All Stories, Short Fiction

Week 121 – Right…Wrong…Or Fred

A wee change. Review first, then explanation…Then a treat…A Saturday story!!

Let us first consider our stories of the week.

We only had one new author, that is a bit sparse of late but we never squelch on quality as our repeated writers continue to ooze talent.

We have the usual eclectic mix including clowns, a repetition, ghosts, a common fear and a musical machine that we all want to see!

As always our initial comments follow.

First up this week we had Patrick Winters who was being published for the third time with his short ‘Punxsutawney Elegy‘ on Monday.

‘The back story was just enough to satisfy our curiosity.’

‘A good read and a realistic piece.’

‘Patrick has really painted a picture with this one.

On Tuesday we had the multi-…, well just multi JC Freeman with ‘It Varies From Fool To Fool

‘This is rather clever.’

‘What a talent she has to judge just how much back story to give.’

‘Thommy is another strong and wonderful character.’

We were all delighted on Wednesday when Fred Vogel had his second story published. You don’t need to be a genius to work out what ‘Slap Happy‘ was about, but it was a total pleasure to publish!

‘A bit silly but it really did make me smile.’

‘Well put together and very consistent in its approach.’

‘Some light relief.’

On Thursday we had our new person. We welcome Melanie Saklla and look forward to seeing more of her work. ‘Still Here‘ was her first offering to Literally Stories.

‘The last paragraph made me cry a little.’

‘I loved the fingernails on the mobile line.’

‘This content has been done before but it is powerful enough to separate it and carry it through.’

And on Friday, we have Literally Stories version of ‘The Commitments’. One of our hardest working writers had their second story published. Bruce Levine finished off the week with ‘Syncopated Destiny.’

‘I really want to see the machine. I just do and if it doesn’t exist I’m going to have the biggest paddy in the history of paddies.’

‘I loved the whimsy in this.’

‘I want to see the composing waterfall thingy!’

OK folks, we need to give you a bit of an explanation.

Any long time readers of our site may remember that we have on the very odd occasion published stories on a Saturday that don’t quite fall into our standard submissions. We are sort of doing this once more.

But we have received quite a few with this subject matter so it isn’t really anything to do with this being a bit different, in fact it’s quite the opposite.

We have had many stories regarding a specific President of a specific country. Now, right reason or none, all these stories were a tad defamatory.

Us here on this side of the Atlantic would never say such things as maniac or nice person.

We leave that up to the people who are living the dream / nightmare. We have been reluctant to get involved with another countries politics which could be their road to Utopia / Armageddon.

We probably do feel a bit comfortable / uncomfortable / nausea as we remember Thatcher and Reagan as, hopefully only metaphoric bed mates. (I despise my fertile imagination.)

Maybe our female / Thatcher clone Prime Minister and the said president will / will not form such a bond and we will need to really / not worry.

It is all subjective or objective or a bit of both if you actually think on it. And that is what we need to explain. We’ve had to address these stories so we went for one that is balanced. All the issues come from the characters. The author has stepped back and let the characters and their situations tell their stories. Each of them have differences of opinions but there is a reasoning that no matter whether or not we agree with, we can see their logic.

All that is left for me to do is to introduce an old friend of the site who has a back catalogue of thirty wonderful stories. He continues to send us work of quality and depth.

We present to you Mr Fred Foote with his story, ‘Tales Of Our Times.’


Tales of Our Times by Frederick K Foote

Statement of Myron L. Henderson for the Library of Congress People’s History Project, age 75

I did what I was supposed to; worked hard, served my country, paid my taxes, raised my family. And, now, I’m the problem. I’m a deplorable.

I’m a seventy-year-plus-old white male and proud of it. I live outside of Marquette, Nebraska. I’m a Viet Nam vet. I paid my dues and then some. I sent my two kids to college. Now, my life’s a flood of bad news. I don’t see much of a future for me and mine.

My life expectancy’s declining according to the eggheads. I don’t need studies to tell me that – I feel the life leaking out of me a little more every day.

I voted for Trump. I’m proud of it. I would do it again. Nobody else saw us drowning, in a rising tide of crushing debt and sinking dreams. Maybe, Bernie did, but he sounded like a Commie sometimes.

I remember when a high school diploma, a willingness to work, and good hands or a strong back could bring in enough money to start a family and build a life. I would go back to those days. I would go back in a heartbeat.

Junior, my youngest, twenty-eight, one year of community college, a father of two beautiful little girls, a heroin addict. It breaks my heart to look at him, at them. I can barely look him in the eyes.

He did it to himself. No excuses. But, there’re no jobs that you can build a family on. No steady work with good pay. No health insurance. No government handouts for him.

Our kids deserve at least what we had, at least that much, but they get a lot less. And, I blame me and mine and all the politicians of both parties. They lost sight of us working class people, of white people. I mean that – white people. They had programs and giveaways to immigrants, blacks, Indians, even gays, everybody but us. At least, that’s what it looks like to me.

I lock my doors and windows now. I never did that growing up. I lock out Junior, my son. He steals from me when he gets real desperate. He’s been real desperate a lot these last few years.

I don’t believe Trump. I know he can’t do half the things he says he’s gonna do. And, I know a lot of his talk is just hot air and, and he lies. I know that. I’m not a fool.

Well, I ain’t entirely a fool. But, all the people living the good life with good neighborhoods and fancy cars and making more money than they can spend, he will make them feel our pain, for a change, I hope.

I’m bleeding out. I want to share the pain. Shake things up. Go out with a bang.

I was a fool about Nam. I was a cannon fodder fool. I was more likely to die fighting the blacks in my own unit than from the Cong. We were black and white equal opportunity fools.

Sometimes, I wish I had my M16, but that didn’t work out too well over there. I don’t see the sense of it here. But sometimes…

I feel like the bigs stole the future, our future. I mean, big business, big banks, big farms, big corporations, big government they stole it all fair and square with well paid for votes and laws.

I don’t know how to fight back anymore.

I’m angry just under my skin, all the time it seems.

I know Trump’s not the answer, but I can’t endure more of the same old same old.

I just… I… I don’t know anymore.

May God help us all.


Statement of Esther S.* for the Library of Congress People’s History, age 20

So, you caught me at a good time for you but, like, a bad time for me. I’m not in school today. There was an alert on Facebook that ICE was going to be on campus. I can’t afford to get caught. Not now. Well, not ever, really.

And, I’m scared to stay home. I mean, they have my home address. I was doing good until two weeks ago, but they came, like, out of nowhere, and scooped up my cousin, JP.

I mean, we both came here at six-years-old, and, and we grew up together, in the same house… and, poof, just like that… I lost it for a while. I’m better now, like, I’m back at school, but careful, really careful.

Professor Mackenzie said the Library of Congress does good work. She said I should tell you my story.

My story is, like, I came here, my parents came here, sneaked us in from Canada after they escaped from Somalia. We were in Canada for two years. I don’t remember Somalia. I barely remember Canada.

My mother’s brothers are here. This is our home. I don’t know shit about Somalia. I don’t speak Arabic. On purpose.

I’m not a Muslim. I mean, that makes me an outcast in my own family. I’m not a Christian. I’m, like, just me. I just want to be me.

I’m a Junior, engineering major, honor student, Dean’s List all that shit. My grades, since JP got snatched, are, like, in the toilet.

So, that’s my story.

I have nightmares. I get nervous, paranoid in public. I’m scared of every knock on the door.

JP, I worry about him. We haven’t heard from him. We have a lawyer, just to find JP. See how and where he is. We all miss him.

We want him back. I don’t want to be scared all the time like this.

I just want to be free to be me.

OK, I need to go. I do.

No real names, no pictures, right?

Thank you. Thank you.

I hope my story helps.

Thanks, again.

*At the speaker’s request and, for her protection, no real names are used in this history.


Statement of Robert LeRoy McKnight for the Library of Congress People’s History Project, age 91

Now, don’t get me started. We up to our armpits in shit, and that boy just gettin started. Somebody needs to check his meds before he get us all blown up. He about as crazy as a shithouse rat. You know it! I know it! Them Republicans know it! The whole damn world know it!

I ain’t worried for myself. His kind been fuckin with us since slavery time. He’s a known thing to a lot of us. He’s a fool that been eatin his own shit and thinks it’s apple pie.

Now, white people, poor white people who voted for him, they in trouble every which way they turn. Jobs ain’t gonna get no better for workin and poor folks. Not unless the government create them jobs and that ain’t gonna happen.

Health insurance for those people gonna get worse.

The air and water gonna get worse and poor people gonna get sick from it.

Oh, it’s a mess getting messier.

Hell, he got the same scam every president, except for maybe Carter, had since LBJ. You know that rip-off as well as I do – don’t bite the hand that feed you and do what it takes to get reelected even if hurts folks you supposed to represent.

Neither party fight for real change anymore.

You can’t go back to a better day. Trump’s better day was the fuckin dark ages for us. He want to go back to pre-civil rights days.  He want to lynch everyone that disagrees with him.

Crazy to the bone.

Me, I fought in WWII and Korea. I know my way around an M1, been there, done that. I think what’s commin here gonna be worse. I pray it ain’t.

I worry about my grandkids and my great grand kids. They gonna have to be strong like in slavery times.

Life’s always a struggle, always. If you can’t fight, you won’t make it. That’s my message, I guess. Struggle until you can’t lift a finger or take another breath.

I need to rest now.

Come back soon. I got more to say. But, don’t wait too long, alright?

Frederick K Foote


4 thoughts on “Week 121 – Right…Wrong…Or Fred”

  1. Wonderful post-cautionary tale. Fortunately, The Supreme Comb-Over isn’t smart enough to end the world. Dreams of a past that never happened isn’t much of a future. Hope glitters, but its actual object is distorted by the beholder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for that. (Dreams of a past that never happened isn’t much of a future – Cracking line!!)
      We normally look for the same voice all the way through a story. The brilliance in this was the change of voice to suit the character and more importantly the, point of view.
      I do need to apologise to Fred as I have dragged his comment numbers down. I was hoping that he would have taken mine up!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Frederick has written a story that is all too real for those of us that live in the US. Although the characters are fictional, I know them all.
    Every day I wake up to the great unravelling of America. Some might say we had it coming, but it still hurts and it is dreadful.
    Painful story Frederick, but truthful and powerful


  3. Thank you all for your kind words. I also love the “Dreams of a past that never happened isn’t much of a future” line.

    Hugh, worry not about the comment numbers is LS is always a good place to be.



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