About verbal


I am a single Dad, slowly learning how to raise two daughters by myself. I like to read. I like to write. I spend way too much time staring at the night sky. And a little too much time watching baseball. Anything else you'd like to know, ask. I'm not exactly an open book, but I like to talk, and I like to listen.

I have had a couple dozen short stories published. I've written two novels, but no one will buy them.

Verbal Incandenza
Relationship Status:
In a Relationship
Local Time:
04 Dec 2020 00:30
Taking care of my daughters, mostly. Also, astronomy, writing, reading, camping, baseball. Good bourbon. Good conversation. Tilting at windmills.
Favorite Books:
Infinite Jest, All the Pretty Horses, Slaughterhouse Five, The Killer Angels, Beloved, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Lonesome Dove, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill A Mockingbird, The Shining, Mystic River, A Prayer for Owen Meany, The World According to Garp, Where the Wild Things Are, The Cat in the Hat, The Haunting of Hill House, Wise Blood
Favorite Authors:
David Foster Wallace, Cormac McCarthy, Kurt Vonnegut, Ken Kesey, Toni Morrison, Stephen King, Dennis Lehane, John Irving, Charlie Huston, Megan Abbot, China Mieville, Maurice Sendak, Dr. Suess, Shirley Jackson, Flannery O'Connor


Date Joined:
21 Jul 2015
Last Visit:
17 Sep 2020
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2,132 times
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Latest Forum Posts More forum posts »

Topic: Announcing the Winners of our Summer Word Bank Story Competition!
Posted: 16 Sep 2020 14:24

That was a fun contest, with some truly good stories! Congrats to the winners, and to the remainder of the top 10.

Topic: This or That
Posted: 15 Sep 2020 12:22

I HATE socks. Don't wear em.

Shoes or sandals?

Topic: Inspirations, the Stories Space Coffee House
Posted: 15 Sep 2020 10:13

Well, my power just went out, so I can't work! They stopped by yesterday and said this would happen, for about an hour. Rhank God my phone has a mobile hotspot.

Not much else gojng on here. I may write. I may kick back and read and drink coffee.

I've been going for a 6,000-10,000 step walk every day for about a month now. It's really improved my life. I look forward to it. And as I get to think about what I plan to write while I walk, it helps my writing too.

Hope everyone is doing well.

Topic: Inspirations, the Stories Space Coffee House
Posted: 10 Sep 2020 11:56

Hope everybody is having an excellent day.

Hi Larry, hi Sara, hi Scott!

Scot, I just bought my eldest a car, which she will pay me back for. It's nicer than my beat up mini-van! It's hard to watch your kids drive off like that. Parenthood is not for the faint of heart.

All the snow has melted off here. Drizzly day, which doesn't really bother me. No Mets game today, which does.

A coffee, lotsa milk, no sugar, would be swell.

Topic: Summer Word Bank Story Competition!
Posted: 09 Sep 2020 15:05

I have a quick question, abd this may or may not be the right thread for it. I noticed, on the front page, below the number of votes in the circle, most comp entries say "Scored 5 Comp." Some however (like mine) say "Score Comp" with no 5. What does the 5 mean? I qualified for the comp, right?

You have absolutely qualified. We do not have the number of comments/votes requirement as other places do. Not yet anyway. I'm hoping to get to that point where have a need one day. :)

Can you not see your vote amount? As Survivor said, the number on the other comp stories show what you voted on theirs. If you can't see your amount could you please send me a screenshot of what you have?

Oh, man, it's my own vote! D'oh! Who knew?

Thanks to you and Larry for answering so promptly. There are some really fine stories in this comp.

Topic: Summer Word Bank Story Competition!
Posted: 09 Sep 2020 14:41

I have a quick question, abd this may or may not be the right thread for it. I noticed, on the front page, below the number of votes in the circle, most comp entries say "Scored 5 Comp." Some however (like mine) say "Score Comp" with no 5. What does the 5 mean? I qualified for the comp, right?

Topic: Inspirations, the Stories Space Coffee House
Posted: 07 Sep 2020 18:56

Hello all. I'd love a cup of decaf.

Thanks to everyone who voted on my very last second entry. I didn't know the deadline was today until today. So I looked at the contest words, and sat down and wrote the story in one sitting, which I NEVER do. It was fun. I'm about halfway through reading the other entries. Lotsa good stories in there. Good luck everyone.

It's very smoky and weird here right now, from the fires. The sun went down red. And a cold front is coming in that's bringing heavy winds, followed by snow. Feels very apocalypse-y out.

Hope everyone had a pleasant Labor Day weekend.

Topic: Summer Word Bank Story Competition!
Posted: 07 Sep 2020 14:27

I'm in!

Topic: Summer Word Bank Story Competition!
Posted: 07 Sep 2020 13:59

SORRY - I rushed my submission and somehow made it a part of the series Chew by accident. I hope the error can be rectified in time! If not, well I shouldn't have waited until the last minute, huh? :)

Topic: Summer Word Bank Story Competition!
Posted: 07 Sep 2020 13:52

Okay, no guarantees, but I will try to get an entry in by midnight, Pacific time!

A quick question - can we use different tenses of the required word? Like, "screamed" instead of "scream/s"?

I say yes on the tenses. As long as they are being used. Good luck getting one done!

Yay! I'm in! Submitting now.

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Recommended Read Funhouse

Screams erupted from every ride in the carnival, even the not-particularly-scary ones like the Ferris Wheel and the Turtle Train, as Conor walked the midway. The smell of funnel cakes and corn dogs and cotton candy washed over him. Discarded hamburgers and crushed lemons from discarded cups of lemonade littered the ground. He looked in the hall of Funhouse mirrors and saw the most...

Added 07 Sep 2020 | Category Flash Fiction | Votes 19 | Avg Score 5 | Views 589 | 18 Comments

Recommended Read Chew (part 2)

The man on the phone told him the latest girl was twenty-one, but Mr. Hargrove thought she looked more like a teenager. It didn’t matter anymore, of course. All that mattered now was getting rid of her body. Jeeves wasn’t around to help this time. The phone call--no name, just a number--took place every few weeks. Mr. Hargrove would order an ounce of good weed, several bottles of...

Added 04 Sep 2020 | Category Science Fiction | Votes 7 | Avg Score 5 | Views 218 | 6 Comments

Recommended Read Chew (part 1)

Baby was hungry again. Sara set down the baby bottle, opened the cabinet and counted the cans. Seventeen. Mostly refried beans, one of the few staples left after the supermarket got looted. Two cans of Beefaroni. Five cans of soup. Green beans. Corn. Peas. One lonely can of cranberry sauce, leftover from some pre-infection Thanksgiving and likely to be the last of the cans opened. A low...

Added 03 Sep 2020 | Category Science Fiction | Votes 9 | Avg Score 5 | Views 270 | 8 Comments

Ground Zero

In dream, my skin has been charred soot-black, not all over my body, but on my arms, my legs, my penis, my chest. In dream, I only notice the burns if my eye happens to fall upon that area of skin. There is no pain. No pain, but a deep, shuddering fright when I see my blackened flesh and am reminded once more of the severe burns I carry. It was a dream the night of September 11th, 2006,...

Added 11 Sep 2019 | Category Memoirs | Votes 9 | Avg Score 5 | Views 562 | 8 Comments

Lost and Found

The basement didn’t show up on John’s radar until about a year after they had lived in the house, though other spots did, and much more quickly. His daughters took note of the upstairs hallway before they even moved in. Em said it felt weird. John felt it too, and even Alice, who did not put much faith in the supernatural, said she thought of the countless footsteps of previous lodgers...

Added 04 Mar 2019 | Category Horror | Votes 4 | Avg Score 5 | Views 743 | 4 Comments


“Where the hell are all the forks?” John grumbled from the kitchen, not for the first time. “Emily takes them,” said El from the dinner table. “No I don’t!” wailed Em. El turned to her Dad. “Emily takes them and she hides them,” she said. “This is between her and me,” said John. “No need to get involved.” Sensing a temporary victory, Em added, “And quit calling me Emily!” John shushed...

Added 26 Feb 2019 | Category Flash Fiction | Votes 9 | Avg Score 5 | Views 652 | 10 Comments

Pupa and Chrysalis

Em asked her Dad to mount a full length mirror on the inside of her door when she was nine years old. The mirror whispered to her just after she turned ten. Or rather, something in the mirror whispered. She had just started fourth grade, and for the first time in her life noticed that others looked at her, others judged her: her clothes, her skin, her weight, her hair. She started...

Added 21 Jan 2019 | Category Flash Fiction | Votes 9 | Avg Score 5 | Views 718 | 9 Comments

Growing Old

The girls had been getting along pretty well together in El’s room, El playing teacher, Em playing student (they always played the same roles without variance), but then Em had turned rebellious on her teacher and was threatening to not do her assignment until El shared some of her apple. Now they were fighting. John and Alice knew this because they were on the first floor of the house, in...

Added 18 Nov 2018 | Category Horror | Votes 10 | Avg Score 5 | Views 943 | 10 Comments


In retrospect John blamed the incident on his own suggestibility, and on the scrapbook. The previous owner, Henry Stode, considered himself to be a bit of an amateur historian, at least when it came to the house. He had inherited an overstuffed scrapbook from the previous owner, who had inherited it from another previous owner. The book was not organized in any way; it had originally been...

Added 12 Nov 2018 | Category Horror | Votes 12 | Avg Score 5 | Views 862 | 12 Comments

Recommended Read Don't Look

Dad was at work. Mom was at the grocery store. Her sister Em was at a friend’s house. El sat on her bed, playing with her kitten, Shadow. El had a feather on a string, and tossed it out like a fishing line for Shadow to chase. Something sounded from outside the room. Shadow jumped off the bed at once, his attention no longer on the feather. He bolted out of the room and took a sharp turn...

Added 28 Oct 2018 | Category Horror | Votes 12 | Avg Score 5 | Views 857 | 12 Comments

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thank you for your friendship
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