The Land of Sleeping Rocks – A Short Story

Every morning the boy stared at the ocean. Once all he could see was the water, but now the boy saw other things.

A sailor with one leg had told the boy there were other lands than the island he called home. Lands with rocks that sleep and birds that speak. Before this conversation with the traveler the boy knew the island of his birth was not the entire world, but he was not aware of it. Now to the boy the horizon was not an end, but a beginning.

The boy took one step into the water. “What are you doing?” The girl asked him.

“I am leaving this place.”

“Why would you do that?” she asked. “Do we not have everything we need here? Trees that feed us, lagoons to swim, sunshine to keep us warm, our families, our friends…?”

“We do not have rocks that sleep, nor birds that speak. There are no dragons that breathe fire nor women with tails of fish.”

“We do not need those things.”

“I do.”

“Oh,” she said sadly.

The boy had known the girl longer than he could could remember and he wished not to see her hurt. “You could come with me.”

“No, I can not.”

“Then I will bring you back a sleeping rock.”

“That will be nice,” she said. Those were their parting words before the boy dove into the ocean.

He swam further than he ever had before. Past the breakers, through the crashing waves, beyond the reefs that were home to the fish. He swam until his arms ached and then he kept swimming. The sun rose and set and was then followed by the moon. The sea was more vast than he ever imagined. Its tides were unrelenting, but he found the strength to keep kicking. He had a promise to keep. He told the girl he would bring her a sleeping rock. He would look foolish if he failed.

As day turned into another day and then yet another he saw a dot. It became a hope and then a glimmer and then a certainty. It was land. He stroked with all the force he could muster and let the water do the rest. Then he tumbled into a sandy beach. The boy put his hands into the ground and pushed himself up. His knees nearly buckled, but he took one step after another to see a bed of sleeping rocks.

The boy picked up a stone. It did not move in the slightest. The boy figured it was a sound sleeper. Before the boy could examine it further a bird with feathers of the rainbow perched next to him. The bird stared at him. Was this the bird that spoke?

The boy asked him, “Where am I?”

To which the bird replied, “Where am I?”

The boy stepped closer to continue the conversation, but the movement scared the bird. It flew away as quickly as it arrived.

This was a spectacular place, one beyond the boy’s imagination. But still the boy’s heart was heavy. He had spoken to the most amazing bird, but there was no one else to witness it. No one to make certain it was not ill effects from his day at sea that was speaking to him. Perhaps if someone else was there he would not have behaved so rashly. The girl, for instance, was smart. She would have advised him to proceed cautiously. Maybe then the bird would have shared stories from the sky. Fortunately he still had the sleeping rock which he put in his pocket for safe keeping.

The boy walked along the coast. As far away as he was, this new land seemed eerily similar to his old one.

He heard footsteps. The man with one leg had warned him not all foreigners were friendly. There were pirates and cannibals out there.

The boy dove into the brush. He tried his best to stay hidden, but was too tired to keep still. He took out the rock and shook it with all his might. An awakened rock would surely scare off any villains. But it was no stranger he faced, it was the girl.

“You are back!” she said. She hugged him strongly.

The tides the boy realized were stronger than he estimated. They had taked him in a circle. “Yes, I am back.”

“We were worried you would not return.”

“Of course I came back. I promised, didn’t I? Here….” He handed her the present. “It is a sleeping rock.”

“Oh, why thank you,” she said as she wondered if all the rocks on their beach were also sleeping.

The boy was too tired to move. Meanwhile the girl was occupied inspecting him. So it took them both by surprise when they heard a yawn and then a cry. The rock was awake and it wanted something to eat.

Just Another Date Night in the Year 2030 – A Short Story


Just Another Date Night in the Year 2030 – A Short Story


David Rolland

Wow the work week flew by. Friday night already. Let me check the date app to see who I want to go out with tonight. I’m feeling like something cis norm.

Scroll. Scroll. Ah, let’s get a close up. Oh, never mind according to her menstrual app, she’s showing potential for moodiness. Scroll. Scroll. Let’s get a hologram. OK! Even better she hasn’t streamed this week’s episode of The Walking Thrones, so she won’t give any spoilers. Let’s do it! We agree to a reservation at eight at Chez Le Drone which has received tremendous Yelp reviews.

I schedule a driverless car pick up. Hee hee, what a hilarious holo video of a cat getting run over. Car’s here. I rate it, but begin to get annoyed by the podcast blaring In the speakers. I text to turn it down, but I have to pay a subscription fee for a noiseless ride.

She said she’d be sitting in the back by the window. There she is. I’ll rank her on the dating app before I say hello. A ten on punctuality and a 9 on looking like her hologram. WTF? She ranked me a 6 on punctuality and a 5 on false advertising.

We greet. She already ordered for me based on my profile. The wine is red and the meat rare. We discuss various amusing Tweets and controversial Instagram postings. It gets a tad bit awkward when the drone asks if we would like more to drink and I realize I’m a bit low on Bitcoins. Fortunately, she has already reached her maximum caloric intake for the day.

As she stands up I realize I am aroused. Perhaps it is the wine that makes me feel so forward when I ask her, “Your AirBnb or mine?” She offers hers, but first insists I log onto a sexual relations app. She uses Consexual. I download it and look over the contract. It’s fairly standard. Fifteen minutes of foreplay before touching privates. No posting of videos without her prior approval. Rear ends are off limits.

I punch in my PIN and an hour later we are laying in her bed rating each other’s performances. I give her a 10 with the good faith that she will do the same for me.

I keep refreshing the screen waiting to see how she rated me, but she is obsessed with the number of likes the pictures of her undressing are getting. I begin to feel a strange sensation like something is missing from the night. A void, an emptiness, that is until she asks, “Want to watch The Walking Thrones?” 

I then feel complete.

Pain Killer – A Short Story

I had been to doctors, physical therapists, yoga classes, and chiropractors, none could help with my back. On the best days it was uncomfortable, on the worst I am at a lack of words to describe. It had become an ever present weight, one that had me swallowing pills wholesale and saving up money for an experimental surgery. So I was open minded when a man stopped me as I limped away from the counter with a cup of coffee.

“That looks painful,” he said. I contorted my body to fit into the booth and managed a smile that my pain could be acknowledged.

“What do the doctors say?” he asked before recognition seemed to creep into the eyes behind his rimless glasses. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to intrude. It’s just I recently recovered from an injury that looks quite similar to what you’re suffering.”

“Really?” Months earlier I might have been cynical that he was trying to sell me something, but I had grown desperate and was willing to buy whatever anyone was offering.

“Yes. My hip was out of whack quite like yours and my shoulder was lower and I’m sorry, just looking at you is bringing back terrible memories.”

“How did you heal?”

“I found a doctor.”

“Can I have his name?”

“Yes, of course.” There was a long pause. It felt long anyway. “I must warn you that he is not a conventional doctor.”

“Is it reiki? Acupuncture?”

“It is unique. Dr. Woh works in realms that I have never been exposed to. But his his results are for me anyway, extraordinary. And his price…”

“If he can heal me, I will pay any price.” I said it and I meant it. The man who then introduced himself as Stephen Lyme gave me Dr. Woh’s address. On the train ride home I looked for evidence of Dr. Woh’s existence on the internet, there was none. Instead I found on-line profiles for Stephen Lyme, For the last year he looked a man of 35 in fantastic health, but the pictures from a year earlier portrayed misery. His spine was askew in a grotesque manner. In the dozens of photographs the camera could never seem to grasp him with a genuine smile.

After work the next afternoon with my pain being on what I would describe to doctors on a scale of 1 to 10 at a 6, I made the trek uptown. I tried to hope for the best and expect the worst, but as I walked down the stairs to the door marked 7707 I could not help but feel I was wasting my time. This looked more a dingy basement apartment than the office of a miracle worker.

But still I knocked.


I saw a buzzer and rang it. When I lifted my hand to knock again the door opened.

An older man opened the door with a beard reminiscent of alfalfa sprouts. I was about to ask if he was Dr. Woh when he spoke in an English accent. “You are not well.”

“No, Dr. Woh.” I was unsure what to say next so I apologized, “I’m not sure, is that the right way to pronounce your name?”

“Come inside.” He rushed me in and placed his hands on my hips trying to push them into alignment. Of course they would not stay settled. “This is bad. Rotten.”

I looked around. The bookcases and the desk and the futon couch made it evident this was a basement apartment, but I asked anyway, “Do you need to see my insurance card?”

Again he did not answer my question. “This looks very painful.”

“It is.” I assured him.

“Would you like treatment?”

“Yes! I mean, what would that entail?” He poked my leg with his bony finger then traced up toward my stomach. “Forgive me for asking so many questions, but I’d like to know what I’m getting into. I have limited funds and…”

“You can pay me what you think is fair.”

“That sounds… fair. Yes, I would like you to treat me. Please.”

He turned to open a door I did not notice was there. We walked in and he began lighting candles until I could see there was a red circle painted on the floor with a star in it.

“Is that a pentagram?” I asked.

“Yes, you have a demon within you and I must pull him out. Please, step into the star.”

I did as he said. he began speaking, nearly singing in a language I did not understand but imagined to be Asian. Chinese? Japanese? Korean? I could not say. I tried not to stare as he hopped up on one foot, but then he kicked me right in the stomach and I began to vomit. Green, black, and brown liquids spewed out of my mouth. As I was coughing and spitting and letting out all this bile, Dr. Woh was carefully collecting my refuse and jarring them in glass containers.

“You maniac!” I shouted out along with a litany of curse words when Dr Woh pointed out something I had not realized.

“How is your back?”

Not only was I standing upright, but there was no pain, no discomfort. “What did you do? How did you do that?”

“You had a demon within you. I took him out.”

“That is it?”

“I must dispose of him properly or else it might return, but yes otherwise this demon is done with you.”

“So there are no follow ups, no anything I should know?” he said nothing merely twisted the lids of each jar with great care. I went into my wallet and gave him everything I had knowing full well that was not enough. Even if the pain came back later that night or the next day, he gave me what no other treatment could provide, a moment of peace. “Thank you, doctor.”

He accepted the money and said nothing else.Then he opened one door and then another and I walked out into the night air. Or perhaps I walked on the night air. I was confused. I felt free and was unsure how to express my good health. I decided to click my heels the way they did in old movies. Even on the landing I felt fine. A jogger almost ran into me and I decided to follow him.

I felt fine. I felt great. There was an awning just out of arm’s reach I took a couple steps and leaped and touched it. This was remarkable. Life for so long had been a burden, now it felt like a blessing. There was so much to do. Old friends to see who had undoubtedly given up on me after so many turned down invitations. Places to visit that seemed too much of a trouble due to my affliction, I could now frequent. Genres of lifestyle like adventure, romance, and even comedy now seemed within my reach.

Then one day I saw him. The smile, the love for life was gone, his hair unkempt and his eyes staring down at the sidewalk. Most distressingly he was dependent on a cane. “Stephen!” I called to him. He did not look up so I stood in his path. “Stephen Lyme.”

He looked me up and down and managed a, “Hello”.

I did not know how to address his ill health, so I ignored it, a response I loathed when I was the one in pain. “I’m so glad I ran into you. You were right. Dr. Woh was a miracle worker. I’m off to play tennis now. Tennis! Can you believe it?”

“Yes. Yes, I can.”

“Is everything OK with you?”

Hunched over he looked at me like the idiot I was. “No.”

“What about Dr. Woh? Can he help you?”

“Dr. Woh’s services are too expensive for me at this point.”

“I’d be happy to lend you money. It’s the least I can do. Your recommendation improved my life in ways—“

“Excuse me,” he said as he limped past me. “It was good to see you, but I must make my way to the pharmacy.”

It was an odd exchange, but one I did not ponder too deeply. I was too occupied tasting fruits that had been kept away from me. I began exchanging flirtations with Jayne in accounting and looked into a weekend flight to New Orleans.

Then one morning the pain returned. Not a gradual tweak, but rather a full and excruciating reversal. After pushing myself off the ground and devouring whatever pills I still had at my disposal I took the trip toward Dr. Woh.

I knocked at his door.

No answer.

I knocked harder. Still no answer. There was no phone number or e-mail to reach him at so I sat, until I had to lie down at his curb. Hours later the door opened and I stood up with great difficulty. “Come in,” he said immediately.

Without him asking I expressed how the pain had returned. He said nothing until I begged, “I need you to do what you did before.”

“What I did before was what you would call a one time only—“

I interrupted. “I understand you must charge me. I will pay any price.”

He looked at me. A deep look. “You are desperate for good reason. This demon you have attracted will not be so easily fooled.” He stepped into the pentagram room. I quickly followed. He turned on an awful avant-garde music as he lit his candles.

He motioned for me to sit where I sat before and then left the room. I counted the seconds and then the minutes until he cured my agony. He returned with a jar that he handed me. In it was a little white mouse, the kind they use in laboratories or that you buy in a pet store to feed a snake. “As I thought this demon is not receptive to the same methods. It requires blood.”

I knew where this was going, but refused to believe it even as he handed me a knife. “I need to kill him?”

“Yes, and you must drink his blood.”

I wish, not truly, but more for reasons of empathy, that you could feel what duress I was under before you judge me. Perhaps then you would not consider what I did next as harshly. I behaved like a man lost in the desert who came across an oasis. Maybe it was all a mirage and the water I was drinking was just sand, but I had to try. I took the knife to the rodent’s throat and swallowed until there was nothing left.

I could not tell you at what point the creature stopped squirming because immediately the nausea kicked in. I spat out that black, brown gruesome tar and as I regained my senses I felt fantastic again.

I thanked Dr. Woh profusely. He did not smile. He knew much better than I that the cure was temporary.

Whereas before I was healed for months, this time it was only weeks until I needed to visit him again. I came prepared, stopping at a pet store and purchasing one of those mice. Dr. Woh shook his head and directed me toward  a restaurant’s kitchen where I paid for a rooster. It is true what they say about the bird, it does continue to move after you cut its head off.

The next healing or exorcism or whatever you should call it involved a snake. The following one required a cat. I did not feel as badly as you would think about slaughtering a dog as I could touch my toes again afterward.

As I stretched I felt the need to ask Dr. Woh what would be next. Would I require a horse or a monkey maybe? It was worse.

“The next step will require human blood.”

I thought long and hard about who I might be able to coerce into aiding my well being. I figured I could offer some vagrant money to follow me into the pentagram. Perhaps it would require drugs. I told Dr. Woh, “That will not be a problem. Next time you see me I will have the proper sacrifice—“

Before I could fully finish the sentence I felt the sharp blade of his knife puncture my throat. As my insides seeped out Dr. Woh feasted on my blood.

Turned out I was not the only one to suffer from back pain.


Love or Money


All of my friends/

are at their ends/

deciding which way to live.

Some say it’s love/

others say it’s money/

I’m not sure which side should give.

Love or money/

Hundreds won’t call you honey/

But they buy you friends that will.

Blankets keep you warm/

Sheltered from the storm/

But still you’re alone/

with the wind.

Love or money/

Hundreds won’t call you honey/

But they buy you friends that will.

Road Trip

Filled up the gas tank/

emptied the account blank./

Quit serving fries/

time is gonna fly./

Bring the guitar/

forget about the north star./

We’re going to go/

Down to Chile whoa./


Aztec descent/

save money on rent/

Past the canal/

change of locale/

will do us fine./


is a scary monster./

This is not a con sir./

We’re going to go/

down to Chile whoa./


Puppet regime/

this is my dream./

Don’t drive so slow./

No one we know./

We’re going to go/

down to Chile whoa./

We’re going to go/

down to Chile whoa./

The Turtle and the Vulture – A Short Story

There once was a turtle who lived in a lagoon. His home was slowly being drained and he needed help. He walked into town and found a telephone, rotary of course. Using his snout he was able to dial the Environmental Protection Agency after much effort, only to be told to speak to a live operator he had to push one.  As the turtle walked back to the lagoon he learned he was too late. It was now barren and dry and a vulture was picking at the carcass of his friend, the toad. The turtle screamed at the bird in his turtle voice. “What are you doing? You killed my friend.”

“No, he’s long been dead. I’m just making sure he doesn’t go to waste.”

“Why would he be dead? You killed him.”

“No I didn’t. He wasn’t moving.’

“He was probably sleeping.”

“No. I doubt that quite much.” The vulture stopped for a moment to pick at the toad’s stomach before explaining, “When sleeping we dream.”



You hung a man with a broken noose

when you’ve got a golden guillotine

The Pied Piper of Hamelin

Is stealing your every scene

The hardest part of keeping

your eyes closed

Is not knowing who delivered

that thorny thorny rose.

Sleep, sleep, sleep

through your dreams

You never went to the cemetery

unless you were dead.

But every Saturday to the aquarium

right out of bed.

All the fish could agree

you were their favorite girl.

The shark, the oyster,

the coral and the pearl.

Sleep, sleep, sleep

through your dreams.

Another Letter From Memphis


Chased a dragon from Memphis.

Tried to grab his tail.

His grasp proved elusive.

Now I’m spending time in jail.

Got time off for good behavior.

Found a job in a store.

Pretty girls use the entrance.

I go out the back door.

Can’t get myself no credit.

Governor took away my vote.

Got nobody no how

took off on a freighter boat.

Always thought blue was a color.

Now I know it’s a name.

For those who go on living

desperate without shame.

Cupid – A Short Story

“Where’s my money?” Brian had his thick hands around my neck. His spit was unintentionally getting all over my face. He was angry enough that I thought I could take him in a fight, but my girl was in the next room and she’d never talk to me again if I caused another scene. “Give me my 700!”

“I can’t give it to you now.” I threw Brian my empty wallet.

“Fuck!” He punched the bathroom wall with all his might. He flinched at the impact. It probably hurt his hand, but he wanted to keep his rep as a big, bad enforcer, so he grabbed me with his other hand. “I guess I’ll just have to beat the money out of you.”

“What good is that going to do? How about we settle this a different way. What do I owe you, a couple hundred?”


“I’m having dinner with my girl and she brought along her single, gorgeous friend. How about I introduce you to her and we call it even?”

“You’re joking.”

“I’ll even pay for dinner.”

“I thought you were broke.”

“I got a credit card. Come on, I can tell you’re lonely otherwise you wouldn’t be picking fights in public bathrooms. Shes a real good girl. The kind you never get to meet. We got a deal?”

“If I stay more than five minutes I’ll cut it off by a hundred.” He shook with his left hand.

“OK. And if you marry her I get to be best man.”

I took care of the reason why I went to the bathroom in the first place and then Brian followed me out. The restaurant was fairly empty. What were the odds the one violent idiot I owed money to would be eating there? The food had arrived. The girls were already eating their pasta.

“Sorry for the delay, ladies. I ran into an old friend. Brian, this is the love of my life, Veronica. And this… this is Ramona.”

I could tell by the way Brian shook her hand that I only owed him six hundred now. Ramona always flattered people when she first met them, she flattered Brian by simply smiling at him. He was a big guy and his face was all red from our earlier altercation, so it wasn’t like she could compliment him on his complexion. “Brian just got in from out of town and his refrigerator was empty, so he was going to be eating alone. I told him that was ridiculous. Would you ladies mind if he joins us?”

“Not at all.” Ramona said as she moved over. When just I could see Veronica’s eyes she let me know she knew something was up. I would have married that girl if she didn’t know me so well.

Brian took his seat. Things were awkward for him since we had our food and he didn’t even have a drink. Ramona asked, “Where were you?”

“What do you mean?”

“Weren’t you out of town?” she asked.

I shouldn’t have made up a lie. Brian didn’t seem like someone who could ad-lib, so I stepped in. “He was in Chicago.”

“I love Chicago!” Ramona said. “Did you like it?”

“It’s OK, all the cities seem the same to me.”

Brian was hurting for conversation so I threw the little doggy a bone, “Ramona’s a world class traveller, so you better be kind to her favorite cities.”

“I went to Europe once.” she corrected me.

“So I was right. You’ve been around the world, you’ve got class, and you’re a traveller.” I felt a kick under the table. It could have been any of them, but my money was on my girl. A second later she excused herself. Ramona also followed her to the bathroom.

I egged the big galoot on, “I think she likes you. Why didn’t you tell me you’re such a ladies man?”

“Shut up!” He was embarrassed. He really did like her.

“How about we take another hundred off?”

“We had a deal.”

“The deal was for five minutes. It’s getting closer to ten now.”

“You’re a son of a bitch.”

“I’m not the one who sucker punches people in the men’s room. That hurt.” I looked over. The girls were headed our way. “You better make your decision quick. I have to figure whether I go home with a headache or I suggest we head to another bar.”

Brian was sweating it out. The girls were coming closer and closer and then he relented. “Fine. You owe me 500, but no less.”

“And you pay for dinner.”


He probably would have hit me again, but Ramona came to the rescue. “You guys seem in a heated debate.”

I couldn’t stop myself. “Brian offered to pay for dinner. I said that was ridiculous. He didn’t even order anything, but then he said…”

I’ve got to hand it to Brian, he took it like a real champ, or chump, I’m not sure which. “I’ve got it.”

“I wasn’t going to let him pay, but Brian reminded me he owed me.”

“You’re a real prince.” Veronica said sarcastically.

We walked down the street and I never saw Brian with such a hop to his step. I knew I was doing a good deed and like the Bible or Benjamin Franklin said, “No good deed goes unturned.” I must have had a real wide smirk when I saw Ramona brush her hand against Brian’s because Veronica asked me, “What are you up to?”

“Just playing cupid.”

“He better not be another of your jerk friends. Ramona’s a real good girl.”

“Brian’s a real good guy.” Before she could ask me to elaborate I pulled her out to the dance floor. She shook her hips the way she did. It wasn’t often that we danced. She was excited and she was begging me to take her home. We walked up to Ramona and told her we were going to leave. She looked like we told her there was no Santa Claus. But Brian offered to take her home and then I didn’t hear much from either of them. Brian never even called looking for the money I still owed him.

Veronica left me a little bit after that. Last I heard she was in Vegas tending bar. I remembered this whole series of events when I went into another bathroom. Ever since the incident with Brian I stay on my toes when I enter a public facility. But as I stood in front of the urinal I read an advertisement for a beer. It had all kinds of bullshit homebrewed wisdoms, but one of the adages made me think I misjudged Brian. It read, “If you lend a friend twenty dollars and never see him again, it’s twenty dollars well spent.”