July 15 – July 28, 2021 Writing Prompt “Stalker”

Theme: Stalker

Required Elements:

  • must be from the perspective of the one being stalked, unwanted attention/advances etc.
  • or must be from the perspective of the stalker; desperate and unwanted attention/advances pushed upon someone
  • can be from either, or both, but must be from at least one of the two perspectives. i.e. not a story about a wife’s stalker told from the husband’s perspective.

*Note: it doesn’t have to have a negative connotation either. Maybe the stalker ends up the winner in the end, or maybe it’s someone who makes up a stalker for attention.

Word Count: 1,200

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42 thoughts on “July 15 – July 28, 2021 Writing Prompt “Stalker”

  • July 15, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    Read the stories here:

    (If you don’t see your story linked in this comment within a day or two, feel free to use the contact form to let Carrie know she somehow missed it.

    Meanwhile, please be patient, there is only one moderator, and she is not always online. We’ll get to it as soon as possible. Thank you.)

    • July 18, 2021 at 5:30 am

      Ken Frape, I’m sorry to hear about your loss. I hope your mother got to enjoy your writing talent. Now the her stories live on in you, to celebrate and carry forward.

  • July 17, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Roy, et. al. re: ‘Get you shit together…’

    Really? This from a guy who can’t even figure out how to write on an envelope in the dark? Jeez.

    Truth is, I’ve been traveling for three weeks, been in eight different motels and cottages, 14 states, a dilapidated shack in Maine for four days, a stately bed and breakfast built in 1830 in Virginia, (grandma’s room), the top of Mt. Washington, (there was nothing up there but clouds, I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re afraid of heights,) and frankly, the last few prompts aren’t doing much for me. “Why?” “Guilty Secrets?” Didn’t we do a guilt prompt just a few months ago? Are we recycling prompts now too?

    I appreciate the good-natured ‘grilling’ but I get to pick and choose too, just like all the other Kens.

    I’ve been writing up our experiences on this trip, (Kim and I) from memory, before I forget them. We’ve travelled over 3900 miles by car in the last month, never really leaving the east coast of the U.S. I’ve made a lot of observations about this country and us, as a people. No conclusions, just observations. The pandemic and economic fall-out has changed this country drastically in one year, in ways that no one could have imagined. Did it change us? Yeah. This is what I want to write about right now, the places we saw and the people we met.

    This country is like riding in the backseat of grandpa’s Ford Falcon right now. But it isn’t regulations that is holding it back, its stupidity, apathy and greed. Guilt, by contrast, is practically harmless and seems so much less important a topic.

    I read the ‘why’ stories but didn’t have time to vote, and haven’t even read the ‘Guilty Secrets’ stories yet. And only now have I had a chance to download them to read them later.

    Along the way I’ve lost my favorite masks, my wireless mouse and my favorite reading lamp. If that seems like I don’t have my shit together, so be it.

    I (oddly enough) already have an idea for this prompt, came up with it a week or so back, but the travelogue is my top priority right now. I think it’ll be interesting. We’ll see.

    I’ll keep you posted.


    Glad to see that Miles posted a story again. I’m looking forward to all of the guilt stories, but his most of all. He just dashed it out, spontaneously.
    (It doesn’t hurt that he dedicated it to me either.)

    • July 17, 2021 at 5:10 pm

      See, my prodding helped. We got some Ken ‘stuff’ straight from the heart. I hope we get to read the “American Chronicles As I See It” or is it “Travels with Kim”? Be looking for it all.


      • July 19, 2021 at 5:25 pm

        Ahhh, Ken Cart the sando
        Do I love yoour mental meanderings, what? You will will love my prompt. It’s gunna be right up your alley, my friend.
        Wait for it. I can post it to you for a head start but that is like giving Usain Bolt a fifty meter start in the 200meter dash, so you are going to have to wait for it….
        Sounds like you are a nomadic tribesman without the camels wandering the plains, hills and valleys of greater America. I am reading Greig Beck. Good writer but his third Primodia novel I have to take him to task on. The ending was shyte – pure and unadultered wankery.

        • July 21, 2021 at 11:07 am


          When you turn your wit to humor, the slice is so neat, one hardly knows they’ve been cut. Or how deeply. You wouldn’t believe what I’m reading right now… or trying to. I can’t even remember the name. I’ll go get it. ‘Tools Teach: An American Iconography (hold on. I should have brought the fucking book with me. I had it wrong too, anyway.) Tools Teach: An Iconography of American Hand Tools. *Selections from the Collections of the Davistown Museum and Liberty Tool Company. Hand Tools in History series. Volume 13; by H. G. Brack

          It’s about as exciting as one of Roy’s comments, but much much longer.
          It has pictures though. Very sexy pictures of awls, planes, tongs and – well, tools.


          ps. I have a much more exciting comment to make, but Kim is making me go and do some work on something that involves water and damp rid. ??? Will I need a snorkel? I hope not. It’s about a book that’s I came across at one of my stays.

        • July 22, 2021 at 9:19 am


          I read some reviews on that Primordia series. too many reviews maybe as I know far too much about the plot and how the first two books ended. Sounds like an incredible series though. Like you, many reviewers seemed disappointed by the third book. I’ve already got a slew of books on my plate and as much as I like (to read about) dinosaurs, I don’t like plots with holes in them. Or, as you say, ‘unadulterated wankery.’ I might try one of his other books and see if I like it though. He seems like an author that writes a lot of action into his stories. So thanks for the tip.

          So… what’s your prompt going to be on? Whataya want? Money? Gold? Kim’s phone number? A sharper shearing knife? And… What, exactly, would you consider ‘up my alley”? ‘Slyest fiction’? ‘Inaction adventure’? ‘Period (.) pieces’? (Screeds against the misuse of commas.)

          You have aroused my curiosity.

          • July 22, 2021 at 9:27 am

            You look at his Seed of Evil and tell me that my Silence prompt story (Burn After Reading, If You Read, Just Kidding, You Won’t) wasn’t just a huge parody of it, though much shorter.

      • July 21, 2021 at 10:50 am

        Not sure that was my heart speaking. I think it came from my gut. Not sure, definitely one of my organs though.

        • July 21, 2021 at 5:53 pm

          Roy, Now that I’ve insulted you I feel comfortable taking you into my confidence. I’m thinking of calling this travelogue, ‘Chronicles of a Chronic Chronicler.’ What do you think? Catchy? Or too many ‘C’s? Too much chronic? How about ‘More Bore-bitity.’ Sort of a nod to the pandemical and the boring. That’s all I got right now. But I welcome your suggestions. Feel free to take a crack at it. A name for a travelogue. “From Here, To There, and Back. On twelve tanks of gas.’ The Libertine Lobster Digest.’
          I don’t know. I got nothing right now.

  • July 17, 2021 at 11:45 pm


    You’re looking good this morning. What am I saying?! You always look good. But I especially like it when you put your hair up. You can see those bits of fuzzy hair on the back of your neck. I used to love to stroke them and twirl them around my finger. And there are some strands that are loose – kind of studied carelessness really: you loosened them yourself as you stood in front of the bathroom mirror, just like you’ve always done when you put your hair up. I like how it’s become fairer with the sun.

    And your skin; you’ve never been one to overdo it at the beach, like some of those women who take it to burnt-ochre levels. They’ll regret it later in life. Your skin, though … a perfect tan. Let’s face it: you’re perfect.

    Let me just get in front of you. The face of an angel. I don’t need to look really – I have it memorized for all time. But I like to see it because each day it’s slightly different, depending on your mood. Today I can tell that you’re happy, and that makes me happy. What is it? Work? Maybe Sean? I know he’s invited you out. I should be jealous, but you have to move on.

    Whatever it is, it’s made your face glow. Your lovely green eyes … there’s a kind of crinkle at the corners, like you’re about to smile. And that mouth – your full, satin-soft lips, also just this side of a smile. Let me see your teeth. There they are! That little chip off the front one. Others would say that makes you not-perfect, but when you take the whole … well, for me you still are. Because the chip has that story behind it – the sled accident in Aspen. And that’s part of your lovely history.

    Your nose, too. A little too big for your face? Not in my eyes. You’re self-conscious about it, I know – that on-line search for clinics. I do hope you don’t go down the rhinoplasty route, though. For one thing, you can’t afford it. I’ve seen your statements: you’re just a couple of pay-checks away from the red. But also, it suits you! If only I could convince you.

    I like your trouser suit – the same you wore last Tuesday. That shade of grey gives you a professional air but also goes very well with your hair and eyes. The white blouse is just right, three buttons opened, giving just the subtlest suggestion of … yes, go on. Lean over to stroke the lady’s puppy. Wonderful! Another thing you were always self-conscious about: the size of your breasts. You don’t need to worry on that score. Let me get behind you again. Yes, that trouser suit. You fill it out so well. The high-heels help, of course.

    Here it is. Let the others on first, as always; you’re so kind and polite. And … up you go. Force your way to the back – there’s more room there. That guy’s putting himself in front of you just to feel you brush past him. Dirty bastard. I’d like to … no, I can’t, I know.

    Full this morning, the bus. Putting your earbuds in, eh? I wonder what you’re listening to? Wish I could hear it, share it. I will share your magazine, though: “Nice guys or bad – which to go for?” Ha! That’s funny. What was I, do you reckon? It doesn’t matter. I don’t think I was really ‘The One’, was I? I would like to have been. Maybe Sean? Yes, I AM jealous, I can’t help it. But there’s not much I can do about it now.

    Your hands as you turn the page. I’ll never tire of them. Those long fingers, elegant, fluttering like butterflies, or floating like rare, luminescent creatures from the bottom of the sea, delicate and exquisite. If I had to choose one of your features, it might be them. But it would actually be impossible to choose just one thing. Luckily, I’ll never have to.

    Your stop. Eyes fixed on you as you get off, and not just mine. They have good taste. The walk to the office – one of my favorite moments. How smoothly you move, the high-heels no impediment. There’s a glide in your walk, confident. But here’s the thing: there’s no arrogance there. You could be conceited, what with your beauty and all. But no. You’re modest to a fault. Maybe you could be doing better in life if you were a bit more of a go-getter. But that’s you. You don’t want to get ahead, and it’s a choice. Contentment. I think that’s what you would call it.

    Stop for the newspaper. Those fingers again, caressing the coins before handing them over. Lucky coins. This guy gives you the eye too. No one is oblivious to your beauty, except you.

    Glide on. Those strands of hair, dancing in the breeze. I imagine your perfume – your scent, rather, the mixture of perfume and you – is flowing behind you.

    I wish I could smell you. I wish I could touch you again. I wish I could speak to you. I wish I could really be with you.

    The best I can do is follow. I worry that you’d be angry or offended if you knew, but I’m glad you never will.


    • July 21, 2021 at 2:10 pm

      Creepy and convincing. Where was this guy the whole time? I thought that he was getting on the bus and then riding it with her, but she would recognize him. Then I thought he was a ghost, with his ability to see so many details and remain unseen, but that would be a sharp turn. So he has to be viewing from afar (through binoculars maybe) in a car with tinted windows while he drives back and forth at strategically timed moments, right?

      • July 22, 2021 at 7:34 am

        Thanks, John.

        Well, I can tell you that … one of your theories is right. (There are clues.)

    • July 23, 2021 at 10:55 am


      I see another winner in the dialogue category again. (Why should I even try to write dialogue when you can win it without any?)

      I think what’s creepy about your story is the ‘proximity of the stalker/admirer to his victim.’

      I have more impressions on this story, some of which make me feel that the story is even smarter than I first realized, but in order to avoid spoiling it for others, I’ll reserve my comments until the end of the contest. Wonderful writing, though. I can say that, for sure.

      BTW Phil. Your, ‘The world was our lobster,’ comment had me giggling like an idiot for five minutes last night. That is absolutely brilliant humor.

      • July 23, 2021 at 2:38 pm

        Thanks, KenC. If it’s smarter than you first thought, then I’m probably missing something! 😉

        (The ‘lobster’ thing isn’t mine, sadly. But glad it tickled you … with its antennae.)

        • July 27, 2021 at 2:37 am

          Hi Phil,

          When I said I thought your story was smarter, what I should have said was ‘further.’ Your story goes further than I originally thought, if I understand the nature of the narrator.

          Which must be a ghost or a spirit, (I cannot imagine what else he could be), in which case, this guy is suffering from the worst crush in human or animal history which results in the most severe case of stalking there ever was. It’s kind of poetic justice with a light-hearted touch. I mean, the guy comes across as creepy, but powerless. Still, it’s an extreme take on the prompt and the description of the woman is very pleasing and very visual, which is, you know, a proper achievement.

          (Was it a ghost? I have to know. Could’ve been a dog, a giant ghost dog with invisible fleas. I suppose.) That’s too complicated. Why would you – come up with that? Are you crazy? Giant invisible dog fleas! Christ Phil, what’ve you been drinking?

          It’s also possible, is it not, that the narrator could be a pencil, a levitating pencil I’m guessing. I need help on this one Phil. Still like it though. Turning a pencil into a monster is a good trick, and you didn’t even mention the word ‘flea’ one time. So, kind of gotta hand it to you, Phil. For the girl though, not for the ghost.

          Still not sure about the ghost.

          I’m just messin’ with you. It’s an excellent story.

  • July 18, 2021 at 8:14 am

    Phil, this is so perfectly written, I don’t have anything to say that would help. I don’t know how you do it fortnight after fortnight, pumping out these excellent stories.

    Maybe it’s the way you cock your head, looking slightly upward, as you’re trying to think of exactly the right word? Or, how you scroll up, rereading, sometimes from the very beginning, to get exactly the right flow? I wonder if the way you lean back and stretch helps? I wish I could get inside your head.

    Whatever it is, I’ll keep watching … and learning … from the master.

  • July 19, 2021 at 10:35 am

    You’re much too kind, Roy (much!), but thanks.

    (I think you’re already inside my head because what you describe is exactly what happened. Or you’ve hacked the camera on my pc… 😉 )

  • July 19, 2021 at 5:20 pm

    You should be getting the Ransomware instructions any minute now. Bitcoin only, no Dogecoin.

  • July 20, 2021 at 10:36 am

    I have some ideas, but it will be hard to force them into words that normal human beings can appreciate!

      • July 21, 2021 at 11:02 am

        I’m so far gone that everyone looks about the same level of normal, except for the occasional Florida man in the headlines, so I can’t tell.

      • July 21, 2021 at 2:16 pm

        I almost wrote you into this story as the guy travelling the country because I was brainstorming when you mentioned your trip.

        • July 22, 2021 at 10:21 am


          I had a feeling you were channeling from my trip as I read your story. Glad I could help. By the way, I thought the title was excellent ‘too.’ I hope you don’t mind if I sidestep the discussion to point out that I’m frequently tempted to offer up headlines from one of the magazines I subscribe to called ‘Science News.’
          Last issue had an article on Zombie Fires.

          Some samples of the current issues headlines:
          1. Tardigrades’ Speed Limit. (Well sure, otherwise they would burn up on re-entry.)
          2.Whorls and Other Oddities Show Up in a New Map Of Human Brain Cells. (Nobody’s mapping MY brain.)
          3. Wolves help reduce vehicle collisions by scaring deer from roads. (The deer could not be reached for comment.)
          4. A telescope spots galaxies lining up in a giant arc. (If they start doing the ‘hokey pokey’ we’re in deep shit.)
          5. Ancient scales hint at a shark extinction event 19 million years ago. (An incomplete shark extinction it would seem.)
          6. Rabbit bones place humans in Mexico surprisingly early. (Who knew rabbits were so influential? And travel thru time.)
          7. Space radiation seems to be no big deal for mouse sperm. (Stop the presses.)
          8. Building a particle collider on the moon is worth considering, physicists say. (Well, they would, wouldn’t they.)

          In case you’re wondering, I never get ideas from this magazine. It’s science, man.

          • July 22, 2021 at 1:41 pm

            Every one of these topics is very interesting to me and I am jealous of your subscription!

            Zombie fires AND fire breathing dragon clouds are BOTH a thing?

  • July 21, 2021 at 9:38 am

    And Your Little Dog, Too
    By John Mansfield
    Word Count: 1,090

    Like dogs? Have I got a story for you! Drinks are on me, to keep you interested, but a warning: this isn’t one of those touching stories about the faithful pet that gets separated from their master. You know, where they go on a huge trek across a vast distance and get reunited with their family in the end? A heartwarming tale about the devotion of a stalwart companion and the child that wouldn’t give up on him?

    But there is a dog embarking on a journey. I wouldn’t characterize it as incredible, and the hound isn’t exactly homeward bound. Nevertheless, the damn thing is trying even harder than those cinematic canines to reunite with me. Call me a pessimist, but I don’t think that there will be a crescendo of uplifting orchestral music or a joyous dash through a field of flowers when it finds me.

    Why? Never mind that for now and look at my phone. See that little red dot? That’s the Big Bad Wolf himself, on his way down I-85 to my motel room as we speak. Don’t ask me how he knows which room, or which exit, or even which road. Just believe me when I say he can navigate! By smell, hearing, sixth sense, magnetoreception… or a combination of all the above? It beats the hell out of me… but he gets it done.

    Mind if I smoke?

    Yeah. Magnetoreception. That is what I said.

    Seriously! Haven’t you heard about dogs and magnetism? They always poop facing North… something to do with little crystals in their noses that respond to magnetic fields. I guess it makes their noses tingle when they face the right way… built-in biofeedback and all that. Don’t you ever wonder why they keep spinning in circles like a tricky combination lock when it is time to go? Just watch any video under the search “dogs poop facing North”. Pull it up on your phone right now if you still don’t believe me… I’ll wait.

    Crazy right? It isn’t the kind of news that you stop the press for, but it is kind of a cool scientific discovery when you think about it. I have. A lot. But only just recently. It could be related to the ENORMOUS HELL HOUND THAT IS STALKING ME ACROSS THE COUNTRY!

    Oh hi! Two Manhattans please.

    Sorry about that ma’am, I will try to use my inside voice from now on.

    Where was I?

    Oh yes, he won’t stop until he finds me. I could outlive him if I could outrun him, because dog years are much shorter than human years, but I don’t think that I can keep this up much longer.

    It’s not the funds. I am almost out of savings, but I could always find a job with lots of travel. Something that keeps me on the road. A new town every two to three days should do it. Keep him off the trail, buy some time so he never catches up. Trouble is, the nightmares and paranoia are a real bummer, you know, and I keep thinking about how to get closure.

    Just one night of sleep without dreaming about my throat being torn out would be just peachy.

    Could the answer be as simple as a beartrap or a nice steak with a few pellets of poison on the side? Should I just hire a professional? Would that even work?

    Or maybe explosives are necessary?

    Everyone knows that dogs can sometimes find their way back home across long distances, but this is different. A different motive, for one. Also, this mutt has been at it for a year now, and I don’t think that he will stop unless his heart does first (and even then, I have my doubts). Fifty-two hotels and counting, and nothing can throw him from the trail.

    I even started peeing in a bottle instead of stopping at gas stations and restaurants, because I read that they can track you that way, but it was no use. Sure, he walked around in a meandering circle for three days and I really thought that I shook him. But the morning of the fourth day, the filthy beast trotted right up to my car at the rest stop and scared the hell out of me, like he was giving me one free pass in the spirit of sport, then he turned and vanished into the underbrush.

    It is like I am the one with a chip embedded in me, the way he finds me no matter what I do. This is bordering on the supernatural. Dogs don’t do this. Hell, wolves don’t even do this. They can’t do this.

    What’s that?

    I don’t know why they need to poop facing North! The point was that they can navigate using magnetism. You know, to find that well that Little Timmy fell into or to make it home… or to exact revenge, or whatever. It is part of their skill set, one of the tools that they use, you dig? You’re focusing on the wrong parts of my story, guy, and I don’t much appreciate you derailing of my train of thought!

    Here comes our drinks.

    Oh, wow that was fast! Thank you so much and keep the change!

    ‘Bout time, you were beginning to lose interest. Bottoms up!

    Ahh, that is the ambrosia of the gods right there!

    Did I show you pictures? I don’t know what breed, German shepherd mix I believe, but isn’t he massive? And the red fur around the mouth makes it look like he is fresh from the kill, don’t you think?

    Oh damn you reek! How many drinks did you have before I showed up, anyway? All the better, I guess...

    I could really use your help, mister. It knows what I did to her, it saw through the blinds. That chain was longer than I thought, and he must have strained and tugged and pulled himself close enough to the window to see her final moments.

    Sure, I heard him barking out there. But he was just a dog to me then. He couldn’t call the cops, right? So, I just laughed and doused the place in kerosene, dropping my cigarette on the way out.

    But now I need to finish the job. How does $500 dollars sound to you? I saw that gun on your belt and you look mighty tough, what do you say, mister…

    Say, I didn’t catch your name.


    Howdy Officer Williams.

    One more for the road?

    • July 21, 2021 at 11:01 am

      Typo spotted, but that can wait.

      I had to go ahead and send it before I lost my nerve.

    • July 21, 2021 at 12:31 pm

      John great story. I enjoyed the twists and turns and the ending made me chuckle. I really enjoyed your story as it felt like I was right there in the middle of the conversation. Thanks for sharing such a fun read.

      • July 22, 2021 at 8:21 am


        My agraphia is pretty bad, if that is even what you call it.

        There are so many comments that I delete before I post, so many things that I stifle before I speak, and so many stories that I don’t even bother trying to write.

        There is no point in expressing something that won’t be understood or even heard.

        And no point trying to explain something to the unwilling.

        Most of this for me is really about yelling your pain out any how, not being heard and having someone answer your call of distress.

        That is why typing stuff and then deleting it still works for me, even though there is no visible output or progress.

        It is like when I talk to people who have stopped listening a few minutes ago… why do I do that?

        Couldn’t I just say it all to an empty room and feel just as good?

        Or how about type it all up and submit it, or even better, just delete it?

        Or maybe just not share it with the world at all, not even a word document that doesn’t even get saved?

        I wish I could write poetry, because I feel that my melancholia would fit that world better than prose.

        • July 25, 2021 at 1:45 pm

          You are actually fortunate, John. (And I think this comment will prove it.)

          I suffer from agravatia. A rare, but not unique condition, that compels thee uh, ‘sufferator’? The ‘invected’? (Me, I’m talking about me, okay?) It causes me, the patient! That’s it, the patient, to post too many things. To post what he or she is actually THINKING. It often causes the patient’s friends, colleagues, adversaries and even pets, to gaze at them in wonder and to frequently deliberate on the question of, not whether the patient is an asshole, but exactly which KIND of asshole. A perfect asshole? A dumb asshole? A royal asshole? The biggest asshole; colossal asshole, inconsiderate asshole… (the list goes on and on). And sadly, or happily, depending on your most recent interactions with the patient, (me), the symptoms and the descriptions fluctuate. This means I could be a flaming asshole on Monday, get up out of bed the next day and find out I’m just a frigging dipshit asshole.

          And let me tell you John, here’s the amazing part. I delete 90 percent of what I write too! At least! Can you imagine that? The sheer megalo-monument-titannical size of the cavity that all of my deleted ‘words’ could fill?

          Don’t think about it. Don’t do it. Don’t try to contemplate a ‘mound’ of work that big, John. (It’s not worth it. It’d be like looking directly at a pile of incandescent poop. It’s not the blindness, it’s the after-image.)
          The point is, (and what’s a good comment if it doesn’t have a point?) the point is…

          not only do you fail to get my sympathy, John, instead you’ve earned my envy. Imagine, a condition that acts like a cork in my face. I was kind of figuring I’d spend eternity that way, no matter which way I go.

          All kidding aside now John, I think, I believe (even though there is probably strong evidence to the contrary-which Philip will soon provide,) that poetry was a way to remember things before there was a written word or anything to write with. To me, poetry evokes emotions which is interesting sometimes, but as a means of communicating anything else, generally speaking, I think it sucks. I’m sure that most scholars would laugh at my opinion. (Assuming my brilliance hasn’t already induced convulsions.)

          And I admit that I’m prejudiced. I don’t really care for poetry
          My favorite poem is by William Blake. The Tyger. It pulls no punches and describes (but does not solve) the riddle of creation. Why would a benevolent God create such horrible things?

          Some ‘experts’ debate his intent on the use of the word ‘symmetry’ to rhyme with ‘eye’. (Well of course it’s meant to rhyme with eye.) That debate seems silly because his intent on its pronunciation is in the spelling of the title. ‘Tyger.’ And I think it was equally his intent to ask why ‘symmetry’ doesn’t rhyme with eye, even while he was describing the mystery of creation.

          See? Agravatia. (It’s life threatening, but in and of itself, not terminal.)

          • July 26, 2021 at 10:09 am

            That is exactly what I needed to hear and not aggravating at all.

            And I like that poem because it gets the job done and it kind of has fun, but it is not pretentious.

            There are references to Greek mythology and deep things in there, but Percy Shelley or Lovecraft would have name dropped about ten different things that would have made me feel dumb until I looked them up, and then I would just feel dumb AND like a poser AND annoyed at the useless flowery language. I guess it is esoteric elitism or something that makes me dislike so much poetry (and the rest is probably just my bad taste).

    • July 22, 2021 at 9:43 am


      This is an excellent story John. A wonderfully scripted tale. And really, it’s the order and sequence of the reveals that makes this story so much fun. It’s reminiscent of ‘Poe’s’ The Tell-tale Heart. But so much better because your story blends different genres into something even more diabolical. And, you did it all in under 1200 words. This is a really neat and nifty story, John.

      My only complaint, is that I can’t find anything to complain about. I couldn’t find your typo either, but I admit, when a story is as entertaining and well written as this, my error detection system goes on stand-by.

    • July 22, 2021 at 10:29 am


      Why is the type so small? Was that your doing or another glitch in the site? It’s noticeably smaller than the typeface in Phil’s story. At my age, and failing eyesight, bigger is better. If you diddled with the type or the fonts, the result is a smaller type font in the body of the story.

      As our former President would so glibly say, ‘Not good. Not good.”

      • July 22, 2021 at 1:23 pm

        You are so right and I am sorry about that – I think I started with Times New Roman in size 12 and never changed it.

        Thank y’all for the praise! – I think I might paint it up and submit it to Dog Fancy to see what they think?


        Or maybe Cat Fancy would like it better?

  • July 22, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    If you hold ctrl and mash – or +, it should zoom in or out (if you have the right browser and you are on a computer in the first place).

    Very annoying thing of me to say I know and sorry (I can’t figure out how to change font size here at all or I wouldn’t bring it up, I should have learned html).


    If you hold ctrl and alt at the same time and mash one of the directional arrows, it makes the entire screen rotate!

    (Holding ctrl and alt and up at the same time should fix it back to normal).

    DON’T do this to yourself.

    But DO memorize how to do this to someone that really deserves it, then come back at the right time to see if they are giving themselves taco neck or if they actually just googled it on their phone!

  • July 22, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    Testing font size.

  • July 25, 2021 at 12:29 am

    In the Flesh. (Revised.)
    WC (975.)
    ©7-23-21 K. Cartisano

    In the business I’m in, nineteenth floor corner offices are not coveted for the view, but for the status they bestow on the occupant. As such, I was content to gaze at whatever the view afforded me. Still, I have to confess a moment of disappointment when I realized my only view of the Delaware River was in the reflection of the towering glass edifice next door.

    Under the circumstances, it was not surprising that she escaped my attention at first. After all, she was little more than a remote stranger in another building, visible because of the glass walls and the close proximity of our two respective offices.

    From my vantage point, one floor up and fifty feet away, it was impossible to see much detail, let alone her features, just the general impression of a successful, well-dressed woman. I had much on my schedule to occupy me over the next few weeks, but at the end of each day, my attention always returned to the woman in the next building, and she was usually there, often alone, always working.

    One morning I arrived and saw her standing on a rare and exclusive balcony. A breeze was tousling her hair and ruffling her clothes and she seemed suddenly much more intriguing. I took the stairs one flight down for reasons no more complex than idle curiosity and found that there was a conference room and some vending machines for executives just like me. I took a seat by the window and observed the woman more closely.

    She was—strikingly unremarkable in her buttoned-down suit and beige shirt. Her dirty blond hair was pulled back into a shapeless bun. I don’t know what it was that made her unattractive, maybe it was the shape of her face, her pointy chin or strong nose, but she was not entirely unappealing. Perhaps her solitude enhanced her allure.

    As I watched, she glanced up, not at me, but to the floor above me, and in that supplicating pose, she seemed almost vulnerable, or so I imagined, and badly in need of something. Friendship? Solace? I don’t know what.

    I began making inquiries, about the building, its occupants, and her, all with the utmost discretion. I watched her with even keener interest from that point on, and couldn’t help but admire her work ethic and punctuality. But she looked worried sometimes, and I wondered how I could help her, and maybe even get to know her.

    I hired a private agent to find out where she lived, and I admit, I went there a few times and parked across the street. I didn’t actually watch her, as her house was built on a hill, and it simply couldn’t be seen from the street. I merely guarded her driveway and brooded over ways that I could be more useful to her. By this time, my admiration was so intense, it felt like passion.

    The background information I’d paid for was useful in that it allowed me to begin throwing small but intricate jobs her company’s way. It kept her in the office for longer hours, which suited me fine since I was working nights too. Coincidentally, she was even easier to watch at night, in the glow of the office lights, than in the daytime.

    It was on one of those evenings that I first saw her kick off her shoes. She rubbed her eyes, pushed her chair back, and flipped those heels, one at a time, halfway across her office. She had exquisite ankles and delicate feet, long and thin, each toe adorably painted with glossy pink toenail polish. I could see them clearly through the binoculars I’d purchased.

    I sent her flowers, anonymously, a few times. After the first bouquet, she started throwing them into the trash. I sent her notes, all charming and complimentary. She laughed at the first two, after that she just discarded them, unread. It was clear that her response to my anonymous attempts to fraternize in some way, appeared to be dismissal. The gambit was simply annoying her and she was not interested in anonymous praise. She probably wanted to meet me.

    So, I decided to present myself in the flesh.

    I was a secret admirer, a silent benefactor to a woman who, by now was practically my idol. I don’t want to say I was in love with her, or anything weird like that, but I had learned so much about her that I felt like I knew her, but I didn’t, really. Not yet.

    I wore my nicest suit that day, splashed my face with cologne, and combed my thinning hair. I took the express elevator downstairs, plucked a couple of flowers from the vase in the main lobby, walked to the next building and took the freight elevator up to her floor. I knocked on her door. I held the flowers behind my back and plastered a nervous smile on my face. There was a peephole in the door and a bright overhead light came on moments before the door opened. I looked down as I shuffled my feet self-consciously, and gasped when I looked up. A large, plastic weapon was pointed directly at my chest.

    I don’t remember the actual shock of the taser, or how she managed to drag me inside and duct tape me to the chair… but I could hear her on the phone with someone, and she was telling them she’d caught the stalker.

    The stalker?

    Thank God it’s just a misunderstanding, Once I get the chance to explain, I’m sure she’ll think this is as funny as I do. But first, I’ll have to get her to rip this tape off my mouth.

    • July 26, 2021 at 9:54 am

      Wow – you made me feel bad for this guy actually, though he really crossed the line a few miles back. It is the degree that makes it stalking and not just… the typical kind of “reconnaissance” that an admirer might do before approaching their crush. He obviously is kind of a creep with boundary issues, but there was a point at the start where he was just a guy with a weird kind of crush, before it got darker.

      And now I feel like a creep, so thanks for that.

  • July 25, 2021 at 4:06 pm

    By Roy York
    1106 words

    For the most part, I’ve been invisible all my life. Not really invisible, like the guy in the movie, but people just don’t see me. It’s like I don’t exist. So, when she looked right at me, I knew she didn’t really ‘see’ me.

    I’ve been watching her for weeks now. I first saw her at the library, her mind deep in a book. As I walked by she looked up and I realized, at that moment, she was the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. I also knew she didn’t see me. No one ever does. But I saw her – and she would never be long out of my sight again.

    I followed her home; casually, of course, using my ‘invisible man’ powers confident I wouldn’t be noticed. She lived in a nice apartment complex not far away, and a few days later, I was her new neighbor. That certainly simplified things. Following her was easy. It took me about threes days to figure out her schedule.

    I am independently wealthy, thanks to a sizable inheritance, which enabled me to rent a second apartment with windows looking directly into hers. Now, I don’t have to stand in the shadows to watch the woman I love. Since I don’t have to work, I can schedule my time to match hers. It’s pretty easy. I try to sleep a little while she sleeps and get in a few more hours while she works.

    I wanted to hook up cameras so I could watch her more closely, but that would make me a creep, I think, so I satisfy myself just staying close. That’s all about to change. My plan is to make her see me … to notice me. Then, I can introduce myself, and we can start dating.

    * * * * *

    He doesn’t think I see him, but I do. I didn’t notice him at first, it was just a sense of someone following me, but whenever I turned around, there was no one there. Last week though, I stopped and acted like I was just window shopping. Sure enough, I saw someone, standing on the other side of the road, so I continued on. Every time I stopped so did he. I didn’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to figure it out.

    When I was closing my blinds one night, I thought I saw the same guy standing in the shadows. I turned off all the lights and waited, then peeked out. It was him, for sure. That’s when I started carrying the gun. I started taking different routes to work and have considered using Uber instead of walking, but my budget couldn’t take that kind of strain for very long. And a private detective is out of the question.

    I tried taking pictures using my phone, acting like I was taking a selfie, but they really didn’t show him well enough to use as evidence if I went to the police. If this doesn’t stop soon, that’s my next step, going to the police.

    I don’t know how I managed to forget to close the blinds that one night. I was getting ready for bed and was completely naked when I realized it. I must have looked silly, standing there, one arm across my breasts, and a hand over my pubic area, knees bent inward, hoping against hope ‘he’ wasn’t out there, when the open blinds realization sunk in.

    I saw a reflection in the window. Oh my God. It was a face. One I would recognize again, I think. I’m sure the short scream I heard was mine. I ran to the window, modesty forgotten. Well, I’m sure the creep got the shot he was looking for. After I closed the blinds I got the gun and dialed the police. I can’t face this alone any longer.

    * * * * *

    She’s started taking a different route, to work lately. What’s up with that? I have been extremely careful not to get too close, but then, it can’t be that she’s seen me, can it? That doesn’t happen. When I went to my father’s funeral, the funeral director, with whom I personally made the arrangements, actually said, “Are you family, or a friend?” It’s the story of my life.

    So, I’ve been even extra careful, staying back farther, watching from the apartment that can see into hers. That night recently when she left her blinds open was an eye opener. I couldn’t believe my luck. Then something must have spooked her, because she quickly tried to hide her nudity with her hands and arms. Suddenly, she screamed and ran to the window. I will never get that vision out of my mind as she stood there in all her glory trying to close the blinds.

    It was time to start my plan. First things first. I started out slow. I acted like I needed to borrow something. She’ll probably only remember it’s the guy across the hall, and I’ll bet she couldn’t pick me out of a lineup if I was the only one in it.

    Maybe not, though. For the first time, I was sure I was getting more than a disinterested glance. It was like she really saw me, Maybe my plan will work after all.

    * * * * *

    The police were very nice. I knew I couldn’t give them much, but they promised they would have someone watch me for a few days. I think one of the policemen would have volunteered, the way he was looking at me. I’m so tired of being stared at by men, all playing the same porn video in their head, with me as the actress and them the male lead. Friggin’ perverts.

    I was told to use the same route for the next few days, so they could have stakeouts in place, whatever that means. It was the third day, when shortly after leaving my apartment, I heard a loud voice yell, “Stop. Police! Raise your hands.” I turned around and there was a man with his hands up. Some body shouted, “Gun,” Two shots rang out and the man crumpled to the ground. A policeman came out of nowhere and said, “We’ve got him.”

    Then they took me to over to the man who lay there. There was no gun I could see, just a silver cell phone. One of the policemen rolled the man on his back. “Recognize him?”

    A sadness settled over me as I looked at the man who, strangely, looked like he was sleeping. I looked at the cop and stumbled over my words. “This isn’t the man who looked in my window. This is my new neighbor.”


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