Flammable

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Flammable

By Dan Leicht

He walked into the bookstore and took a match to the bookcase closest to the door. The first book to catch fire was written by a man who believed himself the best cook in all of South Dakota. The pages burned longer than the recipe called for, making them illegibale in the process. Marcus Silvo, the cook, would have been disappointed. His book did catch fire the rest of the shelf however, so even though his book wasn’t selling it was still having an impact.

Larry, the shopkeep with a glass eye, pulled in a long breath and let out a deep sigh. “Bonkers,” he uttered. Larry’s mother had used that word in place of swearing when he was a child and it stuck. The forty-two-year-old former car salesmen broke the glass and finagled with the fire extinguisher. By the time he figured out how to use it three firemen had broken his front door and put out the flames with a two-hundred-foot hose. The bookcase fire was put out but the floor looked like a makeshift aquarium. Larry once had a goldfish he’d won at a ring toss game at the carnival that lived five years.

Twirling the pack of matches between his fingers, whistling a tune he’d heard eight times, he felt invincible. His life prior to that moment had been nothing but homework and home cooked meals; nothing had ever happened to pull him into the next moment with enough tenacity to grab the world like a meager plaything.

“Edmund,” said his mother, he’d just entered the house and removed his shoes. “Dinner is ready.” His hands still yearning, like a man who’d just won a fistfight, eagerly grabbed at the taco ingredients placed about the table.
“I saw a peculiar story on the news just now,” said his mother, her voice bold.
“Oh yeah?” replied Edmund.
“That bookstore where Kristen works was visited by a pyromaniac.”
“Was she there when it happened?” he asked, pretending to be concerned.
“Edmund,” his mother said, her brow aimed down at her plate. “You can’t blame her for everything.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He pushed his chair away from the table and excused himself to his bedroom. Alone he sifted through a book on his desk consisting of other way he might get Kristen’s attention. While dragging his finger across each line of page sixteen he was distracted by a succession of pebbles at his window.
“Edmund! Edmund! Edmund, open the damn window!” He closed the book and lifted the wooden window frame. Standing in his backyard was Kristen in a dark blue hooded sweatshirt, torn up jeans and soccer cleats. “If you were trying to get my attention you have it now,” she said. “My mom told me about the fire at the bookstore.” Her voice was insincere, but Edmund was happy just to see her face.
“You suck,” he replied. He pushed the window down and latched it shut.

 

Dan Leicht 2017©

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The time Jeremy ran into a burning building to save a lobster

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The time Jeremy ran into a burning building to save a lobster

By Dan Leicht

 

It was no ordinary Wednesday evening when Jeremy found himself standing in front of a lawn chair store. The weather was nipping at his nose, turning it red, perhaps even a bit shiny. He was enamored with the relaxing lawn chairs on display in the window. “I’d sit right there and eat a hotdog,” he said aloud to no one because he was alone outside wearing sandals with socks on in thirty degree weather.

In his mind, the world of imagination his pediatrician warned him about, he was picturing a world where he could sit back in the chair and crack open a refreshing bottle of ranch dressing. He’d be enjoying the sun as trolls stopped passersby (since he lives next to a bridge), all from the comfort of a brand new duck-print lawn chair with detachable cup holder and attached headrest.

“Stop drooling on the window,” warned the manager as he stepped out from the establishment to lock the door. “You should try actually coming in one of these days and sit in the chair to give it a try.”

“Someday,” Jeremy replied, his fingers caressing the glass as the shopkeeper rolled his eyes and walked away. On his way back home Jeremy took his usual route, which lead him right past the old abandoned flammable liquids factory. There was a sign next to the factory that read, in big red letters, “HOT STUFF IN HERE, KNOW WHAT I’M SAYING?”. He knew,  he knew all too well. The building had been closed for years now and every time he passed by he thought about that fateful night.

Read more ›

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The time Jeremy played the accordion at an aquarium

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The time Jeremy played the accordion at an aquarium

By Dan Leicht

 

It was 1938 and tickets to the aquarium cost only a nickel and a smile. Waiting in line, alongside an elongated suitcase, was Jeremy, the golden child of Harvey’s Hardware. His hair was slicked back and his suspenders held up his brown knee-high pants.

“Are those pants meant for children?” asked a woman in line.

“I’ve had these here pants since I was a wee lad,” replied Jeremy. “I’ve had too many adventures in these pants to give up on them just yet.” The woman raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips. She didn’t approve of his sense of fashion. Her elegant lavender cape fluttered in the wind behind her, slapping an elderly man in the face. The elderly man’s name was Reginald, but that’s not important to the story.

“One ticket please,” said Jeremy, once at the front of the line. He gleamed a smile, but seeing the facial expression of the ticket clerk assured him the money should do just fine. With ticket in hand he entered the aquarium ready to be dazzled by the world of the ocean floor. The walls, the ceilings, in some cases even the floors, were covered with what looked like green wallpaper. Every few feet there were small fish tanks with some goldfish swimming about. Read more ›

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The time Jeremy saved a duckling from a sentient raincoat – short story

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The time Jeremy saved a duckling from a sentient raincoat
By Dan Leicht

Have you ever heard the story about the time Jeremy saved a duckling from a sentient raincoat? Of course you have, it was all over the news in 2004, but for those wishing to relive the majesty of the moment here it is again:

It was a dreary Tuesday when the golden child of Harvey’s Hardware clocked out, at 3:30pm, and headed to his hovercraft. The leopard print-glitter infused grip around the steering wheel made the driving experience all the more emotional as he began his venture home. Songs from the mid-to-late 30’s filled the hovercraft’s interior while handfuls of popcorn and a mysterious green substance were consumed by a rattlesnake in the back seat. Read more ›

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Giant Yogurt Monster By: Dan Leicht

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Giant Yogurt Monster
By Dan Leicht

He pushed the yogurt about his plate with the underside of his spoon.
“Don’t play with your food, Jeremy,” said his mother. She was on her computer at the other end of the table, glancing up at her four year old son every few minutes. On her screen was a story she’d been working on for the past couple months.

“It’s squishy and looking at me,” he replied. He was mimicking the faces he saw in the pile of vanilla flavored goo. From across the table his mother couldn’t see the yogurt wink, or the way it reached out to shake the boy’s hand. She didn’t notice the pile of yogurt stand up on the plate, jump down from the table, and run into the living room.

“May I be excused from the table?” he asked. He was looking over his shoulder at the runny yogurt trail leading out of the kitchen.

“Sure, just place your dish in the sink,” she replied, her eyes not leaving the bright screen. She was entranced in the story of fiction she was creating, not paying attention to the one happening right in front of her. Read more ›

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Riley (Short Story) – By Dan Leicht

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Riley
By Dan Leicht
12/18/16


It had been a shitty day. He walked into a bar after work and sat at the counter. The bartender, Riley, placed a coaster in front of him. “What’ll you have?” she asked. His fist was holding his head up as he slouched. “Whiskey sour,” he mumbled. The drink took only a few seconds to make and cost five dollars. He opened a tab and ordered several more before leaving.
It was winter and traffic was moving especially slow. He made a couple stops before finding his way home later in the evening. The first stop was to a local pet store where he bought a puppy. He didn’t need a puppy, his rent was going to increase because of the puppy, he had no idea how to train a puppy, but life had to change. Arriving home from work each day to an empty apartment was becoming dull. The second stop he made was to a gas station where he grabbed some beef jerky, a couple energy drinks, a pack of cigarettes, a lighter and filled his tank. When he arrived home he placed the puppy on the floor beside the couch and headed to the bathroom. After showering he spent the rest of the evening shampooing the stains out of the carpet made by the puppy. Thinking of a name he decided to go with Riley, seemed fitting enough since the stains took only moments to make but cost him plenty of time to get rid of. Before setting his alarm he turned his laundry basket into a makeshift bed for Riley using an old comforter. Read more ›

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Hidden Gem – By Dan Leicht (Poetry)

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Tranquility – Poetry By Dan Leicht

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Cabernet – By Dan Leicht

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Cabernet

Together they open a bottle of wine,
the one that’s been in the cellar since they returned from Paris
a decade ago. Two glasses are filled half way,
followed by the satisfying cling as they meet in the air. She takes the first sip
as he still stares at the red liquid swirling in his hand. He’s thinking
about the small shop they stopped in while trying to escape the rain.
He’s thinking of the elderly man behind the counter with the inviting smile.
He’s thinking about the hour they spent looking at all the bottles of wine,
picking out the one that now resides on the kitchen counter. He’s thinking
about everything that’s happened since returning from their honeymoon.
He’s thinking about their daughters asleep in their rooms upstairs.
He’s thinking about how the wine will taste.
He’s looking forward to looking back on this night.

©Dan Leicht 2016

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ambidextrous – A Poem – By Dan Leicht

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Some perfect elixir resting in the hand not holding the pen, swapping when the fingers grow too cold

Spilling out some story to purge your mind before venturing back out into the deep, often times intimidating, landscapes

Break a sweat outside one day and spend the next in front of a laptop in a storage space you’ve made into an “office”, but feel fulfilled at what you experienced the day before, knowing you saw a chunk of the world you had previously left undiscovered for years

Try something new on your day off, for yourself, for others to listen to when they ask ‘How was your weekend’, a grueling, but necessary, conversation starter for the smalltalk of the work place

You did something dangerous, stupid, but fun as hell, and it becomes your favorite story to tell all week, to tell the pages of your notebook, the keys of your laptop, the neighbor sitting outside every day you come home for work. She’s looking for conversation, been retired for years, so sometimes you’ll sit and talk. You learn about her life, she inquires about yours, and both of you feel enriched for the experience

Climb to the top of the rock wall, the mountain, your latest adventurous endeavor, without considering how you will get down, that will be it’s own adventure. Look down every so often so you can see how much you’ve accomplished, use the distance to raise your confidence. Grab all the necessary spots to pull yourself even higher, sometimes even taking a leap of faith towards a rock you thought too far from reach, use both hands to keep yourself steady, use everything you’ve got to move forever forward

 

 

 

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