Heed not Steve

Tag: fiction


“I’ll see you in Paradise,” she says. “You do know how to get to Paradise. Don’t you?”

“No,” I say. “Tell me.”

“You just…follow the signs.”


© Steve Mitchell 2019

Another Fine Mess


Scientist:  My God!  Who would be so reckless as to give a Time Gun to a monkey?

Woman:  Watch out, Professor!!


Abraham Lincoln:  Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all monkeys deserve MORE BANANAS!


John F. Kennedy:  My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for the monkeys.


Donald J. Trump:  I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States…


Scientist:  See? See there, Monkey? Look what you’ve done! Oh sure, now you bring back the Time Gun. Well, it may be too late. Bad Monkey! It may be too late…


Narrator:  And so, Ladies and Gentlemen, here ends another harrowing episode of:




© Steve Mitchell 2037

Got a Minute?

“So, I had my phone out and I was about to tuck it when this panhandler sees me.

‘Hey, Sir.  Excuse me, Sir.’ he said.  ‘Can you spare a few minutes?  I wouldn’t bother you but I’m all out and I’ve gotta call my sister.  She has leukemia.’

Damn, I thought.  He saw my phone.

I furrowed my brow and looked at my stats and I told him I could maybe spare three minutes but that’s all.

‘Oh every minute helps, Man.  Am I right?  God bless you, Sir.’

I slid the arrow and bumped him three minutes and he nodded and clutched his tired, old, glass phone in two hands and dialed with both thumbs, and who do you think he called?  Guess who he called.  It sure wasn’t his sister.

He called a fuckin’ net psychic!  

I yelled and grabbed his phone.  Madame Griselda danced naked in a turban, staring into the ether and padding for minutes.

The nerve of some guys!  I asked him if his psychic saw this coming and I chucked his phone into the street.

‘You dick!’ he yelled and he ran after it, right into the path of a hover bus.  But, you know, the hover buses have pretty good AI and it stopped easy in time and called the authorities.

The polizei came and put a fine on the panhandler but they arrested me.  I got charged and sentenced to thirty for ‘Unrepentant Littering.’

And that,” said inmate 3323 to his cellmate, “is what I’m in for.”

His cellmate let out a low, long whistle.

“And I’d do it again, too.”  Said 3323.  “So, what are you in for?”

“I pulled the tag off a seat cushion.”

3323 nodded.  “You and I are gonna get along just fine.”


© Steve Mitchell 2013

No Going Back

Jason glanced up and saw an older man two seats over, staring.

“I’m sorry,” the man said in a whisper.  He scooted into the chair next to Jason.  “What is your name?”


“I knew it!”  The man snapped.  “I remember.  You were there.  Jason!”

“I was where?”

“I’m – oh, this is amazing.  I don’t know how to explain.”  The older man rubbed his chin.  “I’m Brandon.”

“Uh huh.  Are you a professor?  Do I know you?”

“It’s all exactly how I remember it.”  Brandon inhaled.  “Man, the smell!  That’s what you forget.  It’s been so long.  And all the smart phones!”

“Umm . . . ”  Jason closed his textbook.

“Listen.  Here’s the thing, Jason.  I’m from the future.”

Jason sighed.  “Okay.  That’s cool.  I’m gonna head out.”

“Wait!”  Brandon held up his hands.  “It’ll make sense.  You were there – or you were here.  I remember.  And I was too – the younger me.  All three of us were here.  This is were I got the ideas I needed to invent time travel.  I got them from me!”

“Time travel.”


“You invented time travel.”

“This is my first trip back!”  Brandon resumed his whisper.  “I can’t believe it myself.  It’s crazy.  It took so long but I did it.”

“Is this a joke?”

“You don’t believe me.”

“Not really.”

“You think I’m crazy.”

Jason shrugged.  “Maybe.”

“That’s all right.”  Brandon waved a hand.  “Just wait a little.  You were here.”

“Uh huh.  You said you’re from the future?”

“Yes.”  Brandon looked at the wall clock.  “And in just a minute I’m going to walk in.  The young me is going to walk in.”

“The young you?”

“I used to study here after work.  Maybe you’ve seen me.  Do I look familiar?”

Jason squinted, “I don’t think so.”

“Well, I remember I saw you and an old guy talking.  I almost ignored you both but I recognized the old guy’s tee shirt and I looked closer and I thought, Man, that old guy looks just like my dad.”  


“The old guy saw me and called me over and I sat down and he introduced us.  You thought it was a prank.”

“Uh huh.”

“Then you got up and left, waiting for the punchline, but I stayed and had a tremendous conversation with myself.”

Jason snorted.

“Here is where it all started.  My life’s work.”

“Yeah.  So what’s the future like?”  Jason asked.

“I shouldn’t even – I can’t talk too much about it.”

“Mm hmm.   Did you ever visit yourself again?”

“How do you mean?”

“Like now, only later.  Did any more you’s come to visit?”

Brandon frowned.  “No.  But, well, it takes a lot of energy.”

“Uh huh.”

“I’ll make more trips but it’s not good to know too much about  your own future.  Yeah, I shouldn’t visit myself after this.”

“Are you worried about the butterfly effect?”

“You’re making fun of me.”

“Time travel is a paradox, right?”

“Well, there’s the math.  I’ve done the calculations.  I don’t want to interfere.  I don’t want to cause ripples, but I had to make this trip.  Of course I had to make this trip.”

Jason nodded.  “When are you supposed to get here?”

Brandon looked at the clock and turned pale.  “Is that clock right?”  He looked at Jason.  “What time is it?  I should be here.  I came straight here.  I didn’t – I came straight here.  I should be here by now!

“Dude, are you okay?”

Brandon stood up and sat down.  He put his hands flat on the table.  “I was here.  I saw my tee shirt.”  He looked down at his tee shirt.

“Is there someone I could call?”

“I have to show up!  I did show up!  I’m . . . it was today.  I was here.”  He looked around the room then at Jason.

“I don’t know, Man.”

“This isn’t what I remembered.”


“It’s all different now.”

Jason nodded.

“Over 35 years.  Everything is – I don’t know what to do.”

Jason buckled his backpack and stood.  “It’s time travel, right?  You could try again.”

“Maybe.  Maybe.  I have to do the math.  I don’t know.  I don’t even know if my future is still there.”

“Yeah.  Well, I can’t stay.  Sorry.”  Jason pushed in his chair.  “Umm, good luck.”

Brandon nodded.

“Maybe next time.” said Jason.

Brandon slumped.  “Maybe so.”


© Steve Mitchell 2013

Time Unlimited

“Sir!”  Wilkes runs up to Senior Adjunct Floor Manager Barnes, 3rd Shift Supervisor of Trafalgar Chronography and Timepiece, Ltd..  “I have news!”

“Eh?  What is it?” asks Barnes.

“Sir, Petrovich has infiltrated manufacturing.  He’s here!”

Barnes lifts an eyebrow, “You’re saying Petrovich is on the premises?”  He frowns.  “What’s his game?”

Wilkes whispers, “I’ve heard it’s sabotage.  He intends to add a fourth hand to the timepieces.”

Barnes gasps.  “A fourth hand!”


“Not on my watch!”


asleep in the grass –
nothing but time
and sunlight


© Steve Mitchell 2013

The Trees

8:00am:  or it might be 8.  I don’t know.  I’m a monkey.  I want my cigarette.

8:00am:  aahh.  Better.

9:07am:  JoJo come here.  Let’s get dressed, Jojo.  It’s time to get dressed.  My name is Joseph.  I’m a monkey.

8:00am:  Into the car.  into the wagon.  me in my cage.  The man has an organ. We drive.  He drives.  I can’t drive.  Look at the trees.  the trees rush by

10:11am:  on the boardwalk, the man frowns.  His lips are tight.  Hey!  Get outta my spot!  he yells.  my cage swings as he yells.

10:12am:  the other man snorts.  He wears a heavy coat.  he sleeps in the grass.  he gets up.  he spits.

11:00am:  oh, a tour bus.  It’s time to dance.  I get my tin cup.  You’re a good monkey.


11:11am:    Slow and greasy giants,  I take a quarter from Cayden’s pudgy hand

11:30am:  dance and tip my hat and dance and shake my cup and dance and take the quarters take the quarters take the quarters they laugh and laugh

12:00pm:  back to the car.  Lunch!  lunch lunch lunch!

12:01pm:  across the bay is an island. those trees are so tall.  I thought I saw another monkey.  I could chew through my lead.  can I swim?

12:20pm:  Cigarette number two . . .

12:15pm:  back to the boardwalk.  another tourist bus.  camera phones and strollers and sun visors.  My fingers are dirty from coins.  I can see the trees.



6:23pm:  Let’s call it a day JoJo.  

6:25pm:   My name is Joseph.  I’m a monkey.  I’ve chewed through my lead …


© Steve Mitchell 2013




The Vampire Jeff

 “So, Millicent, are you enjoying yourself?”  Jeff sipped water from a wine glass.

“It’s a very nice restaurant.  Thank you.”

“Well, it got good reviews.  I looked online.  It was on Yelp.”  Jeff nodded.  Millicent gave him a brief smile.

“Here we are,” their waiter approached with a tray, “spinach salad?”  He set the salad plate on the table.  “And for the gentleman, grilled salmon with basil aioli.  How does everything look?  Good?  Excellent.  If you need anything more, please let me know.”  Their waiter left.

Jeff peered at the salmon.  He sniffed once and frowned.  “Oh.  I think there’s garlic on the salmon.  It smells like garlic.”

“It’s aioli sauce.” said Millicent.

“It smells like garlic.”  Jeff pushed the salmon with his fork.  “It’s okay.  I’m a little allergic to garlic, is all.  I’ll just eat the  . . . vegetables.  Umm.  How is your salad?”

“It’s good.”

Jeff nodded.  He leaned forward.  “Millicent.  It’s a very lovely name.  What’s it short for?”

Millicent looked up from her salad, perplexed.  She sighed.  “Millicent.”

“Ahh yes.  Millicent.  Lovely.”  Jeff nodded again.  He pushed his salmon around the plate.  “You know, Millicent.  I’m, I sometimes, I’m, umm.  How’s your salad?”

“It’s still good.”

“Good.  Good.  Listen.  Millicent.  I kind of get the sense you aren’t – I don’t know.  You maybe aren’t having such a great time.”

“Oh, Jeff.”

“It’s all right.  I mean, that’s how it is sometimes.  Right?”

“I’m sorry, Jeff.”

“Was it the polaroid guy?  Did you want a picture?  They always pressure you to get your picture but I told him I don’t like cameras and I didn’t want to get rude but  -“

“No, Jeff, it’s not that.  You’re a sweet guy.  I just don’t think we’re a good match.”

“Okay.”  Jeff shrugged.  He chewed his lower lip.  “Is it something I did?  Or something I didn’t do?”

Millicent took a deep breath and exhaled.  “I’ll be honest with you.  I like it when men take pride in their appearance.  It’s important to me.”

“Something’s wrong with my appearance?’

“Have you looked in the mirror lately?”

Jeff winced.

“I’m sorry, Jeff.  That sounded mean.  I just meant it would be a good idea to give yourself a once over in the mirror before you left the house, especially on a first date.  It’s okay to look casual, but you’re way beyond casual.  You’re disheveled.”

“I don’t – I mean.  I don’t look disheveled in the drawing from the boardwalk.”  Jeff unfolded a caricature.  “See?  Sure, he made my teeth kind of crazy and I’ve never ridden a little motorcycle, but . . . disheveled?”

“I know I sound all superficial.  I’m sorry.  There’s someone out there for you, Jeff.  I’m going to go.  I’ll get a cab.  Thank you, Jeff.  I’m sorry.”  Millicent left.

The waiter stood near the table, “Would you like a box?”

Jeff shook his head.  “No.  No, thank you.  Umm, just the check.  Thank you. Oh, wow.  Salmon is pricey.  Ouch.”  Jeff looked across the room.  “What’s that over there?”

The waiter turned to look and Jeff became a fog.

And, as silent as a shadow, the Vampire Jeff sank to to the floor and rolled, disheveled, into the night.


© Steve Mitchell 2013

All Hell

“Then what happened?”  Brett scooted forward.

“Yolanda showed up with Yvette and a security guard.”  Harvey beamed.

“Man, oh man.  I bet all hell broke loose, huh?  Did all hell break loose?”

“All hell?  Nahh.”  Harvey shrugged.

“So what did Bruce say?  All hell must’ve broke loose!”

“Not really.”

Brett frowned.  “Some hell?  Some hell broke loose, right?”

“I don’t know.  A little hell, maybe.  Yeah.”  Harvey shrugged again.

“And it broke loose?”

“No.”  Harvey sighed.  “It didn’t really break loose.  It’s more like it kinda scratched at the door.”

“Oh.”  Brett considered it.  “Okay.  Umm.  So, then what happened?”

“Well, you know.  Yolanda showed up with Yvette and the security guard and Bruce was all ‘Whoa!’ and then a teeny little bit of hell snuck out through an open window and, umm, everyone got quiet and it was all weird and . . . ” Harvey trailed off.

“Huh.  Man, I wish I could’ve been there.  I bet Bruce will rue the day.”

“Yeah, well . . . ”


© Steve Mitchell 2013




“Ah, Chad!”  Mr. Jones held up a palm, “Don’t come any closer!”

Mr. Wilson stopped.  “I’m just getting some printer paper, Sir.  And it’s Gary.”

“Larry, it’s safer if you don’t come near me.  I have terrible, terrible allergies and I don’t want you to catch them.”

Mr. Wilson looked past Mr. Jones at the stack of printer paper.  “Allergies aren’t contagious.  Are they, Sir?”

“Well, Chad, I asked my doctor that very question.  And do you know what he told me?”

“Allergies aren’t contagious.”

“He told me allergies aren’t contagious.  Naturally, Perry – can I call you Chad?  Naturally, Chad, I argued the point.  I’m certain I caught my allergies from a particular street mime in Washington Square Park.  Oh, he tried to hide his condition; his sneezes were so silent!  In any case, Barry, after some vigorous back and forth with my doctor, he resorted to the ‘licensed to practice’ card and told me ‘I’ve been an immunologist for 32 years; I think we can safely assume allergies are not contagious.”

“Mm.  Well, I just need some printer paper . . .”

“It makes me so angry.”  Mr. Jones held up finger quotes, “Safely Assume!  You know what they say, Chad.  When you assume, you make an ass out of you.”

Mr. Wilson nodded and waited.

Mr. Jones wiped his nose on a handkerchief.

Mr. Wilson sighed and added, “And me.”

“No, Chad.  Just you.”

“But, that would be assu.”

“Gesundheit . . .  See, Jerry!  It is contagious!”


© Steve Mitchell 2013

An Ant Named Bruce

“Name tags!  Name tags for your ants.  Get your ant-sized name tags here!  You, Sir, step right up!”

I stepped right up.  “Name tags for ants?”  I asked.

“Yes Sirree!  Name tags for ants!  Why don’t people like ant farms?”

“I like ant farms.”

“They don’t like ant farms because they can’t tell the ants apart!  But now, thanks to our amazing, patented, Micro-Print engraving technology, you can name the ants, put their personalized, Micro-Print name tags on them and always tell them apart!  Yes, Sir!  We’re living in the future.”

I looked into the display case.  It held several ants.  “Are all those ants wearing name tags?”  I asked.

“Yes indeed.”

“I can’t even see them.  They’re so small.  How do you read the name tags?”

“No problem, my friend.  You just use one of these.”  He held up a magnifying glass and handed to me.  “Take a look.”

I chose an ant, “This one?”

“Sure!  Take a look.”

I held up the magnifying glass, “Like so?”

“Yes, indeedy, just be mindful of the -”

The ant burst into a tiny ball of flame.  “Oh!  I didn’t – It’s very sunny.  I can’t believe I did that.  I’m so sorry.”

“No worries, Friend.  Happens all the time.  Ants are cheap.  It’s the cost of doing business.”

“I feel bad.”

“Ants are cheap, but the name tag . . . ooh,” he shrugged, “I’m afraid that name tag’ll cost you seven dollars.”

“But I don’t have seven dollars.”

“You’re killing me!”  He sighed.  “Those tags are expensive.  It costs by the letter.  You torched Bartholomew.”

“I feel terrible.  Here, I have four dollars.”

“Hold on.”  He peered through the magnifying glass.  “Wait a minute.  Look at that!  You burned the back end of poor Bartholomew, may he rest in peace, but the name tag is in tact!  It’s none the worse for wear.  I can’t take your money, Sir.”

“Yeah, but poor Bartholomew.  How much name tag can I buy for four dollars?”

“Four dollars?  Well, how about this one.  Bruce.”

“I’ll take it.”

“Sold!  Ants not included, but each tag does come with a magnifying glass.”

“Thank you.”

And so, I took the Bruce tag and the magnifying glass and I went into the bright, sunny day, on a search for an ant named Bruce.


© Steve Mitchell 2013