The Man in Blue

March 20, 2012

(Author’s Note: This story is just a shell of what it should be. I completed the story parts…but decided I would save a much better edit until later. That means this is a very rough cut of the story I’ve been working on. Sorry it’s not more polished. I’m just a little too excited to share it I guess.)

The storm outside was relentless. The drops sounded like they were the size of quarters banging against the side of the once beautiful home. Now the unkempt home’s missing shingles allowed for a stain to grow in the northeast corner of the ceiling in the living room. James stared up at it as it grew during the duration of the storm.

He had been squatting in this house for the past four months. James did his best to hide from the neighbors but he was sure they knew. He didn’t speak to anybody and only stayed inside at night. One of his safe moves was to make sure he never used lights at night. It was a lonely place at night.

He only left during the early morning hours. During the day he would hang around the back of a Lowe’s closer to town hoping to get picked up by somebody for a day’s worth of work at a construction site. It usually didn’t work out. But the little money he did earn was usually in sweaty dollar bills and rolled up in a rubber band. Today was a wash out, so no work.

That’s why he had been sitting in his borrowed living room all morning trying to cook some Ramen Noodles on a small camping stove. It wasn’t working out too well. The last flavor packet had gone missing. How do you lose something when you hardly have anything to lose? James thought to himself. Today he would just have to settle with the flavor of hose water and plain noodle.

The little money he did earn was quickly sent off the pay for his growing alimony debt. He kept 50 bucks for himself when he could so he could scrape up some non-perishables from the store every couple of weeks, sometimes some propane cans when he was filling selfish.

If I only had more money. This was his daily mantra. He lived and died by these words, not that he had anybody to say these words to.

Thunder shook the house and made the windows rattle. James never liked thunder. When there was thunder there was lightning. He was terrified of lightning. It always brought up bad memories from his childhood.

As his pot of water started hissing, a knocking came form the front door. James passed it off as hail banging against the door.

James didn’t stop trying to stir his uncooked noodles. He looked back up at the stain on the ceiling. It had grown considerably in the past couple of hours. He thought about the idea that may need to ditch this place for another one soon. A different neighborhood always presented more problems. Maybe his future neighbors wouldn’t take kindly to the homeless moving in.

The knocks came again. This time they were much more rhythmic. James knew a person had to have done that. He left his noodles and snuck around the corner into the foyer. He tried peeking through a window for a car but didn’t see one.

Probably the police. I guess I overstayed my welcome. He pondered to himself.

“Mr. Harris?” came the muffled voice from outside.

A man in a blue suit stood under his porch. He had a weak smile and a fedora pulled across his brow hiding his eyes. The stranger looked like he was pulled out of the advertisement for cigarettes in the 1950’s. He was holding a briefcase that was handcuffed to his wrist.

This is weird. James thought to himself.

James opened the door timidly. “Yes. I’m here. What do you want?”

“I have something that was determined to be given to you.” said the man in a routine manner. He punctuated his sentence with the same passive smile that he wore before.

“What is it?” demanded James.

“Money. And lots of it.” the man stated with casual ease. He looked up to meet James’s gaze. He had dark eyes.

Bull. That was James Harris’s first thought.

“Bull.”That was also James Harris’s first reaction. He immediately felt like recanting his statement but he didn’t have a choice.

The man in blue shook his head. “You tell me.” The smile never left his face.

He pulled up the briefcase and unlocked it with a key he pulled from his breast pocket. When he opened his jacket James saw the holstered polished steel beneath it. The man in blue continued to open the briefcase displayed it packed neatly with stacks of 100 dollar bills.

“Holy-” James put his hand over his mouth the way an elderly woman shows shock at the sight of women in pants.

“That’s got to be close to a million dollars…” he finished his thought.

“Actually it’s 17.3 million.” piped the man in blue.

“Wow.” James continued.

“So are you interested in what I have to say?” chuckled the mysterious man.

“You may be my new best friend.” said James. I must be crazy. This can’t be happening.

“Fine then.” he gave a slight pause. “Would you mind if I stepped inside briefly?”

“Oh, yes.” said James, seemingly forgetting common courtesy. This guy must be soaked.

The man looked behind him at the storm with indifference as if taking notice of it for the first time. He turned back and smiled wryly. “That would be lovely. Thank you.”

They walked into the living room ignoring the storm outside. The man in blue stepped into the foyer without wiping his shoes on the old floor mat. James even noticed that the man didn’t appear to be wet at all. His shoes didn’t squeak on the marble floor. The man in blue turned and extended his unoccupied hand to James.

James returned motion and shook the man’s hand. Feels like this guy has had his hand in ice water.

The man in blue held the grip for longer than normal. “You’ve got a good grip there. You must work in construction.”

“Uh, yeah. Thanks?” James stammered out. “So, what can I help you with?” he eyed the side of the man’s jacket with the gun.

“I’m sorry to intrude like this but I was told that you would be here at this time. Your place of residence looks…lovely.” said the man in blue.

“Oh, yeah, well…” James tried a little humor. “My place in the Hampton’s is still being renovated. So I just pitched my tent here, for now.” James never took his eyes away from the holstered pistol.

“I don’t have much time, so if it’s not a bother to you, I would like to get straight down to business. I think that’s the phrase.” stated the stranger.

“Yes, I think that’s the phrase.” James agreed sardonically. The storm outside was picking up. The thunder really made James feel the uneasiness in his stomach. He felt like something bad was going to happen.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be brief.” the man in blue unbutton his coat jacket, the gun now in plain sight.

“I’m going to ask you if you wish to participate or not. If you agree, you will get this briefcase and you can do whatever your little heart desires with it’s contents. If you disagree-” the man thought seemed to trail off. “Well, let’s just say you’re going to participate.”

James’ heard the threat clearly. He swallowed and responded. “Free money sounds like a good idea.”


The man in blue uncuffed himself from the money and latched it onto James. James contemplated objecting be decided it was in his best interests to cooperate fully. He also couldn’t stop salivating at the idea of all that money on his wrist.

Heck, if this guys going to kill me, I might as well die rich.

“There is, of course, one catch.” said the stranger. His eyes narrowed. “You will have six days to spend all of this money. You are expected to spend it correctly. If you fail to do so within the assigned time period-” the man opened his coat jacket to reveal the gun fully. “I’ll kill you.”

James swallowed hard.

“That’s it.” The man buttoned his jacket again and started toward the door.

“W-wait. You’ll just kill me if I don’t spend the money? And you’ll kill me if I spend it wrong?” he waited for a response from the man.

“Yes. You have six days as well. Don’t forget the six days part.”

James was trying his hardest to not evacuate his bowels in front of this mysterious stranger.

“How am I supposed to spend it the right way? You want me to give it to a charity or something? Why not do it yourself. Why am I being … chosen for this whole crazy scheme.” whimpered James.

“You said you wanted more money. Here’s your chance.” stated the stranger.

Can this guy read thoughts or something?  James wondered to himself.

“Actually, I can.” said the man in blue.

“You can what?” queried James. He felt like he was going to throw up.

“I can read your thoughts. I can also tell a lot of things about you James Allen Harris.”


“Woah, indeed. I can also tell you that were the person I picked for reasons you can’t see right now. You’re just going to have to trust me. I haven’t picked a winner yet, but you might be the lucky one.” the man finished. He started walking toward the door.

“You mean everybody who’s done this has failed?” said James.

“It’s a shame to say it. But yes. They have all failed.” The man reached into his pocket and tossed the keys at James. “Catch.”

James didn’t move and the keys hit his chest and fall to the floor.

As the man in blue opened the door the wind from the storm kicked some rain into the foyer. The splashing from the eve above made it sound like a waterfall outside.

“Oh, and I’d hate put you out like this, but you should probably use some of that money to replace these windows.” said the man ignoring the torrent outside.

James looked like a bewildered owl. “Windows?” he inquired.

His question was ignored and the man in blue stepped outside and closed the door behind him. No less than than 3 seconds later lightning crashed just outside of the same door.

Glass shattered and the windows blew inward. James thought a bomb had went off and threw himself down to the ground covering his head with the briefcase.

For a moment the shock took away all memories of the man in blue. James opened his eyes half expecting this whole ordeal to be a hallucination but he felt the cold handcuffs around his wrist. When he picked himself up he raced to the door and threw it open. The rain persisted but the man was gone. Vanished into thin air. It smelled like flowers.

Only a small piece of paper lay on his porch. James picked up the sopping wet rag.

It read:

June 9th at 9:00 p.m. I’ll see you then.

P.S. – Sorry about the mess.

James forgot his fear of lightning and stood outside as more arcs bolted across the sky. He ran down the street not caring if the neighbors saw him.

Six days. 

The Man in Blue.

D.A. Bancroft

As Ricky Would Say…

March 15, 2012

I got some ‘splainin’ to do.

So my short story (flash fiction) fell short of what I was hoping for. And that’s okay. It’s not good but at least I tried. I’ll get better.

It was rushed and put together poorly. Maybe I was trying to do too much in such a short space. Maybe I didn’t do enough. I’m not really sure, but I’m open to your opinion.

In my own defense I should say that this is not the story I intended to share with you yesterday. Yesterday’s story was … wow… I didn’t even know what I was thinking. So I bailed and gave you what you saw. And what you saw yesterday was just 10 times better than what you could have got.

At least I learned the wonderful skill of knowing when to bail. And I learned that it doesn’t bother you as much to throw away a shorter work than a little longer one.

Tomorrow will be a better day. Spring break begins here. A precious week of no work that I WILL waste away. But tomorrow I will post something breathtaking.


You’ll be flabbergasted.


Flipin’ Friday

March 2, 2012

So…I did something pretty cool today. I actually became one step closer in my goal of trying to put a marble in every country around the world.


Freakin’ Sweden shall possess one of my marbles! The land of ice/Ikea/friendly people/LARPers/and a king that will likely get some strange mail very shortly.

How did this marble end up over there? I sort of met a Swede here on the internets. For some reason they thought it would be a good idea to support my cause (Which really isn’t a cause at all).

So…I guess the marble list has crossed off Canada, the United States, and Sweden. That’s 193 more to go.

Things are looking good.

I can’t help but notice that you’re contemplating something…

It … it… it seems that you’re wondering about this odd goal. If you’re kind of new to this blog you may not have heard this before. Well…I have a goal to put a marble on every continent on the planet…Lofty goal, I know, but I might as well try.

Nothing special about the marble. It’s just a marble. Made from cheap glass. I think it cost me a dollar for 100 of them. But the idea of putting something so tiny and worthless in places that could make them kind of important is a really cool thought to me.

And that’s really all there is to that.

It…seems….that you also want to participate… Interesting… I will have to help you do that.

If you live in a strange and far away land (other than one of those listed above) and would like to receive a very not-special marble from a very not-special person…then do I have a deal for you!

Then send me a very non-creepy email…and we’ll talk about it. If you don’t freak me out way too much…Maybe we can give you a marble. What’s my email? Oh, well… you should click the ‘about me’ section of this blog and find out.


P.S. – I’ve actually posted on here for 5 days straight…Will he meet his goal by sticking with it through the weekend? Stay tuned to find out.

Busy Bee

February 22, 2012

I AM BUSY BEE! (And yes, I meant that in a singular sense. As in, I am the one and only, The Mighty, Busy Bee)

Okay, I’m sort of busy. And I’m not a bee at all. (Though I do sometimes hum…which is almost like buzzing)

I have been writing…

Wow. Seems weird to write that.

I have been writing…

Yup, still strange.

Anyway, like I mentioned previously, I have begun writing what will become my first novel. The first chapter (which is where I am) is going to be all chock full of crazy little things that will, hopefully, interest my reader enough to continue. Still, I’m having concerns about the whole “first line” issue.

In my previous attempts at writing (as seen here on my little blog here) I have always tried to open up with an interesting sentence. But I feel like this is a little bit much. Like a gimmick or something. Maybe it should only be used in a short story setting?

Yes, I know I shouldn’t worry about it too much because, hey, that’s what editing is for. Knowing this, I hold the opinion that this kind of thing really shapes what the opening scene of my novel will be about. If I do a “cold” open, that could really drop the reader into an exciting place, or it could put them in a place and leave them confused. If I open with some exposition, it could be pretty boring.

Decisions, decisions…

Oh, you have an opinion to share here? Then please do so at the bottom.

And another thing.

So, you know how you read a novel and sometimes you get one of these neat little… I dunno what to call it… “bonus chapter”?

Let me explain.

You’re reading about your main character all the time. And if not, most of the time. Maybe you give your other minor characters some perspective in your story and it keeps the flow interesting. But have you ever read one of those chapters that seems to… not fit…but totally fits?



Let’s look at the Ransom Trilogy for a second here…In the book “That Hideous Strength” you are always following Ransom himself or the antagonist(s). But there is one really strange exception. You get to read as the elephant/rhino/beast (it’s been a while since I’ve last read this) as it stomps and destroys everything in it’s path. It’s completely awesome and completely unnecessary. But it was this wonderful change of pace in the book.

Are things like this safe to put in a book? Are the only useful in the skilled hands of an experienced writer? Are they necessary to keep people interested in the overall plot of a book?

You tell me…


Hey, it’s Friday!

Would you like to have a peek into my real life?

Why are you making that disgusted face? No really. Can I share something with you that is sort of my unwinding ritual from the work week?


Come on! I’m serious!

And it’s nothing weird. I promise.

Every Friday, when I get off of work, I decide to treat myself to driving out Comic Central. Ahh yes, my “local” comic shop. (It looks really creepy when I use the quotation marks there. It makes it seem like I fly in from Venus or something… Just ignore them and pretend that I put them there for comedic effect.)

Here is the place where I pick up my subscriptions, chat it up with some of the local geekery, and generally just waste a lot of time.

I usually walk out with spending 7 to 8 bucks in picking up subscriptions. Sometimes, when I’m feeling crazy, I pick up a trade paperback of something that I think I would be interested in. Then is just awesome to go off and have a conversation with an adult and talk about things that don’t totally matter.

Most of the time I spend there is chatting it up with one of the employees. Mostly we just shoot the bull, but sometimes we get into some really good discussion about what makes comics so… good. This always perks me up after a hard day/week.

I think social things like this really help to reset my clock and help me prepare for the whole next week.

It’s one of those things I look forward to during the week. And I’m happy I’ve got one of those things. I don’t really know how I would survive without something in it’s place.

But the time has come where I’m caught up on all my comic readings and I need more.

That’s where you come in. Tell me what to read next!

I’m pretty surprised in myself because I don’t recall having asked for this advice on here before. But, if my memory serves me correct, I recall many of my fellow internet friends (that’s you) have read plenty of comics.

This is your time to shine. I will take any and all suggestions. You want to suggest a comic about sharks that do martial arts and combat an army of sea bass? Cool, I’m with that. You want to suggest a comic of teens dealing with middle school drama and vampires? Alright, I could give it a shot. You feel like suggesting a black and white comic with no dialogue about flowers that are actually ultra powerful demigods in Norse mythology? I guess I’m good with that too.

Anything. I’m willing.

And if possible, try to sell it to me like a used car salesman. I would think would be fun as well.


Something I’ve noticed

October 15, 2011

As we all know, I’m a big fan of the sci-fi genre. Hey, I live and die by the sci-fi mantra.

Just in case you don’t know what that is…

“It’s not fun unless their are lasers involved.”

Yeah, that pretty much sums up my entire life of entertainment. And let me say, we rarely see any lasers anymore. So I’m usually disappointed.

Something I’ve noticed about the interwebs is that there aren’t many blogs that feature original sci-fi content. As a matter of fact I’m willing to make a bet with you. If you go to your tag surfer option on WordPress and you look up the tag “sci-fi” then you will get many hits that are nothing more than book reviews and anime references.

That’s all.

Come on. Aren’t we a little more fairly represented than that? I mean, I feel like the only good sci-fi / nerdy blogs I’ve come across seem to be the peoples who’s blogs I’m subscribed to.

I want fresh meat!

So, if you know about a good and fun to read sci-fi themed blog, let me know about it. I will then hunt that person down and give my subscription. Then I will comment on their blog and will end up indirectly offending them. Then it will likely result in a law suit.

Happy Saturday,


That’s right, I’m in my room and beginning the process of creating a “fun and successful learning environment”. Yeah, that sounds good.

It’s actually a pretty cool room in a nice part of the school. I’m next to a lot of really helpful and kind teachers. I know they will be willing to help me out of a bind and keep me going toward realizing my goal.

Here are a few poorly taken photos of my poorly organized and bare classroom.

This is looking at the back/lab area

This is more of a middle of the room / gratuitous shot of the fume hood



This is the front of the room, taken from the entrance into the class

This is the view "from the trenches".

(Wow, upon reading my comments to my own photos, I realize how much of a nerd I really am)

Oh, it’s gigantic. I have 25 seats in the front for “instructional purposes” and eight lab tables in the back for “more in depth instructional purposes”.

Pro: It’s all mine.

Con: Not much else in there to be mine. The storage room is bare.

Pro: There is a dishwasher to wash beakers, cylinders, containers and cups.

Con: There is no hot water because students may burn themselves.

Pro: It was given to me in relatively clean order.

Con: It doesn’t have anything in it for it to be dirty.

Pro: I have my very own office.

Con: No desk chair/printer/cables/wireless internet.

Pro: Other teachers are nice enough to offer me plenty of lab materials if I need them.

Con: Will not be dissecting cats this year…bummer. (Not that I have anything against cats living)

So it looks like my year has a few bumps already but I’m sure those will smooth out in no time. (I put this sentence in here so I can read it later and feel a little better about myself.)

My main concern is in regards to making lesson plans that meet up with state standards and still having a big “fun” factor. I want this to me my idea’s and actions that make this class unique. I don’t want to steal/borrow lesson ideas from everybody, but I guess I may have to make accommodation in that regard. I mention this because today was my first day of “pre-planning” week.

For those of you not in the know, “pre-planning” week is where teachers come back before students. Then they have a lot of meetings and gripe about whether they are going to even be prepared for this upcoming year. I guess it’s an old tradition around this profession. But to me it’s not a tradition as much as it is a real concern.

I’m not ready for this at all.

I on the other hand am not too busy talking about my small paycheck or my very “disruptive” class last year. I’m not too worried about who took my pencil sharpener or who is telling me the wrong things about meetings. That I will leave to those seasoned veterans of the teaching force.

I am much more concerned about not having a complete meltdown within the next week and a half.

College never prepared me for anything I have been doing in the past two weeks…

So, I hope I can pretend that I know what I’m doing for long enough until I actually figure it out.

I guess if they learn that I’m not really all I’m cracked up to be then I’ll get plenty of spare time to work on that silly lamp of mine…

Wow, that really takes me back. Back in the days where I was free to grow my facial hair and build goofy lamps. Yeah, sweet memories.

Sucking his thumb while sleeping tonight,


Yesterday was a day I will soon not forget. A real trying experience I tell you!

Behold my story!

Yesterday was the day of my job interview for a local high school. I was pretty amped about it because it’s close, cool, and (most importantly) might have a position made for me. I’ve known about it for a week, and haven’t let it get to me. I’ve remained pretty calm and collected. I was still excited, but I wasn’t panicking, so that was good.

I decide to wake up early (that’s read as 9 o’clock) because my interview isn’t until 2 p.m.. So, I wake up, relax, eat a small breakfast, and begin preparing for my interview. I start running through practice questions in my mind, think about my teaching philosophies/experiences, and go over my resume and reference letters. And i’m liking what my brain is telling me. If I were interviewing me, I would give me a shot.

Overall, I’m still feeling pretty good. I’m not pacing around like I usually do.

I must also mention, I’m the only person home, and we’ve had an air conditioning emergency. There is no cold air in my home because some sort of leak is causing the freeon (magical cooling fluid) to not be in my A/C unit. So, even though I am a little muggy as I try to get dressed, I’m still feeling alright. That’s only a little stressful. Like a 3 out of 10.

But I walk out of the door forgetting one thing.

My Chapstick.

I always need Chapstick because I am just one of those guys that doesn’t drink enough water I guess. Or maybe I just don’t drink enough in the morning. Point is, I need it, especially if I need to make sure my two lips don’t look like two dried out salmon. (Horrible image, sorry). And when I meet a new person that could potentially decided to hire me I think Chapstick is a good decision.

For those of you keeping score of my stress level: I have had a no A/C morning (in Florida), Preparing for job interview, and forgot my Chapstick. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say I’m feeling around a 7. Not good at all. I am pretty stressed, but at least I know it’ll be over soon.

At least I made it to my interview on time.

Next comes the interview. It was a little strange at first but I warmed up and got some good answers in. I felt comfortable asking the principal some questions about the job and the school, and she seemed rather receptive about that. Only problem was that I kept licking my lips in order to make then not look too milky and dry. When I got in my car to drive home I looked in my mirror and realized that I had failed at that.

But at least the interview part well reasonable well. So now my stress level is at 6.

But that’s only the first half kiddies…

(Sorry for calling you kiddie.

The interview ended at 3 p.m.. That gave me enough time to go home, eat, check on the A/C repair, and then pick up my bass for practice at a church that I’m helping out. The practice begins at 5 p.m..

Personal note: I am never late. I hate being late. I WILL be there. Even if I’ve already had a defcon 7 of a day.

I do everything I am supposed to, but decide to not change out of my clothes. I figured I wasn’t going to need to do that, considering all I was going to be doing was playing an instrument and not in front of anybody to boot. I hop in my car and head on down. But maybe a mile from my house, I feel something suspicious and terrible.

My car starts feeling….lumpy. Rumbling. Flappy. I look down at my guages and look for some sign of what is happening. And a little orange tire pressure guage is on.

I have a flat tire.

And that’s it. Today is officially a 9 I think to myself. The stress of my day was supposed to be the interview. At that was it. I was supposed  to enjoy the rest of my evening.

I relize that I have to put on a spare tire. This is totally okay and expected, but I have to do it in my dress clothes. (Didn’t change, remember?). So, I take off my tie, throw all the junk out of my trunk, and begin the very dirty process of changing my tire.

I fumbled around with the world’s worst emergency car jack for about 10 minutes (thanks Toyota). And I still can’t get these lugs off with this hideous excuse for a tire iron. No leverage.

We are at a 9 and 3/4 of a stressful day. I’m going to be late. I have to buy a new tire because this one is beyond patching. The side wall has blown out (which would have been awful had I been going faster than the 35 mph I was doing). And you can’t just buy one new tire, you need at least two. So there goes more money.

I contemplate calling somebody. Maybe just skipping the very important practice entirely and giving up. I’ll try again tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

Yes, if I just go home and go to sleep, things will be better.

Then a green truck pulls up. A middle aged dude pops out and says, “Hey man, car problems?”

“Mondays.” is my response.

He laughs and pulls out an awesome tire iron. One with the ability to pull the lugs off of my tire and helps me get this thing done.

After the very kind man (who, I will be honest, smelled a little bit like alcohol) left, I was able to return home and borrow somebody else’s car.

I was only late by 10 minutes.

Stress level down to 2.

That was a pretty long story, so if you read the whole thing here is an internet high five for you.


Nailed it!

Thank you for reading a story about my Monday.

Would you like to share a stressful story with me? Feel free to do so in the comment section.

Wishing you a better days than what I just had,


So for those of you who did not know I am a noob on the blog scene I have made this post for you to point and laugh at me.  As for the rest of you, please ignore this post and move on to reading my previous post (Charlie 3).

In respect to the number of viewers of this blog, I get really happy when my report says I had around 30 viewers. That’s like, wow, a lot. But low and behold, today I have 60. Double! That’s crazy. One day last week (blog only 4 days old) I get nearly 70 views. But there is something quite fishy floating in the air.

Here’s my thoughts as I view my information:

Woah, 70 views! That’s sickeningly awesome. I must know more. Who are these wonderful people who have graced my blog with their presence?

What? That’s strange.

How did they find my blog? What that crap is this lame business ad/blog?

I think I’m getting spammed.

Pretty hardcore.

(Imagine my right eye drooping, caused by the stroke I had due to anger and confusion)

Now if you’re done laughing, you’ve had your chance to get your jollies, please help me out here.

Anybody notice any discrepencies on their viewer numbers for your blog as well? I’ve noticed that on certain days I get told that an account (of which is nothing but one advertisment post) keeps looking at my blog nearly 40 times. Does this happen with everybody, or is this some sort of spam problem that I can actually get rid of by reporting it?

If I need to report it, how do I do that? If it’s just a fact of life on the blogosphere then does this mean I can start getting benefits? I would love some dental coverage. And what’s the co-pay on this thing? Vacations?

Really, somebody let me know what’s up. Thanks.