him. He has lost the self-confidence to approach a serious relationship with someone like Mary Clare. She too has a mentor, real estate tycoon and political king-maker V. M. Meany, who rescued her from drugs and a degrading relationship and now keeps her in a penthouse apartment. Gattling and Meany battle it out. Jake gets involved and ends up shot by a Meany hired thug. When Meany threatens to rip Gattling’s face off, Mary Clare shoots him. Jake dies, Meany survives. It’s like the bad things that interrupted Gattling’s lucky streak come back to haunt him. Is ardent love enough to bring him back from the depths? It has worked magic on Mary Clare, but will she wait patiently for her lover to lay his ghosts and face life in a loving relationship? Tune in.
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    Galluping, a short story

      Angus Brownfield
Galluping, a short story

Jarvis, a Gallup interviewer, encounters a strange, not to say deadly, respondent who takes orders from someone named Benny, who seems to have known Jarvis was coming. Is the large pistol on the couch to frighten him, or is this Jarvis’ interview with Death?A young man, Jarvis, is canvassing for the Gallup polling organization when he encounters Howard, a subject who alarms him. The man turns the interview around, asking Jarvis about his most interesting “customers.” Howard swears he knew Jarvis was coming. Howard has a large revolver sitting next to him on the couch. He wears black gloves and sunglasses. He is either nuts or psychic. Fearing this may be his last interview, Jarvis looks for ways to escape before Howard shoots him or completely demolishes his nerves.
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    Sneakers

      Angus Brownfield
Sneakers

Strange things are happening when China begins exporting designer athletic shoes to the US that sell for less than cheap canvas shoes. Is there a connection between the shoes and violence that erupts on playgrounds across America?Kermit O’Doyle, a paraplegic, works as an analyst on the China desk of the CIA’s Economic Analysis Unit. He’s tasked with discovering why the Chinese are flooding the US with designer hi-tops that sell for less than canvas sneakers. Everyone wants them and soon they’re outselling America’s top brands. But violence follows the shoes onto the playgrounds across America. Moreover, Kermit and the paraplegics he plays wheelchair basketball with are beset with unusual nervous reactions since switching to the Chinese sneakers. Is there a connection? If so, how to react to China’s ominous economic attack.
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    Where Am I?

      Angus Brownfield
Where Am I?

Richard learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished.Where am I? The question is paramount. In total darkness, at the side of a dirt road, Richard is paying for breaking up an instance of domestic abuse outside an Albuquerque saloon. Attacked by the woman he thought he was rescuing and then by two of her assailant’s friends, he is knocked cold, hogtied and left in the middle of nowhere to die of the things you die from in the middle of nowhere. But someone else is out there, too, and he’s praying that the driver of the truck he hears will spot him before running over him.
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    Day of the Dead

      Angus Brownfield
Day of the Dead

A family of gringos camp by the highway from Tijuana to Mexicali and experience some strange goings-on as the Day of the Dead advances to night.Beseeched by a pair of Mexican boys on the Day of the Dead to assist their kin with a broken-down pickup, Californians newly crossed into Mexico are puzzled by the encounter until they learn the true nature of their visitors.
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    The Hummus Dealer of Meknes, a short story

      Angus Brownfield
The Hummus Dealer of Meknes, a short story

Mustapha is a young man selling hummus in the medina of the city of Meknes. A rival opens her hummus stall opposite his and soon steals away most of his customers. Convinced she has a secret ingredient he can never discover, Mustapha intends to end his life. His rival saves him with a highly unconventional proposition.Mustapha is young and unmarried. He works diligently, preparing and selling hummus from a stall in the medina. One day Annisa, a newcomer to Meknes, offers him a proposition: marry her and she will share with him her secret recipe for outstanding hummus. She is nearly old enough to be his mother and he dreams of a young bride who will give him many sons. Naturally he declines. Soon Annisa, who opens a stall opposite his, has taken most of his customers, who are convinced she has a secret ingredient that makes her product superior to his. Mustapha cannot discover her secret and cannot continue to survive selling so little hummus. He is about to hang himself when he is rescued by Annisa, who is willing to give him her secret if he won’t end his life. The question is, is Mustapha wise enough to accept her gift?
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    The Crossing, a short story

      Angus Brownfield
The Crossing, a short story

A family from the States, on their way to Costa Rica, run into trouble crossing the border into Guatemala.Conrad and Margot, having driven the length of Mexico from the States with two small children, are crossing the border between Mexico and Guatemala at Christmas time. He has hunting weapons, and permits from all the interveneding countries to carry them into Costa Rica. An incident in Guatemala has caused all gun permits to be canceled, and something strange has happened to the colonel who signed the gun permit—he doesn’t exist any more. What would have been a lengthy process at that time of year, turns into a day-long ordeal.
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    The Birdman

      Angus Brownfield
The Birdman

Can a mathematical genius with zero social skills save the world? One man thinks he’s got as good a chance as any.Pushed to the point of mayhem, mathematical genius Donald MacDonald is booted by a high tech megalith and embarks on a new career: art. He gains a public following chalking large drawings on downtown sidewalks while he embarks on a mission to paint exactly one hundred and fifty-three portraits of birds, birds that live only in his imagination. Problem is, he forgets to eat and sleep, and when he finally collapses one day, in the midst of chalking, he ends up in a psych ward. There, one man, perchance named Dr. Crane, decides he’s tired of watching earnest but benighted souls like Donald MacDonald get consigned to the booby hatch.
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    Iphigenia

      Angus Brownfield
Iphigenia

Agamemnon, elected leader of the Greek expedition against Troy, must submit to an angry godess’s demand for human sacrifice or face rebellion from the assembled army.Artemis, angered by the actions of King Agamemnon, stops the wind, bottling up the Greek fleet waiting to sail for Troy. To placate her, Agamemnon must sacrifice his daughter. He delays as long as he can but must consider the consequences for himself and his kingdom if he waits any longer.
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    The Line That Deserted Him

      Angus Brownfield
The Line That Deserted Him

In a bar, a clever sot is observed conning a naïve fellow patron for drinks and money.In a bar, a down-and-outer relates a tale from his former life in order to win the sympathy of another patron, who plies him with drinks. The arc of his story aims downward, until the other patron, thoroughly depressed, leaves money for the down-and-outer as he leaves the bar. Afterwards, the narrator, the bartender and the down-and-outer frankly analyze the effects of his tale.
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    One Night Stand

      Angus Brownfield
One Night Stand

A man who loves jazz meets a woman who plays jazz and they make beautiful music for one night.Quincy happens upon Annie at a party he was reluctant to attend. His reluctance turns to eagerness when he discovers Annie plays all the tunes he ever wanted to sing. The girl of his dreams, or is this just too good to be true?
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    The Deep Blue Sea

      Angus Brownfield
The Deep Blue Sea

A sprained ankle, anemia and conflicted feelings in 21st Century San Francisco.Carlos Robertson asks his long-time friend, Fredrick, for help with a problem of the heart. There are two women, one a lover, one a friend, but accidents of time, space and the flesh are obscuring the distinction in his feelings. Fredrick’s advice is on target, but not what Carlos wants to hear.
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