Daniel and the Mall by Ethan Holmes

Daniel and the Mall by Ethan Holmes is a short story exhibiting society’s burgeoning addiction to their cell phones. It’s also an entertaining story demonstrating how easy it is to cause chaos and panic, even if you’re an unarmed and very angry teenager.

Daniel and the Mall, By Ethan Holmes

Daniel was an unhappy boy most of his life. When he was fourteen, his father went to jail for molesting his own daughter. His mother was a Bible-thumping whack job who couldn’t figure out whether to pray about her problems or cut her husband’s testicles off and kill him if he ever got out. She carried a lot of anger and bitterness around with her and handed most of it down to her son.

I won’t go into any more of his background except to tell you that he grew into his teen years rebelling fiercely against any authority, took to robbing convenience stores and stealing cars and generally became a walking time bomb. Then one day the bomb went off.

It’s amazing to watch a human brain, normally occupied by life, conjure up a plan of evil genius when focused on perceived revenge. Daniel was intent on revenge against society in general for having, somehow, done him wrong. What he came up with was brilliant.

He didn’t have the spine to perform the shootout-of the-day like so many before him. It’s been done over and over. You steal an assault rifle and an automatic pistol, a bunch of ammo and head for the local movie theater/store/post office. You kill and maim a bunch of innocent people who had nothing at all to do with your life and then you commit suicide or let the cops use you for target practice.

No, Daniel wanted to do something different, something unique. He finally came up with a plan designed to prove to the world how angry he was and how easy it was to show it.

Daniel got up one bright, summer day and dressed in four layers of clothes. The first layer was a pair of light blue gym shorts and a white tank top. The second layer was a larger, baggier pair of tan cargo shorts and a black Nirvana tee-shirt. The third layer was a gray sweatshirt and nylon gray sweatpants with a San Francisco Giants baseball cap turned backwards on his head. The final layer was black sweatpants and a black hoodie, both baggy enough and large enough to cover everything underneath. He wore black Nike tennis sneakers with no socks and he stuck a pair of black flip-flops and a red-streaked, punkish wig in the front pouch of his hoodie. Then he headed for the local mall.

It was 3:30 p.m. and Daniel paid for a matinee showing of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ at the AMC Movie Theater at the far western end of the mall. He took a seat in the back row of the theater, just inside the left aisle directly behind two teenaged girls. He scanned the area taking note that there were only about thirty people there. He looked around, smiling as he saw that better than two-thirds of them were busily pecking away or staring at their cellphones. It looked like a firefly convention in the darkened theater.

Waiting until the moment the theater was completely dark and the coming attractions had just begun, Daniel reached over the seat backs in front of him like a darting hummingbird and snatched both of the cellphones from the two girls. He hurled them toward the front of the theater and quickly ducked behind the seats and scurried toward the aisle to his right. He stifled a giggle as the girls screamed several times.

The two girls reacted exactly as Daniel thought they would. First, they screamed in shock and fright because someone had reached over them in the dark. They looked at each other with their mouths hanging open and screamed again. Then they both stood up and shook their hands as though they were being sprayed with cat urine and screamed again simultaneously.


Daniel didn’t have time to stop and enjoy the fact that they were literally freaking out because their cellphones were gone. He waited for just a second or two at the end of the row and once again the two girls reacted just as he thought they would.

Both of them frantically ran toward the front of the theater and dropped to their hands and knees searching for their beloved phones.

Daniel smiled again as he peered over the seat in front of him and saw that the commotion had done just what he hoped. Everyone’s attention was on the two panicked girls in the front. He slinked across the right aisle and slid in behind a woman and two kids. The woman was sitting there holding a cell phone lit up in mid-text as she peered into the darkness trying to figure out what was going on. Daniel reached over and snatched her phone, hurling it back in the direction he had just come from.

The woman screamed; the kids laughed. Daniel ducked back behind the seats and headed for the aisle by the right wall. The woman stood up, cursed and looked in the row behind her. She couldn’t see much of anything. She looked at the girls, the kids and back at the row and stomped off in the direction of her phone.

“I’m callin’ the cops!” She yelled this at no one in particular.

By now, the theater was rapidly being enveloped in the growing commotion. A few people yelled at the girls to go sit down and quit screaming. Others just kept poking away at the screens on their phones. Now they had something to text about to their friends. Only the three people who had their phones snatched knew what the reason was for the turmoil.

Daniel nonchalantly stood up and looked around as though he had just arrived, searching for a seat. He walked down the same row of seats he had just slunk down as the two girls up front started yelling again.

“I can’t find my phone! Please help me! Somebody help me find my phone! Oh, my GOD!”

Someone in the dark yelled back.

“Fuck you and your damned phone! Sit the hell down so we can watch the movie!”

The coming attractions and snack bar commercials played on as Daniel sat down in the middle section of seats about halfway down. In front of him were two men, laughing and poking each other as they shared photos on both their phones of the same naked woman holding pompoms on a football field.

Daniel sat there for a moment, the angry memories of his imprisoned father surging up inside him. He was waiting for one moment; just the right moment.

As the men chortled and made crude remarks, that moment Daniel had been waiting for arrived. The coming attractions ended and the screen went black for just a few seconds as the movie started. That’s all Daniel needed.

He didn’t even stand up. He simply slid forward in his seat and sharply banged both men on the shoulder opposite him; one on the left shoulder, one on the right. Predictably both turned in opposite directions and cursed simultaneously.

“What the fuck?!”

Daniel slid his long, thin arms forward between them, snatched their phones out of their hands and hurled them toward the right front corner of the theater. As the darkened screen began to light up with the movie production logo, the clatter of the two phones hitting the uncarpeted floor down in front could be heard.

The two men stood up and repeated themselves.

“What the fuck, man?!”

Daniel was already sliding toward his left down the row of seats, headed for the emergency exit door on that side of the theater.

The men stood there befuddled, momentarily unable to decide whether to look for whoever had done this or head for the corner of the theater to find their phones. It didn’t take them long to figure out why the two girls were down in front already.

As they stood there, they heard a loud clang as the emergency door was flung open. Instinctively, everyone in the theater looked in that direction. A blast of blinding white sunlight lit up the doorway and a dark silhouette exited the theater and slammed the door closed. Most, if not all, of the people turned sharply away from the brilliant light and didn’t see a thing.

“Stupid people! They’re so fixated on their fucking, little phones, they don’t even have the sense to chase me!”

Daniel was correct in his assessment of what he had just done. Of the five people whose phones he had snatched and thrown into the darkness, not one of them chose finding him over finding their precious phone. The fun was just beginning.

He headed down the covered walkway that connected the theater with Dillard’s, one of the anchor stores of the mall. He walked through the store looking not unlike any other teenager mall-surfing. Proceeding out the front entrance of the store and onto the upper level promenade of the mall, Daniel spotted his next target and slowed down.

He stopped at the wood and glass railing that lined the edge of the promenade looking down onto the lower level. He was pleased to see a large water fountain below him.

He turned to the two women he had spotted standing in front of Spencer’s, each with a stroller containing a small child and a bunch of packages and bags. Both of them clutching their phones, animatedly pointing at them and laughing.

Daniel pulled the strings on his black hoodie so that it tightened around his face, slightly distorting it. Then he put on his best ‘poor, little kid’ face and approached the women.

He addressed the shorter of the two wearing a white tennis skirt.

“Excuse me, ma’am. I don’t have a cellphone and I need to call my mom for a ride home. Could I borrow yours for a minute to call her?”

The two women looked at each other in surprise. The one he addressed responded.

“You don’t have a cellphone? Really? What’s the matter with your parents; they can’t afford one?”

Daniel ignored her rude ignorance and stood there silently doing his best to look helpless.

The two women looked at each other for a moment and the taller one handed Daniel her phone.

“Here, you can use mine. Call your mom and tell her to get you a cellphone.”

Both women laughed as she handed the phone to Daniel. He smiled and thanked her. He brought up the dial pad on the touchscreen and pretended to dial a number as he turned his back on the two women. Walking slowly from the women and acting as though he was talking to someone, Daniel reached the wood and glass barrier a few yards away. The two women, chatting as they waited, looked up in time to see Daniel appear to fumble the phone right over the railing and down to fountain below.

The taller woman yelped and ran over to the railing followed closely by her friend.

She turned to the friend, “He dropped my fucking phone in the fountain down there! Oh my God!”

To Daniel’s amazement, the women ran right past him toward the escalator, leaving their strollers, kids, packages and bags right where they had been sitting when he approached them. He looked over at the strollers as the women ran down the escalator yelling, “Oh, my God!”

The shorter woman’s cell phone was sitting on the canopy of one of the strollers. Daniel calmly walked over and picked it up. He glanced at the sleeping children in the strollers. He turned back toward the railing and launched the cellphone high into the air. He knew, by the trajectory, that it was going to land perfectly in the same fountain.

The taller woman was already in the fountain, having ripped her shoes off at the edge and wading in panic stricken. The shorter woman was at the edge vigorously cheering her on when they both saw a splash in the pool of the fountain. The woman already in the fountain walked straight toward the splash, reached down and came out with a phone.

She held it up and stared at it for a couple of seconds and then turned to her friend, puzzled and confused.

“Hey, Doris, this looks like your phone.”

Doris held up her hands as though she should have been holding something. Her face turned from astonishment to dismay as she clapped her right hand to her belt on her hip.

“That rat bastard threw my cell phone down here too!”

Both of them looked up at the railing but Daniel was nowhere to be seen. He was already halfway down the promenade toward the center of the mall where the food court was located. He turned into a small hallway that led down to a janitorial closet and removed his hood, turning his Giants baseball cap around so the bill was pulled low over his face. He stepped back out onto the promenade.

Some kids around Daniel’s age were in front of him as he walked and one of them had on baggy pants hanging around his hips. An Ipod was sticking halfway out of the back pocket with a long thin white cord running up to a pair of earbuds firmly planted in the kid’s ears. Daniel snagged the Ipod, pulled the cord and pitched it over the railing just as two shabbily dressed Mexican guys walked past the group headed in the opposite direction.

As quickly as the music stopped coming through the earbuds the kid turned around and felt in his back pocket. Daniel didn’t say a word. He just pointed at the two Mexican guys while keeping his face low under his cap.

The kid in the baggy pants stopped, confused for a moment. The rest of the group kept going, not realizing their friend had stopped. Daniel kept moving as he heard the Ipod kid yelling at the Mexicans to stop.

Looking down at the food court from the upper level, Daniel could hear a growing hubbub from the west end of the mall where he had entered. The kid and the Mexicans were already shoving each other and his companions were rushing back to see what was happening. Daniel smiled as he could hear more noise farther down the line where he had thrown the two phones into the fountain.

He headed down the escalator and into the food court. There he headed straight for the rest room. Mall traffic was light and he waited for a moment as the last two men left the rest room. He entered one of the stalls and quickly removed his black hoodie and sweat pants. He stood on the toilet seat and shoved them up onto the acoustic ceiling tiles. He turned his baseball cap inside out and put it back on, pulling the bill down. Now he was dressed all in grey.

He left the restroom and, just as he anticipated, a few people were looking around suspiciously as though they had some information about something. A mall security guard actually startled Daniel, tapping him on the shoulder.

“Hey, kid. You see anyone around here wearing black sweats and a black hoodie?”

“No, sir, I ain’t seen nothin’.”

Daniel kept his face angled away from the man as he replied.

The guard’s radio cackled and he walked away talking into it. Daniel headed for the far side of the food court.

At a table in front of a small restaurant selling Greek Gyros, four people sat eating sandwiches and French fries; a woman, two boys who appeared to be about eight or nine years old and a small girl who looked no older than four or five.

Daniel slid into the chair at the table next to them so hard that it spilled the soda nearest to him. It was a deliberate move. The woman shrieked as Pepsi went splattering all over the table and headed for her lap. The two boys laughed and jumped up and the little girl on the far side of the woman happily munched her fries.

“Oh, shit! You boys get some napkins or towels.” The woman dabbed at the growing puddle with a napkin and turned to glare at whoever had done this.

Daniel was already gone. In the moment it took for all of them to be distracted by the sudden, jarring spill, he had grabbed her cellphone sitting by her plate. While the two people behind the counter of the Greek restaurant were occupied with getting towels and napkins and helping the woman, Daniel reached over the clear, plastic counter top and dumped her phone in the fryer. He grinned as it made a loud pop and sizzled. He had more reason to grin as he headed out of the food court. He could hear her screaming as he walked toward Macy’s.

“Where is my goddamned cellphone?”

Daniel entered the store. He had scoped this out before. The two weakest spots in here were the make-up department and the jewelry counter. First, there was a slight change to be made.

He went to the men’s clothing section and slipped inside one of the changing rooms. He removed his gray sweatshirt and the nylon, gray sweatpants. He took off his baseball cap and put on the wig he had shoved in the pocket of the sweatpants on his first change-out. He also took the flip flops which he had transferred to the rear pockets of the gray sweatpants and put those on. He stuffed the sweatpants in one sneaker, the sweatshirt in the other. He stood on the small corner bench in the change room and lifted the acoustic ceiling tile. He threw both sneakers up there and replaced the tile. Now he was dressed like a punk, surfer teen with streaky hair in baggy cargo shorts, a black Nirvana shirt and flip flops.

Back out in the main area of the store, Daniel headed for the make-up counter. Only four people were in the area; the counter clerk, a single customer, a store employee stocking shelves in the ‘Teens’ section and an elderly security guard by the store entrance who was actually nodding off.

The customer was an elderly lady who had dyed her hair so red it had turned an eerie orange. She was sitting on a stool as the clerk applied a ghostly white powder to her face. Daniel had to suppress outright laughter as he heard the clerk tell the old lady how beautiful she looked while dusting her up to look like she was already dead.

He eased his way over, acting as though he was looking for something.

“Can I help you with something? You appear to be lost!” The clerk said this with marked sarcasm.

He took the opportunity to move closer, now standing between the two.

“Well, like, dude. I was wondering if you, like, had any perfume for like, my girlfriend. Is that some there?”

Daniel stuck his hand out, pretending to point, and knocked the container of facial powder off the counter. It went all over the clerk and the floor.

“Well, you little shit! Look what you’ve gone and done!” The clerk was livid.

The orange-haired lady slid off the stool.

“Oh my, my. What a mess!”

She half-heartedly brushed at the powder all over the clerk, trying fruitlessly to help her get it off her dark blue jacket.

While the two of them were occupied with this, Daniel used the time to abscond with the old lady’s cellphone sitting on the glass counter right next to her flower-embroidered, canvas purse. By the time the two of them looked around, he was gone.

Heading for the far exit, he had to pass through the jewelry department and it couldn’t have been set up better for him if he had called in ahead of time.

A young woman had been looking at rings. Her purse and cellphone were sitting on the counter around the corner from where she and the clerk were currently viewing some additional choices. It was almost too easy as Daniel floated by, snatched the phone and kept walking straight out the door of Macy’s into the bright warmth of the late afternoon sun.

He looked at the two cellphones in his hands, smiled, dropped them onto the sidewalk, crushed them both under his feet and started walking. Once he cleared the mall parking lot he headed for an underpass of the nearby highway. There he stripped down to his final change of the tank top and gym shorts. He removed the wig to reveal his natural sandy blonde hair. Removing the soft dirt from a hole he had dug previously, he buried the remaining items under the underpass and climbed the steep embankment up to the highway.

Daniel stopped for a moment and turned back toward the Macy’s he had just exited. He smiled as he saw the elderly security guard with a few of his colleagues standing over the spot where he had crushed the phones. They all had their radios in their hands. Within seconds, two police cars screeched up to the entrance and, as Daniel turned to walk away, another went screaming right by him, sirens blaring, headed for the mall.

That evening he found the news particularly satisfying and entertaining. Every channel was blaring news about the ‘terrorist attack’ at the mall by multiple assailants stealing and destroying electronic devices. To hear them tell it, in all their glorious ignorance, there had been at least four attackers, starting with the “vicious and mysterious assault in the movie theater”.

Daniel watched, at once fascinated and amused, as he saw rough video and still images of himself in various stages of his disguises. What was most amusing and satisfying was the utter chaos, panic and confusion he had caused with this single, well-planned expedition to the mall.

He learned that fear, agitation and hysteria are all highly contagious. He learned that knocking people out of their routine, for even a fleeting moment was easy. Causing them discomfort of any kind was a sure-fire ingredient for panic. Most of all, God help you if you mess with their beloved cellphones.

They tried him as an adult. He was actually turned in by his own family who recognized certain little details about him on TV. His mother vowed never to have anything to do with him again and assured him that he would burn in the fires of eternal damnation for his sins.

Nothing like a mother’s love; is there?

Daniel and the Mall by Ethan Holmes is a short story which will be a chapter incorporated in an upcoming novel in progress titled 5:23.

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books including Earth’s Blood and his latest release, Water.


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A Lonely, Lonely Man

A Lonely, Lonely Man

By Ethan Holmes

He sets his head upon the pillow,

as he has done many thousands of nights before,

embraced only by the confined dark of the room,

wrapped solely in the silence that comes with every inevitable night.


Sleep brings only what could be or might have been,

restless, no peace, tossing in the black with demons of tormented thought,

Waking and sleeping, sleeping and waking,

Always succumbing to the sheer weariness.


He is a lonely, lonely man.


He quietly sips the morning’s coffee, now tasteless and without comfort,

watching sunrise in no particular awe, listening to birds sing far happier than he.

He plods through work, mindless and without joy or pride,

hoping each week be longer than the last, that he could remain out, away, anywhere but home.


Doleful, even wistful, he gazes in wonder at the couple on the bench,

holding hands, each searching the windows of the other’s soul for love.

In his mind he holds his hands high to heaven and cries out to no one and nothing.

“Why not me? Where could she be?”


He is a lonely, lonely man.


He walks, the walk of a man with no life in the step,

slogging forward, one foot floating by the other, neither an inch from the ground.

He remembers he used to notice things, the water, the squirrels, the annoyed crows.

He recalls a man who moved with purpose, long lost goals, unfulfilled dreams.


The wind tears at his jacket, burns his eyes, tingles his fingers.

He wobbles against the beating, raising his arms as though to take it with him.

The white water races and jumps, cavorts over the red boulders below, begging him.

“Come down from there.” He barely hears her voice over the wind.


He was a lonely, lonely man.

lonely man midgley bridge

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Water Shortages, Rain Doesn’t Fix It

Water is the single most precious resource on the planet, not oil.

A couple of days of rain doesn’t mean there’s water and the global shortages are all gone. Humans tend to be short-sighted like that. Bring on a nice string of spring rain storms and everyone re-submerges themselves in complacency and waste. That’s not a good idea.

A few days ago, it was announced that Lake Mead, the single largest source of potable water in the southwest U.S., was at its lowest level since it was first filled up via Hoover Dam in 1936.

ethanholmesblogLakeMeadDecline_ModIn early 2000, I photographed Lake Mead from atop Hoover Dam and from various other vantage points. It didn’t look much different from the 1983 shot above. Today, it looks like this.

ethanholmesbloglakemeaddroughtAnd this.

ethanholmesbloglakemeaddrought3Water levels are so low that a billion dollars is being spent to construct a new intake below the current lowest one, (about 900′). Intakes are how we get water out of the pool and into our homes and businesses.

After that, Lake Mead becomes a dead pool. No water is going to leave the lake, such as it is at the time. Keep in mind that the whole reservoir is like a giant funnel that gets narrower as it drops. That means the remaining level is going to drop at a much more precipitous rate from now on. Something to think about while you’re washing your car, running the water while doing dishes or brushing your teeth, pouring it by the hundreds of gallons on your lawn so it will look pretty and running your irrigation for hours when it’s not necessary. (Unfortunately, these are only a few of the many ways in which humans nonchalantly waste this precious resource.)

This is why I stopped two other books in progress a year and a half ago and wrote the fact-based, fictional novel Water. Just as I did in writing Earth’s Blood, I did my homework first. The time is coming when large portions of this country will experience what I depict in Water. Already there are more than a few communities of all sizes that no longer have readily available potable water. You can find them spread all across the western U.S. as well as in many other countries around the planet.

What would you do if you went to your kitchen faucet and nothing came out? What if you turned on the shower and got hit in the face with spatters of mud? Try flushing a dry toilet. Go to the grocery store and find the produce shelves bare. Then what?

water-cover-5ARead what happens when the world runs out of water.

Visit the author, Ethan Holmes.

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A Return To Paperbacks

As an author, I’m making a return to paperbacks. Not that I ever left.

Back in May of last year, I wrote a blog titled The Death of Ebooks. Sales of ebooks have dropped significantly as device owners change the usage of their tablets and smartphones from useful things like news, weather, online magazine articles and books to games, photos and so-called ‘social networking’. (Less than 10% of the top forty apps on both Android and Apple platforms are for anything else.)

I am the author of six books and working on three more, all in ebook format and three currently in paperback. I find myself returning to the more traditional paperback and audio formats. Well, I say return yet I never left. My first novel, a sci-fi thriller about the largest seismic event to ever strike the planet, Earth’s Blood, was immediately put into paperback format. Since then, my latest fictional novel based on the current world-wide potable water shortages, Water, has also been put into paperback form. My dry-witted, cracked humor look at life and the many choices it presents one with, titled Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone is the third title in paperback.

ethan holmes paperback 2

I believe that the majority of truly devoted book readers have always and will always wish to hold a book in their hands while they read. They want to turn the page with a moistened finger to see what happens next. They want to stick a tasseled bookmark in between the pages and reluctantly put the book down until the next time they have a few spare yet delightful moments of precious ‘me’ time.

This is not to say that no one is reading digital books anymore. Certainly millions are still doing just that. The problem is there are many more millions of ebooks out there. The number of purchasers and readers of digital books is declining. It’s not difficult to see where the math is going. Combine that with the fact that the name of the devices has changed from ‘ebook readers’ to ‘tablets’ with a much more diverse usage in tow and anyone can see what is happening.

Amazon’s Kindle Fire advertising say’s “it’s great for watching movies, playing games and reading books”. (Note the original purpose of a Kindle is now third.)

ethan holmes kindle fireThat said, I am making a return to paperbacks, hardcovers, audio books and seeking traditional representation and publishing. My books will all be available in ebook format. It just won’t be the primary objective anymore. Ten years ago, no one, including me, knew the ebook industry would have an explosive yet relatively short life span of growth. To borrow a song title from Dylan, “The Times, They are a Changin’.” It’s a good reason to change with them and make a return to paperbacks.

Instant Previews of Three Paperback Titles by Ethan Holmes on Amazon


Earth's Blood thumnailCrap Thumbnail

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Ten Things That Burn My Biscuits

I have ten things that burn my biscuits. Actually, I lied. (You’re supposed to lie on the Internet, aren’t you? It’s the Internet.)

ethan holmes burned-biscuits

I have way more than ten things that burn my biscuits. I’m going to limit it to ten things just so you don’t burn your biscuits.

10- The latest thing to burn my biscuits is the biggest news story of the last few months, Donald Trump. I’d like to say I don’t understand why millions of people are going to the polls and voting for Mr. Trump, but I do. Okay, so he shoots his mouth off and says things you wish you could say to your least favorite politicians and leaders. But take a man who has declared bankruptcy three times, starts fake universities, can’t stay married to the same woman and can’t control himself and make him president of the country??? Now politicians are jumping on the Trump bandwagon and endorsing this blowhard. Go figure.

9- Watching novels, (and I use the term loosely,) like Fifty Shades of Garbage get published, made into a movie and make the ‘author’ filthy rich burns my biscuits until you can’t tell they were biscuits.

8- Realizing that people no longer use the amazing technological devices they are addicted to for anything intelligent or educational. E-readers, tablets and so-called ‘smartphones’ have become nothing more than gaming, texting and photo devices.

7- Something as stupid as a “selfie stick” can turn you into a millionaire over night.

ethan holmes selfie stick

6- It burns my biscuits to know beyond any uncertainty that the only way to get the notoriety required to become a ‘successful’ author is to get on social networking and do the following; get naked, do something stupid that nearly kills you, post photos of your pet licking the inside of your mouth out.

5- People who absolutely, positively must be ahead of you in traffic, no matter what, are enough to burn anyone’s biscuits.

4- People who won’t put their phones down no matter what. I actually watched a guy go into a public restroom, desperately clutching his phone in one hand. He used the urinal while conversing, went over to the sink and rinsed his free hand, wiped it on his pants and walked out while still talking. I watch them wander into my lane, bash me with their shopping carts and try to converse or text while shoving food in their face. Yikes!

3- You want to burn my biscuits? Change your mind 42 times. I’ve worked retail, run businesses and treated people to ice cream cones. If you can’t make up your mind in two minutes there are too many flavors for you.

ethan holmes ice cream

2- Burn my biscuits and call something anything but what it is. There is no such thing as thick or BBW when describing one’s figure. Thick is for steak or how you want your garlic bologna cut at the deli. The same goes for the phrase, ‘a few extra pounds’ or ‘smokes occasionally’. You either smoke or ya don’t!

1- Manners have disappeared along with the phone booth, the typewriter and the Dodo bird. It burns my biscuits when people can’t even come up with an ‘excuse me’ when they cut right across in front of you while you are looking to pick up something on a store shelf. Or better yet, hold the door open in a public place and watch six women pass through and not one of them can come up with a ‘thank you’.

That’s it, my biscuits are burned. Now I’m gonna make blueberry pancakes.

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books, including his latest novel, Water, available in paperback as well as ebook.


Take a look at Ethan Holmes’ newest work in progress, The Town of Perfect, at

                                                               Amazon’s WriteOn


Disclaimer: All statements in this blog are solely the opinions of the author.



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Thankful on Thanksgiving

I’m thankful on Thanksgiving. Hell, I’m thankful on any day I wake up and see I’m still alive. I don’t really need a particular day to be grateful for some very simple things.

For instance, I’m grateful that I have food to eat every day, food of my own choosing, food that is healthy. Many in this country don’t and not just around this time of the year.

While millions are prepared to go out and spend millions on Christmas, millions of others line up for food. I am so very grateful that I don’t have to do this.

ethan holmes food bank line thanksgiving

The other day I was standing in a line at a grocery store and I watched as multiple patrons of the store became upset that they had to spend more than two minutes in the line to pay for their groceries. It occurred to me that perhaps they should be more grateful, thankful that they did not have to stand in the line above. Perhaps they should be thankful they don’t have to go hungry. They can literally walk into any one of the giant stores and buy anything they choose, eat it before they get out the door or take it home and cook it up in minutes. We go buy a package of tilapia at Costco, people in Bangladesh do this. Say thank you.


Harvesting prawns in the pond of Halim and his wife Aklima Begum in the village of Molmolia, Dumvnia, Khulna, Bangladesh. The boy is Solaiman, the sone of Halim. Halim hires this crew of men to pull the net through their pond next to their house to collect the prawns. The prawns are extremely valuable, so the family never eats them, instead selling them on the market where they probably end up in the European market. On average a family will net something like $1500-2000 a year from prawns.  Contact for Agricultural Information: Timothy Russell Email:  t.russell@irri.org Phone: +880 2 989  8011  Mobile: 01766931971 IRRI Bangladesh House 9, Road 2/2 Banani, Dhaka 1213 Bangladesh Other IRRI: Bushra Rahman Manager, Communications and Documentation IRRI Bangladesh Office House 9, Road 2/2 Banani, Dhaka 1213 Bangladesh Phone: +880 2 989  8011  +88 2 988 6608 Ext. 104 Mobile: +880 1911 746 250 Email:  b.rahman@irri.org Field Locations for IRRI: A.K.M. Ferdous  Email : a.ferdous@irri.org Cell: +8801715026458 General Contact for WorldFish: Afrina Choudhury Portfolio Support Coordinator/ Gender Specialist T: +880-2- 8813250 M: +88 017 154 893 418 House 22B, Rd 7, Block F, Banani F: +880-2-8811151 1213 Dhaka, Bangladesh skype: afrina.choudhury www.worldfishcenter.org Field Locations for WorldFish: Ashoke Kumar Sarker  AK.Sarker@cgiar.org Cell: +8801711375573

It’s not just about the food though. It’s about a lot of things that occur to me. For instance, I was lying in bed one morning briefly pondering getting up and facing a hard work day. (Yes, I work hard when I’m not writing. I do stuff that would make most people crumple into a ball and die.) I looked up at the ceiling and closed one eye. Don’t know why, I just did. Suddenly I am saying ‘thank you’ that I have two eyes. Losing an eye cuts your vision in half. Half your world goes away. Your depth perception is gone. It’s disconcerting to say the least and if something happens you’ve got one eye left and then it’s blindness. There’s no spare. Thank you.

That lead me to think that I should also be grateful no one comes and lifts me out of bed into a wheel chair every day. I just roll and put two good legs on the floor. Thank you.

I found myself watching traffic on the way to work and laughing at the self-entitled, selfish, impatient goofballs who dash past and cut other drivers off in a desperate attempt to get just one more car ahead or run the red lights at intersections. I was thinking it might be nice if all these drivers were a bit more grateful that they have cars and the motorized ability to go wherever they please any time they please. You don’t have to walk, you don’t have to take a urine stained city bus, you don’t have to pay a cab. Say thank you. Better yet, say ‘thank you’ and let someone in front of you, wave them out of a parking lot, slow down and let them in when they are signaling a lane change. You don’t need a day like Thanksgiving to do it.

I am thankful for my health, for the food in my cabinets and refrigerator, the vehicle that starts up on a cold morning and keeps me warm on the way to work and the simple fact that I have a roof over my head and four walls around me. (I’ve had a time or two when that wasn’t so.)

I am grateful on this so-called Thanksgiving Day that I am alive despite the fact that life, at times, can be difficult and lonely. I am thankful on Thanksgiving that I don’t have to buy $800 worth of prescription medication every month to get through the days. I am grateful for all the huge stores nearby where one can get anything they wish as long as they can pay for it. I say thank you that I can go to the gym to work out my frustrations and be a healthier person. Thank you for my readers who take time out of their busy lives to read a thing or two or buy my books. Thank you that there’s even a way to do any of that.

I suppose it would not be such a bad thing to see Thanksgiving banished. What if we were all thankful on Thanksgiving and every other day of the year? What if we stood on a mountain, took a deep breath and said thank you just for being able to do that?

I’m still going to be thankful on Thanksgiving, regardless of the fact that, for me at least, it is no different than any other day of the year. I’m not going anywhere, I am not even going to see another human being today. Such is the nature of my so-called holidays. Nevertheless, I am going to be thankful, tomorrow.

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books including his latest novel, Water.


Water is on sale for the holidays. It’s available for all ereaders/tablets and other devices as well as in paperback. Don’t forget to pick up your free ebook copy of Shorts and Other Laundry too. It’s a collection of short stories from the slightly askew brain of Ethan Holmes.




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Water is on sale! Hurry before it runs out!

water-cover-5AI’m sorry, I just had to write that. Yes, the pun was intended. You see, I don’t usually put my books ‘on sale’. Nevertheless, we may write it off to idea that the Christmas spirit has settled upon me early. Well, I say ‘early’ yet it’s only about seven weeks away. Yikes!

I thought it would be a nice gesture, ‘in keeping with the season’, to borrow a phrase from my favorite holiday movie, A Christmas Carol. Water is on sale from now until December 26th for just $2.99 for the Kindle version, ($2.00 off the regular price), and $12.99 for the paperback.

Most bottles of water, especially the fancy ones, cost that much. I must confess I never thought water could be fancy. At least my novel will last longer than a bottle of Perrier on your nightstand. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy it more too.

Water is my latest novel, based on the fresh water shortages which have struck across the globe and across many communities of all sizes.

It was time, long ago, to quit treating water as an infinite resource and with the impunity that many people exhibit when it comes to many things on this unique jewel of a planet we call home.

Water employs fiction as a tool to depict real life and the consequences and ramifications of turning on a faucet and getting splattered with nothing but globs of mud.

Enjoy your water. Ethan Holmes

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books, all of which are available in any ebook reader form you wish. Three of them, Earth’s Blood, Water and Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone, are available in paperback.

Here is Ethan Holmes’ Amazon author page. Don’t forget to pick up your free ebook copy of Shorts and Other Laundry while you are there. You’re welcome.

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Ethan Holmes Shows His Junk

Ethan Holmes shows his junk, finally.


Yep, I’m putting it out there. Lord have mercy on my soul, hide the women and kids, call the movie censors and tell your grandma to turn her head. No peeking.

If you have read some of my earlier blogs, including the ever popular, Naked For Notoriety, you know that I am on an, as of yet, unending quest for the notoriety required to be a successful author.

Long ago I realized it is not necessary to write a good book. No, what is necessary is to achieve that level of notoriety that causes a million people to buy your books, no matter how good or crappy they may be. (Witness Fifty Shades of Crap.) The motto; A million people cannot buy your book if a million people don’t know you exist. Case in point; Sarah Palin’s daughter, inexplicably, is the author of a best-selling book.

I also realized, long ago, that notoriety is no longer achieved primarily by doing something noteworthy for humanity. Nor does it have to be productive, creative, artful, beneficial in any way or demonstrate any degree of advanced intelligence. In fact, the more stupid it is in today’s so-called digital, data hungry world, the more likely and more rapidly that notoriety may be obtained.


Miley Cyrus won’t keep her clothes on no matter how skanky she looks. Nor will she keep her tongue in her mouth. It seems to inexplicably fall out all the time. Perhaps in another life she was a dog.

Lady Gaga wears clothes. Unfortunately some of them are made of meat. (Does that mean she should be refrigerated?)

Niki Minaj seems to be incapable of wearing clothes without having a ‘wardrobe malfunction’. (I have a whole box of tools and I can fix that.)

Bill Cosby, according to over thirty accusers, can’t seem to keep it in his pants or keep his prescriptions to himself.

Donald Trump runs around shooting his mouth off as though he was attending a Sunday family picnic in the backwoods carrying a black powder musket and some chawin’ terbacky and he leads the polls among Republican candidates. Go figure.

The videos that get the most hits on YouTube and Facebook are the ones with nudity and/or stupid human tricks. (Often a combination of both.)

I digress. I could fill a book with the stupid stuff out there that makes people famous, or should I say infamous. The one thing that seems to make people the most famous is showing their junk. In case you’re one of the sheltered few out there, showing your junk in digital talk means the exposure to the world of things other people probably shouldn’t see. I’m told it happens all the time on so-called dating sites as men get sick of women being on there for nothing other than cyber attention and eye candy. In a desperate attempt to get some response, any response from them, men now habitually send photos of their junk.

This is a hugely popular thing out there in digital zombie land, this showing your junk. If you do it, you will get 300,000 ‘likes’ on Facebook before the day is out. You’ll get a million and a half views on YouTube. And as an added bonus, if you act now, you’ll appear on the evening news and get an invitation to a talk show.

That’s all it takes these days. Just show your junk. The way I figure it, if I show my junk and get a million and a half views, if even half of those people go buy my book I will, at last, be able to quit my day job and write full time. My great temptation is to stand out on the highway, completely naked, holding a sign that says, ‘Will Write For Food”. I guarantee I will have fifty thousand hits on a YouTube video taken by a passing motorist within fifteen minutes. (I’ll also probably have dozens of motorists handing me twenty dollars and begging me to go to Walmart and buy a pair of pants.)

So here it comes. Ethan Holmes shows his junk. I’m putting it out there for the world to see. It’s embarrassing, humiliating and shameful, but I’m doin’ it. I want my fifteen minutes of fame. Wait, no I don’t. I just want the money. So here’s my junk.

ethan holmes junkAllow me to apologize if you are looking at this and you really didn’t want to see it. I realize it could irreparably damage some people’s psyche. Minors should be warned to steer clear of this blog. Nevertheless, there it is, out there for the whole world to see, Ethan Holmes junk.

Hopefully this will go viral. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, will pass this along on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and WhoGivesADamn.

I can see it now, my invitations to The Late Show and The View are on their way. Here comes the royalty checks. Yay me!

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books, including Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, his humorous view of life in general and the choices we make while living it.

Are you the least bit concerned about the water crises affecting not only California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas but the rest of the world? Read Water by Ethan Holmes.


It may be a fictional novel, yet as one reviewer wrote, it may be “eerily prophetic”.

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The Death of Ebooks

You may not know it, yet we are witnessing the death of ebooks. Now, allow me to clarify. I don’t mean you will never see another ebook written, published or sold. I simply see it as a ruined and short-lived concept that is already showing major signs of no longer being a money making industry for the publisher/distributor and the writer.

REASON 1– The changed definition of devices.

ereaders ethan holmes blogDevices like Kindle, Nook, iPad are no longer referred to or used primarily as ereaders. Now they are called tablets and phablets or they are known solely by their brand name. (Example; Kindle is simply called Kindle now, not Kindle ereader.) Smartphones are now used primarily for texting, emailing, instant messaging and other forms of social networking. This explains why cell phone service providers no longer sell packages of talk minutes. Now it’s all about the data.

This has occurred due, in part, to the fact that these devices now perform so many other functions other than being a tool for digital reading. Owning one of these devices means that you are walking around with a relatively small device which is capable of doing anything most bulky, cumbersome laptops could do just two years ago. (Who would have ever thought society would come to think of laptops as bulky and cumbersome?)

These devices enable the owner to share files, listen to music, play games, check the weather, email, text, twitter, take and send photos, take instant videos and upload them to sites like YouTube and a thousand other things I can’t think of at the moment.

REASON 2– Games

games apps ethan holmes blogAs of the date of this blog, in the aptly named Google Play store, which handles and distributes Android applications, 29 of the top 30 apps are games. Among the top 50 free apps there, 24 are games, 22 are apps for listening to music, messaging and social networking of one sort or another and just 4 would be considered utilities.

In iTunes, the Apple version of the Google Play store, 9 of the top 30 apps are games, 2 are utilities and the remaining 19 have something to do with entertainment such as movies and music or some form of social networking, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

People are consumed and yes, even addicted to games like Candy Crush, Clash of Clans, Bingo and online gambling. Every potential spare moment is now used to whip out a smartphone or tablet and start playing, whether waiting for an order at a restaurant, sitting at the DMV or even going on a date where, apparently, the game has more of your interest than your date. This explains why everywhere you look, a smartphone or tablet has become an appendage to the human hand.

Only a year ago, the top apps on smartphones and tablets were things like CNN, The Weather Channel, Kindle Ereader, Google Maps, Google Earth, iBooks and Epicurious. This is, sadly, no longer the case. The vast majority of people no longer use these devices for intelligent pursuits. Today, it’s all about the need for instantaneous accessibility and entertainment.

REASON 3– The proliferation of junk.

Leave it to humans to screw up a good thing. Writing is a lot like American Idol. The vast majority of people who think they sing well enough ‘to be the next American Idol’ couldn’t sing their way out of the shower. The same goes for would-be authors. Everyone thinks they have a story to tell. Two questions; should the story be told as entertainment for the masses? Can you write well enough to tell the story in a manner that appeals to the masses? The answers are usually ‘NO’ and ‘Hell No!’

It didn’t take long for people to figure out how easy it had become, by 2009, to be a ‘published writer’. As the industry grew and the proliferation of ereaders came to market, more and more people climbed on the haywagon. It took a couple of years, yet anyone with a semi-functional brain could see the junk becoming a rapidly growing issue. Anything from horrendous writing and sentence structure to worse than amateurish cover artwork began to infiltrate the industry. (None of the industry publishers/distributors could or would put a “stupid” filter in place for those alleged writers who could not even figure out how to use ‘spell check’ in their document editor.)

The number one complaint of people who continue to buy and read ebooks is the lack of quality out there. The market has become infested with would-be writers who don’t bother to have a qualified editor go through their work. (Personally, I am profoundly grateful for mine.) Many of these so-called writers also don’t bother to either learn how to, or hire someone to do the graphic artistry for their covers. They get a friend of a friend who used to draw stick people or a retired architect to do the work.

The result of all of this today is the slow and painful death of ebooks. Readers, that is, the people who enjoy reading, are still plentiful. I am thankful that there are many people who want to hold a book in their hands or listen to an audio book. I am grateful that not everyone who walks the planet wants to bang into light poles and stumble into fountains while playing Candy Crush.

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books. All are available in ebook format for all ereader/tablet/phablet/smartphones. Three of them, Water, Earth’s Blood and Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone, are available at Amazon in paperback format.

What do you think of the current ebook market?

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Water by Ethan Holmes


This is Water by Ethan Holmes. Well, that’s me of course. I wrote Water last year. I stopped writing two other novels to write this novel. At the time, a rather nagging little voice deep inside my head kept telling me to do this. I learned a long time ago to listen to that little ‘Jiminy Cricket’ for two reasons. First, it has never been wrong. Second, it won’t leave you alone until you make a choice. If you don’t listen, it repeats “See, I told you so!” 287 times.

Water is a major issue. Many don’t realize that it has been a major and profound issue for decades. Worse still, too many people don’t realize just how grave the situation has become. That is why I was quite happy to see Katie Couric make one of the most intelligent and revealing short documentaries about water shortages that I have seen to date. She’s done her homework; that’s obvious. After watching and reading what she wrote, it’s almost as though she read Water too.

You may watch/read it here.

California seems to get all the publicity about current drought conditions, yet there are many other states and countries undergoing a severe lack of readily available potable water. I’ve written other blogs about this subject along with shocking photos from across the planet. The situation is grave and profoundly disturbing. Water will soon replace precious metals, gems and oil as the most valuable substance on the planet.

What I do in my novel, Water, is fictionalize real life and current events, much as I did in Earth’s Blood. I tell the story of what happens to society and entire towns and cities as the lack of potable water drives people toward their most basic instinct, survival.

Water is composed of entertaining and exciting story lines that demonstrate what will most certainly happen in real life once people realize they can’t get water. It also addresses some of the lesser known causes behind this crises such as fracking and the proliferation of dams in this country that have systematically destroyed the ecosystem this planet needs to remain stable.

Water is available in both ebook and paperback format here at Amazon or in ebook form here on iTunes.

What do you think about the water and drought situation?

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