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Short Stories

Journey To The Planet Merridion by Michael Harris This is my third tale in what I'm calling "The Adrian and Lucalan Saga," unless... [8,445 words]
After Sex And Love What Then. by Terry Collett - [692 words]
The Moon Inside by Soron - [1,422 words]
Pt.2 Of Barbie Beaten By Brats! (The Rest Told By Strawberry Shortcake) by Dream Rinsed observations of childplay from a twiste... [175 words]
Mayster's Broad. by Terry Collett - [514 words]
Barbie Beaten By Brats! (As Told By Rainbow Brite) Pt1 by Dream Rinsed observations of childplay from a twisted point of view. [172 words]
Asylum Blues. by Terry Collett - [578 words]
Speed Trap by Matthew Lett Ever imagine getting stopped by the Highway Patrol in the middle of nowhere, for basically nothing? ... [7,283 words]
Dexter's Destiny by Matthew Lett One man's terrifying road to redemption, and beyond! [4,977 words]
At Clarence's by Randall Barfield - [290 words]
Victorian Winters by Joel Ficelle This story continues on from Victorian Summer, Return to the City and The Ruby Necklace. It c... [15,734 words]
Victorian Summer by Joel Ficelle This story continues on from The Ruby Necklace and Return to the City. It could be called The ... [20,604 words]
The Ruby Necklace by Joel Ficelle Story set in Victotian times [9,707 words]
The Cookery Class by Joel Ficelle Erotic Story based on Nude Cooking. Man meets girl in a class and they pursue affair. [5,535 words]
Return To The City by Joel Ficelle Story set in Victorian times Story continues on from another story: The Ruby Necklace. [12,666 words]
No Happily Ever After by Adria Steuer Everybody makes mistakes. That's what our parents tell us. But sometimes that lesson is... [1,192 words]
A Tale Of A Squire by Terence Boydon A short tale about a squire and love. [1,065 words]
A Strawberry Short Story by Terence Boydon A short story between a girl and a boy. May be your typical, you judge it. ;) [3,506 words]
The Diary by Raine Lariza It is a story of a girl and her mysterious diary.. Why it is a mysterious one? Find out why.. [839 words]
Victory In The Mist Of Defeat by Bridgett Nesbit A young pastor along with other concerned community leaders and pastors hold a me... [882 words]
Towards Far Far Away by Abhijit Sarma Barua It is about a man, who has lost almost all of his human emotions due to some incidents, oc... [2,250 words]
Opening Up Her Home And Heart by Bridgett Nesbit Anna Howard could shoulder her own pain; living with lupus for over ten years but... [831 words]
Monolog Monkey by Michael Potter A young man deals with being laid off. [5,501 words]
How To Teach The Law Of Attraction by Jack Jakuper - [332 words]
Helle ... Hello .... by Abhijit Sarma Barua A boy was in love with an younger girl, whom he admired very mach and most interestingly h... [1,915 words]
Child Of God by Bridgett Nesbit Tamara Stevens's husband had forgotten how long they'd known one another and rumors of Pastors inf... [16,631 words]
A Visit by Randall Barfield - [245 words]
War Memories 2 by E M K S Moresteel The continuation of war memories 1. Moore and steel find a deadly hidden secret. [897 words]
Rosemary by Lilli Brachman - [1,310 words]
Bikers Gone Wild by Brayden Dent A short, funny story of me learning a lesson the hard way on my rusty, trusty bike a few years... [221 words]
War Memories 1 by E M K S Moresteel The adventures of Sgt. Moore, and General Steel as they fight they're way through this fictional... [801 words]
She Only Got Flowers From Him Once. by Emory L Griffin Pretty serious read and I believe it's some good stuff. It's a different di... [539 words]
Lose Or Win, It's All The Same In The End. by Emory L Griffin post-apocalyptic America story. It's short, so do me a favor and rea... [269 words]
Answer To A Not-So-General Question by Jennifer Hendershot A story about love lost and closure. [1,771 words]
1 To 3 Turns by Emory L Griffin inspired by Bruce Coville's the monster's ring. It is a little more dark, and slightly more ominou... [1,254 words]
The Merchantilers by Bo Turner A story of how illiterate African Americans were treated even unto the mid 1900s. [560 words]
The Locker Room Secret by Latina Torrence - [1,006 words]
The Goodbye by Randall Barfield My 2nd attempt at a 'western'. It won a cherry at abctales.com (shoebox) [752 words]
The Doctor Is In. by Emory L Griffin short horror story [538 words]
Spf-1000 (Vampires Are Real And They Have Sunscreen!) by Nick Molinari Molinari A man gets converted to a Vampire and discovers an underg... [1,413 words]
Past Five by Brian Mey a short story by brianmey [3,116 words]
Out Of Ink, Out Of Time by T J Rintoull Tongue-in cheek short story about office work and accidents of quantum physics. [627 words]
Nightmare (On 7th Ave) by Mary Anne Caudill I thought that sleep would help me escape the chaos in my life, but no such luck [1,499 words]
Moving In by Emory L Griffin An homage to "The new house" by Randall Barfield. I hope I did it justice. [598 words]
Little Lord Faunty by Jerry Vilhotti Trying to find a place not too crowded .... [1,185 words]
Life After Death? by Emory L Griffin thought provoking short. [681 words]
Giving, An American Tradition by Emory L Griffin - [749 words]
Epistle To Faeries Past by T J Rintoull A letter to a ghost of the past. [814 words]
Dreams Of A Blacken Heart by Latina Torrence - [538 words]
Don't Tell Anyone by Randall Barfield - [258 words]
Dear Detective Lovett by Randall Barfield - [646 words]
Ain't Love Grand? by Emory L Griffin short horror story,in my opinion, my best. [876 words]
Zimbabwe by J L Watts A fictional account of the emotions of a victim of land reform in Zimbabwe. [401 words]
The Elephant In The Room by Emory L Griffin short horror story [852 words]
Paradise by Calliope Irja Pearl Nelson You can't outgrow anything, least of all yourself. [464 words]
Marsten by Randall Barfield - [408 words]
Her By Stephen Knight by Shinning Knight Short story [2,287 words]
Her By Stephen C Knight by Stephen C Knight story [2,637 words]
Bon Appetit by Emory L Griffin A chilling meal for three. [821 words]
The Spiders And Johnny Bailes by Phil Neale For a lonely boy, the spider seemed to be his only friend, especially when it sp... [2,933 words]
The Scam Artist
Return Mail(Mail Part 2) by Emory L Griffin - [318 words]
Philomena D. Gavod - Madness by Philomena D Gavod I have mentioned before that i am a huge Phantom of the Opera fan. This short stor... [874 words]
My Lady In White by Emory L Griffin different direction than my other stories. [768 words]
Mail by Emory L Griffin a man receives a horrifying letter. [382 words]
Alice In Alaska by Journey Two Alice is bored, she decides to answer an advertisement in a newspaper, "Alaskan men looking for... [339 words]
A Visit Home by Journey Two A story about an Alaskan Yupik Eskimo woman who travels to her home town on Thanksgiving to visit ... [339 words]
A Kid Named Eddie by Emory L Griffin Tale of a twisted boy. [716 words]
Paranoia(Have I Told You This?) by Emory L Griffin Insight into a man slowly losing his mind due to paranoia. [396 words]
The Stone In The Sword by Matthew James Parsons The story of Larmandi, a humble son of a blacksmith who is called on a journey to find a... [9,970 words]
The Lily Painting by M Schied A modern, artistic retelling of Beauty and the Beast. [1,525 words]
Paper Cranes by Meruthiel A short story depicting love, loss, and regret. [1,082 words]
Death's Embrace by Emory L Griffin An old woman is paid a visit from death. [597 words]
Cindy's Fall by Randall Barfield - [526 words]
Black Star by Matthew James Parsons The story of Black Star, an orphan and a thief living in a turbulent time in the recently liberated ... [7,624 words]
Angels Without Wings Can Still Win by Randy Sumner A Sci-Fi short story that I wrote [3,645 words]
The True Stones by Matthew James Parsons The story of Desti and Regalius and their role in the conflict regarding the unimaginably power... [8,543 words]
Tight Jeans 3 by Randall Barfield ... but she was no rose... That's a joke... [228 words]
The Secret's In The Scream, Not The Sauce by Nigel N Samtin A short sory about my first experiences with roller coasters [1,755 words]
The Chesterfield by Deborah Jones I wrote this short story in honor of my Grandfather [1,406 words]
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The Caligate Murder by Danielle Anne Evans The Caligate Murder; The short story- ... [3,175 words]
Frost by Bernadette On this day, a young girl, 14, discovers that the meaning of Christmas has been ruined! [1,649 words]
Dosvadonya Darling by Joel Weiss A crime story that takes place in Las Vegas [1,914 words]
Them by Ian Quill A short story about governmental control and religion. [2,992 words]
The Last Ballet by Simon Nguyen A true artist does not care about money or fame; it’s the opportunity to perform the art one so... [631 words]
It Started With A Dream. by Corrina Robertson - [610 words]
Garage Talk by Cesar Merano When there is nothing to do on Friday night, three friends, Tom, Neil, and Barry, contemplate on wh... [1,547 words]

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The Scam Artist
It is a story about people who live of by tricking or scaming other human beings.
[1,264 words]
Thomas Cherian
Writing is something which gives me a release to random ideas floating in my brain...

[January 2009]
[email protected]
The Scam Artist
Thomas Cherian

 “Sir Can you help me?

I turned around to see where the voice was coming from. It was an older man must be in his fifties with a tattered shirt and a dirty looking pant. He was not very tall with striking white hair and beard. His beard and hair were long and well groomed. This was in sharp contrast to the image that he portrayed of a man in need. His eyes still had a liveliness which had not been doused by the misery he had under gone.

I was in a hurry. I was late for my client conference call. The Mumbai traffic was at its best performance this morning along with my normal reticence ensured that I was rushing for the call. I was pushing and shoving the bike in to any space available so that I may crawl ahead in the stand still traffic. He was standing at a traffic island imperious to all the rush and noise all around him. He was holding a board written in English.

I read the board it spoke about money needed for an operation of his sick wife and he was unemployed. I raised the pane of my helmet and looked at the man. He looked familiar. It was his eyes that gave him away though there were dark spots and a weathered look on his face now.

It must be close to twenty years now. We lived in the chawl and my dad worked for the rationing office. The chawls by their very nature afforded no privacy and hence everyone knew everyone else. Further most of the people who lived in a chawl had recently migrated to Bombay from their villages across the country. People sought out people from their community and region to have a kind of kinship and sense of belonging in a strange land.

People would hang around in the open to escape the heat and small space that chawls provided. After work men would sit in the open playing cards and drinking, while the women as was the norm then were housewives sat talking and trying to quiet excited kids. It was melee but nobody seemed to mind.
It was in these circumstances one day someone brought to the attention case of a man and his family. The man was unemployed and was going through a lot of misery. The man belonged to rich Christian family from Kerala and had means to survive back home. He was stage actor and was trying his hand in Mumbai. Unlike today those days the Hindi movie industry was dominated by Punjabis with no roles for a South Indian male actor. He had exhausted all the money which he had with him chasing the elusive dream.

The local Malayalees of Uday nagar decided to help them. The family was invited to come over one Sunday afternoon. The man was dashing with a thick mustache and lustrous hair. His eyes were big and brown. The woman looked wretched with bones sticking out and face which had a haunted look. Her eyes were buried deep in their socket and face was drawn inward. The kids all looked disheveled with hairs which were not groomed and shirts with buttons missing. The man was in stark contrast to his family. Even though he was asking for help, it seemed the community of Uday Nagar was doing a good deed for itself by helping him. It was like feeding the over feed Brahmin in our mythical tales of yore.

The wife we learned was suffering from Tuberculosis. Those made many wives of the colony have their children go away inside the house. A rickety table and chairs were bought out and the food was laid out. The wives and kids devoured whatever was laid in front of them. I was ten years old and was staring at the family from the confines of the chawl. The man was picking and choosing his food. It seemed he tasted the food to see if it was befitting his stomach’s stature. The children stuck together with the wife and the man stood aloof like a lotus in all the muck around it.

It was decided there would be a collection drive to help the family. The family had decided to go back to Kerala. They needed money to clear some debts and for the rail tickets. My father and one of the neighbors started the solicitation. There was a letter written by the man in Malayalam and to it was attached a paper for noting the name and contribution by the resident Malayalees of Uday Nagar. It took a lot of late nights and tireless effort by my father to collect money for the cause. Some of the residents worked late shifts or had different holidays, further everyone was not sympathetic to the cause which required a lot of cajoling and arm twisting. The drive was made difficult as you had to ensure you took along someone the family who you went asking for money recognized. To ensure all these schedules matched was a Herculean task. I can still remember my mom being critical of my dad and his unnecessary involvement in a fruitless endeavor.
The man visited frequently our house and was impatient with slowness of the drive. He even expressed doubts if the people raising the money were keeping it for themselves instead of giving it to him. It made my dad loose his cool and shout at him.

“I do not doubt you sir”
“I don’t trust Mr. Nair who is helping you in the drive”

I don’t recollect exactly how that discussion ended. I know my mother was very unhappy that night about the fruitless endeavor and the attitude of the man.

“I have never seen or heard of a situation like this” she said
“Well, I feel sorry for the wife and the kids, otherwise…” replied my dad.

It was about two thousand rupees that was handed over to the family in a small function in the neighborhood. We also gifted old clothes and food items. The man was more interested in auditing the list than expressing gratitude.

People heard him complaining about wasting money for the function than adding it to the collection.

“You guys want to feel good that is why ….” he said.
The people involved in the process were glad to see his back.

It was almost a year later we were traveling to visit a family friend in the western suburbs of Bombay. The trains were crowded. My mom and sister went into the ladies compartment while I went with dad. We got down at Malad and waited for my mother and sister to join us.
“Guess who I met “she said.
She had the seen the wife of the man we helped in the ladies compartment. My mother recognized her as the lady tried to avoid her. Long story short, he was a conman and she was a woman he had enrolled in his project to hoodwink the gullible residents of Uday Nagar. Her husband was dead and she had hungry stomachs to feed.

“The bastard gave her almost close to nothing” said my mother.

My dad was quite for a long time. We visited our friends and had a good time. On the way back he and my mother decided to keep the secret to themselves.
“This will create a ruckus” he said.
“I will keep quiet, if you promise not to involve in such projects again” she said.
There was some relief and traffic was showing signs of life again.
“Did you not go to Kerala Mr. George?” I asked.

He looked at me for a long time and then he smiled.


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© 2009 Thomas Cherian
January 2009

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