Sneak Peek — ‘Fear Naught’ Cover Art

•March 14, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Partially revealed cover art for "Fear Naught Tales" collection of spooky stories to read and tell!

A sneak peek at the cover art for Fear Naught Tales, launching Friday, April 13!

And a true story:

This cover is designed in the spirit of old pulp horror comics from a long time ago. Most parents wouldn’t buy their kids these comics, but my dad’s parents apparently turned a blind eye. So, Dad would buy a few of the spooky comics to read, then he’d hustle his less-fortunate friends to trade 3-4 of their “Superman” or “Amazing Stories” comics for just one of his “Tales From the Crypt” comics. Dad always did have that entrepreneurial spirit!

“Fear Naught Tales” is safe for middle grade (8-12) readers or older — so no need to hustle to get a copy of your own! Visit, or to stay up-to-date on the release!

‘Fear Naught Tales’ Releases Friday, April 13

•March 3, 2018 • Leave a Comment

Vampire girl
It’s been a while since there’s been any activity here … but like a quiet graveyard, a period of dormancy does not mean that everything is dead! Indeed, on Friday, April 13, 13 stories that you’ve previously known as Scurry Tails come back to life in book form, as Fear Naught Tales!!

This website will remain live through the launch, and into the remainder of this year, so you can check back here for updates as we (death) march to publication … OR, migrate, as I have, to,, or

A Taste For Fear

•August 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Police booking photo of monster as murder suspect

A man is suspected of murder.  The detective finds out what a monster he truly is … too late!

Tell Time: 5 minutes
Scare Rating: 3 of 5 Ghosts

The man on the other side of the two-way glass seemed very out of place.  The crisp designer suit, thick, groomed silvery hair, and clean, ruddy complexion of the gentleman was not the normal type of suspect typically brought into the precinct.

A detective — “Jones,” by the name on his badge — burst into the room and slammed a large book onto the table between them. The man startled at the commotion, then allowed a small smirk to fill the corner of his mustachioed mouth.
“Alright ‘Butler,’ what’s this all about?” The detective didn’t care to know his perps’ real names and wasn’t inclined to make friends with the scumbags of his city, so he skipped the formalities of personal introductions..

“A Taste for Fear: A Seasoning Guide,” the man read aloud, somewhat sarcastically,  as his fingers gently traced over the gold foiled letters. Aside from that untarnished gilt, the book was ancient and stained and reeked of sulfur and rot and mildew.

“We’ve already done basic forensics on it; there are various blood types on it.” Detective Jones pressed  “We’ve also matched your handwriting to most of the thousands of handwritten notes in the margins; notes like” — at this, the detective flipped open the book and started to leaf through it.

“There’s a complete section on “‘Irrational  Fears — and it has dozens of entries on the means of attack of various metaphysical creatures — ghosts and vampires and witches and werewolves and such.  It tells how the haunts of each creature instills a different sort of fear in a person.

“Are these autographs on each page?” the detective asked.  “It looks like you got people who think that they are these creatures to sign your sick little book for you.  Many left notes of their own, I see, describing their … experiences with these …. Recipes?.”

“Oh yes, quite!” the man said, pleasantly nodding. The detective raised an eyebrow at the too-helpful response.

“What’s this all about?” he barked  He’d flipped a few pages to a page titled Demon Haunt.

“The text reads ‘The slow anxiety, fear dread and loss of hope of a long demon haunt tenderizes the human soul, for a rich, succulent meal. With high notes and deep full richness this complex yet pure feast is quite satisfying.’

“Then, in pen and ink in the margin, one of your sick friends wrote, ”’Tis all quite true!  A 47-year possession yielded my best meal ever!  It’s quite impossible to overdo one of them in a slow-roast manner such as this.  If only the hunger pangs hadn’t compelled me, I might have left him going for another decade or longer!'”

“That is some sick stuff, mister!”

The man nodded vigorously in agreement.

“And here’s another one just as disturbing: ‘Yummy!’ says the note. And the date ‘Dec, 14, 1967’ on the page titled Slow Torture. Isn’t that the date of the unsolved mutilation killing on the south side?”

The gentleman continued to cooperate, and nodded slowly as he reflected.

“Why yes, I believe it was ….” He had a faint smile on his mouth and a far-away look in his eyes, as if he was remembering; or more than remembering — almost reliving.

“What’s this Jump Scare section about?” The detective asked, but didn’t wait for an answer.  “‘Reserved for amateur creatures who like a quick kill and don’t have a sophisticated palate. A deep, sweet satisfying taste flooded with adrenals and perfect for a snack or a dessert.'”

“When we found you with this book, you were just a block away from the crime scene of a gory, fresh murder.  The victims’ blood is fresh on the cover of this book.  You gave no resist and almost seem proud of everything that’s twisted and evil that’s found in this book.” The detective was naturally hard boiled, but looking into the relaxed, almost gleeful eyes of his perpetrator creeped him out There was something very wrong about this right-looking person across the table from him.  As he relentlessly grilled his unperturbed suspect he was simultaneously connecting dots about the case.

“You’re in a lot of trouble, mister,” the detective said.  He wanted to sound hard, firm, almost angry.  But what came out was just a low mutter.  His brain was racing, racing against time, but knowing already that the race was finished.  “I hope you have a good lawyer,” he said.

The man smiled again, but all pretense of politeness was gone — this was the smile of a ravenous tiger.  He stood up and stepped around the table toward the detective, who stood in shocked awe as the man’s form changed.

In an instant before him, instead of a man, a large, primordial, creature now stood, all gaping mouth, with catfish-like tendrils on its face that reached out and grabbed the detective.

The cop’s head went into the gaping maw first and fast, muffling any screams for help.  The deed was quick, yet the taste; the taste of fear was intense and palpable and sweet to the gentleman.

“Realization fear,” he absentmindedly remarked as he dabbed at the corners of his mouth with his pocket square.  “Coming to the intellectual conclusion that all of your irrational fears are indeed rational — and present at hand.. That’s quite a new one I hadn’t discovered until now.  I’ll have to add that to the next edition.”

With that, he scooped up his book, strolled out of the room and out the door of the station.

Copyright 2015

12 Weeks of Summer … Merit Badges

•June 2, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Screen shot of part of one of a Personal Fitness log

By Jeffrey Bishop

School’s out for the summer!  Between sleeping in, watching a younger sibling, pool time, mowing lawns and endless hours of video games, there’s still plenty of time to knock out a merit badge or two, as a Scout, a Patrol or a Troop.  Tops for summer start-to-finish are those Eagle-required badges that require 12 weeks of something — tracking money, chores or fitness.

To help, we’ve crafted some tools to help with the onerous recordkeeping tasks associated with two merit badges: Personal Fitness and Personal Management.  The forms are both clean and concise, to help Scouts meet the requirements and to help merit badge counselors give credit where it’s due.

Click the links to download PDFs now!

Personal Fitness 12 Week Plan and Log: Use this form to help you meet requirement 7 and part of requirement 8.

Personal Fitness Individual Assessments Log:  If you’re going it solo, this form will help you track your bi-weekly individual fitness assessment results across the 12-week program for requirement 8.

Personal Fitness Patrol Assessments Log:  Patrols can easily track bi-weekly results of up to 5 Scouts per page on this group version of the 12-week assessment log for requirement 8.

Personal Management Financial Log:  This form can help Scouts track income, spending and saving over the course of the merit badge to meet requirement 2.

Put the forms to good use and let us know how they work for you this summer!


Copyright 2015

The Human Wok

•January 25, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Zombie ready to attack in front of the Hunan Wok -- renamed the Human Wok -- restaurant

When Soylent Green is served from the Human Wok, you’ll be hungry again in a half hour!

Tell Time: 5 minutes
Scare Rating: 3 of 5 Ghosts

“I’m dying for Chinese food!” Hal said.

“Dying?  Really?  Don’t you think that’s a tad hyperbolic?” Rachel replied. She found her boyfriend’s dramatic side to be endearing, and enjoyed teasing him about it.

“Maybe if you said you were ‘literally’ dying for Chinese, I’d be inclined to believe you,” she zinged.

“Whatever,” he replied, not nearly as amused as she.  “Let’s just find me some!”

“Sure;” she replied — she was eager to help him before he turned hangry.  “Let’s try that new place by the mall, the Hunan Wok.”

The place was dark, but kind of cozy. It was late morning, and the couple was ahead of any lunch rush; they had the entire place to themselves.

Their host was also their waiter, and he guided them into a booth with gestures and low grunts — Hal figured he didn’t have a good command of English. The man pulled a pen and pad from his apron and looked down expectantly at the pair with dark, vacant eyes.

“Ok, well I guess we’ll order now,” Rachel said, smiling at her boyfriend and looking up at the waiter.  “I’ll have the lo mein plate and a diet soda.”

“Bring me the cashew chicken and a soda,” Hal ordered.  “And an eggroll appetizer.  I’m half starved!”

The waiter grunted, turned and shuffled away to the kitchen as Hal and Rachel traded looks with each other. Hal was smirking, and Rachel raised her eyebrows high.

“Well that was kinda weird,” Hal said.

“Ya think?” Rachel replied.  “He didn’t say a word to us.  I don’t think he even looked at us; it’s like he was looking through us.”

“And is it me, or did he … smell?” Hal asked.  “He smelled like … like rancid beef.  It wasn’t strong, but it was definitely there.”

“Yeah, I think I got some of that,” Rachel replied.  “I think it’s probably just a sour uniform.  As long as the food is good and comes quickly, I’ll be happy.”

With that, she stood up.

“Gonna try your ‘fast-service’ technique?” Hal asked.

“Of course!” She replied.  The couple had a theory that they liked to test; the theory held that whenever they dined out, their food would come whenever one of them went to use the restroom.  “Don’t sneak a bite off my plate if it comes.  I’m hungry, too!”

“Don’t worry — I ordered plenty for myself,” Hal replied.

Rachel walked away, and Hal occupied himself by looking at his phone.  The first item he saw was a news alert, but it was so bizarre that he thought he’d accidently gone to one of those parody news sites instead of a legitimate news page.

“Zombie Pandemic Rapidly Spreads Across Southeast U.S.” the headline read.  As Hal scanned the article, fear welled up inside him as he realized they were at the epicenter of the outbreak — the government research lab where the experimental virus had escaped was just a half mile away from the restaurant they’d chosen.

According to the article, in less than 24 hours, the bug had virulently spread to three states, and the authorities were only at the moment getting a grasp on the nature and extent of the problem.  Hal didn’t have all the facts, but he did connect the dots to their weird experience with the waiter, and realized they were at risk — and needed to flee.

“Rachel!” he shouted, jumping out of the booth. To his relief, she was coming back to their table.  But that relief turned to terror as he saw their waiter quickly shuffle up beside her, grab her arm and attempt to bite into it.

Rachel screamed and kicked at the zombie-waiter, while Hal ran to her aid.  He grabbed the closest object he could find — a porcelain vase — and slammed it over the zombie’s head.  The waiter fell to the ground like a wet towel dropped on the floor, and Hal grabbed Rachel’s hand and dragged her to the restaurant’s doors.

“What just …?” Rachel asked, stunned form what was happening.

“Zombies!” was all Hal said. He fumbled for his keys while still pulling Rachel to his car.  “Get in and buckle up!” he barked.  He ran around the back of the car and jumped in.  He was glad to have sprung for the turbo model, though he didn’t at the time think that he’d ever need it.

Hal shoved the gear into reverse and slammed on the gas; he was determined to get them out of there safely.  A glance in the rear view mirror showed a throng of zombies — the entire restaurant staff, it seemed — pouring out the back door of the restaurant toward them.  He slapped the gear shifter into first and sped forward, spraying the small mob with gravel.

“Watch out!” Rachel shrieked.  In front of them, a man — no, it was another zombie — was on a ladder at the restaurant sign.   Hal tried to dodge the obstruction, but as he sized up the scene, he noticed that the zombie was painting over the sign with a sticky red paint — was it sweet and sour sauce, or? — to re-name the restaurant into “The Human Wok.” Instead of veering around the obstacle, Hal instead clipped the ladder with his front fender, spinning the creature around in a precarious pirouette before sending it crashing onto the pavement below.

As they sped down the road, Hal let out a small laugh, showing his relief at their narrow escape.

“I didn’t get my Chinese, but somehow I’m no longer in the mood,” he said.  “Doesn’t matter I suppose — it never really stays with you anyway.”

“Not like brains do,” said Rachel, in a deep, throaty voice.

Nervously, Hal looked over to his girl, hoping to see her cute smile.  Praying that this was another of her cheesy jokes.  His eyes met hers, and he found them suddenly dark — and vacant — just like the eyes of their waiter.  She must have been bitten in their narrow escape; already she was changing.

Hal screamed in terror as Rachel slid across the seat toward him and took her first big bite of take-out food … from the Human Wok.

Copyright 2015

Whelpless No More

•January 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Whelpless No More Final

True-to-life coulda-been-but-wasn’t inspiration for this story here.

Tell Time: 6 minutes 30 seconds
Scare Rating: 2 of 5 Ghosts

Silence filled the car.

Though right beside him, Lizzy was far, far away. She gazed out the window, her thoughts were neither on the bright full moon above nor on the dark forests running alongside the road beneath, Rather, they were nowhere in particular. In the place of conscious thoughts instead were emotions, plenty of emotions. Anger, remorse, disappointment, shame, and yet, even a lingering hope.

Randy focused all of his energies on safely steering home, through deep woods that surrounded the city.  Though somewhat new to marriage, he knew well enough to not interrupt his wife’s thoughts.  But he also was consumed with thoughts of his own — thoughts betrayed by his unyielding grip on the wheel.

The couple had just learned from their doctor that they would not be able to become parents. Like the silence in the car, the void of a child in their family would likely not ever be filled.

“Stop the car!” Lizzy shouted suddenly. “Pull off! I saw something!”

Randy overreacted to his wife’s plea and nearly careened into the ditch. He managed to keep control, and with her added guidance, pulled on to the gravel shoulder, then backed slowly toward what appeared to be a cardboard box at the side of the road. He followed his wife as she sprang from the car toward the item.

In the thick light of a yellow-orange moon that had just topped the treeline of the surrounding forest, Randy got a glimpse of the contents of the box: a small puppy clawed and scratched at the tall, stiff sides of the box. In some spots, wet with slobber and gnawed through, he’d made quite a dent. A few more minutes at the task and he likely would have made his escape.

The dog was rough looking; its fur was matted and uneven; in some places it was bare to pink skin. It — he — seemed feral, and alternated between growls and whimpers as it considered the couple looking down on him in the red glow of the car’s tail lights.

“He’s helpless, darling! We have to take him with us!” Lizzy exclaimed. She cautiously approached the whelp.  The man sighed and arched his back in a long stretch, buying time to think. He knew the dog — the idea — was a substitute for the hole his wife felt in her heart; a way for her to assuage her maternal longings. He knew this instantly, and he didn’t like it — he didn’t like dogs and he already didn’t like this mangy mutt. But he knew, even as his wife tried to befriend the troubled pup, that he’d say yes. And no matter how much trouble it might give them, he knew she’d love just like it was a child.

She looked up at her husband, and a broad smile flooded her face as he nodded his reluctant assent.

“We’re going to adopt him! We’re gonna call him Wolfgang!” she exclaimed excitedly, before shouting “Ouch!” as the precious thing clamped hard onto her outstretched fingers with its already-long baby canines.

“Of course we are,” Randy said, with good-hearted derision. He scooped the pup up into a blanket from the trunk and loaded it on to the seat between them.

Though now filled with excitement and noise instead of pain and silence, the rest of the car ride home was really no better than the beginning. At least, according to Randy. Wide awake and ready to play — or fight or kill; it all seemed the same — Wolfgang incessantly gnawed and chewed on the man’s arms and even his legs, which almost sent the car into oncoming traffic as Randy panicked in response.

Fed up, he placed the pup in the back seat, where it howled, whined and growled to be just 18 inches farther up — on the same row with the rest of his new family. For safety’s sake, Lizzy complied with Randy’s insistence that the whelp stay in the back seat, and consoled herself — and tried to console the pup — by longingly, lovingly admiring him over the seat back.

Once home, the man tried to find something for little Wolfie to eat. Milk didn’t work — neither cold nor warm — nor did peanut butter, although the tyrant did manage to get it all over itself and roll around on the tile floor before Randy could stop it. As he cleaned up the mess, the growling beast tore into Randy’s ankles and shins, which gave the man an idea. He went to the refrigerator and pulled out a butcher’s wrap containing two-minute steaks. He tore open the paper envelope and pulled off a corner of the raw meat. Wolfgang pulled up short and whined and howled as his red eyes pointed like lasers on the meat. Randy dropped the morsel, which Wolfie easily caught and swallowed before returning to his begging and whining position, all in a single, smooth motion.

“No wonder someone ditched this thing,” Randy thought to himself. “Who could afford to keep it around?”

Soon, the dog’s hunger was satiated, but despite the late hour, he remained energetic — and troublesome. The couple went to bed, but Wolfgang wouldn’t sleep; he clammered and clawed at his cardboard prison in the corner of their bedroom, and whimpered between long, earthy, somber howls into the air. It seemed as though he was trying to get to the full moon shining through the sheer curtains and on to the carpeted floor around him. Even Lizzy, who adored everything the pup did, was soon tired of the display, and, well, just tired. She implored her husband to solve the problem, adding “nicely!” to the request. She knew that without such a warning, there was a chance his solution might involve a return trip to the side of the road.

Wolfie didn’t travel that far; instead, he and his box moved to the confines of the garage, where he could try his darnedest to annoy and keep awake the tandem bicycle or the electric lawnmower. Although Lizzy and Randy could still hear the whelp’s wails through the walls, it was much muffled, and soon enough, both were deep asleep, in recovery from their big day.


“Randy, what is that?” Lizzy gripped her husband’s arm — hard — and shook it violently. “Someone’s crying!” She was wide awake and sitting up where seconds ago she’d been soundly resting. “That’s a baby crying!. It sounds hurt and helpless. Go check!” she barked.

“There’s no baby crying,” Randy murmured, still asleep — and trying hard to stay that way. “It’s that little pup you picked up last night.” He tried to roll over to continue his sleep, but his wife’s foot in his back and the subsequent hard plop as his stiff body hit the cold floor caused him to fully wake up.

Randy shuffled out of the room, with Lizzy following closely behind. As they approached the garage, the sounds got louder. He opened the door slowly, and as the sounds of — yes indeed baby cries! — built to a crescendo, he looked back at his wife. Together, they peered in.

Little Wolfgang was still in the box where they’d left the pup. But  instead of a canine sitting there, they discovered a pudgy, pink baby boy. The red-eyed child lay nestled in a box now lined in thick, glossy black fur from an overnight molt. His wails stopped as he saw the couple, and he gave a coo and a giggle in response to the stunned looks on their faces.

“We adopted …” Lizzy started to say.

“A baby … werewolf …” Randy finished.

Copyright 2015

2014 in review

•January 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

WordPress pops this bad boy out every year … always kinda interesting to reflect.  Just 9 posts in 2014 and NO new short stories since November 2013?  Way to set the bar low for 2015!  With one out there and another to immediately follow the sharing of this report, I’m already way ahead of last year!  Nothing but upside from here — cheers!

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,000 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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