Niagara Author

Canadian Short Stories by John Hartig

Pen and ink, I guess, doesn't apply anymore. It's the keyboard now-a-days and the internet. Coffee, of course, has a perennial application at all times, old and modern, to fuel the juices of creativity.

I'm an author and a poet in Vineland. I've reserved this little nook for my short stories.

I hope you've got your cup of coffee all warmed up. So, just have a sip, sit back and travel through those things that have made me think and write. Maybe you and I can find a common ground here in this little nook, this little refuge for our humanity, away from the turmoil that's presently going on in the world.

Here is a sample of my imagination:

  • N.B. Publication of my short stories in magazines or anthology are possible. Just contact me!

Leonardo and Michelangelo
At the Pearly Gates

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
[William Shakespeare, AsYou Like It, Act II, Scene VII]

The Players: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Saint Peter, Archangel Raphael, Pope Julius II, Pope Leo X, Salai, Melzi, Einstein

A Short Story
By John Hartig
February 2018
12 pages 5,695 words


"Hey Michelangelo, what are you doing here?" asked Leonardo, as Michelangelo himself, shimmered into existence. Well, you could call it a sort of existence, as it happened to be in front of the Pearly Gates.

Leonardo arched his eyebrows upwards, eyebrows which were distinctly bushy in this spiritual realm. Always polite, Leonardo answered, "I'm waiting for a ticket to get in."

"So, why are we waiting? What's keeping us outside the Gates?" asked Michelangelo, a bit agitated, if not irate.

"Maybe we've been bad boys!" commented Leonardo.

"Maybe it was the fact that you were gay and liked boys!" accused Michelangelo. "Everyone in Florence talked about the red tunics you wore."

"I was proud of what I was and am!" rebuffed Leonardo. "And speaking of secrets in the closet, I heard a few things about you!"

Michelangelo took a long time to answer but finally admitted, "Well, since we're in front of the Pearly Gates, yes, I was gay too, but at least, I tried my best to follow the church's teachings. I should be rewarded for my hidden suffering."

"It could be that all that doesn't matter to God," said Leonardo, "maybe it's other things we did which are holding us outside the Gates. When I knew you, you were impatient and unkind to people."

Michelangelo pursed his lips in disdain. His anger rose and he was about to swear.

“Tut, tut,” broke in Saint Peter. “We’ll have none of that here.” He wanted to hear what the two men were arguing about, especially since they were at the very threshold of the Pearly Gates. “Look,” said Saint Peter. “Neither of you is getting a ticket in until we settle this thing. Bickering is just not allowed in the Kingdom of Light. So let’s settle it, right here and right now.”

Of course, ‘right here’ and ‘right now’ meant nothing there in front of the Pearly Gates. This argument could potentially stretch out forever like a tedious ping-pong match until one or both of them put down their paddles. Saint Peter eyed the two men and sighed philosophically. “Forgiveness is a long and winding road. Sometimes, it never ends.”

He pointed to the Pearly Gates. “As you can see, this is a gated community,” he said, “and we just don’t allow any old riffraff in.”

Michelangelo was somewhat miffed. “Riffraff?” he asked.

Meanwhile, Leonardo smiled quietly at Michelangelo, and nodded, as if to say, ‘if the shoe fits...’

Saint Peter jumped in before things heated up again. He explained, “in the old days, we categorically kept Unbelievers out. But recently, there’s been a change in policy. Belief is not used as a measure any more; it’s Kindness.”


[for the rest of the story, see what happens when old lovers and Einstein pop in at the Pearly Gates!
Purchase is available as eBook and Paperback]

John Hartig Short Stories | Niagara Author


*Thanks to Walter Isaacson’s book of 2017, Leonardo Da Vinci,
it was not only a great read
but also gave me the idea for a short story,
Leonardo and Michelangelo at the Pearly Gates
*musical ability: Walter Isaacson p. 117
*Saltarelli allegation: Walter Isaacson p. 68
*Google: "ambassador's letter to Machiavelli"
*Leonardo’s generosity: Walter Isaacson p. 130
*Salai: Walter Isaacson p. 131
*comparison Leonardo and Michelangelo: Walter Isaacson p. 373
*Melzi: Walter Isaacson p. 385, p. 445
*"well-spent day...happy sleep": Walter Isaacson p.513



Niagara Author - John HartigStories for Your Coffee Break 8 Short Stories, relaxing reads. If you have a coffee, or a tea, and a little bit of time, that would be perfect for this Collection of Short Stories by John Hartig. Give you something to laugh about, or think about, as you read what's in the Table of Contents:

1.Saint Peter Needs Help
2.Leonardo and Michelangelo at the Pearly Gates
3.Coffee Break with Harry Rittenhouse
4.Mom Passed Away
5.The Passing of Wilma de Jage
6.Winning the Lottery
7.Novella on Jean-Marie Leclair, Composer
8.Battle of the Violins - Time Travel

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Niagara Author - John HartigCoffee Break Reading 2 Short Stories: The first, "Who Killed Jean-Marie Leclair?", one of the great violinists and composers of the 18th century, stabbed to death in 1764. It could have been the nephew. It could have been the ex-wife. The answer lies in your reading the book! The second story is about time travel. Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise is given a mission. Bring back to the future 6 of the best violinists in history to see who is the best of the best in a fiddle jamboree to be held at the Hollywood Bowl in the year 2328. Engineer Scotty is none to happy about the mission. This will strain his "bairns", his beloved engines, because it takes immense energy to bulldoze the Enterprise through the continuum of time and space. That is why they have to make a pit-stop in 1901 at the house of English author H.G. Wells who has secreted away a Time Machine in his basement which is small enough to do the job of moving people around within the time continuum with less energy. One of the musicians on the list is Jean-Marie Leclair, to be brought to the future before his untimely death at the point of a knife.

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Niagara Author - John Hartig

Sunset Reading 3 Short Stories: The first is a Week in the Life [of John Hartig, Vineland author]. There's my tooth being pulled. My swimming with the guys at the Kiwanis Pool. My supper on Saturday before Easter at my sister-in-law's, Marilyn. The second story is a novella about the Baroque murder mystery: "Who Killed Jean-Marie Leclair?" A famous violinist and composer who was stabbed to death in 1764. The last short story is a time travel yarn, Battle of the Violins, where Captain James T. Kirk takes the Enterprise into the past, retrieves 6 of the best violinists in history, brings them back to the future for a fiddle contest to see who is the best of the best. Only the future knows the answer for sure!




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Niagara Author - John HartigMy Life and Other Short Stories 9 Short Stories: A great deal for leisure time reading.

1. A Week in the Life of John Hartig, one week before Easter 2019
2. Saint Peter Needs Help: violinists are anxious to get past the Pearly Gates.
3. Leonardo and Michelangelo argue in front of the Pearly Gates
4. Coffee Break with Harry Rittenhouse: He lived till 103.
5. Rosa Hartig, my mother, passed away.
6. Wilma de Jager, a neighbour, passed away
7. Winning the Lottery: solving the murder after Aunt Sopie won
8. Who Killed Jean-Marie Leclair in 1764, famous violinist and composer
9. Battle of the Violins: a time travel yarn with Captain Kirk



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*Short Stories        *Poetry        *Novels

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