Friday, October 30, 2020

Happy Halloween

                    THE HIGHWAYMAN

 by  David B. Riley

He couldn't tell for certain no one had seen him, but there weren't any sirens screeching through the night and there was no sign of any military aircraft approaching.  Kal opened the hatch and climbed down.  So far, so good.  He hurried across the park, then stopped by the statue of some guy on a horse.  The house he’d selected was just across the street.  He looked right, then left, then scurried across the open area and slid underneath a tall bush.  So far, so good.

Kal hoped the commander wouldn't find out what he was doing.  He doubted he could explain why he was 100 light years off course.  If all went well, he wouldn't have to. Kal looked around.  Surely, this was too easy.  He switched on his voice translator and readied his ray gun.  It was time.

He climbed out from the bushes and strutted boldly up to the front door.  A slight sense of dread was trying to overcome him.  He fought it off.  If only humans weren't so darn big.  He reached the porch.  His antennae were vibrating from the music inside.  At least they were home.  He readied his ray gun and pressed on the door bell button.  He liked the pleasant chiming sound it made and rang again.

Slowly, the big door opened and he peered up at a human female.  He raised the weapon.  “Give me Earth food now,” he ordered in his most forceful manner.

“Oh, George, come quick,” she yelled.

It's summoning its mate, Kal thought.  He prepared to fire.  Then, a human male arrived holding a tray of candied apples.

“He's so cute.  Just like a little space man,” the female said.

“Less talk, more food,” Kal ordered.

“Of course.  You've got a long way to get back to your planet,” the male said.  A very sensible individual.

“I just made them,” the female stated. 

He placed one in his loot sack.  The candied apple was so big he decided not to ask for more of them. He didn’t want humans to think his kind were greedy.

“Good night.”  The male closed the door.

Kal scurried back across the street.  A small human female wearing a mask ran towards him.  He readied his ray gun, though she looked young and harmless..

“They got candy apples?” she was asking.

“Yes.  They look good.”  He held tightly to his sack in case she tried to grab it.

“I'll go get me one.”  She trotted across the street.   Kal holstered his weapon and watched in amazement.  Without any weapon, the young female obtained a candy apple from the elderly couple.  Kal reasoned the mask must be frightening to humans.  The young female stood at the edge of the sidewalk and waived at him.  “Happy Halloween,” she yelled.

“Yes, happy.”  He felt oddly pleased the young child called Halloween had gotten an apple as well.  Earth food was so addictive.  He headed for the ship.  This had worked so well he would try it again, tomorrow.

This story has been reprinted many times. I bring it out around Halloween.


Thursday, October 29, 2020

el stupido

 Maybe I am stupid. Heck, maybe I'm a total moron.  Businesses and government sure seem to think so. Just yesterday I got a robo call telling me how to get a flu shot from my insurance company. Apparently, you can get them at the pharmacy. Gee. 

I got mail telling me how to vote.  I guess the concept of voting is too difficult for the average citizen and I need help in figuring out if I am registered and how to find my polling place. The fact I already voted early does not seem to be a concern.

Then of course, my bank called me yet again because I hadn't signed up for some app they want me get for my phone.  It seems I need their app to balance my checkbook. I don't their damned app.  But it seems my problem is I don't understand what a wonderful bank I have and that I should do whatever they tell me.


 A cold snap came through yesterday.  It's been around 100 degrees then suddenly was 60. That's a big drop around here in one day.

Still. not as bad as some places/ The folks in Omaha had t go to the hospital after they were abandoned at a Trump rally.

Speaking of Rally's, Kamila Harris was in town. I didn't know.  I might've gone if I'd known.

At least it'll all be over soon.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

The magic of chess

 I rarely do reviews. This is sort of a review and sort of a look back at some of my experiences with the game of chess. 

My high school lacked a lot of things. I dearly wished we had a chess team or at least a chess club. That was a long time ago.  I mention that because I never got into the world of competitive chess playing, though the concept intrigued me. Over the years I played chess when the opportunity came along, and that opportunity became rarer and rarer.  I worked for a while at a resort in Wyoming.  One of the cooks and I used to play now and then. We were of similar skill, so our games were quite enjoyable.  You don’t have to be some nerdy guy to enjoy a nice game of chess.  Then one day this rather obnoxious guy showed up who apparently just graduated high school. I guess his high school had a chess team. At least he claimed they did.  I was in the rec room and had just finished playing my cook friend. I offered to play the newbie. He accepted and then declared to his friend, “This won’t take very long.”  He was right about that. 

He realized he was in trouble in about three minutes.  He was shocked that I had him check mated in five minutes. He literally started crying and marched out of the rec room.  I never played him again.  I hate poor a poor looser. 

That all said, I find chess stories irresistible.  I don’t mean those dreary .non fiction books and articles about chess–I mean stories that have chess in them.  There aren’t every many.  Netflix had a show set in the sixties about chess, called Queen’s Gambit.   I stopped everything. I had to watch this.  

Now, I need to backtrack a little and mention how rare it is to see girls playing chess.  I’ve played chess at the gaming table of a few cons and elsewhere and have never played a girl or even seen a female play the game.  I don’t know why so few girls play, but it’s mostly the domain of nerdy guys, regardless of age.

So, back to this show.  It starts out with a nine-year-old who’s having a rough life. Her mother committed suicide and tried to murder her and she ends up in an orphanage.  Somehow, she manages to strike up a friendship with the crusty school janitor and learns how to play chess. Anyway, she gets really good.

Keep in mind that in this era the Soviet Union had chess players who were as popular as rock stars and they totally dominated the international sport. This is a really fascinating story that also gives the viewer a look at the world of tournament chess while also letting this orphan girl grow and deal with life at the same time she’s taking the chess world by storm. One little red-haired girl and all these boys.  

Well, I really liked this show.  I admit I’m a sucker for chess stories.  But this one has a lot to it and I haven’t ever seen anything quite like it.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Make it stop

 I keep getting this horrible mail in my mailbox and there are horrible commercials on every channel. I sure wish it would stop.. It seems like it's been going on for at least 50 years.  The British can call an election and have the stupid thing over in two months. Not here.  

Thursday, October 22, 2020


 Some of my Colorado friends sent me pix of their fires.  There are a lot of fires out there.  It must be tough to be an animal when the woods you live in are burning.  

Monday, October 19, 2020

Hslloween Reading

 In past years I've put out a Halloween reading list.  I don't know that anyone really cares what I think and I'm not sure people really want to read for Halloween.  Still, these are not normal times.  There are few activities to go to and I don't know what to think of trick or treating.  So, if you are looking for something to read, obviously my new anthology Six Guns Straight From Hell 3 bears mentioning.  It's pretty new, just coming out a few weeks ago. 

If like unusual locations, then I'd suggest David Lee Summers Astronomer's Crypt.  It's set in an observatory--remote location far from help. What could possibly go wrong?  

A lot of my stuff is out of print, although still available used from many outlets including Amazon. Gunslingers and Ghost Stories is another anthology which sold better than any of my other books and it combines the western with a ghosts--all kinds of ghosts.

And, yet another anthology that's in some libraries and used outlets is Low Noon.  It didn't catch on for some reason, but has some creepy stories in it like "Realgar". by Jackson Kuhl.

If you like really wicked evil characters combined with a lot of action and gunplay, Joel Jenkins Lone Crow character has two collections of stories.  

If you favor something longer, I still think it's hard to go wrong with the original Omen

These are stories that are the sort of things I like. Try something.

Saturday, October 17, 2020


 It seems our food shortage is hardly over.  Half of the items on my shopping list were not available at the store yesterday. I was mostly just looking at empty shelves.  "There's nothing on our delivery trucks," a grocery clerk informed me.  

"Of course there isn't."  Why would we expect food at a grocery store?

Friday, October 16, 2020

Getting Away

 My brother just departed on a vacation.  That seemed strange in the Covis 19 high unemployment bonfires everywhere, not to mention food shortage world we're living in.  But off he went still the same. He didn't even ask me to water his yard.  

I didn't have the guts to take a trip.  So many places are closed.  People are still dropping dead like flies. I guess it's how you look at things.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020


 Well, they say the number of folks voting by mail is huge this year, yet a few states don't allow it. In Arizona, they still have polling places but you can also vote by mail.  Or you can do in person early voting, which is what I have done.  If it was up to me, I'd go to all mail in like Oregon and Colorado. It's so much more convenient.  No matter, I actually worked as a poll worker for the primary. Alas, my doctor found out I worked as  a poll worker and told me no more of that. Basically, with my kidney problems, if I catch the Corona virus I'm pretty much dead, or at least far more likely to die than the average Joe.  So, I won't be at the local polling station this time.

Monday, October 12, 2020

polly ticks

 Since my dad died I've been looking after his house until we can get it sold.  Dad was a registered independent.  I am not.  Even though we're in the same districts for stuff, his mail is dramatically different than mine is. Dad's mail depicts Biden as some sort of vampire serving Nancy Pelosi.  Mine does not.  It's amazing how bad these political things are. I had no idea as I rarely get them. 

I don't know why they're spending so much money to get my dad to vote for  them.  LBJ was hugely popular with the dead people vote. However, I think the Republicans who are bombarding my dad are going to disappointed. Dad didn't approve of dead people voting. He was funny that way.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Halloween Haunts

 My posting for Halloween Haunts is up and running. You can get there by going to and clicking which posting you want to read. To get directly to mine use the following link:

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Halloween Haunts

 Every year the Horror Writers Association put out a series of blog posts in October called Halloween Haunts.  Members write about writing or Halloween.  Then they might mention any new books they have. And it's free.  Oh, if you visit the entries you can win free prizes.  It's pretty good and it's free. My entry is scheduled for October 9th.  Give it a try.

Monday, October 5, 2020


 As I've said before, I worked for many years in the hotel business in Colorado.  We had one bellman who seemed a little pushy, always trying to scrape the snow off people's cars and doing stuff no one really wanted.  Well, one day some guy arrived off the shuttle.  He was speaking some foreign language.  Anyway, out bellman took his bags to his room.  Then he wanted Diet Pepsi.  "You get?" Well, our vending machines only had Diet Coke. So he hoofed it down to the market and got him a bottle of Diet Pepsi.  And he came back and the customer says "You good Joe."  Then he hands our bellman and big  wad of money.

So, he come up to the front desk and he's trying to figure out what it is.  It had some guy on it and a foreign writing . "Well, he eventually determined it was a Rupee from Pakistan. The whole pile of money was worth about four bucks. "I went to the f*ing store for 4 bucks"

He didn't know this was a setup and the guy in the fez was the brother of one of our desk clerks. He asked me what the guy paid with.  "Master Card," I told him.

So, a few days later, it's time for him to leave.  He calls up to the front desk and asks for baggage help. "I ain't taking it. He can cram that fez up his ass."

Fine. It was unusual for a night auditor to do a bag urn, but not unheard of. I took the baggage cart and came up with his two bags and took them to the shuttle outside.  I came by the bell stand and showed the bellman who didn't want to go. "Look, he gave me a hundred bucks." and showed him a hundred dollar bill.  This guy was steaming and complaining for a week before someone told him it was a a setup.

Sunday, October 4, 2020


 One thing I'd lie to see is an orbiting   geosynchronous camera covering the dark side of the moon. How else are we supposed to know what's going on over there.  The dark side of the moon can never been seen from Earth and I think that's suspicious as hell.  It doesn't seem to bother anyone but me.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Phobia of the Month

 This month's phobia is  cynophobia.  It's a fear of dogs.   A person who has cynophobia experiences a fear of dogs that’s both irrational and persistent. It’s more than just feeling uncomfortable with barking or being around dogs. Instead, this fear may interfere with daily life and trigger a number of symptoms, like trouble breathing or dizziness.