Don’t Look Down (The Sequel)

by Miles Rost

A bad week for Vanessa Chapman just got worse.

“Why did you bring me up here again?!?!”

“In order for us to do our work, you need to conquer your fears,” Roger Daniels told her, as she grabbed a hold of the doorknob on the roof. “And you can’t do that when you’re paralyzed of high places.”

“I’ve tried to conquer it! I’ve tried everything! Hypnotherapy, aromatherapy, pretty much every therapy you could imagine.”

Roger just sighed at this. He knew the routine. She would try to talk him out of doing it, he’d get her close to the edge, then relent.

However, he resolved to himself and a shot of Wild Turkey 100 to not back down this time.

“Vanessa, do you trust me?”

“I would trust you with my life. You’re my partner in crime.”

“Would I steer you wrong?”

She thought for a second. This was a new tactic. Ooh, he’s goood, she said to herself.

“Alright, you’ve convinced me. Let’s do this thing.”

“Remember something, Nessa. You know you’re holding aces, so don’t look down. Play your hand, and get it done with. I’ll be right with you.”

Vanessa tensed up a bit, but she was slowly led to the edge of the building, where two beams were crossing a long drop of nearly 90 feet. It was certain death if she fell, and her only safety were the two I-beams that looked like they were older than Fiorello LaGuardia’s bones.

Roger was in front of her, walking backwards. He was going to be with her all the way, and he wouldn’t let her drop. Just as long as she did not look down.

“Okay, try to hide your fear. Keep your eyes on me. I’ll be calling to you all the way through.”

She took her first shaky, fear filled step onto the I-beam and kept looking at Roger. He looked directly into her eyes as he clutched her hands and moved backwards. Every step he took, she took one more. They got halfway across when she suddenly froze. A small wind blew across the I-beams, and she froze up.

“Don’t worry, honey. I gotcha. I ain’t letting you go.”

“Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh….” she cried out, closing her eyes for a few seconds before opening them and seeing Roger’s face directly in front of her.

“I. Have. You. Do not fear. Keep your eyes on me, I’m calling you.”

He moved back one step more, and she moved it one step forward as well. She slowly took her steps, moving one at a time with incredibly slow speed. They inched closer to the other building, and she took her eyes off of Roger, and looked past him. The building was just a few steps away, and she was nearly there.

Until a pigeon hit Roger in the face.

His foot slipped and he started to fall. She grabbed onto him and held on tight. He was dangling off the edge of the beams, and Vanessa looked down upon the street below, She was about to tense up and freeze when a small voice from inside called to her.

“Leading ladies never think about stage fright. They live without it.”

She had to do something. She thought of the first thing to do. She shuffled her body, currently on the beam with both arms holding Roger’s. It was going to take her all her strength, but one way or another, she was going to get Roger up on that building.

“Roger, if anything happens to you, I am going to find my way to heaven and kick your butt.”

“I think it would be a pleasure, Nessa!”

Vanessa smiled as she bodyshuffled her way across the beam. 15 feet would get her to the building, and she decided to put all her force into it. She powered her away across and reached the edge.

“Get a better hold on my arm, Roger! Get a toehold on the building, and I’ll get ya up!”

“You’re open.”

And he was right. She just opened herself up for a dirty comment. Roger wouldn’t do it himself, but someone else at work just might.

“When we get done with this, you can say all the dirty things you want. Just DON’T FALL DOWN!”

“I ain’t gonna fall, sweets. You’re choking off the blood flow to my hand.”

Vanessa put her feet up against the edge of the building and heaved. Within a few seconds, he made it up the side of the building.

Or, rather, he was semi-catapulted. Within just a moment after cresting the edge, he fell on top of Vanessa. After a few seconds of clearing the cobwebs from his brain, he looked down and found a very peculiar sight.

One of his hands was wrapped around her arm, and the other rested on her breast. He quickly stammered and removed his hand.

Vanessa just laughed.

“Well, if you really wanted to cop a feel, Roger, you should have just asked. You didn’t have to nearly die for it.”

Roger looked bashful at this, and was a bit concerned. Now he was on the hot seat. Vanessa got up and looked him square in the eye.

“Well, now that I’ve conquered my fear of heights, why not we conquer your fear.”

She walked closer to him, and he just stood in fright.

“W-w-w-w-what fear is that?”

She was within a few feet of him. She moved right up to his side and grabbed his hands. She wrapped hers around them and looked straight into his paralyzed eyes.

“Your fear of offending a woman when you like her a lot.”

Roger stammered as she moved her face to his forehead. She gave him a short kiss on the forehead, and put her arm around him.

“You’re holding aces, Roger. Play the hand, and take what comes. We’re partners, and we can be more.”

Roger softened as they started walking towards the stairwell door.

“Let’s get something to eat. I think we both have some analysis to go over. Of each other.”

Vanessa smirked into empty sky, with a knowing look on her face.

Don’t Box Me In

by Miles Rost

Rodolfo Dominguez flipped his welding helmet up and turned off the torch. He looked down at his work and smiled.

“I said that one day I’d show them just what I’m made of. It’s just about that time. Just one day more.”

For many years, Rodolfo was considered the odd man out. In high school, he was ridiculed for having a large brain and large girth to go with it. Even after becoming a member of the auto club, he was still made fun of. He took it in stride, making jokes about himself like Gabriel Iglesias did. But he felt that even though he could roll with the punches, he had to prove his mettle. He had to show them that he wasn’t just a fluffy guy. That he was also made of more than that.

He had spent most of the fall and the winter of his junior year of high school in his garage, working and tinkering on a project that he merely called “The Devon Project”. No one outside of his house knew what it was about. No one asked, but here he was, almost finished on the project and just about ready to demo it for the rest of the school. And it was going to be at the annual carnival and exhibition for his high school.

He went to sleep that night, and instead of dreaming triumphant dreams, he had terrible nightmares. Nightmares of failures, of becoming the butt of all jokes, and not surviving the rest of high school. He woke up feeling very nervous, in a pool of sweat and worry. After putting on his glasses and rolling out of bed, at 5AM, he went out to the garage and proceeded to spend his morning with car wax in his hands.

He went to school that morning, and had to deal with certain taunts about his weight and other things. He looked at them, smiled, and said, “Don’t worry about my feelings. Wait for this afternoon, and we’ll have a good laugh about it.” The other kids laughed, seemingly at him, but inside wondered what he would actually do.

At the proper time, the carnival and exhibition was open for business. School was out, with students, teachers, and parents milling around the sprawling high school campus. On one side of the massive high school lawn, were a bunch of cars. Members of the auto club and others brought out their vehicles to show off, and to win contests.

Rodolfo had gone home just before the carnival started, and as he opened the garage door, he pushed his surprise out of the small shed-like building. The sun glistened on the newly painted black exterior, glinting off the chrome and the steel. He turned the key, and the engine started and purred like a kitten who had too much love in it’s heart. The fluffy guy, the man everyone called “Round Rodolfo”, would be making splashes at the carnival this year.

He drove his vehicle to the high school, and pulled in through the parking lot and onto the lawn. People looked at his vehicle, a newly restored 1972 Oldsmobile 442, with a pitch black exterior, Shelby-Cobra emblems all over it, and a hearty engine that made others pale in comparison. He slow-rode his way past the other gawkers.

“Is that Round Rodolfo?” one person asked, in disbelief.

“Wow! How did he get a car like that?” another guy asked.

“Is he still single?” one young lady asked her friend, who looked at her with a look that read “Are you insane, girl?”

Rodolfo did a quick rev and jet, then pulled into the end spot. He got out of his vehicle, turned around, and looked at it. By now, a good crowd had gathered.

“Hey, Rodolfo. Is this yours?” one of the auto club members asked him.

“Yeah, paid for it with my own wages. This is my baby.”

“Looks cool, sir. You got style, man.”

Rodolfo got a compliment, for the first time in a good long time. And boy, it felt good. No longer was he boxed in. He was soon to be known as “Rockin’ Rodolfo”, and would be known for one of the prettiest vehicles in the whole school.

Epic Journeys of Epic Awesomeness

Taking a little break from my stories today to mention that I was nominated by my good friend David Stewart, the denizen of The Green Walled Tower and a fellow fiction-man, to receive an…

To those who have been reading, and have been unique visitors, I appreciate this. Ever since I started this blog early this month, I’ve been hoping to reach my work to an audience who actually is interested in seeing the connection between music and fiction. Music is a way to draw out the ideas for fiction, and fiction a way to give music a voice that it may not have ever imagined it being.

Now, one of the biggest things with this award is that not only do I have to write 10 things about myself on a piece of fruit, but I also must put links to 15 epically awesome blogs. So, without further adieu, I am going to pull the fruit truck around and start writing. *proceeds to run back around the one-room apartment building and drives up a lorry full of fruit.

Here’s to hoping the ajosshi that has this truck doesn’t kill me for taking it…

1. I have left my home country twice (written on a small Jeju tangerine)
2. I once was a radio announcer (written on a purple banana)
3. I once wrote a play, and had it done, and it was really bad (written on a mangosteen)
4. I have been known to yell out nonsensical things in the most unfortunate of times (written on a durian)
5. I have been a believer in Christ for longer than I have not (written on a Starfruit)
6. I once ate two gallons of ice cream in one sitting. It didn’t sit well. (written on a juicy pear)
7. I am nearsighted. (written on an unripe alpine strawberry…with a very tiny laser)
8. I only recently got into listening to modern music, I have always been an 80s guy (written on a lemon)
9. I have turned the channel when a scene that I know is embarrassing comes on, to spare my embarrassment. (written on a bunch of blueberries)
10. I have big thighs and I cannot lie… (written on a ruby red grapefruit, then tossed at a random head in the crowd).

And as for the 15 blogs that are also epically awesome…alas, I can only point to three at this time because I haven’t been on blog long enough to actually make a difference with 15. So, here’s my three (not including Green Walled Tower, which is the pinnacle of awesome):

1. Perpetual Anticipation – – This guy has a different way of thinking, and is very resourceful with what he does on his blog.

2. Adam Brickley – – I used to be a politics guy, but this guy does things differently. He doesn’t just do political blogging, but he does a lot of analysis and what-ifs. He’s my go-to guy for anything that is related to politics.

3. Scarlet Rhapsody – – A close friend from many years back, Scarlet does a lot of work with anime, cosplay, and whatnot. Very good blog to look at and watch.

So, there you have it! Time to put this in to the sidebar and then write the next story. And please, make sure to take time and comment!


by Miles Rost


A clear idyllic day was brought to the city. The loveliness of the sky’s vibrant blue hue shone down upon the people. The sun pounded on the concrete jungle of the city. It even shined down on one conspicuous man who walked down the street towards the center of the city.

He was walking with a purpose, yet still slowly. He looked to be about middle age, wearing a dark suit, red tie, and covered in a brown trenchcoat. He wore a scowl on his face like that of someone who just sucked on 15 lemons. Each step he took weighed heavy on the slowly decaying sidewalk, like he was forcing himself to keep moving even though he didn’t want to.

He walked to a place they called “The Four Walls”. These were the four buildings in downtown where four major interests lay. On the northwest corner was the local school district’s headquarters, in a 15 story gray stone building. Across the street to the east was “The Morton Building”, a hodgepodge of left and right wing social interest groups and lobbying firms. On the south side of the street were two tall buildings: The one south of the school district building was the Charles Building, where the grain exchange was located. And, on the other corner was the headquarters of “Laughsalot”, a major web corporation that had hundreds of millions of users.

He took a moment to survey the buildings, and reached under his trenchcoat. He pulled out a sledgehammer, and with a mighty yell, he swung it hard against the closest building to him, which was the Morton Building. He slammed it repeatedly and screamed out loud something unintelligible. After about 10 swings or so, he stalked across the street and slammed the sledgehammer into the school district’s headquarters. Grunting and breathing hard, he hammered the rocky faceplate of the building. With what was like a bloodcurdling scream, he smashed one of the windows on the corner of the building. He proceeded to repeat this with the grain exchange and Laughsalot’s respected building.

By this time, he attracted a large ground of bystanders who just watched as he proceeded to let loose a littany of curse words and angry feelings. He ran to the middle of the street with his sledgehammer, and knelt in the middle of the intersection. He took some seconds to breathe and he looked to be meditating a slight bit, with his knee bent and his hands on the end of the sledgehammer.

He suddenly stood up and dropped the sledgehammer. He reached his hand back behind his trenchcoat and pulled out a long stick with cloth at the end. He unfurled the cloth on the stick, and proceeded to wave a giant Gadsden flag in the middle of the intersection. As he did this, he screamed to the people around him. They couldn’t understand what he was saying.

Just as he was making a second revolution around the intersection, a car blasted through the intersection and clipped him. He went tumbling on the side of the car and slammed into the pavement. The car sped away in a wail of screaming tires, and the man was left behind. A small group of people quickly ran over to the man, and tried to help him. One man looked over him, trying to stabilize the man’s neck.

“Are you going to be okay?” he asked.

The dying man looked up at him and slowly smiled.

Welcome….to the new age,” the man replied, raspy and with the sound of fluid building up in his lungs, “Fight against…idiots…”


“Don’t….let them….take your freedom to disagree…”

The man then coughed, and the life bled away from him.

Can’t Fall Asleep To A Lullaby

by Miles Rost

The Santa Monica Freeway was known for traffic. And especially going into Santa Monica proper, it was always going to have some congestion. For some reason, this Saturday evening had very little traffic. And as Dennis drove down the freeway in his BMW z3 Roadster, he smiled happily at this development.

He passed under La Cienega Boulevard as the sun started to dip in the horizon, and turned on his radio. As per typical, his keen sense of musical timing allowed him the pleasure of listening to one of his songs from his time in college. As the opening strains of America’s 1984 hit, “Can’t Fall Asleep To A Lullaby” started wafting from the four speakers, he looked at the horizon in front of him. It wasn’t totally clear, but he saw the bright orange skyline, an indication that the sun was in the process of setting.

The winds that blasted past the vehicle whipped his hair as he traveled down the freeway.

It’s late at night, I’m all alone
I call you up, hear your voice on the phone
Say that you’re mine, tell me it’s true
Say that my love, is still right for you

He thought about the road ahead, and about how much he loved to drive. This was the way that he decompressed from the daily stresses of his job and from his past. He recounted the things that happened over the past week, and mused about how much they were going to change his life.

‘Cause I can’t fall asleep to a lullaby
And I miss you so much I don’t wanna cry, you are why
I love you, oo-oo-oo, you don’t know

As the chorus of the old song played through, he passed under the 405. By this time, his thoughts moved back to the beautiful orange sky and the sparse number of taillights in front of him. It seemed even this night would not have the cops bothering him on this road. The picture in front of him was exactly like a dream he had in college, and he was going to relish it as much as he could.

Here I am, part of the crowd
Need you so bad, I’m dreamin’ out loud
Say that you’re mine, tell me it’s true
Say that my love, is still right for you

His thoughts were interrupted by a thought about his charge, the one who he was helping at this time. He knew that she was going to have a rough road ahead of her, and she had so much to work through. He only hoped that he would be able to help her properly, and give her the freedom to do great things for the people of Los Angeles and the Basin.

‘Cause I can’t fall asleep to a lullaby
And I miss you so much I don’t wanna cry, you are why
I love you, oo-oo-oo, you don’t know

The second run of the chorus started to play as he blasted under Cloverfield Boulevard. His favorite part was coming up, and he looked again at the horizon in front of him. The wind in his hair, the beauty of the landscape, all of it brought a grin to his face again. It was, for all he knew, the most awesome experience he had up to this point in time. And he loved it.

The saxophone solo sounded out from the speakers, and he kicked down the accelerator as he approached 14th Street in Santa Monica. He drove his engine as hard as he could until the solo ended. By the time he ended, he was right at the curve where the Santa Monica Freeway became Pacific Coast Highway.

It’s late at night, and I’m all alone
So I call you up, to hear your voice on the phone
Sayin’ your mine, sayin’ it’s true
Please say my love, is still right for you

He slowed down as the roadway became a four-way with very few stoplights. He prayed and hoped that he would be able to continue without stopping. As he progressed up the road, he looked out at the ocean and the beach. The sun was just starting to disappear under the horizon. About 3/4 of it was still above, and he was entranced by it, as he drove. With luck, he was able to keep going as the stoplights all appeared to be green and happy.It seems that his drive was, in fact, a blessed event for him.

‘Cause I can’t fall asleep to a lullaby
And I miss you so much I don’t wanna cry, you are why
I love you, oo-oo-oo, you don’t know

As the last chorus blasted through, he punched the accelerator again and blazed his way up the PCH through Santa Monica. The chorus ended as he streaked a turn onto Chautauqua Boulevard. He went up the hill a little slower this time, and made a turn towards the ocean onto Corona Del Mar. The song just ended as he pulled into his house, and turned off the key. He was home, and the night was absolutely awesome. This was a blessed night, and he would spend the rest of it listening to America’s Greatest Hits, and watching the sky darken from his patio overlooking the ocean.

I Watched It All On My Radio

by Miles Rost

Little Vincent was known for being an explorer. He was rambunctious, raucous, and any other “r” word you could come up with. He was the town runner, as he would run everywhere in the no-name, no-reputation town that he lived in. A small town it was, but for Little Jimmy it was home. And he would run every square inch of the town in one summer if he could.

It was on one of these journeys that he would be exposed to something glorious and wonderful that would eventually take him away from that small town. It all started on a run through a field behind his elementary school. The grounds he ran across were meticulously kept, as the man every affectionately called “Groundskeeper Willie” (many years before the crude scotsman of the Simpsons, mind you) made them his pride and joy.

He ran across the field, imagining that he was a fighter plane in World War II. War was fresh in the mind of the people of the town, and sometimes Vinnie would get scolded for his playing. However, he didn’t care. His world was big and wide, and full of endless possibilities. He kept running and firing his imaginary guns against the Luftwaffe that was in front of him.

Until his foot hit a firmly planted rock, and he went tumbling head over heels down the side of a creek bank. He stopped short of the creek itself, but was in the cool shade of trees. He looked around and smiled. This was new and exciting, and somewhere he had never been or knew. He scrambled over to a tree and sat underneath. The sound of the creek was quite different from what he was used to, but he still loved it. It was a calming sound. And he would dream of sitting lazily back like Frodo Baggins before his adventures in Lord of The Rings.

He looked over to his side, trying to get his back comfortable against the old tree, when he saw something shiny and metallic. He scooted over to it, and picked it up. It was a small box, about the size of a small cigar box. There was mesh on the front of the the box with a circle of black underneath it. The box also had a metal piece sticking up out of the top, that would turn 360 degrees when Jimmy moved it. The front of the box also had a few buttons and knobs, and what looked to be a thermometer with the numbers 53 to 161 on the front of it. One of the switches on the side said “On/Off”.

What’s the harm? he asked himself, as he turned on the switch.

He heard from the box a hiss. The thermostat-like display showed that it was positioned somewhere between 80 and 90. He saw a dial that said “tuning”, so he turned it to the right. A few muffles later and he suddenly heard the sounds of cheering.

“Coming up to the plate for Detroit, Right fielder Al Kaline. He’s had a pretty good year so far, and with Oyler as the go-ahead runner, he’s got a little pressure on him.”

Vinnie knew what this was. It was the Detroit Tigers! And he didn’t have to be there to hear it!

“Oh boy!”

He sat by that tree for an hour, listening to the back and forth of Detroit against Minnesota. At the crack of the bat, he knew how far the ball went. He knew the sluggers that hit homers, and the pitchers that threw fire and smoke.  Detroit won the game, and Vinnie then turned the station from 950 WWJ to the left. The muffles came through until he heard a strange type of sound coming from the speakers. It was something he had never heard before, since his small town was focused on country/western and hymnal music.

He heard what sounded like an organ, and cracking drums. It sounded eerie, like it was recorded in a church but with a slight bit more ethereal wonder. The lyrics of the song started coming through:

You know that it would be untrue
You know that I would be a liar
If I was to say to you
Girl, we couldn’t get much higher

Vinnie gasped in shock. This was forbidden music. It was music that didn’t mix with his family or his society. It was rock music! And he fell for it. Hard. He knew he had to have more, but he knew that as the sun was starting to move towards the horizon, he needed to get home for dinner.
He took the box and carried it home with him. Just before he got home, he put it in a cut tree trunk. It was his hiding place for contraband items. Later that night, he would bring that box into his bedroom, and quietly watch his music on the radio.

Where Do The Boys Go?

by Miles Rost

(From a yet unpublished story)

The van that carried Brad Pershing and his fellow bandmates screamed down the 101, heading for the western side of Santa Barbara. Mackie “attempted” to drive carefully, with Brad hoping to arrive at the Seawalk Grill along the channel on time and alive.  Blazing past the exit for Cabrillo Boulevard, the van started to accelerate to the point where it started to shake slightly. Brad, looking straight ahead and white knuckled, was incredibly worried at the sight of the lampposts moving quickly by, and looked over at the speedometer.

It registered a reading of 95 miles per hour.

“Mackie! Slow down!” he said, looking at Mackie with panic.

“Do you want to get there in time, or do you want to lose the money we’d be making?” Mackie retorted, with a wild laugh.

“I want to get there…” Brad started to say, before a pungent odor wafted into his nostrils. The overpowering smell of burnt sage, all too familiar to him in dealing with his pot-smoking sister, caused him to start coughing and gagging.

“My God, Mackie, how much weed did you smoke?”

Mackie laughed and groaned dazily as he drove, now starting to move across the white lines of the 6 lane highway.

“I only had a few joints.”

“A few…JOINTS?!”

Seth sat up and tapped Brad on the shoulder, giving him a stern look indicating displeasure at the questions. Brad made a sideways chopping motion, silently informing Seth to stay out of it.

“What’s the problem? I can drive!” Mackie laughed, as he turned the wheel from one side to another rapidly, making the vehicle weave.

Brad was about to say something more, until he noticed a red, then a blue flash. He looked in the side view mirror and saw a police cruiser with its lights fully on, close on their tail.

“Mackie, that’s the cops! Pull over!”

Wah Uh OH!

Mackie floored the accelerator and started speeding around slower moving cars. They were halfway through Santa Barbara, approaching State Street, when they noticed a second set of lights joining the pursuing cruiser. This had officially become a high speed chase. Brad sat to the side, making sure his seat belt was on tight.

“Oh God, it’s OJ Simpson all over again…” He moaned, as he looked straight ahead, his face already white as a ghost.

The police cruisers behind the van stayed back behind as drivers started moving to the side of the road. Within a few moments, a third cruiser moved from behind the first two and started to gain on the rapidly moving van, already clocking over 105 miles per hour. They quickly passed the State Street exit and headed straight towards the exit for the Santa Barbara airport.

“Our exit is coming up!” Mackie exclaimed, “No mercy for SWINE!”

He passed a big rig after passing the Turnpike Road interchange, and quickly moved over 2 lanes of traffic, causing 1 car to run into the ditch. He finally reached the right hand lane to take the exit. Just as he was about to go under the underpass, the right tire of the van hit a board in the road. The nail hit the sidewall of the tire, causing the tire to violently explode and cause the van to start skidding to the side.

“Oh, hellfire!” Mackie exclaimed, “Look ou-“

The van tipped to the side and rolled over multiple times. Inside the van, screams of pain eminated as the members of the van started to be thrown in the vehicle. Their keyboardist was thrown out the window and crushed as the van rolled through the underpass.

Seth continued to be tossed around the van as it continued rolling past the embankment under the bridge and into a stand of trees. The van finally stopped as the driver’s side door slammed into a thick scrub tree with a sickening thud.

Seconds felt like hours as the van rested. Brad, still sitting in his seat and buckled up, had his eyes covered with his arms and his head in his lap. The sound of his breathing filled his ears as the sounds of the van quieted to silence. Brad pulled his head up and tried to move his right arm up to his neck. A sharp twinge of pain shot through his arm and he cried out. He tried to lift his left arm, and was able to rub his neck. He looked towards the driver’s seat, slowly.

His eyes filled with the vision of his lead singer, Mackie, with blood gushing down the right side of his head, and upside down. Brad was filled with horror at seeing his friend, dead, and he screamed. Muffled sounds coming from outside and the flashing of red and blue lights filled his vision as his door was opened and he was extricated from the vehicle by a member of the California Highway Patrol.

“Son, are you okay?”

Brad, upon hearing words, started to sob openly. The vision of Mackie, one eye open and blood streaming down his face, continued to be all that he saw as he bawled into the shoulder of the officer.

“Sanchez!” the officer called to his partner, who was peering into the van with his flashlight, “Are there any others in there?”

“I’ve got two, Benny. Both gone.”

Brad overheard this, and screamed out a scream of terror. His friends, his bandmates were dead. He was alive. His system shut down as he went limp.

Brad Pershing was the only survivor of a car accident that should not have had any.

Keep Coming Back

by Miles Rost


The number of years since Gary Takamura left high school and went to a new country to get his bachelors. He would eventually get his master’s and then his doctorate. Three universities around the world took him in, and gave him a lesson in education. Yonsei University gave him his Bachelor’s, then National University of Singapore for his master’s, and finally Monash University in Melbourne, Australia for his final doctorate. At 34 years old, he was a social sciences doctor, dealing with statistics, cause and effect, and other such sundries. He had gone very far in his life.

However, in his whole mind, he was unable to leave Rehoboth High School behind. His home for four years in the middle of the Colorado Rockies, Rehoboth was where his greatest triumphs and his shattered dreams all came from. He specifically looked back on one event. Rather, he looked back on a two year event with great warmth and with great heartbreak.

He was reminded, every day, of Becky Franklin. His one and only girlfriend in high school.

15 years had passed since he had left Rehoboth for Korea, and while he was successful in his job, he saw that there was that nagging hole, a hole about the size of a fist, lingering where his heart should have been. He remembered the soft curves of her face that were perfect for his cheek to rub against. He remembered her laugh, and how she would roar at the hint of a bad pun. He remembered her spirit, how she fought for everything in school and succeeded where many had failed before. Finally, he remembered her faith. Unwavering, unshaking, a faith in Christ that he never could understand or imagine.

His memory turned to a night, the last night they were together.

“I received an opportunity. Full ride in South Korea,” he said, with brightness in his eyes.

“But what about us? I thought we were going to head to Oregon, go to the U of O together…” she replied quietly, with disappointment and sadness in her voice.

“That was the plan. A full ride, though. And it’s one of the top schools in Korea,” he said, oblivious to what she was talking about.

“I…see,” she simply responded, dejectedly.

15 years after that night, Gary looked back as he sat in his apartment in Los Angeles. He was successful in just about every venture he had. He should have been happy with where he was and what he was doing.

The hole that was in his heart ached that night. A longing that was indescribable. He felt lost, and so full of regret for the past. He wanted that feeling back. The feeling of bliss, contentment, and simple human contact. He wanted Becky back. As he closed his yearbook, putting it on a glass table near the window where he looked over the LA Basin, he smiled a mournful smile.

“Becky, I just don’t know why I keep coming back to you. I don’t want to get over you, it seems,” he said, out loud to the air, thinking in the most vain of hopes that she might hear his words.

He poured himself a drink, downed it in one shot, and proceeded to his bed. It was going to stay with him, just one more day…

Harbour Town

Harbour Town 

by Miles H. Rost

Across the entirety of the port city of Stewartsport, it was said that when 5:15 came around, the only thing you could hear were the many whistles from each of the 20 terminals in the city. Like a choir opening a Sunday service with a loud start, the whistles blew simultaneously.

It was this signal that the day ended, the night began, and on a Friday night like this one, it would be one humdinger of a night.

Down at Terminal 10, Cha Yeong-Jin had just finished loading a skid of incandescent light bulbs. Affectionately known as CJ, he was someone who finished his job when he finished his job, not when the whistle blew. However, today, he was right on time and was able to leave quickly.

CJ grew up in South Korea, the son of a shipbuilder father. Growing up in the island town of Geoje, the seas were in his blood. However, he was also a traveller, and someone who wanted to see the world. Working as a stevedore, he worked in places like Luzon, Singapore, and Sydney before he ended up in Stewartsport. The longest he stayed was a couple of years, and he left only because he felt too comfortable.

He was in Stewartsport for only two months before this night. As he walked off the docks and out to his small truck, a hand landed on his shoulder. CJ immediately turned around and looked into the big mean eyes of his co-worker, Tarik “Evil Eye” Adadark. Eyes which immediately brightened up, and expressed relief and happiness.

“Ah, CJ. Isn’t it great that Friday night has come?” Tarik chuckled, slapping CJ on the back like an old pal. Which was to say that they were, as he and Tarik were friends since their time in Singapore, and travelled together on the same jobs.

“It is a great thing indeed. I just can’t wait to clean up and hit the town. Since it’s a three day weekend, I want to wake up tomorrow in an unfamiliar room,” CJ responded, his command of English impeccable for a kid who never had any academy training.

“Then I think I know the place to go. There’s a great place just off Chambers that has not only good quality drinks and good quality women. It may just be your lucky night!”

After an hour of cleaning up and getting things ready, CJ and Tarik were dressed up and on the way down to the bar on Chambers.

“You’re doing the blue jean thing, T?”

“Yeah, I’m feeling a bit lucky tonight, too. At least you have the chance to not only catch a woman, but land a good business deal at the same time. Taking tips from Barney Stinson?” he responded, making reference to a popular character on a show that they watched constantly while there.

“Dress to impress, dress for success, do not settle for anything less,” CJ responded, smiling, “My dad taught me that. Probably explains why he had three wives.”

They went to a grill and had something to eat, then proceeded to the bar that Tarik referenced.

Since it was payday, they had a good amount of money on their persons. Knowing how rough some ports could be, there was always a second set of documents on their person just in case they were robbed. Three wallets were the usual with stevedores and longshoremen. CJ knew this, and patted the side of his knee, acknowledging to himself that he still had his most important wallet with him.

They passed by two beautiful women as they made their way to the bar. One was a tall, black haired Chinese woman who looked like she walked out of a fashion magazine, and the other was a striking redhead who seemed have features found in Irish women. CJ looked at the redhead and he instantly turned on the charm as they passed.

“Oh, come on baby! Take a hold of my hand! The fire is burning!” he called out, just after they passed. The redhead turned around and smiled. She gave him a wink, turned around, and kept walking. CJ cursed his current luck.

The bar on Chambers was called “Underworld”, and the owner/bartender was a tall wiry fellow named David. A former Israeli Defense Force soldier, David may have looked like a pencil, but he was able to kill a foe with two clicks of his fingers.

“Oy, Daveed!” Tarik called out.

“What’ll it be, Evil Eye? Did you bring the Korean with ya?”

“Right here, ya nut.” CJ responded.

“Glad to see ya! Care for some Rumple Mintz?”

“Not tonight! Get me a Glen and Ginger Ale, and another shot of Glen 12 Year.”

David acknowledged and made up the drinks for CJ. CJ, in return, gave him a hundred dollar bill and hold him to keep a tab on his drinks.

“Don’t worry about me, let’s just get you a woman tonight. “

Stay The Night

by Miles Rost


Teresa’s eyes slowly started to open as she turned over and mumbled. She saw her husband sitting up and the lamp turned on. Stifling a yawn, she sleepily looked at his back.

“Why are you up?”

Her husband turned around and smiled a weak, sad smile.

“They called me in. A patient is barely holding on.”

Teresa glowered at this, and lowered her eyes a bit. Lately this had been a common occurrence, and she did not want to wake up to an empty bed anymore. She was clearly unhappy, and Rahim Carlson, her husband of over 5 years, knew it.

“I really wish they’d quit calling you at night. I mean, why can’t they find another surgeon?”

“Honey, the next closest thoracic surgeon to us is down in Thousand Oaks. That’s nearly 2 hours away.”

Teresa slowly sat up and rubbed her green eyes. She smoothed her satin chemise as she looked up at him, wisps of blonde hair falling in front of her face.

“Maybe we should think of moving somewhere else. You’ve been doing this for more than two years now!”

Rahim looked at her, and gave a funny smile.

“I’ve thought of that too. Right now, though, we are here in Bakersfield for a purpose. They need a thoracic surgeon of great quality. The good news is that the prospect from USC Medical Center is looking at Bakersfield General for a move. If we can get him in, I can look for another surgeon’s job somewhere else. But that’s almost 6 months down the line.”

She sat, slumped in defeat as she knew there was nothing she could do.

“Rahim, I really do wish that you could stay the night. Let a little of that love show. Just for one week, I want to have you all to myself. I don’t want all that matters turning around, over and over again.”

As he was buttoning the top button, he looked at her. This woman, his wonderful wife, was in need and he felt like there was nothing he could do. He had his duty, and he had his wife. He studied her face, every part of her that was exposed to his vision, and sighed to himself. He looked in the mirror, and stood stony for a moment. Teresa knew this. It was his “prayer stand”, where he would ask the Lord for guidance. As she got out of bed and turned towards him, he turned back to her, a slight smile on his face.

“I just had a thought…give me a moment,” he said, as he grabbed the phone. He quickly dialed a 10 digit number and waited.

“Hey, Smitty. Sorry for waking you up so early. You doing okay?” He waited a moment, then launched right in. “Hey, you know how you said you wanted to take a shot at doing some surgery up here at Bakersfield, right? I just got called in, but I can’t make it to the hospital in time. It would take me about 4 hours to get there. You’re closer, would you like to take a run at it?”

He paused again, a flit of a smile running across his face.

“Great! Call up Nurse Chelsey Marks, and have her connect you with Brian Markinson. You remember him, right? He’s in charge of night shift, and should be able to accomodate you. I’ll call him in just a moment and get you cleared.” He waited a moment. “You got it! We’ll talk next week, okay? Uh huh! Bye.”

He then proceeded to call Dr. Markinson and inform him that he was unable to make it. He was, unfortunately, detained and wouldn’t be able to make it there on time. After a little shake-off, he closed the phone, and proceeded to take his shirt back off.

“What do you think, Teresa? You still want me to stay the night?”

Teresa looked at him, as she slowly walked over. She put her arms around him and laid her head on his chest.

“I hate the fact that you actually lied to your bosses to get out of work tonight. But in this case, I will forgive you.”

Rahim looked at his God-given wife, and smiled.

“Sweetie, you’re worth it even if I would get fired.”