A Fly in My Soup

Here I am doing one of my favorite things, reading and reviewing another short story. Man, I love doing these, and have I got a good one today.

Little Bernie's Map

This was just supposed to be a nice, relaxing family trip. A way to escape the daily grind and forget, for a while, the problems and worries at home.

Daniel and Gina, along with their son Bernie, are heading home after a trip to Disney World.  Daniel just lost his job, but they decide to go on this vacation anyway. It may be the last one they can take for a long time.

Bernie and his father have a game they play. Bernie loves map, he collects them. At random points in their trip, Daniel would ask Bernie how much farther they had to go and he would look on the map to track their progress.

Bernie had one map that was special. A map given to him by an old woman when they stopped for a break at the Florida Welcome Center. She told him to be careful with it and Bernie tried to be.

But when weird and frightening things start to happen, the map is not first on any of their minds. All they can think about is what just happened.

What came down from the sky that day would be discussed for years to come. Each person would draw their own conclusions. One thing most agreed on was what they saw, what it looked like.

My Thoughts

Ha! My thoughts are all over the place. It has been a long time since I have been this surprised by a story. I had to reread several scenes just to wrap my mind around what was happening. I wanted to try to form an image in my head. I sure wish this had been a movie. You’ll know what I mean when” The Flashpoint” happens.

Troy has a wonderful way of leading you into the story. There is much about this family that you can relate to. The characters are genuine and very likeable. I felt their anguish and their perseverance and really wanted things to be alright for them.

When the event happens I am stunned. I can’t wait for you to read it. It is so wild and kind of funny. It definitely makes you think. Think and say, yeah, I hear ya.

If you like Twilight Zone and Tales From the Darkside, you will love this. I also got a flash of that dread you feel in the scene from the movie The Mist by Stephen King. The one where they are driving into the mist and you just know something inexplicable is going to occur. The feeling lasts long after you finish reading.

Book Blurb

The world is a funny place with funny people and some things just happen for no reason at all. Still, every family deserves a vacation, a break, even when times are tough and backs are against the wall. Daniel, a recently out-of-work family man, is returning home with his wife and child from a lovely prescheduled vacation before they must face the harsh reality back home. What they would never have expected was the surreal nightmare they would experience on their journey back.

About Troy Aaron Ratliff

Troy Aaron Ratliff was born and raised in Hamilton, Ohio and self-educated in writing, art and voice impersonations. When he’s not reading, writing and cooking up his next monstrosity, you can generally find him defending the galaxy from the forces of evil, feeding hippopotamuses, dining with foreign dignitaries and Zen masters, waking up to his supermodel wife, altering the space-time inter-dimensional warp or, more than likely, stuck in traffic somewhere in Southern California.

From Troy

If you are looking for a story behind the story, I can’t honestly recall what sparked the idea for Little Bernie’s Map all those years ago when I originally wrote it. Although I can say that after hearing about the disheartening news about the debt crisis, along with the various problems many people in the Rust Belt were experiencing – a personal hit for me since I’m from southwestern Ohio – a terrifying thought started eating at the back of my mind: What if I was in one of those situations? What if I had a family to feed and I was out of work? It’;s scary, and my heart truly does go out to those families. Of course, this was around the time that I found Little Bernie’s Map(originally conceived as Little Ian’s Map for those who care) in my writing desk. Naturally, the cogs and gears started turning like they do when I start thinking about the serious issues in the world and how I would express my feelings toward them. In other words, when guys like me consider the money problems of the world, we consider how we would react to a giant mutant….(left blank by me so as not to avoid spoiler). Then again, maybe that’s just me and why I’m not running the show.

For more about the author:

Website: http://troyaaronratliff.com

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5086239.Troy_Aaron_Ratliff

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TARatliff

To Purchase your copy, click on the image.



  1. thanks for the review, nice.

    • You’d like this one Sherry. It’s out there!

  2. […] A Fly in My Soup (aknifeandaquill.wordpress.com) […]

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