Brainstorm on Black Velvet

      Charles Hibbard
Brainstorm on Black Velvet

poems about life, love, old age, death, birds, beaches, nature, chemistry, time, guns, and mice. Along with the usual unanswerable questions.Welcome to the magical town of Cottontail Pines, where animals talk, and there is always a friend around the corner. In this new story called “Blacky’s Birthday,” Blacky the skunk wakes up on his special day expecting to be lavished with attention… and cake. Unfortunately, nobody seems to want to talk to him at all, and worst of all… no cake! Have all of Blacky’s friends decided not to like him anymore? And most importantly, will he never, ever get to eat any cake?! Find out what happens in this cute new story by T.K. Wade.
Read online

    Retirement Projects

      Charles Hibbard
Retirement Projects

Adrift in his new world of leisure and searching desperately for Enlightenment, a recently retired school teacher finds his life turned inside out by some new acquaintances, including his wife of 25 years, a crusty and menacing ex-cop, a coven of knitters, the Girl Upstairs, and a hyperactive canine.It was chilly in the room despite the heat of the rest of the house. I took my finger and traced it along the cold slab of cement. I inhaled deeply, to see if a recognized the smell in there. Nothing. I walked in circles around the room several times, then I turned to London with sadness.“I don’t remember anything. Are you sure this is where I lived for years?”London nodded.“It’s not doing a thing for me. I really thought it would.” I noticed the room had a mustard yellow aura. A shiver went down my back. I did not like the way the aura made me feel.London came over to me and put her thick arm around my shoulders. “I am so sorry, Alora. Maybe it is for the best.”I couldn’t believe that. Even if they had tortured me there, didn’t I deserve to know it? I tried to stop the tears, but they came anyways. I was so disappointed.“How about we forget this place and go get ice cream?” London said.I wasn’t ready to leave. I desperately wanted answers and had expected to find them there. Glum, I sat on the floor. I would stay there until my memories returned. Unsure of what to do, London lowered her large body onto the ground next to me. She pulled me into her and held me for over an hour. Her warmness softened my sorrow, but not by much. My bottom eventually got sore from the hard cement, but I wanted my memories.Finally, London said, “Alora, please. Let’s go. There is a bad spirit in this home. I can feel it. I am ready to leave, and you should be too.”She was right. I could sense something dark and negative there. I let her pull me up. I was upset I had failed to retrieve my memories. I had been convinced I would find them there. We walked out of the house, and I could feel the negativity melt off my shoulders.“Let’s get ice cream,” London said as she held my hand and led me across the street to her waiting car.I didn’t want ice cream. I didn’t want anything. I was so disappointed I hadn’t figured out who I was. The house was the only clue to my past. No one else knew a thing about me. If I couldn’t find my past at the house, then I concluded I would never know who I was.
Read online

    Wear Your Helmet

      Charles Hibbard
Wear Your Helmet

Poems 2016After Dr Trevor Guzmán had packed his meagre belongings into the boot of his dark blue Ford Capri he bid farewell to Potchefstroom. On the road to Johannesburg he picked up a hitchhiker. Little did he know that his life was going to change in the most unimaginable way.Three Days in Phoenix seems to be on the surface a simple fictional narrative. It embodies a number of themes which have intrinsic poetic value. It involves a journey in which the destination changes, it involve identity formation and identity plasticity in which the possibility of identity transformation reaches the realm of the unanticipated. It deals with the religion and the magic of religion and it deals with religious conversion and the probabilities and uncertainties associated with conversion. But it also deals with the work of contingency in shaping lives in unexpected and unanticipated ways. It invites us to entertain possibilities which are life changing and liberating . It states that we are free or we can find kinds of meaningful freedom in our unfreedom.Three Days in Phoenix, like Jonah in the belly of the fish, Phoenix transformedTrevor into new person. Three Days in Phoenix is an unforgettable experience in the world of Magic Realism.
Read online

    Your Hand, Please. Let's Walk.

      Charles Hibbard
Your Hand, Please. Let's Walk.

52 poems about life, love, death, history, and the beings we share the planet with.Metal Fatigue is an anthology of stories relating to prison, incarceration, hopelessness and hope. These are largely first person accounts of survival behind bars and give a visceral look at what it means to do time. The stories present a critical look at the prison system and the stats for those held behind bars. A child lost to the system, a father’s plea for reconnection.EXCERPT:Jimmy passed his eighteenth birthday locked inside a cold, stinky cell in the obsolete old city jail. The toilet obviously didn’t work, an issue probably for several years… running.He thoughtfully reflected on his dry-humor pun. Besides, no one locked up ever flushes the motherfucking john. Never. Revoltingly putrid fecal matter, left in desperation by prisoners with nowhere else to go, overflowed and formed a vile puddle at a low spot in the frigid concrete floor. The prison smelled like shit. Smelled worse than shit. His own more recent addition was beginning to decay.If Jimmy had been home for his birthday, no doubt his father would’ve treated him to a steak dinner at The Outback; and perhaps a ballgame at the stadium afterword. Instead, Jimmy celebrated with foul-tasting water—grey water reprocessed from sewer waste—and several slices of stale bread upon which a near-microscopic dab of something resembling peanut-butter could be found sticking near the center—if one studied it closely, of course. The rancid bread was always stale in this place, just like the air, thick with mildew and the smell of unwashed bodies. It all mixed with the reeking toilet to produce an odor more disgusting than sweaty armpit pubes set on a smoldering fire.Tonight, for the most part, a stifling quiet lingered throughout the cellblock. The only sounds being the incidental shout of a guard, the muffled moan from a prisoner, or the occasional fart from either. Every so often, a cell door clanked open, followed by scuffling noises signaling a new prisoner’s arrival.Two weeks forever, he’d sat there in solitary now. But he still wasn’t so desperate as other prisoners on the cellblock who would actually shit themselves just for a laugh. Two weeks plus three lonely days, he reminded himself, marking off another day on the wall with the sharp edge of a small stone, chipped away from a section of rotting-old concrete. He made the mark with an awkward jab of his left hand. His right arm hung broken, suspended in a dirty sling he’d torn from an old rag.Sinking down onto the cold concrete slab that served as a bed, Jimmy leaned his head against the wall and shut his eyes. He figured it might be nine o’clock… or thereabout, although he really couldn’t be sure. Maybe ten. His watch had disappeared on intake at R&D receiving the first day, along with all his other personal effects… confiscated for “purposes of security” by the prison R&D guards. Problem was, they’d never listed his expensive Rolex watch on that property receipt they’d forced him to sign under the threat of tossing him in solitary stripped naked.Any questions about time, or anything, for that matter, brought only taunts and trouble from the guards. Especially the big one called ‘Boiler Bob’—so named by the prisoners for those angry-looking boils in evidence on the back and both sides of his incredibly thick neck.“What’s time to a prison roach?” Boiler Bob would mock, his furry broken teeth bared in a cruel laugh. “Hah, I know! I bet you’re impatient for your next fine meal… is that it?” Invariably he and the other guards goaded the prisoners about the food: food so foul even the cockroaches all passed around it in wide arcs.
Read online

    A Burned-Over District

      Charles Hibbard
A Burned-Over District

An alien spaceship touches down in the sage brush near a small mountain town – or does it? It might be a message from Heaven, a futuristic weapons test, Federal surveillance, or just a prank. The town's resident fundamentalist secular humanist thinks he can solve the problem, between changing diapers, visiting his ex-mistress, and trying to come to terms with his own mortality.An alien spaceship touches down in the sage brush near a small mountain town – or does it? Some in the town of Mildred think the spooky apparition is a message from Heaven, a futuristic weapons test, or maybe just a prank. In the view of the town's resident fundamentalist secular humanist, the town has gone nuts, and it's his duty to hold back the flood of crazy ideas while simultaneously changing diapers, visiting his ex-mistress, and tending to his dying cat. Not to mention that's he's recently begun to believe in his own mortality...
Read online

    The Inelegant Universe

      Charles Hibbard
The Inelegant Universe

A baker's dozen of stories about wives, lovers, mothers, publishers, teachers, petty criminals, pigeons, and fossils of flesh and stone, with settings ranging from the towering Sierra Nevada to the flatlands of Indiana.When dance academy student Emilee must spend the night on a haunted stage as a part of a hazing ritual, she is terrified. For as long as she could remember, she has heard stories about the dancing mannequin with a silver, rust covered mask that prompts young ballerinas to dance in the middle of the night. When they want to stop, he snaps their bones, starting at their ankles and moving on to their necks. Still, Emilee is a logical person. She knows that there is no such thing as ghosts. After a man dressed in black wearing a silver mask comes on stage, she thinks that it is just enhanced hazing meant to frighten her. She is determined not to be humiliated and begins to dance with him. Only too soon she realizes her masked partner was not a part of the school hazing ritual. She has two choices, dance all night and suffer or let him snap her joints, one by one.
Read online

    Among the Mandolins

      Charles Hibbard
Among the Mandolins

A couple of dozen poems about a particular relationship, a particular planet, and a personal grab bag of memories and dreams.It's quiz night at the Red Lion - time for The Circleto pit their wits against the rest of the regulars......and each other.The sound of wedding bells is, most definitely, in the air!The story continues in the novella, Breaking Waves, and the In The Stars Part II (Cancer-Sagittarius).* * * * *In The Stars follows 'The Circle' of friends through a full year, with each episode covering the period of time indicated by the zodiac sign from which it takes its title.'Gemini' is the sixth episode of In The Stars, released in May 2014. For those readers unfamiliar with the series, 'Capricorn' (episode one) re-introduces the main characters, so you could pick it up from here and perhaps catch up with the previous books later (I hope you will!).The full novel of In The Stars Part I (Capricorn–Gemini) is also available for purchase as a paperback and ebook.* * * * *Some things are just meant to be, or sometimes it seems that way. Like old uni pals inexplicably moving to your hometown, or realising that your childhood best friend is the love of your life, or landing a star role in a hit TV series that could well be your autobiography.Fate, karma, written in the stars, or just bizarre quirks of coincidence?For better or worse, the events of the next six months will push the friends to the limits. For The Circle can expand and contract, but it is always whole; eternal.Set over the first six months of a year of The Circle, In The Stars Part I explores the day-to-day lives of nine friends from high school who are now it their late thirties, following them through celebration, loss, illness and life-changing decisions.What readers say about the Hiding Behind The Couch Series:"The remarkable characterisation in these novels is what makes them for me.""This story reminds me of my favorite movies about friendship and relationships.""Few authors have explored the depths of longtime friends within a group, or 'circle' the way Debbie McGowan has!""I have a love-hate relationship with Debbie McGowan's Hiding Behind the Couch Series. I love to read them, I HATE it when they're over."
Read online

    The Popcorn Dance

      Charles Hibbard
The Popcorn Dance

poems about nature, love, loss, aging, and riding the rapids of the tech economy like a fallen leaf.DANGEROUS DANA involves chasings, fistfights, chokings, stalkings, arrests, jail time, prison time and a series of murders. Dana has a violent temper. She is known for hardly ever smiling. She believes in revenge and will go after her target. At night, she would dress in a disguise like a black hat, black jacket, black scarf around the bottom of her face, black gloves, black pants, thick black shoes and dark shades when she stalks and follows her victims.Dana is not the kind of person who goes around looking for trouble, but if it happens to come her way or any member in her family’s way, she will become a psychopath and respond with violence. Dana fights like a boxer and believes in fighting fire with fire. Is she a savior, or is she a psycho? Is she a vigilante, or is she a homicidal maniac?
Read online