<![CDATA[Mike Deregowski - Short Stories]]>Tue, 22 Dec 2015 16:29:04 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Bungal]]>Wed, 20 May 2015 14:53:23 GMThttp://www.mikederegowski.com/short-stories/bungalWritten By: Mike Deregowski

                  Bungal was one of the first residents on the block. He saw many people in his time and watched the neighbourhood grow. Perhaps, the most important thing Bungal  
had were the memories of the people he had the pleasure of living with over the years.

                  For the first twenty years, he could remember a new couple moved in with him when he was very young. Mr. and Mrs. Patterson were newlyweds. They moved in with Bungal in the early twenties and, in their early years, they were party animals. Every weekend they had a big group of friends over and had loud music, dancing, drinking, and smoking. In those times, alcohol was harder to come by because of the ban, but they had connections. Some speculated Mr. Patterson was part of the mob, but I didn't see any evidence to support that theory. With the crash of Wall Street in 1929, the couple fell upon some hard times. They had one baby, Barbara, and a second on the way. During the thirties, Mr. Patterson lost his job and they went bankrupt and had to move out. They could no longer afford to stay with me. It was quiet for a few months, and I was beginning to feel alone. That is, until Patty Deets moved in.

                    Patty Deets was seeing Johnny Pollo at the time. They were going to get married, but World War 2 started, and they were unsure if Johnny was going to have to go to war or not. Although he wasn't technically in the army, he wanted to support his country and would join, if necessary. A couple of years passed and, just as he was going to propose, the government declared they were going to war and Johnny left. He told Patty when he got back they would be married. At first, she was fine. She would write letters to Johnny and she would receive one back every week. As the months went by, and the War carried on, she received less and less. One month, she received no letters at all, and she would cry every night. I wished there was something I could do, but I couldn't help her. She needed Johnny. Not even her relatives could console her. Finally, she received a letter in the mail, but it wasn't good news. Johnny was shot in the line of duty, trying to defend a Jewish family from the Nazis. They sent her his things, along with a medal of honour for his bravery. She moved out shortly afterwards. She could not bear to live in a house with all the memories her and Johnny shared.

                    After the war, a Veteran moved in, along with a few of his war buddies. Tommy, Dustin, and Dave were all in the same battalion together and had each other's backs throughout the entire war. Bungal thought he would get to see more days of partying and drinking and music like he did in the twenties, but that would not happen. What ever happened in the War, the three former soldiers had a hard time forgetting. Bungal remembers times when all three men would be yelling in their sleep, crying out in pain. Whatever they were dreaming about, Bungal knew it must have been painful. The sad thing is, none of them ever talked about it. He was sure they could hear one another in the night, but they carried on during the day like nothing happened. Eventually, one by one, they found a girl and moved out. Dave was the last one to leave with Susie. Bungal thought they would stay with him, but once again, he was alone.

                    The next people to move in were Bobby and Tina Walton. They moved in mid fifties and stayed for many years. The sixties brought transformation for Bungal. His world suddenly became more colourful with neon greens and oranges. Bobby and Tina where new age people. They had parties every weekend and Bungal could always smell something funny in the air. Whatever it was, it sure made all the guests happy. Throughout the sixties and seventies, Bungal went through many transformations. Perhaps the weirdest, in his mind, was the carpet that looked like hair. Shag, was what Bobby and Tina called it. He did not appreciate the nasty brown colour, but there was not much he could do about that. They were in control, and Bungal had to deal with it.

                    The eighties weren't very eventful for Bungal. The highlight was when Tina and Bobby finally switched the carpets to something a little more practical. Bungal got tired of the loud noise from the vacuum every couple of days. They changed to a light blue carpet that made Bungal a lot happier. Bobby and Tina also changed. They had a few kids and the parties ceased and guests stopped coming over so often. Once the kids grew up a bit, they moved out and Bungal was alone yet again. He didn't mind the time to himself. The last couple of decades were a blur and he needed time to relax.

                    Late eighties, Bungal’s favourite, and last, tenant moved in. In her sixties at the time, Miss Appleton was a perfect tenant. Her kids had to install ramps and aides to help her live with me, but once those were done, she was perfect. The sweet scent of fresh baked goodies flowed through the air on a daily basis. Pies, cookies, and cakes are just a few of the things she made. Her grandkids, Alyssa and Jarod, came over weekly and she spoiled them greatly. I sometimes felt sorry for the parents when the kids went back to them. They would be like bulls in a china shop from all the sugar. The neighbourhood kids all called her Granny and she always shared her treats with permission from the parents. Her decor was a little tacky and old fashioned, but Bungal didn't mind. The years made him appreciate the old things.

                    Miss Appleton died in the 2000s. Her son said she had a massive heart attack and was dead before she even hit the floor. They always worried about her having so many sweets, but she loved them, literally, to death. After that, her kids emptied all her things and Bungal was left alone for many years.

                    Rumours began to spread that Bungal’s place was haunted and nobody wanted to live with him. By 2010, Bungal became so run down and tired of being alone. A man came by and pounded a sign into the lot.

                    "It's a shame that this old house has to go," the man commented. "It’s been in this neighbourhood since the beginning."

                    "The new owners want a modern two story house, not this old bungalow. Besides, it has been around since the twenties!" another man said.

                    Bungal realized his time was coming to an end. Well, he thought, I guess this old house has lived long enough and seen many things. I am falling apart anyways. I had a good run. 

                    After a few more sunrises and sunsets, more men came with giant machines. Bungal knew this was the day he would die.

                    Good bye, neighbourhood, Bungal thought. Hopefully, some of you other houses can live as long as I have.

                    One man started up the biggest machine and swung the giant ball. Bungal closed his eyes and accepted his fate.

All writing (c) Mike Deregowski - no reproduction in whole or in part unless written permission is received from the author.
<![CDATA[Bernard]]>Wed, 20 May 2015 14:53:14 GMThttp://www.mikederegowski.com/short-stories/bernardWritten By: Mike Deregowski
It was a good number of years before I met Bernard. The moment I waved and he waved back; I knew we would have something special.

He was six at the time when we first met. He and his parents walked through the door and I waved at them from the steps. Bernard's parents were busy bringing in suitcases and didn't notice. For the first few days they were in the house, I didn't bother them too much. They had to get settled in, and I had to get use to living with other people again. I would pass by Bernard and he would wave and I would wave in return, but we never exchanged words. It is possible that one, or both of us, were just too shy to speak. We still enjoyed our exchange.

One day, about a month after Bernard's family moved in, he came up to me slowly, nervously, with his hands behind his back. I smiled at him and he smiled back.

"Hi," was all Bernard said, as he swayed nervously.

"Hello," I replied.

We stared at each other for a few seconds.

"What's your name?" he asked.

"Belleena. You’re Bernard, right?"

He smiled. "My friends call me Barney."

"Can I call you Barney?" I asked.

He smiled a big toothy smile. "Yeah!" he said excitedly and ran off, blushing.

I chuckled to myself.

A few more days went by and he didn't talk to me again. He was sitting on the living room floor, playing with his toys one day, when he finally spoke to me again.

"Wanna play building blocks with me?" he asked.

"I would love to, Barney, but it is hard for me to grab things these days. I can watch and talk to you if you want, though."

"Ok," he said as he continued playing.

From that day on, he would talk to me on a daily basis. He would tell me about kids at school, sports he liked, TV shows he watched, and anything else he felt like on any given day. Whenever he had friends over, he would introduce me to them, but they would just look at him like he was strange and they would go play. A few times when Barney and I were talking, his mom came in and asked who he was talking to.

"Belleena," he would simply say. She would smile and walk away.

This went on for a few more years, up until he was about ten. Although we continued to talk, his parents became less and less patient with him talking to me.

"Don't you think you are getting a little old to be talking to Belleena?" his parents would ask.

"Am I too old to talk to you? She is about the same age as you guys," Barney would answer, confused.

His parents would frown. "What we mean is getting too old for imaginary friends."
"Belleena is not imaginary!" Barney yelled, outraged at the comment. He began telling them things I told him and I shook my head. He told them how he knows about the fight they had and the person in the suit who came by with paperwork. He told them about the trip they were planning to go on before they told him the news, and how angry he would have been if he didn't know beforehand. Their mouths dropped and they sat there in silence.

"How do you know this?" Barney's dad asked.

"Belleena told me. She said I should know before you guys tell me."

"How come we haven't seen her?" Barney's mom asked.

"Because... she is a ghost. She tried to say hi to you guys, but you never said anything to her. You would just ignore her, even when she waved," Barney explained.

Barney's mom and dad looked at each other. "Well, that explains a few things! Usually, I don't believe in these kinds of things, but there is no way that Bernard could know anything about what we said."

They apologized to Barney for getting annoyed with him, and to me for not saying hi or waving back. From that day on, they accepted me into their lives, as well, and I talked with Barney until he started ignoring me. The older he got, the less we talked, but I accepted it.                  

Now Bernard is a grown man with a young girl of his own. Maybe one day I will decide to wave to her and she will wave back. Then, I will have someone to talk to again.
All writing (c) Mike Deregowski - no reproduction in whole or in part unless written permission is received from the author.
<![CDATA[The Last Cookie´╗┐]]>Wed, 20 May 2015 14:52:13 GMThttp://www.mikederegowski.com/short-stories/the-last-cookieWritten By: Mike Deregowski
When mom used to bake for us, it was always a treat. We would come home from school and the sweet smell of sugar and chocolate filled the air. My sister and I would always run in, throw our stuff in the closet, and race to get the first cookie. Whatever the type of cookie she made, whoever got there first would announce the flavour and the other would get mad for spoiling the surprise.

"Yum! Chocolate Chip!" one of us would announce.

"Don't tell me, you jerk! I wanna be surprised," the other would complain.

Then, the fight for the first cookie would start. We got so wrapped up in trying to get the first cookie, we didn't notice the tray was about to fall to the ground a few times and we ended up dropping all of them on the floor. Mom would come in and yell at us for fighting and making a mess.

"Now look what you kids did! I spent all day slaving over this hot oven and for what? For you guys to mess the place up when you get home fighting over a cookie? I made four dozen! There is plenty for everyone!"

We would both get spankings and be sent to our rooms without either of us getting the cookie we fought over. As we sat sulking, Mom eventually came in with a half cookie for each of us.

"Here, this is the first cookie. I never had any because I know how you kids like to be the first to eat them."

"But, Mom... there is only half a cookie here! I wanted the whole thing!"

Mom would look at me and smile.

"The other half is for your sister. She deserves to have the first one just as much as you do."

"I guess," I said, disappointed.

She would hand me the half cookie and kiss my cheek.

"You can come out when you want to now. Dinner will be ready soon." She would then leave the room and I would gobble the cookie as fast as I possibly could, in fear that my sister would try to take it from me. She never did, of course. Years later, I found out she did the exact same thing in her room.

As my sister and I grew up, the cookies were baked less and less. We got more involved with friends and extra-curricular activities and Mom didn't have time to bake as much as she once did, too. In fact, the only time we got them was for special occasions, like birthdays or when we had company. Tina, my sister, eventually learned how to bake, but her cookies were somehow not as good as Mom's. Even she said they weren't as good, even though Mom taught her exactly how to make them.

"I guess it must be the extra love I put in them," she would comment when asked why hers were so much better. My sister and I laughed and agreed that it was a good reason. The love clearly did make a difference.

When we moved out of the house for college, Mom made us each four dozen cookies to take with us.

"I think we are going to put on the freshmen fifteen within the first couple days with all these cookies," I said with a smile.

"Well, at least you will be walking all over campus, so that should help a little," Mom joked.

She gave us a hug and we said our good-byes. For the next several years, we didn't see Mom much. When we did, though, she always had cookies made for us.

"You don't always need to bake for us, you know. We would be fine without the cookies. You shouldn't be on your feet too often anymore. Without 1dad in the picture, you need to take it easy," we would both tell her.

Dad died early on in the year. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in November the year before, and he died three months later. Around the same time, Mom's diabetes took a turn for the worse and she started losing motor function in her legs.

Tina got married five years after school and I still never found anyone. Mom would bug me that she would have no one to pass her cookie recipe to if I didn't hurry up and find someone. I just laughed.

"You have a lot of time left yet, Mom. Besides, we already know they wouldn't be the same. The love quantity would be too different. Until we can quantify love, they will never be as good.”

As the years went by, Mom became sicker. We had a healthcare worker go in to see Mom because we had no time to help. I had a job at a hospital out of town and Tina was busy trying to balance her career and family. She had her second baby and was not getting any sleep. Mom tried to help when she could, but her legs were bad and her organs were beginning to shut down. We knew that soon she would be bedridden. Each time she visited, she brought our favourite cookies and we still fought over the first one.

"Soon you guys will be fighting over the last one. Once I am gone, the secret ingredient goes with me," she always said.

She still took the cookie from us and split it in two and gave us the halves. We just laughed and told her she better not leave us. The cookies would never be the same.

A day before she was going to be staying with me for a week, I got a call from the healthcare worker saying Mom had passed in the night and that I should get there as soon as I could. I booked a plane ticket right after I got off the phone. Knowing my sister would be on her way immediately, I called to tell her when my flight was and asked her not to go without me.

She picked me up from the airport and we drove straight to Mom's house. She informed me she honoured my request as we rounded the last corner before getting home.

We entered the house and could smell the sweet aroma of cookies. Although it would have been some time since they were baked, the smell lingered in the air as if she were still there. We found the tin she was likely going to bring for me and dug into the cookies for old time’s sake and talked about our favourite memories of Mom.

After several hours of catching up, we looked down into the tin and all but one of the cookies was gone. We both stared at the cookie and then at each other. Tears formed in our eyes as it hit us both this was the last time we would have Mom's cookies.

Without a word, I picked it up and split it in two. I walked over to my sister and handed her half. She got up and hugged me as tight as she could and I hugged her back. We cried, holding each other and the last cookie we would ever have from Mom. When we finally let go, we swore that neither one of us would ever eat it. Instead, we’d preserve it as best we could. We vacuum sealed our cookie half and placed it in our freezers for safekeeping. 

Mom's love was in that last cookie and there was no way we were going to ever lose it.
All writing (c) Mike Deregowski - no reproduction in whole or in part unless written permission is received from the author.
<![CDATA[Todd]]>Tue, 03 Feb 2015 23:39:10 GMThttp://www.mikederegowski.com/short-stories/toddWritten By: Mike Deregowski
You never know when a friendship is going to spring up! 

When I was younger, about 16 or so, I entered my favourite corner store to get my favourite flavour of slush. "One large Lime slush please?" I said to the guy working behind the counter.

Many places allow their customers to simply pick their own size of cups and flavour. This one, however, had too many issues with theft so they moved their machines behind the counter.

"Great choice, that's my favourite flavour too!"

I looked up a little surprised. Usually, the clerks behind the desk didn't say anything, they just simply got what you asked for, took your money, and you went on your way.
He came back and handed me my slush and smiled. "Now you made me want a Lime slush!" He commented.

"Well...you do have the machine behind you. You are kinda in a prime place to get one."

He laughs. "I think I just might. Have a good day!"

I walked out of the store enjoying my slush and didn't think much more about what transpired in the store.

A few days later, I went back. This time, with my mom's car to fill up her tank. I finished filling up and headed inside. The same guy was working again so I looked at his name tag to address him by name. "Don't they ever send you home Todd? You were here the last time I came in!" I said jokingly.

"They do sometimes! Between shifts usually, not during them." He said laughing. "Nice shirt, going retro today?" 

I personally feel that if anyone has any taste whatsoever they will enjoy the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, even well into their eighties!

I nodded my head in agreement and paid for the gas. We said good-bye and I left. 

Instead of leaving that day's encounter alone, I thought about it for the rest of the day. I decided that Todd could be someone fun to hang out with and tried to organize time to shoot some hoops with him or something. Though, I am certain he's a little older than me, I don't think he would mind.

The next couple times I went to the store, Todd is not working. I went in, paid for what I needed, and nothing is said between me and the clerks. Finally, a couple weeks later, I see Todd again but he seems different. "Hey, haven't seen you for a bit, did you go on vacation or something?" I asked smiling.

He just looks at me blankly. "Or something," He replied. "What can I get you today?"

I looked at him confused. 

I've never seen him in a mood like this. Then again, I haven't known him for very long.

"Nothing today, I was kind of wondering if you were interested in shooting some hoops some time when you don't work or something?"

He showed a little smile. "I haven't done that in a little while. Yeah, that sounds cool! I only work till 3:00 today, if you wanted to go later? The park just close to here has basket ball hoops." Todd suggested.

"Sounds good. I will see you there!"

I bought a slush and headed home for a couple hours. At 2:50, I left the house with the basketball and began the walk to the park. It's about a fifteen minute walk from my house so I shouldn't be there too long before Todd comes along. I reached the court, bounced the ball around, and took a few shots. About ten minutes after I have been there, I see a car pull up and Todd gets out. He began walking towards me. "Sorry I am so late, had a little trouble balancing my till." Todd explained.

"No problem!" I assured him. "Gave me some time to practice."

"Now you have an unfair advantage!"

I tossed him the ball, he began to bounce it a bit, and took a shot. The ball hits the rim and goes straight into the basket first shot. "Judging from that shot, you will be fine!" I remarked.

"Lucky shot!" He laughs. "It occurred to me on the way over here that I don't know your name. I know you can read though, since you read my name tag."

I laughed to myself and walked over to him to shake his hand. "I'm Brent, nice to officially meet you!"

That day, we made small chit chat and played different basket ball games like 21, around the world, and horse. 

After that day, Todd would usually ask me if I wanted to do something after he was done work. I always said yes. 

Truth be told, Todd was like an older brother I never had. Sometimes, he would even help me with my homework. He was really good at math and I really sucked at it, so he volunteered to tutor me. 

Around Thanksgiving, though, I noticed Todd was getting more distant and disappeared again for a couple weeks. We had exchanged phone numbers, but he was never answering my calls or texts. When I finally saw him again, he was in the same mood as the last time he went missing for a while. I asked him about it, but he just shrugged it off and I didn't push the matter. A few days later, I got a text from him to see if I wanted to hang out and I said yes. He picked me up, we went to go see a movie and everything was fine again.

When December rolled around, Todd was beginning to act funny again. I asked him about it and he would always just shrug it off to "having a bad day". By the fifth time he said this, I had enough of the lame excuse. "Seriously dude? You don't think I know something is up?"

"It's nothing Brent, I just ...don't like the holidays is all."

"What's not to like about the Holidays? There is all the food, gifts, and family! It's a great time of year!"

"That's why I don't like the Holidays! It reminds me that I don't have a family to enjoy them with!"

I fell silent.

"You wanna know where I was those weeks I went missing and never returned your calls or texts? I went looking for my mother. As far as I can remember, I have been alone. I moved from foster home to foster home searching for a family to call my own."

I was still silent, but listened intently. He paused and looked like he was going to break down. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to pry. I just..."

"It's fine, I needed to tell someone anyways. I know you are young, but I feel like I can talk to you. You're like a brother I never had." Todd interrupts. "Sorry, that sounded really cheesy and lame."

"Not at all, I am honoured!" I reassured him. "So how come you went missing?"

"I thought I might have had a lead of where my mom could be. All I know, is that she had me very young and she left me on the front steps of a house, hoping they would take care of me. I found an old picture when I was younger and kept it with me. Apparently she left it with me so the owners and I would know what she looked like if I wanted to go looking for her. The couple ended up dying in a car crash and I was forced to go into the foster system because they had no nearby relatives. The only thing I kept, all this time, is my mother's picture with my name and a note on it, in hopes I would find her one day. I moved here a year ago on a lead that she might be here, but I haven't found her yet."

I thought about his story for a minute. "Well ...we always have plenty of food and room at my house. I am sure you would be more than welcome to join me and my family for Christmas."

"You think so? You would do that for me?" Todd asked shocked.

I nodded my head. "Of course! What are friends and basically brothers for?"

"Thank you, I would like that very much."

After he dropped me off, I asked mom and explained the scenario to her about Todd. She agreed that he could join us for Christmas and I let him know right away. 

When Christmas day rolled around, Todd text me from the car. He was outside the house and nervous. I told him I would meet him at the door and introduce him to everyone. The door bell rang and I went and answered the door. "I brought your mom some wine. I hope it's okay." Todd commented.

"She will love it!" I confirmed.

I took Todd to the kitchen to introduce him to my mom. When he got to the entrance he froze in his tracks and dropped the bottle. My mom turned, froze in her tracks, and stared at Todd. He reached into his pocket, pulled out a picture, turned it around, and showed my mom.




All writing (c) Mike Deregowski - no reproduction in whole or in part unless written permission is received from the author.