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Books by Quantum Muse contributors and friends.
Transdimensional Blues

Raymond Coulombe
Outrunning the Storm

Michele Dutcher
The Tooth Fairy War and Other Tales

Jeromy Henry
The Dreaming Fire

Jeromy Henry



Michael Cole

Richard Myers sipped his coffee in the break room.  To say he was upset would be and immense understatement.  Thanks to his bosses’ last minute addition to his work load, he was going to work late this Friday.  Again. 

That makes what, the fifth Friday in a row, he mused.  Or is it the sixth?  He had lost track of them.  Seems like I’m a doormat for their incompetence, he laughed to himself.  Ah well, he thought further, not like I had plans anyway.

“Penny for your thoughts.” A soft feminine voice interrupted.  He looked over to see Raven, a short skinny blond co-worker of his.  Almost childlike in her appearance, Richard wondered if her name was decided on before her birth.  Personality and looks, there was nothing dark about her, like her name suggested.

“A bit overpriced.” Richard replied looking at the bottom of his cup.  Raven sat down and looked at him.

“Come on,” she prodded, “I can tell when someone is upset, and right now you are absolutely glowing with anger.”

Richard took a deep breath, examined his cup again, stood up and went over to refill it.  All the while Raven just watched, a caring smile painted on her face.  Richard was a bit aggravated, bubbly personalities at times were more than a bit of aggravation on him. 

He sat back down and sighed.  “Okay,” he muttered, “I am going to lose out on another Friday night.  The boss has added a mountain of paperwork that will take me hours to input into the computer.”

Raven had a puzzled look on her face, “Why not just spell them onto the hard drive?” she asked, “Like the rest of us?”

Richard had a confused look about him, “Of course I spell them.  It is what makes them into words.  I doubt Mr. Davis would be happy at entering random letters…”

Raven laughed, “No silly. Spell. Use your magic.”

Richard looked at his coffee cup and wondered what was in it.  Then looked a Raven and wondered what she had gotten into her.  She had said it so matter of factly, like he would if he were discussing the weather or the Astros lack luster playing this season.

It had to be a joke, he thought.  He snorted, “Better than that, why not just spell myself to Tahiti for the weekend?”

She beamed, “That’s the spirit.”

He shook his head.  The girl had lost touch with reality, he thought.

He added, “If that’s the case, why not just spell Davis into oblivion.”

Raven had a look of fear and then said slowly, “Well, I got to run my breaks over.”  Before Richard could say anything she was gone.  He shrugged and went back to his office.

Several minutes later he heard pounding on his door, and it open.  In walked a man in a shabby suit followed by two uniformed police officers.  Richard looked over at them annoyed. 

“Richard Myers.” The officer said more as a statement than a question.

“Yes.” He shot back.  He could do without more interruptions.  The officer motioned to him.

“Come with me, sir.” He said, “You are under arrest.”

“Under arrest?” he said incredulously.   “For what.”

“Terroristic Hexing.” The officer said, “You have the right to remain….”

Richard almost let out a laugh till he saw that the two officers in the doorway had pulled out what looked to be wands and had aimed them at him.

Read more stories by this author

2009-09-28 06:06:48
I agree. However the previous critique is legible and does offer constructive criticism. One will not improve if one simply ignores their predecessor counterparts.

2009-09-27 19:42:21
I think that we do a diservice to this and other authors when we hold them to past writers standards. Did the author try to copy an O. henry story, or just think that this was the best way to tell the story? Most likely he did not even take Mr Henry into account. That would be like comparing every basketball player to Michael Jordon, it is not far to him or the other player. Could this story have been embellished a bit more? Of course it could have. I hope that this was not the author's best effort, and that he learns from his mistakes and grows. The cliches were a bit over done, but then again, we do talk in cliches today. I cannot remmeber the last time I told someone or someone told me when I spoke that I was using cliches, evenwheni did. A good author has his character sopeak the language of the day, not the language that English majors deem appropriate. Work onyour stuff Mr Cole, I think with some tweaking this has potential, despite what others say. O. Henry had his detractors in his day as well

2009-09-10 04:13:37
Sorry, I realise it was unhelpful to only say I hate the story so here I am being helpful. First thing I hated: The plot is clichéd piffle. The build up to climax is little more than idle chit chat. Also the attempt at emulating an O.Henry style ending falls well short of the mark. Second part I hate: the development of character is completely unengaging. One feels more connection with his doormat than with the protagonist (which leads to the intended twist ending becoming meaningless as no reader would feel any emotion towards the mans arrest). Third part I hate: the unoriginality. The lack of imagination and thought put into dialogue in this story is inconceivable. "Penny for your thoughts" went out of fashion years ago and is a terrible cliché. Also using the same word as an adjective and verb in one sentence makes it seem clumsy "Richard was a bit aggravated, bubbly personalities at times were more than a bit of aggravation on him." I could go on with more helpful stuff for ever but sorry I’m stuffed. Let’s just say I won’t be putting any money in the tip jar.

2009-09-09 09:01:16
Number one: I hate this story & I love this story (see below) doesn’t help any of us become better writers. Beyond that, I’m partial to stories from cubicles – because I spent the majority of my life in one. So I enjoyed this small tale. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could simply spell a report? The whole issue of who’s nuts and who’s normal (for their environment) was well played. The only thing that I was disappointed in was the punctuation. I know that stories in Quantum Muse are critiqued over and over, so why the punctuation in this piece is so badly done remains a mystery. For instance: As is: “A bit overpriced.” Richard replied looking at the bottom of his cup. Should be: “A bit overpriced,” Richard replied, looking at the bottom of his cup. As is: Richard was a bit aggravated, bubbly personalities…. Should be: Richard was a bit aggravated: bubbly personalities… As is: “Richard looked at his coffee cup and wondered what was in it. Then looked a Raven and wondered what she had gotten into her.” Huh? The 2nd sentence doesn’t even have a subject. I’d rather see: Richard looked at his coffee cup and wondered what was in it. He then looked over at Raven and wondered what had gotten into her. Corrections: “Well, I got to run (passable – modern phrasing), my break’s (contraction of break is) over.” “Richard Myers,” the officer said, more as a statement than a question. The rest of us need to be a little more diligent – if these stories are going to be the best that they can be.

2009-09-04 02:12:40
Dumb and Boring. I hate it.

2009-09-02 13:30:07
Smart and Funny. I Like it.

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