Want to hear some entertaining stories but don't have a lot of time. The stories in this podcast are short and tough or short and sweet. Few exceed ten minutes, the outer limit of the average American's attention span. Simpson has been writing fiction for a long time and has perfected the short short story. Subject matter varies considerably. Sidewinder features a hip young couple who have left Silicon Valley for New Mexico where they've opened an adult toys shop, but suddenly their one-year-old is about to crawl onto the tracks of the Union Pacific. In After the Wedding, a pair of young lovers find themselves confronting an OxyContin overdose in the middle of the night in an abandoned motel. In Music by the Sea, a middle age woman who has recently lost her husband finally overcomes the stage fright that had for decades silenced her brilliant cello playing. Wham Bam Stories by Simpson are packed with humor, pathos, vulnerability, humanity, and originality. Read by the author without editing, polishing, or any high tech gadgetry. Just the raw material for the listener's listening pleasure. Sit back, turn up the volume, as Simpson can be a whisperer, and enjoy.
Stu's up in his hilltop mansion cradling his AK-15 assault rifle. He's waiting for the barbarians. Waiting for the blacks. And the immigrants. And the mouthy women. Waiting for The End.
While Stu waits he remembers. Grows nostalgic. Longs to revisit the glory days of his youth when, fresh out of college, he lived free as a bird for a couple years out on the open road. Free of possessions. Free of responsibilities. Free of attitudes. Free of hate.
Stu hears them. Coming up through the woods. He sees them racing across the manicured lawn. Over the wall and up onto the patio. A lawn chair crashes through the picture window.
They're coming Stu. They're coming to get you!
HE LEFT HIS BALLS IN FALLUJAH
Bob's been coaching high school hoops for a lot of years. But he's never seen a referee like this dude. A giant. At least 6'3". 230. All muscled up. Bald as a billiard ball. And tats covering most of his body.
On his right arm a tat of a nearly naked glamour queen. On his left arm a tat of a bird cage with an open door and three birds making their escape. On his right thigh an American flag. On his left thigh an M27 Infantry Rifle.
The game gets underway. The ref runs the show with military precision. No nonsense.
In the third quarter the power goes out and the lights go off. During the outage Bob learns a thing or two about the ref's combat tour in Iraq.
No photos of the graveyard in the Airbnb listing. Plenty of pics of the lovely cottage on the Maine coast and the spectacular view of the Atlantic from the front porch. But no shots or mention of the ancient cemetery right next door.
The Smiths arrive after dark. And so first notice the graveyard in the morning. Soon thereafter the family hound goes exploring among the headstones, frantic with all the new scents.
Young Jack Smith and his dad hike over to retrieve their hound. They find gravestones dating back to the 1700s and 1800s. And then Jack spots a stone with his name on it:
Born July 4, 1910
Died July 4, 1920
Age Ten Years
Jack will be ten years old the following day: July 4, 2020. He's 100% certain the gravestone is a harbinger of his death and that he is going to die on his birthday.
His father reassures him, but that night he falls ill with fever and a bellyache.
THE MAN WHO WALKS
When the IED exploded and ripped through the Humvee, PFC Walker, on his very first patrol, survived, but with his brain scrambled.
So now he walks. Walks and walks. Seven days a week. Seven miles to the Walker family toy store. Where he recreates, with toy soldiers, the Battle of Antietam.
PFC Walker—another victim of The War.
Larry has it in for Coach Rizzo, his old Little League coach who some years ago mocked and belittled his inferior baseball skills. Larry's ready to take his revenge.
He's right now out in the woods beyond the centerfield fence. In a deer blind high up in an ancient oak.
It's a beautiful spring morning. Opening Day of a brand new baseball season. The sun is shining. The grass is green. The boys are ready to play ball.
Too bad Larry, like crazy armed nut-jobs from sea to shining sea, possesses a Bushmaster XM-15 with a Vortex Spitfire scope and plenty of ammo.
Unless sanity suddenly intervenes, unlikely, prepare for more American carnage.
BETTER OFF DEAD
He's made his dough. Occupied the corner office. Traveled the world. Bought the beach house and the fishing boat and the snazzy fleet of cars.
Too bad he hasn't been able to escape the past. The war. The damn war. The dead soldiers under his command.
He sees and hears the explosion a thousand or more times a day. Half a million times a year. For over thirty years.
He's tried booze, dope, whores, and no end of other reckless behaviors to blind and silence the relentless explosions. All to no avail.
Is there another way out?
Sexy, funny, thought-provoking
These bite-size stories are a blast. Some are sexy, some are funny, some are both, and all are interesting and thought-provoking. At the end of each story, I want to hear more. Tight writing and great narration.
Great short stories
After randomly discovering the author’s book, The Caretaker through an odd google search, I delved into what else he had to offer and these stories are quite short yet interesting. It added a fun element to my day as I discovered and listened to them in succession.