The OPPS Factor

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A very short story about a traveling salesman entering a ghost-like town.

Submitted: April 07, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: April 07, 2016



The salesman pulled his mini-van off the two lane county highway and onto the dirt and gravel road that lead into a tiny desert town.

The salesman noticed that the sometimes gusty breeze kicked up dust-devils out in the fields.

The dust-devils danced along between rand-shackled houses and 1950's trailers. And the ones that didn't die out, or fade from view, ran across scrub brush laden desert flat-lands, disappearing into water mirages.


Not a soul could be seen in this dirty little wisp of a town. But the temperature was touching 120 degrees, so the salesman figured everyone was inside and staying out of the hot sun.

The salesman, Steven Rutherford, Steve for short, sold a wide array of hand held electric goods, small kitchen tools, and some cosmetics; mostly to non-connected towns across the USA.

A few of the towns were like this one, where the roads were so bad that UPS didn't find the trips profitable.


As Steve pulled his van alongside a wooden walkway that lead to the entrance of a row of ragged wooden stores, he saw a boy, about twelve years old, standing next to the building.

The boy was wearing gray coveralls, a red Tee-Shirt, Nike Sneakers and baseball cap.


Steve shut off the engine of the van and got out. And as he walked around the van and opened the sliding door, he said to the boy, "Howdy! What's your name?

"Jeremiah," replied the boy.

"This town's kind of quiet isn’t it," Steve said with a smile.

The boy didn't smile back, he just stood there staring at Steve and chewing something.

Steve figured that it was Double-Bubble chewing gum, there were a couple of empty wrappers on the ground.

"You don't talk much. Has a cat got your tongue or something?" Steve said while taking his product show-case out of the van.

"No sir," replied the boy, in-between chews.

About that time Steve notice a young girl, about sixteen, and what looked like some other kids standing just inside the doorway of the general store.

"Steve thought to himself, "Kids, hanging out as usual."


Steve picked up his show-case and said to the boy, "Well, I got stuff to sell. Where are all the grown-ups?"

The boy replied, "We Ate-um."

Then he smiled revealing a mouth full of Blood coated teeth.



D. Thurmond / JEF


Minor Rewrite: 12-2019

© Copyright 2020 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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