It’s the night before Christmas, a prime time to post the following piece of flash fiction…



By Joe Nazare


Framed in one of the fifty-six windows of his home, Billy’s face is a mask of anxiousness. But I just snap the reins and fly on by.

The kid’s not even supposed to be up right now. Then again, if Billy Norton knew appropriate behavior, he wouldn’t have ended up bratlisted this year. So no special deliveries from me, although I’m sure his parents won’t leave him wanting. Month-old milk isn’t half as spoiled as he is.

The hilltop mansion in my wake, I proceed with my evening itinerary. Countless touchdowns are scheduled on the rooftop runways of more-deserving households within the town proper. The jolly prospect of morning unwrappings enraptures me…

Until Rudolph’s nose blinkers in alarm, and the entire team rears up as a dark shape swoops down on us. Initially, night and surprise camouflage the airspace invader; perhaps it’s the cacophonic drone that helps sharpen my vision, of what looks like some outsized, automated hornet.

I fight to steer clear of treetops and power lines as the mechanical harasser makes its buzzing loops. At one point the thing alights beside me, and then takes off with my brimming yet incredibly wieldy toy-sack pinched between its steel forelimbs.

The sudden absence of presents in my sky-pirated sleigh leaves me stunned. Finally, I manage to turn, and spot the machine beelining up the hillside. That’s when I realize who has masterminded tonight’s heist.

This Christmas, naughty Billy Norton will be getting nothing on his wish list—and everything on everyone else’s.



Here’s a drabble for travelers of the Macabre Republic…



By Joe Nazare


Seven cities, six days, zero deals sealed. Red-eye, white-knuckle flight into Newark in the middle of an electrical storm. Futile vigil held at the misnomered Baggage Claim carousel. A livery cab driver who seemed to have learned his craft from Mad Max.

Owen crisscrossed an inner interstate of exhaustion and exasperation as the town car dropped him off curbside at last. His sore eyes fixed on the white picket fence, the immaculately-landscaped front yard, the familiar façade of his Dutch Colonial home, and—framed in the upstairs window—the silhouetted figure overlooking his return.

The only problem: Owen lived alone.



Hammered Home (flash fiction)

This is the first publication of the following piece.


Hammered Home

by Joe Nazare


Neither one of them had a steady gait—Carlos because he was inebriated, Pat because he was in heels—when they stumbled upon the stranger.

It happened midway through the two-mile walk from the frat house back to campus. Pat had become Patty for the party, and Carlos was making a mock-lecherous grab for his Charmin-augmented bosom when he instead stopped and pointed.

Twenty feet ahead, dead center in the otherwise barren and woods-bracketed road, stood a figure in full clown regalia. Enormous sky-blue shoes that would have been a loose fit on Bigfoot. Baggy pantsuit that appeared to sport no pattern but rather a random spatter of red and brown. Greasepainted face, ball nose that looked like a plum tomato gone rotten. Two garish shocks of hair curving out from either side of the head, resembling nothing so much as devil’s horns.

“Creepy clown: cool,” Carlos pronounced.

To encounter someone in such outré attire wasn’t terribly unlikely on this last Saturday night in October, when a whole slew of pre-holiday celebrations no doubt raged. Still, instinctive wariness halted Pat’s steps. Carlos, meanwhile, continued on in fearless approach, his iPhone already in hand, raised and aimed.

“C’mon,” he called back to Pat, “we gotta put this up on YouTube.” Then, as he closed in on the clown: “Hey, man, wicked duds. Looks like you went shopping at Gacy’s.”

Pat swallowed, half-expecting the carnivalesque character to flash a shark’s grin and croak something like “They all float…”  But the clown kept silent, just posed motionless, with eyes downcast and hands thrust in pouch-like hip pockets.

“So, waiting for someone in particular, or will any body do?” Carlos asked, trying to get the clown to mug ghoulishly for the camera. He might as well have been prompting a mannequin. His static subject made one of those Buckingham Palace guards seem like a Tourette’s victim. Pat found the figure’s utter lack of animation deeply unsettling.

The inactive act only irked Carlos. His boozy grin flattened into a scowl as he lowered the phone and eyed the clown directly. “What, you got nothin’ to say for yourself?” Several seconds of mute affirmation led him to follow with: “Then you best use those floppy-ass shoes to step aside, Homey D., before you get busted upside the head.”

The stranger, though, wasn’t the one moved by the threat. Heels clacking against the macadam, Pat scampered to intercept Carlos. “Hey, take it easy,” he told him. But the second Pat stiffened his arm in attempted restraint, Carlos pressed even more aggressively towards his newfound foe. Carlos was costumed in a zoot suit tonight, but Pat couldn’t help but think that he was dealing here with a pair of clowns.

Sudden impatience flooded him. His buzz had worn off, he was tired, and his feet were killing him. The last thing he felt like doing right now was refereeing a bout between his hot-headed friend and some wannabe Pennywise.

“Can we just get the hell outta here?” he shot at Carlos, who, to his surprise, took an immediate step back. The drunken bravado drained from Carlos’s face, leaving him gaping. An instant later, Pat felt a hand clamp down onto his shoulder.

Cringing, Pat turned his head. The clown’s gaze was as intense, as invasive, as the muscle-cramping clench. Even worse was what the clown used to see with: the circus perversity had a pair of black balloons in lieu of irises and pupils. Any thought Pat might have entertained that these were merely special-FX contacts was obliterated when his leering assailant addressed him.

“Not Pennywise,” it corrected all-too-knowingly, while unpocketing and brandishing an outsized meat tenderizer: “Poundfoolish.”