The Hornback Alligator Belt

      Barry Rachin

The Hornback Alligator Belt

Ralph Tucker wants to reconnect with an old flame, a woman who wears 500-dollar, Orvis, genuine hornback alligator belts. If the failed romance is resurrected from the dead, the middle-aged man may need a second job.After Drac Von Stoller, and Nick Maundrell's takeover of the world in 666 days, Nick and his wife Isabella lived a simple life in Drac Von Stoller's old Castle for many years, but Nick wanted to be what Drac Von Stoller was and all that was on his mind was being the King of the Vampires. Nick just couldn't shake off the thought of just being Drac Von Stoller's right hand Vampire the rest of his life, so Nick decided to invite Drac Von Stoller to his Castle and poison him and drive a stake through his heart. With Drac Von Stoller out of the way Nick Maundrell would take over the throne and become King of the Vampires.Nick sent the invitation by way of one of his henchmen on horseback. The henchman arrived a few days later and knocked on Drac Von Stoller's castle door. The rain was intense with a lot of thunder. The door opened, and Drac Von Stoller's servant answered, and said, 'May I help you?""Yes, I was sent by Nick Maundrell to deliver this invitation to Drac Von Stoller," replied Nick's henchman.Drac's servant said, "I'll see that Drac Von Stoller receives the invitation."Drac's servant entered Drac Von Stoller's study to deliver the invitation. The servant said,"Drac, I have an invitation that was just delivered by Nick Maundrell's henchman."Drac placed his hand out, and the servant placed the invitation in Drac's hand, and Drac opened the invitation, and read it out loud. "Nick has invited me over to his castle for dinner tomorrow evening to celebrate our friendship and the takeover of the world."Drac was excited to see his good friend Nick once again, but Drac's excitement about spending some time with his friend tomorrow evening would be short lived once Nick added a little poison to his drink. Drac told his servant he was going out for the night and would be hanging out with some friends at the Vampire Tavern. Drac hopped in his casket shaped car and sped off down the road to the Vampire Tavern. Drac pulled into his parking space that was reserved for him, and stepped out of his car, and entered the Vampire Tavern for a night of drinking, and live music. Drac stepped up to the bar and the bar tender said, "Drac what can I get you tonight?" Drac Von Stoller replied, "Make it a Bloody Mary on the rocks, Wolfman.” The Wolfman howled, and poured Drac Von Stoller his Bloody Mary, and Drac Von Stoller gulped it down, and wiped the blood from his mouth, and slammed his glass down on the bar and said, "Pour me another, Wolfman, and make it a little stronger." The Wolfman poured him another then Drac said, "I'll see you shortly I'm just going to listen to my favorite band, "The Ghouls of the Night.""Ok, Drac, I'll see you around," as the Wolfman howled.Drac partied hard as he always does at the Vampire Tavern, but Drac knew the fun had to end before the sun would start to rise. Drac checked his watch, and downed a few more shots of Bloody Mary’s, and said goodbye to the band, and staggered over to the bar, and said, "Hey! Wolfman, I'll see you tomorrow night."The Wolfman replied, "I'll be here waiting to pour up some more Bloody Mary’s for you when you return."Drac exited the tavern, and got in his coffin car, and drove back to his castle to sleep just before sunrise. Then when the sunset he would head on over to meet Nick Maundrell at his castle for dinner and celebration, but for Drac Von Stoller the only thing that would be celebrated at Nick's castle would be his death.
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    Collected Short Stories: Volume II

      Barry Rachin

Collected Short Stories: Volume II

* Grace Paulson’s train wreck of a personal life takes a turn for the better when the elementary school teacher meets a gifted artisan whose handmade jewelry boxes are featured at the local museum. Well-versed in nineteenth century Russian literature, Carl Solomon also happens to be the school janitor.* Grace Paulson’s train wreck of a personal life takes a turn for the better when the elementary school teacher meets a gifted artisan whose handmade jewelry boxes are featured at the local museum. Well-versed in nineteenth century Russian literature, Carl Solomon also happens to be the school janitor.* Following his divorce, Dr. Stanley Gilford, chief of cardiology at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, restructured his life on the guiding principle of maximum gain, minimum pain. So what is the well-heeled doctor doing with Ruby, a high school dropout and waitress at the local greasy spoon, and what are his options visa vie the pallid, five year old boy whose damaged heart beats in three-four time?* A year out of high school, Clarissa, who couldn't even score a date for the senior prom, is into tantric sex, Pablo Neruda and orgasms bordering on divine rapture. And she's still a virgin!* While studing to become a rabbi at a yeshivah in Jersusalem, Peter Ostrowski witnesses a senseless act of violence that causes him to abandon the religious life. When he stumbles across the writings of Leo Pinsker, an equally disaffected seventeenth century, Polish Jew, Peter grasps what needs to be done to salvage his fractured humanity.These are just a few of the situations you will find in this collection of bittersweet short stories, where the characters struggle to manage their lives in a user-unfriendly universe.
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    Collected Short Stories: Volume IV

      Barry Rachin

Collected Short Stories: Volume IV

* Bethany Glaspell approached the first-ever meeting with Great-uncle Vern, a man who returned from the jungles of Vietnam with a Hmong bride and warped personality, much as a cat burglar might plan his next heist, telling no one, neither friend nor family, her intentions.* Bethany Glaspell approached the first-ever meeting with Great-uncle Vern, a man who returned from the jungles of Vietnam with a Hmong bride and warped personality, much as a cat burglar might plan his next heist, telling no one, neither friend nor family, her intentions.* There are five levels of gifted intelligence ranging from bright to profoundly gifted. One in every thirty thousand is 'exceptional', which makes Curtis Stedman, the part-time dishwasher at Nagel’s Bagels, one smart cookie!* Tawana Saunders is writing the great American novel. Problem is, six months into the project, she’s only got a rough draft plus three lousy paragraphs.* Lenny slept with Elsie McGivney, a woman so dim-witted she can't make change or hold down an entry-level job. Lenny bedded the chucklehead but got no sex in the bargain. So why is he going back for more?These are just a few of the situations you will find in this collection of bittersweet short stories, where the characters struggle to manage their lives in a user-unfriendly universe.
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    Early Short Tails

      Barry Rachin

Early Short Tails

A collection of early works by Johns that cover a far reaching export of themes by the writer. From excerpts to his greater work to short interpersonal flash fictions this eBook has a broad sense of his style and early influences. This piece of work is an excellent appetizer and introduction to Johns’ work as a whole.EARLY SHORT TALES is a brief look into the worlds in which Johns tends to write in. WAKING UP is the first of three stories that has an origin in his larger work. A small piece of what will later become THE PROMISE AND THE THREAT in is A MEMORY OF TWILIGHT series, WAKING UP has the fallen hero Jacob Jacobi fighting his own alcoholic demons to become the man he once was or slip back into bitterness. THE RIDE has echoes of the writer’s life as a lost, single father considers his life while raising those children alone. And Finally THE BOX examines a man’s self-created, self-destructive loneliness as he mourns something gone. EARLY SHORT TALES is a vivid look into the styles and themes of the writer and offers a look at what is to come.
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    A Waltz Yes, a Heart No

      Barry Rachin

A Waltz Yes, a Heart No

Following his divorce, Dr. Stanley Gilford, chief of cardiology at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital, restructured his life on the guiding principle of maximum gain, minimum pain. So what is the well-heeled doctor doing with Ruby, a high school dropout and waitress at the local greasy spoon, and what are his options visa vie the pallid, five year old boy whose damaged heart beats in three-four time?Donal's school trip to the zoo turns into an unexpected journey across space. Accompanied only by a lofty camel and a stowaway lemming, he finds himself trapped on a alien spaceship which is hurtling towards a distant planet.The little green Meerie who greet him look friendly enough. But when they send him on a quest to find their missing space fleet, it means a dangerous journey across the desert where far more terrifying aliens live... An exciting and humorous science fiction story for ages 8 to 12.
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    A Guide for the Perplexed

      Barry Rachin

A Guide for the Perplexed

In the rear of Levinson's Wholefood Market, the owner's son, Ernie, just told Shifrah Fienberg that he wants to marry. The emotionally irascible Israeli would have preferred a first date or dozen long-stemmed rose."My name is Cucumber Gutierrez. English is my second language, but the way I write everyone thinks that is my fourteenth."When Alberto Zapata and his baker father, Tito, are ejected from Panama over a havoc-causing cake, the whole family is thrown out with them, including Alberto’s cousin Cucumber.The family settles in Melbourne, Australia, and from humble beginnings in their new country, the Zapatas rise to unexpected prominence. A series of coincidences (or conspiracies) see Alberto raised practically overnight to become Victoria’s assistant chief commissioner of police.Zapata’s first case on the job is to solve the mystery around the disappearance of jewels belonging to the British Royal Family while on exhibition in Melbourne. Things get stranger and stranger as the case unfolds, in a madcap tale of crime, bungling, and Spanglish, reminiscent of "Get Smart" and "The Pink Panther"."Broom, Broom" is the first of the Alberto Zapata stories. Keep a lookout for new episodes "Jurassic Prick" and "China, Please Give Me More."
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    Tulipwood

      Barry Rachin

Tulipwood

Kendra Ryder just gave fifteen year old Frankie Dexter a slab of fresh-cut tulipwood along with the advice, "When you’re feeling bad, just scuff the wood with 120-grit sandpaper, grab a whiff and you're guaranteed to feel a whole lot better!”When journalist Kevin Lee first meets retired academic Frank Peters and hears about an intelligent alien virus that has invaded the Earth, he is naturally very skeptical. However, when Peters is murdered, his skepticism soon turns to a real concern for the future of the planet and the survival of mankind. Kevin joins a group of liked-minded people in Edinburgh dedicated to eradicating the virus. Returning to London, he rescues his colleague Sandi from a London hospital. Finding himself a wanted man, he seeks refuge with members of the group on a remote Scottish island. There he gains a new understanding of Frank Peters – who turns out to be much more than he first appeared. Together, the group make a final bid to eradicate the virus from humanity – and from the Universe.
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    Fatally Flawed Women

      Barry Rachin

Fatally Flawed Women

Every woman Ernie Summers dated possessed a fatal flaw, which is why he is taking an indefinite sabbatical from the opposite sex. Well, maybe not.Over a hundred years in the future, Earth has fallen under the invasion of a hostile alien race—the Drevi. Half the population has been captured as specimens, while the rest are fighting for their lives in a resistance movement that has achieved more defeats than victories.Ted Anderson, a 42-year-old information specialist from the American States, thought nothing could save him from his new life. In spite of being an aide to a leading Drevi scientist who treats him well, he is reminded every day what he truly is. A specimen. An Inferior with no future.Then two strange new aliens arrive as representatives of their government, wanting to free humanity from the invading force. And all of Ted’s dreams come true. He’s on a starship, shooting through space at speeds he had never before imagined. And most of all, he is free again.Now Ted is drawn into a dangerous conflict to save all he knows and loves. But the fate of more than just humanity might rest on his shoulders.In this stunning new science fiction epic, author Karen Lofgren weaves a tale of the human condition, and how even in the darkest of times, it can shine through into the future.Cover image courtesy of NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI AURA)-ESA Hubble Collaboration. This publication is in no way endorsed by NASA.
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    Heathcliff

      Barry Rachin

Heathcliff

Pearl Singleton, a forest ranger at the Pemberton Wildlife Preserve, is going to show eighteen year old Shawn Mariano her Osborne Smoke Finder, all six varieties of New England ferns, a beaver dam, and something he never bargained for.“Plato’s Cave During the Slicer Wars” – The Slicers killed most of mankind. Can the Allegory of Plato's Cave save them or will mankind be wiped from the planet?“The Devil Dwells in a Red House” – an immigrant arrives at a Pennsylvanian coal-mining town to find the devil living everywhere.In “Variable Time” a policewoman interrogates a criminal to find the location of a kidnapped child before the victim dies. The time-stretching serum should give her more than enough time – or will it?What wafts “Through the Terrace Doors” may surprise you.“Fahevial” – How far would you go to keep your word? Would you give own your life? The lives of everyone you know? “Rendezvous in Ashland” – what happens in Ashland, stays in Ashland.“To Wear Your Grief Upon Your Sleeve” – some people wear their hearts on their sleeves. Others wear their grief.A child helps her estranged father “Walk with God”.In “Vega One” we find out what someone is willing to sacrifice when she is the last of her species.
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    The Divined Comedy

      Barry Rachin

The Divined Comedy

Ava Frick works second shift at the Texaco Gas Mart where, when business is slow, she reads Soren Kierkegaard and drops the I Ching. The other day she got five broken lines ( __ __ ) and one solid ( _____ ). Not a good omen!A little girl named An, struggles with her own loneliness and its effect upon her life by one day inviting another girl from school to the park for a picnic. The ensuing events devastate An.
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    The Third Fairy Tale

      Barry Rachin

The Third Fairy Tale

Sixteen-year-old Ned Scoletti is travelling north on a Greyhound bus from Fort Pierce, Florida to Spaulding, Massachusetts, to visit Aunt Josie. Problem is, his mother’s identical twin sister died when Nick was just a toddler. Or maybe not.In the not too distant future, a new golden age begins when mankind literally buries its past. An Internet video achieves wide circulation and records how mankind disposed of its problems.
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    Fun with Dick and Jane

      Barry Rachin

Fun with Dick and Jane

Dick wants fun. He has no dog. He has no cat. No Spot. No Puff. But he has a plan. See Dick board the plane. See Dick fly away. Far, far away. Hello happiness! Goodbye Jane2nd October, 2019 is the target date for making India open defecation free (ODF). All the stakeholders are taking all necessary steps to achieve this particular goal without any dilution. I also whole heartedly involved myself in this noble cause and as a part of my duties, I have to go to different places to know about the ground reality of the progress in the direction of declaring entire country ODF. Without saying, it is the greatest success story of modern India. But always there is a funny side of any serious story. Here I want to tell you some of imaginary stories, not necessarily related with the implementation of the present scheme. The characters described in the stories are fictitious and are not real. If any resemblance of any character is observed, it is mere coincidence only.
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    Call of the Beguiled

      Barry Rachin

Call of the Beguiled

Cheryl Oliphant doesn’t do well in social situations. The fourteen year old girl’s best friend, Nicolena, is a four-foot, South American tree boa and her parents are getting divorced. On the plus side, Cheryl just met Teddy Rasmussen who offered her a sympathetic ear plus an inch-thick slice of apricot, sour cream loaf.Jen, Delcie and Tanner, three teens spending their summers in a small Wisconsin lake town, encounter a boy with a tie to an old abandoned lake house. But, as they discover, he is no mere boy, and a trusted family member holds secrets about a decades old murder. The teens are in real danger, and the ancient secret must be brought to light. Some secrets lie buried for good reasons, as they learn, Together, as they work to solve the mystery with the help of an old family friend, they face increasing threats from a supernatural agency that defies belief.Terror lies thick in the deep Wisconsin pines, and horror lies just across the lake...
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    Epistemology

      Barry Rachin

Epistemology

When Ronda Wickford, the assistant manager of Brandenburg’s ShopRite Supermarket, inadvertently hires a middle-age man with a PhD in philosophy to run the fresh produce department, weird things begin to happen. As events unfold, she learns a thing or two about Wittgenstein’s linguistic theories, common decency and how to fix a leaky faucet.A modern fairytale about a talking, giant-killing cat with ambitions. The farmyard animals are eager to imitate his example by learning to speak and throwing off the yolk of servitude. All except for silent Mr Simpkins, the grey cat who is as plump as an overstuffed cushion but not so dumb as he looks...
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    107 Degrees Fahrenheit

      Barry Rachin

107 Degrees Fahrenheit

A young boy spends a magical weekend with his sister, a former collegiate track star crippled in a freak accident. During the visit he learns a poignant lesson about the resilience of monarch butterflies and the human heartAgent Cleo Carras suddenly becomes aware that she is being pinned down by a heavy weight, and that she is holding a gun. This undercover assignment has gone terribly wrong, and Agent Carras is on the run from an Ndrangheta crime family. She finds herself wearing various disguises and traveling from the bush, to the city, in her bid to resume her normal life and career, and hopefully, bring down one organised crime cell in the process.
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