Monday, March 28, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 31: Home

The prompt this week was to write a fantasy story, and to include the following words: Spring, egg, bloom, season, and bunny.

My story is about a fella who found real magic.


I knew he was coming before he stepped through the doorway. I could feel his presence, there in the void, as he completed his journey from his world into mine. My powers have grown significantly weaker over time, but Galdemar is my friend, and the heart can sense when a friend draws near. I knew also his purpose for taking this potentially deadly risk passing through the portal. He did it for me – to save me, and it distressed me greatly since I had no desire to be liberated.

A bright light appeared a few feet from me and began to take shape. I prayed his entry would be smooth and painless. I looked into my neighbor’s yard, hoping he was out running his usual Saturday afternoon errands. It would not do for him to witness a warrior from an alternate world materializing seemingly from out of nowhere in the middle of my backyard. He was almost fully visible, and an ache filled my being. The joy of reuniting with my one true friend was overshadowed by fear, knowing I would break his heart.

“Galdemar,” I called to him.

He stood before me now, tall and strong, in full battle attire.

“There are no enemies here, my friend.” I tried to reassure him, but knew he journeyed nowhere unless fully armed.

“What is this place, Wrayeth? Large boxes with windows on blankets of coarse green material, and each small area surrounded by walls no higher than my knees? How can these protect you from the outsiders?”

I smiled. I had forgotten how foreign everything on this side seemed to me when I first crossed.

“Oh my dear friend, I have so much to tell you. To begin, I am called William here, Galdemar. The one who called himself Wrayeth is no longer. These large boxes are called houses. The people here live in them. This one behind us is mine. The blanket of green is called grass, and it is a living thing. When provided with water and sunlight, it grows strong. A troubled soul finds enjoyment when foot coverings are removed and one walks, or runs, through it on a warm summer day. Have I completely confused you yet?”

“It all sounds quite barbaric. What about the diminutive walls? How long will we remain safe before they come?”

“There are no enemies coming, as I have told you, Galdemar. These are not walls. They are called fences, and they mark the lines of ownership. All within my fence belongs to me, all within my neighbor’s fence to him, and so on around the area. It is different here, my friend, very different. All does not belong to all, as in Burra Hollow. Here in the Earth realm, each has his own.”

Galdemar shook his head. He never wanted to cross over to search here for other forms of life that may be compatible with us. There is nothing in that world of any value, he always said. If only he had accompanied me on my last quest, he would have found out just how wrong he had been.

“Let me take you in and show you my home. There are several rooms, each with their own pur…”

“What is that, Wrayeth? It has not moved since I arrived. Is it dangerous?” He placed his hand on the hilt of his sword.

This was turning out to be much more challenging than I had anticipated.

“Let me try to explain it this way, Galdemar. There are seasons here, four of them. There is spring, which it is now, then summer, then autumn, and finally winter. Once winter is over, the cycle begins again. Some seasons are warm and sunny, others are cold and full of ice and snow. Where we come from, it is always the same – always. There is no night; I mean, no darkness. It is always warm and sunny and light. But on this side, things change. Do you understand?”

The look on his face spoke volumes. No. He did not understand.

“I know it may seem unusual, but I quite enjoy the changes. I have ever since I arrived. It doesn’t take long to get used to all the differences. Anyway, back to it. There is a day of celebration that occurs here during springtime known as Easter. It is a day on which some rejoice since their Higher Power has risen and ascended into the Heavens, and others celebrate with egg hunts and chocolate bunnies. That is what this is. It is a chocolate bunny. Its shape is that of a rabbit, one of their animals, and it is made from sugar and milk and cocoa, which are sweet treats for the young.”

“Its shape is that of an animal and the young consume it? Disgusting. What is this egg hunt you speak of?”

This is becoming more difficult with each passing moment. Too, my wife and son should be returning home soon. How could I possibly explain Galdemar to them?

“It is a game, Galdemar. One fills eggs with sweet treats and hides them. Then, the children are sent out to find them. When they do, they may consume the treats inside. It fills them with happiness.”

“You are talking nonsense, Wrayeth. You have remained on this side too long. It is time to go home. The High Doaken saw you had not returned from your quest, and I volunteered to accompany you across. I barely was able to locate you since your powers are greatly diminished. We must go quickly. The portal will remain open only so long. Together, we can pass through safely.”

“Galdemar, my friend, I’m not going back. I have found contentment here. I have a wife and a son, and have fashioned a good life for myself. I know you will never understand, but you must trust me. This is my home now, and will remain so.”

“Why would you want to remain, Wrayeth? Soon, all your powers will be gone. As it is, you cannot cross on your own; you haven’t the strength. Staying here would result in your aging and eventual death. Is this the future you are choosing for yourself?”

“What I am choosing, Galdemar, is to live. You said the High Doaken saw that I had not returned. I had been gone for centuries in Burra Hollow time and he saw that I had not returned.”

“Your point being?”

“I was not missed, my friend. I was not missed. That is my point. It is also my reason for staying here, I am missed when I am away. I am missed and I am loved. I feel, here, Galdemar. In what you call home, there are no feelings. We go on and on and want for nothing. Wishes come true, and there is no loss or sadness. It is a wondrous place, where roses are forever in bloom, and since we do not age, there is no end.

“I have found there can be no real happiness without despair, no peace without discord, and no fulfillment without emptiness. It is right for you and the others and I wish them all well, but I cannot go back and simply exist. My wish is to remain here so that I may live.”

“If I go through alone, Wrayeth, it will be for the last time. The portal will be closed to you forever.”

In my heart, I knew my decision was the right one. Still, at this moment, I regretted some of these feelings I have come to know. I would never see Galdemar again.

“I know, but I have made my choice. Be safe.”

“Thank you, Wraye…William. Always know, my friend, that I shall miss you.”

He stood brave and proud, saluted me, and the light began to surround him as he prepared to cross. I could hear my wife and son calling me as they made their way to the backyard. The light diminished and was gone. Galdemar was gone.

“What was that, dear? Was that lightening in the yard? I don’t understand. The sky is so blue.”

“No, Catherine, it was just a reflection from somewhere. Maybe a plane went over. Nothing to be concerned about. How was the party? Joseph, did you have a good time with your friends?”

“Yes, Daddy, I had lots of fun and got lots of prizes.”

“I’m glad, son. You know it’s time for your nap.”

“Okay, but will you tell me a story before my nap? You know, the one about that other world?”

“All right. Come sit with me and I’ll tell you all about it. There are two suns, one green and one blue, and they shine all the time because there is no night. The children play among the flowers, and there is magic in the air. And friends? They are forever.”

“That world sounds like fun, Daddy, but I love this one best.”

“Me too, son. Me too.”

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 30: Meeting the Parents

You found the one – the one with whom you were destined to spend the rest of your life. You had only known him/her briefly, but it truly was love at first sight, and you threw caution to the wind and eloped.

Now that your honeymoon trip is over, you need to settle down in your day-to-day lives. First, however, you are reminded that you still have not met your new in-laws. You have been assured they are not angry about not being invited to the ceremony, but it is very important that they meet you as soon as possible.

You are really looking forward to meeting them. It should all go very smoothly, right?

Prompt: Tell us about meeting your new in-laws.

My story is about a young man who married the girl of his dreams, and a few months later, goes to meet her parents. He hopes the weekend with her family will go well and that her parents like him. I don’t think he has anything to worry about, do you?

Meeting the Parents

“I really hope your parents like me, Cassandra. I know my parents would have adored you.”

“I’m so sorry you spent most of your life in foster homes, dearest. Since you were only a year and a half old when your parents were killed in that crash, you never really knew them, did you?”

“No, but I was always very fortunate. All the families I lived with treated me very well. The only reason I was relocated was because some were only able to care for infants, and others only certain age groups. But I do consider each and every one of them my real family and as you know, I still correspond with them quite frequently – at least, the ones that are still with us.”

“It’s wonderful that you remain close to them, Jack. It’s not often orphaned children end up being cared for so well. My parents and I have always been very close. They have always been very devoted to me, as well as to each other. I have also been blessed with being able to spend a great deal of time with both sets of grandparents. You won’t be meeting any of them, I’m sorry to say. You would really have liked them too.”

“Are they away on a vacation or something, Cass?”

“Or something, my darling.”

Cassandra, my bride of 3 months, smiled when she responded – a smile that lit my world now just as it had the first time I saw her. It had been a particularly stressful day at the office and I decided to step out for a cocktail. I normally despise having a drink in bars since all those around me seem to be engaged in an attempt to secure a quick pickup for a one night stand. A shallow encounter like that was something I had never been interested in. I chose a quiet tavern around the corner from my apartment since whenever I’ve gone past, I never heard any loud music blaring from their jukebox, and the police have never been called to break up a disagreement there. It was, in my opinion, the perfect place to relax and let the world slip away. I was as wrong as I could be.

I sat at a table near the back with my scotch and soda so I could keep an eye on who was coming and going. At the first sign of anything that hinted at becoming disagreeable, I planned to make a quick exit. I had just been assigned four new accounts at the agency and my contacts at each of those firms were obnoxious and condescending. I had months of work ahead of me designing campaigns for companies whose employees were rude and totally unprofessional. Needless to say, I wasn’t happy with my boss that day. I was on the verge of sinking into a potentially year-long depression when she walked in, looked around, and smiled at me. At that moment, I knew my life would forever change.

Cassandra Higgins came to my table and asked if she could join me. She told me bars made her uncomfortable because she didn’t want anyone coming on to her, but today had been a stressful one at her job and she stopped in only for a cocktail before heading home. She said she approached me because it appeared I was there for the same reason and sitting with me would make her feel safe. It was at that very moment I knew I was hopelessly in love with her and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her.

We saw each other every day for a week and on the seventh evening, I proposed. I was terrified that I might make her angry or scare her off, but to my surprise and delight, she accepted. We were married three days later, and my life has been Heaven on Earth ever since. Three months have passed and Cassandra suggested we take a drive to the coast so I could meet her parents. She had told them all about me and they knew we were married, but they jokingly told her they wanted to get to know their new son-in-law before we celebrated our first anniversary. They weren’t upset or angry at not being invited to our wedding, and were looking forward to having us spend a weekend at their estate.

It didn’t matter to me that my wife’s family was wealthy. I made a very good living and could provide well for her. Cassandra said they weren’t concerned about how I made my living. As long as their little girl was happy, that was all that mattered to them. I hoped they were going to like me as much as I already liked them.

We arrived on Saturday just before lunch, and my wish for a comfortable introduction came true and then some. Her mother and father hugged me and welcomed me into their home and more importantly, into their family. What incredible people they were. Her mother was the definition of glamor, her father the epitome of elegance. Even though Cassandra’s father’s net worth most likely ran in the billions, he and his wife both were warm and loving people who put on no airs, and were as easy to sit and chat with as the man who ran the newsstand in the lobby of my building. This weekend was turning out to be absolutely perfect.

We ate sumptuous meals prepared by their live-in cook, swam in their Olympic-size swimming pool which was on one side of the house, enjoyed several games of croquet set up on the other side of the house, and relaxed in the evening after dinner in their huge hot tub situated on a large patio overlooking the back yard. Holiday visits with my in-laws would be vacations to die for. Saturday evening ended with cocktails in her father’s study.

I knew I would be tired from both the long drive there and all the day’s activities, but I found myself nodding off in the middle of a sentence. Her mom and dad were so gracious and assured me no embarrassment was warranted. Cass wanted to stay up for a bit and chat with her parents, so I bid them all goodnight and headed upstairs to bed. I was happy and content, and knew that tonight, I would sleep as I never have before.

* * * * * * * * * *

“Cassandra, my pet, are you? I mean, are really 100% certain?”

“Yes, Mommy, I am, and isn’t it glorious? I wanted to wait to bring my husband here until I was absolutely positive I was pregnant. There was no way I was going to take any chances.”

“Now, you’re certain that no one will be looking for him or contact the authorities to report his disappearance?”

“Oh no, Daddy. His parents died when he was very young and the foster parents he lived with who are still around are old and forgetful. Besides, I’ll send them a card at Christmas and sign his name. That will satisfy them. I wrote a resignation letter to his boss too, Daddy, just like you told me to. His boss called a few days later and wanted to talk about it, but Jack was napping and I took the call. I made it very clear that my husband had no interest in continuing his career with that company. I said Jack had already joined my father’s firm, and told him never to call us again. He apologized and hung up.”

“That’s my girl. You handled that perfectly. I’m happy that your young man has fulfilled his purpose in time to celebrate your grandparents’ anniversary. He is exactly what we’ll need for the party tomorrow, being so young and fit. Your grandparents will be arriving around noon. By the time we pick them up at the airport, drive home, and get them settled in, it will be time for a nice early dinner.

“Jack will need to marinate for several hours, and the drugs we put in his cocktail should keep him out at least until it’s time to remove his organs and stuff him. His time in the oven will cook out any residue from the medication, although if there’s any left in his tissues, it’s never bothered any of us before.”

“I’m so excited, Mommy and Daddy. Both of my grandmothers and grandfathers will be here soon, and I can’t wait to tell them about the baby. Jack had been so worried about whether my family would like him or not. I told him that was silly. Of course they’ll all like you, I said. My family all have good taste.”

Am I dreaming, or did I just hear Cass and her parents laughing? Such a wonderful sound. I can’t believe how sleepy I am. Soon I’ll be dead to the world…

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Chosen - Part 3

This is Part 3 of my ongoing story called Chosen. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. You can find Part 2 here. Hope to see you back here next Thursday for Part 4. Links will be posted on my Facebook Author's page and my regular Facebook page.

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Chosen - Part 3

Several cups of coffee, and three pieces of pie, later, I had a few more answers, but way more questions. One thing I knew for certain was what my next stop would be. Lina reminded me that Bertha in Dr. Holcolm’s office believed that if you share folks’ medical status with their friends and neighbors, it promotes healing. The fact that doing it without the patient’s consent was a violation of ethics and the law didn’t concern her. All she cared about were her patients’ well-being. She was one resource I definitely needed to tap as soon as possible. I thanked Lina for all her input and told her I would make sure she received an autographed copy of my novel after it was published. I also mentioned that I planned to dedicate the book to her. She hugged me and went off to wait on some new customers who had come in. Seeing the happiness and pride in her face made me realize what a complete jerk I was being – lying to her about all this. Maybe when all was said and done, I would actually write that novel. Something to consider anyway.
Our one and only town doctor was away at a seminar, and anyone needing medical care was referred to the county clinic that was roughly 40 minutes away. Of course, any emergency could be handled with a call to the county hospital, and a chopper would be dispatched if it became necessary. That’s one thing about this town. It may be small and some may consider it too rural for their taste, but we had great shops, a terrific restaurant, and dependable medical care. Even though the doctor was not in, I knew Bertha was in. She was always in. She was an RN who took care of most of the patients herself in one of the treatment rooms. Serious cases were always taken in to see Doc Holcolm, but most days, she would triage and treat 95% of people who walked in the door. I hoped Bertha’s propensity to share medical information included discussing the dead.

“Hi, Bertha,” I said, entering the office. “I was wondering if you had a bit of time to chat.”

She was sitting at her desk in the front filing papers in charts. Here was a woman I adored. She was in her late 50s, huge, and always wore the most engaging smile. Before anyone left the doctor’s office, she hugged them and wished them well. They usually couldn’t breathe for a second or two after one of her powerful hugs, but it didn’t matter. Everyone left with a smile on their face, and that was totally because of her.

“Any time, Cass,” she said. “You feeling poorly? Is there something I can get for you? Doc won’t be back until Wednesday, but I can fix whatever ails you.”

“I know you could, Bertha, but actually, I’m feeling very well today. I was wondering if you could give me some information. I’m doing research for a story I plan to write and I’m using what happened to the little Sumner girl as inspiration. I know it’s not a pleasant subject, but I want my story to be as accurate as possible, so I’m piecing details from that case together. All names will be changed in my story as it’s going to be a fictional one, but I need some facts from a real case to write around. I hope that makes sense because I…”

“Of course it does, dear,” she responded. “I know exactly what you’re talking about. Even stories that are completely made up have some truth in there somewhere. It’s perfectly fine. What kind of information do you need? I remember that case so very well. Doc Holcolm treated the girl’s mother for her problems, gave the little girl her vaccinations, and even treated the dad after the mother shot herself and the child disappeared. Lord almighty. That poor family’s troubles began long before they moved here and once they did, trouble came and finished them all off. Terrible thing.”

Doc Holcolm treated the mother for her problems? I had to get to the bottom of that statement.

“Mrs. Sumner had problems, Bertha? I had heard that there were issues in the city where they had lived and that’s why they moved out here.”

“Issues? Oh yes, honey, there were issues. That poor woman had been put through Hell and then some. You see, the mister used to travel a lot with his job. He had been some kind of consultant and worked with companies in different parts of the world. There were times when he had been gone for weeks at a time. He told me all this the first time he brought his wife in so I would understand her background. He wanted Doc and I to know what had happened to her and what was going to happen going forward. Broke my heart, it did. Just broke my heart.”

He wanted her to know what was going to happen? What was going to happen?

“He had been away in one of those South American countries for a week or so and he was due back in a couple of days. She was all alone in the great big townhouse that they had been living in. He told me that he would never have left her unguarded, especially in the busy area where they lived. Shops and restaurants were open all day and all night, traffic just as heavy at midnight as at noon, folks walking up and down the sidewalks in front of their house, and taxis on every corner 24 hours a day. He worried for her since she was on the frail side, so he had all these high-tech alarms put in all over the place. It wouldn’t take much to bring the National Guard over there once those alarm got to sounding.

“There was just one small problem with all those systems her had set up, and it turned out to cause the biggest problem in their lives. The company he bought that stuff from and that was setting the system up didn’t have one critical part and were going to come back after the part came in to finish the installation. Problem was, they forgot to let the mister and missus know about it. The whole system ran off electricity, which was fine, but in the event of a power outage, it was supposed to be connected to a special backup generator in their basement. People in the house would have to light candles and use flashlights to make their way around because it didn’t backup the power in the house, but the alarms would be backed up and stay working.

“The workers came and installed the system, but didn’t have the generator. They assumed the sales rep told Mr. Sumner they were waiting for the part and the sales rep assumed the workers told him. Well, as it turns out, no one told him or his wife. Mind you, everything was working fine until there was a real bad storm on a particular night; you know, when I told you he was in South America and due back in a couple of days. Anyway, this storm was a real nasty one and one of the transformers got damaged and the power cut out for twelve square blocks. Poor Mrs. Sumner, all alone in that great big house, was smack dab in the middle of all that darkness.

“Since it was a transformer, it took a couple of days to get it fixed. By the time Mr. Sumner got back home, the power was back on, but he noticed when he tried to deactivate the alarm at the front door, it was already off and he couldn’t get the panel to come back on. What happened was that when the power cut with no generator, the system went down and had to be rebooted once the power came back on. Thing is, Mrs. Sumner didn’t know the alarm cut out and she couldn’t have rebooted it anyway because she was down in their basement all beat up and hurt after those thugs broke in and sexually assaulted her.”

Thugs broke in and what? Oh my God.

“All because the alarm company forgot to mention there was no generator?”

“Yes. Exactly. He told me that had he known the alarms could possibly go out, he would have postponed his trip until after that part came in and was installed. That way, his wife would have been protected no matter what happened. Just like in any big city, there was this gang that went from area to area causing trouble, beating people up and robbing them. This time though, with the power out in such a large area, they decided to have a field day. Lots of homes were broken into and they stole from everyone. The police were doing the best they could, but there was just too much going on all at the same time.

“They broke into the Sumner’s place and found her alone and decided to be extra disgusting. They tore the place up, took her jewelry and some electronic things to pawn and as if that wasn’t enough, they decided to brutalize Mrs. Sumner too. They beat her up something terrible and then took turns assaulting her. The mister told me she said there were five of them in the house and they all did awful things to her. The poor thing was in the hospital for weeks recovering from that and when she got out, he sold their house and moved her out here to the country.

“There was no way she could set foot back into that house without having a nervous breakdown and he didn’t want to traumatize her any further. Besides, his company told him he could do his consulting from home on a computer from then on, so he could stay with her all the time. She seemed to adjust well to being here, but Doc had to give her lots of tranquilizers to help her sleep and different medications to help her even get through the day. She ended up just staying in the house, sitting and staring. After she had the baby girl, things only got worse.

“He could never leave her alone with the girl; I mean, she was so full of hatred for her being the result of the assault and all.”


“You’re saying the baby wasn’t his and he knew it?”

“Of course. She was pregnant when he brought her in the first time and wanted us to know he still wanted the child, but she didn’t. He said he’d keep an eye on her at home so she wouldn’t hurt herself to get rid of it, and he asked us to make sure she didn’t get hold of anything here that might hurt the baby. You see, he knew all along, but adored that child still. When the missus looked at her, she remembered all the pain and fear and tried to kill her, which is why he carried that baby everywhere. Drugged up that she was, she still tried to smother her, poison her bottle and lots of other things. The mister couldn’t turn his back on her or the baby. He sued the alarm company for all they had once it all came out and they ended up closing down. It didn’t help his wife any, but since they had been so careless, maybe he saved someone else’s wife from going through the same thing.”

“Did they ever catch the men who did that to her?”

“No, they sure didn’t. After they were done with her, they moved on to tear up the rest of the neighborhood. Other folks were robbed and beaten and they stole tons of stuff that ended up in pawn shops all over the city, but Mrs. Sumner was the only woman they assaulted – the bastards. She was never the same after, so it was really not much of a surprise when she shot herself. I guess the memories were just too much for her to stand.

“But, you have to understand that Mr. Sumner did really love that little girl. Elyssa, he named her. Beautiful child. Looked just like her mother, thank God. He didn’t treat her different knowing some criminal was her real father. He was Elyssa’s daddy and that’s all there was to it. Naturally, when somebody took the girl, it crushed him and he just lost the will to go on. They never did find her, you know. They looked and looked, but she never turned up. I wonder whatever happened to her.”

I didn’t know what happened to her either, but I wasn’t going to stop until I found out.

So, Mrs. Sumner had been attacked in the city and that’s why they relocated. She despised the baby since the pregnancy resulted from an assault. Her husband knew she got pregnant and he knew the child wasn’t his, but he obviously cherished her anyway. Since they never caught the ones who attacked Mrs. Sumner, the likelihood of Elyssa’s real father coming to town to kidnap her and claim her as his own was zero. Cross that off my list of possibilities. Mr. Sumner’s fierce protection of the girl eliminated him as a suspect in her disappearance for me as it had for the Sheriff. There’s no way he paid someone to dispose of the child, and then allowed himself to waste away from the loss.

Hmmm. Time to go home now, sort through my notes, and decide where to go from here.

(To Be Continued)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Chosen - Part 2

This is Part 2 of a story I wrote for Week 28 of Flash Fiction Friday called Chosen. If you missed Part 1, you can find it here. I hope you enjoy reading my little mystery as much as I'm enjoying writing it. See you back here next Thursday for Part 3. Links will be posted on my Facebook Author's page and my regular Facebook page.

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Chosen - Part 2

I decided the best place to begin was with digging into some of the stories behind the stories. Thomas was a terrific source when it came to items deemed newsworthy, but when it came down to identifying the skeletons in everyone’s closet, Lina was my go-to resource. Lina is a grand old dame and has lived here since the beginning of time. She owns, and runs, Lina’s Luncheonette, which serves the best food in the tri-county area. Even though its name specifically refers to lunch, she is open from dawn to dusk, and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner, and anything you can think of in between.

Lina knows the name of everyone in town, their family history, and all their dirty little secrets. Don’t misunderstand me, though. She’s not catty or nasty. She never spreads anyone’s business around town or to strangers, but if information is needed to help someone, it will flow from her like a fountain. I moved here from the city when I retired because it was peaceful and basically crime-free. I had briefly reconsidered my choice before I even unpacked when I learned that only days before, a child had been abducted from her own bed. That was where I needed to start if I was going to solve the mystery of Elyssa’s disappearance – where it all began.

The lunch rush would most likely be over by now, so maybe I could convince Lina to sit down with me and chat while I ate. It was Saturday, and her special was a meatloaf platter, and one of my favorites. I didn’t want to sit at the counter and pump Lina for details about the kidnapping in between her running back and forth warming up folk’s coffee or tallying up their checks. I preferred to sit in the back booth and offer to buy her a cup of coffee and a piece of pie if she’d help me out with my project.

My plan was to tell her I was going to attempt to write a book of fiction based on the kidnapping, but I would change the names of the people involved and of the town so as not to bring any notoriety to our quiet little hamlet, or bring long-forgotten horrific memories back to the surface. Even though I didn’t know anyone very well at the time, it was plain to see the effect the disappearance of the child had on the entire community. Sad as it is to say, if a child vanishes in a big city, most of the time, it will generate an article, and at times, even a headline, but by the evening edition, it ends up buried on one of the back pages. In a small town however, when that child is a neighbor to many and playmate to more, it hits all the residents hard, as if it had been their own child that was taken.

Yes, I was going to deliberately lie to Lina, who had been a dear friend to me ever since the first time I walked into her restaurant. Since I was new in town, she offered me a free meal, a piece of one of her homemade pies and a cup of the best coffee in the universe. Was I going to feel guilty about making up the story about writing a book just to get information from her? Probably, but I’d get over it because it was for a good cause. The reason I wanted to handle it that way was because I didn’t want general information about the incident. I could get that any time from Thomas or from reading clippings from the newspaper. What I needed was the personal perspective, and Lina could provide me with that.

I wanted her to sit back and relax and remember what was reported, but I also wanted her to fill me in on what people were saying about it at the time. Did the Sheriff suspect anyone in particular? Was Elyssa’s father ever considered a person of interest? Was there a drifter in town looking for odd jobs who coincidentally vanished when the child did? If so, was any follow-up ever done to try to find him? Who did the ladies at the Beauty Shop believe took the child? Those were the kinds of questions I needed answers to, and pretending to need enough material to write a book would help to draw her out. I hoped it would anyway.

I went to Lina’s, sat in the back booth and glanced at the menu, even though I already knew what I planned to order. Lina knew too, because as soon as she saw me walk through the door, I heard her holler to Dennis, her brother and an excellent cook, that one special was needed. The only customers at the counter were Mrs. Jenson, the librarian, who always took two to three hour lunches and Johnny Preston, who worked as a hand on Bill Jasper’s farm. I made a mental note to follow up with Bill, if it seemed necessary, since he had purchased the Sumner property. It was he who had arranged for the house to be torn down, and I wondered if he had actually sold off the entire contents of the house or if perhaps had kept a few items for himself.

There was no one else in the diner except those two and me, so when Lina brought my meal, I invited her to get a coffee for herself and join me because I had something very important to talk to her about. She got her coffee and scooted in across from me in a flash, and she seemed quite anxious to chat. Good.

“Lina, this may sound crazy, but since I’m retired, I do have time on my hands and I thought I would try my hand at writing. I had written a number of articles for my school paper, both while in elementary school and while in college. This time, I’m going to write a novel – a thriller or a mystery, since those are my favorites. Not to bring up unpleasant memories, but all those books from the Sumner house being sold this morning reminded me that it’s been almost ten years since the child was taken from her room. I’m not going to write a true crime tale, but my story is going to be based on what happened here, and I’m not sure how to begin. Would you mind telling me what you know about it and would you mind if I take notes? It would help me out tremendously.”

Lina didn’t question my decision to write a book, or inquire about my qualifications, or lack thereof. Apparently, none of that mattered. She looked like she was ready to burst. She was being asked to tell all she knew about a horrific crime that had occurred in her town and she couldn’t wait to get started. Pen and notebook ready, I just listened.

“That was the most terrible thing that’s ever happened around here,” she began. “I’m going to give you a bit of background so you’ll understand just how weird it got. Mrs. Sumner had died a few months after the baby came and the rumors spread like wildfire around town. She had always kept to herself ever since they moved here into that big house. They used to live in a big city, but something happened to her there – I never could get more info on that, but that’s why they came here. It was to get her away from the bad memories.

“She came into town to shop only a handful of times. After that, her husband did all their shopping. He’d bring that sweet baby with him and get the groceries and such. We all thought it was peculiar that he didn’t leave the baby with its mother ever, but it was said that she couldn’t be trusted to be alone with it. He was very devoted to her and the child though, so when she died, it hit him very hard. He took that baby everywhere, and when she was older too, and he never took his eyes off her, even for a second. That’s why it was so odd that she should disappear right from under his nose almost in his own house years later.

“No one ever suspected him of trying to get rid of his own daughter. It tore him up so bad after she was gone that he became depressed just like his wife had been. Did I ever tell you what she did? When they lived in the city, they had a pistol in the house – for protection, you know. They didn’t need it here, but brought it with them anyway. One afternoon when he brought the baby to the park to play, his wife got the gun out, put it in her mouth and pulled the trigger. He came home and found her right there in the baby’s room, dead. Such a mess it was too. Me and Mrs. McCally – you remember her, don’t’ you? She does nails down at the Beauty Shop. Anyway, we went over and cleaned it all up after the Sheriff was done with the room. He never put the baby in that room again though. Couldn’t bring himself to.

“He took very good care of her while she was growing up. He took her to school and picked her up. She was always a clean child and very well dressed. She was his whole life, and when someone stole her, it destroyed him. He searched and searched and hired detectives from the city, but no trace of the girl was every found. Finally, after no one seeing him in town for a few weeks, the Sheriff went out to make sure he was okay. We heard the doors were all unlocked, almost as if he had wanted someone to break in and do something to him.

“The Sheriff found the poor man dead in the baby’s old room where his wife had killed herself. The room had been unchanged in all those years, but he hadn’t killed himself. The doctor said he just wasted away. He hadn’t eaten or drank anything for days. You know, Cassie, that poor man did kill himself. He just didn’t use a gun like his wife did. Those were awful times.

“We had never had such said things happen before and haven’t had any since. At least, until Betsy passed away, and her nasty sister took over the store. Betsy had all that construction done at the store too, right around the time the girl disappeared. It didn’t’ make any sense because it wasn’t the store she was remodeling. She was putting in a basement for storage. That was crazy, since she had that little apartment over the store. Why put in a basement? She had plenty of room for books because in back of the store, there were some extra rooms. I wonder what Betsy ended up using that space under the store for. Her sister has to know about it. Maybe she keeps that creepy son of hers down there, you think?

“Wait. There was something bad that happened before Betsy died. She had this young man working for her at the store, sweeping up and taking out the trash. He lived in a shed out by the lake. I think hunters used it years ago, but it had been deserted for a long time and he just moved in there. I think his name was Bobby something. Anyway, he was clean most of the time and wasn’t a drinker, but he did used to look at the girls who came into the book store. When I say he looked at them, I mean, in not a nice way at all, especially the younger ones. He never touched any of them or spoke to them – Betsy wouldn’t allow that, but he sure did look. When the Sumner girl vanished, folks thought maybe he took her, but when he was found burned up in his shed, that eliminated him as a suspect.

“That was really bad, Cassie. The story went around that he fell asleep with a lit cigarette in there and some papers caught fire. He couldn’t get out because he was overcome with breathing in all the smoke. But you know, that didn’t make too much sense at the time. No one ever saw him with a cigarette and he never bought any in town. Plus, that shed looked like it had exploded. It would take a lot of papers to make it go up like that. We all wondered if someone else had burned him up, but why would anyone do that? He was just a drifter looking to make a few bucks and for a place to stay. Of course, there was the way he always looked at those little girls…

“Oh, don’t go away, dear. I’ll bring you some pie and more coffee for both of us as soon as I take care of those folks that just came in. I’ve got so much more to tell you for your book.”

Elyssa couldn’t be left alone with her mother? What happened to her in the city that cause her severe depression? Did that have anything to do with someone taking her child? Why did Betsy have all that work done putting in a basement? What really happened to Bobby something? Was it accidental or a murder-arson? Did he see, or know, something about Elyssa’s disappearance and had to be silenced permanently?

Lina didn’t have to worry. I wasn’t going anywhere. I had an extra notebook and pencils in my bag, and I loved pie.

(Continued Here)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 29: A Simple Plan

The prompt this week was to write a story that takes place on St. Patrick’s Day, and to include the following five words in the story: Whiskey, gold, road, luck, and leprechaun.

My story is about a small town guy who dreams of living the good life. Will his dream come true?

A Simple Plan

Gerald Rainy was going to be a very rich man. He was going to be so rich that he would be able to buy and sell all those bullies at the factory. He lured and captured it, and once he got it to reveal its secret, he would be on his way to bigger and better things. He’d bought his share of lottery tickets, but luck had never been on his side.

This hadn’t been a simple task and had involved very careful planning. Gerald had befriended it once he discovered its real identity. Then, a couple of burgers and a cocktail laced with sleeping pills had done the trick. It never suspected Gerald’s true motive. No cars had been on the road last evening, so bringing it to the barn on the recently deceased old man Bondon’s farm for the final confrontation this morning went quite smoothly.

It was starting to come around. Gerald was beginning to worry he had stirred in one too many ZZZQuils in that drink. Gerald decided it was time to get down to business. He told the thing exactly what he wanted, and that he wanted it now.

“You want me to what?”

It was playing games and trying to stall. Gerald was not pleased.

“I said, I want you to reveal to me the location of your pot of gold. Since I captured you, and it is now St. Patrick’s Day, you have no choice. Don’t try to weasel your way out of this. I’ve done my research. Your riches now belong to me, Mason. Yes, I know that’s what you call yourself to the outside world, but we both know that isn’t your real name. What is it anyway? What kind of names do you leprechauns call each other when there aren’t any humans around?”

“Lepre…what? You’re not serious, are you? This is some kind of small town prank, right? Pretend to kidnap the new guy in town, tie him up and hold him in a supposedly deserted barn, and then everyone jumps out, yells surprise, and then you serve cake. Right?”

“Mason…I’ll have to keep calling you that because I don’t remember reading anywhere that you have to reveal your true name to me, listen carefully. You know this is no prank and there is no surprise party for you here. I know what you are. I knew the second I first saw you get off the Greyhound with your suitcase. So, what was in there anyhow? A book with magic spells and talismans, or do you memorize all that stuff?”

“Gerald, what was in my suitcase was my clothes and some personal items. I don’t know what you mean by a magic book or pot of gold. Like I’ve told everyone since I arrived, after my divorce, my wife moved to another big city and I decided to find a nice small town. I grew up in a little town in the Midwest and I’ve always enjoyed that life. You know, where everyone knows everyone and life is peaceful and safe.”

“You’ve probably been listening to the talk around town that I’m kind of slow. Maybe I’m not college educated and all that, and some things take me awhile to figure out, but I’m not stupid and you can’t fool me. Stop acting like you don’t know what I’m talking about, leprechaun, and tell me where you hide your riches. They belong to me now, and I’ve got big plans for all that gold.”

“Gerald, I am going to appeal to you as one human being to another. Please tell me what makes you think that I’m a leprechaun? A more appropriate question might be, what makes you think that leprechauns are real?”

“Oh, here we go. The books say that your kind tries to make their captors think they’re crazy and that you don’t really exist except in stories. That way, you talk them into letting you go and when you are gone, so is their chance for all that money. Well, I’m not letting you go until you tell me where it is. You want to know how I figured you out? Okay. I’ll tell you.

“I’ve been on the lookout all my life for a way out of this awful town. The only real jobs within a hundred miles are on the line at the factory at the South end of town. That’s the only place you can make enough to live on, and that’s barely, by the way. I wouldn’t be able to make my rent if I worked at the grocer or the drug store, so I put vacuum cleaner hoses together, one after another, 8 hours a day.

“That wouldn’t be so bad except the fellas I work with are nothing but bullies. They pick on me and make fun of my glasses and clothes, and laugh at me because I live in a boarding house. What am I supposed to do? There’s no way I can afford a nice apartment working on the line. They’re all inspectors and supervisors, so what do they know about hard times.

“When I saw you, I knew you were my ticket out. You’re short and ugly, shaped weird, have a beard, and you immediately headed for a job at the shoe store. Your kind always work around shoes, don’t you? Most of the books I’ve read said you mend shoes, but since there’s no shop like that, you took a job selling them instead. That’s how I knew then and how I know now. So, I command you to direct me to your hidden stash.”

“Gerald, I was hoping deep down it wouldn’t come to this. People in small towns are generally very gracious and accepting of those who are different, so I never expected anyone to be as biased and cruel as you are against my kind.”

“I’m not biased against your kind. The only reason I invited you to my room for a drink was because you are what you are. I drugged the whiskey so I could tie you up and put you in the trunk of my car and bring you here because you are one of them. That was the whole point.”

“Gerald, I’ve never had to explain myself to anyone before, but I’m going to explain to you exactly what I am, and I want you to listen to me very carefully. I am not, nor have I ever been, a leprechaun. Ger, I’m a dwarf. There. I’ve said it, much as I despise having to categorize myself. Now, can we stop all this nonsense?”

‘Oh my God, of course, Mason. How could I have gotten it so terribly wrong. But, I don’t understand about the shoes. The dwarfs don’t sell shoes. Where are your six friends?”

“Oh, no, Gerald. You aren’t saying…”

“I never thought for a moment that I would…”

“GERALD! Listen to me. I’m NOT one of THOSE dwarfs, and I’m NOT a leprechaun either. I’m a genetically little person. I’ve always considered myself rather charming in the looks department, but thanks for pointing out that I’m ugly. Like you’re Brad Pitt or something. Hear me now, Gerald, because I’m only going to say this one more time. I’m not a magical creature. I’m a man – a human man. I have no pot of gold, I live in a small kitchenette apartment in town, and I sell shoes.”

Gerald took a deep breath. Was it possible it was telling the truth? Could it really be a he – a regular he, just shorter and uglier? Oh my. Gerald wondered what would happen if he untied Mason. Would the police be called? Gerald knew he wouldn’t last long in prison. But, what had he actually done? After all, he gave Mason a good night’s sleep, tied him up for a few hours, but what harm was really done?

“Mason, I’m going to untie you now, but please know how sorry I am. I hope you can forgive me knowing how desperate I am to be somebody. No hard feelings?”

“Under the circumstances, Ger, I am willing to try. Just set me free and take me back to town and we’ll call it even. No hard feelings.”

*         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *  

“Hello? Aengus? It’s Lorcan. Can you hear me all right? I love these new telephones. So much easier than using the mind to chat. That always gives me a powerful headache. Happy 17th  to you too, my friend. I had planned to begin my pranking early, but one of the humans in town tricked me with drink, tied me up and tried to get my treasure, but I convinced him I was a regular fella and he let me go. I’m going to visit him tonight to pay him back for what he did to me. Today will be one day he will never forget!”

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 28: Chosen

The prompt this week was as follows:

It’s Saturday afternoon, and a beautiful sunny day. The newspaper is full of garage sale listings, and you’ve found some great items browsing through those. A small notice under Sales however, catches your eye. A used book store at the North end of town is having a sidewalk sale. All their books are marked down to $1 for today only. Forget garage sales. This is so much more exciting. Who knows what classics or first editions you might be able to pick up there.

You purchase several books and hurry home so you can pick out what will be your first read. The ones you bought were all mysteries since those are your favorite. You decide to flip through the pages of all of your new books to make sure they are intact. It is so annoying when you’re right in the middle of a who-done-it and one or two of the pages are torn or missing. Then again, how picky can you be? After all, they were only $1 each. Still…

While you’re fanning the pages of one of your new found treasures, a note falls out, and…

Prompt: The rest of the story is now in YOUR hands. Go!

Mine comes in at 1,482 words, and there’s a bit of a surprise at the end. I hope you enjoy.

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When I woke up that Saturday, I was looking forward to my usual weekend activity, which is visiting every garage sale in the county. I love all the little knick-knacks I’ve found over the years, and display them proudly on a mirrored shelving unit I ordered from a catalog. I treat myself to lunch at a restaurant and make a day of it. How could I have known that an ad for a book sale would change my life forever…

I was looking through garage and yard sale ads, when I noticed one for the used book store at the North end of town. They were having a sidewalk sale from 10 to 10 that day only, and all the books on display outside the store would be priced at $1.00. That place used to be Betsy’s Boutique of Books; the name having changed to simply Books after Betsy passed away years ago. The sign was left to fade, and the script lettering spelling out ‘Betsy’s Boutique’ had all but disappeared. The word ‘Books’ was all that was left, and that was barely there.

It turns out Betsy had an older sister, Hermione, who lived in another state, who most of her family avoided like the Black Plague. Once she arrived here and took over the store, it was easy to see why. Most folks in town went way out of their way to avoid her too, considering her nasty disposition and ominous appearance. Her hair was completely gray, and pulled back tightly in a small bun, which gave her a severe, evil stepmother countenance. I never saw her in anything but a long dark grey skirt, dark grey blouse, and tattered grey shawl. Parents held their children’s hands tightly when crossing the entrance to her store. It was as if they pictured a large oven in the back that Hermione would put the kiddies in after lightly salting and peppering them.

It was difficult to understand why she chose to continue to keep Betsy’s store open. It was obvious she despised books of all types, considering the callous way she handled them. Books have always been one of the great loves of my life – friends even, and I would no more toss a book down on the ground or pick one up by one of its pages than push a dear friend unclothed out into a blizzard. Hermione, however, would step on books that had fallen off shelves or kick them out of her way. Perhaps they weren’t first editions or worth a fortune, but they were treasures still, and she was cruel in her treatment of them.

At the time, word around town was that the reason she relocated and decided to run the business was that she had been evicted from her prior residence due to complaints about her adult son. Betsy had lived above the store in a tidy little one bedroom flat with a small kitchen, so Hermione inherited a free place to live in addition to income from the store. The ladies of the Church Auxiliary expressed concern about having her adult son live with her in such close quarters, but rumor had it that he was an adult in size and age only, and functioned with the mental capacity of a ten year old child. Neither I nor anyone I knew had ever seen him, and we figured she kept him up in that apartment 24/7. It sounds cruel, but since none of us knew if he was a danger to himself or others, we were grateful for her discretion.

Mystery lover that I am, I arrived at the sale a few minutes before 10 so I could have first choice. Hermione was finishing up filling the tables and fortunately for me, had sorted the books by genre. There was a table devoted to science fiction, one for poetry collections, and to my delight, one contained nothing but mysteries. I selected ten, paid for them and hurried away. Being an avid reader, I enjoy browsing through books, but at this shop, it has always been a most unpleasant experience – one to complete as quickly as possible. Today was no exception. Hermione pulled the money from my hand, shoved it in her pocket, gave me one of her typical go-to-Hell stares, and walked away to rudely grab another customer’s cash.

I hoped none of the books I bought had been damaged by Hermione’s big feet or claw-like hands, but if any had been, at $1.00 each, I couldn’t complain. Still, they were mysteries and I hoped none of the pages would be torn or missing. Fanning through them one by one, I noticed other than a few smudges, they were in terrific shape. I was halfway through the last one, when a folded piece of paper fell out. I envisioned a Dear John/Joan letter, received long ago, hidden within this book, a mystery within a mystery, while the recipient wasted away in grief and despair, and no one knew the tru… Yeah, right. I had to laugh. It was most likely somebody’s shopping list they used as a bookmark. Still, always hopeful of finding a real-life mystery, I opened the note, and it read:

                                           If they take me, someone, please save me. Elyssa

It was printed, and looked as if the writer was a child. A chill ran through me. I had no idea if this was a genuine plea for help or someone’s idea of a joke, but I had to find out. I decided to start by finding out where Hermione obtained this batch of books. There were so many she was selling so cheaply, I wondered if she had picked them up at an estate sale at a bulk price, and decided to resell them for a small profit. I went to our local newspaper office and asked Thomas, who ran the paper. If anything newsworthy happened in ours, or any neighboring county, Thomas had the scoop. He confirmed my assumption.

“Cassie, remember that bad business from a few years ago at the Sumner house?” Thomas reminded me of the incident that frightened every parent in our community.

“Unfortunately, I do,” I responded. “That little girl was never found, was she? I mean, to this day, no one knows if she’s dead or alive.”

“The case was never solved,” Thomas continued. “An eight year old girl, taken from her bed on the second floor in the middle of the night while her father slept downstairs in the study. He told the police he tucked his daughter in, went to read a bit and fell asleep in the chair. He awoke the next morning and found her window open and the child gone. There was no sign of a struggle and no blood, so all assumed it was a kidnapping. He waited for a ransom demand, but none was ever received.

“There was a massive search for the girl’s remains in case she had been murdered, but not even the slightest clue to her whereabouts was ever found. Her poor father literally wasted away and died a few months after her disappearance. The house sat empty for years, until recently when the house and its contents were sold at auction, since no living relatives could be located. You remember, don’t you? Bill Jasper bought the building and the land, had the house demolished and since the property adjoined his, he put fences up and added an extra pasture for his cattle.”

“That’s where all those books at the sidewalk sale came from, I’ll bet,” I said. “That Hermione woman has tons of them out on tables and she’s selling them for $1.00 each.”

“Probably got the whole batch for a couple of bucks,” Thomas said. “The bank wanted to get rid of everything as quickly as possible so the house would come down. Ugly business, that was. Every parent in the county slept with one eye closed and the other on their kids for a long time after the girl was taken. Elyssa was her name, I think.”

“What did you say?” The chill hit me again.

“I said, I think the little girl’s name was Elyssa. Elyssa Sumner. She was the only child of Herbert. The mother had died shortly after the girl was born and that’s why the loss of the child hit him extra hard. She was all he had.”

“Thanks, Thomas,” I said, and hurried home to map out a plan. Now I did have a real-life mystery on my hands and I was going to do whatever I had to do to solve it. Elyssa would be young woman by now, almost ten years after she was abducted. I can’t explain it, but I knew she was still alive. I also knew she still needed to be saved. But, where was she, and who took her? Who were ‘they’?

(Continued Here)

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Let me explain. This prompt set off some sparks in my head, and as I was writing, the story went its own way. I got close to the word limit and there was still so much story left to tell. This part will stand as this week’s tale for F3, but next Thursday, I will post the next installment. That may end up being Part 2, or it may be the end. I’m going to let my characters decide.

I won’t post the continuation on F3; I will post it here on my blog. There will be a link on my Facebook page, and I will also add the link at the end of this story where it says ‘Continued’.

Hope to see you back here next Thursday for Part 2!

NOTE: Link to Part 2 has been added.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 27: BFFs

This week, the prompt was to write a story that features at least one monster. My story is about two very close friends who, over lunch, discuss collaborating on a particular project. Let’s see how that works out for them.


“Leon, over here. Have a seat. I picked this booth in the back so we’d be able to talk. This diner gets so noisy at lunchtime.”

“I know, Frankie. Like I told you on the phone, I’m still on set for my latest film so I’ve only got an hour.”

“Not to worry. I already ordered for both of us. I got you the special – you know, that sandwich you like, the one with the spicy mayo on it.”

“Great. That’s my favorite. So, what’s this big idea you have?”

“The most incredible thing happened. I ran into this screenwriter in the market the other day and he told me he’s written a screenplay for a film that would be perfect for you and me.”

“You and me? In the same movie? Like, together?”

“Yes. Isn’t that a wild idea? I mean, you and I have been best friends since we were kids, but we have never appeared in the same movie.”

“What’s the storyline, Frankie?”

“Leon, it’s perfect. There’s a gang that’s causing problems in a little town off the East coast, and together, you and I save the town and its people from this band of roving monsters.”

“That sounds neat. There’s tons of small towns along the coast that are close enough to big cities, so we could work some big-city action into the film here and there.”

 “That’s true, but the story doesn’t really have anything in it that would take us into a city.”

“Maybe not, but you know what a great screen presence I am when it comes to scenes in the downtown area of any city. With lots of tall buildings and busy streets, I truly shine. We could make some adjustments and write some other scenes in.”

“Actually, I was thinking we could film it without any rewrites. I also am in my element in the big city setting, but for once, I would prefer to be the dominant presence in the scene, not playing second fiddle to a building. That’s why I like the small town idea. There would be little shops, small homes on hillsides, and me – standing tall and strong above everything.”

“Oh, and I suppose I don’t stand tall and strong when I’m at the top of a 40 story high-rise in one of my famous close-ups.”

“There aren’t going to be any of your famous close-ups in this one, Leon. Remember, in this movie, we would be working as a team. If there are going to be any close-ups at all, I think the film should end with one – of me. Imagine if you will, me walking along the beach, my tail sweeping dramatically through the sand, as I stroll off into the sunset as the picture fades and the credits roll. You will already have left the area because after we’ve defeated the monsters, we go our separate ways.”

“Why would I have already left the area? Where did I go? Why should the last scene be of you alone? What happened to you and me as a team?”

“The team part, Leon, is us working with each other to save the town. But, that will be done. You like the big cities so much, that’s where you’ll go at the end. The camera will show you walking past the town toward the tall buildings in the distance. Since I prefer the ocean to dry land, the last scene should be me on the beach contemplating returning to the sea.”

“Contemplating? Now you’re contemplating? Leon just wanders off toward big buildings, but Frankie’s contemplating? So, the movie is all about us and we and a team and all that, but in the end, it’s all about you contemplating?”

“Don’t you think you’re being a bit childish about all this? After all, my emerging from the ocean and my return to the same has always been a grand moment. I still don’t know how we’re going to work out your entrance. I certainly don’t want to incorporate a circus scene.”

“Circus scene? Really? You don’t want. Since when is this your movie? Your tail sweeping through the sand. What a crock! How has that ever been a grand moment? You don’t even drip as you stumble through the scenes. How is that possible when you’ve emerged from the ocean? Huh? How come you don’t drip? You’re such a phony.”

“I’m a phony? I don’t’ have to drip because the camera shows me coming up out of the ocean, and that is so a grand moment. And I do not stumble through scenes. What about you bending the bars on a big cage and stepping out? Where’s the drama in that? The bars look like they’re made out of painted cardboard. Talk about a phony.”

“Those bars are real metal and I do bend them and you know it. The audience knows it too, which is why women swoon when I escape from those cages. No chicks pass out when you emerge from the ocean.”

“No? Once I start roaring, they do. I’ve seen it happen all the time at premiers. At least, I roar. All you do is beat your chest. That doesn’t frighten anybody.”

“I suppose when you open your big mouth and that fake fire shoots out, that does frighten people?”

“You’re nothing but a big fat chimp anyway.”

“A big fat what? I happen to be a supersized gorilla, who is able to easily scale tall buildings. All you are is a chubby and slimy lizard.”

“Slimy? I’ve never been sli…how dare you call me chubby. You know I’m at the gym three times a week. Besides, I’m a dinosaur, not a lizard.”

“Big whoop. Some dinosaur. Love your short arms. Do any climbing lately?”

“Big whoop indeed. So you can climb up a building and perch there, like some overgrown parakeet. I don’t climb and perch – I destroy tall buildings, short arms and all.”

“Well, tough stuff, let’s get down to the important stuff. Never forget I’m a headliner and they call me King Kong. Top that.”

“I can, oh mighty king whoever. I’m a headliner too, but I have only one name and that means I’m cooler than you. Don’t you ever forget they call me Godzilla. Get it? One name is cooler than two. You know, like Madonna or Sting.”

“You’re so cool, huh? At least when I headline, I’m always the only star, but you’re not. In so many of your movies, you share billing with that three-headed thing or the creepy worm that the little girls sing for.”

“Mothra is not a creepy worm. She only crawls when she’s in the larvae stage. Don’t you know anything? Plus, even when we share the screen, it’s my name that’s listed first on the bill. So there.”


“Leon, I’m thinking that maybe us making a movie together might not be such a great idea after all.”

“Frankie, I think you’re right. We should probably just keep things as they’ve always been.”

“Yeah. You climb buildings and I’ll knock ‘em down.”

“Now, that’s a great idea. Oh, look at the time. I’ve got to get back to the set. We still on for checkers Friday night?”

“You betcha. I found some great scoopy type chips I think you’ll like.”

“Terrific. I found a new dip recipe that’ll be perfect with those. Thanks for lunch, Frankie.”

“You bet, Leon. Any time, my friend.”