Happy Haunts

HAPPY HAUNTS

Hello,

My first memory concerns the Haunted Mansion. The Disneyland one. We were –Land People, my family. The -World people, we didn’t like.

The first thing about my life I can remember is screaming. Gramma’s pulling me by the wrist into the lobby of the Haunted Mansion. There’s loud organ music. Between that and all my screaming, my eardrums are crackling. There are candelabras and cobblestones and graves and about a thousand strange kids staring at me.

And there is Gramma. My father’s sweet old mother. In this memory, she has been twisted, distorted into a demonic thing. She is all limbs and peeling sunburn flakes. Shrieking “YOU’LL LIKE IT!” She drags my five-year-old, struggling, chubby body into the cartoonish manor. My feet are an inch off the ground. I’m screaming, “No! No! No!

But we are going in anyway. Continue reading “Happy Haunts”

Now Available: The Man Who Ran for God

My novel, The Man Who Ran for God, is now available for purchase.

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This story was born here on this blog, posted in first-draft increments for the better part of 2017. Now it’s been edited, rewritten, and improved in a published form.

Enjoy—and remember, Amazon reviews are always helpful and always appreciated!

—R

The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 13)

IV. My Mouth Will Tell of Your Righteous Acts

THE GOD WE DESERVE IS JUST A MAN

by Mary Jetson

When I ask Gideon Dodd, 42, why he wants to be God, his eyes glaze over in that way many would assume means he’s staring straight through them, cooking up some diplomatic, sound bite-ready answer.

But after wandering the plains of the Serengeti with him for nearly a full day without sleep, food, or water, this reporter knows the good reverend. That empty look isn’t the sign of an artful political dodge, or of mistrust in the media. Dodd is searching inward, dissecting his very soul.

He hasn’t, in fact, given any thought to this quandary before.

And it’s in this ten-second pregnant pause that the writer decides she’s going to vote for Gideon Dodd, because there’s an honesty, a truth in that self-reflection. Dodd is impetuous. He’s bull-headed. He has a terrible sense of self-worth and more neuroses than you could ever count. He has irritable bowel syndrome and a fear of flying.

He is, in a word, human. Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 13)”

The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 12)

SELAH: IV

It’s been three weeks since the debate at Radio City Music Hall.

And tonight, Benjamin Dunwoodie hugs a beach pail with his thighs and dry heaves into it. Only a thimbleful of bile plops out into the bucket. There isn’t much left in him; he hasn’t been the same since Tanzania.

“I am certain you understand our… disappointment.” Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 12)”

The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 11)

XIV. …And Be Content with What You Have

Three years before the Tanzania affair, Gideon Dodd thanked the man at the hardware store as he dropped two copies of a key into the preacher’s hand.

He paid for the discounted wood scraps in his cart — they’d make nice whittling — and turned onto the road that led out of the city.

In his two-seater sports car, he wound up and down hills, listening to contemporary Christian music, humming along. About twenty minutes away from the nearest gas station, he turned onto a gravel drive and led up a steep incline into an unpaved parking lot. He parked, put on the emergency brake, and stepped out into the muggy summer air.

Breathing it in, he smelled lilac and fresh-mown grass.

Whistling, the wind ruffling his collar and short sleeves, Gideon walked past a weathered and cracked sign reading CHRIST SANCTUARY NON-DENOMINATIONAL CHURCH. While he tucked his aviators into his breast pocket, he didn’t even look at the rented yard banner that said WELCOME AND GOD BLESS OUR NEW PASTOR, G DEON D0DD. Continue reading “The Man Who Ran for God (pt. 11)”