Downloadable Short stories by José R. Rodríguez

These links will take you to self publishing sites where you can download my short stories. The Amazon links will take you to the U.S. site, but the stories can also be found in Amazon's UK, France, Canada, Australia, India, etc. I used to given them away for free but the Kindle Book store will not show free books so I had to charge the minimum of 99 cents. I allow for 50% of the story content to be sampled; I figure that if readers made it that for into the story then they should have a pretty good idea if it is worth to pay 99 cents to finish it. The stories at the top of the list below are the latests.

The Obooko link below will take you to their home page. Search for the book title and then follow their links. You will need to register with them.

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Riding Alone

RidingAloneAfter an eventful day at the office that included fighting a man with a knife, what was supposed to be a relaxing mountain bike ride turns into an epic escape on the Colorado Trail. In this short story our lonely rider is running away from … something, chased by his own fears.

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King of the Hill

KingOfTheHillA short story about BMX racing and the odd relationship of sorts between and old guy and a punk kid. Winner of Dirt Rag Magazine's 2010 Literature contest.

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I Have Monkey Butt

MonkeyButtIn this short story a mountain biker struggles uphill. It is not just the steep climb, but his age, asthma, and monkey butt that he has to overcome to make it to the top. Along the way he briefly meets other riders who come and go seeking their own two-wheeled happiness. The reward for long climbs is sweet descents that make the pains and doubts of the uphill struggle all worth it. Monkey butt: cycling affliction where the rider's butt is raw from the rubbing between skin and saddle. It goes away as cyclist develops a callous butt.

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Colfax

ColfaxIn this short story, come along and take a ride on Colfax Avenue, the longest road in Denver. See the sights and meet those less fortunate than you. Life moves along because it has to, and we do too because we are alive. A simple ride along a busy street allows us to see others just for a fleeting moment, but that brief encounter, that anonymous sighting can be so much if one just thinks about the possibilities and misfortunes that can strike anyone.

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Hangers

HangersOn November 1868, Lee Musgrove, horse thief and hell raiser in general, was hanged from a wooden bridge in Denver. Almost a century and a half later, Joe Glatfelter, to the horror of early morning joggers and cyclists, hung by his broken neck under the same bridge, now reinforced concrete. One can say that both hangings were unrelated, but they both shared a common thread of lynch justice.

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A Dozen in Denver

DozenIn this short story a private investigator is hired to find out who killed and old servant bot by smashing his head with a pipe. He takes the case just to tie him over the dearth of his usual customers, suspicious people looking for dirt on their cheating spouses. His snooping leads to the conclusion that another robot is the culprit, which is not possible as robots are non-violent machines, or that is what the powers above say. His suspicious are confirmed when he finds and confronts the culprit bot, a rather non-compliant and violent machine. The social order as he knows it becomes suspect.

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Mister Danger is my Name

MrDangerAn American expatriate living in a small town along the Caribbean, an escapee from alimony payments and pesky IRS tax men, becomes the unexpected driver of an ambulance carrying a dying kid through the dark jungle night. Besides a rough dirt road full of pot holes, river crossings, and no headlights, he has to deal with a spooky companion riding shotgun. Mister Danger is his name and no ghosts will scare him from reaching civilization and saving the kid's life.

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Winter Wind

WinterWindIn this short story, Jack thinks his failed marriage was due to not having a shop manual for women, something that can explain to him how the opposite sex works. He works on his Bug, in the cold, toiling away under dripping oil, a predictable world that he understands well. But soon enough, another woman comes looking for him. As a bonus, this story shows how to adjust the valves on a '70 Bug.

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The Idiot

The IdiotIn this short story, a Spanish civil war veteran lives with a piece of shrapnel embedded under his skull. His disconnected reality sees apples, cider, and flashes of old memories that to him, seem to belong to strangers. His one-armed friend is the only one that seems able to talk to him, or at least has the patient to talk to an old simpleton with a perennial smile embedded on his creased face. The gypsies come to town, and the old man runs to their camp by the woods, a habit of his that nobody can figure out. The gypsies welcome him like an old friend. Sitting by the campfire, the simpleton has no idea of the murder in town and the lynching mob approaching, seeking revenge, which is often confused with swift justice.

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El Norteño

ElNortenoShort story about an illegal Mexican immigrant working as a short order cook in El Norte, the promised land north of the border, Texas. Being undocumented, poor, and not speaking English, he encounters unexpected disdain from the very people he aspires to be.

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The Allien's Luggage

TheAliensLuggageA short story about unfulfilled expectations. Two cousins think they hit the jackpot when they run into a crashed UFO, only to find out that what they though was their ticket to fame and riches is just another of life's disappointments.

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Simple Life

SimpleLifeUnhappiness can be self inflicted when we fail to appreciate what we have or get sidetracked by worries that are not worth our time. In this short story, a young boy who is poor but doesn't know it, who is happy with his simple life, has that life tarnished by worries that, while look to him insurmountable, are small peanuts. Death and a missing love one reset the boy's priorities in life.

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Shameful Things

ShamefulThingsA man leads a double life. Deceit and acceptance of that deceiving run side by side without conflict. Two parallel lives that coexist yet never collide, or at least that is what it looks like. How far can the deception go? The reader will have to figure out that puzzle.

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Wrongway Dave

Wrongway DaveDave is paralyzed by terror every time he jumps out of an airplane. Despite a string of bad jumps that make Frank, his instructor, ground him out of concern for his life, Dave finds ways to keep on trying to get that one turning point jump that will free him from his terror and botched performances. Skydiving is unforgiving of errors, and Dave makes plenty of those.

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Wrongway Dave (short story) review by: Sandra Black on May 14, 2012

A very interesting and well written short story. Tension built well and the ending was crafted. Just drop the description of the woman's chest - it's daft and not required. I'm keen to read more of Jose's work. (4 out of 5 stars).


A Holly Trifecta

AHollyTrifectaThree short stories specifically written for publication in religious magazines. Two out the three got published in 1994 and 1995. Years later, after re-reading this early work, I have to admit that these stories are tearjerkers. I didn't set out to write lachrymose stories, but sometimes stories write themselves. I have bundled these stories in this trilogy, for those of you who like spirituality. The three stories are: The Tomato King (published in 1994), Moonstruck (published in 1995), and Music for a Child.

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Old Tales

OldTalesLife memories are our treasure when old and pushed aside by a younger world. But an old man's treasure is just old tales to his son, something to be endured out of politeness and deference. The hurried world of the young is impatient with the little time left to the old.

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Guicaipuro's Gold

Guaicaipuro's GoldShort story. A band of boys search for a forgotten gold mine, their imagination stronger than common sense and their desire for adventure and discovery an excuse to ignore reality. Underneath this seemly boyish adventure, the undercurrents of history, race and conquista with its horrors are explored through the eyes of one of the boys.

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Going Away

GoingAwayIn this short story a young man sees no future in his small town and seeks an unorthodox way of getting out, leaving behind those who he thought he hated but realizing that those left behind are also victims of their common sad circumstances.

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Mud Man

Mud ManA young wannabe mason in Florida tries to find his place in the world but things not always work out as one wishes for. When things don't go one's way, just enjoy the present as is. I was also a wannabe mason in my younger days, out of necessity more than out of vocation. I don't lay brick anymore but I'm still looking for my place in the world. Sometimes I feel that I'm running around with a shovelful of lumpy mud, looking up at the mason gods, wondering when my time will come to climb the scaffolding and be one of the anointed.

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Dry Winter

DrywinterIn this short story a family man ends up in the Colorado high plains to take care of business after the dead of his alcoholic father who he has not seen in almost twenty years. The father he knew and had the displeasure of growing up with is not the man buried in the wind swept cemetery. Something has happened in the years since and a journey of discovery starts.

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What's Wrong?

What'sWrongIn this short story a young man is the accidental witness to a rape, unknown to perpetrators and victim. The young man flees and needs to figure out where he stands but his moral compass has to be re-calibrated. The resetting of his true north happens on an unexpected way.

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What's Wrong? (short story) review by: Mitzi Yates on July 16, 2011

This story is good for what it does not do. It does not have the typical hero in it. (2 out of 5 stars).


Pedro Orozco

OrozcoIn this short story Pedro Orozco, a man with a violent past, is hired to hunt down a cattle killing jaguar. He stalks his prey with his single-shot shotgun. Jaguar and man meet their common destiny under a full moon.

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Pedro Orozco (short story) review by: Mitzi Yates on July 16, 2011

The ending was predictable (2 out of 5 stars).


Tramps

TrampsA short story about the odd friendship between a street child and a mentally disable young boy. The tramp knows rather well that stomachs growl when there is no food but he discovers that there things in life that sometimes trump the basic needs of life.

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Tramps (short story) review by: Mitzi Yates on July 16, 2011

The sorrow of the special needs child in a poor country and the live-by-your-wits survival skills of a boy without adult protectors is illustrated in this story. Thoughtful.


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