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Regis Auffray

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The book that Nickolaus Pacione arranged of his work from his storied career since he was 20 years of age. Some of the works are fiction, some are nonfiction. 33 stories ..  
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The Sandman
By Regis Auffray
Sunday, June 15, 2003

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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"Sure the sandman can make you sleep
but he will also make you weep
Ask him to let you dream on late
He will take control of your fate"

     The first time Mike heard about the famous (or, infamous would be a better word) lotion, he was listening to some of his friends who had gathered inside the covered shelter on the sports field near the school. He had been thinking they were making fun of him behind his back. Since Jenny, his first real girlfriend, had moved away, Mike had not been his old self and his fair weather friends seemed to have been increasingly keeping their distance. In this case, however, they were not the least bit concerned about him. He hid behind the shed among thick elderberry shrubs His friends had no idea he was nearby. Ronnie Bowles was doing most of the talking.
    "You guys should see what this stuff does to my mom. My mom’s a pain but since she's been taking it, she leaves me alone. No more questions about last night, no more hassles about my room, no more crap about my homework. It's awesome. It's like she doesn't care. Like she's, uh, happy, you know? When I left the house this morning? She didn't even come out of her room.
     Kevin, the natural leader of the group, looked a little surprised. "You mean your old lady's seen the light? Like, she's actually letting you have a life? Man, that’s some change! She's got to be the most absolute bitch."
     "Yeah. My troubles are over, man! I’m going to the arcade and afterwards, I’m checking the party scene. It's not like I got to go home or anything."
     A couple minutes later, they cut across the field. Mike thought about joining them but he changed his mind. He remembered the math test he had to take the next morning. He waited until his buddies were out of sight and crossed the school yard toward his home. By now, his dad would be back home from an after work session of playing golf with his colleagues from the office and, if he was lucky, his mom would have settled down to watch a rented video and would leave him and his father to their own endeavours for the evening. His mom had never really recovered from the death of his sister some seven years back. Not that anybody could have done anything about what happened at the time. Some psycho decides to begin his life mission on the wrong day at the wrong time and, so long, sis; it was nice knowing you. Meaghan had been sixteen at the time and she'd been the best big sister a ten year old kid brother could ever have. God, he'd gone to enough counselling sessions to get the pain and anger out of himself. Still, he thought, if that son of a bitch was ever found, he'd never make it to the slammer because he, Michael James Achton would be the first in line to blow the bastard away, one way or another. Well, it would be best not to think of that at the moment. This was not one of the best days that he'd had in awhile.
      The next morning dawned with Mike up well before the sun. This was his best time to study, to "cram", actually. He knew he would do well on this math test although he still hated that vague feeling of unease he always felt before an exam. There was always that little voice from somewhere in the uncharted reaches of his mind that kept repeating over and over that this time, he just might blow it.     
     Three hours later, Mike came out of the exam room confident. As he walked out of through the school parking lot, he saw several people lined up behind a station wagon on the vacant site of the old drive-in theatre that used to stand a block from the school. Old Promiser was back in town selling his wares. He could hear his gravely voice,
     "Ladies and gentlemen, this here lotion is a wonder of wonders. It'll cure anything from ague to zits, from A to Zee, ladies and gentlemen, from A to Zee. It'll pick you up if you're down, and, for you boys and girls in school, why it'll even make you smarter. Come forward, ladies and gentlemen and get your free sample. I see that a lot of you folks who took samples the last time are back for more. Well, no more free samples for you but, have I got a deal for you! See this here bottle? For a mere ten dollars plus tax of course, it's yours. And look at the size! There's a lot of happiness bottled up in there, folks. And look at the shape! Why it'll fit like a charm just about anywhere you'd want to put it. Step forward folks and let me, Ol’Abe, that’s me, The Sandman, take away your aches and pains. That's right, honey. Come right on up. My, my but you sure are a pretty thing ain't you...?" 
And on he went, barely stopping his spiel while he handed out bottles and took in money.
     Abe Promiser had been selling wares from the back of his battered 1972 Ford station wagon ever since Mike could remember. He had been nicknamed "The Sandman" because, after crossing the desert on his way into town, his clothes, his car and his merchandise were covered with the grainy matter. It seemed the sand had become his trademark. Although Promiser's sales had never been brisk, he kept coming back month after month, year after year. Nobody knew much about him. He never stayed in town for more than a few hours. He had never taken a meal at the local restaurant and he had never stayed at the town's only motel. Nobody knew where his home was and the story was he didn't have one.
Mike watched, he could not help notice the scene today was unlike any before. People were jostling each other to buy and, everyone was buying one thing and one thing only: The Sandman's latest concoction, the miraculous lotion. Over the buzz of animated conversation, he could hear Abe Promiser:
     "You can smoke it, you can toke it. You can put it on your nose, you can put it on your toes; hey, folks, you can even eat it if you so desire. It'll make you high, it'll make you fly, why it'll even improve your love life. Come on folks, before The Sandman runs out..."
     Mike turned away. Most of the people he passed on the street, back from their recent encounter with The Sandman, were not talkative. Each seemed intent on going somewhere as quickly as possible, as if to a secret rendez-vous, a lot like minors with bootlegged whiskey heading for the river on a Friday night. Mike's greetings were seldom acknowledged.
Mike was dismayed to see the family car still parked in front of the garage. His father never missed work and he never got sick. It was a rule. Mike came in and yelled, 
     "Anybody home? Mom, are you there?" No answer. Mike went up the stairs to his parents' bedroom. The door was wide open, the curtains drawn. He heard snoring. As his eyes grew accustomed to the dim surroundings, he realized both of his parents were as naked as patrons of a nudist colony. Shocked, Mike turned to leave. As he did, he tripped on one of his father's shoes, fell against the bedside table, knocking the lamp to the floor. His father sat up with a start. Seeing Mike, he slurred,
     "Son, what are you doing?"
     "I could ask you the same thing. Why aren't you at work? It's two o'clock in the bloody afternoon!"
     "Aw, chill out! Work! Work! Work! It’s not all about work. A person's got to enjoy life once in awhile. Take a load off, relax, smell the coffee...or is it the roses? Whatever..."
     "What about your job? Did you call in sick? What's Bosman going to say?"
     "Relax. Bosman isn’t at work either. The office is locked tight. So we went and got some of that new lotion from The Sandman. Your mom and I are gonna take it easy for awhile. Why don't you try some? There's a bottle on the counter. Help yourself. Relax, lie back and unwind, smell... the roses... nothing else matters... it... ...does'nt... ...really... ...matterrrzzz..."
     Mike watched as his father's eyes closed and he started snoring again. His mom hadn't moved at all. For all he knew, she could be dead. He could feel the old anger like a waking beast stirring from deep within himself and that voice again, saying things it shouldn't, mustn't...
     Mike went downstairs. He realized he was hungry. He opened the refrigerator. The smell that greeted his nostrils was enough to gag him and the mouldy leftovers were enough to quell any hunger pangs that might have survived the aromatic-visual experience he was witnessing.
He looked at the bottle on the counter. "I wonder what it tastes like? I suppose there is no harm in trying some. The old man's right. I have been kind of uptight lately."
He twisted the cap off the bottle and as he did so, he noticed the grittiness. He looked more closely. Sure enough. Abe Promiser's trademark: sand. He smelled the liquid inside. No smell. He put his finger inside and touched. A tingling sensation spread from his finger to the rest of his hand and up arm. Wow! Some powerful stuff! He dipped his finger into the bottle again and tasted the concoction. The result was immediate and explosive, unlike anything he'd ever experienced. Mike had to admit he didn't have the words to describe this new sensation. He lifted the bottle to his lips and drank...
     ...The bottle fell to the floor but Mike did not pick it up. The liquid spread on the shiny vinyl, Mike stared at it. He saw a river flowing from the bottle towards his foot. There was something floating on the surface. Now he bent down for a closer look. Sand! Of course! What else could it be? More fucking sand! What did you expect when you had dealings with a Sandman? Sand! Sand! Sand! The word just wouldn't go away! Why? Why? Slowly, like a figure emerging from the mist, he saw Meaghan's body, her face; and it came to him then and the horror of the thought took his breath away. The investigators had found sand on Meaghan's skin, under her fingernails, in her hair. They had never been able to figure out where it came from. Suddenly he understood. He knew who it was! For a moment, the angry beast within him tried to rise. But it was tired and it was not that important somehow.
     He watched the liquid continue to flow from the bottle and his toes started to vanish beneath the surface of the river. He looked up and stared ahead. The rainbows and the planets were beautiful and it didn't matter anymore...nothing really mattered except this feeling...this slipping away...
     Outside, The Sandman’s spiel continued, "You can shake it, you can bake it. Inside, outside. It'll make you prance, it'll make you dance. Come on folks! Step right up and let The Sandman make you fly...oh my yes! Ain't you a pretty one! Step right on up here honey, come on, there's no need to be shy now...”

Copyright © 2003 by Regis J. Auffray
All rights reserved.

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Reviewed by Lena Kovadlo 2/12/2013
Perhaps it is the AD editor not working but you should really have line breaks between paragraphs and dialogue lines. Makes it easier to read and follow the writing.

You are really good at writing and weaving stories. Have you ever tried writing a novel? I think you'd do great in that. And how about a book of short stories? That would awesome as well. I am rooting for you!!! You are not just a great poet now. You are also a great story writer... and that is amazing to witness and be a part of.
Reviewed by Morgan McFinn 12/12/2011

Real good story, Regis. Amazing how you can pack so much into a short piece without it seeming just flows. Well done, again.
Reviewed by Mary Lacey, Desertrat 3/2/2011
Awesome story! Feel so sorry for Mike with so many different things on his plate, his friends not accepting him, his sister dying and now find her killer..I was riveted all the way through.

Reviewed by Cierra Norman 1/26/2011
Enjoyed this story very much, phenomenal work!!!
Reviewed by Clarrissa Moon 12/2/2010
I enjoyed this! Thanks!
Reviewed by Sanjana Ramesh 1/1/2010
So basically The Sandman took Meaghan and did something to her???
Reviewed by Melissa Mendelson 12/14/2008
I love the poem in the opening and how it flowed through the story. The Sandman is a slippery devil, one that we discover to more than a salesman, but I especially love the ending. I would've loved to have read more.
Reviewed by Kathleen McDonald 10/9/2008
A very intriguing write Regis. I enjoyed the sequence of events as they took place. Very good images you have shared. The ending was excellent with the boy slipping away remembering and the sandman doing his speel.
Kathy Lynn
Reviewed by d. k 12/26/2007
I thought this to be a wonderful story with imagination. I would have loved to have seen the Sandman and his 1972 Ford Stationwagon written in a more descriptive way, you know sort of enhancing what Abe stood for by his appearance. It's a story that holds your interest to the very end. Great work!

Reviewed by Sheila Roy 11/10/2007
Intrigued by this tale! It's nice to read a story that doesn't exactly end happily, too. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time...wondering who killed his sis. Great end to this one - the tale could continue if you chose. Well done, my literary friend!
Reviewed by Jessica Lark 4/2/2007
Hi, yet again, I loved this. You have a wonderful imagination, and I like the fact there is no happy ending;-)I read an article once which said readers need all loose ends tied up and for the story to end happily. Being a reader/writer myself I would have to disagree, I am all for open and unhappy endings.
Anyway, well done and after reading the other reviews, I'd agree that you could develop this further.
All the best
Reviewed by Mary Grace Patterson 1/8/2007
A great exciting story.. You have a good imagination !...M
Reviewed by CS Johnson 12/1/2006
Unique story with an old school twilight zone or night gallery feel. Very enjoyable
Reviewed by Jennifer Croy 6/10/2006
That was a great story about the sandman. You have a great imagination on expressing yourself into your work! Great Job! Jennifer I'll read some more of your work when I get a chance.
Reviewed by Sandra Mushi 10/8/2005
Fascinating piece, Regis! Wow! A caprivating write!

God bless, Regis!

Reviewed by Christine Boyce 8/20/2005
I like your writing...interesting plot, suspenseful, and never boring for a minute. I glanced through the other reviews, and noticed some suggestions that you expand it--I think that would work well, too.
Reviewed by Poetess of The Soul Sheila G 8/18/2005
Wow- Oh Wow- Oh Wow Regi--- This is truly amazing... My 1st thought was -- I want some~! :) I would love to feel that NOCARe attitude now and then~! but, what would get done if Everyone felt this way- and my next thought- Pissed- at what people can actually get away with - and my next thought, ManipuLaTion at it's finest and scariest.. I hate that word with a PaSSion but, it's used by many for different reasons! and then- Wow, this man could write a comic book with this one- I truly mean it- I say what I mean Only~! I am Impressed with this so called article- Sounds like more to meeeeeeeee.... I would buy it - WArm HuGs2U- Peacefully, Sheee
Reviewed by Sage Sweetwater 8/1/2005
I process visually and I see The Sandman being produced into a video game for teenagers and adults alike. Very addictive in a good way. Yes Regis!! I see this as some kind of hoodoo/voodoo software! It all lies in the marketing of lotion! Grabbing my joystick! Who wants to play Sandman? I do! I do!

Reviewed by Michael Ault 7/16/2005
I agree with Jackie, this could become a longer piece very Stephen Kingish.

Mike Ault
Reviewed by M. B. 7/11/2005
Eerily delicious!

Reviewed by Cles Wilson 6/30/2005
Fascinating Write. WOW
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 3/26/2005
b r r r r
Reviewed by Mary Lynn Plaisance 3/23/2005
I had to see how this ended! I almost stopped at the point when, "The investigators had found sand on Meaghan's skin, under her fingernails, in her hair." But I had to know the ending. I would have handled that Sandman different, but I truely enjoyed this read! Thanks for sharing. ~BeB~
Reviewed by richard poor 10/3/2004
very good!!! i am into the darker stuff too
Reviewed by A Serviceable Villain 8/18/2004

Your talent goes far beyond the versed word, my friend - this is one outstanding write!

Reviewed by Joni Latham 4/8/2004
This really good. I had to read it twice just make sure that it was what I though it was. It's could almost a horror story when you think about the implications.
Reviewed by Gracie McKeever 3/8/2004
You weave a good tale, Regis. Great story, nice characterization, and the plot line kept me riveted until the last sentence.

Keep up the great work!
Reviewed by Crystal-Rain Love 11/24/2003
Wow! Very imaginative. How on earth did you come up with this?
Reviewed by Regina Pounds 11/17/2003
Excellent, Regis... chilling... multi-faceted write. A diamond of a story.

Reviewed by Cynth'ya 10/29/2003
Deep my Canadian Brotha, quite deep. Keep your imagination soaring, and keep amazing yourself as a writer.

Glad to see you visited my site as well.
Reviewed by Jaclynn Huntington 10/11/2003
Wow! This has a lot of potential. Though posted as a short story it came across like an introduction to a more detailed tale. Perhaps a novel. I could see this going in several directions. Much easier to read with the paragraphs showing. I really like your development of the Sandman and the rhythm of his speech.

This would make a great mystery with discovery of self and the hero making things right again. Nice storyline!


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