Ethan Holmes Reads A Short Story

Ethan Holmes reads a short story. This is an audio version of  ‘Have Some Milk and Cookies’, a short story about three young middle school boys and how they go about dealing with an older bully.

Billy, Frankie and Dennis are the best of boyhood buddies. Jake likes to prey on the trio, taking their money and bashing them around. One day Billy devises a plan to stop Jake once and for all.

Tap on the player at the bottom of this blog and hear the author, Ethan Holmes read his own story.

This short story is from a ‘best of’ collection of short stories titled Shorts and Other Laundry.

shorts amazon

You may download the entire collection of eight stories for FREE in ebook form via the following links.




SMASHWORDS (for most other reading formats)

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books including his latest novel, Water. It’s available in both ebook and paperback on Amazon and in ebook on all available tablets and reading devices. Tap the book cover to go to Amazon. Click here to see Water in iTunes.

If you wonder what will happen to modern society without the ready availability of potable water, read Ethan Holmes’ latest novel, Water. From fracking, to drought, to watching large communities, cities and towns waste large amounts of water, many of the current issues of the day are addressed in fictional novel format in the exciting new release, Water.


The author is currently working on converting Water and Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone into audio books.

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Thank you for visiting and enjoy yourself.

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It’s Spring and I’m Molting

It’s spring and I’m molting…I think. At least that’s what I’m attributing all the itching to unless it’s the simple fact that I finally get to molt my sweat suit off.

I feel like this reindeer looks.

molting reindeer vgPhoto by Valerie Garner

I’ve been walking around in a sweat suit since December. It’s necessary if I don’t want a $300 power bill and a $150 gas bill. Let’s see, $450 in utilities versus a couple of sweat suits at $20 a piece. It’s all about the math.

The trouble with that is, I just spent the last four months freezing my hair follicles anyway. Does anyone besides me wonder why you pay $100 dollar power bill and an $80 gas bill while wearing a sweat suit 24/7 and you’re still cold?

I’m here to testify that setting the thermostat at 65 degrees when it’s 16 degrees outside does not seem to make the heater run less. In fact, it seems to run more. I am continually fascinated by the fact that it will run for half an hour, turn off, and then come right back on two minutes later.

Wait a minute! Did the temperature just drop five degrees in less than a hundred and twenty seconds? The thermostat says it’s 65 degrees, so why is the heat back on? Maybe because the thermostat is lying. It’s not really 65. I can tell because my fingers feel just like the carrots I pulled from the refrigerator and my hair won’t stop standing up.

I wish, in the last four months, I could have figured out how to take a shower in my sweat suit. I could have saved some money all winter and while not having to get naked in a frozen house where the heater was still running my money right out of my bank account. I could have done laundry and showered at the same time.

It was really interesting at meal time too. There’s nothing quite like the sight of icicles hanging off the edge of your coffee cup or watching the steam from it turn to snow. How can you pull a dinner out of a 350 degree oven, put it on a plate, walk away to get some bread and come back to find your meal looking like a frozen TV dinner? Why do my mash potatoes taste like ice cream?

It’s a good thing spring rolls around when it does. I get really tired of being cold all the time! It’s one thing when you work outdoors and you have to be cold, but quite another when you get to go home and be cold too. I suppose it’s a good thing I don’t have a wife or girlfriend. I think she would get tired of me looking like I’m set to go on the Iditarod dog race every day.

This looks hot.                                                                                         This does not.

sweatsuit 1 sweatsuit 2

Spring is for molting and not just for animals. It’s a time to take off those sweaters, flannel shirts, sweat suits, hoodies and over-sized pajamas with the bunny feet. It’s a time to shed, to molt and expose the lilly-white skin to the warming rays of sunlight. That is, unless you’re paranoid and listen to the idiot medical industry. They want you to believe the sun, the second reason behind water why life exists on this planet, is bad for you and will immediately cause you to burst out in clusters of melanoma.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go buy bulk bags of moth balls and begin packing up all my winter clothes. They ought to smell really yummy by December.

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books including his latest release, Water. His latest novel is based on the current vital issue of readily available, potable water and what happens in the face of widespread shortage. Tap on the book to see all Ethan Holmes’ books on Amazon.


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I’m going to go naked for notoriety! I finally figured out what to do. It was an epiphany immediately after being duct-taped to a sagging lawn chair and forced to watch a ten hour slide show of a multitude of so-called celebrities in various states of undress, including the ever popular ‘PLUNGING NECKLINE‘! Like this:

plunging necklines 1I should have warned you to put your highly impressionable kids, pets and parents in a closet first. Mea culpa.

You see, I have a dilemma. I’m a writer, an author of six books. I was hoping that eventually I would be able to put away my tools, implements and machinery of daily life someday soon and replace it with an abundant source of residual income. (In case you didn’t catch that, it basically means I don’t want to shovel seventy two tons of gravel for a living anymore.)

I think I have two choices before me. I don’t see any others but I’m open to suggestions.

The first choice is to hit Powerball after only 6,387,452 attempts.

powerball 1For those who are weak at math or can’t get past the text window on their phone to reach the calculator that means I have to spend nearly THIRTEEN MILLION DOLLARS first! Yup, good luck with that.

My second choice is much more realistic, however, at times the odds seem just as poor. Three million people can’t buy my books if only three of them know I exist. It’s that simple. It’s all about notoriety. If no one knows you’re there, no one knows what you got. That’s why celebrities do things like this. (I’m still not sure what she’s got other than a tongue that could lick the paint off a bridge.)

mm 1 So, that said, here’s what I’m going to do after I’ve had six gin and tonics, four Percocet and a box of wine. I’m going to remove an article of clothing for every book I sell in the next 90 days.

This is what I look like with clothes on. Pay no attention to tall, dark, well-armed fellow. I’m behind the cactus.

gunfighter5AI should qualify this by saying that since it’s the middle of winter here and the nighttime temperature is known to frequently known to drop into the twenties, I will start out wearing thirty seven layers of clothing, most of them sweats. That should just about empty out the bedroom as well as add forty eight pounds to my athletic frame. I’m going to wear everything from a thong to a winter coat. Oh, wait, I don’t own a thong. Thank the thong gods!

I figure if enough people buy my books, by the end of March I will be naked just in time to work on my tan. Of course, that’s assuming the local cops don’t arrest me. Yes sir, I think this will work out just fine, Naked for Notoriety. (Kinda sounds like a charity drive, don’t it?)

Now of course, this could all turn around on me and bite me in my naked butt. What if people don’t want to see me naked? They could boycott buying my books and then what? I could sweat to death. We can’t have that. So please, join the ‘Naked for Notoriety’ movement. You can even join up with me if you want, although, truth be told, most of us shouldn’t take our clothes off, regardless of what celebrities do.

I’ve come to realize it’s all about “Look at me! I want your attention otherwise I’m nobody just like you.” That’s why so-called celebrities do things like go out of the house with less clothes on than they were sleeping in. They realized, long before I did, that the most productive way to get your attention was to have things like ‘wardrobe malfunctions’, forget to wear pants or underwear and ‘accidentally’ tweet photos of themselves in the shower. Naked for notoriety works every time. Let’s see if it works for me. If not, this is going to be embarrassing.

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books; Earth’s Blood, Water, The Keystone, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone, Shorts and Other Laundry and A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes, available in all ebook/ereader formats on Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Sony and Smashwords.

Earth’s Blood, Water and Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone are also available in paperback.

water-cover-5ABecome one of Ethan Holmes’ zombies and follow me everywhere.

goodreads_icon_100x100-2e6356f09ddee43faa7c1e5f88598a97Ethan Holmes on Goodreads

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Fast Food Drive Thru Dating

Fast food drive thru dating; it’s an epiphany I had recently after an experience at a local burger joint.

I realized the comparisons between going through a fast food drive thru and so-called Internet dating sites are eerily similar. Both usually leave me feeling frustrated, unsatisfied, disillusioned and certainly disappointed.

Like Internet dating, I don’t use fast food joints on a regular basis. In fact, like the dating sites, I rarely use them and, like the dating sites, for some particularly  unknown reason, each time I do use them, I expect better results than the last time. To say I’m rarely correct in that assumption would be an understatement. (Remember the old joke, “Hey doc, it’s hurt when I do this.” The doc replies, “Well, quit doing that.”? Maybe I should listen.)

I was in a hurry to get to an appointment I was due at in less than an hour. The very last stop out on the edge of town was a well-known, national chain fast food joint. There would be no other opportunity to grab something to eat until I got to the general area of my appointment fifty miles away.

I ordered a sandwich, nothing else. I had water and snacks in the cooler in the back seat as always. It was a simple order and a simple sandwich, a double cheeseburger. Perhaps I made a huge error in judgement when I asked them to add extra onion. On the visually enticing menu board it sort of looked like this.

double cheeseburger1

Looks pretty good, especially if you’re hungry, yes?

Sadly, the sandwich I got in the bag was not what I ordered. It wasn’t even the correct sandwich. As I pulled it out of the bag while hurtling down the road at 60 mph, I realized this was not going to be a good experience. Unwrapping the burger revealed a hard, crusty sandwich that looked like it had been sitting in the bin for at least four hours. It also appeared as though someone had repeatedly rolled over it in the drive thru. (Does that help to freshen things up?)

It occurred to me, a few days later, that participating in Internet dating sites was eerily similar to my experience with the fast food drive thru.

You pull up and most of the photos look pretty, just like on the menu board. After all, who is going to post photos of themselves at their worst? Wait, what am I saying? People do that all the time on Facebook. Like the fast food joints that post vivid, colorful, vibrant photos of the sandwiches, fries, meals and drinks freshly made, people post photos of themselves from years ago when they were much younger and thinner, freshly made, if you will. They don’t want you to see what they look like now just as the burger joint won’t tell you you’re getting an old sandwich.

Usually, if you go through a fast food drive thru, you’re in a hurry to get somewhere else. I realize now that women on the Internet dating sites are in a hurry too. Many of them treat the dating sites as an afterthought, much like the need for a quick meal on the way to somewhere else. I don’t know where or when it became a matter of convenience to find a quality relationship, but it is today in a society of ‘I want it now’. This goes a long way toward explaining why the new number one complaint of men on dating sites is that women won’t respond to messages. It’s true. Research reveals what the dating sites don’t want you to know. Better than ninety percent of the women on dating sites do not respond to messages received from men. (Ever pull up to a drive thru and no one is there?)

Like the fast food drive thru, it is not uncommon to get something much different on the dating sites than what you wanted when pulled up. Maybe you are looking for someone who considers activity as something more profound than walking through Costco. So why do you only get messages from people who are eighty pounds overweight? Perhaps you want someone with whom you can have stimulating, intelligent conversations and instead you get messages like, “wassup??? LOL!!!” or “UR so Phunny, LMAO!!!”.

Trying to find someone to actually date from a dating site is a lot like eating food from the fast food drive thru. You don’t know if what you chose is going to give you a stomach ache in a little while, taste old and stale, rarely what you’d call delicious. Sometimes you want to go back and get a refund or choose another sandwich in the hopes this time it will be better. Good luck.

Sometimes you get something resembling what you ordered but most times you get something that was pulled from the bin after sitting there for a long time. It’s hard and cold and not very satisfying. It doesn’t even look like what you ordered. What’s up with all the pretty photos? My sandwich didn’t look like that. And what happened to the cheese and extra onion I ordered? Instead, someone put too much mustard and a pile of horseradish on it. It’s not at all like they described it. Sound familiar?

On top of that, I’m holding a coupon that said the sandwich comes with fries and a Coke. Instead, someone slipped in a side of old, greasy onion rings and a diet Pepsi. This is not at all what I ordered. How can they post photos and descriptions of such attractive looking product and then I get this? Where’s the truth in advertising? Again, sound familiar? The same people who use the Internet dating sites in the hopes of actually finding someone, in other words, with actual intent, are asking the same questions they ask about the fast food drive thru. They often end up with a ‘bad sandwich’ like this.

big mac 1I was hungry when I went through the drive thru the other day. I was lonely when I went through the Internet dating site drive thru. Yet again, despite hope, I got the same results when I went to both of them.

I don’t like eating unhealthy, non-organic, genetically modified things like pink slime, cow tissue from unknown sources and milk shakes made from some sort of white liquid vinyl.

I don’t like the idea of dating women who are already lying before I so much as meet them. I don’t like the idea that many of them, through their outright rudeness, are already demonstrating the true nature of their character. You can spend twenty minutes spewing about what a great person you are, however, if you are rude already, then everything you just said is inaccurate.

It all appears to be about the advertising. You are highly unlikely to get a meal accurately resembling the photos on the menu board and you are just as unlikely to get what you’re looking at on a fast food drive thru dating site.

It’s all come to this, my well-founded theory about Internet dating sites. On all of these sites, much like the mouth-watering, Photo-shopped pictures on the drive thru board, it’s all about the eye candy. You’re either the candy or the wrapper and we all know where those end up.

And like fast food drive thru, dating sites are not much different from each other. Sure, some cost more than others, some offer coupons and specials, some will give away free stuff. In the end you still don’t know what you’re driving away with and you don’t know what you’re going to pull out of the bag. And yet you hope.

Ethan Holmes is the author of six books.

Get your free copy of Shorts and Other Laundry by Ethan Holmes, a collection of short stories from his slightly askew head. It’s also available in various formats at Smashwords.

Ethan Holmes’ newest novel, Water is available in both ebook and paperback.

Check out Water by Ethan Holmes on Goodreads. goodreads_icon_100x100-2e6356f09ddee43faa7c1e5f88598a97

What would you do if you went to the faucet and nothing came out but mud and air? What would you do if there was no water available anywhere?

water-cover-5APlease become one of Ethan Holmes’ Zombies and follow him here and on Facebook and Twitter.

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Smartphones Stupid Zombies

smart phones stupid zombies 1Smartphones, Stupid Zombies

I have a theory about so-called ‘smartphones’. I think they have to be smart since the people using them appear to be getting more stupid. In fact, in a recent interview with a group of old generation zombies, I was told that they were no longer after the brains of ‘regular’ people because they are now completely lacking nutritional value.

The masses have become so dependent on their smartphones that their brains rapidly deteriorate from lack of use. This leads to them becoming zombies themselves but they are of little use to anyone else, including for brain-eating nutrition.

It’s estimated that over 2 billion people on the planet now have cell phones. Most of them are smartphones since the ordinary flip, basic function cell phone is rapidly becoming obsolete.

old flip phone1Remember these?

If it doesn’t check the weather at your mother’s house, scan products at the store, fetch you on-line coupons, bring you mind-numbing and depressing news headlines instantly, 24 hours a day, tweet, instant message and take ‘selfies’ it’s just not worth having. Smartphones are even more alluring now because they can alert you every 3.8 seconds that you, self-important as you are, have 34 new emails awaiting your immediate attention right after you’re through with those 28 instant messages, 56 tweets, 127 friend requests and a partridge in a pear tree.

Smartphone zombies go into immediate, full-blown panic when they reach for their phone in their pocket, purse or car and it’s not there. They have a look on their faces like someone told them their mother just died in a horrible plane crash.

I watched a documentary recently in which an independent film maker conducted an informal study. He timed how long it took a person to reach for, look for and answer their phone when it notified them of a text message. To a person, (or should I say, zombie?), it took less than 5.4 seconds average. The zombies would drop everything, including their children if that phone went off.

Just to help self-diagnose whether you might be a smartphone zombie, here are ten warning signs/symptoms.

10- You answer or look at your phone while you are physically talking to someone else.

9- You won’t put the phone down while you’re dealing with a cashier in any commercial venue.

8- You cannot leave the house unless you use the phone to check the weather for the next ten days.

7- You cannot call a single member of your family or any of your friends without hitting Contacts in your phone.

6- You don’t know what you would do if you couldn’t take at least four ‘selfies’ a day and send them to people who don’t care.

5- You can’t go six minutes without ‘twittering’ or posting something innocuous on Facebook.

4- Your heart actually stops when you reach into your pocket or purse and you feel nothing there.

3- You spend more time each week searching for your phone than you do with your kids.

2- You think about where your phone is at least six times a day and make every effort to make sure it’s never more than five feet away.

And the number one warning sign that you are a smartphone zombie?


cell phone toiletHow would you like to do a swab on those phones?

I don’t go on too many dates, mainly because there isn’t much of a market where I live. However, my new rule is this; if you can’t leave your cell phone alone for three minutes while we’re on a date, I’m gone. Maybe that’s why I’m still single. Who knew that cell phones could actually become a form of birth control? Well, it’s okay. I was never very attracted to zombies anyway. They act like they’re dead.

There is no doubt that smartphones are making people stupid. Did you know that over a third of smartphone users lose or damage their phones? That’s why the cell companies love to sell device insurance. Did you know that over half the zombies out there don’t think they are addicted to their devices and that a quarter of them don’t care if they are addicted?

Society is becoming disconnected while thinking they are more connected than ever before. Families of zombies go out to dinner and everyone at the table is busy pecking away on their phones. Zombies go to the movies and the theater looks like a firefly convention. Zombies are walking off cliffs, into water fountains, street poles and each other because they won’t put their phones down and look around at life.

Worst of all, they won’t leave the phone alone while driving. They are crashing into each other and killing pedestrians, bicyclists, fellow drivers and other zombies. Apparently that’s the new method of killing zombies…with your car.

I’m certain that evolution will soon play a roll in all of this. Babies will be born with smartphone components embedded in their heads. Eventually, humans will be born with full cell phone capability. All you’ll need to do as parents is take them to Verizon and get them activated. Just make sure you get a warranty.

I wrote a short story about that subject years ago titled Make & Model. It’s part of a collection of my best short stories and you can read it and the rest of them for free. Go get your free copy of Shorts and Other Laundry here at Amazon or here at Smashwords. It’s also available on just about any other ebook reader including Apple.

See what Ethan Holmes thinks about the vital issue of potable water in his latest novel available in both ebook and paperback:



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The Falling Down House

the falling down house ethan holmes 4The Falling Down House
Ethan Holmes

The old man sat in his worn out lawn chair puffing on an equally worn pipe full of cheap but sweet-smelling tobacco. The kids sat around on the creaky, dry-rotted wooden porch. Some of them were trying to brush the peeling paint chips off their shorts.

We loved that smell, the smell of the old man’s pipe. We also loved the popcorn he made. He passed it around in a big wooden bowl as we sat there on the crusty porch listening to his stories on long summer evenings. It had enough butter on it to choke a cow and our shirts were covered in grease by the time the story was over. We didn’t care.

The old man could tell a story that made you think he was narrating it as it was happening. He was better than a movie and back then kids knew how to use their imaginations. It was like a muscle; the more you exercised it, the bigger it got. Ours were plenty big.

We were fascinated by his age. How could anything that old still be moving and breathing? But he was a spry, wiry type of man, the kind you wouldn’t want to get in a fight with because he would be too quick and hard to keep a hold of if you did catch him. We marveled at his grizzled face, deep craggy lines sparsely dotted with snow-white whiskers.

Even his hands looked like they had worked three jobs a day for a hundred years. And he always wore the same ragged, faded blue overalls. We were sure they would someday hang in a museum.

It was his eyes that captivated us the most though. They were gray, the kind of gray that marks an overcast sky just before a storm hits. They lit and flashed as he told his stories, burning holes right through us with the drama, fear and excitement. They made you actually lean into him as he spoke, wondering, with bated breath, what was coming next.

“Tell us about ‘the falling down house’.”

One of the kids spoke up and the chatter and popcorn munching stopped instantly, some of the kids poised with kernels in their fingers, halfway to their mouths.

No one ever spoke of the ‘falling down house’. It just wasn’t brought up except in quiet whispers among ourselves when we would deliberately cross the street to avoid walking in front of the ramshackle, deteriorating three story structure. It was directly across from the old man’s house. That’s how most of us came to know the old man. We were intent on avoiding ‘the falling down house’.

Maybe it was because it was October with Halloween just around the corner. Maybe it was the slight bite in the air and the fact that we occasionally had to remove a leaf or two from the wooden bowl of popcorn if it sat on the floor of the porch for more than a few minutes. Something made that boy bring up ‘the falling down house’.

All eyes were on the old man.

He nodded, puffing on his pipe. A stiff breeze blew his pipe smoke away along with the sweet and salty odor of the popcorn. For a moment, none of us could smell, hear or taste anything as we waited.

“I don’t know that I ought to be tellin’ you kids about that there house. It ain’t never been quite figgered out to this day.”

A neighbor girl who lived down the alley from me spoke up quietly, as though afraid to say anything.

“My Mom and Dad told me it’s called ‘the falling down house’ because it’s a wreck.”

“That ain’t rightly so.” The old man pursed his lips and forced blue smoke out from between them.

“My parents said the same thing.” Another boy spoke up as he shoved popcorn in his mouth. Spitting kernels and half smiling, he continued. “They said to stay out of there or it would fall down on us.”

“I go by there on my paper route and I hear weird noises.” Another boy raised his hand as he spoke as if he were in class. “I thought I heard someone saying ‘help me’. I pedaled so hard to get out of there I thought my wheels were going to come off.”

The other kids laughed nervously.

“You might well have heard exactly that.” The old man’s raspy voice cut through the air and recaptured our attention.

“It’s called what it’s called because of the Robeson’s, mister and missus to be precise.”
Every eye and ear on the porch was sharply tuned to the old man. All of us, at once it seemed, tried to shake off a sudden chill in the air.

“It’s rumored that Mr. Robeson…” The old man paused and tapped his pipe stem on his yellow teeth, “How shall I put this? They say he sort of pushed Mrs. Robeson down the stairs one night after a particularly gruesome fight. Mind you, never proved it. Some nights you can hear Mrs. Robeson at the bottom of the stairs softly calling for help.”

“I knew it!” The boy with the paper route jumped up and turned toward ‘the falling down house’. “I knew I heard someone!”

“Sit down, you didn’t hear anything.” An older boy grabbed his arm and tugged him back to the floor.

We all turned to look at the empty, crumbling house, its broken second-floor windows looking back like hollow black eyes. Early evening was setting in and the shadows of dancing branches bared of their leaves flittered across the front of the house. The tattered front screen door flapped in the breeze, sometimes slamming shut, only to be blown open again. A half-crumbling brick chimney struggled to remain upright on the roof and all the kids on the porch jumped as a single brick broke loose and tumbled down the shingles, clattering to the cracked sidewalk below.

“See,” the girl spoke again in a whisper, “it’s falling down.”

“Ever notice how sad a house looks when nobody lives in it anymore? Anyway, they used to fight all the time.” The old man took a long drag from his pipe and all our noses perked up trying to suck in the sweet smell. “You could hear ‘em clear down the street. Sometimes they’d get to throwin’ things at each other. Mrs. Robeson seemed to favor pots and pans while Mr. Robeson liked furniture.”

He shook his head as he thought about it.

“Them two could go at it for hours and I think they only quit ‘cause they got plumb tuckered out.”

“My parents fight but they don’t throw things at each other. My Dad just gets in the car and don’t come back for two days.” The smallest boy on the porch spoke while others silently nodded in agreement.

“One night it got particularly bad, so bad that the ambulance came and took Mr. Robeson to the hospital. He had a gash on his head that bled so bad it left a trail out the front door. Mrs. Robeson was out there the next day hosin’ off the sidewalk and whistling a happy tune.”

The old man tapped his teeth again. “Come to think of it, I never seen that woman so happy as she was that day.”

The small boy smiled. “My mom is real happy when Dad goes away for two days.”

Some of the kids on the porch laughed.

“Well, she wasn’t happy for too much longer.” The old man leaned forward and the tone of his voice made us all hold our breath.

“When Mr. Robeson came back from the hospital, they was right back at it again. You could hear him screaming at her. ’I’m gonna git you for what you did to me, woman!’ They went back and forth for a couple more hours and then it all got quiet like. I thought they went to bed and finally gave up the fightin’ for the night. But no.”

The old man paused for dramatic effect and it worked like a charm. Several of the kids leaned forward and asked simultaneously, “What happened?”

“Well, round about eleven or so, I seen a light come on at one of the second floor windows. Then I heard some screamin’. Sure seemed like it was Mrs. Robeson. Leastwise that’s what I told the sheriff.”

All the kids on the porch were leaning toward the old man. One of the girls was clutching her friend’s arm and digging her fingernails into the other girl’s skin. A boy was chewing his fingernail in anticipation. Most of us had our mouths hanging open.

“I heard some scuffling and some more yellin’ from Mrs. Robeson and then I heard a couple of loud thumps. Sounded like someone threw a sack of bricks down the stairs. Couldn’t tell for sure though. Next day, the sheriff comes rollin’ up. Me and him go on inside and there she is, poor Mrs. Robeson, layin’ at the bottom of the stairs with a broken back.”

Several of the kids gasped and tossed backward glances at ‘the falling down house’.

“Was she dead?” One of them asked.

“Not right off, near as we could tell. She had tried to crawl toward the front door but she didn’t get very far.”

“Where was Mr. Robeson?” The boy chewing his fingernail inquired anxiously while looking back at ‘the falling down house’.

“What’s the matter, boy? You expectin’ Mr. Robeson to come out on the lawn to answer your question? Truth is, no one knows. He just sort of disappeared. Never been seen since that night. Come to think of it, I may be the last person to have seen him.”

All the kids on the porch looked at the old man in awe, though we didn’t know why.

“So…so they call it ‘the falling down house’ because Mr. Robeson pushed his wife down the stairs and killed her?” One of the girls stuttered and bit her lip, not really wanting an answer.

“Well, can’t say for sure. After all, isn’t right accusin’ a man who ain’t here to defend himself. I have to admit, though, sure is weird, him disappearin’ like that all of a sudden. Never did find a trace of him.”

We all sat there as the darkness of the evening gathered around us. We were becoming shadows ourselves as we looked at each other, enthralled in the mystery of it all.

A gust of sharp autumn wind blew. The empty popcorn bowl skittered across the floor past our feet and a loud crack resounded across and down the street. We all jumped to our feet. Even the old man stood up. Glass shattered somewhere in the darkness and a bunch of bricks broke away from the chimney and rattled down the roof, landing in the yard with dull thunks. We all watched, mouths agape, as the front corner of ‘the falling down house’ crumbled in on itself.

“Well, what do you think about that?” The old man re-lit his pipe, blown out by the wind.

“Guess we ain’t gonna find out much more about it, now are we?”


Ethan Holmes is the author of Water and five other books.

water-cover-5APlease feel free to tell us what you think of The Falling Down House.

"I enjoyed the story very much. It remindered me a little of Truman Capote's. Work. Crisp, clear, descriptive writing. Very nice." J.S.

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This Blog is Free of Side Effects

This blog is absolutely free of side effects! Please consult your doctor, psychiatrist and therapist before reading this blog as it may or may not alter your thinking. Do not read this blog if you had french toast this morning, left your coffee at home or are too busy playing Candy Crush on your cell phone. You may experience side effects.

ethan holmes blog FDAOnly the federal government would deem it right and proper to bundle the oversight and regulation, (for the alleged public safety), of food and drugs under the same agency. My theory is that FDA is not doing a very good job with either one, so bust ’em up or get rid of them. It’s just more tax money going to waste.

The public food supply is tainted, genetically modified, full of processed sugars and salts, riddled with Red Dye #2 and Blue Dye #4 to make it look pretty anyway and sold with shelf life that can last for months. This diet, generally, is making people sick with all kinds of ailments.

Whoa! Wait a second here! I just realized why the same agency handles food and drugs at the same time. You get sick, you need drugs. Never mind that the drugs don’t do anything except hide the symptoms. Never mind that the drugs often have side effects far worse than what you were trying to treat. At last, it’s all perfectly clear as mud.

Unfortunately, the FDA is as bad at governing the ‘safe’ creation, testing, manufacturing and distribution of drugs to the public as it is overseeing food.

ethan holmes blog FDA warningIf you want a good laugh while you’re watching TV, you don’t have to search for a comedy show. Just go hunting for a prescription drug commercial. I promise, it won’t take long. You’ll find one in less than four clicks.

If you pay attention, most of the content of the commercial is consumed with carefully worded WARNINGS emanating, in machine gun-like fashion, from the mouth of a voice-over artist who apparently took lessons in speed talking.

The scene opens with a couple, both looking to be just hitting their ‘senior years’. They are cavorting on a beach, twirling and dancing about as they gaze lovingly into each others’ eyes. The sun is setting in the background and mysteriously, they are alone. (Where is that beach???) They come together and kiss as the announcer tells you how ready the man is to make love to his beautiful but aging partner. The only problem is, while you were watching the couple swirl about on the beach laughing and smiling, the announcer was busy reeling off a long string of dangerous side effects of the drug the aging man was about to take so he could do that.

“Taking ___________ drug may lead to sudden loss of blood pressure, heart attack or stroke. Do not take __________ if you eat broccoli, exercise regularly, brushed your teeth within the last 24 hours or fell down for no apparent reason.”

But wait, there’s more!

“Do not take _________ if you are Italian, cannot do three cartwheels in row, had your wisdom teeth removed or if you are dating your doctor’s receptionist. Please consult your physician immediately if you find out he is also dating his receptionist.”

Of course, I’m being somewhat facetious here, but you get the point. If you think about it for a moment, all the prescription drug commercials we are bombarded with are similar. Eight seconds of the commercial tells you what the drug is intended for and the other fifty two seconds is spent telling you how many ways it can kill you, destroy your vital organs, make you brain-dead or wipe out your memory of anything including your own name.

Am I the only one who thinks the long list of side effects in these TV spots is downright scary? Am I the only one who thinks that, perhaps, if the number of things that can go wrong with taking this so-called medicine far outweigh the original intended benefits, it might be a good idea to NOT TAKE IT?

Therapists like to tell you to make lists when you are trying to make a decision. You know the routine. Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and put all pros on one side and the cons on the other. Can you imagine doing that with a prescription drug commercial? I suggest you record it though, as you will have a hard time keeping up with the announcers rapid-fire spiel as they try to hurry through the bad stuff to get back to the eight seconds of good stuff.

It has to be downright daunting and extremely frightening to be doing that with a list of pros and cons for psoriasis medication only to find out that you may end up with a brain infection or meningitis. (See Raptiva.)

Many of the drugs approved by the FDA often carry side-effects that are just as deadly as the disease they are supposedly treating. Cancer drugs are often carcinogenic themselves. (You just get a different flavor of cancer.) Drugs intended to treat Alzheimer’s often give the patient a stroke. (I guess that makes the Alzheimer’s unimportant after that.) One very popular drug intended to treat diabetes was, in itself, so carcinogenic it was known to be behind an 80% increase in bladder cancer.

I have a question I already know the answer to; How do all these bad drugs get on the market in spite of themselves? The same way genetically altered and mutated food dyed with artificial pretty colors gets on the market. MONEY!

Isn’t it nice to know that the same governmental agency willing to put dangerous drugs in your hands with side-effects that far outnumber the benefits is the same agency that tells you that mutated GMO corn syrup is good for you and it’s okay that it is in just about everything you eat?  Yummy, more processed sugar please.

If you use more than ten percent of your brain, it’s not difficult to see the chain here. The FDA approves food that is not good for you. You eat the food. What you eat is what you are. Eat bad food, get bad results. You get sick from the bad diet. You need medicine. The medicine you consume is not intended to fix you, just make you feel better about being sick. The medicine, it turns out, is worse than the food. Now you’re even sicker. You need more medicine. Yikes!

Okay, I’m not feeling too well at this point. I’m going to go have three shots of dark rum followed by a chaser six pack of La Rossa. It has only one known side effect; it will make me forget everything I just wrote.

Ethan Holmes is the author of the newly released novel, Water, available in ebook and paperback.

water cover 5AWhat would you do if you went to faucet and nothing was there?

Read Ethan Holmes Gluten Free Blog.

Other books by author Ethan Holmes

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Water Doesn’t Always Come From A Faucet

Water is not readily available to many people in the world. It’s not always right there at their fingertips. Millions of people have to trek miles on foot and haul water over great distances on a daily basis. Water shortages, drought and careless misuse across the planet have only made things worse.

The simple act of turning a faucet handle is taken for granted here in the US. Across the country on a daily basis, countless examples may be cited of the human habit of treating precious resources with impunity.

water waste 1As many times as I have seen this around the country, I have never seen a sidewalk grow from watering.

My question is; how would you react if you went to the faucets in your home and nothing came out? What if nothing was going to come out for the foreseeable future? Without water, food production goes away, transportation of goods and products are hindered, power disappears and people will react.

Please take a moment to view this slideshow. (Run your cursor over the bottom of the slides to see the captions.) If you are a sensible person, (and I think you are,) you will quickly realize why I wrote my latest book, Water.

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Ethan Holmes is the author of Water, a fictional novel based on current facts about drought, water shortages, fracking and the pervasive lack of comprehensive conservation and recycling programs in many areas.

Water is available for free previewing and purchasing in multiple formats at Smashwords

In the Apple IBook store

Barnes & Noble Nook

and at Amazon

Coming soon! Water in paperback.

Your comments and feedback are welcome.

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Water. It’s the single most important resource necessary to life on this planet. It ranks right there with sunlight as the two things that would mark the planet Earth as a lifeless, barren rock if we didn’t have both.

Water is at once, the softest thing on Earth and yet the same thing that is capable of wearing away the hardest rock. It molds and conforms one day and carves its own course tomorrow. It can soothe the overheated brow or kill.

We use water to subsist, to play, to transport things and people, to grow things and to clean. As a whole, we, as a species, use it with impunity and often with no thought whether it will still be there tomorrow, or next week, or next year. Such is human nature.

This is my new novel, Water. Tap on the book, (pun intended,) and you can visit the Amazon Store and preview Water.

water cover 5A

Much like Earth’s Blood, I find myself writing a novel that is becoming news and history at the same time. Many parts of the modern world are rapidly running out of potable water, that is, water of a quality needed for safe human consumption and use.

Here are some jarring examples.

This is a shot of Lake Meade, the reservoir behind Hoover Dam, 15 years ago.

water lever hoover2Note the level of the water at the intake towers.

This is a shot of what the same area looks like today. Again, note the water level at the intake towers.

water level hoover3The water is so low now that the city and state authorities in Nevada are quietly and desperately building intakes far below the existing ones to accommodate the drastically lower levels.

Here is an astounding dual satellite shot of Elephant Butte Reservoir in New Mexico, a major source of water in the state, spanning the last 19 years.

water elephant butte

Finally, a shot of the disappearing, once mighty Rio Grande.

Photo by Eric Schlegel of the Texas Tribune

water rio grandeColin McDonald and Eric Schlegel are doing a series on the disappearing Rio Grande River. Tap on the photo to follow their journey.

Great rivers meander when they lose two things, flow and volume. As you can see, the Rio Grande is now a meandering string which no longer reaches the Gulf where it once flowed to its journey’s end.

These are just three examples among countless others I have researched while writing Water, my latest work in progress. It occurred to me to ask what would happen if entire communities and cities would one day turn on their faucets to find nothing there. How would the modern human race survive without readily available potable water? Would they survive or would they risk extinction? How would people react to no water?

I guess you’ll have to read Water to find out what my take is on a world without it. You can preview Water here. It’s available for pre-order through Amazon in anticipation of release within the next thirty days.

Pick up your absolutely free copy of Shorts and Other Laundry. It’s a ‘best of’ collection of short stories from the somewhat twisted mind of author Ethan Holmes. It’s available on all ereader devices including Amazon and Smashwords.

Ethan Holmes is also the author of Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Live Your Life in a Crap Free Zone and a Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes.

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Dodge Ram 2500 HD 2013 Review

Dodge Ram 2500 HD, 2013 model year, Ethan Holmes’ review.

2013 Dodge Ram 2500HDNo, this is not my truck. Photo courtesy of

First, as an introduction of sorts, allow me to say that I am not a SAE certified mechanic, I just play one on TV. Second, I am not a car salesman. I tried it for six weeks right smack in the middle of a recession and got myself fired after climbing over the desk after the sales manager. You see, I don’t like being called an a*hole for not chaining four guys to the lamp post on the lot until they agree to buy a truck. I’m weird like that.

As I write my reviews, I am not going to spout all kinds of technical information on the product or service I review. You can get all that information directly from the manufacturer, provider and other reviews. So why repeat all that? I am of the distinct opinion when people, intelligent people that is, want reviews, they want the layman’s/user’s take on the experience, not information they can already get from other sites.

As you read my reviews you will get truthful and, hopefully, useful information about my own personal experiences with the products and services. These reviews will be based on facts and yet must be noted as, overall, my opinions and only my opinions based on those facts. The rest will be up to you.

Back to the Dodge Ram 2500 HD, 2013 model year.

The truck I purchased approximately seven months ago was a difficult monster to find. The four door, quad cab, long bed model is not real popular among the general population because of it’s size. I am not sure what profound difference there is in adding a few feet to the bed but apparently it scares the general public into backing into things and scraping the side mirrors completely off the truck. I suppose small is good if you can’t drive.

This was my first foray into the world of diesel. I have been driving mostly trucks for the last twenty five years. They were all gas and got horrendous mileage. My last 2006 Ford F250 could never get better than 12.5 to 13 miles per gallon with a 5.7 liter engine. The Dodge Ram 2500 HD with a 6.7 Cummins Diesel in it gets me an average 18 mpg driving local and between 21 and 23 plus on the highway. Yay me! Any time I can almost double out the gas mileage in exchange for a ten to fifteen percent increase in the cost per gallon is okay with me.

Let’s talk about the motor for a moment, the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good- Buying a Dodge Ram 2500 HD with a Cummins motor in it ensures that wherever you go, on whatever terrain you drive, you will always have immediate power on demand. I’m talking about the kind of power that most people will never need or use. Anything you pile in the truck, it doesn’t know it’s there.  Anything you attach to the back end of this monster, it doesn’t know it’s there. The first time I hooked my single axle 1800 pound trailer to it I kept having to look in the rear view mirror to make sure it hadn’t fallen off and careened off into the desert.

If I put that same empty trailer on my old F250, the mileage would immediately drop to 9 per gallon and the truck would piss and moan up every grade of every sort. The Cummins Diesel provides more than sufficient power whether the truck is full of heavy stuff or if you have a trailer on the back, even heading up the steep mountain ranges around here.

Stepping on the gas peddle of the Dodge Ram 2500 HD is akin to stepping on the gas peddle of a giant sports car. This thing takes off no matter where you’re sitting. Several dealership mechanics have advised me to ‘drive it like you stole it’ to prevent soot build-up at low rpm’s but none of them are offering to pay the speeding tickets. This truck will easily do 60 mph down a city street if you’re not careful. Getting on the interstate, even an on-ramp heading up a mountain is zero problemo. I could easily be up to 80 mph without trying. Of course, the harder you drive this truck, the worse your gas mileage will be. It can and does suck fuel when you stomp on the pedal. I’ve watched the computer drop a full mile per gallon off the average just taking a four mile sojourn up a mountain side on the interstate.

As a final aside, it is widely said that the Cummins is a monster engine that you can easily expect to get 4-500k out of and you could throw a grenade at it and it will still run. I will simply say that it remains to be seen on this end. We all know, from experience, that you can rarely buy things today that don’t have to be returned, replaced, serviced or thrown away within a few months of taking it home.

The Bad- If you’re not into selling fracking leases at a premium for drilling into your front lawn and don’t happen to have a dead grandma who left you six million to take care of her ancient ankle biting poodle, don’t buy the Cummins diesel. Dodge adds an $8000 premium to the price of the truck just for that privilege. The Cummins is also much more expensive to maintain than a gas engine.

The oil capacity is 12 quarts compared to less than half that for most gas motors. You will replace two batteries instead of one. Fuel filters, air filters and other maintenance items are substantially more expensive than gas. Then there’s the newly required by law, DEF additive, an eight gallon tank sitting on top of the gas tank complete with it’s own in-dash gauge. DEF is a uric acid based fluid sprayed on the exhaust as it is exiting to meet stringent EPA Clean Air Act standards. You must use it and keep it replenished in this truck or the Supreme Overlord Computer will actually shut your truck off and not let you drive it.

(These are issues for a ‘working man’ who still lives on a budget, not the retired, financially secure people who go out and buy the Dodge Ram 2500 HD to haul their fifth wheel around in an effort to see all fifty states and Canada before they die and leave the whole mess to the kids.)

The Ugly- The nice thing about owning a new vehicle is Dodge’s three year, 36K miles full warranty and the five year, 100K miles power-train warranty. Theoretically that means you don’t have a thing to worry about for a while as long as you take care of the vehicle the way Dodge tells you to. (Why do I sometimes feel as though this is not really my truck with the computers and Dodge all telling me what I can and can’t do with the vehicle?)

The scariest thing for me was doing the research on repairs for this vehicle. It’s not uncommon for repairs on a Cummins to average in the thousands of dollars. I better warm up the printer.

Dodge Ram 2500 HD Cosmetics-

This is what I call the cosmetics; the interior/exterior style, comfort and looks of the vehicle. Dodge has always made ‘pretty’ trucks since at least the late ’90’s. I had a ’97 Burgundy and Grey 1500 that was gorgeous to look at but was a piece of junk mechanically speaking.

The interior is well appointed on my Big Horn model. The seats are very comfortable and my first thought upon driving it was how nice it would be to take a trip in it. Everything is in easy reach and their Uconnect media center can handle just about anything you want to do but probably shouldn’t in a truck, at least not while driving. The cab is quiet and well insulated from outside noise. Close the door and you can barely hear the engine running unless that’s just me going deaf with age. (Now I know why I climb back into the truck after a while and the volume on the radio is mysteriously cranked to 25.)

I sat in a similar model Ford F250 just before going to see this truck and it felt like I was sitting in a plastic Tonka Toy compared to the Dodge. Dodge gets it about creature comforts and trip taking in a pickup truck. There were even nice little surprises like a built-in power converter plug so I can brew my espresso while I am rolling over people on the highway. Another nice feature was in the in-console air brake option. I did not like the fact that none of the cigarette lighter plugs work once the truck is off since I like to leave my phone in the truck to charge while I am out doing other things like, say, working.

I don’t have to say anything about the exterior. I get it. It’s pretty, even when it’s full of trash bags full of yard debris and a wheel barrow with two broken shovels sticking out the top. Quit pulling up to me at red lights and telling me how pretty my truck is as though it’s some sort of trophy wife. (Come to think of it, they’re both expensive.) I get enough of that on my vintage motorcycle.


Now we’ll talk about the things that have gone wrong with the Dodge Ram I drive or that make me flat out nuts unless I stay on my medication.

The transmission, especially in local driving is somewhat clunky. Perhaps it’s too much power to be kept under reign trying to hold varying speeds between 20 and 35 while the pinhead in front of me plays with their phone and tries, simultaneously, to figure out which fast food joint to stop at and text their way through the drive-through window. In addition, the electronic shift control, which is located on the gear shift handle is a thoroughly annoying rocker switch which has exhibited the vexing habit of not responding to my efforts at switching gears, especially in local driving while I am trying to at least pretend I don’t want to kill all the texters. I was told to ‘keep the rpm’s up’ but that’s kind of difficult when the truck won’t do what you wish.

One day I made the terrible mistake of trying to change the tire pressure on my truck because, God forbid, I was actually going to use it for the purpose for which it was built. I was going to haul something heavy in the bed. One of the computers that runs this truck went absolutely nuts on me as in, “Danger! Danger Will Robinson! The truck is no longer in ‘light truck mode’. You must correct the tire pressure immediately or the truck will self-destruct!”

Well, something like that. Perhaps I have my tongue firmly inserted in cheek as I don’t wish to say what’s really on my mind when a vehicle tells me what to do instead of the other way around. I don’t like people ordering me around. I surely like it even less when an unseen mechanical entity does the same. Especially when the ‘UME’ doesn’t know what I am about to do. I should be able to set my damn tires at whatever pressure I think is applicable to the situation at the moment. Yeah, good luck with that.

I don’t like the fact that the doors on this beast have taken to beating me to death. All four doors seem to be set at a tension that only requires you blowing on them to shut them. You people need to work out more.

When I open a door, it’s usually because I am loading stuff in there. (Example; I rarely go anywhere without a large cooler in the back seat to keep groceries from becoming a fresh cooked dinner in the truck courtesy of high desert summer heat.) It is for such reasons that I don’t appreciate the door in question slamming back on me every time there is a breeze or if I am on the slightest grade. We’re not all skinny, 127 pound old guys with wives twice as big as we are. I can handle a big door no problem. When it’s open, I want it to stay open until I stuff the cooler, not try to take my legs off at the knees.

The most vexing issue with this model Dodge Ram 2500 HD is the truck’s habit of not really being in Park and refusing to release the fob that serves as the ignition key. I pull into a parking lot and shift the truck to Park. (That’s what you’re supposed to in a parking lot, right?) The indicator shows up as a big green P for PARK! Except, like most of my ex-girlfriends, the truck is lying to me. It’s not really in Park. I know this because the fob will not go all the way to the Off position and the fob will not release. I have to turn the fob to the run position and shift the truck back to D for Drive and then back into Park. Then it will allow me to turn the fob to the Off position and give me the damn fob. Approaching no less than two dealerships about this problem leaves everyone scratching their asses and walking off muttering things like, “Never heard o’ that before.” Well, ya can’t say that anymore, can ya?

To this day, I continue to be amused and frustrated by how little the personnel at various Dodge dealerships know about this truck. Often, I know more about it than they do and I find myself giving them more information than they had when I walked in. What’s up with that?

Lastly, I don’t do ratings. I’m not going to give this truck three and a half tires or any number of stupid gold stars. We’re not six years old any more and I am not certain you should base a purchase decision, (especially a major purchase), on the opinion or number of stars from another person. What I will say is this. If you’re a working man like me and not an independently wealthy author like I’m trying to be, then the purchase of a truck in this class is going to be like getting married. (Well, at least, that’s what I hear.) It’s going to cost you.

That said, the Dodge Ram 2500 HD will do anything you ask it to do unless it’s ‘change the tire pressure’ or ‘park it and give me the damn fob’. You will also have to put up with strange people pulling up to you at lights or standing in the parking lot gazing longingly at the ‘pretty truck’ and asking you stupid questions like “How much that thing cost ya, buddy?”. Maybe I should see if they can get the damn fob out.


Stay tuned, sign on, climb on board, become a follower! There will be more reviews coming from author Ethan Holmes sprinkled generously with a somewhat acerbic wit and a more than slightly twisted sense of humor!

Check out author Ethan Holmes website and don’t forget to pick up your free copy of Shorts and Other Laundry from Amazon or Smashwords.

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