Thursday, September 23, 2010


This is my story for the first prompt of Flash Fiction Friday, and the prompt is a great one. We were supposed to use the following as the first sentence: 'Why aren't shoes ever abandoned in pairs?' The possibilities are endless. Make sure you check out the site and read every one of the stories. I most certainly plan to. I really enjoy seeing what different people do with the same phrase or prompt. No two are ever the same. So, without further ado, my little tale. Hope you enjoy.


“Why aren’t shoes ever abandoned in pairs?”

When I said that out loud, I wasn’t so much asking with the hope of receiving an answer, as I was attempting to ease the tension on what was quickly promising to become yet another in a long line of depressing and disappointing investigations.

I’m a detective--homicide’s my specialty, and whatever the outcome of any of my cases, trust me, nobody wins. The thing is, there’s always a somebody who dies, always a mother or father who lose a child, always a grandma or grandpa brought to their knees in shame when they find out their grandbaby’s a killer. Oh yeah. It’s really rewarding work. Whichever way you look at it, it’s nothing but loss all the way around.

And tonight? I got sent out to the warehouse and dock district at 2 am because some good citizen, who chose to remain nameless and who had no legitimate reason for being down there in that hellhole anyway, stumbled upon a large pool of blood, and about 20 feet away, a woman’s red high heeled shoe. Just the one. In its heyday, it probably had some sparkle. I wondered if it’s owner had some too. Sparkle, that is.

Damn, I hate this one. I hate them all, but cases like this, I despise most of all. I’m going to walk around in a haze, wondering what kind of a woman wore that shoe and what was she doing down here and where is she now and why did she leave the one shoe behind for me to find. And she did leave it there for me to find. I’m sure of it. Well, I know why. To push me back to waking up staring at the bottom of a whiskey bottle, wondering where the fuck I was. It’s been four years, 8 months, 3 weeks, 6 days, and 13 hours, give or take. Just in case you were wondering.

“Boss? Hey, boss? You still with me?”

My partner. The next Dirty Harry Callahan? Not likely. The little hotshot believes he’s super cop. The way he pushes, he won’t live to see 30, but his mom will get his badge in a nice frame for her mantle. So there’s that.

So, there’s a whole lot of nothing to do now; just go home and wait for something. And dream of my mystery lady wearing her one red high heeled shoe. And wondering. Is she safe and warm tonight? Is she anything? Tonight?


Her body washed up the next afternoon and got caught in the pilings by one of the piers. She still had the little tote bag fastened to her waste-band with a safety pin, and the red high heeled shoe’s mate was still tucked safely inside. I should have seen it. I should have known it belonged to Rosie. Old and worn, with a touch of light. Like her. Before.

I’d known Rosie for the past 10 or 15 from my very first beat. We all used to call her Nosey Rosie, because she was always where she shouldn’t have been, watching what she shouldn’t have been watching, taking what she shouldn’t have been taking… You get the picture. Once I made detective, and a few more bucks, I made sure I slipped her a twenty every Sunday night on the corner of Harris and Champlain to cover a roof for the week and some eats. Thing is, I was temporarily tapped yesterday, and figured I’d catch up with her Monday evening. Well, it’s Monday evening, and Rosie just got zipped up in a gray body bag. So much for the best laid plans…

The man surfaced about a hour after Rosie did--gutted like a fish. No doubt the owner of the entire blood pool. No ID, no fingerprints--no fingers, actually. Teeth still there though, so maybe we can get something from dental records; although, his didn’t appear to have enjoyed too many regular 6-month checkups. But, you never know. He was wearing a fairly decent looking suit when he was sliced and diced, so maybe someone might miss him and report it. Then, Adam 12 and I will find out who he was, which usually puts you on the road to resolution. But for some reason, I have my doubts about solving this one. It’s my gut again telling me not to get my hopes up. Years of slurping the hard stuff have messed it up something awful, but when it talks to me, it’s usually right.

Decided to begin the paper trail before Cap got his hooks in me. Our precinct captain was a by-the-book, dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ kind of prick. Not that there’s anything really wrong with doing things right, you understand, but there are times when his attitude really gets in the way of good police work. Know what I mean? Anyhow, I get to the station and start grabbing some of the forms, when Himself summons me to his office.

It would appear there’s been some word from the top, whatever and whoever that is, that this case needs to be solved just as quickly as is humanly possible. Apparently, our gentleman, who had the misfortune of running into a descendant of Jack The Ripper, was of more importance than I had realized, fairly decent suit notwithstanding. I was informed that the large blood deposit had been 'removed' so as not to associate that area of town with his demise. Evidently, the techs were being 'advised' to confirm that he was 'violated' elsewhere, and dumped up river and just so happened to drift there.

Hmmm. The things people will do so as not to tarnish somebody’s reputation. I didn’t give a damn why he was there. All I gave a crap about was that he was murdered there and dumped like yesterday’s leftovers. There was somebody bigger than me though who did care if people knew he was there, so that’s the way it would be written up. For me, by the way--not by me. I was told I didn’t need to 'worry' myself about writing this one up. It was all being taken care of. I could just go home and look forward to the next callout at 2 am.

I asked my esteemed boss about Rosie and the shoe she lost. I mean, she was there where she obviously shouldn’t have been--again, and saw what she shouldn’t have seen, and paid for it with her life this time. I suggested maybe dusting the shoe for prints, DNA, something, and was told it had been sent to City with her body to be ‘disposed of’. There would definitely be no mention of Cozy Rosie…Nosey Rosie, I corrected him…whatever, he continued. No mention of her or that ridiculous shoe in the vicinity of this crime. That would just be adding way too much more drama to an already extremely stressful situation. ‘Extremely stressful situation’? What?


Went to the corner diner and had a BLT and black coffee and waited until I saw my boss leave the building. I went back in and dropped my gun and badge on his desk. Made a stop on my way home and picked up a quart of one of my old friends. Just poured myself a shot.

Rosie had always said that I was one of the good guys, and she also said that I was smart enough to know when to tap out. Here’s to you, Rose. I sure as hell hope you were at least half right…

Monday, September 6, 2010


What an intriguing starter sentence! Of course, they are ALL classic, aren't they? I was determined I was going to complete this one on time, and I'm back on track--I hope. Please enjoy.


He walked in and slid the photograph across my desk. Can you believe it? I picked it up and what did I see? An ugly black dot of a pooch squatting on somebody’s ten grand lawn. I thought, this old dude is a nut job. You want to hire me to do what--and you want me to split what--and where’s your straight jacket, pops? You leave it in the taxi on your way in here?

Let me back peddle some right about here. Name’s Lenny. Lenny Worchovsky, and you’re…? Well. Anyhow, I’m a dick. Now, get your mind up out of that sewer. I’m a detective. That kind of dick. Private, mind you. I don’t serve the public. Only those who pay cash up front.

Fast forward. This old guy that I figure to be around 175 years old, strolls into my base like he knows what day of the week it is, drops a few bills on the desk, and offers me a proposition. This dwarf of a mongrel in the photo, he says, belongs to a rich fella who will pay a pretty penny to get it back in the event the furry thing should turn up missing. He wants to share this score with me since my legs still work.

Now, I’ve been known to take some gigs that were, shall we say, peculiar, but snatch a dog and hold it for ransom? Even I wouldn’t dip that low. But, you see, since cash fanned out in front of me in hundred dollar denominations works wonders on any ethical dilemmas I might be experiencing, I said I was in.

He had done the recon and knew when ‘it’ would be alone in the yard for a time. I’m to stuff it into a valise, drop a note, and later on, trade the valise for the cash. Then, meet up with my new ‘partner’ and split the take. I wondered what Rio was like this time of year.

I get back to the office with the mutt, and the first thing the geezer does is pull off its collar, remove the tracker on it, and drop it, still blinking, on my desk. Of course, the dog is wearing a tracking device, Lenny--you stupid chump. Then, the old man sucker punches me twice. Once, with the news that the animal is worthless--it’s the millions worth of diamond chips sewn inside his collar that he’s after. Apparently, the fleabag is a world traveler and new collars containing different treasures await him at his various destinations. The second punch came hard, and was over the head with the vase that once held roses I bought for my ex. I never refilled it once she bailed on me. Silly me.

So here I am now, in a phone booth, on the corner of Going-Nowhere Street and I’m-So-Fucked Boulevard. On the run, since somebody went through my office last night like a cyclone. Not one of my better decisions, taking on the old cuss, but you know? We all err, my friend, do we not? I sincerely appreciate your letting me spill here too, Mr….uh….dog guy, and if I may, I’d like to just conclude with a couple of points.

First, let me find the old man and return your diamonds to you. If you want to know the absolute truth, there’s a few issues my fists would like to discuss with both sides of his head. Last, and really not least, give a sap a break and don’t have me snuffed. Keep all the bling and stick me with the dog. Going into this whole mess blind like I did, I figure I deserve that.

Of course, I’ve found that carrying this minute dust ball around in my breast pocket is a real babe magnet. You know? Maybe we can both still come out of all this as winners. What do you think, Mr., didn’t catch the name, um, dog guy? Sir? Hello? Hello? You still there?


Well, it has been forever it seems. The move to Tennessee actually went very smoothly. Chattanooga is incredible, and the view of the mountains from anywhere is breathtaking. The people are terrific and there's so much to see and do. Unfortunately, I've had to limit my daily walks to the mailbox and back. We no longer live behind a bike/jogging trail. The parking lots and roadways literally go straight up here, so it's an interesting challenge taking a stroll to retrieve the mail. But, it's still great fun, and we are all enjoying it here.

Getting back to writing, well, it's about time I did, don't you think? So many problems with the computer--new Internet provider--all kinds of glitches, but that all seems to be resolving itself over time. I've been working on my novel (the first in the series), and a story that started out as a flash piece, but I do believe it's going to run quite a bit longer. I have currently finished Friday Flash Fiction #41 and will be posting it here this evening. Feels good to actually complete something again. It's been one thing after another since we got here, but I think possibly life may be through messing with us for the time being, so I'm going to take advantage and get as much written as I can. Like I said, it feels good to be creating again. You don't really realize how much you miss it when you can't.

After I post this week's flash challenge, I'm going to get back to working on my next blog too. That one is going to be about the coolest of the cool members of the undead: the vampires, and how writers vary in their portrayals. Stay tuned because this one's going to be such fun to write and share. Later...