Stories by Harry Buschman

StoryRhyme After Dark: Real Estate Agent


"I was blind sided I guess. I never thought to ask her what happened to the living room ceiling or why the tiles were loose in the bathroom. It never occurred to me to question the “CONDEMNED” tag hanging on the boiler in the basement. No! She stopped my mouth with kisses whenever I sought to question her about the boarded up window in the living room wall..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: Lily's Last Hurrah


"Sam sighed and put his half-finished cigar in the ash tray and leaned back. "Where'd ja dig that up, Lily..? In wardrobe? Ain't that the dress Hedy wore back in '33?" He looked at Lily critically... For a forty four year old broad she hadn't gone to pot yet. But he knew what the press would do to her…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Briarcliff Boys School


"I can still hear the bored voices of the teachers and students filtering through the heavy classroom doors that lined the corridor wall. There were things to do and games to play after school on this early spring afternoon and both the faculty and the student body were impatient for the four o’clock bell. When it finally rang, all the doors burst open at once and there was a babble of young voices and the corridor floor trembled with the impact of running feet. The Dean opened his office door briefly to see what on earth had happened…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: The First Violin


"The hummed an old song to himself, one he remembered from his boyhood days in Calabria. It was on a farm near the toe of the Italian boot. Life was easier there. The days were longer. The girls were prettier, and there was music in the air everywhere from morning 'til night. It was the music he seemed to miss most…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: Rosemary's Baby


"Everybody in town was anxious to see Rosemary's baby and by the time they did they were well aware of what to expect so they practiced their gushing responses before they stopped her in the street. Even the menfolk that hung around Westlake Auto Repair passed around a few observant remarks…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: Follow Me, Kemosabe


"That particular mounted figure must have been the trusted Indian scout who rode with the Lone Ranger, whom he called “Kemosabe,” which means “trusty scout” in Apache, although why he didn’t call him “Lone Ranger” is beyond me. “Scout,” if you recall, was the name of Tonto’s horse. I always suspected Tonto did not have both oars in the water..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: Around the Fire


"When December comes it brings with it the long cold shadows of winter. The main street of Old Town is deserted and Louise Lassiter’s General Store is about the only place you’ll find a live person to talk to.  You can be pretty sure that person will be sitting around the fire in the wood stove that sits in the middle of her cluttered store…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: Don’t Call Tonight


"The lanterns along the driveway lit up the snow and the little bubble lights strung around the maple tree sparkled in the cold wind. The lights meant so much in war time. What would Christmas be like without the lights... Gloomy. Oh, so gloomy..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Inheritance


"She’d be lucky if she made it through the winter they said. She knew that. Long before they ever told her... She knew that. She had very little breath left and pushing the cart uphill or down was getting too much for her…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: Metric Justice


"The jury groaned and began fanning themselves with their notebooks. The judge then turned to Attorney Shapiro. “Mr. Shapiro, I see you standing. Do you have something you want to say..?”


StoryRhyme After Dark: Wherever I Go There Will Be A Piano


“Artists were appreciated in those days! I had an apartment with a doorman. Now I live in my uncle’s basement!” He walked to the edge of the river. “I should throw my flute in the river and get a job as a taxi driver. You will see, Alexis – at the concert tonight the audience will sit with their coats on. They will not even take off their gloves to applaud. Furthermore, all the women will wear house dresses. We are playing for peasants...”


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Purple Isles of Shoals


"The sunglasses soften her normal, everyday bleak outlook of life on the islands, so does the whiskey sour. In fact Angela plans to have another as soon as she is finished with this one. It is a poor substitute for what’s really bothering her of course, but it’s better than no substitute at all..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: Westward Ho!


"Well, we counted out all our money and it came to about fourteen dollars between us and we began to wonder if that was enough to get us out of Brooklyn, let alone out to the purple sage country in Montana. Even Bunco, the brains of the group, began to wonder if we had given enough thought to the financial side of our plan.
"We stood on the corner of Ryerson Street and McKibben watching the vegetable trucks from New Jersey roll by. "There's our ace in the hole," Bunco said. "There's the answer! We hitch a ride with them going back to Jersey. They go back empty, see... They'll be glad to give us a lift."
"It sounded like a good plan to us. All we had to do was wait for them to dump their load at the vegetable market in Brooklyn and we could be in New Jersey by early afternoon... Half way to Montana..!"


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Picture Book


"Mae Davenport sat at the curb in a folding chair with a camera in her lap every sunny afternoon watching life go by on Maple Street. This was her home town and, if she ever had to leave it, she wanted to remember it – forever…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: In Eulalia


"There was the well by the intersection of the only two streets in town. The streets had no names, but one led off to de Santos and the other to Mallorca where they made terrible wine for the tourists. At the well the women gathered in the lazy afternoons and gossiped about this and that…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: Goodbye Charlie Sparkler Commercial

“Oh, I can’t tell how much I love my Goodbye Charlie Sparkler. My George had no life in him at all. He’d come home from his job at the bottling plant all tuckered out. Couldn’t hardly finish his supper, he’d plunk himself down on the sofa and be out like a light before Hollywood Squares came on...”


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Eyes of Bette Davis


"There’s always the possibility, right? Miracles do occur now and then and I must confess I have walked those back lots at Warner Brothers at night with a fair degree of trepidation. You see, I was a rabid Bette Davis fan too, and it doesn’t take much to set me off…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: A Winter’s Tale


"Caldwell figured he wasn’t due to poke his nose out of his cave for another two months by his own bear’s winter schedule. It wasn’t a very accurate schedule. A week or so one way or the other was about the best he could do. With a contented smile he remembered finishing up the last of Mr. and Mrs. Wiggins' turkey the week after Thanksgiving. There were creamed turnips too – and some sweet potato pie left over from dinner. He ate all that and just about everything else they left in the garbage can on their back porch…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: Which Hand?


"I'd drop the quarter in the hand he didn't pick and show him my empty hand… He had trusting eyes—blue they were, soft blue, like faded blue jeans. His mouth made a little "o" whenever he saw something he marveled at…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: Timber!


"It was planted there by a gray squirrel one sharp November day about seventy five years ago. I saw him do it. He ran past my back door with an acorn in his mouth and dug a hole with his front feet, dropped the acorn in, covered it up and, as most squirrels do, forgot all about it…"


Wishing Our Friend Harry Well

In his Radio City office. 1952.

"My stories are anecdotes of my past, the people I’ve known, the places I’ve been and the ups and downs of a lifetime…" -- Harry Buschman


StoryRhyme After Dark: Getting Together


The record was 12 kids until Charlie Blocker and the graduating class of 1990 came along. Charlie talked the school into allowing girls in the contest and even though they weren’t any smaller than the boys, you can imagine there was a real incentive to squeezing as many of teenagers in that telephone booth as possible. We could have squeezed in more if the girls had been a little more cooperative…


StoryRhyme After Dark: Perillo Tours


As everyone knows Rome is built on seven hills... Some of them quite steep. The tops of each of them are prime tourist attractions and climbing them on a three speed Schwinn can be an invitation to a coronary either going up or coming down.


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Why of It


"IThe heaviest thin book I ever read was Stephen Hawking's, "A Brief History of Time." Professor Hawking taught me a few things: A black hole is really brilliantly white. Just before matter is sucked into it, it reaches the speed of light and converts itself into energy. What we see is matter waving goodbye to us as it disappears into a great cesspool in the sky…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: Paradise Lost


"I had a box of hymnals in the trunk of my car to deliver to Pastor Gregory James Coots of the Full Gospel Tabernacle, a church in Paradise. Paradise New York, that is. Paradise is a small town just north of Schenectady. I always disliked Schenectady... Mainly because it's hard to spell and it's off in a place you don't want to be in winter. Not that you'd enjoy being there in the summer either, but you do have to go there if you're on your way to Paradise. I sell bibles and hymnals to churches, and while I admit it's not much of a job, it's the only thing like a job I could find with the economy in the shape it is…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: A Second Life


"The dolls lay in a disorganized heap in the dirty window of the thrift shop. They stared out at the pushcarts lining the snowy street outside. They didn’t know what to make of it.

"They had never been in a place like this before…"


StoryRhyme After Dark: Night of the Monster


The Professor picked up the small bottle at the end of the bench and looked at the brain inside. “It’s a very small brain, Igor...”


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Gargoyle and the Scullery Maid


“Why, what’s so special about the Schatsky’s?”

“Sheila Schatsky is President of the Ladies-in-waiting Society that’s all. You want to get ahead, don’t you––you have to play nice with the Schatsky’s... What are you doing with that telephone book?”

“I have to call a plumber. Half the gargoyles on this side of the cathedral belfry are plugged up... Why do we have to go to the Schatsky’s anyway? Why can’t we stay home once in a while?”

“We have to keep up, Boris. I don’t want to have to polish candlesticks all my life...”


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Portrait of John Blank


"Marcel Comeau is a superb portrait painter. He has the rare ability to capture the most fleeting of expressions, the subtlest of smiles and the evanescent qualities that reveal a man’s personality.

"He is painting a portrait of Mr. John Blank. Mr. Blank is president of a company that manufactures kitchen appliances that no one thinks of buying..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Vacation

"George is hard to convince, especially with the relentless reasoning of his wife Mildred. From a lifetime of looking in one direction he is very reluctant to change his point of view. Mildred, on the other hand, looks at all sides of every situation -- so many sides in fact, that she rarely reaches a conclusion. The most minor and basic decisions are delicately viewed from all angles.

"Their daughter, Angela, (and what an inappropriate name for the black-hearted wench she has turned out to be) is of marriageable age and is searching for the path of least resistance -- particularly where men are concerned..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: House of Cards


"A little revolutionary?" -- Harry

"In many ways it was idyllic. There were no good times and no bad times; except for the weather, everything was the same, from one day to the next...

"Pickpockets and Poets slipped through the net just as effortlessly as they have in every civilization -- the two P’s, like mumps and measles were ever present visitors at the back door..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Wedding Cake Couple


"Before it falls, they will be removed and put on a shelf in the kitchen of Paradise Caterers until the next wedding reception. That may be tomorrow or the day after... Or who knows? There may not be another one for a very, very long time..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: Occam's Razor

"Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate" -- Friar William of Ockham

“Times were tough. Shorty's father wasn't working and mine was on half time. We knew we'd never get the money from home, and even if we raised prices on the work we did in the neighborhood we'd never get near $149.50. I carried old one legged lady Schroeder's bundles from the grocer for her once a week. She'd give me a quarter, and I didn't see how I could tell her the price was now fifty cents. Deposit bottles were a nickel and newspapers were ten cents for a hundred pounds; those were the facts of life; we couldn't change them...”


StoryRhyme After Dark: Eve's Unequal Children

“This is a little known work in German by the Grimm brothers. A Bible tale rather than a fairy tale. I've done my own translation into contemporary English. It makes a beautiful philosophical point and a nice piece for the Christmas season.” -- Harry

“When Adam and Eve were driven from paradise, they were forced to build a house for themselves on barren ground somewhere east of Eden. Life was hard and they earned their bread by the sweat of their brow. Adam hoed the field, and Eve spun the wool, and every year Eve brought a child into the world. Some were beautiful – some were ugly...


StoryRhyme After Dark: From Princess to Queen

“A ‘Thanksgiving’ tale...” -- Harry

“She sat around watching television and writing in her blog and all the time she prayed some dark handsome stranger, (preferably one of royal blood) would scale the walls of her father’s remote castle and carry her away. As she grew older she lowered her standards a little and would have settled for someone less athletic and romantic. Sitting alone in the tower of her father’s castle she remained remote, chaste and inviolate...”


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Children of Melot

“They rode their carrousel until they tired of it. They walked the tiny bridges that spanned the painted landscapes. Tiring of that, they see-sawed, swung and sang to the wind chimes. Sometimes they listened to stories told by the bards of the castle of Melot. In rainy weather they played indoors. The King’s musicians would perform for them, or the King himself might tell them of his glorious exploits in the Royal House of Melot...”


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Ministry

“The Goddess came down from the mountain top, and here at this very spot she knelt and kissed the earth. From her kiss sprang a fountain of cold clear water. It became a pond. It grew to a lake and from the far end of the lake a river flowed out to nourish the land back to health again...


StoryRhyme After Dark: The Man Who Would Be King

“Let me see,” he said to an old man feeding his chickens. “Suppose there was a precipice in front of you, and your next step would be your last... Who would warn you in time?”


StoryRhyme After Dark: Father Sebastian

“Father Sebastian closed his ledger book. As of this date there were seventeen children of God. They were orphans, but to Father Sebastian they would always be the children of God -- until they were adopted...”


StoryRhyme After Dark: Sunset Land

“The young man stared fixedly at the setting sun. ‘Think how wonderful it must be to live where the sun sets. Look there old man, it’s touching down just over the crest of that long dark hill. That’s where I want to be...’”


StoryRhyme After Dark: Small George

“George has been walking all day. His feet are sore and he is hungry. He is on his own; just like a rolling stone. He asks himself a pointed question, “Who’s going to stop and give a dwarf a ride?” His answer is simple: “Nobody, that’s who...”


StoryRhyme After Dark: Fur Elise

"Yes, I know he doesn’t smell very nice, Elise, and yes he has food all over his shirt , but he’s a great composer, dear – he’s not like real people..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: Saving the Hoboken Ferry

"Gladys Worthington of Hoboken, New Jersey may have saved as many as 20 people from a watery grave this morning – and then again, maybe she did not..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: Christmas Story

Just in time for the holidays, is happy to present a short story by our friend Harry Buschman, "Christmas Story." Many of us are familiar with the story of Joseph and Mary searching for a night's lodgings and being turned away...


StoryRhyme After Dark: Brimstone

"Sadie Devons was declared to be a witch, but in an age when witches were burned at the stake, she enjoyed a long and comfortable life. She owed it all to her one eyed cat “Brimstone,” she said. It was a handsome cat; jet black except for her left front paw, which was white as snow..."


StoryRhyme After Dark: Waiting

"The old man was a great reader. He could be a princess, a king or a roaring dragon and the children would be all ears and wide eyes with their blankets pulled up to their chins, and they would listen with rapt attention. He read well because he believed every word he read, and his belief made the children believe too. They never wanted their father or mother to read, they always asked for grandfather..."


Behind the Story: Old Folks At Home

“First of all I'm a nonagenarian – too old to be learning new things and probably too old to be giving advice as well. But never too old to tell stories about the way things used to be...”