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Charmed, I’m Sure

by Elliott James

Publication Date—Aug 15, 2013

This is the first in a series of short stories by debut author Elliott James. The first of his novels, Charming, will be out in September 2013. When Tom Morris encounters a naked man walking along the interstate with no memory of how he got there, the smart thing to do is drive away. The only problem is, Tom Morris has secrets of his own. Like the fact that he comes from a long line of witch finders, monster slayers, and enchantment breakers, or that his real name is Charming. John Charming.


Once Upon a Time, a man wasn’t wearing any clothes. It was one A.M., which is generally a pretty good time to be naked, but not if you’re walking on the side of Route 44 outside Suckhole, Tennessee, or whatever the hell the name of the next town was. The man was middle-aged and white, the demographic most likely to be crazy or doing drugs, and he was moving in a halting way that suggested exhaustion and disorientation. I thought about just driving on, but not too seriously. I did mutter a few things that definitely weren’t prayers under my breath while I turned around though.

When I pulled up on the wrong side of the road and stopped fifteen feet in front of him, the man raised his right hand to his eyes and stumbled to an uncertain halt. He looked filthy and emaciated in the glare of my headlights. His scraggly hair was the color of iron and hadn’t been washed or brushed in days. His beard looked like it had never been groomed, period, though it wasn’t up for a lifetime achievement award or anything, maybe a year in the growing. He didn’t make a pretty picture. Robinson Crusoe’s picture maybe, if Robinson Crusoe had had a Facebook profile. Still, it could have been worse. The only parts of him that were obviously bleeding were his feet.

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