The Woman at the Motel – A Short Short Story

The Woman at the Motel

A woman named Nancy at the Del Mar Motel who has 3 kids and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses & always reads the sports section because her dad was a high school football coach who talked about her son with ADHD & Tourette Syndrome whom they adopted from the next town over in Orange County and took to Hawaii on his 6th birthday and hoped he didn’t think he would always get trips like that and who is trying to think ahead about real estate for her kids’ future.

The End


Drawing and story by Marty Coleman

The Blue Woman and the Red Bird – a Friendship Story


The Blue Woman and the Red Bird 

One day the blue woman was walking to the edge of the volcano so she could jump in and kill herself. On the way she came across a red bird standing on a dead branch near the trail she was on. The red bird started talking to the blue woman and what she said made her cry. They weren’t tears of sadness but tears of joy because what the red bird said was that she was lonely being the only red bird in the area and wanted someone to talk to who would understand her. She saw the blue woman walking by and since she had never seen a blue woman before she figured she had to feel pretty lonely as well. She was right. The blue woman felt very lonely.  But thanks to the red bird noticing her and saying something she didn’t feel that way anymore. The red bird and the blue woman became great friends and accompanied each other everywhere together until the end of their days. And they were never lonely again.

The End

Drawing and story © 2016 Marty Coleman |


Two Women Talking – 2004-2016


Two Women Talking – A Short Short Story

Chapter One

The woman with more hair who could do flamenco curls on her jaw if she wanted talking hesitantly to the friend with the thin eyes and arched eyebrows and lower lip that jutted out who was judging her friend’s mascara as too thick and dark (but I liked it) about why her boyfriend won’t commit and not knowing what to do and how she wakes up at night sure that someone is breaking in and she wonders if she should get a boob job to be more sexy for him and if that would help and her friend said maybe.

The End

Note: original ink drawing was done in 2004.  Color added in 2016.

Drawing and Story © 2016 Marty Coleman |


Ella’s Table of Contents – An Illustrated Short Story


Buy the original | buy a print | matte and frame are available

Chapter One – Ella Goes

Chapter Two – Ella Drinks

Chapter Three – Ella Looks

Chapter Three – Ella Realizes

Chapter Four – Ella Blushes

Chapter Five – Ella Points

Chapter Six – Ella Laughs

Chapter Seven – Ella Speaks

Chapter Eight – Ella Listens

Chapter Nine – Ella Argues

Chapter Ten – Ella Laughs Again

Chapter Eleven – Ella Gets Married

The End


The Genie – A Very Short Story


The Genie

The woman rubbed the tea pot and a Genie came out. The woman said, “Wow, this is amazing! I am going to wish for…”

But the Genie stopped her and said, “Sorry, I am not that kind of Genie. I don’t grant wishes and I don’t do dishes. I am a comedian, all I do is tell jokes.” And with that the Genie rolled herself into a ball and floated out of the room through the vent.  

The Genie eventually made it big and got her own sitcom. But the woman who rubbed the teapot was bitter about it for the rest of her life.

The End

Drawing and short story © 2016 Marty Coleman |


Serendipity – Three Illustrated Very Short Stories

Very Short Story #1


The Man

The man texted the stranger from the dating app but didn’t know the person was sitting right next to him at the coffee place. Later they would laugh when telling the story of how they met.

The End

Very Short Story #2


The Woman

The woman looked at the stranger’s picture on the dating site and liked what she saw. Then she realized the woman in the picture was actually sitting outside the window at the cafe.  She went and introduced herself. They became best friends and would laugh when they told the story of how they met.

The End

Very Short Story #3


The Violinist 

The violinist stared at the person in church, sure she knew him from somewhere.  He came up to her afterwards and said they went to high school together.  They got married a year later and always laughed when they told the story of how they found each other again.

The End

Drawings and Short Stories © 2016 Marty Coleman |

The Two Sisters – A Short Story


Buy the Original | Buy a Print

Once upon a time there were two sisters from a tropical island. One of the sisters was round and voluptuous, the other thin and angular.  The one who was round and voluptuous was very popular. She had boyfriends and was invited to parties all the time.  The one who was thin and angular would often tag along with her sister, the pretty one, to the parties and other activities. Her sister and her sister’s friends were mean to her and the men showed no interest because she was not very pretty or sexy.  She knew she was ugly and just accepted it as the way it was.

After she graduated from high school the thin one had a chance to move to the city and live with relatives. She didn’t see many prospects or options staying on the Island so she decided to go.  As soon as she had moved to the city she had started to notice men paying attention to her.  They would chat with her in cafes, flirt with her on the street, smile at her even when she took her young nephew for a walk. All of it was quite confusing for her since she knew she was ugly.

The thin one had only been in the city a few weeks when she was stopped on the street by someone who asked if she was a model.  She laughed at the man and told him she was not and could never be, a model. He begged to differ and gave her his card. He asked her to call him if she was interested.  She laughed all the way home but her Aunt, when she heard about it, said she should go check it out, that she actually was model material. The thin one laughed because she knew she was ugly and certainly not model material.

The thin one decided to go meet the man just to get her Aunt off her back.  And in what was the biggest surprise of her young life, the man was actually the artistic director of a very large and legitimate modeling agency.  They liked her and within a month she had her first paid assignment and within 6 months she was making a good living.

In the meanwhile the voluptuous one was hearing about this back on the island.  She was very confused, and a bit jealous, because she knew what her sister knew. She was the pretty one, the popular one, and her sister was the ugly one. But now she was hearing she was a model in the city? How could that be? It made no sense.  She decided to go visit and see for herself.

The first thing the voluptuous one noticed when she got to the city was how few men paid any attention to her.  She walked through the airline terminal, picked up her bag at the baggage claim, and even hailed a taxi and no one paid any attention. It was not something she was used to and it made no sense.  But she chalked it up to her maybe not being all that fresh looking after the long flight and forgot about it.

It didn’t take her long to become annoyed by how opinionated her sister was. She wasn’t nearly as meek as she used to be. She had even argued with her about what to wear when they went out to the party her sister had been invited to that night! The voluptuous one wanted to wear a revealing dress, one that showed off her cleavage (which was plentiful) and her legs.  Her sister told her that was not a good look, that she had to choose one or the other, show cleavage or show legs, not both. The voluptuous one didn’t like that but decided to go with the leg look, just so they wouldn’t have a big fight on their first day together in the city.

The party was very exciting. There were some people the sister who was visiting recognized from TV and from magazines, though she couldn’t remember their names. Her sister introduced her to many people, so many she lost track.  She realized that her sister was one of the stars of the party, she was popular with men and women alike, older people and younger.  When the sister from the city would go off to chat and leave the sister from the island alone she noticed once again she got barely any attention from anyone, unless it was when someone came up to her to tell her how amazing her sister is.

It was then that she had her epiphany.  She saw it so clearly.  They had switched roles.  Here in the city her sister was the pretty one, and she was the ugly one.  She went to the bathroom and sat in a stall and cried.  When she came out her sister realized something was wrong.  She smiled inside, happy to see her sister, who had been so mean to her so often get a taste of what it was like to be the ugly one.  The sister from the island tried to explain to her how she felt but the sister from the city wasn’t showing much sympathy.  By the time they got home to the Aunt and Uncle’s house they were having a fight about it.

The Uncle and Aunt were still up when they got home and couldn’t help but hear them fighting.  They invited them to sit in the kitchen and have a cup of tea, calm down a bit and maybe talk to them about it, which they did.  They both explained their version of what happened that night, which led to an explanation of what used to happen on the Island. How they both felt ugly and both felt pretty, all depending on where they were.  They talked about how they didn’t want to feel that way but did in spite of that.

The Uncle said, “You know, your Aunt has gone through this too.”  

They looked at her and said in unison, “You have?” 

“Yes.  I was voluptuous and popular on the Island just like you are. Then I came to the City and I didn’t get nearly as much attention, just like you.” she said to the voluptuous one.  “So I decided I would do whatever it took to become attractive to the people in the City. I worked and worked and worked.  Finally I started to get noticed.  I went on dates, had fun, had a lot of friends.  Then I was in that car accident you heard about many years ago and wasn’t able to keep in shape after that. I became like I had been before.  Many friends left me and I wasn’t asked on any dates anymore.  But there was one person who knew me when I first came from the Island, knew me when I became popular and pretty, and knew me after my accident. That person was always my friend, was always supportive, was always saying kind and complimentary things to me.  I saw him almost every day because he worked the counter at the grocery store I would go in.  You know who that is, right?  He’s your Uncle.”

The sisters had never heard that story before.  They smiled and told their Uncle what a great man he was. But he stopped them.  He said, “I was not that great a guy.  All I did was care about your Aunt.  I didn’t know anything about ‘popular’ or ‘pretty’ in the city. All I knew was your Aunt was kind and thoughtful and smart. She also was very pretty to me, so I am not saying that wasn’t there. But her ‘pretty’ came as much from her smile and kind words as it did from her beautiful face.”

“What that taught me girls is this,” the Aunt said, “You are planted somewhere in the world, it’s called your home. But not everyone fits in perfectly to the larger home that is your island or your city.  Some look out of place to others in the city or the Island.  Some look like they belong.  You can’t control what the rest of the Island or the City are going to think of you. What you can do is develop the things that matter, no matter where you are, city or island.  You develop those things and someone will be there to see them.  In my case I was lucky enough to have the boy at the grocery counter notice them. I am grateful for that.”

The uncle piped up with a laugh, “And I am grateful this beautiful woman noticed me!”

The sisters went upstairs to bed. They talked a long time, apologizing for all the small and big slights they had laid on each other. They decided to be more supportive and loving to each other and others in the future. And they did just that.

And in the most ironic twist of all. The sister from the Island met the man of her dreams on the flight back to the Island. The man was from the city and was going on a business trip to visit some resorts he had contracts with. They talked the entire time and she knew by the end of the flight he was the man for her.  They ended up marrying and settling in the city of all places.  She felt loved and cherished the rest of her life. 

The sister from the city had a more roundabout journey to her true love. But it was equally ironic when it happened.  It was when she went back to visit her family on the island 10 years later. She was a famous model by then and everyone on the island knew of her.  Well, almost everyone.  There was a man in her home town who ran the local orphanage. He never really had time to pay attention to fashion magazines or watch TV and didn’t know who she was.  But when she came with her mother to help at the orphanage one day, he watched her play with the kids with rapt attention. He noticed the care she showed, the willingness to get dirty, the smarts to figure out why the roof was leaking in one corner.  He asked her to come back again if she could. And she did, the very next day.  Within a year, after she had made many more visits to the island than she ever had before, they were engaged.  She moved back to the island permanently a short while later and they got married in a ceremony on the beach with all the orphans and her family all around.

She would occasionally do some runway modeling shows at the resorts but otherwise she was full-time at the orphanage, loving her life and her husband until the end of her days.

The End

Drawing and story © 2016 Marty Coleman |

Quote by Victor Hugo


The Lover – An Illustrated Short Story


Chapter One – When a Child

When a child Viola loved the violin. She played it every day. Her mother had been a viola player of some renown and had named her one and only daughter in honor of that. But Viola fell for the violin instead.  Her mother, Violet, didn’t mind. All she wanted was for her daughter to be happy.

Chapter Two – When an Adult

But when an adult Viola was not happy. She had stopped playing the violin because her girlfriend, Clarina, didn’t like the sound of her practicing and she wanted more than anything to make her girlfriend happy. She thought if she stopped playing her girlfriend would love her more and be happy. 

Chapter Three – When a Lover

The happier Clarina became the unhappier Viola became.  She didn’t know why but she was very sad most every day.  Her therapist, Timpany, said it was because she wasn’t playing the violin any longer.  Viola wasn’t sure but she thought it might be true.  She decided she would play the violin again, but only when Clarina was not at home.

Chapter Four – When Alone

Viola started to play the violin again.  Viola’s neighbor, Mr. Horn, who was french, heard her every morning.  He saw Viola in the hall when they were both getting their mail one day. He told her he loved hearing her play, that it made his mornings so relaxing and happy. He told her he was a photographer and asked if one day he might be able to take some photos of her playing. He had been doing a series of musicians and had not yet done a stringed instrument player. She was delighted and said yes.

Chapter Five – When Together

She didn’t tell Clarina, but Viola went to Mr. Horn’s apartment 3 days later to be photographed.  He had her stand on the fire escape and he took photos of her with the city in the background.  He complimented her again on her playing.  It only took about 20 minutes to get all the shots he wanted.  Then he offered her some tea, which she accepted.  He asked her questions about her playing, her life, her interests.  She was happy to have some attention and was sad when he said he had an appointment he had to get to.

Chapter Six – When Apart

Viola was very excited to see the photographs.  But she didn’t see or hear from Mr. Horn for a number of weeks.  It was making her crazy waiting. It wasn’t just that she wanted to see the photographs but she wanted to see Mr. Horn again.  She liked him and felt positive and hopeful when she had been with him.  She wanted that feeling again.

Chapter Seven – When Surprised

After 2 months had passed, an interminable amount of time for Viola, she saw Mr. Horn in the hall.  He greeted her warmly and apologized profusely for the delay in getting back to her. He invited her right then to his apartment to see the photographs and she of course accepted.  She was so surprised to see the photos. She didn’t realize he would convert them to black and white or that they would be so dramatic and emotional.  She actually started to cry when she saw them.  He embraced her lightly around the shoulders and said, “I hope those are good tears.” She said that she had never actually seen a good photograph of herself playing before and she didn’t realize how moving it was going to be.

Chapter Eight – When in Love

Mr. Horn asked if she would mind if one of the photos was put in an exhibition he was going to have.  She immediately agreed that it would be fine. She asked if she could have a small print of the photograph just as a remembrance.  He said that was part of the plan.  5 months later the exhibition opened.  She went to the opening and saw the print framed for the first time. She cried again.  She also whispered to the print when no one was looking, “I love you.” She felt the image speaking it back to her. She was happy.


The next morning she confessed to Clarina she had taken a lover. Clarina was hurt and asked, “Who was it?”, “When did it happen?”, and “Why?”  

Viola brought out the little print Mr. Horn had given her and showed it to Clarina and said, “This is my new lover.”

Clarina didn’t understand and never did. Viola and Clarina broke up later that day and Clarina moved out 2 days later. Viola became 3rd Violinist in a local orchestra and was very happy. She also became one of Mr. Horn’s favorite and most popular models. He eventually published a photography book called ‘The Violinist’ that became a big seller for his small publishing company. 

Viola and Mr. Horn’s friendship spanned over 30 years. They remained great friends until Mr. Horn died at age 78. Viola helped organize the work he had not yet been able to catalog due to his sickness and led the effort to have one final book published of his work.  She succeeded and was very happy for him.

The End

Drawing and story © 2016 Marty Coleman |



A Small Moment in Time – A Short Story


Chapter One

Donna arrived early at the Doctor’s office with Betty, her friend, nervous about whether she would find the building, having never been in that part of town before. It made her nervous to go there because the area had the reputation of being a hot bed of gang activity.  Every time she watched the news there was a report of a shooting or a drug bust or something like that in among the apartments. liquor stores and convenience stores that dotted the area.

Chapter Two

She almost backed out of going to the appointment but her friend really needed a ride and she had already backed out of helping her out earlier in the month.  She didn’t really like Betty very much because she was so needy. It was always about her and her needs, never about anyone else. It irked her because she herself was needy and wouldn’t have minded a little attention being paid to her once in a while. Her husband gave her no attention unless it was as a prelude to sex. Even that attention dissolved as soon as her husband ejaculated, which usually took about 30 seconds (yes, she counted).  Her kids gave her no attention, but that didn’t really bother her. She understood they were just being self-consumed teenagers.  Her boss gave her no attention, which she liked for the most part. He left her alone to do her job and she did it well. She did wish for some recognition every now and then but she could live without it.

Chapter Three

She was waiting for Betty to be done when she noticed a man sitting across the aisle from her. He was older, maybe just a tad overweight, with a nice hat.  He had a small book he was writing in.  She wondered what he was writing about. She was reading an essay on immigration from The Atlantic Monthly on her phone and didn’t pay much attention to him.  After she finished she looked up and saw him looking at her. He wasn’t looking directly at her, but at her shoes.  She looked away but looked back quickly to see him looking down at his journal. He looked back up at her again, but once again, he wasn’t looking at her face, but lower. This time he seemed to be looking at her legs.  She then realized he was not writing in a journal, he was drawing in a sketchbook. And he was drawing her.

Chapter Four

This made her self-conscious. She started wondering how she looked. Was her hair in place? Was she color coordinated?  Then she realized her shirt was open, showing her tank top underneath. She hoped it wasn’t too low. She was always trying to find that proper line between showing off her girls just a bit (since she did like how they looked and was proud that while her friends had to have help from their favorite plastic surgeon to get theirs to look that good, hers were God given) and not wanting to look like a hootchie mama letting them all hang out.  

As she looked down to check herself out she realized crumbs from the granola bar she was snacking on at landed on her chest.  Should she wipe them off? They would go down into her bra if she did that, but at least she could do it quickly and quietly. Or should she pick them off like she usually would do if she were alone, not being watched?  They wouldn’t get stuck in her bra that way, but she would be doing something much more conspicuous.  She chose to quickly wipe them down into her bra. The man was looking down when she did it so she didn’t think he noticed.

Chapter Five

Knowing someone was drawing her also made her happy.  She liked the attention, liked being looked at. It reminded her of the early days of her marriage when she would catch her husband looking at her when they went out somewhere.  He always liked her face and figure, complimenting both frequently, and expressing physically that it was sometimes more than just admiration of her beauty. He had been quite the driven lover back in the early days.  Those days weren’t nearly as frequent anymore, and she had accepted that as part of being in a longer marriage and in getting older.  

But that didn’t mean she liked it. She felt a little thrill whenever she realized someone was admiring her, even if it wasn’t that frequent.  There was a rush she felt when it happened and she was feeling that now. She wondered if her neck and chest were turning red, which it did when she felt that way. She hoped not, but then again she sort of liked that she had a signal from her body about what was happening inside show on the outside.

Having this feeling happen so randomly brought up all sort of emotions about her marriage, about her self-worth, about her compromises with family and friends (Betty being a perfect example). A switch flipped in her head and she decided she had had enough. It was a most unexpected epiphany out of the blue.

Chapter Six

She was looking down at her phone when a pair of running shoes appeared on the floor in front of her. She looked up to see the man smiling at her, about to speak. He said, “Hi, sorry to interrupt you. My wife just buzzed me to come into the Doctor’s office so I have to go but I wanted to show you the drawing I have been doing of you before I did.”

Donna looked at the drawing.  It was of her with her head down looking at her phone. Her legs were crossed and sure enough, her shirt was open and a bit of cleavage was showing. She was glad it didn’t look too low. She looked up, smiled and said, “I was wondering what you were doing. At first I thought you were writing in a journal then I saw you looking at me and figured out that you were drawing. You caught me pretty good I think, thank you.”

He said, “No, thank you. I loved how still you sat, made it easy to draw you. You didn’t even uncross and recross your legs the other way, which is often what happens. Anyway, I have to go but here is my card. If you want me to send you a photo of the drawing now and when it is finished, just email me so I have your address and I will do it, ok?”

She took the card and said,  “Yes, I will be sure to do that. Thank you.”


After she got home she went to her office and wrote out a plan.  A year later she was divorced. She moved to the city she had always wanted to live in, San Francisco. She even moved to a somewhat scary part of town so she could get a good deal on a fixer-upper. She was renovating it herself.  She went back to school, this time not to be an assistant to someone but to be an actual scientist, which had been her dream. She heard from Betty once in a while but no longer felt responsible for trying to solve her problems.

Four years later she emailed the man who had drawn her, asking if she could see the drawing. He sent her the finished version. She asked if he would accept a commission to do a large painted version of the drawing. He agreed and 6 months later she had it over her mantle in her remodeled home.  She also bought the drawing and had it in her bedroom.

When friends came to visit they often remarked about the simple ‘slice of life, small moment in time’ feel the painting had. They liked that about it.  She would smile and agree, all the while knowing not all moments in time are equal.

The End

Drawing and story © 2015 Marty Coleman |



The Observer and the Question – A Short Short Story



I had just finished with a dentist appointment and came here for lunch.

Chapter One

They were outside on the patio and I sat where I could draw them. I ate and drew at the same time. After a while the woman facing me realized I was drawing her. She leaned over to say something to her friend. I continued to draw until they were about to leave. I stood and walked over to them. I held up the drawing to the woman facing me and showed it to her.  She said she noticed me looking at them and wondered what I was doing. I explained who I was and what I was doing.  She said she really liked it. I showed it to the other woman and she said the same thing.  I told her she could see it finished at my website or if she prefer I would send her the image via email when I was done with it. I gave her my card and she gave me her email address. I said goodbye and went back to finish my lunch.

Chapter Two

It has taken me about a month, maybe more, to paint and finish the drawing. Now I am about to publish it and send her the image and the link. Will I get a response? What do you think she will say and think about it?

The End

Drawing and Story © Marty Coleman |



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