The Book

This is an excerpt from a short story. If ya’ll like it, I’ll post the rest of it. If not, I can always post my favorite Joel Olsteen moments. Enjoy!

Richard “Dick” Tortellini moved into the house in early August. It was his family home, left to him and his brother, Charlie, by their late father. It was in a prime location in Albuquerque and Charlie had been renting the place out since their father’s death fifteen years ago. But Richard’s time had finally come. He’d gotten a phone call from his mother in May. She said that she wanted him to move back into the family house and fix the place up. “I just don’t think your father would appreciate what’s happening to his house,” she explained. Now Richard’s mother was quite old and not a little senile. But Richard saw the wisdom in this. He could live there rent free, fix the place up and talk Charlie into selling it for a fat profit. He made a modest living as a high school biology teacher and could really use the money to help jumpstart his life. So Dick evicted the tenants and moved in his stuff in one fell swoop.

The house was in shambles and damn near falling down around his head. Fifteen years of renters and a lax landlord had severely depreciated the house’s value. Since his last place was furnished, Dick didn’t have much in the way of furniture. An old table, a chair, a recliner and a cot was all he had to fill a three bedroom, two story house. But Dick was used to this. A lifetime of social ineptitude forced him to spend most of his time away from people. He felt most comfortable camping. In fact, he spent the majority of his summers deep in the woods of northern New Mexico with no one but the old gods to keep him company.
Dick put his cot in the master bedroom upstairs. The carpet was shot, the walls were yellow and the whole room stank like mold from a botched carpet shampooing job.

“Everything has to be redone,” thought Dick angrily, his rodent like nose twitching with disgust. Using a case of beer as a nightstand, he lay down to sleep and was immediately beset by dreams. He dreamt he was in the master bedroom on his cot. A raven-haired woman in a white dress walked toward him, her feet never touching the ground. She stroked Dick with an ethereal hand. He shuddered from the touch, though he was dreaming.

“Richard,” she whispered and ran her ghostly fingers down his chest.

Dick moaned in ecstasy and leaned back. Just as the woman mounted him, a shadow darkened the doorway.

The woman sprang back fearfully. “No! No!” She shook her head vehemently and backed toward the wall. “It’s still not your time!”

The shadow that stepped into the room was very familiar to Dick. “Dad?” he said quizzically and was jolted from his sleep by something tickling his upper lip. It was a cockroach, trying frantically to get the last half of its body into Dick’s nose.

A squeal, more rodent than human, pealed through the air and Dick yanked the intruder from his nostril. He smashed the roach in his fist and stumbled downstairs to the kitchen. The refrigerator held two things: condiments and beer. Dick snatched a beer and guzzled it. He followed it with another and a third for good measure. Hoping to keep the roaches at bay, he spent the rest of the night at the kitchen table with the lights on and the TV. blaring the news in the background.

In other news, Officials at Jemez National Forest received two more reports of campers being attacked and robbed by what one victim described as, ‘wild-eyed mountain men’. Campers and day-trippers headed to the Jemez Mountains are being advised to stay only in designated campgrounds and to avoid camping alone in the forest. We go to Lisa Landry for the report…
He awoke stiff and poorly rested from sleeping at the table. It was an uncomfortably long day at work and Dick stayed late to grade papers (but really he was avoiding the house. He wasn’t comfortable in the place.) His brain tried to wrap itself around his supernatural experiences. Who was the woman and why was his father haunting the place? Dick shook the thought away as soon as it crossed his mind. Absurd. He was practically a man of science. Preposterous notions had no place in his worldview. There was no such thing as the supernatural. His real problem lay with the roaches infesting the house. He picked up a can of bugspray on the way home. He used the entire can spraying the perimeter of the room from floor to ceiling. He sat on his cot drinking beer and keeping diligent watch for invading insects. Soon, tiredness and alcohol got the better of him and he drifted into sleep.

Once more he was in the master bedroom. The ghostly woman strode gracefully into the room. “Richard? Are you there?”

“Who are you?” he stammered.

She didn’t answer, only extended her hand. Dick took it and followed the woman out of the room and into the hallway. She walked down the hall and disappeared into the wall next to the stairway.
Dick reached out his shaking hand and it went through the wall. He was just about to step through when the roaches appeared. They swarmed the wall in such great numbers it was obscured beneath their writhing mass. Dick’s screams woke him up.

He was sitting in front of the wall, now devoid of roaches. Closer inspection revealed a hole at the bottom. Intrigued, Dick knock on the wall. It was hollow. He was tempted to tear it down right there, but the skittering sound of countless roaches on the other side deterred him. Instead, he slouched downstairs and spent another night at the table.


About That One Guy

Jason lives, laughs and loves in the Land of Enchantment. He has been many exciting things in his life, but his title has always been "author." His book, "The Ruined Man," was a finalist in the 2017 NM-AZ Book Awards. Follow him on Facebook at: Twitter: @infinityjones and Instagram @theruinedman and don't forget to check out his blog at

Posted on February 20, 2012, in Author, Fiction, Religion and Spirituality, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I say enter in the Writer’s Digest Writing Competition. Here’s a link to the details:

    Go for it!

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