Thursday, September 30, 1999

Secrets

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.


 
Constance Griffin looked around, over her left shoulder. Yes, he was still there. The blond young man with the close-cropped hair and blank expression had been behind her for the last 10 minutes. He had to be a dev. Why else would someone be stalking her?
The statuesque woman took one more step with her forearm crutches, and turned on her left foot. The suddenness of the move caused her full skirt to flare, almost like an ice-skater performing a spin. The young man started in spite of himself. When the skirt had raised he had seen just a flash of the stump of her right leg under it.

Tuesday, September 28, 1999

Shark

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.


The white reef shark was circling.
Billy knew he was in danger there near the surface, but if he tried to dive deeper he might draw the creature's attention even more. Then too, if he decided to dive, the boat would never find him. Here his blond hair stood out as a marker of his position in the water. He heard to motor start. Ed had heard his cry of "Shark!" Help was on the way. All he had to do was wait it out and hope the boat would get close enough to frighten the denizen before hunger caused it to attack.
His luck ran out. The shark lunged toward his flipper-clad foot. Pain shot up his leg as the powerful jaws made a "tasting" bite, trying to decide of the object was edible. The blood that flowed from the wounds answered that question very efficiently. Smelling the blood, the shark opened its massive jaws and clamped down on the leg mid-calf. The razor-sharp teeth sliced through the rubber wetsuit and tore into the muscled flash below.
Billy Townsend woke up, sweating. Yes, he had suffered through the dream again. His psychologist had assured him that, in time, it would go away. But, Jesus! It had been six months since that nightmare in the sea. He maneuvered to a sitting position and began to rub the stumps of his legs. They always seemed to itch a little after he had slept. He looked at them. The doctor had done a good job. They were identical: nine inch nubs extending below his knees. The shark had not actually bitten them off, and Ed had thought he was going to be OK when he had pulled his friend from the bloody ocean waters. However, the time it took to get him to the hospital ashore had been too great. The lack of blood flow had taken its toll, and there really had been little else to do.

Sunday, September 26, 1999

Skalawags

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.


Sometimes the wildest, most absurd ideas are worth a million dollars. You never think it's going to happen to you, but it can. And it finally happened to me.
I suppose the club actually started in a dream when I was about 10 years old. Of course, I knew I was a devotee even back then. I just didn't know what you called the attraction. I also didn't know that there was anyone other than me who had it! We had gone to California to visit an aunt, and I was sleeping fitfully. My vision of California centered on night clubs and movie stars. I was vaguely disappointed that I hadn't seen any. Maybe that was what triggered the dream.
The dream was in black and white. Like a movie. I suppose it was a low budget dream. It consisted of nothing but scenes at the door of the club, and shots of the dance floor. All of the women were dressed in evening gowns, and the men in tuxedos. But all of the men had one thing in common: they were all sporting crude peg legs... the kind that look like the bottom half of a crutch. I even remember asking the doorman about it. He explained that the place was called "The Peg Leg Club" and that the only men who could get memberships there were those who had lost a leg and could wear a peg leg.
I woke up the next morning to find that my bed was wet. I had experienced my first nocturnal emission. It was a memorable first wet dream.

Monday, September 20, 1999

Reality

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.



Jim Jackson awoke with a start.
He was where he was supposed to be: at the awards dinner for his college football team. The school year was over. Most of the students had gone home already to enjoy the summer break with their families. He and the others on the team would leave tomorrow, but tonight was the big night... when the season MVP award and other recognitions would take place.
Something Coach Latham was saying caught his ear. What was that? "Even in the face of his personal tragedy, Tommy Waland was the greatest quarterback..."
Tragedy? What had happened?
Tommy got up to go get his award. Shiny forearm crutches took the place of his right leg, missing at mid-thigh! What the hell had happened? Oh yes... he'd forgotten... that car accident on the way home from the final game of the season. He mounted the stairs to the stage far more easily than Jim would have imagined. His stump swaying with each step, almost like the missing leg was still trying to perform its function.

Sunday, September 19, 1999

Sweet Dreams

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.


I kept telling myself that this was crazy. It was crazy and I just kept right on doing what I was doing.
My boyfriend was here. His thick dark hair contrasted sharply with the almost luminous blue of his laughing eyes. He was beautiful. Turned up nose... knowing smile. The mattress lay there in the middle of the living room, where it had been left earlier in the day. The cutoff jeans showed the ripple of hidden strength as he slowly knelt there. He looked up at me and smiled again.
I smiled back and joined him on that soft surface.
He reached down with his right hand and grabbed the tail of his white tee shirt. With a single deft movement, he pulled it over his head, and discarded it. I looked at him, and melted. The smooth skin of his chest drove me crazy. I loved the visible strength as he flexed his arm to scratch the back of his head. The line of his stomach. The asymmetry of his pecs, as the slightly smaller left side led my eye to the 4 inch stump of his left arm.
He was beautiful. And he was mine. I reached out to kiss him... a long, lingering kiss of adoration. And then I remembered! My wife was in the next room asleep!
And then I woke up.

Thursday, September 16, 1999

Tank

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.


I actually needed to be back at my photo shop retouching, but I wasn't. It was the first week of September, and the wedding season had passed. The senior sittings of August were now a thing of the past, and I knew I had at least a month to do all of the zit removal to the latest pack of teenagers before the fall sitting crunch for Christmas portraits began. I'd been doing the job professionally for five years: I had the pattern down pat.
What I was doing probably met the legal definition of stalking, but I didn't care. I was willing to embezzle my time and nibble at the edges of a perfectly serviceable law because I was in love. I was in love and I had no idea what to do about it or how to move it off dead center.
I'd been waiting about ten minutes when the object of my affections came out the front door of the row house I'd been watching from the corner. I scrunched a bit further down in the front seat of my low-end Lexus and put the 35mm SLR camera to my eye, the telephoto lens bringing him up as close as if I'd been just across the street. I began to make exposures.
I still use film sometimes because it gives me greater latitude at the 'taking' end. In this case, it was late afternoon, and through the long lens I knew I was losing a great deal of that fading light. I would push the film a stop when I processed it, producing far better colors than the print-end enhancement my digital printing system could supply. I wanted every detail.
He was tall, perhaps six or six-one, with blond hair and light blue eyes. His nose on a girl would have been referred to as 'pert' and his mouth sported full, sensuous lips. The seashell ears were perfectly shaped and remarkably evenly spaced. (I'll bet most people don't know that one of their ears is typically about 1/4 inch lower than the other!) He had a swimmer's build, and the cutest ass I'd ever seen. His tight jeans showed it off to a 'T.'
The shocker for me, the first time I saw him, was his right arm, or should I say, his lack of one. When I had first glimpsed him on the drive home some three months before I had thought him to be a shoulder disarticulate, as his tee shirt sleeve appeared to be empty. I'd followed at a distance, just watching, and finally saw him flex his shoulder, the tapered tip of a nub finally peeking out the open end. It was there and gone in a flash, like the flirtatious winks of potential beaus at the clubs and bars that I find myself drawn to these days.

Friday, September 10, 1999

Trends

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.



I suppose in the final analysis, it all started with Janie. She's my girlfriend, you see, and about a year ago, they cut off her leg.

"Shit! Really?" Sam Hastings asked me.
"No shit. I... I can't believe it," I told him. We were sitting at a corner table at Common Grounds, the coffee house that pandered to the high school crowd in the area. "This guy just plowed into the right side of her mom's car... it really fucked her leg up... they cut it off above the knee just as soon as they got her to the hospital!"
"Goddam! That's fucked up."
"Yeah."
Sam looked across the table. "You okay?" he asked.
"What do you mean?" I asked.
Sam looked away for a minute like he didn't want to go on, but finally said, "I mean, how do you feel. I know the two of you were tight. But, like, she's not gonna be able to do a lot of stuff now..."
The thought sobered me. I had been so shocked at the news that I hadn't had time to consider the ramifications of having a one-legged girlfriend. Would she ever be able to dance at the raves again... even when she got a wooden leg? Would she barricade herself in her room and never come out? What would it be like to make love with a girl who didn't have both her legs to wrap around me?
I finally spoke. "I guess I'll know when I know," I said simply.

Thursday, September 9, 1999

Turnaround

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.




-Accident-

Alex Costain woke up. It could have been the clatter of the breakfast trays on the service cart outside his door that did the trick, or it might have been the muffled sound of the voice on the hall PA that roused him from the edges of sleep. More than likely, it was simply that he was tired of sleeping. He had done little else the past four days.
His eyes focused on the TV, still on from the night before. Hanging there from its wall bracket, it oversaw the antiseptic white of the hospital room like a huge, unblinking eye. It was the Today show. The time block in the lower corner of the screen showed December 12th. It was his birthday. Alex fumbled around on the right rail of the bed and pressed the "off" button. The screen and its muted dialogue died.
For the hundredth time in the last four days, Alex looked at his shoulder. The mass of bandages that had greeted him on the first day had given way to a more modest dressing that simply outlined what was left of his arm. He flexed the stub, noticing that it didn't hurt as much to move it today as it had yesterday. "Happy Birthday. What a wonderful present," he thought sourly. "Just fucking wonderful."
The flashback hit him without mercy. He and Clark had been coming home from a day at the beach. It had been one of those bright cloudless California days; the sand had been warm and tan and soft... the surf had been the best of the year. They had spent the day alternately riding the 30 foot waves and cuddled together in the privacy of a little grotto at the end of the rocky point. It had been a great day by any measure. Then came the drive home.

Wednesday, September 8, 1999

A Turn of the Wheel

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.



"Mr. Allen?" the nondescript stranger asked softly.
James Allen heard the voice over the various noises the hospital monitoring equipment made. He opened his eyes and waited for them to focus on the source of the intrusion. Finally he made out the figure: medium height, medium build, medium looks... a completely ordinary looking man in every regard. "Yes," he heard his own weak voice answer. "I'm Jim Allen. Who are you?"
"My name is Cristo Skylar," the man replied. He gestured to the empty chair next to the bed. "May I sit and talk with you for a while?"
"Knock yourself out," he replied. "But you'll pardon me if I don't talk too much." He gestured weakly to his chest. "Third heart attack this morning. Doc told me last time this'd be the last. Suits me fine." He coughed. "...tired o' this shit."
"You've not had a pleasant life?" the stranger asked.
Allen turned to look at this man a bit more clearly. No, he didn't recognize him at all. "Who th' hell are you?" he asked. "I never saw you before."
"Oh, that's of no matter," Skylar replied. "I spend a lot of time around the hospital. My work here keeps me rather busy."
"Dear God! A preacher!"
Skylar laughed. "No, not at all. I promise not to try and sell you any bill of goods along that line."
"Well, then what do you want? I'm dyin'. I ain't buyin' anything."
"Nor am I selling anything, Mr. Allen. I assure you that I'm simply here as a friend... Someone to sit with you and keep you company during this somewhat frightening time in your life. Is that all right? I'll leave if you object."
"Suit yourself. But you've got it wrong. I'm not afraid. I'm ready to leave this shit-hole of a world. There's nothing here that makes a good fart in th' wind to me."

Tuesday, September 7, 1999

Vacation

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.



Writers will do just about anything for a good story.
I've been a writer of one sort or the other for most of my life. The poetry of college gave way to mood scripts during my years as an easy listening radio disc jockey in the 1960s, technical writing during my stint as an engineer and computer programmer during the 70s and 80s, and finally to my current activities.
What are those? Oh, I teach, but that's just to make a living. Let's just say that I have found vent for the devotee and wantabe feelings that have plagued me since my childhood. What started as childish pulling of an arm inside a knit shirt and standing before a mirror to admire the results or doubling up a leg held in place by a pair of Bermuda shorts and using crutches leftover from my brother's broken leg has blossomed into a hobby that is akin to a full time job. Over the last several years I've written over a dozen short stories and half a dozen novellas all about my favorite subject: amputees. The fact that I publish them on a website and therefore have given them to the public makes it nonetheless a labor that consumes a great deal of my free time.
Having written that much, you might expect that it would become hard to come up with new ideas after a time. Well, you're right!
Needless to say, I was surprised when my fantasy life suddenly intruded into my real existence! But I'm getting ahead of myself.
It all started one evening when I was in chat with a very nice lady I met a couple of years before through the internet devotee site I operate. She, like me, was a devotee. She had wanted an amputee lover all of her life, but had never had the opportunity. Now, nearing 50, she had connected with a man a few years her junior who was her perfect soul mate... almost.

Wednesday, September 1, 1999

Vengeance

This story originally appeared on the Secret Garden website and is archived here at the request of author Doug Rogers.



It was the sound as much as the movement that told me the young man was an amputee. Although he was wearing blue jeans, the long pant legs could not hide the hesitation in his gait as he would do the forward swing to lock the prosthesis into position before taking a step. Even more of a giveaway was the almost creaking sound the device made whenever he shifted his weight to it. I thanked him as he placed the plate with its burger-and-fry lunch before me and reveled in the sight of him as he walked away.
The smile he had flashed me was brilliant; all white teeth and sensuous lips. The hair was jet black and that, coupled with the olive rather than brown tone of his flawless skin, suggested Greek extraction as opposed to the Hispanic roots one would expect in a small Texas town. The eyes were as dark brown as brown can be without turning black. His features were delicate, almost femininely beautiful, the kind one sees on classic statuary of young men.