The real and imaginative adventures of Dennis Spielman

Author: Dennis Page 2 of 123

Through the Washing Machine

During her birthday party, Krystal hides in a new and mysterious giant washing machine at an immersive art gallery only to come out in a strange world.

Krystal had never seen the giant washing machine before. While she felt like she would discover a new tiny detail with each visit to the immersive art gallery, a front-loading washing machine, the size of half a car was not something she would’ve missed. She walked around the silver-colored machine. The art piece wasn’t backed against a wall or connected to anything. That ruled out it leading to another section like the famous washing machine portal at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

If she didn’t want to get caught, she didn’t have time to stare. For her 30th birthday, she rented out the entire 6,000 square feet hand-crafted, immersive art project known as MixTape by Factory Obscura. Factory Obscura’s MixTape was a multi-sensory experience that explored the emotions associated with giving or receiving music as a gift. As a gift, Krystal invited a dozen of her friends for an adults-only game of hide-and-seek. Plus, a feast of pizza, cake, and craft beer from local businesses. Her goal: have an unforgettable birthday adventure.

The round, plastic door to the washing machine was covered with a milky way wallpaper on the inside, making it impossible for Krystal to see through. Curious, she grabbed the handle–not sure if it would even open–and pulled. Inside was a fully padded room with bright pastel-colored pillows, matching those of the nearby cactus treehouse. On the ceiling was a scattering of fairy lights. Krystal’s face lit up in awe.

“I can hide in here,” Krystal declared as she climbed inside.

When the door latched close, soft, dreamy atmospheric music began to play inside. Krystal leaned against the pillow wall and stretched out her legs. She felt confident in her hiding spot and bet her friends wouldn’t figure out the door opens. She tried to listen for anyone coming, but she couldn’t hear anything with the music.

After several minutes, annoyance began to settle. Krystal regarded her hiding spot as good, but not that good. She then began to wonder if it was a prank or perhaps a wholesome trick.

Maybe my friends are in the lobby together, waiting to surprise me? Krystal thought. Then I shouldn’t keep them waiting.

Krystal opened the door. A sea of socks of every color and every pattern filled the sunny outside like sand dunes. There was no way Factory Obscura could pull off such a room. To fill a place with this many socks, they would’ve had been collecting them for decades–putting out numerous calls for donations, which she would’ve seen and probably would’ve contributed to the cause too. More importantly, she then realized, was that the area was larger than the entire building.

“Hello?” Krystal called out.

No response.

She eased out one leg, keeping most of her body inside as she tapped on the ground. It was solid. Feeling safe, she gradually stepped out of the washing machine. The ground felt like standing on a pile of laundry. She looked behind the machine. Off in the distance were small buildings composed of socks and random junk. 

With the small town being her only visible point of interest, she started walking. After taking several steps, the terrain began to rumble. She turned and ran back to the washing machine, but before she could reach it, the machine was flung up into the air by a giant white sock worm.

Krystal screamed. The washing machine landed far away, near the town, but it didn’t seem damaged. The stock worm was three times the size of the washer. Krystal held up her arms, bracing herself to be eaten whole.

“Hello, there,” the sock worm warmly greeted.

Krystal let her guard down. “Hi.”

“Are you new here?”

“Yeah. Where am I?”

“You’re in the Land of the Lost Things.”

“Land of lost things?” Krystal repeated. “Is this like where lost things end up?”

“Yes, but you don’t seem to be lost. We rarely get humans here. How did you get here?” the sock worm inquired with a friendly tone.

“I just got inside that washing machine,” Krystal explained while pointing to said machine, “and when I opened the door, I arrived here.”

“I don’t like that machine,” the sock worm grumbled. “I don’t like it’s creator either. Always playing tricks on people to study the universe.”

“Could you help me get back to my friends?”

“Depends. Do you consider yourself lost in life?”

“Actually, I feel like things have been looking up for me lately and that I have a purpose, a direction for once.”

“Then this won’t hurt.”

“What won’t–”

Before Krystal could finish, the sock worm opened their mouth and devoured her. Her scream muffled as the socks surrounded her, making everything go black. Everything stopped moving, and she stopped screaming.

Then she felt a bop on her head by a human hand. She pushed away the clothes in front of her face, revealing she was back at Factory Obscura in a pile of socks where the washing machine once stood.

“Found you,” her boyfriend playfully taunted. 

This week’s short story was inspired by the writing prompt: “You are playing hide and seek, and decide to hide in the washing machine. You sit there for some time, but it seems like your friends gave up. You climb out, only to discover that you are on a mountain of socks. Welcome to the land, where all the lost things go.”

When thinking about this prompt, I was thinking of some way to feature adults in the story as a twist. That got me to thinking of the washing machine portal at Meow Wolf, but I didn’t want to write about that one. Instead, I made up an art piece (or really a machine from Loki and Raven) that would act as a portal to the other world. I debated on leaving Krystal in the land of the lost, but I liked the sweet line of her boyfriend finding her. Happy ending today!

Thank you for reading!

3×01 Claims of Ghosts in McClain County

The journey for the third season of ghost stories, urban legends, and local history began on a dark, January night. Sam Saxton and Professor Geoff DeRoot traveled to Purcell to visit the McClain County Historical & Genealogical Society & Museum for stories about the country and a chance to see the ghost of Mr. McClain. 

Subscribe to new episodes of Tales Unveiled via Apple PodcastsGoogle PlaySpotifyStitcher, or anywhere you enjoy podcasts.

Tales Unveiled is a production of The Show Starts Now Studios and is produced by me, Dennis Spielman. The voice of Sam Saxton is Dennis Spielman. The voice of Professor Geoff DeRoot is Jeff Provine.

We would like to thank Pam Hobbs for sharing stories with us.

If you love what we’re doing, want us to keep being artist owned and patron supported, click here. In return, you can get bonus content, including early access to my other shows and short stories.

Behind the Scenes Commentary

As discussed in the episode, we recorded the interview with Pam Hobbs in January. We originally planned to interview her as part of season two, but our schedules didn’t align due to the busy holiday season. The opening, outro, and narrations were recorded later in the year once Jeff and I figured out our direction for the season.

The narration about the professor staring at the painting was something Jeff suggested during our edits. As you’ll hear on other episodes, I took that concept and applied it to others. I think overall, there’s more commentary from Sam this season.

At the time this episode premiered, Jeff and I managed to record six episodes. Our goal is to end the season with 10. Originally, we thought we would do more, but COVID has shortened our plans.

I hope you enjoy this first episode and stick around for more. Next Up: Bartlesville! We got a bunch of great stories from that trip.

Broken Hourglass

While digging for resources on their polluted planet, Talus finds themself in a cave filled with hourglasses.

Talus’ optical system came back online, finding themself in a cave with calm, blue flames. No matter how efficient the Yellow Planet’s mechanicals were with recycling, the pollution that ravaged their home kept miners like Talus digging for raw materials. According to the data given by Eze, this cave didn’t exist. 

Glass popped in the distance, prompting Talus to stand up. Their body moved with ease and perhaps with more fluidity than before the fall Talus thought. They tested the drill on their right arm. It spun with no difficulty.

Another glass container popped.

Talus scanned the area. Golden hourglasses the size of basketballs lined the cave walls from floor to ceiling, spanning throughout the depths. On the base of every hourglass was a metal plate with a name written in binary. They watched as the pink sand drained from the top half of an hourglass and popped, spilling out the sand. 

Talus tapped on the networker on their wrist. “Call, Eze.”

The networker did not light up.

“I knew something must’ve gotten damaged in the fall,” Talus mumbled.

Accepting the situation, Talus wondered about the cave. Help would arrive soon, and they thought the cave might have valuable materials. Strangely, there were only hourglasses in the shelves carved out from the limestone and a golden door. Talus wondered why they hadn’t noticed the door until now. Talus walked over to the door and reached out for the heart-shaped knob when they saw a broken hourglass with their name on it. 

Talus turned at the sound of rope falling through the hole he created.

“About time,” Talus teased as Eze climbed down.

Eze did not respond. Eze had the mechanical body of a spider, making them an agile climber throughout caves. Eze got on four knees. 

“Are you damaged?” Talus called out, concerned.

Again, Eze did not respond. Talus walked over and saw Eze inspecting Talus’ own biped mechanical body crumbled on the ground with a metal bar piercing through the head.

“I’m so sorry, Talus,” Eze mourned. “This cave didn’t show on any of my scans.”

I took a hard sci-fi twist for this week’s writing prompt inspired story. The prompt was, “You’re a miner and one day stumble into a well-lit cave. The walls are lined with hourglasses, as you look around, you see a few run out and shatter. As you turn to leave you to notice a broken one by the door. It bears your name.”

I haven’t written any stories on the Yellow Planet yet, so here we go! Out of the Five Following Planets, the Yellow Planet is the least populated due to the harsh conditions. Mostly mechanicals call it home.

Thank you for reading this week’s short story!

Intruder Detected

While hiking outdoors through a prairie grass field, a voice warns Elijah and Jacob about an interlude in the building.

“ATTENTION ALL PERSONNEL,” the commanding grizzly female voice called out over a speaker. “An intruder has been detected within the building. Please be on guard and report any suspicious activity.”

Elijah and Jacob exchanged perplexed glances in the prairie grass field. 

“You heard that, right?” Elijah asked his boyfriend.

“Oh, I heard that. Where did that come from?”

Elijah scanned the vast field and shrugged. They were hiking through the area because they got a tip from some locals about a secluded waterfall worth visiting. The blue skies retracted like panels from a sports stadium, cutting off their light. They both pulled out their phones and turned on their flashlights.

“Where the hell are we?” Jacob fretted.

“Let’s double back,” Elijah suggested, gently taking hold of Jacob’s hand.

The two jumped at the sound of a laughing bark. They aimed their lights at the source–a prairie dog standing and pointing at them. The animal scurried away intro the grass the moment they realized what startled them.

“Yeah, let’s head back,” Jacob replied, catching his breath.

The two jogged along the sightly worn down pathway, not going too fast and keeping their lights on the ground as to not trip. Elijah came to a stop and pulled Jacob to crouch down with him. 

“There are some lights up head,” Elijah whispered while pointing at the pair of yellow lights. “Let’s cut through the field to get around them.”

“But what about ticks?”

“I would rather deal with ticks than bullets.”

“Fair point,” Jacob conceded. “Lead the way.”

Elijah ducked through the grass with Jacob close behind. A series of sharp, repetitive barks from the prairie dogs filled the area. The lights beamed in on the couple and marched toward them. Spotted, Elijah and Jacob threw stealth out and ran full speed. The prairie dog alarm grew louder and louder until a net engulfed the two, causing the two to fall flat. The net sparked, stunning them into unconsciousness. 

The alarm cry stopped as a pair of bison stood over them like a bipedal creature. The bison both had flashlight hats on, and one held a net cannon while the other held a tablet device.

“Good capture,” the tablet wielding bison complimented.

“What should we do with them?”

The bison pointed the tablet at the young adults. “My scans don’t show any weapons. Let’s wipe their memories, replace it a hike to a waterfall, and send them back into town.”

“Will do.”

Inspired by the writing prompt of the warning, “ATTENTION ALL PERSONNEL. An intruder has been detected within the building. Please be on guard and report any suspicious activity.” For a twist, I thought it would be fun for whoever heard the warning be outside and that outside turned out to be inside a building.

Hope you enjoyed this fun, short little story!

Up-Down in Oklahoma City

Here’s a quick first look of the new two-story arcade bar, Up-Down in Oklahoma City’s Plaza District. I was invited to a preview event yesterday, in which I shot and edited this video. In addition to the classic and modern arcade games, Up-Down has a wide selection of local craft beers on tap, cocktails, and in-house made pizza.

Page 2 of 123

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén