My Books and Short Stories
March 28, 2015
NOVELS -click on cover for Amazon order and reviews
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HUMOROUS ILLUSTRATED POEM ABOUT A BAD DAY FLYFISHING
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SHORT STORIES ABOUT VETERANS
UNSUNG PEARL HARBOR HERO
The Dry-Land Farmer, excerpts
By Milt Mays
Should’ve stayed in the Navy. Shit happens, though.
Like that morning
The Hawaiian sea breeze cools my face, the sun warms my back and, son of a bitch, two aces! Life doesn’t get much better.
Air raid sirens crack the peace.
“Another dumbass drill,” Earl says, sitting cross-legged and staring at his cards. He’s our complainer. Gotta have one.
I stand tall and crane my neck. Planes fly in low, too low, with those terrible red circles on the sides. “Jesus!” I yell. “This ain’t no drill, boys. Those are Japs!”
Torpedoes and bombs, screams and explosions, wailing sirens, smoke and blood—it scares me, scares me dumb and deaf. My head gets quiet and I run to the forecastle. No time to haul in a football field of starboard anchor chain. The winch is slow. The links are gigantic. They snake up from the bowels of the ship, wrap around the windlass, straighten to the bow and disappear down the hawsepipe: dark tunnel to Davy Jones’ Locker. The chain quivers with hundreds of tons of ship, like Hercules reining Cerberus. Hades waits.
I remember there’s another way. Blow out a breath and run to no man’s land, this side of the hawsepipe. Find the detachable link—the weakest link. Pull the pin, the chain will slip free and we can get the hell out. It’s there. But it’s rusted. I pull at the link but it won’t budge.
More bombs explode. Hurry! I should get help but there’s no time. Or maybe I’m just plain stupid.
A farmer has tried his whole life to do the right thing, including at Pearl Harbor, where he was an unsung hero. Despite hardships, he hung on to the land and the farm, and it saved him and his family, though one terrible accident may take all that away and give up one more farm to fracking. Unless he can finish one more harvest.
THE WATER HOLDS NO SCARS
ALL PROFITS GO TO PROJECT HEALING WATERS FLY FISHING
The Drive-in Hole
By Milt Mays
Two things a man needs when he crosses into late fall: love and a good hobby. I guess there’s three. Warmth. You get that inside with the first two, but outside warmth becomes more important as the first days of winter approach. Guess that’s why I’ve moved my late fall fishing closer to summer. It gives me two out of three.
The oars creak, the September sun warms my shoulder, and I sit in the front seat of the wooden drift boat Scott made, changing my fly for the next hole on the Bighorn. In the first casts on the last hole, my shoulder reminded me of thousands in the past. Time also taught me it’s time for a hopper.
My turn for the oars will come, but not now. Scott knows it. He’s probably smiling at the back of my head, knowing my craving for the crash of a big brown on a hopper, and knowing my love of this particular hole on this particular river. Scott rows expertly, the sun-flash of the wooden oars slurping in and out of flowing water. He rows so smoothly that movement is imperceptible. We slide into the perfect angle of drift, allowing the powerful river as wide as a football field to take us right where the fish lay. I am lucky Scott is my friend. …
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MORE SHORT STORIES
IRAQ INJURED HIM, BUT NOT HIS SPIRIT
Thanksgiving with Riley
By Milt Mays
He turns off the alarm with his good hand, the left one, and catches himself turning towards her, but squelches the initial instinct to give her a morning kiss. Maybe some day. Months after he returned, neither of them could figure out the best sleeping arrangements. But after a year now, it’s second nature to sleep on the right side of the bed. He can roll over, turn off the alarm and leave without her ever seeing his face.
“Wh …” She clears the rough sleep from her throat. “What are you doing? Why did the alarm go off?”
He sits on the side of the bed, his back to her, scrunching the toes of his right foot in the carpet. Oh, man. That shag feels good between the toes. Then the left leg interrupts. The sore spot on the center of the stump needs a closer look, but he’ll do that once he’s in the bathroom.
“Riley, it’s only six.” She sounds sexy, gravel in there and timbered low, serious. “Why’re you getting up so early?” …
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