About Us

We are a group of several aspiring writers, who thought it would be fun to get together and challenge each other on a monthly basis. Judging is done by adding the total number of stars up and dividing by the total number of votes, so having the most stars or most votes doesn't necessarily mean you win, it's the overall average. Whoever wins gets to pick the subject matter for the next session's short stories. Please read each story and vote them all appropriately. The voting boxes are to the left of the page and are marked by story title. If you would like to leave a comment simply click on the story title above each entry, but please keep them constructive. Again, thanks for reading and I hope that everyone can get as much enjoyment out of this as I have.

User Directions

TO WHOEVER VISITS THE SITE WITH AN INTENT TO HELP, WE WOULD APPRECIATE IT IF YOU VOTE ON ALL STORIES RATHER THAN JUST THE ONE YOU LIKE MOST. RATE ALL STORIES BASED ON HOW MUCH YOU LIKED THEM EACH. IN THIS WAY WE CAN GET A MORE ACCURATE TALLY FOR JUDGING THE WINNER. THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR TIME AND VOTES, WE APPRECIATE IT VERY MUCH.

Contest Subjects

December's subject was chosen by myself and is... "A large stone was found in the middle of a field in Iowa."

The first subject for January was chosen by Sgt. Hubbard and is... "A locked box is left to you in a will."

The second subject for January was chosen by myself and is... "A person is found in the desert with amnesia."

The first subject for February was chosen by Stan Weiss and is... "The baby sitter is snooping and finds your many passports, each with a different name."

The second subject for February was chosen by T.J. Reed and is... "Rewrite a classic monster, ghost, horror story in a modern way and include the story as the title so we know what you have rewritten."


Friday, December 30, 2011

Warning Signs

“Warning Signs”

            Ester Ethel was a lonely old widow who lived alone on an old farm in southern Iowa.  Every morning she awoke at nine am and every evening she went to bed at nine pm.  She shuffles out of bed, slips into her fuzzy pink house coat and fuzzy pink slippers, waddles down the thirteen steps, nine of which creak, and proceeds to pour herself a cup of steaming hot coffee.  The doctor told her that coffee would eventually be the death of her, but at this age she figured it didn't make a difference.  This was her morning routine and she never deviated from it. 
            It had been almost nine years to the day that her husband Henry had passed away, leaving her with a hundred acres of land, seventy-three head of cattle, thirty-two pigs, fifteen chickens, three horses, and a dog.  She couldn't afford to take care of the livestock and didn't have the energy to do it herself so when all was said and done she had to sell all the animals and most of the acreage.  Now it was just her, the old farmhouse, the dog, and twenty acres of unkempt land. 
            As she sat in silence at the kitchen table something pulled at her senses, like the feeling you get when you know you are being watched.  She quickly turned to see Jasper, the old farm dog, staring at her from behind the screen door. 
            “Oh Jasper, you old buzzard!  You scared the bejeezes outta me.”
            She shuffled over to open the screen door and let him in, but instead of rushing in like he always does, he turned and headed off the porch.  Ester thought this odd, but she payed it no heed.  Several minutes later while lounging at her favorite recliner and watching an old episode of Matlock, she was beginning to nod off.  Then, again she got that odd feeling.  Looking around the room she once again spotted Jasper peering at her silently through the screen door.  With some effort she managed to get up from her comfortable rest and open the screen door, but as before the result was the same, Jasper turned and headed down the porch steps. 
            “What seems to be botherin you boy?  Is there a storm a comin, or perhaps somethin else?”
            Jasper didn't howl, or whimper.  He just walked forward about ten feet and paused to look back.
            “What?  Do you want me to follow you?”
            Ester threw on her overcoat, took a step toward Jasper, and the old dog started forward.  When she stopped to take a breather, he stopped.  When she began walking again, so did he.  It went on like this for what seemed like half a mile, until they both came to an old broken down, half buried tractor.  She needed the rest, considering that half a mile is much farther than she'd walked in many years, so she sat for a moment on the old worn out foam seat.
            “Well it's no recliner but it'll do, eh Jasper.  Where you takin me to anyway boy?  There ain't nothin out here but wild grass.  The ground's been barren for years.”
            Again there was no answer from the old dog.  He just turned his head, walked out about ten feet and stopped, waiting for Ester to follow. 
            “Fine then, but you had better be takin me somewhere with some coffee, cuz I'm startin to get the jitters.”
            The two came upon a slight hill, which slowed their already slow-as-a-snail pace, but when she reached the top her eyes widened.  Jasper howled loudly into the morning sky and it was Ester's turn to be silent.  There in the valley below, centered by a ring of flattened grass, was a large glittering rock.  The stone, black in color with purple crystal-like protrusions, was roughly the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, and in the shape of a flame frozen in time.  Ester was drawn to it like a moth to a porch light. 
            She walked with outstretched arms, inching closer and closer until she could feel the heat that it was producing.  Every step brought her closer to the anomaly, every step closer to an excitement, to an anticipation that she hadn't felt in years.  It was exhilarating and frightening at the same time.  She felt young again, off on some adventure, like a modern day Jacques Cousteau on the verge of a great discovery.  Nothing would stop her from touching the stone, nothing would keep her from achieving victory. 
            Suddenly she stopped.  Something had barred her path.  What could it be?  Ester wrenched her gaze away from the stone for just a moment, to see what was there and to her surprise it was Jasper that had prevented her from touching it. 
            “Jasper, you nutty dog!  Didn't you want me to see the stone?  Why bring me all the way out here just to stop me before the end?”
            Again he made no noise.  But when she looked up it was gone.  No stone, no crushed grass, no sign that there had ever been anything other than a dying empty field.  She sat down in the grass, sullen and unfulfilled.  Then suddenly out of nowhere she heard a sound, which she recognized, but could not divine the source.  It was her deceased husband's voice.
            “Is that you Henry?”
            “No.  But hearing a familiar voice should make what we have to say easier.  What we have shown you is a vision of something from our world.  Deep in the center of our planet, in fact all planets, resides a rotating molten core, similar that that which we have shown you.  Ours has ceased rotating and as a result our planet has been on the brink of death.  Our whole ecological system has came to a screeching halt and we as a race are dying along with it.  We fear that what fate has befallen us may also effect the whole universe and so we have sent similar messages as you have just seen to all the outlying worlds.  You are the first to receive the message on Earth and we have not enough energy to replay it.  You, and you alone, must warn your people!”
            “Well now... that's a lot to take in.  I guess all I can say is, thanks for the warning other Henry.  If you ever come across the real Henry out there, let him know I said hi.”
            “It doesn't quite work like that, but if it will ease your burden we agree to your terms.  Farewell, and good luck to you.  May your planet thrive and live to see better days.”
            With that the voice faded and Ester began to see shimmers of wavering light.  Soon after, she passed out and when she woke up, was back in her comfy recliner.  She was still wearing her fluffy pink robe and fluffy pink slippers.  A quick glance at the television revealed the same episode of Matlock playing as was before.  Had it all been a dream?  No, it was way too real!  She knew it to be so and within an hour she was dressed and headed to the car, off on a new adventure.

Epilogue

            Ester awoke at nine am, same as she had for years and slipped into her white fluffy house coat and white fluffy shoes.  She shuffled over to the door to get her morning coffee, but the door wouldn't open.  She glanced around the room.  Where were her photographs, her curtains, her old wooden sleigh bed?  Nothing remained but flat white walls, covered with some odd padding.  She banged on the door to be let out. 
            Suddenly a man's face appeared in the glass.
            “What is it this time Ester?  Are the aliens talking to you again, or is it your dead husband?  Is the world gonna end at the hands of some magical glittery rock?  Just lay back down in bed or I'm gonna have to tranq you.”
            It all came flooding back to her.  She backed into the corner, buried her head in her hands and cried deeply.  And as she realized the truth, her heart began dying within her, just as the Earth's heart was dying within it also.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Interview

          The following is a transcript of the final Lush Spinbaugh radio broadcast.

Announcer: Welcome to the Lush Spinbaugh program, brought to you today by Royal Flush Bathroom Fixtures. You know their motto, “We flush the crap out of things.” Now, here’s Lush! 
Lush: Thank you, thank you and welcome everyone to the only place where you will hear the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We have a special treat for you today. God is with us today! Yes, you heard me right! Right here on our little radio program. The inspiration for the best selling book of all time. Please join me in giving a warm welcome to God. Lord we thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us today. 
God: It is my pleasure, Lush, but I fear not everyone will enjoy what I have to say today.
 Lush: Heh, heh. Not to worry, God, our audience is made up of mostly good Christian folks so, you might say, today you will be preaching to the choir! Heh, heh. Now, are you with us today to pitch a new book? 
 God: Well no, not really, I have some other things to say but let’s clear up a couple of things first. I am not really comfortable with the name God. While it is true that I am the Creator of Everything that was, is and will be, and that I am the beginning, middle and end of all,  the name God seems a bit pedestrian. After all, the name has been given to many lesser beings over the ages. So, if you don’t mind, please refer to me as POO, short for GRAND POOBAH.
 Lush: POO?
 God/POO: Yes, POO
 Lush: Ok, then, POO it is. Heh.heh. So, tell us , POO, what is on your mind today.
 POO: It is about that rock in Iowa
 Lush: Yes indeed, the Senator from Texas has been a rock in the run-up to the caucuses.
 POO: No, no, no. I mean the circular stone found in the cornfield which, even as we speak, archeologists from the University of Iowa are trying to pry from the ground to study.
 Lush: Gee, POO, I must have missed that story. Heh, heh. So, who do you think will win in Iowa?
 POO: (sigh) I don’t think it really matters, Lush.
 Lush: Of course it matters. If the Democrats win the White House again the sky will fall. America will be down the tubes! We’ll have illegal aliens mowing the lawn at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, for God’s sake! The Chinese will own everything!
POO: Oh, I don’t think it will come to tha …
 Lush: Sorry to interrupt, POO, but I have just received news from our sources in Iowa that all of the candidates have gathered at this rock you spoke of. It seems they are having an impromptu debate!
POO: Well yes, that is what I wanted to talk about. Under no circumstances should that rock be moved. All Hell will break loo…
 Lush: Ladies and gentleman, apparently the senator from Texas has been called a doodoo head by the Governor of  New York. We go now to a reporter on the scene!
Reporter: Lush, can you hear me , Lush? Yes, right now, ahhh, I am watching as all of the candidates are choosing sides in what appears to be a mud slinging contest. This all apparently started during a discussion on the proper use of leverage in trying to budge the stone. While all of the politicians are debating how to do the job, the workers seem to be ignoring them and making progress in placing the lever and fulcrum.
 Lush: Now a word from our sponsor!
 Commercial: Do you have crap that just won’t go down? Is your bowl full? Well, you need Royal Flush Bathroom Fixtures! You know us, we flush the crap out of things!
 Lush: Welcome back , folks. We’re talking with God,errr, Poo, today. SO, POO, tell us…sorry, POO, we have breaking news from Iowa. Go ahead Iowa, we can hear you.
 Reporter: (sound of roaring wind in background) Lush! Lush! They’ve moved the stone! The candidates are gone, sucked down in a swirl of debris! Everything is going! I can’t, I can’t, hold    on   much    (static)
 POO: Damn, a weeks work, down the drain. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

In the Field

                                               "In the Field "

  The plow churned the soil sending puffs of brown dust trailing behind Ted’s red tractor. The morning Iowa sun was already hot, driving beads of sweat from the headband of his straw hat. Ted examined the plow blade cutting through the dry ground, drawing deep straight lines that would hopefully be the beginning of a corn crop for him and his wife. Ted watched as the blade pushed rocks, dirt, and old roots to each side of the row when suddenly his tractor stopped. The sudden jerk made Ted slam his ribs into the steering wheel; rubbing his ribs, Ted looked at what the blade had caught on.
  The dark green color of a large partially dirt covered stone caught his eye. Ted descended from the tractor and began to push clumps of dirt and clay away from the large stone. It seemed to be a perfect circle. It was the type of stone that Ted would collect and place around his house as decorative ornaments. The rock was going to be perfect for a walkway he had been trying to complete leading from his driveway to his front door. The stone looked to be extremely heavy; lifting with his hands was not an option, Ted thought.
  He climbed back on his tractor, started it, and used the hydraulics to bring the blade down at an angle with the stone. If he couldn’t pick it up by hand then maybe he could pinch it with the blade and carry it that way back to the house. Ted worked the blade under the rock and put the tractor in gear. The red beast shook violently as Ted fought to lift the circular stone from the field. Rocking back and forth, Ted tried again and again but the stone didn’t seem to want to break free.
  Ted jumped back down from his tractor and stood over the stone. What was it going to take for this stone to be moved? Maybe he could get his buddy Frank’s tow truck; his old winch on that rig could move this rock. Maybe.
  “Is there a password to move you?” Ted said with a smile.
  “Open says me!” Ted began to laugh out loud.
  The stone moved. It slowly moved. Ted had seen it, the sight causing him to stumble back and fall on his backside. It continued to move in a slow motion, rotating as if on a hinge. Gases escaped from under the stone and that is when Ted realized what the stone was. Not just a rock lying in an Iowa field but a lid; a cover, something much like a sewer lid keeping the world above from witnessing the disgusting underbelly of the world. Ted stood, wanting to run, but could not pry his eyes from the situation in front of him. A single, large pale hand emerged from the depths of the hole, and took a tight grip in the dark Iowa soil.
  “I am death.” A voice hissed from the hole. “And, I bring Hell with me….”
Who would have thought that the forth seal of the apocalypse could be found in an Iowa cornfield?

The Stone!

The Stone!

 Buck silently cursed himself, the weather, Iowa, his wife, Twilight (his horse), and most of all the damn cows. Here he was riding Twilight in this miserable storm looking for a missing cow and calf. Sometimes he wishes he would have stayed in California and continued the hippie life style he once ran away to. The guilt of knowing his mom was back here in Iowa running the farm by herself after his dad and three brothers were killed in the war was too much for him to stomach. It didn't help his mood that his old lantern was running low on fuel. If he would have bought one of those ATV's like his boys suggested he would have had head lights and a place to hook the spotlight into, but no not ole Buck he has to stay loyal to trusty Twilight. After all he is the best dang horse he'd ever had.
 The thought no sooner pass his mind when Twilight spewed forth the most toe curling neigh that ever had past his ears. He tried to pat his head but that turned into an even bigger mistake as Twilight reared up and then jumped off his hind leg's sending Buck airborne. Time seem to slow as Buck glided through the air, lightning flashing to reveal a gray rock in the sky. Wait, what? A gray rock in the sky. Buck wondered if he was going mad? Raindrops mocking him as they splattered splash on his face. He felt pain as if acid had been shot into his veins as he struck the ground with the accompaniment of thunder ringing in his ears. He wanted to jump to his feet but the aches in his body simply did not allow anything but breathless moans to fill the air. He opened his eyes as another bolt of lightning flashed striking his still somehow afloat and lit lantern exploding it into shards of burning shrapnel as they pelted his body and bare-naked face. He heard the distant galloping of hoofs growing dimmer and dimmer.
 Buck lay there riddled with tiny wounds as he feel blood bubbling to the surface. Finally gaining a breath and a little strength he rolled over into the mud. Yes the mud, thank God for the rain-soaked mud that cushioned his fall. At 67, Buck didn't know how much his body would take. He first pushed up to a kneel then wobbly stood to his feet. He staggered one way then another as dizziness threatened to tumble him again. This time Buck cursed the universe loudly as he could. Quickly he was left breathless once more. He coughed and spitted blood. The blood clinging to his lip like a fly stuck in a spider's web. Blood running down his forehead creeping ever closer to his eyes mixing with rain to form a tidal wave of distraction for his sight. He wiped furiously at his brow bellowing curses again at the night.
 Then he saw it as lightning flashed once, twice, three times. How much time passed as he just gawked at it. A stone the size of his Buick sit there in his field. Gray on top and black as obsidian on the sides. He knew his fields and that stone was not there before. Then he remembered the stone in the sky, was this it? Had he really seen a stone in the sky perhaps falling to earth? But from where? He was mesmerized. He slowly moved closer to it suddenly feeling the need to touch it. He dared not to blink for it might vanish. He reached for it fingers inches from it. Anticipation rippled through his being. His heart beating like it hadn't since he was a kid on Christmas morning reaching almost there. “Shit”, he exclaimed as his feet got entangled in something, weeds perhaps he thought as he tumbled forward. Then he smelled it, blood and death. There was no denying it. He had experienced it a lot in his slaughter house. Another flash and he saw it, the cow he was looking for or at least half of it. “Shit”, Buck shouted again as he realized it was the heifers entrails his feet got entangled with as he fall. He scrambled to get up but as he spun to jump up he came face to face with it. Nose to nose with some sort of snorting beast whose breath reeked of death and decay. He tried to scream but no sound came as he grasped his chest. What had the beast done to cause such a powerful pain in his chest? He fall back as another stroke of lightning lit up the sky. He couldn't believe his eyes, but how? What about the pain? Another throng of pain ripped through his chest resounding through his whole body. The soulless eyes of his missing calf staring down at him. “Damn this night”, he thought, his tombstone would read death by stone and cow. “The official report would say heart attack but what did it matter dead was dead”, Buck thought. That thought was his last.
From inside his STONE (Stealthy Tactical Operations Nautical Eradicator) Xu Li Ai, wondered if he could count the cow and the farmer on his kill list. After all this was his first mission and his brother already had 5 kills on three missions. Xu also wondered how he wound up in a field in Iowa rather than lake Michigan. Clearly finding his way to Chicago to prevent the assassination of the President would be a problem now. So he also thought about the condition of his STONE. It had been badly damaged in the landing. Landing on the cow didn't help either. The STONE was an amphibious design but was stuck in a couple feet of mud from the hard impact. Besides it was designed for short range land use only. The parachute which is designed to be dissolved in water had deteriorated on his descent due to the heavy rain. He hoped the chute would be completely dissolved by morning. Xu silently cursed himself on what would happen to him and his family if he failed. Even more worrisome he thought what in the world would happen to the world if he failed. Would it be better off? Yes, he thought. Perhaps divine intervention had placed him in Iowa! He would have to be a believer to think that. He pondered for a minute if there could be God? After all the senseless things he saw back home it was hard to imagine there was, but then again Iowa was no lake Michigan.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

That Guy

"That Guy"

I am That Guy. Everyone knows me. Everyone knows my name. I'm the most talked about person, tomorrow. "Did you hear about That Guy that told jokes till everyone was literally crying for him to stop?" "Didja you see That Guy who set himself on fire last night?" "What about That Guy that spent the whole party sleeping with different women?"

I've lived my life hard and fast. Music, women, drugs. Ah, the stories I could tell you would make you weep that you weren't me. I had become such a Facebook sensation that I was invited to parties by people I'd never met.

Out of state, this one in particular. Big bonfire, loud music, women everywhere. It must have been an amazing party. At least, I hope it was. I didn’t know what all the booze and drugs were, but I can safely say I won't mix that concoction again. I drempt of all my greatest triumphs.

There was one in high school, my first one, Jessica. The sister of a friend of a friend. I stole her from someone else. When her family moved away, I drove to Maine to get her one summer. We spent an amazing week together, riding four-wheelers, laying out underneath the stars. Near the end of the week, she told me she loved me, and opened herself up, like a lotus in bloom, and gave herself to me. The next day, I overheard her talking to a friend. I yelled at her and accused her of trying to go back to her ex. She wept, but my mind could not be changed. I left her, crying on the porch of his house, states away from her own.

Then there was Mikka, a cute Brazilian whose parents had fled the country after some coup d'├ętat or something. She was THE ONE. Smart, funny, sexy, vivacious. The Blonde Bombshell. We talked about spending our lives together. We went through it all; house, marriage, kids, growing old, his and her towels. I had promised her a life I knew I couldn't deliver. When I left her for a thinner girl who was younger and had more perky breasts, I heard she was mad. But I have better things to do than worry about how my life affects others.

Mandylin was gorgeous. Beautiful smile, legs for days, the voice of an angel. Her mother loved me, her father... not so much. We went to dinners, movies premiers, gala events, slept together more than we ever slept with each other. Anywhere we went became the place to be. She was in love and I was in over my head. She bought a ring, proposed to me, made a ceremony, and I, I got to drunk to attend. She heard rumors that I slept with all the bridesmaids that night, and her sister, and her mother, and one of her cousins. I can't confirm that extravagant rumor, and I couldn't then, when she asked. I CAN say her mother likes me still.

Why, you may ask, am I recalling all these memories? You may wonder what has possessed me to relive all these moments of my life, as you may have noticed, there are higher moments better suited for reliving. The simple truth is this; I can't stop. When I arrived here at the party, I noticed a group of women dancing on a platform, a stone table. Far be it from me to question why a large stone table would be in a field, or who would drag the behemoth out here just for this event. As it matters not to me, and the thought never crossed my mind, I approached for a closer look at three magnificent sirens. The closer I got, the more transparent their clothes seemed till I was hips up to the table, hands on the surface and said, "The things I would do to you three... are illegal in all fifty states."

I woke up, still standing in this position. I see my body lying on the stone and I think I'm unconscious. Something does feel different though. Everyone from the party is gone. I'm not sure if there even was a party anymore, but there are a few things I can tell you for certain...

Jessica got back with her ex, after I left her there. They got married and had two children. Everyday her husband comes home from work and beats her and the oldest boy. He's already killed the youngest. It was ruled accidental.

Mikka wasn't just mad at me, she went mad. The next person she dated, upon separation, she beat into a coma with a Valentines' bear (holding a rolling pin) he had bought for her.

Mandylin got a job at a gentleman’s club before eventually being turned out for tricks. She was molested, raped, beaten, stabbed, shot, riddled with disease, and eventually died of a guilt and shame induced drug overdose.

I know all of this because I feel it. Every punch, every slap, every needle jab, every shamed decision. I relive all of the torment that could have been spared to them, if it weren't for me. When my body was found, the headline read, "ANOTHER SUICIDE FOUND IN IOWA NEAR PECULIAR STONE." And even though my body is gone, long since turned to dust, I stand here, hands on this stone, for eternity, alongside that guy, and that guy, and that guy, and that guy.

Turn and Turn About

"Turn And Turn About"

            Louie Hamsterdance was not a happy man.  Of course he generally never was very happy, as a rule.  He was tall and thin and had a head shaped like a hatchet with an overly large nose that made him look like a parody of Julius Caesar.  He was, in a word, bone homely.  Well, two words.
            Plus, just going through life stuck with a moniker like Louie Hamsterdance was enough to leave itching powder in anybody’s underwear.
            At the moment there were several reasons why he was unhappy.  One, he was planting corn and Louie hated corn.  He absolutely detested the smell and taste of it and never ever had a kernel of it on his dinner table.  And two, he was secretly terrified of cornfields.  Scary nasty creepy things always seemed to happen in cornfields and he wouldn’t walk into one in the dark if his life depended on it.  Louie always did his harvesting in the light of day and would flee as soon as the sun reached the horizon in the evening whether he was finished or not.
            Although it was his best selling crop, Louie always dreaded the year he had to sow corn instead of sorghum or soybeans.  That secret terror of his always gnawed at the back of his mind and made him deeply ashamed of himself.
            But not enough to make him enter a cornfield in the dark.
            Another reason he was unhappy at the moment was that his disk plow was now all bent and useless and mangled out of shape and he suspected he was going to have to buy a new one before he could finish the planting.
            The same event that broke his plow also made him break that great beak of a nose against the steering wheel of his Farmall tractor when it jerked to a halt against the huge stone buried beneath the soil of his field.  Louie paced back and forth, dripping blood into the soil and all down the front of his worn denim overalls.
            “Sunnava bidge!”  he eyed his bent plow in dismay.  One hand went up to prod his bleeding honker gingerly and he squeaked in pain.  “Ow!  Dabbid!  By plow ad by dose!  Sunnava bidge!”  Louie turned about in anger and kicked the stone hard then spent the next few minutes hopping about in even more pain as the rock did not give an inch in response to his vicious kick.
            Deciding that the rock had to go before he could continue, Louie went to the barn and got his shovel and his handy snagging cable.  It was fifty feet long and made from sturdy metal strands and had a two ton breaking point.  He used it often for removing stumps and large rocks from his farm.  Louie figured he needed to work out some of his anger before going into town and tackling the rock would be a good way to do that before talking to the guy at the farm equipment store.
            Louie was ugly and full of self loathing, but he wasn’t stupid.  The guy that sold tractors was big and mean and didn’t like Louie anyway.
            It took an hour of determined digging to clear off the top of the stone and all the way around the edges and Louie stood there scratching his head in confusion.
            “Whad the crab is dis?”  The bleeding from his nose had stopped but his sinus cavities had swelled firmly shut, distorting his words and pissing him off even more.
            The stone that now lay uncovered in his field was fully six feet across and circular, with a six inch wide slot carved across the face.  Perhaps, he wondered, there used to be a mill here and this was one of the grinding stones, left behind or discarded generations ago.  What a pain!  Why couldn’t people properly dispose of things?  Either way, it had to go.
            Taking up his cable, Louie hooked one end of it into one end of the slot and wound the cable around the stone and hooked the other end to his tractor, hoping to drag it out from the earth and thereafter out of his field.
            He slowly fed power to the Farmall, feeling the rear wheels digging into the soft earth as the front end slowly rose up in response.  At first he thought it wasn’t going to move, then he felt the machine gain a few inches of ground and move slowly forward.  When he had gained about a foot, he looked back to make sure the cable wasn’t going to pop loose and smack him in the head.  His eyebrows rose up in surprise.  He expected to see the stone dragging along behind him.  Instead, it was slowly spinning in place and rising up out of the ground!
            Nearing the end of the cable, Louie stopped and backed the tractor up to the stone again and got down to take a closer look.  Bending over made his nose hurt horribly but he did it anyway, crouching down at the edge of the dressed rock.  From what he could tell, it was about a foot thick and had risen almost all the way out of the ground.  He dug around the edge and could feel the bottom, but he was afraid to stick his hands under there, in case it fell on his fingers.
            “Whad the crab?  Wha’s hoding id ub?”  He scratched his head some more, then decided to rewind the cable and pull again.  Maybe there was another rock underneath it and it would come free with this next yank.
            As he climbed back up into the tractor seat, a shadow fell on him and he looked up to see black clouds forming quickly overhead.
            “Dag.  Storbs cobbig.  Bedder hurry.”  He gunned the motor and the tractor slowly lurched forward.  One eye behind him watched as the great stone spun in place, rising higher and higher.  And as the stone lifted out of the ground, the sky grew darker and darker.
            Once again he reached the end of the cable and backed up.  Louie could very clearly see underneath the stone now.  It was rising up on a stone shaft.  Threaded, like…. Like a screw!  Who in the world would make such a thing?  And how did it end up in his field?
            Shaking his head carefully, he rewound the cable for the third time, hoping the thing would finally pop out of the ground.  When the tractor had moved forward about two feet there was a sudden deafening crash and a great burst of light followed by a concussion the threw him from the tractor seat and onto the ground.
            Peering up carefully over his shielding arm, Louie saw that a bolt of lightning had sheared his tow cable in two!  Both ends lay smoldering on the ground.  There was another rumbling crash and he rolled away from the tractor in case it attracted another bolt. As he rolled to a stop he heard a new different noise.
            A train?  No, there weren’t any…..  His eyes rolled skyward and he saw the one thing farmers fear more than mountain lions and mice.  A twister!  The thin rope of whirling destruction was threading down from the black clouds and heading right for him!
            “Aw, crab!!!”  He knew there wasn’t anywhere to go.  No shelter available.  He was doomed.  He watched, trembling in fear as the point of the tornado reached down like a finger and dug into the soil of his field fifty feet away.  The tip was small, only about five feet across, but he knew it was strong enough to tear him limb from limb and scatter his bits for miles across the countryside.
            Suddenly the tip of the twister widened to about ten feet across and lifted a few feet off of the ground.  Louie thought it might retract up into the clouds again.  Instead it settled on top of the circular stone, which began to turn slowly back in the other direction.  Then with a sudden spin, it whirled back down into the ground so hard that it sank three feet down into the earth with a crash that lifted Louie several inches off of the ground.
            No sooner had the stone sank back into the ground then the twister weakened and dissipated, withdrawing back into the dark wet clouds above.  Louie started to rise to his feet when a new sound smashed into his ears, like twin sledge hammers against the side of his head.
            “HEY!!!”  A great rolling voice smashed him into the ground with it’s strength.  “LEAVE THAT ALONE, FOOL!  I PUT IT THERE FOR A REASON!!!”