Sunday, July 28, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 31 - It's Gonna Be A Really Bad Day

The prompt this week was heat – lots of it. Heat in a random location, with a random object. We were given six choices of location and six choices of things.

Location:                                                                           Thing: 

Awards dinner                                                                    Press-on nails
Dark lake                                                                           Onion rings
Car wash                                                                            Remote controlled drone
Parking garage                                                                   Box of animal crackers
Village plaza                                                                      Plastic fork
Quiet suburb                                                                      Folded sheet of paper

I rolled a 3 and a 4, which was a location of car wash, and my thing was a box of animal crackers. What a combo! I decided to have fun with these, and I hope my little tale makes you smile too.

It’s Gonna Be A Really Bad Day

Of all the days for aliens to pick to invade and deep fry Earth, why the hell did they have to pick today? Saturdays are my day to catch up on all the household type nonsense I put off during the week. Since the wife ran away with the mailman – I know, it’s the classic stand-up comic’s line – I was left with this five-story house and credit card bills. The house was always more than we could handle financially, and those credit accounts in my name that she maxed out just add insult to injury. I wonder if these tentacled space goons have incinerated my house yet. Surely those blood-suckers at the bank wouldn’t expect me to finish paying off my mortgage, would they?

Currently, I’m solely responsible for all of it. I do the cooking, the dishes, the laundry, the shopping, the vacuuming… I don’t want you to think I expected my wife to do everything on her own. I helped her with the housework when I got home from my job and on my days off. I believe that marriage is a partnership; although, my scrubbing the kitchen floor while she was linking up in the sack with our mail carrier is not exactly what I had in mind when I described our relationship at a 50-50 level.

Work is a nightmare, with all the young studs climbing over close-to-retirement me on their way to the executive suites, and for the reasons I’ve listed, home’s no picnic either. The time I most look forward to each and every week is the 15 minutes or so I spend here at the car wash. I can sit back and relax while my car is pulled through on the track and chow down on my favorite snack of animal crackers. Weird? Maybe, but spending those few minutes with the water sloshing all around and the zero taste of tiny tigers and giraffes bring back memories of a happy childhood. Now, these bug-eyed bastards from outer space have ruined it. Why do these kinds of things always happen to me?

I can hear people screaming outside, and buildings exploding. Their heat rays are sure doing the trick, especially in here. The water’s so hot, it’s melting my windows. The contents of my box of animal crackers look like they just came out of the oven. As my SUV caught on the track and started moving inside, I saw the ships coming down closer and closer, and all of a sudden, streams of what looked like liquid fire began raining down. The hits seemed random though; it appeared as if they deliberately chose not to wipe everyone out in one swoop. They’re probably planning to use survivors as lunch meat on their sandwiches for the trip home. Then again, perhaps, this will become their new home, and those same survivors would be lined up as the entrees in some grand buffet.

Who knows where they came from or why they came here. In the overall scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter much. Obviously, we have no defense available against them, so why fret about it. I’m going to continue to enjoy my animal crackers that are pretty hot right now, and wait out the melt. I have to admit that in these last moments, I’m going to try to find some comfort by imagining my ex and her mailbag-toting boy-toy ending up as hors d’oeuvres.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 30 - Be Careful What You Wish For...

The prompt this week was as follows: “It’s a birthday, with a cake, and candles. Someone makes a wish and there are consequences.” ‘I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.’ Do you? Really?


“Happy Birthday, David. I’m so happy we were able to surprise you.”

“Aunt Josie, you’re such a sneak. You ask me over to check through some documents, and all the while, you’ve had a party planned.”

As if I couldn’t figure out what the old gal was up to since she does the same thing every year.

“Your birthday is two days away. That’s why the party is early. We wanted to fool you for real this year. You’re not an easy man to fool.”

Old man, since you always schedule my ‘surprise’ birthday party two days before my actual birthday, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out.

“I hope not, Uncle Seth. But having a party early sure did the trick. I never suspected a thing. My goodness, you’ve even got what’s left of our family here. Uncle Mike and Aunt Geraldine, and even cousins Harry and Suzanne. Millicent? So nice of you to come too, and you’ve brought your fiancĂ© Bernard along. That’s yet another surprise.”

I can’t believe that bitch showed up with her bastard of a boyfriend.

“David, you know I wouldn’t miss this. I’ve known you all my life, and Bernard thinks the world of you, don’t you, Bernard?”

“Of course, Millicent. Positively. The world.”

That warms my heart, Bernard, you ass. If only I could shut you up permanently…

“You’re too kind. Well, let’s get this party started. I see a cake with candles on the table. Aunt Josie, you make the best cakes in the world, and that’s where I want to start. Somebody get my candles lit so I can make my wish. I already know what it’s going to be.”

I sure do. I’ve known what to wish for since day before yesterday. I’m not into witchcraft or voodoo, but by all that is holy, I pray that my birthday cake wish comes true. It has to. Uncle Seth said I’m not an easy man to fool, and up until day before yesterday, I thought that too. I was lunching at the Windview downtown, and who slides into the booth next to mine but Millicent and her sister, Louise. They didn’t see me, and I overheard them chatting about Millie’s upcoming wedding. She talked about how anxious she was for the wedding to occur so she could spend her life with her one true love. I couldn’t stand to hear any more and made my escape.

All the way home, I couldn’t believe how I’ve been played by that bitch. She and I have been lovers for many years, and often spoke of marriage. Millie’s father had a problem with his business though, and she was determined to help save it before we began our lives together. Bernard and his company purchased small companies, shut them down, and screwed the employees out of any benefits or compensation. Apparently, Bernard wanted to marry Millie, and told her father that he would sign a note confirming his intention to leave her father’s company alone if he would arrange the marriage. Millie had overheard this conversation, and also heard her father tell him that it would be a cold day in Hell before he would do that to his daughter. Millie knew her father would be ruined, so took it upon herself to pretend to love Bernard and accept his proposal. It was supposed to be a ruse to help her father. Her one true love was not supposed to be Bernard. Her one true love was supposed to be me.

“All right, David. It’s time. Blow out these candles and make your wish.”

“Oh, I’m ready, Uncle Mike. I am more than ready.”

Done. Now, I wait. I’ll hear about it because the families are so close, Millie will call one of them, or she might even call me directly. There’s no way out for her either since she takes marriage vows very seriously; you know, that for better or worse crap. She won’t walk away from her one true love. She won’t live happily ever after either. I made sure of that. You see, my wish was that once their wedding was over, on Sunday evening, that her one true love would lose the ability to speak. Permanently. It would make his and Millie’s married life a bit dull, but it also would save the world from Bernard’s cruelty. He could still have his minions continue to ruin lives, but how long would that last? Sooner or later – hopefully, sooner, his power would fade and he’d end up like those he destroyed. And Millie right along with him.

Come on, wish. Her one true love. Ha!


Well, I’ll be damned, my wish came true. When I said ‘I’ll be damned’, I meant that. You see, Millie and the Jerk King got married Sunday morning, had their reception, and arrived at their honeymoon hotel in the evening. Shortly thereafter, Millie came to see me at my apartment. As soon as I opened the door, she rushed in, threw her arms around me, and told me everything was taken care of. Bernard had signed the agreement to never bother her father’s business right after their I do’s. She played along until they got to their hotel, and it was there that she told him she was divorcing him. She had already hired an attorney to draw up the papers, and she had them in her overnight bag. She told him he’d better sign them and let her walk away clean or she’d go to the press with his blackmail scheme. He couldn’t sign them fast enough.

She then told me she was happy the wedding was over so she could spend the rest of her life with her one true love, and that her one true love was me. Me. I started to tell her about how I had misunderstood what she said in the restaurant, and all about the wish I’d made, but…

Friday, July 19, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 29 - The Mystery

The prompt this week was to use the genre of mystery, the location of a surveillance vehicle, and include a helmet. I don’t know if my story qualifies exactly as a mystery, but hopefully, I’ve muddied the waters enough to surprise you.

The Mystery

“I still don’t understand why you feel you need to be here in the car with me. I do surveillance all the time. It’s part of the job.”

“It’s no reflection on you, Mr. Russell. My employer wouldn’t have hired you if he didn’t feel you were qualified.”

“That’s all very flattering, but again, why are you watching this woman with me?”

“My employer simply requires ample documentation. We shall both take photographs and document her comings and goings. One can take over for the other when using the restroom, etc. I am only here to assist – not to hinder.”

“I guess it will be okay. I’m just used to working alone. I‘m curious though. Does your boss really believe this lady murdered her husband? I mean, she’s your employer’s sister-in-law.”

“Without question. This woman killed his brother, and he is determined to gather enough evidence to bring her to justice. That is where you come in. My employer also believes she had an accomplice – a lover, who assisted her. He must also be made to pay for what was done.”

“Of course, Well, she’s going out now so we’ll follow. She’s probably going to dinner since it’s 7. She eats out all the time. Must be nice to be so rich.”

“Yes. I’m certain it would be.”

“How did her husband die?”

“He was beaten to death with a crowbar. There were witnesses who said it was a man on a motorcycle. No identification was possible since he wore a mask and a helmet. You also possess a motorcycle, don’t you, Mr. Russell?”

“Well, yeah, I do, but lots of people have them. I suppose whoever killed him is kind of like a mystery, right?”

“Yes. A mystery it remains.”

“This one’s awful, but usually, I like mysteries, don’t you?”

“Not particularly, Mr. Russell. Not particularly.”


“I was right. Dinner at the Pelican Club again. I wonder why she always sits by the window. She does the same thing at home; I mean, she never draws her drapes. At least we can see that she is always alone.”

“Perhaps that’s the point.”

“What point?”

“None really, Mr. Russell. Let’s just observe and wait. Perhaps we can use this opportunity to have dinner ourselves. Why don’t you get us some burgers and drinks at that fast food place down the street. I will keep my eyes on the woman, and update my employer in the meantime.”

“Great idea, although, for some reason in this area, cell service is kind of sketchy. Hope you get through. Be right back.”


“Sir, Day 3’s activities are exactly the same. Yes. For both. Always by the window. Exactly the same times. Phone reports confirm? Yes, sir. Tonight. Without fail.”


“I guess she’s in for the night. Wait. What’s that? It looks like there’s someone in there with her. Oh my God! He’s grabbing her and putting a bag over her head. We need to… What the hell are you doing? Let go of my arm. Sondra needs help. She…”

“Sondra? Are you accustomed to referring to your subjects by their familiar name?”

“No, I just… I mean… Look! That man is… What the… What did you just stick me with?”

“A clever little drug, Mr. Russell. It takes some time for death to occur, and the entire process is quite unpleasant, I am told.”

“Why? God, I can’t bre… My head hur…”

“As I said previously, it will take some time, Mr. Russell, so I am able to explain. My employer knows you were his sister-in-law’s lover who helped to murder her husband. That is why he hired you. He needed to keep tabs on you while awaiting critical information. Both your phones have been monitored, and when out of my sight, you have been in communication with her. My employer was waiting for the final report about your 2 am meeting today. The video was quite clear. You both laughed about what you had done, and planned to simply wait out his brother’s suspicions. You see, we had another PI following you and the lady. Turns out, he is extremely well qualified.”

“The pain… You don’t know… She was the one who… They’ll know it was him who…”

“No, Mr. Russell, no one will know because you and the lady will disappear. It should make for fascinating tabloid fodder. We will make the media aware of the rich widow and local private investigator vanishing, and the connection between the two of you will be established. You know, it may even ultimately be made into one of those made-for-television films, and yours and her whereabouts would most likely be considered a mystery. But, that would be all right with you, Mr. Russell, wouldn’t it? I mean, you do like mysteries, right?”

Friday, July 12, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 28 - The Long Sleep

The prompt this week was as follows: Our story must take place on a train, it must include something frozen, and it must include three 3-word sentences in a row. I had fun putting this one together. I hope you enjoy.

The Long Sleep

“I do love train rides, don’t you, Phyllis?”

“This is my first time being on a train overnight, and it is very enjoyable. I do have to say though, Sarah, that it certainly is tiring. Ever since I had that hot chocolate, it gets harder and harder to keep my eyes open. It must be the way the car moves over the tracks – it’s so soothing.”

Sure is bitch, especially with a couple of benzos dissolved in your cocoa.

“Phyllis, I knew you’d enjoy yourself. I know it’s not the most pleasant of reasons for this trip, but having a dear friend like you with me helps me to get through this.”

“I can’t believe we’re bringing your husband home from the hospital in such a state. I’ve heard about this sort of thing, but I never knew anyone who actually had it done to themselves.”

“David’s been a supporter of arrangements like this for years. He always told me to call Dr. Jim if he was ever in a situation like this, and the doctor would take care of everything.”

“But being frozen? It’s so extreme. Why do this?”

You knew this was going to happen, you two-faced whore. David told you all about his plans during your last midnight romp.

“Well, he did give our family doctor a chance, but old Dr. Mitchell couldn’t figure out what the problem was. David felt sick to his stomach, dizzy, aches all over… The hospital ran tons of tests, but couldn’t find anything. David believes he’s contracted some exotic disease, so to stop its progression, he let Dr. Jim put him in a kind of hibernation. Dr. Jim took samples and when he figures out what’s wrong, David will be defrosted. Ha! My husband’s frozen and will ultimately be defrosted. How weird is that!”

It’s fascinating how many symptoms you can mimic with a combination of untraceable medications.

“I can’t believe the railroad let you bring him on this run; I mean, this is a passenger train, not cargo.”

“I’ve got medical documentation. He’s got the adjacent car all to himself. He’s in a locked cylinder, and a cooling gas keeps running through it to keep him cold. It’s wild. You can’t see him in there – it looks like a purple cloud. All the controls are on the outside, so everything can be monitored. That gas container keeps recycling, so I don’t have to do anything.”

“Amazing. Oh, sorry, I have to go again. Would you please order me another coffee, Sarah? I need to use the Ladies.”

“No problem, Phyllis. One coffee coming up.”

And your last dose of trancs. Time to move you to your final seat for the rest of this trip. You won’t die blind though. I’ll make sure you know why.

“Okay now?”

“Yes. Fine.”

“Good. Let’s go back there and I’ll show you how David’s spending the foreseeable future.”

“Is it scary, Sarah? I don’t think I could take a scare.”

“Phyllis, I told you. You can’t see him in the cylinder because of the gas. It just looks like a big glass tube with gauges, buttons, and a lock on the side.”

“Why is it locked?”

“For the occupant’s protection, of course. You wouldn’t want anyone opening it up willy-nilly if you were in there, would you?”

“Absolutely not. Okay. Let’s go.”

“Wait. Did I just hear the conductor call out Batesville? I didn’t know this train made stops.”

“Only one, then straight on to Harper. It will be dark soon and everyone will be going to their sleeping quarters after supper.”


“Here he is, Phyllis, right behind these rows of seats.”

“I need to sit down for a second, Sarah. I feel peculiar.”

“Not for long, dear friend. Yep. Dear friend, who has been having an affair with my husband.”

“What are you…oh, I’m diz…why…key…”

“I’m unlocking my no-good cheating bastard of a husband’s current bed so you can join him.”

“I don’t…”

“Shut up and listen. Let me help you walk over here, you slug, and I’ll put you in here nice and cozy on top of David. You should feel right at home now.”


“You’ll be out cold soon. Out cold. Now, that’s the funniest thing I’ve heard all day.”

“No, Sar…Pl…”

Locked up tight. Some of that gas escaped and David’s probably not going to survive this trip. But that’s okay since neither will his paramour. I’m going back to my seat and order dinner.


“Miss, will your lady friend be joining you for your evening meal? Should I bring two orders?”

“No, Conductor. She got off at the last stop. Some kind of emergency. Actually, you don’t need to ever give her another thought because I certainly won’t.”

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 27 - The Shoebox

The prompt this week was the following scenario: “You’ve bought an old chest of drawers and discover a piece of paper stuck inside. What is written on that piece of paper?” I’m not sure why I had a hard time with this one, but each time I rewrote it, it became more and more sappy. Hopefully, this version rises far above that.

The Shoebox

“Have you figured out those numbers on that paper yet?”

“Yes. These coordinates are so specific, I can narrow the location down to a small area in a little town not far from here. This is so exciting. I can’t wait to see what’s there.”

“You’re kidding, right? You don’t really plan on actually going there, do you? Ridiculous.”

“Why is everything ridiculous to you? I pick up a chest of drawers at an estate sale, and there’s a piece of paper stuck between the base and the bottom drawer. On that paper are detailed map coordinates that lead to a real place. I am curious about the reasons behind it since it hints at a possible adventure.”

“Grow up, Daniel. If you keep going on about it, I won’t drive you there. Why can’t you just wait until the cast is off your leg and then drive yourself?”

“’Danny’, and my cast won’t be off for another five weeks, Marci, and I don’t want to wait that long. This will also give us a chance to get to know each other a little more. After all, we haven’t seen each other in over 20 years. I would like to get to know my little sister.”

“All right, we’ll go, but I still say the whole thing is ridiculous.”

My sister, Marceline. Not a bad person really; she’s just cold and cynical. There’s reasons though. When our parents split, I went with Dad and Marci went with Mom. I loved my parents, but that was the worst decision any couple could ever make. Dad filled my life with love and hope. Mom filled Marci’s life with suspicion and bitterness. Our parents have both passed now, and sis and I reconnected. It’s a struggle, but I’ll turn her around – fingers crossed.


“Here we are at 34 degrees, 57 minutes, and 42 seconds North, and 89 degrees, 49 minutes, and 46 seconds West. Isn’t this fantastic?”

“Yes. Wow. Here we are. We’re in a nowhere town, in a field behind a nowhere diner, standing in front of a tree. Again. Wow.”

“Marci, look. There’s an old treehouse up there. I bet kids had fun in there.”

“My grandfather built it for my father and his friends. There were three of them that were always together. There was Billy, Ada, and my dad, Jack. I’m sorry you don’t like my restaurant, Miss, but my grandfather built this too, my dad ran it after he died, and now I run the place. I have a son who will take over after I…”

“Sorry. I meant no harm. It’s just that…”

“It’s okay, Miss. It’s quite a mystery about the coordinates. My father had a note with the same coordinates taped to the bottom of his dresser. When I found it, I thought it meant the treehouse, but I couldn’t figure out why he’d hide it. Plus, this tree is in our backyard where he grew up so why figure out the coordinates. Just a kid thing?”

“I’m not sure either. This is so weird because the estate sale was for a lady named Adelaide Cooper, and she was your dad’s friend, Ada. She married and moved away, but still kept the note.”

“Yes, and even crazier, Billy Sandridge’s daughter contacted me after he died. She found the same note in his papers, and since he grew up here, she wanted to understand what it meant. Of course, the coordinates led her here, but we found no answers at that time. She left the note with me, and I still have his and Dad’s.”

“What if it’s not the treehouse, but something buried near the tree? The ground all looks flat, but maybe right under the ladder at the base? May I, Mr. Jansen?”

“It’s Ray, Danny, and please do.”

“What is that?”

“A shoebox, Marci, and there’s writing on the lid. It says ‘We were here’ and it’s signed Billy, Jack, and Ada. Inside there’s a bracelet, a baseball card, and a GI Joe wristwatch.”

“What does it all mean, Daniel?”

“’Danny’, and it looks like the kids made a kind of time capsule; you know, for someone in the future to find. It signifies their friendship and their strong bond with each other. They even put a favorite item of theirs in here too. Always friends, always together, always…”

“They must have been very close. I’ll bet they were never lonely. I’ll bet they felt… Put it all back the way it was. It’s important that it go back. It’s…”

“Don’t cry, Marci. I’ll put it back, and someday maybe other kids will find it. I believe that’s what Billy, Jack, and Ada would want. Other kids would understand what it all means. Kids know what it means to be so…”

“Is it too late for us, Daniel? Too late for us to try to be close like those kids?”

“’Danny’. Of course not, Marci. It’s never too late to try. You know what? I’ve got a shoebox and a football.”

“And I’ve got a high school class ring.”

“It’s a start, sis. It’s a start. Ray, are you still serving breakfast? What do you think, Marci?”

“I think breakfast at this charming diner would be perfect, Danny.”