Friday, May 6, 2011


This story was written for Dan O’Shea’s Tornado Relief Flash Fiction Challenge: Have you ever seen the rain? Rain is supposed to play a role in the story. For every story submitted, Dan is donating $5.00 to the Red Cross to help out those people who were victims of the recent tornados. It was a pleasure to write for this terrific cause.


Willie was pissed. It wasn’t bad enough that Danny had given him half-assed directions to the rooming house where he was laying low after he’d botched that liquor store robbery, bitchy Mother Nature had joined in the plot against him. In his whole miserable life, Willie had never seen so much rain. He could barely see five feet in front of him and setting the wipers on high was nothing more than a joke. It was like there was a solid wall of water moving right along with him--like he was trying to drive along the bottom of a swimming pool that was full. The water was already covering the road. How long before the brakes gave out and he and the car just floated away?

The storm had hit with full force just as he had pulled into Nowhere, USA. Power was still on because the traffic lights were working, but all the businesses in town were closed and shuttered. There had been one service station open, but as Willie pulled in, he saw the attendant locking up.

“Hey,” Willie yelled, the rain hitting him like a fire hose in the face through his open window. “Any way out of this town back to the highway?”

“Not in this mess,” the attendant shouted. “All the roads in and out of town will be flooded soon. Follow the road you’re on to the end and you’ll find Mrs. Carmody’s place. She’s an elderly widow and a nice old gal and she’ll feed you and I’m sure let you keep your car in her garage next to hers, and maybe a cot where you could sleep till this is over. Good luck, buddy.”

With that, the man finished locking up and ran to a small house behind the station. ‘Good luck, buddy’ indeed. An elderly widow with a garage? I’m sure the nice old gal wouldn’t mind if I traded this heap I’m driving for whatever she’s got. She’ll feed me alright, and I’m hungry for coffee, some roast beef, new wheels, and valuables.

Mrs. Carmody loved the rain. Her home could withstand dire weather and since the storms were soothing to her, she’d fill this evening with her favorite past-time: baking blueberry muffins for her Ladies Club meeting day after tomorrow. The rain would be gone by then, and there would be plenty for the meeting, as well as a generous portion of these delicious treats for her lady friends to take home to their families. She made pies and cookies for the Church bake sale and other events, but for her Ladies Club, only these muffins would do. Such a dark and nasty night, she thought, and was very surprised when she heard the knock on her front door.

Willie knew he had found nirvana. The old bag was alone and loaded. She gave him a tour of the house and told him about her late husband’s BMW in the garage that she used only to drive to town once a month for groceries. He caught himself salivating when he saw all the artwork, furs and jewelry. How trusting these small-town rubes were, he smiled. ‘Look at this pretty diamond pin my husband gave me.’ ‘Look at this shiny gold watch he surprised me with.’ There was only one thing that was strictly forbidden, and that was her muffins. ‘Don’t touch them,’ she had told him, a spark of fire in her eyes. Crazy old bat, he thought. I wouldn’t touch your muffins with a stick.

Coffee cup empty, roast beef sandwich eaten, time to help the old lady ‘accidentally’ tumble down the stairs, load up his new ride and take off. With the rainstorm providing great cover, he’d be long gone before she was found. Where was the old biddy anyway? Maybe changing her Depends…

He got up to grab her car keys from the rack by the back door when he caught a whiff of the muffins. Damn, he thought, like catnip for people. Screw her. I’ve got to have one of these.

“Young man?”

The voice Willie heard behind him grated on him like his mother’s had when he was six and she had caught him in the alley removing the neighbor’s dog’s teeth with his dad’s pliers.

“What the fuck you want, you old…”

As Willie turned to face the soon-to-be-dead bitch, Mrs. Carmody drove the carving knife into his abdomen right up to the handle.

“I told you, no muffins!” she shouted. “Those are for my Ladies Club.”

Before Willie’s world went permanently black, he reached up with bloody hands to plead for help and understanding he knew would not be given.

“No, no, no,” Mrs. Carmody said. “I already gave you coffee, a nice roast beef sandwich, shelter from all this rain, but no more. Look what you did. Now, I can’t continue baking my muffins because I’ll have to go out in this awful storm to put your car in my garage. I can roll it down the boat ramp tomorrow night into the river when the weather clears. And then, I’m still going to have to clean up this mess you’re making on my floor, and take you down to the basement where you can share my deep freeze with the late Mr. Carmody. I had told him too that my muffins were only for my Ladies Club members, but he didn’t listen either.

Oh well. Best hurry. Now I have to bake an extra batch to even out the count since you took a bite out of one. Honestly. You men. You sure do love Mrs. Carmody’s muffins, don’t you…”


  1. Brilliant story! I love the twist.

  2. From the moment you introduce Willie you know he's going to inherit the Noir tradition. Brilliantlty written and paced throughout from the removal of the dog's teeth to the end Joyce.

  3. I worry about her baking skills if this is how she entertains her guests.
    Nice work.

  4. Oh Joyce, you are so blood thirsty! HA! Terrific story for a good cause. I didn't see this until today, so it's too late for me to join in. But I hope they collect lots of money for the tornado victims. A good cause.

  5. When they said her muffins were to die for, I guess they weren't lying. Huh? Good story.

  6. Great! I didn't see that one coming.

  7. Wow, those must be some damn good muffins. :p And I love it when a crook gets unexpectedly offed. Aromatic!

  8. I bet he was expecting blueberries! I love a good killer old lady. Nice one.

  9. Billie Jo, Thanks! Glad you liked it.

  10. Richard, Thanks so much for your comments. I wanted to keep the darkness hovering throughout.

  11. Steve, Thanks for commenting. You do have to wonder how advisable it is to pop in for a chat with little old ladies. Harmless? Really?

  12. Yvette, Thanks for your comments. A nice little bloody tale is always fun!

  13. Ron, You'd better enjoy that first bite because it will be your last! Happy you enjoyed this.

  14. Howalt, Thanks! Surprises are always fun. Harmless old lady? Don't think so!

  15. CM, Glad you enjoyed this. He took on a bit more than he realized, didn't he?

  16. Peter, Thanks. So glad you liked it. Me? I've given up muffins!