Friday Fictioneers: Mr. and Mrs. Right

Just the other day, I was thinking it would be fun to write a story about a “Backup Plan” marriage – two people who promised to reconnect so many years later and marry each other if they weren’t already married. Today’s Friday Fictioneers photo prompt provided the perfect opportunity to play with that idea. (And don’t worry, Wise and Wonderful Sister, this is a way, way, way back burner story idea!)

Thank you for reading and please do leave any constructive criticism in the comments section!




Mr. and Mrs. Right


We used to wait for the bus here. Four short years, thirty long years ago. We carried each other through countless high school crushes—two of hers to every one of mine—but we never loved each other, not like that.



Tiny wrinkles stretch across her forehead and shoot from her amber eyes like rays from the sun.

“You’re bald,” she says, as if the mirror hasn’t been telling me the same for years.

I pull the ring from my pocket, a promise we made thirty years ago. “Sorry you never found Mr. Right.”

She takes the ring and slips her hand into mine. “Maybe I did.”

Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

Read/Join Here:

Friday Fictioneers: In Memoriam


PHOTO PROMPT – © J Hardy Carroll

In Memoriam

They dance on your grave, them sweet l’il angels we made together. Your mama thinks it’s sweet I bring ’em here every year, like some kind of memorial to the dead.

“It’ll help them remember their daddy,” she says.

I just nod like I ain’t still trying to forget all you did. If it weren’t improper, I’d dance on your grave myself.

Ain’t no memorial to you, whether you be singin’ in glory or writhin’ in some fiery lake way down deep. I memorialize the livin’, me and my girls and everyone who never had the guts to fight back.

Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

Read/Join Here:

Robert Perret: Why We Need Sherlock Holmes in an Improbable World

Robert Perret’s story “The Canaries of Clee Hills Mine” appears in the newly released anthology An Improbable Truth: The Supernatural Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. A sample of his story appears at the end of this post. Be sure to read it, and check out the complete anthology, published by Mocha Memoirs Press.


Release Date:  October 27, 2015

Buy Links

Mocha Memoirs:

Amazon: (preorder)


Why We Need Sherlock Holmes in an Improbable World

“How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”  SIGN

Sherlock Holmes’s famous maxim was delivered during the investigation of a locked room murder at Pondicherry Lodge described by Dr. Watson in The Sign of the Four, one of the strangest cases in the Canon.  It is an extension of Holmesian deductive reasoning, to imagine all the possibilities and then eliminate them one by one.  Elsewhere in SIGN Holmes claims “I never guess. It is a shocking habit,—destructive to the logical faculty.” but he is always guessing, he just makes every guess he can think of all at once and then waits to see which pans out.  He is famous for being super skeptical, but he begins from a place of complete naiveté in which all things are equally possible.  That is why Inspector   Athelney Jones collars the wrong man – he looks at the evidence and draws the most reasonable conclusion – while Holmes, the supposed hyper-rationalist, imposes no reason at all upon the scene and simply asks “What if?”

“Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outré results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.” IDEN

Sherlock Holmes manifests fully formed, conducting clandestine research in a laboratory at St. Bartholemew’s Hospital, an institution with which he has no formal affiliation, but which he simply haunts when the fancy strikes him.  The Canon almost never looks back previous to Watson’s introduction to Holmes, so we know nothing of Sherlock’s formative years, other than some allusions to the fact that he at least attended a college at some point.  (GLOR)  He has no parents, no defining childhood moments, no origin story.  We do eventually meet his brother Mycroft in “The Greek Interpreter”, but this only serves to further illustrate Sherlock’s isolation.  The brothers, it appears, may go years at a time without communicating, and what little contact they do have is perfunctory.  Mycroft, while employed in the intelligence service of Her Royal Majesty, sits alone in a back office of The Diogenes Club, a social club where socializing is prohibited, every bit as removed from the world as Sherlock lying in a drug induced haze on the floor of 221B Baker Street.  What compels the Holmes brothers to be in the world but not of the world?

“My mind,” he said, “rebels at stagnation. Give me problems, give me work, give me the most abstruse cryptogram or the most intricate analysis, and I am in my own proper atmosphere. I can dispense then with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave for mental exaltation. That is why I have chosen my own particular profession, or rather created it, for I am the only one in the world.”

Sherlock Holmes simply is – a manic force driven by curiosity and boredom and ego.  Perhaps Holmes is so open to the improbable because to him all of existence, including the affairs of people, is equally improbable to begin with.  He peers in at us through his famous magnifying glass from somewhere outside the common human experience.  Statisticians talk of The Law of Very Large Numbers in relation to improbability.  As long ago as 1866, the British mathematician Augustus De Morgan wrote, “Whatever can happen will happen if we make trials enough.”  Professor Emeritus of Mathematics David Hand¹ describes in a 2014 Scientific American article “Math Explains Likely Long Shots, Miracles, and Winning the Lottery” that this law corrects for the human misperception that any given event is unlikely because it seems unlikely to happen to us.  The example he gives is the classic “Birthday Problem.”  Statistics tells us that, in a group of 23 people, there is a better than 50% chance that two people share the same birthday, which seems, well, improbable.  This seems so improbable because most of us naturally translate that statement to means that if I walk into a room with 23 or more people, there is a 50% chance that someone has the same birthday as me.  If that were true we would constantly be meeting people who share our birthday.  But the statistic actually just addresses any one of the 23 people having the same birthday as any of the other 23 people.  To be honest I don’t understand the math behind it, but it has been a fun statistics fact for decades, so I will assume it holds up.  What this illustrates is that many things we consider to be improbable only seem so because we always insert ourselves into the equations and we lack the imagination to grasp Very Large Numbers.  For instance, it may seem very improbable that you would be pickpocketed by a monkey, but if you consider all of the pockets and all of the monkeys over all of the time that monkeys and pockets co-exist, it becomes almost inevitable that someone will be pickpocketed by a monkey.  (In case you are wondering, yup.  Go ahead and Google it.)

Holmes achieves some of his most amazing deductive results when he disregards what is likely to have happened and ask as many “What ifs?” as he can without presupposing limits.  For instance, in The Sign of the Four Holmes out-deduces Inspector Jones because Holmes is not limiting his thinking to things likely to have happened to the heir of a contested estate in the locked room of an English manor house.  Jones ignored the key piece of evidence because it did not fit with that person in that place and that time.  Jones saw a solution that met his preconceived criteria, but he did not observe the one thing in the room that pointed to the truth.  Jones did not ask “What if?,” his police-trained mind was hung up on “how” and “why” and because of that the wrong man was arrested and the true murderers almost got away with their crimes and a fortune.

We need Sherlock Holmes, the iconoclastic, misanthropic genius precisely because he inspires us to ask “What if?”  We, like Inspector Jones, are tied to the cosmic wheel of the ‘dull routine of existence.’  Incredibly improbable in its own way, but as we slog through our daily routines – jobs, bills, schooling, chores, hunger, pain, grief, fatigue, love, joy, life, death – we have to accept the commonplace at face value.  We, as mere mortals, can’t ask “what if?” at every turn and reconsider everything we encounter from scratch.  Holmes, sitting outside of the human experience of space and time, with his fingers steepled, gazing at us through hooded eyes, can challenge every assumption, observe the wonderful chain of human events, and then reveal the truth to us as a pithy aside.  Holmes as a character transcends Arthur Conan Doyle’s original stories and withstands a postmodern assault of vampires, zombies, Elder Gods, femme fatales, aliens, Adolf Hitler and anything else us mere mortals can throw at him because his raison d’etre, asking the eternal “what if?” transcends genre and medium and culture and time.  Sherlock Holmes is the restless mind that follows every clue, undaunted by improbability.

¹ Sherlock Holmes held a Professor of Mathematics, James Moriarty, in great esteem, considering the man’s prodigious genius to equal to his own.  Dare we do any less?

About the Author

Robert Perret is a devout Sherlockian and librarian living in northern Idaho with his wife and children.  He loves the Canon and the RDJ portrayal at the same time.  Deal with it.  He writes both traditional pastiches and weird Sherlock Holmes stories.  Past artistic endeavors include creating a comic strip about an anthropomorphic popcorn maker and winning an Innovative Haiku contest with a poem that involved a frog and a pond.  He may provide a Sherlocku upon request.

From “The Canaries of Clee Hill Mines” by Robert Perret

Holmes placed a hand on my arm and we came to a stop. I could see him close his eyes and slow his breathing. Lacking his Eastern training in meditation I did my best to make as little noise as possible. I saw Holmes jerk his head to one side ever so slightly and then a moment later I felt the gentlest of winds stir the hairs on my right hand. I looked down at that hand and was surprised to see the pistol it was holding shaking erratically. Even my fingers had gooseflesh and it was then I realized with a shock that I was terrified so far beyond reason that my mind appeared to have disassociated with my body. Holmes began smoothly stalking down the passage from which the wind had blown. I looked down and saw my feet clumsily stomp along one after the other. As we progressed down the tunnel I heard a clicking sound like crickets in the distance. I think my mind read it as an indication that we were exiting the mine to return to the surface, for I found myself strangely soothed. However as we progressed the clicking became chattering and scraping and squealing and my terror returned. We saw an opening to a larger chamber ahead and the inhuman sounds now echoed all around us. In the lamplight I saw a strange constant movement ahead.

“The royal chamber,” observed Holmes. When I failed to give a sensible response he continued. “I’ve taken to studying bees as of late. Admirable creatures. Truly superior. But I digress. We have followed a proverbial worker bee back to the royal chamber. I suspect we will not be welcomed.”

As we crossed the threshold all noise and activity stopped. In the silence we could hear the sound of water dripping from overhead into an underground reservoir. Around us, on every possible surface of the cavern, like bats, were hundreds of the uncanny Feeders. They regarded us with their milky, dead eyes. Holmes continued in and pointed his lantern around, taking in the ceiling, the walls, the floor and then moving to the lake. He gasped.


An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes



Mocha Memoirs:

Amazon: (preorder)

“When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” 

Sherlock Holmes is one of the most recognizable characters in Western literature.  Conan Doyle’s inimitable detective has been the subject of literally thousands of books, movies, television shows, plays and even songs.  With the rise of the BBC series and the release of most copyrights, the beloved character has found a new life among modern audiences.

In An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, 14 authors of horror and mystery have come together to create a unique anthology that sets Holmes on some of his most terrifying adventures.  A pair of sisters willing to sacrifice young girls to an ancient demon for a taste of success, a sinister device that can manipulate time itself, and a madman that can raise corpses from the dead are just a few among the grisly tales that can be found within these pages.

Curl up with a warm cuppa and leave all the lights on.  This is not your grandfather’s Sherlock Holmes.

From “The Fairy Pool” by Lucy Blue

“Watson, where are you going?” The ambush came as he’d expected from the dim recesses of Holmes’ library, a shout through the open door.

“I told you.” He placed his case by the door and went calmly to the cupboard for his overcoat and hat. “Mary and I are going to visit an old school chum of hers in the country.”

Sherlock popped out of the library like a jack from a box. “It’s a lie.”

“It is not.” Watson smiled the mild smile of the righteous man. “Why should I lie?”

“Well done, John.” His friend’s color was high and dramatic. Either he had already imbibed some chemical stimulant at nine in the morning, or the mere fact of John’s leaving had sent him into the first stages of frenzy on its own. “For once, you’ve hit upon the crux of the question without prompting. Why indeed?” John removed the train tickets from his pocket, and Sherlock snatched them from his hand. “Ravenglass,” he read.

“In the Lake District,” John said, taking them back. “Mary’s friend Seraphima grew up there. It’s meant to be quite lovely.”

“In summer perhaps.” The great detective was obviously unconvinced. “In October it will be a miserable bog. And really, John, Seraphima? Is that the limit of your invention? Seraphima is the name of an Italian carnival dancer, not the school chum of one’s respectable fiancée.”

John was inclined to agree. “Nevertheless, that is her name. Her aunts are the novelists Nora and Mirabel May. Perhaps one of them chose her name.”

Sherlock frowned. “That does seem plausible.” He took the tickets again and sniffed them. “As spinsters and the most prominent and financially successful members of the family, they would no doubt exert a certain influence over the naming of offspring, particularly those from poorer branches of the clan.”

“Seraphima was orphaned at an early age and brought up by the aunts,” John said. “So I’m sure you must be right.”

“One hardly follows the other, but yes, I must be.” He sniffed the tickets again. “When did you purchase these?”

John took them back. “Yesterday afternoon.” He put them back in his pocket. “I had just returned from the station when I told you about our trip.”

Sherlock’s smile was positively demonic. “That is a lie.”

“Holmes, really—“

“Those tickets rested for no small time in close proximity to the bare skin of your fiancée—next to her bosom, unless I miss my guess.”

John’s eyes popped. “I do beg your pardon!”

“They reek of her perfume—an ordinarily subtle scent intensified precipitously by abundance, heat, moisture, or some combination of the three. Since Mary is an extremely hygienic young woman not given to bathing herself in perfume or acts of great physical exertion, I deduce that she carried the tickets next to her skin while in a state of anxiety which resulted in greater than usual perspiration.”

“Have you been sniffing my fiancée?!?”

“Don’t be absurd.”

“No, but really!” Ordinarily Holmes’ deductions were a source of wonder and no small delight to his friend, but this seemed not only improper but highly perilous. “Who are you to recognize her scent?”

“I recognize the presence of Mrs. Hudson’s favorite hack driver by the lingering aroma of horse shit on my hall rug,” Holmes said. “This in no way represents a symbolic romantic attraction.” Now that he had the upper hand, his smile was almost warm. “Tell me the truth, John. Why are you going to the Lake District? What has Mary so frightened?”

“She isn’t frightened, Holmes; don’t be so dramatic.” He handed over the newspaper clipping Seraphima had enclosed with her frantic letter. “Merely concerned.”

“Search continues for missing child,” Holmes read the headline. “Hope fast slipping away—good lord, who writes this drivel?”

“The missing girl apparently has some connection to Seraphima and her family,” John explained. “She’s only seven years old, and Seraphima feels responsible for her in some way. She wrote Mary to ask if I might come and offer my assistance to the police.”

You?” He handed back the clipping. “She asked for you?”

‘Why not?” John said, trying to remain unruffled. “She has read my accounts of your exploits, so she is aware of my expertise in such matters.”

“Your accounts, my exploits.” Holmes was heading for his bedroom. “Expertise indeed—do they want a nicely typed story for the newspapers, or do they want the girl found?”

“Perhaps they don’t want their lives turned upside down by a raving madman whose methods of investigation require the emotional ruin of everyone even remotely involved.” John followed and found him throwing a seemingly random collection of personal belongings into a case of his own. “Holmes, you are specifically not invited.”

“Nevertheless, I shall go.

From “The Adventure of the Slow Death: From the Scourge Diaries of Emily Watson” by Harding McFadden

It was some time after the Case of the Crestfallen Corsair that the great detective allowed me to fill my late father’s shoes as his biographer. This would have been after the Great Scourge left half the globe a charred mass, the other half a sweltering, desiccated nightmare. Those of us in what was left of Great Britain looked fearfully to the dawn, constantly on alert for our own time. Nine months with no Heavenly fire, and still we shook in our shoes.

“It was hardly a Divine fire from Heaven,” he told me over tea one melancholy evening. I had made the error of reporting to him the judgment of many papers of the time, that the sky of fire had been the Judgment of God. “Nothing more than a particularly large ejection from our sun. One with devastating effect, but a natural occurrence, nevertheless.”

In my minds-eye I could hear him saying these words around the stem of his pipe. Now, however, there were no ‘Three Pipe Problems.’  Inquiring as to why one particular day, I was informed that the smoke did nothing to focus his mind of late. I couldn’t help but assume that it was the constant barrage of ash flowing over the world that put him off of his pipe. How does a man willingly spark a match when the charred reminders of half of mankind float by his window on every breeze?

A small charcoal of my late parents adorned a place of honor upon the stone fireplace around which we sat. We both looked upon it through the silence that evening, and many others. No fire burned, nor embers glowed. Even through the deepest winter past, the heat of day was nearly intolerable. It was through habit and emotional necessity that we persisted there. The past may be lost to us, but should never be forgotten.

With a tip of his cup, he said to me, “I find that I miss them more often of late. Never let you think that those friends around you are but passing fancies. They are the spice of life. Without them, our outlooks are simply…  Bland.”

Listing of Stories and Authors:

The Fairy Pool by Lucy Blue

Sherlock Holmes and the Hungry Ghost by Katie Magnusson

The Diamond Carter Ghost by Matthew Wilson

The Haunted Branch Line by Tally Johnson

The Arendall Horror by Thomas Olbert

Worlds Collide by S. H. Roddey

Time is Running Out, Watson by Adrian Cross

A Voice in the Blood by Dan Shaurette

The Hunt of the Red Boar by Thomas Fortenberry

The Canaries of Clee Hills Mine by Robert Perret

The Chase by Melissa McArthur

The Adventure of the Missing Trophy by Mark W. Coulter

The Case of the Rising Dead by Trenton Mabey

The Adventure of the Slow Death: From the Scourge Diaries of Emily Watson by Harding McFadden

Friday Fictioneers: If She Loved Me

Today’s photo prompt takes me back to the first Friday Fictioneers I ever participated in, three whopping years ago. It’s been a fun ride, even if I’ve missed a few legs of the journey. Just for fun, I thought I’d pull out my first story. You’ll find a new story above the photo, and the old one below. Be sure to scroll down for the link to other stories by the Friday Fictioneers community!

If She Loved Me

She loves me. She loves me not. She loves me.

Every sixth grader boarding the charter bus is like a petal from a daisy. In front of me, Grace pulls her hair into a ponytail.

She loves me not.

“If I smell like a boy, I used my brother’s shampoo. Mine was packed.” She flashes that beautiful, crooked-toothed smile.

She loves me.

Six days in Washington, D.C., one for every year I’ve known her. Grace heaves her duffel bag over her shoulder, nearly smacking me in the face, and steps onto the bus.

She loves me not.



His Last Ride

Angelique sidled closer to the fat man, as if to claim his protection from the bustling travelers. He reeked of sweat, cheap cologne, and the blood he had spilled in Chinatown.

This one will be easy, she thought.

No one would suspect her. Such a sweet, delicate thing, the old ladies always said. Between the chaos of discovering the corpse and the systematic interrogations by local authorities, she would simply disappear.

A broad-shouldered man in a business suit bumped into Angelique, nearly falling over her small form.

“Hey, kid! Watch where you’re going, would ya?” His New York accent was thick with cruelty and greed.

Angelique smiled apologetically at him, her blue eyes wide and wondering under her golden curls. The businessman would be even less pleased when they found the bloody knife in his attaché case.

Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

Read/Join Here:

Friday Fictioneers: Getting to Know the Neighbors

PHOTO PROMPT - © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

PHOTO PROMPT – © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Getting to Know the Neighbors

It’s not as weird as you think, once you get used to it. It’s not like I watch them change or anything. I always lower my binoculars at the first sign of undressing. There was that one time Cat Lady stripped for the tabby – an accident I’ll never repeat.

Nerdy Pants is unbuttoning. I turn my binoculars to the apartment above.

There’s something new. The sun glints off his binocular lenses for just a second before Midnight Oil exchanges them for something white and square.

I squint through my binoculars to read his sign.

“Coffee. 9pm. Harriet’s on 8th.”

Friday Fictioneers (n): A world-wide community of writers addicted to writing 100 word stories based on a photo prompt provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. 

Read/Join Here:

Heir of Koradin Blog Tour


Many thanks to Carrie Dalby, fellow Anaiah Press author, for featuring Heir of Koradin today!

Originally posted on Carrie Dalby:

As mentioned previously, now that I’m part of the Anaiah Press family, I’ll be featuring some of their Surge (young adult) imprint books. I’m in the process of reading the first book in the Chasmaria series, and it’s a great read.Grit

This month, welcomed the second book of Chasmaria, and here’s what going on with that…

Dagger of Willow and Strike has waited a lifetime to return to the village of his birth. He’s been promised the throne of Koradin, but getting captured by his treacherous sire wasn’t part of the plan. Dagger needs a miracle to turn his childhood dreams into reality—And Grit of Berth and Stone might be that miracle.
Unfortunately for him, Grit’s stuck in the rival village of Thresh, and she’s in way over her head. Having bluffed her way into commanding an army of incompetents, she’s useless to Dagger if her new recruits don’t…

View original 275 more words