Submitted by admin on Thu, 07/06/2023 - 18:37

 Short Stories, Short Plays, and Other Short Things

a PDF book (86 pages) of humour with original art-work
(us$18.00......early bird price: us$9.00 OR can$12.00) 

This is a (signed) limited edition book.
(Your book is unique: a little bit different from all the others)

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a SAMPLE draft from the PDF book ShortStories:

   a short story: playing cards at the EuropaCafé 


Danny the Wrench stepped into the EuropaCafé (and everybody said or nodded hello and I mean everybody) with some guy who turned out to be a Chuck Noonan. Chuck was a loud obnoxious type of guy. You could tell right away. Insulting with the staff. Rude with strangers. Knowledgeable about antiques. And sports. He looked like a typical loud-mouth brother-in-law. He probably had 5 or 6 sisters, so that he could brother-in-law even more of the world than most people. And I bet that the probable sisters were each sure candidates for 4 or 5 marriages, so that Chuck had a full satisfying lifetime of loud brother-in-lawing ahead of him.    

Some very young (future) punks were hanging around the little outside tables and Chuck went back to the front door and yelled out: “Hey, fellows, stay away from that Mercedes. The paint job’s new, over $3,300 just for the colour alone. The mags had to be imported from Stuttgart.” (He pronounced it: SHTUTT-gart.) Robert Redford once said if you stay in Beverly Hills too long you become a Mercedes and that can’t be a good thing.


The EuropaCafé is in the Italian section of town. There are about a dozen Italian sections of town in Hog Town. There was a big bar with a short-skirted bartenderess. Lots of beers and espressos and tables and tvs with sports channels on. Not my style, but I owed Danny. I owed him a lot and this time I just paid him back with some coffees and company. Everybody seemed to owe Danny the Wrench. And he handled it with his usual grace. (I’d vote for him anytime.) Some people go through life constantly sowing future favours at the Bank of Karma.

The boys were (of course) arguing about hockey and soccer and politics. (“Damn Refs!”) (“Nice Pass!”) (“Stupid Government!”) And they were gambling. The cards would hit the table with power (and a prayer).

The boys were (of course) arguing about hockey and soccer and politics. (“Damn Refs!”) (“Nice Pass!” “Stupid Government!”) And they were gambling. The cards would hit the table with power (and a prayer).


Danny told me that the playing cards we’re using were based on ancient ones from around the 1300s. (The man knows cards. When he plays, he counts his cards AND yours!) Apparently the English stole them from the French. And the French and Germans stole their cards from the Italians and Spanish, who stole their designs from the Arabs who stole their cards from the Middle East or maybe the Far East somewhere.

So the corrupted cards we have today all have some forgotten historical references and secret symbols and stories. (Much like an English word that has worked its way through a rough and rudderless history of wars and simple misunderstandings.)

I took a casual look around the loud laughing room. It was very smoky not so long ago. But some parts of it haven’t really changed that much.                                      

“Look, there’s an orb of some sort on the (sad-looking) King of Clubs. This card here is the Jack of Hearts. Why is he holding a leaf? And his friend, the King of Hearts, used to hold an ax too. Now it’s a sword. The meanings have all been lost and damaged. Transformed by some ignorant draughtsman in a hurry to meet a tight deadline (or pay the rent).”


“The cards used to be full figured. But for a hundred years or so, they’ve been double-ended. Look at this Queen of Hearts. She does NOT look like she’s in love. This Queen of Spades is really unhappy. She’s made me unhappy for many years now. This witch has been a constant curse in my life of cards. Why one frosty November up North, we went moose hunting and I was playing cards with you know that tall guy who once drove….”

I waited and then told him that Bucky told me that there are no straight lines, but I thought that the straightest lines were in the cities. He nodded back slightly. I sipped another cappuccino.

Danny the Wrench sure “lives” his cards! It never struck me before how detailed pretty these pictures were. There was a German deck at one table. Another table had some Italian cards, but the suits were: cups, swords, sticks and round coins and there were only 40 cards.

I noticed Chuck walking very slowly to stare out a small window and then walking back toward the bar: “Hey, outta my way, you’re hogging the bar, ya hosers. Any of you ever been inside a quality automobile like a Mercedes, man? Didn’t your Papa tell you that success only comes to those who work hard in this great country. I love this land! Today’s punks don’t know nothing. Jerks going nowhere fast and not pretty. Not like in my day….”

Danny told me that you could put meaning to the cards and numbers (like anything else if you really tried). 4 seasons. 52 weeks. 364 days (plus the joker). But for the real meaning, he showed me a deck behind the bar (and behind the ever-present Carla (they called her Carla the Cobra behind her (bare) back)). The Rider Tarot Deck. Beautiful and rich in symbols.


“Tarot was an expansion of the other decks and pretty soon the Gypsies discovered its powers: It could extract free money from the desperate or rich or down right stupid or any of the above.” Cervantes said that the fool in a comedy is not really a fool.

There was a huge sudden uproar outside. Wiener jumped inside quickly and said that some punks had taken baseball bats and a brick to a Mercedes parked out in front of the EuropaCafé. Chuck sipped (loudly) his caffè latte and stared at the Juventus game on tv. (The Italian announcers were loud and (how do you say clownish in Italian?) self-important.) Their sports banter came from a very old script

Against my better judgement, I asked Chuck if he was going to go outside and see if it was maybe his Mercedes. Chuck kept staring at the game and answered: “Mercedes? No way. Not me, man. I drive a little Japanese car. I hate Mercedes -- if there’s one thing I hate more than a Mercedes, it’s the ignorant, low-down dirty thief driving that Mercedes…(sip) they ought to key all the Mercedeses into oblivion as far as I’m concerned, man.” People outside and in were jumping and buzzing with the new conversation at the EuropaCafé. Words are the grease.

I stared at the soccer game on tv for a while and said (nonchalantly-like) that I felt the same way about Volvos. Then I slipped out to check out the white Mercedes parked outside. Mercedes…The King of Cars….

Keep shuffling,