Ryan Chani

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Short Stories to Get the Mind Going #7 - "Head Voice"

Well well well, here we are again, starting a post off with me saying I should have done this earlier, but my schedule has prevented me.  I'm sick of this song and dance... let's just not set expectations here, agree?  I'll put my stuff out when I do and you come enjoy it when you can. 

ok, happy we got that outta the way.

now onto this story! 

This free write was an interesting one for me.  i really liked the concept as it was coming out of me during the session, then the end came and i thought it really came together nicely! 

The artist I reached out to collaborate with me is sensational, Mr. Joe Karg, out of Atlanta caught my eye due to his stellar work on comedy posters.  After we connected on Twitter i was able to see more of his work and was completely blown away by the talent he has.  Please take the time to check out his Website and lose yourself in the world he creates every time he puts pen to paper.  You can also check out Joe on his Instagram

Head Voice

The phone wouldn't stop ringing.  

At this time of night i bet it’s someone just trying to sell me something or get my opinion on some hard hitting topics, like if taxis were sports cars, would i be more likely to use them over Uber?  I’ll let it go to voicemail.  

-5 minutes later-

i cant believe it’s still ringing… whats up with my voicemail!?!  “FINE! HELLO!!”  I screamed into the receiver as I put it to my ear.  “Hey…”  says a stranger.  

“Hello?”  their tone is very off putting for these types of calls.  “Hey…”  they say again, “wake up…”

within an instant i was brought back to reality,  sitting up in my bed.  wait… i start to feel around… ya, my bed.  i let out a sigh as i realize its only 4:30am, “that was a weird dream…”

“You can say that again” came the same voice that was my REM wake up call.  startled, i look around to find who’s intruding in my room.  no one…

“Who’s…” i say with a little crack in my voice, showing my nervousness.  clearing my throat, “Who’s there?”  that came out deeper then i anticipated, but i think it was effective.

“No one” came the voice again.

“What? Where are you!?!” still scanning the room for any shapes that could be the source of the voice.  I flip on my nightstand lamp… still nothing.

“I’m right here” the voice says smugly


“OK… look in the mirror.”  

“I don’t have time for games!  I'm getting my gun if you don't come out!”

“No need to do that.  Just do what I'm saying.  look in the mirror.”  

I turn to the mirror which takes up a majority of the wall next to my bed. looking in the mirror I only see a dumbfounded yours truly…  No sign of anyone else.

“Look real hard” the voice continues.  “Look yourself in the eyes.  Don't blink.  Don’t lose sight of your retinas.  Concentrate on the darkest part of your cornea.”

Staring, for what felt like hours, i finally say, “i don't see anything.  just me.”

“Exactly! That’s all i really am.”

“OK!  FUCK YOU!  COME ON OUT DAMN IT!”  i had enough.  so happy my voice didn't crack for that…

“I know this is a hard thing for you to understand.  Because i am you.  I’m all your real thoughts and feelings.  The parts of you that you repress so you can float through your daily life with a smile on your face.  Figured its about time we met.”

“…this…wha…this is a little much… what…”  i thought hard to try to formulate the right words.

“you don't need to find the right words to say.  (crunch… crunch) i already know what you’re feeling about the situation.  (crunch) save your breath.”  says the voice.

“Are you eating?  Better yet… how are you eating?”  each crunch echoes louder in my head.  

“Just (crunch) found (crunch) some stuff (crunch)…”


“…laying around…(crunch)”  the voice continued.  

my jaw hurts…

“you going to eat that? (crunch)”  said the voice.  a little softer this time.  the crunching seems to be affecting my ability to hear.

“i dont know what you’re asking about… are you pointing at something?  i cant see you”  my vision begins to blur.

“that, right over… ahhh screw it.  if you don't know what i’m talking about, then you wont miss it.”  (Crunch!)

“AHHHH!  what was that!?!”  the pain came with a quick stab, then faded to a dull throb.  

“Oh nothing” (Crunch!)

“AHHHHH!  Stop!”  that time was sharper.  bringing the feeling to a peak of almost unbearable proportions.  

“See (crunch) the reason I'm finally able to communicate with you (crunch) is the fact you have been pushing so much of your actual feelings down (crunch) that i’ve grown.”

the pain has almost paralyzed me.  i lay in the fetal position on my bed squeezing my temples as if I'm trying to pop the top of my head like a pimple.  hoping to spew the agony puss out.  

(Crunch) “Once i was big enough to communicate.  i realized that if i held off, then you would continue your repression (crunch) causing me to grow even more (crunch).  My hopes were to eventually take over your consciousness then i could repress you and begin my life.”

The crunching pain is increasing.  every one fills my head.  i begin to try and think of a way out of this. if the voice is actually a part of me then… (crunch!)

the thought was gone… i see white… then the room begins to appear slowly… i see my hand thats now pulled away from my face… its red…

“i don’t believe you…”  i feel the vibrations in my mouth as the words come out, but i don't know if i actually got the right phrases off my tongue.  

“No use in trying to think now (crunch) its too late.  Where was i? (crunch) oh yes! after i started to devise the plan to take over.  I figured out that all your memories are just these little chips (crunch) waiting for you to store them somewhere.  If the chip is a good chip, you place it in your mental “bag” thats kept in your memory pantry for later use (crunch)  However, if the chip was bad, you threw it into your mental “trash bin”.  This should be taken out at least once every few years.  If not, then you could attract rats (crunch)”

my left eye is useless now… my ears are ringings like a fire alarm was tripped…

“i’m that rat… i’ve eaten all your trash thoughts.  (crunch) now I'm looking for the good chips.”

are my legs there?  i cant feel them…  id take my hands off my head to try and touch them, but my arms aren't reacting the way i want them too.

“the unfortunate part is i wont be able to take over your body once this is done.  i’ve grown too hungry to care about differentiating what parts of your brain i should eat (crunch) i figure id go down with the ship. like the noble captain i would of been.”

it doesn't even feel like I'm breathing anymore…  

“i’ve been trapped in your head for most of your life now.  stuck there watching you second guess every decision, question every detail.  it’s an incarceration i was never going to get out of.   i guess we can look at this as my last meal.”


Illustrations done by:   Joe Karg

Illustrations done by:  Joe Karg


Short Stories to Get the Mind Going #4 - "The Price You Pay for Shoes"

Another month, another free written story for your entertainment. 

This tale was the first completed when I started this project.  I wrote that first line, having no plan to take it in the direction it ended up going.  But when that final line came out, it was clear, this is how the story was supposed to go. 

The illustrations were done by Comedian/Artist/All around great man, Etrane Martinez.  His art captures this kind of child's view that was exactly what this story asked for in my opinion.  Check out his whimsical perspective on Instagram Art, Instagram Personal, and Twitter,

Let's kick 2017 off right!  Hope you enjoy!

The Price You Pay for Shoes

the grass feels good.

as I lay here my eyes flutter.  the sun is a harsh beast.  makes me appreciate the acorn that dropped here hundreds of years ago.  this tree is a life saver.  

well… wish it really was…  

Laying there, looking up, the pain of my loss still fresh.  this was my first day out wearing shoes I never should of had.  Air Jordan 11 Blackout.  worth around $5,500… a piece. they were a “thank you” gift for all the support I've given to my wife while she worked her ass off to make partner at her firm.  

see, I used to be a shoe designer, with my concentration being sneakers.  My designs were sought out by all the brands, for years, the biggest being Nike.  but I hadn't come up with a new idea for quite some time.  my wife, Becky, got notice she was going to be looked at for a high profile case. that’s when my passions were put on the back burner.  

we have 2 kids.  a son and daughter, 7 and 4 respectively. in my eyes they are the meaning of life.  they are also autistic.  requiring attention around the clock.  queue back burner.

that’s in the past.  no regrets.  well besides making the call to say screw it and wear my new kicks out.  that and the short cut down the path through the park I told Becky and the kids never to use.  

I didn't hear them coming.  assuming there were more then one, just to make myself feel better.  they came behind me and bang.  one smack over the back of the head and I lay there under my new timber friend.  the hit was good, didn't completely go out though.  I felt them flip me over, quickly discussing how they couldn't believe I had the Jordans.  

they fumbled around for awhile trying to pull them off.  struggling with something not expected.  the strongest double knot they would ever encounter.  something any parent of a mentally handicapped child is familiar with.  

since it was the middle of the day they really didn't have time to battle these laces.  the pain was sharp.  then black…

$11,000 gone, however the feet that stayed inside them… priceless.  Now I lay here, bleeding out. under a tree that has seen more time pass in the world then I could ever imagine.  maybe it will get the chance to see my kids grow up…


Short Stories to Get the Mind Going #3 - "Female Shadow"

Merry Christmas (and happy Holidays to anyone that got offended by that) what better way to celebrate then by releasing another short story!

This piece came out of me and I was taken back by it.  Not sure how my mind went down this path during a free write, but I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome.  My plan was always to release it on Christmas.  The Holiday of Holidays! 

The art that was done for this story, I really couldn't of asked for a better visual aid.  Once this project was put into action the artist that created this masterpiece came to mind instantly.  For this story in particular.  The artist I speak of is local comedian/artist Lisa Lang.  You can catch her comedy all around Boston and you can see her art through multiple medias such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Again, please disregard any writing errors due to this being a free write to get the gears turning. Open your hearts/minds to the concept and ENJOY!

Female Shadow

Her eyes were like looking in a blue sea without a bottom.

No matter how long I kept eye contact, I’d never find their true depth.  I blink first, every time…

“you make me blush” I say to her as I break our gaze and look at the ground.  I cant even look at her feet sometimes.  “how’d I get so lucky…” quickly glancing back up, then down.  “I know you hate when I talk like that, but I will never understand the answer.”

“do you need anything?” I continue while starting to get up, stopping in that awkward squat position.  “oh, never mind you’re all set.”  sitting back down. “sorry…  just want everything to be perfect. hahaha…  even after all these years I still ask when it’s clear you’re fine.”  looking away again. “I’m sorry.”  

there’s a chill coming from the window cill.  the hairs on my arm stand straight up.  she doesn’t flinch.  “you must be cold.  let me get your sweater.”  hurrying over to the coat rack, I fumble with soft fabric while tugging it off the plush hanger I placed it on earlier.  

as I put the cashmere on her body, my fingers caress her shoulders.  the breathe leaves me.  the feeling I get when my skin makes contact with her body is something only a poet would understand.  she stays still.

I inhale.  Close my eyes.  I can feel the scent of her being rushing down my esophagus, filling up my lungs.  Exhale.  she stays still.

“please forgive me for lingering.  It’s just…” a soft breeze fills the room again.  “looks like the weather might be turning for the worse.”  i say, changing the subject.  she stays still.

“The funniest thing happened the other day.  I don't think I told you”  my hands slide off her shoulders and move seamlessly into flamboyant hand jesters, indicating an inthralling story.  “I was walking down the street, in a hurry, attempting to catch the bus.  When all of a sudden I hear a beggar say “excuse me, mister, excuse me” a beggar!  talking to me!”  my eyes are wide as I tell this story, pacing the room, hands keeping the beat so my words can follow.  “well, I’ll be, I thought to my self.  this beggar must see a weakness in me that would trigger her to think I would actually take time out of my day to give her my attention.  This intrigued me, so I obliged.  “yes, ma’am” I responded to her” even remembering this moment tenses me up, my right hard balled as tight as possible, nails digging into the skin of my palm.  she stays still.  

“The beggar then responded, “would you happen to have some change for a poor old woman, just trying to make enough to feed herself to last the night?” as she was saying this she started to stretch her hands out, palms up, while making eye contact and coming closer with subtle shuffles.  I couldn't believe it, she just wanted ME to hand her MY earnings.  for what reason?  due to her poor decisions I should make some of my own and just hand out my money?”  she stays still.

“Kenneth!”  is heard from the hallway.  

“excuse me just one second my dear.”  I walk to the door, crack it open.  “Yes MOTHER!?!” she stays still.

“It’s time for dinner honey!  I made your favorite!  Liver and onions baby!  come on down before the Liver starts to coagulate!”  my mother yells from the kitchen.  she stays still.

“Just a minute mother!  I don't mind if the blood starts to turn!  as a matter of fact, I prefer it!”  Kenneth shuts the door, turns to his companion.  “I’m sorry for the interruption.  my mother may lack etiquette, but please understand her intentions were well.  Now where was I?  oh the peasant… you know what?  this isn't proper conversation before we dine.”  Kenneth takes a seat back on his bed.  She stays still.

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK “Kenneth, you should come down now please.  we are waiting for you to start honey.”  She stays still.

“JUST A MINUTE MOTHER!  you can start without me.”  She stays still.

“What are you doing in there Kenneth?”  his mother says while turning the knob.  She stays still.

Kenneth jumps to get across the room before his mother can enter, but is tripped up due to how tightly he had crossed his legs while sitting.  The door opens and Mrs. Kenneth’s Mother has a clear view of the room.  She stays still.

Her eyes widen and hand raises to catch the gasp as it leaves her mouth.  On the floor next to his bed lay Kenneth, but in the seat across the rug sits a taxidermied mess wearing her clothes…  

“What the hell is that Kenneth!?!  What have you done!?!”  Kenneth’s mother screams as tears start streaming down her cheeks and she collapses to her knees.  

The heaping pill of decay, donning his mother’s clothes, is a mosaic of discarded road kill that Kenneth has meticulously sown together, forming a new bread of beast that resembles the physic of a woman.  

“Please leave mother… there is no way to explain love…”


Short Stories to Get the Mind Going #2 - "Pizza Man"

Here is the second short story I will be releasing! 

This piece was lucky enough to have art done by local friend/foe Gabe Stoddard!  He is a talented artist in the Boston area for comedy, graphics, video, etc.  You can also catch him as the co-host of "Midway or the Highway" open mic (for comedy) every Sunday night from 9pm-2am at Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain, MA.

Again, please disregard any writing errors due to this being a free write to get the gears turning.  ENJOY!

Pizza Man

Just one more piece and ill be done.

I think I’ve been saying that for the last few slices.  This pizza should be a sin it’s so damn good.

No one else to blame but myself.  Probably shouldn’t of ordered 5 larges, but how can you pass up a deal as good as 4 large pizzas, any toppings, and the 5th is free?  I’d be an idiot not to take advantage.  its surprising they are still in business with that bargain.

This is the 6th time in the past 2 weeks I’ve taken Pino Pizzeria up on this.  no telling when they’ll realize how much they’re losing out on and get rid of it.  

that one did it.  “another notch on the ol’ belt.” hahaha…  that joke never gets old.  even if I've lost the ability to wear a belt.  thats right!  graduated to rope!  Tried bungee cord at first, but the little hooks kept cutting up my love handles.  

sitting back I push the empty pizza box to the floor.  allowing it to join the many that came before it.  my own personal collection of cardboard trophies from my oral accomplishments.  their smell permeates the room.  


that cleared some room.  the thought of a fresh slice taking over my mental.  nope!  I'm going to be stronger then he urge this time.  maybe the TV will help.


“Oven fresh to order every single time.”  figures… the visual of that sweet, saucy, circle makes my mouth and eyes water… “Nope, no!”  I tell myself as i flick to the next channel.

“When pizzas on a bagel, you can have…” I turn the channel before it can finish.  

the screen flickers, a man’s back fills the over priced rectangle in front of me.  “don’t move a muscle.”  he says as the camera begins to pan out.  “put the remote down.”  his head is tilted slightly down as it comes into frame.

I keep the remote in my hand.

“I said… put the remote down”  his head starts to raise up.  “I’m talking to you, the fat fuck with all the pizza stains on his barely kept together shirt.”

my hand trembles as I drop the remote to the ground.  

“good.  I’ve been watching you for some time now.”  the camera moved far enough back now that the whole shape of the individual talking is all I can see.  the figure starts to turn around.  “and I have to say… you disgust me.”  his face becomes visible. 

he appears to be some type of important person.  black slicked back hair, tailored black suit, piercing eyes that match.  “how can you just sit there and… grow?”

he smirk taking over the lower half of his face after this statement is like an ice pick to my self esteem.  granted I have little of that left, but it still feels the fresh chip being taken off.

“who… who are you?”  is all I’m able to get out as I can feel my heart start to race.  The man is now approaching the camera.

“I’m your saving grace.  you might call me your… guardian angel.”  there's that smirk again.  “I’ve decided to make my presence known, in an effort to correct your ways.”

with this his foot comes through my TV screen, planting firmly in an open pizza box.  the rest of him follows without hesitation.  “That’s better.”  his nose perks.  “Good God!  the smell is wretched.”  he kicks a few boxes around.  taking out his pocket square, he covers his nose and mouth.  

“what do you want?”  my heart is beating faster and faster.  

“I’ll get to that soon. You really cant smell that?  your tolerance for filth must be high.  I’ll have to make this quick.”  the dark stranger reaches in his pocket for something.  “I hope you’re ready.  this will change everything for you.”

as his hand starts to crest out of the top of his pocket my left arm goes numb.  “ahhhh!!”  my right hand shoots up to my chest.  the pain is ruthless.  

I can see through the tears welling in my eyes that the man takes a step closer.

my body goes straight in the recliner.  spit is forming around my mouth.

“I guess you wont be needing my assistance after all.”  the stranger turns.  lifting his foot up and back through the screen of the TV.  


my fingers are clenching my chest so hard that the nails break the skin.

once his body is fully back into my entertainment box, the screen goes black.  

followed by everything else. 


Short Stories to Get the Mind Going #1 - "The Can"

In an effort to write more and expand on material I started doing writing exercises.  What I've been doing is starting with a random line off the top of my head, then I'll attempt to free write a 500-1,000 (or so) word story that hopefully makes sense or at least flows together and comes to an end.

This experiment has rendered some pretty outlandish concepts that have made me question where my mind can go.  For some reason they are all coming out with a darker undertone and more of a Twilight Zone feeling... But its at least something!

Instead of just letting these tales linger around to collect digital cobwebs while taking space up in my hard drive, I decided to dole them out to some artistic beings I have come to know while in the comedy world.  I asked them to take a look at the stories and come up with a few pieces to give a little visual stimulation to each fable. 


While reading, please know that it was a free write project so there are minimal edits done.  That means try not to judge my grammatical errors...

Illustrations were done by the one and only Owen Linders (producer/host of Thunderbar Comedy Open Mic and beautifully talented artist)

I hope you enjoy!

The Can

“How old is this?  I haven't opened this closet in years so it must be expired by now, if it can even expire.” thinks Paul.  “There’s isn’t a label so no telling what’s inside.  However, all signs would point to it being something that could fit into a regular tin can.”

(holding the can to his ear, Paul shakes the metallic wonder holder)

“Doesn't sound like theres much in there.  not even liquid sloshing.”  The can itself is pretty light too.  “I'm not the weakest man in the world, but even a can of Cambell’s Chunky Soup can be a heavy item.” Paul continues mentally.

“No time to waste pondering on this, I’ll try and get to the bottom of that later.”  Paul places the can on the miniature kitchen table.  The table that has hosted many lonely, single serving, dinners.  Once placed on the table Paul retreats back to his pantry cleaning project.  

Hours pass, filling plastic bags with rotted vegetables, raw spaghetti broken to pieces, dog treats used to train Paul’s companion (who died 2 years ago), chipped collectors mugs, unused coupons, etc.  The bottom of each shelf looked as though it had been a breading ground for fungal chia pets.  These disgraces just fueled his cleaning adrenaline.  

The task was a daunting one, but very self satisfying once the end was in sight.  After bringing out one of the last bags needed to call this an accomplishment, Paul’s eye caught a glimpse of the mystery can on the counter.  It looks as if it’s just been watching me as I sweat.  Walking to the counter Paul questions his memory of placing the can on the kitchen table.  

“Did I move this during my genocide on scum?” he thought to himself while reaching out to pick the can up.  His hand grasps the tin cylinder and attempted to move it upwards.  No dice…  The can felt stuck…  “What the hell?  Are my counters sticky now?  just when you think a job is done…”  Paul turns, entering the pantry to retrieve cleaning items to tackle this new task before he loses his motivation.  

Bending down to pick up his Pine Sol he heard a hard thud behind him, that was followed by the sound of something bowling ball-esk begin to roll.  Looking out Paul could see the can come into sight, rolling until it was in full view from the pantry.  At that point the can halts…

Drawing:  Owen Linders

Paul stares in bewilderment.  With a hesitant breathe he lifts his right foot to begin a slow exit from the closet.  Paul’s foot touches the floor board, as his body weight shifts it causes his motion to become audible with a creak.

Before Paul can make his next move the can begins to spin.  Its’ rotations start off slow, but quickly begin to speed up, a sound similar to nails on a chalk board fills Paul’s eardrums.  As the can’s speed increases a light flickers where the can and floor meet.  This is a short lived union, as the rotations become blurry with vigor and the can starts to raise from the linoleum.

Paul, dumbfounded, on the verge of peeing his pants, jumps back into the closet slamming the door shut.  Dropping to the floor, Paul’s eyes are fixated on the space between the floor and bottom of the door.  The light intensifies.  Brighter then anything Pauls seen before.  

He cant take his eyes off the lights.  The white keeps getting larger and larger through the crack of the door.  Paul is unable to look away.  His vision starts to get smokey, the smell of something burning is caught in his nose.  That’s the smell of his eyes cooking…

Drawing:  Owen Linders

Paul’s vision goes black.  The sound the can created while spinning stops.  Now Paul can hear the can rolling towards the door.  Tin on wood alerts him to its arrival.  A slow creak, signaling the opening of the pantry door sends shivers down Paul’s spine, as well as a stream of warm liquid down his leg.  

“Who’s there!?!  What do you want!?!” Paul yells at the darkness.  

No response…

Paul hears the can roll into the closet.  A tiny nudge on the bottom of his shoes makes Paul aware the can has reached him.  “Don’t touch me!!! GET AWAY!!!” Paul begins to kick while weeping.  Between his sniveling he can hear metal ripping.  The lid must be opening…

Paul quiets down.  Through the slow sound of metal taring Paul pleads one last time, “p-p-p-please… I don't know what’s happening… I can’t see… I’ll help you in anyway I can… just…”  the noise stops and the lid taps the floor.

Air starts to rush by Paul.  Towards the pantry door.  Towards the now open can…

As if hands formed from the shelves, Paul rises up off the floor.  Tilting forward he is shot like a cannon ball right into nothingness.  Paul floats, still blind, only darkness. 

Drawing:  Owen Linders

Paul tries to move his lips, they part, but nothing comes out.  Paul floats on…

The space surrounding him feels like gelatin.  Paul floats on…

The can lay on the floor of the freshly cleaned pantry.  Its’ lid reattached.  Paul floats on…

Located on the side of the tin there are words.  “Expiration: 10/10/16”.  Today’s date.  Paul floats on…

Drawing:  Owen Linders