The Ball that Disappeared – Part 2


If you missed Part 1, click HERE

Hugo and the rest of the kids stared at the busted fence. His baseball was on the other side, and the only way to get it back was to set foot on Old Man Semos’ property.

“You have to forget about it!” said Measles. “Go over there and you’ll get killed!”

“Of course he’s not going over there!” Shouted Pudgy, with a laugh. “He’s too big of a wuss.”

Hugo took a step forward, then stopped and gulped. That baseball was the only thing he had left to remember his dad by – it was more important to him than all the pop in the world.

“Don’t do it, Hugo,” said Measles. “I don’t want you to die. Not yet at least.”

Hugo continued his slow trudge forward.

The only kid who walked with him was Measles, who adjusted his glasses then said, “Old Man Semos puts bags of candy on his front porch for Halloween every year, and still nobody goes over there. You wanna know why?”

“Why?” said Hugo. The two of them were now well afar from the rest of the gang, and only feet away from the fence.

“Because the one kid who ever took some of that candy swears on his life that it was human flesh, mixed with sugar!”

Measles stopped, but Hugo kept going.

“Don’t do it, Hugo. It’s not worth it.”

“I know,” said Hugo, before peaking through the hole in the fence. No sign of any dog, and no sign of Old Man Semos. The baseball, however, just sat there, in plain sight.

“It was good knowing you,” said Measles.

Hugo turned, then watched Measles walk back to the other kids, hanging his head like Hugo had already been mauled to death. Hugo didn’t have time to worry about that now – if he acted quickly, maybe he’d be able to live and get his baseball back.

He ripped the rest of the broken plank away. The opening was narrow, but Hugo was skinny enough to slide through. For the first time in his life he was grateful for being such a rail. By the time he spotted it, he was in too deep.

The gargantuan hound. It really was the size of a horse! Sitting in its dog house, Hugo heard it growl once his shoe touched down on the burnt-out lawn. Hugo looked over at the ball, then back at the hound.

It growled again.

Hugo took one last breath, then booked it.

As he bolted after the baseball he could hear the hound’s chain dragging through the dry brown grass. The hound ferociously barked as it raced along the ground.

It wasn’t charging at Hugo – it was charging after the ball!

Hugo couldn’t afford to lose focus now – his eyes stayed trained on the baseball the entire time. As he neared it, Hugo realized he’d have to pick it up and keep running without losing a step – this hound’s chain was nowhere close to being taught.

The hound opened its jaw and Hugo swore he saw fangs in its mouth. Hugo returned his eyes to the ground, right where the baseball sat, and swiped it up then kept going.

The giant dog still chased after him; slobber splashed up and soaked Hugo’s elbow.

He was running out of room to escape – Hugo headed straight for the screen door to Old Man Semos’ house. He busted through and tore it down, landing in a rough dive that knocked the ball out of his hand. He barely escaped the Hound, whose chain tugged the collar on his neck and cut-off his pursuit.

Hugo stayed on his stomach for a bit, breathing heavily until he caught his breath. When he finally worked up the courage, he took his eyes forward to figure out where his baseball had rolled to. Sitting on the couch, tossing it up and down in the air with one hand and holding a rifle in his other was the scariest person Hugo had ever laid eyes on – Old Man Semos.

Hugo gulped.

To be continued…

  • Thomas M. Watt

Conflict: Wouldn’t you shoot a dog if it attacked your child?


Today I want to talk about conflict, the most important element in story, the one that reels more readers in than any other writing tool.

Conflict is the reason we always hear stories about cops and black men, Kardashian gender confusion, and small parties of people who stomp on the American Flag in protest of restricted rights and status for illegals. It is also the reason we don’t hear nearly as much about the atrocities and genocides being committed by Boko Haram and ISIS as we should.

Before I had a proper understanding of conflict, I always just assumed it was good vs. evil. That’s somewhat correct, but it’s not going to get you anywhere as a writer.

At the heart of any good conflict is debate. The issues that make the news most frequently are the issues that divide Americans into two camps opposing in viewpoints but equal in passion. That’s why the cop stories are always on the news – Are these criminals being unjustly treated due to the color of their skin, or are these cops being wrongly persecuted for simply doing a difficult job?

That’s why the title of this post immediately stirs controversy – well how big is the dog? How old is the child? Did it attack your favorite kid or the one you tell friends was adopted?

The search and desire for an answer prompts you to read on. Our brains are wired to ‘figure things out’. That’s why we’re always preoccupied by the problems in our lives, and constantly infatuated with cunts and dickheads undeserving of our attention. That’s why we fall for the bullshit emotional games and can’t help but play them again.

It’s also why, in my opinion, ISIS doesn’t get as much negative media coverage as it deserves – they are animals who deserve to be slaughtered. There is nothing to debate, they are evil.

So how do we successfully implement conflict into story?

Let me start by stating the obvious – stay away from black and white. In other words, make your evil characters evil, but never have them say things like –

“Being good is for sissies. Come to my side. Money. Girls. Guns. Come on. You know you want to be bad. Light me up an addictive cigarette and pour me a drink of alcohol while I laugh smugly and smile like I’m better than you. Then lets go get skull tattoos… on our necks.”

And you also never want your protagonists to respond with anything like this:

“Stay away from me, Mr. Darkside. I don’t smoke and I never will. And I believe girls is a derogatory term for women. That’s why I call them ‘angels’.”

The focus here may seem as though it is on character, but it’s really not. Learn to thread conflict through every storytelling element, theme included. Remember, questions intrigue us. Questions are problems we need to solve, questions keep us reading. Always.

Thomas M. Watt

Author of “A New Kingdom”

Dangling From the Empire State Building, David opened his eyes…


Dangling From the Empire State Building, David opened his eyes. His feet were bound by the rope, and his freezing face was being slapped by the cold wind. Down below, the tourist were all pointing at him, undoubtedly wondering if he was a man or a new flag.

“Dammit!” Screamed David. He regretted everything at that point. The bets, the women, the drug orgies. He hated himself for it.

He suddenly dropped a few inches. When David looked up, he realized the rope was already tearing. His wrists were tied up behind his back. He had to get out. He had to break free.

Though his life was nearing an end, the knowledge of his past mistakes were stabbing at him relentlessly. As he pulled with all his might to break his wrists apart, his mind kept replaying the doggie-orgies he used to watch while taking diet-pills with all those scandalous house-wives. He never should have bet on Coco the weiner dog. It just wasn’t realistic to believe it could ‘do it’ with a grey hound.

“Argh!” David screamed, just as he managed to break his wrists out from behind his back. He tugged the rope at his feet, broke it off from the rest of the line, then fell with his arms raised in triumph before splattering on the pavement down below, splashing all the onlookers with a wave of his blood.


– Thomas M. Watt


Boring Story Teller Guy

ImageInt.  – Dinner table. Bob, who has a horseshoe of baldness atop his head, a grey beard and glasses, is talking to McWatty9.


So the transcript came through and Barbara and I well, we just sort of read it, and then we re-read it, and then we both smiled at each other and held hands as we reassured our love for one another.


Uh-huh. Uh-huh.


And then wouldn’t you know it, the dog started barking. Heh! That dog, you know that dog is always barking. I love that dog. So does Barbara. We bathe it twice a week, you know.




Yea, we always keep that dog well fed. Feed it kibble and beans, you know. A lot of people don’t know what kibble and beans is, but that’s just because I was sitting in my lawn chair one day, thinking up names of dog food that would seem to make sense, you know, in case I ever wanted to sell dog food one day.


(Pounding head into table) Uh-huh. Uh-huh.


That’s what I like to do, you know. I like to sit around in my lawn chair and think about stuff. Sometimes I pull my dictionary out, then look up words no one uses and write them down. I try to find a pivotal moment in conversation to use them, you know, so I can look smarter than I actually am.


(Leaning back in his chair, tilting way too far, waving his arms, falling over, chair breaks, lying on the floor with his arms out wide) Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Wow, that sounds pretty smart.


Yeah, you  know, it’s something i started doing in my younger days. If you ever want to outsmart someone, especially in an argument, just throw something out there they’ve never even heard of before. I always get a good chuckle about it later, when I’m by myself. Sometimes I like to laugh while I pet my dog. I don’t know why, it’s just this thing we do together. Sometimes, when her lips curl up and her tongue wags outside of her mouth, I like to think she’s laughing right along with me.


(Picking up broken pieces of wood, bashing them against side of head) Uh-huh. Interesting.


You know, a lot people don’t know this but, I’m sort of a dog lover. Yes, yes, I know, tough old Bob, they call me. But it isn’t entirely true. Sometimes, when my dog is urinating, I like to pet it.


(Standing up, walking to cupboard, smashing face repeatedly into cupboard.) Uh-huh. Yeah. Wow. Interesting. uh-huh.


Heh. Mangy mutts. That’s what some people call them. I never could understand how someone could not like a dog. They’re so loving and kind. Really fascinating creatures. Not like cats. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I don’t really care too much for cats.


(Doing a headstand, pushing off of his head in a headstand push-up, slamming his head repeatedly into the tile floor) Uh-huh. Really? Interesting. Wow. Uh-huh.


Yeah, because cats don’t care as much to get pet, you know. Cats like to keep to themselves, nothing like dogs. Cats are nothing like dogs, you know. They’re so skinny too. Wimps, I say.


(Returning to his feet, walking over to the table, jumping on the table, making snow angels on the table) Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Crazy. Fascinating. Tell me more. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.


As a matter of fact, did you know that cats always land on their feet? I didn’t believe it at first, but it’s true! Did you know that?


(Standing up on table, jumping for chandelier, catches chandelier, chanderlier snaps off from chain, Mcwatty9 falls and breaks table, head is bleeding. Paramedics arrive, take McWatty9 out on a stretcher, put him in an ambulance. Bob rides alongside.)


Yeah, cats I don’t like very much. I never really knew why, but even as a kid, it was always about dogs for me.


(Dying slowly) Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Keep going. Tell me more. Uh-huh. Fascinating. Uh-huh. Riveting. Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Uh-huh.


will never come for people who like to hear themselves talk.


ImageLeaping jolts of skipping through,

Jumping acres of grass with dew.

Country side too much to take,

To beautiful to be erased.

Jump that grassland Lassie do,

Jump that fence and see what’s new.

Find that boy stuck in the well,

Then run to home and bark like Hell.

Save that boy who’s in a rut,

Do your work you saving mutt.

And when the family’s safe again,

Go hump that dog who’s ‘just a friend’.