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 Short stories

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Date d'inscription : 19/12/2006

MessageSujet: Short stories   Mer 11 Avr 2007 - 17:55

Joseph Berman

Howard Lives!

The following is the testimony of Mr. E. F. Helfman, a farm implements
dealer from Wahpeton, North Dakota. The events he describes took place
on the evening of Sunday, April 23, 1995.

I was driving home on County Road 57 when I blew out my left front tire.
This happened about two miles north of Garber's Amoco. I considered
changing the tire myself, but I decided against it. The arthritis in my
fingers had been acting up, plus I had four 50-pound bags of manure in
the trunk, which I would have had to unload to get at the spare.

Just when I was ready to start the two-mile hike to the Amoco, I saw a pair of headlights coming down the road. The car slowed down and stopped, and out from the driver's side stepped this little, stooped-over guy
with a big nose and jowly cheeks. He was wearing bright yellow blazer
with a badge over the lapel that said ABC Sports, plus I think he was
carrying a microphone.

"What seems to be the trouble, my good
man?" he asked. He spoke in this loud, booming voice, as if his
microphone was connected to something. That voice could have skinned
the hide off a coyote.

"Gotta flat," I told him, and I pointed
to the left front end of the car. "Never fear, good sir," he replied.
"If you assist me, I am sure we will have you motoring again in no

"Say," I asked him, "aren't you Howard Cosell?"

"Indeed I am, my friend."

"Well, how about that?" I said. "Whatcha' doing out here in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota?"

"Helping good neighbors such as yourself!"

So Howard Cosell helped me change a flat tire. First the two of us
unloaded the four bags of manure, then he lifted out the spare while I
put together the jack. Throughout the whole thing he just kept on
talking and talking. I didn't mind, actually. Some of it was kind of

"The man I know who knows the most about automobile
maintenance is Gene Washington, the outstanding wide receiver for the
Minnesota Vikings," he said while we were loosening the lug nuts. "The
Vikings' Gene Washington, of course, is not to be confused with the
Gene Washington of the San Francisco Forty Niners, who coincidentally
is also an outstanding wide receiver. I would say the San Francisco
Gene Washington is more outstanding than the Minnesota one, but that is
beside the point. It is the Minnesota Gene Washington who knows
everything there is to know about cars-fuel pumps, spark plugs,
carburetors, and so forth. I have been fortunate to hear him speak on
this topic on many occasions, such as two months ago, over dinner at
Murray's Steak House on 6th Avenue near the Nicollet Mall in downtown

Most of his talk was like that-full of athletes and celebrities and
restaurants and opinions on just about everything. Eventually we
finished changing the tire, and I shook hands with him and thanked him.

"My pleasure, my pleasure," he said. "And now, I must bid you farewell." He
got back in his car-I think it was a four door sedan with "ABC Sports"
printed on the side, although it was so dark I couldn't be sure-and he
sped away.

I drove straight home, all excited over what
happened. When I told my wife about it, she just stared at me with an
open mouth-I assume because I was telling her such an amazing story.
But then I found out how amazing the story really was.

"Honey," my wife said. "Didn't 'cha hear? Howard Cosell died early this morning."

Mr. E. F. Helfman, an ordinary businessman from an ordinary American small
town, a man who led a perfectly ordinary life until that day in 1995.
His story seems impossible. Is he staging an elaborate hoax? Is he
deranged, or a seeker of attention or fortune? Or is he a cruel, if
imaginative prankster? The answers may not be what you think. For Mr. E. F. Helfman of Wahpeton, North Dakota, is not the only person to report an unusual Howard Cosell sighting, and to do so well after Cosell's alleged death. Consider the following story told by Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Insquipe of
Culpeper, Virginia:

Leonard: My wife Mary and I were having our first big dinner party-
Mary: We're newlyweds.
Leonard: That's right, we were married last November. Anyway, we had over ourneighbors, Al and Sue Jensen, and my brother and his wife,and Mary's sister Shirley and the guy she'd been dating, plus Shirley's son
Frankie, so I guess that's what, seven people?
Mary: Nine, counting us.
Leonard: OK, nine. So the party was going really badly. I mean, I thought I'd try the new butane grill we got as a wedding present, but I couldn't
get the temperature regulator just right. First it was too cold, then
too hot. I wound up charring half the hamburgers. And Katie, that's my
brother's wife, she said she likes them that way, so to prove it she
ate one, only to throw it up in the bathroom ten minutes after.
Plus Frankie got to teasing the dog, and the dog almost bit him, so Frankie
started screaming, and his mother-that's Mary's sister Shirley-got mad
at us for not having our dog under control, if you can believe that!
Mary: It was just a disaster.
Leonard: Oh absolutely.
Mary: Until Howard Cosell showed up!
Leonard: It was amazing. He waltzed in through the back door as if it were the most natural thing in the world, and everybody just stared at him. My
first instinct was to kick him out, but he was carrying this giant
Igloo cooler chest.
Mary: Do you know what was in the chest? Steaks! And potato salad!
Leonard: And beer! Howard Cosell brought us steaks and beer!
Mary: He just came into the house and said, "Hello folks, looks
like I came just in time." And he reached into the cooler and handed everybody a bottle-
Leonard: -Miller Genuine Draft. Pretty good stuff.
Mary: Plus he gave a Coke and a pack of baseball cards to Frankie. Then he went onto the porch and put the steaks on the grill and fiddled with
the knob and got the right temperature. You know honey, I don't think
you were doing it right.
Leonard: I'd never barbecued before, never mind on one of those fancy grills.
Mary: Well Howard did it like a pro. He even looked the part. He wore this
"Kiss the Cook" apron over his yellow sports jacket and he had one of
those giant white hats, like the kind the guy wears on the label of the
barbecue sauce.
Leonard: Anyway, so Kevin-that's
my brother-Kevin said, "Hey, you're Howard Cosell. Didn't you die a
while back?" And Howard said, "Obviously not!" which we all laughed
over. Then Al Jensen said, "Fair enough, but whatcha' doing in this
part of the world? Aren't you one of them New York big shots or
something?" Well, it turned out Howard's just plain folks. Turns out he
was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which isn't too far from
Mary: He told us lots of stories, like the
time Don Meredith put ice water down his underwear while he was
announcing the half-time highlights. That was where, Miami?
Leonard: Nah, that was Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. Miami was where
Charlene Tilton stole his toupee during "Battle of the Network Stars.
Mary: Oh yes, I remember.
Leonard: You know, we could go on like this all day. But Mary and I can tell you right now, Howard Cosell is alive. And we got sevenother people who'll say the same thing.
He saved our first dinner party. I just wish he hadn't left so early.
Leonard: Said he had to meet with Roone Arledge and Frank DeFord for
cocktails somewhere. But he's welcome back in Culpeper any time.

The Insquipe dinner party took place on the afternoon of May 14, 1996, more than a full year after doctors pronounced Howard Cosell deceased at a New York City hospital. Impossible? The work of a seasoned impostor?
Mass hysteria among Leonard and Mary Insquipe and their relatives and
neighbors? Maybe, but perhaps not so likely in light of the following

Dernière édition par le Lun 3 Déc 2007 - 19:13, édité 1 fois
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Age : 57
Date d'inscription : 19/12/2006

MessageSujet: Re: Short stories   Mer 11 Avr 2007 - 17:55

On the afternoon of November 30th, 1998, Mr. Kingsley Oradel, a retired
pharmacist now living in a senior citizen community in Tempe, Arizona,
claims he played ten games of shuffleboard with a man in a bright
yellow sports jacket and jet black hair, possibly a toupee. The man
introduced himself as a "Mr. C," had a small microphone attached to his
lapel, and made numerous references to professional football,
basketball, and the Ali-Frazier fight of 1971. When the shuffleboard
match was over-won by the mysterious Mr. C, eight games to two-Mr. C.
left abruptly, saying he had to catch a plane for Boston,
Massachusetts, to attend that evening's Celtics-Lakers game.

On March 2nd, 1999, a small platoon of soldiers were lost in the
back country of the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base near Twentynine
Palms, California. Tired and low on water, these men claimed they were
saved by a chance meeting with a jocular, slightly-hunched over man in
a yellow sports jacket, whom they found at a campsite roasting five
small rabbits over an open fire. The man shared his meal with the
grateful soldiers. Later he produced cigars, a bottle of scotch, and
engaged the men in a few hands of poker. He provided the playing card
himself, describing them as "an official NFL deck, presented to me by
Pete Roselle." Close inspection revealed the heads of Pete Roselle,
George "Papa" Halas, Lamar Hunt, and other NFL luminaries in place of
the aces, king, and jacks. The soldiers smoked the cigars and played
several rounds of five card stud with the strange man, to whom they
lost a total of 45 dollars and 18 cents.

And on August 6th, 2000, at a Husky's truck stop off Interstate 64
in Stewartsville, Indiana, two truckers were vehemently debating the
merits of the 1970s-era Pittsburgh Steelers versus those of several
modern day teams. Just when the truckers seemed ready to come to blows,
a short, stocky man wearing a yellow blazer suddenly entered the
establishment. With a raspy, yet booming voice-"As if God himself was
speaking through him," said a waitress-the man announced that the 1974
Steelers were the greatest football team ever assembled, with the
finest defensive line and the nimblest defensive backs and an
underrated quarterback at the helm. He then passed out autographed
photographs of the Monday Night Football announcing team to all the
restaurant staff and patrons. When the mysterious visitor left the
restaurant, he received a standing ovation from all assembled.

We have one other Cosell sighting to report, this one not quite so
friendly and harmless as the others. The story comes from 37 year-old
Albert "Buddy" Banoush, a part-time loading dock worker and amateur
dirt bike racer from Nacogdoches, Texas. Readers are advised that the
following paragraphs may not be suitable for young audiences.

It all started when my buddy Floyd tells me that the new waitress over at
the Waffle Hut has this thing going for me. So I ask out Louella, which
I know is her name cuz it's stenciled on her uniform, and she says "Why
would I do that?" and so I tell her what Floyd said she told him about
me. Well, she says she's barely taken notice of me, let alone had
conversations with anybody named Floyd. But we get to talking and
Louella agrees to go out with me anyway. I dunno if she was lying about
Floyd or if Floyd was lying about her or what, but it didn't matter at
the time cuz Louella and me kind of hit it off real quick.

So Friday I borrow my brother's Dodge pick-up and take Louella to the old
Cloud 9 Drive-In near Lufkin. The Cloud 9 don't open til Memorial Day,
but that suits the two of us fine because all we want is some
privacy......Anyway, we're kissing and making out and everything when I
hear this loud, whiny voice from the side of the car, like the
drive-in's sound system had just kicked in.

now Buddy is going for second base-yes, I do believe he has the bra
off!" this voice says. "Louella is putting up no resistance, she has
wriggled completely free of her blouse and upper undergarments, all the
while probing Buddy's mouth with her long, muscular tongue. As for
Buddy, I'm looking for signs of tumescence-yes, I believe I now see a
significant bulging! Oh, passion is aboil tonight!"

I realize
there's this light coming in from the passenger's side. It takes me a
second to get in the right position, but finally I see this guy peering
in through the window, beaming a flashlight at us. He's wearing a
stupid yellow jacket and he's got this wide-eyed grin on his face. I
wanted to kill him.

"Look, friend," I said after I stormed out of the car. "I dunno who
you are and how you know our names, but you've got about 10 seconds tohaul your toupeed head out of here."

"Why, I'm Howard Cosell," said this idiot, still smiling. "And may I say, your companion is a very, very lovely young woman."

you," said Louella. Louella's got the window open and is leaning over
it with her arms crossed in front of her. She's got this kinda dreamy
expression on her face.

"You may not say that, Mr. Whoever-you-are. Now I am gonna ask you one more time-"

"All I was doing, good sir, is recreating my role in the movie Bananas, as
written and directed by the great film producer, and a personal friend
of mine, Mr. Woody Allen. He has used me in other works, such as
Broadway Danny Rose and Sleeper, but Bananas is by far my favorite
because in it I call the play-by-play on an act of sexual intercourse.
I was telling Woody just the other day that if he-"

"OK pal, you asked for it-"

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Mr. Albert 'Buddy' Banoush," he
says.Well, that's when things get kind of weird. I throw my best right
punch at this guy, but it's like it goes through air or something. Then
I feel this really awful jab across my jaw, then another one over my
right eye, then a couple more on both sides of my face, and then I am
down on the ground. The little guy beat the crap out of me, just like

I'm not sure what happened next; I think I blacked out
for a few minutes. I remember coming 'round with my face in the gravel.
My lip and my right eye were bleeding pretty bad, and my whole head
hurt like hell. Then I look up and see Louella and Howard walking off
together towards the bushes.

"How did you learn to fight like that?" I hear Louella ask.

"From the side of the greatest of all time, my dear," says Howard. "His given
name was Cassius Clay, but I like to call him Mr. Muhammad Ali."

Then I pass out again, and this time I don't wake up 'til the next morning.
I found no sign of Howard Cosell or anybody else, and all I had left of
Louella were her bra and top and a pair of shoes. I ain't seen Howard
or Louella since, and if I ever catch up with either of them I'm going
to tell 'em directly what I think of them, you can be sure of that. I
kinda wanna wail the tar out of Floyd, too, for getting me fixed into
this mess. Floyd promised to buy me a six-pack to make up for it, but
he hasn't come through on that yet. Floyd's never been great at keepin'
his promises.

Since the incident at the Cloud 9 Drive-in, no one-repeat, no one-has
reported seeing, speaking to, or having any contact at all with Louella
J. LeJeune, a 26 year-old waitress, strawberry blond hair, 5 foot 3
inches tall, medium build, no known family or home town, last known
address an apartment behind the Waffle Hut of Nacogdoches. If you have
seen this woman, or have any information that may lead to knowledge of
her whereabouts, please contact the FBI or your local police

So what do we make of these mysterious sightings of Howard Cosell?
The evidence is overwhelming: Howard Cosell did not die on Sunday
morning, April 23, 1995. Or at least, he did not die in the
conventional sense of the word. Three explanations fit the evidence at

  • Howard
    Cosell is not dead, nor had he been suffering from a serious illness,
    as had been widely reported in the mainstream press. For reasons
    unknown, Cosell faked long illness and his own death, and is now
    traveling about America, engaging a predominantly enraptured general
  • Howard Cosell did die in 1995, but was miraculously and
    mysteriously revived, leaving him to enjoy a second life. While such a
    deed is not beyond the scope of human imagination, it does suggest an
    alien presence, an advanced species with medical knowledge far beyond
    that of our own. This raises a third, equally astonishing possibility:
  • Howard Cosell has always been an alien. Although likely in jest,
    numerous observers raised this possibility throughout Cosell's long and
    successful career.
For now, the mystery of Howard Cosell remains. If you should see or
meet up with this man-if man he be-do not panic. All indications are
that Cosell is friendly, at least when not provoked. Let Cosell do and
say what he pleases, then alert authorities as soon as possible. We
will keep you apprised as new developments unfold.

Thank you and good night.
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Nombre de messages : 6903
Age : 57
Date d'inscription : 19/12/2006

MessageSujet: Re: Short stories   Jeu 12 Avr 2007 - 8:21

oui c'est vrai, Pardon des fois je suis emportée
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Nombre de messages : 6903
Age : 57
Date d'inscription : 19/12/2006

MessageSujet: Re: Short stories   Jeu 12 Avr 2007 - 9:33

i'll add a comment and a mark according to your message.

As you like
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Nombre de messages : 6903
Age : 57
Date d'inscription : 19/12/2006

MessageSujet: Re: Short stories   Jeu 12 Avr 2007 - 10:14

but anyway, you right, it's too loooooooooooooooooooooooong...................

short stories are not so shoooooooort lol!
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Date d'inscription : 19/12/2006

MessageSujet: Re: Short stories   Lun 3 Déc 2007 - 19:14

I'm your Brother !Charlie Fish

I cannot believe the day I've just had. It's like a dream.

I was at the fairground,
people-watching. I was enjoying the smell of popcorn and candy floss,
and the soundtrack of screams and musical beeps from the rides.
Then, through the
scattered crowd, I spotted a naked woman walking towards me. That was
strange enough, but then she walked right up to me and said, "I am your
I'm not joking, that's how it happened.

I panicked, I didn't know
what to do. I wasn't wearing a jacket or anything that I could cover
her up with, and she was just looking at me. I grabbed her arm and
pulled her to the back of Crazy Daisy's raffle stall where we were out
of sight.
She sat down on the grass
and didn't say anything else. I was dumbstruck too. I remember patting
my pockets, as if I had something in there that could cover her up. I
was embarrassed about the part of my brain that was enjoying the sight
of her breasts. I took off my T-shirt in the end and put it on her,
trying not to touch her.
At this point a couple of
onlookers had poked their head around to see what was happening. I'm a
guy, by the way, which must have made it look even weirder. I engaged
my brain enough to ask a sensible question:
"Are you alright, lady?"

She didn't say anything, just sat there staring at me with a kind of determined look on her face.

"You're freaking me out, lady. What do you want me to do?"

No response. A couple of guys were staring at her and I noticed that my shirt wasn't really long enough to cover her lower half.

That's when I saw it – a
little river of dried blood on the inside of her thigh. Not much, you
wouldn't see it unless you were close, but unmistakeable.
I suddenly felt disgusted
at the onlookers, and I felt protective over this strange woman. I
picked her up off the floor and told her that everything would be
alright. We pushed through the small crowd that had gathered, and I
escorted her away.
Unbelievable, isn't it? I
mean, why did she say she was my brother? Not even my sister, but my
brother? I remember what went through my head when she said it – I'd
narrowed it down to three possibilities:
She'd been possessed by
an alien, like Invasion of the Bodysnatchers or that Faculty film. The
alien was trying to engage with me in some kind of misdirected,
unsettling way so that it could suck my brains out.
Or, my brother had
undergone an instant sex change operation and this was his way of
telling me. I pretty much eliminated this one because if my brother
changed sex there's no way he would look that good.
Finally, I had
entertained the obvious possibility that she was not telling the truth.
In which case, why had she said it? Was she mad? Maybe. Had she been
traumatised and wasn't thinking straight?
If she had said, "Help
me," or something more grounded like that, I would have helped her,
wouldn't I? I don't know, maybe I would have shrugged her off, or not
taken her seriously, and let someone else deal with her.
I certainly would have
ignored her if she'd said something else bizarre. If she'd started
reciting Jabberwocky I would have assumed she was an insane
attention-seeking streaker, and I would have backed away quietly.
But she said she was my
brother. It may still sound insane, but it fired up some deep-rooted
protective instinct in me, not to mention an underlying curiosity. And,
to be honest, it was a little humiliating as well, that this crazy
stranger was associating herself with me in front of a crowd of people.
If she wanted me to take her aside and not get anyone else involved, it
was somehow the right thing to say.
I took her to my house. I
couldn't think of what else to do. We walked four blocks to get there,
with her leaning on me, without saying a word. All the time I was
conscious that her naked bottom half was on show (and my naked torso),
but for some reason I was even more paranoid that people would notice
that little trail of blood.
She was quite beautiful,
I suppose. She was curvy and solidly built – not obviously muscular,
but not at all fragile. Her young face looked worn, but her expression
was impenetrable. At times she seemed distracted, lost; but the next
moment curiously purposeful.
My brain replayed the
memory of her appearance. I imagined the fairground like a circus, with
hideous freaks on display. And then I saw this naked woman draw up with
dangerous eyes, her body marked with blood:
"I am your brother."

I had to restrain myself
from humming silly circus music. Suddenly I had an image of that freaky
clown from the Stephen King film. I think I was struggling to digest
the bizarreness of it all.
I'm not sure if there's
any sense to be made of it. That's how it happened, and I don't think
analysing it will help, except maybe to get it out of my system. I've
been bursting to tell someone – to talk it through and piece it all
together. But how do you bring up a subject like that? That's why I had
to write it down here; to get it off my chest.
As soon as we got to my
house she spotted the bathroom and disappeared into my shower. I was at
a loss as to what to do next. Eventually I poked my head around the
door, which she had left open, and called out to her:
"I'm going to call the police, okay? Are you okay?"

I noticed through the
frosted glass that she was sitting hunched in the corner of the shower,
hiding in the steamy water. I wasn't sure if she'd heard me.
"I'll get you a towel."

I was reluctant to call
the police. I don't know why. I rooted around in my girlfriend's
drawers for some clothes she wouldn't miss, and I folded up a towel. I
brought all of it to the shower.
"I'm going to call the police," I said again. "Okay?"

"Why?" came her plaintive
reply. That really took me by surprise. I pretty much ignored it. I
think I was pretending to take control of the situation; actually, I
had no control at all. I called the police. I told them that I had
found a woman that may be hurt. It felt like it wasn't my own voice
talking on the phone.
I wonder what all the
other people at the fairground thought. Could I be implicated of some
terrible thing? Had they seen me as a threat, an abuser? That was an
uneasy thought. I had acted automatically without thinking of the
consequences. I hadn't seen how others might jump to unwelcome
conclusions. That made me quite nervous.
I tried to think of other
things. I'd been looking forward to today when I woke up this morning.
It was a sunny Saturday with nothing to do. My girlfriend had gone to
visit her parents all weekend and the fair was in town, so I was
looking forward to enjoying some alone time. Little did I know what
awaited me. Couldn't I have stayed home?
I wonder how the woman in my shower felt when she woke up this morning.

Now you see what I mean
when I said I'd had a crazy day. And I guess it's not over yet. What am
I going to tell the police? If I tell them the whole truth, they won't
believe me – it sounds too unreal. If I don't tell them the whole
truth, they'll know I'm lying. It's a trip down to the police station
for me either way.
She's been in the shower
about forty minutes now, and it's been twenty minutes since I called
the police. I feel like a criminal awaiting trial. I resent her a
little bit for dragging me into this. She can't think she's my brother,
that's too ridiculous. Maybe I should go and check on her. How much
longer before the police arrive?
I've just gone to check
on her and she's gone. The shower was still on, but she's not in it.
The towel's been used – she even hung it up. And she left the clothes
behind! I checked every room in the house, I even checked outside, but
she's definitely not here.
Where the hell would she
go? Why didn't she take the clothes I left? Shit! What did I do wrong?
Shit shit shit the police are here…
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Short stories
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