Family Problems part 4

Not wanting any more bad luck, and making sure I wasn’t available for anyone else Jessica lovingly sent my way, I grabbed my earplugs, locked up shop, and left.  Always be prepared, right?  I could hunt James down later and get my money.  I turned right and walked over a few blocks till I was on Blandina Street and headed over to the Comstock Apartments.  I figured I could check on Dad and see if I could find a bit more of Cousin Antonio’s money.

Comstock Apartments were a golden testament to great thinking in the nineteen seventies.  Tall, brown, and majestic in a way that can only be described as two fat cigars stuck into the ground.  It must have been the highlight of its day, the crème de la crème of senior living, but now it looked like the rumpled trousers of its occupants.   The same couldn’t be said for the current set of cohabitants.

“Hey Cutie Boy, haven’t seen you in a while.”  Mrs. Malachi, the purple haired woman with skin the color of ninety two percent dark chocolate, has always had a soft spot for younger men.  Since she is almost eighty five that qualifies as much of the current population of the city.  That doesn’t bother her though.  She knows she’s God’s gift to men, and bless her heart, she isn’t afraid to remind us of that every time she could.

You had to pay the gate keeper to enter the castle, unless you wanted her to breath fire all over you, and let me tell you, this woman is too hot to handle when she gets going.  Besides, it’s always good to respect your elders.  “Hi Mrs. Malachi.  How are things today?”

She waved her hand dismissing my greeting.  “Cutie boy. drop the Mrs. crap.  The mister went to live with the Lord a long time ago.  I miss him fiercely of course.”

I continued the ritual.  “Of course.”

“But at the same time I still have needs.”  She cleans off imaginary lint from her top.  The top that is probably too open for her age I might add, though I am avoiding going there at all costs.

“We all do.  We’re only human.”  She seems mollified by that for a moment, and I think I’m home free until she reaches down under her seat and pulls out her garish burnt orange purse.  It was fashionable when this edifice was built, and for some reason seemed quite at home in that setting still.

She rummaged through her purse and took out a pack of cigarettes and a Zippo Elvis embossed lighter.  She paused to point the lighter at me.  “Exactly.  You tell that father of yours that I see him coming out of Olivia’s apartment.  He can do much better.”

“I will do that.  Is he home?  I mean visiting Olivia?”  Oops, that could get more awkward than it already is.

“How should I know?”  Mrs. Malachi lights a cigarette and takes a long puff.  I wonder if the smoke signifies that we are done.  It’s worth a try.

“Nice talking with you Miss Malachi.”  Who says I don’t listen.

“I bet I have a niece that would be just perfect for you.”  I almost snap my neck on that just above the knees curve ball strike three call just as I was about to take my base.

“But Miss Malachi, I’m seeing someone right now.”  Now she has me flustered.  I don’t like to be flustered.

She chuckles a bit.  “This too shall pass, and when it does, let me know.”  Is she kidding me?  This too shall pass?  She dismisses me with a gesture, but I don’t take it and stand my ground.

“I’m confused.”

She looked me in the eye so hard I’m sure my grandfather, who was probably talking to Mr. Malachi right now, felt it.  “Cutie Boy, don’t hurt your little mind.  I haven’t seen your dad leave today, so unless he flew out a window or something then he’s here.”

Boy she might know more than he let on, but still, that niece comment.  Better get out while I still have my head.  “Yeah, imagine that, flying out of a window.  Later.”  I rush past Miss Malachi and into the building feeling relieved, but wondering what just happened, and hoping I could somehow fly out a window myself so she couldn’t catch me on the way out.


Banshee Ain’t Got Nothing On That

Lifting her voice to near jet engine levels, my five month daughter lets me know with subtle nuance that she is currently unhappy.  To my fatigued brain I begin down my checklist.  Is it time for my wife to stick a breast in my daughter’s mouth?  While that would shut me up, my daughter only cares about when she is hungry, and she ate just an hour ago.  Let’s see if we can distract her with a toy.  Nope, that jet engine now has nothing on her.  Maybe it’s a wet diaper.  Off to change her.  Nope it’s dry.  What is next on the list?  My daughter shoves her pacifier in her mouth and the world begins to right itself on its axis.  Oops, that was just a temporary reprieve as the aural attack commences.  I roll my saving throw and fail, receiving 4d8 mental damage.  I walk around the house and share her boisterous malcontent with the neighbors in attempt to earn sympathy points for why my lawn isn’t mowed yet. As she reaches for yet another gear I try to remember the next item on the list?  Maybe she has gas.  I try to burp her while simultaneously giving her gas drops.  While the gas drops are a hit, the sound of my eardrum trying to cleave itself in two emanates from my daughter once again.  What can I do?  This screaming is turning what little brain I have left into a liquid mass threatening to pour through that split eardrum.  Suddenly a sonic boom burp tears through the air and the world is at peace.  I breathe a sigh of relief as I look into her angelic face.  She is such a perfect little baby.  At least until I try to put her down…

100 Word Story #5 The Pursuit of Death

To Charlotte it seemed she had always been running, always trying to stay one step ahead of certain death that hunted her.  Every breath ragged as her lungs labored to bring in the oxygen that would allow her legs to pick up and put down her feet yet another time.  But with every stumbling step she lost a bit of her lead.  The sound of her pursuer grew larger than the sound of her blood pounding through her veins.  Her fears cried no, but her body had had enough and turned to embrace fate, dancing for eternity, never running again.

Sariah’s Story chapter 15

Kegan picked at the rest of his meal, but the smells coming from the pot that Sariah was working made him almost lose what he had already eaten.  “The bouquet is going to take days to leave my shop,” he said.  Sariah ignored him, adding more of the very specific green slime they had retrieved from the lake.  “I think I saw my neighbors boarding up their windows when they saw that scent leaving my shop.”

Sariah looked up at him with an exasperated glare.  “You can’t see smells,” she said.

“I can see this one,” he responded, waving around at the light yellowish haze the clung mostly to the ceiling.

Sariah turned back to the pot.  “Okay, you might have a point, but just wave a hand and make it disappear,” she said.

Kegan put his leftovers in the trash.  The food was beginning to taste like the smell.  “Magic can’t do everything,” he said.

Sariah added some more iodine.  “That’s not what you used to tell me,” she said.  “Everything was possible with magic.  We should just stop doing everything else and concentrate on developing our magical gifts.”  She put the iodine bottle down and stretched her back.  “Don’t you have a table at a decent height?”

“I’m half fairy, remember?” Kegan said.

Sariah dipped a piece of copper wire into the solution.  “I thought we weren’t supposed to talk about that,” she said.

Kegan watched as a greenish gas was released.  That gas seemed to do a war with the yellow gas, upping the stinkyness to a whole new level.  Kegan muttered under his breath and pushed with his will, moving the noxious gasses out the open window.

Sariah smiled without looking up from her pot.  “See, that didn’t hurt.  Magic can solve anything, just like you said.”

“You know full well that magic burns,” Kegan said.  “I hate feeling my insides burn.”

“You’re used to it,” Sariah said.  “Besides, that didn’t burn much.”

Just then Asopt’s voice called from outside.  “Man you guys reek.  I’ll come back later.”

“Get your questioning arse in here,” Kegan yelled. “Or I’ll turn you into a toad.”

“A toad?” asked Sariah.

“Well, it was better than something profane.” said Kegan.

“Not really,” she said.  A pinch of dark powder entered the pot and Sariah began to smile.  “There, that’s finished.  Now all I need to do is inject it into him at some point and make it look like something else accidental happened.  His spirit won’t even know what happened.”

“Well you better be thinking really creatively,” Asopt said as he entered the room.  “Your mark has gotten himself walled into his compound.  Seems he fears he is a target for assassination.  He has used royal funds to hire a ton of extra security, including a couple of Kegan’s buddies.”

“Not all magic users are my buddies,” Kegan fired back.  “Besides almost everyone in this city are hacks.  There is nothing to worry about, Sariah.”

“Greggorin and Helfin are hacks?” asked Asopt.

“He paid to have both of them?” asked Kegan.  “Damn.  Sariah you have lots to worry about.”

Asopt continued, “Not only that, but rumor has it he has a necromancer lying in wait, just in case.”

Sariah carefully poured out the powder from the bowl into a small metal box that had seen plenty of use in the past.  She carefully scooped every grain out then slowly closed the box so the shifting air of the closing lid didn’t disrupt the grains inside.  Once the lid was secured she looked back at Asopt.  “There, that’s enough poison to take out half the town guard.  Oh, and you’re lying through your teeth about that necromancer,” she said.

Asopt spread his hands out wide.  “It’s what I heard.  I can not confirm or deny.”

Sariah shook her head.  “Too few of those around in the three kingdoms, much less the free lands.  Unless things have changed that much since I retired there wouldn’t be a necromancer.”

Asopt smiled.  “I agree.  I checked into it a bit, and no one has heard or seen anything, but I thought you should know, just in case.  I wouldn’t want you to be surprised.”  With that Asopt turned on his heel and began to leave the room.

“Where are you going?” asked Sariah.  “Don’t you want a part of this?”

Asopt stopped, but did not turn around.  “You made it abundantly clear that you didn’t need my help other than the information you requested.  I have decided to honor your request.”  With that he continued out of the room.

Kegan spoke up.  “What about those schedules and staff lists?”

“I left them on the table out here,” came Asopt’s voice from the other room, just before they heard him go through the outside door.

“Well are you going to go after him?” asked Kegan.  “He is a part of this crew.”

“I never wanted him in the first place,” said Sariah.  “You were the one who dragged him in.  I say we are better off being without him.”

“I don’t know Sariah.  A lot has changed since you retired,” Kegan said.

“Not that much,” replied Sariah.  “Let’s go plan an accident.”

Fallen From Mercy chapter 11

Dan looked around his bedroom and realized he was still dreaming.  Fear crept in, and he reached into his nightstand to pull out his firearm.  The 9mm felt heavy in his palm as he checked to see that it was loaded.  Dan then disengaged the safety and loaded one into the chamber.  Slipping the safety off, he eased out of bed and listened through the bedroom door.

“Come on out Dan.  I know you’re in there.”

Pastor Sean’s voice amplified the fear.   Dan swallowed it down and threw open the door, his weapon at the ready.

Pastor Sean sat on Dan’s couch, the machete in hand, looking like he owned the place.  Dan’s eyes flashed to the door which was wide open again.  “I decided to let myself in.”

Dan’s pointed the gun momentarily at the door.  “You can let yourself out”

Pastor Sean’s eyes flashed dangerously.  “Sheep need to learn their place.”

“And you’re here to give me a lesson?” asked Dan.

“Put away the weapon.  It will do you no good here.”

“Screw you, you Hannibal wanna be.  You get out!”

Pastor Sean stood up and held the machete at the ready.  “You will not talk to me in that manner.”

“You’re my dream and I can do what the hell I want.”  Dan lowered the pistol to demonstrate that he believed what he was saying.

Pastor Sean smiled an evil smile.  “This is your dream?”  The pastor moved his left hand and the world shifted.

Dan’s apartment was replaced with a small white sand beach that Dan recognized from his trip to Honolulu a few years back.  Pastor Sean took a step forward.  “I control what happens here.”

Dan could feel the anger building, becoming white hot, and burning away the fear.  He pointed the gun back at Pastor Sean.  “Control this.”

Dan began to fire.  The first two shots happened quickly, but then the whole dream kicked into slow motion.  As the third shot rang out in a muted roar, Pastor Sean was already whirling, machete deflecting the first bullet, then parrying the second.  The fourth sounded hollow coming out of the gun.  The third bullet Pastor Sean easily slipped around, taking another step towards Dan.    As the fifth bullet left the gun, the gun exploded to dust in Dan’s hand.  Pastor Sean sliced the fourth bullet in half and each half traveled past him on either side.  He then threw his left hand out, palm first.  As the bullet hit Pastor Sean’s palm the bullet seemed to splash against it like Pastor Sean was just stopping a large drop of water.  The bullet remains dripped to Pastor Sean’s feet.  As each drop of bullet hit the ground time seemed to increase in speed until time seemed to be normal.

Dan was dumbstruck, unable to process what had just happened.  Before he could blink Pastor Sean closed the remaining distance and flung Dan to the ground face first.  “Do you understand now?” Pastor Sean asked.  Dan didn’t respond.  The Pastor got down on his knees and pulled Dan’s head back by his hair.  He looked Dan in the eye.  “Answer me boy.  Do you understand?”  Dan began to growl and Pastor Sean slammed Dan’s face back into the ground.  The Pastor smoothly stood from the kneeling position and then spit on Dan.  “You’re a waste of my time.  I’m going to chew you up and spit you out.”

Dan closed his eyes and reached for his calm.  Pastor Sean kicked him in his side, but Dan just absorbed it as he found his focus.  Pastor Sean kicked him a second time.  “You’ve got nothing to say?”

“This is my dream,” whispered Dan and the scene shifted back to his apartment.  This time Pastor Sean was mid kick when he realized what had happened.  Dan rolled with the kick, grabbed the Pastor’s foot and twisted hard.  Pastor Sean was pulled from his feet and landed ungracefully on his backside.  Dan finished his roll and came to a stop in a crouching position.  “And it’s time for you to go.”

Pastor Sean got up slowly, a smile growing on his face.  “Maybe there’s something to you after all.”  The smile continued to grow and the Pastor’s teeth soon were showing, pointier than what was possible.  “I enjoy my meals when they are more complex.  I’ll see you tomorrow night.”  Pastor Sean walked to the door.  “But before I go.”  The Pastor grabbed onto the open door with both hands and pulled. The door hinges groaned and then gave way.  He then threw the door just over Dan’s head into the half wall dividing the kitchen from the living room.  “Now we don’t have to worry about me having to knock.  Sweet dreams my sheep.”  Pastor Sean walked through the door and disappeared.

Dan laid down on his floor and felt every ache and pain he had from the fight.  He closed his eyes and then opened them to find he was on the floor of his bedroom.  He checked his nose to find it bleeding.  “What the hell,” he said.  “Sleeping is going to kill me.”

Family Problems part 3

She was a Latina with dyed red hair that would make an Irish girl blush.  She was six foot two even without the stilettos.  With them on she blocked my view of the sun.  Didn’t matter.  The way she was dressed I wouldn’t have noticed if it had started to rain frogs outside.  I’ve never seen black look so inviting since the time I was almost seduced by a vampire, but that’s a story for another time.  Right now this woman was the center of my universe and I was stuck in her gravitational pull.

She checked out the place before her eyes drifted to me, dismissing me and at the same time wanting me.  At least I like to think the latter.  “My name is Alita, I was told that you can help with certain things.”

I steepled my fingers in front of my face and tried to keep my id in place.  Okay, it was a bit lower than my id, but a man is still a man.  “I do my best.  What can I help you with?”  I gesture to a chair across from me, but Alita didn’t even notice because she turned to look out the window at the street that was still empty of frogs.

“I need you to find me a certain book, a copy of Catch-22.  You know, the one by Heller,” she said.

I frowned a bit.  “Did you check the Barnes and Noble at the mall?”

She spun on me and all hints of warmth were somewhere with the frogs.  “If you let me finish.”

I raised my hands and surrendered quickly before I lost my fingertips to frostbite.  “Please continue.  I’m all ears.”  And eyes, and fingers, especially the fingers drifting towards.  Focus man!

“The one I’m looking for is a signed copy.  I accidentally left it at my boyfriend’s apartment after I broke up with him.  I want it back.”  Alita turned back on her charm.  “Please”.

As she turned on the charm I thought of cascading cold water.  I shivered from the thought of that cold water.  Really.  “Why do you want me to do it?  Why can’t you just go get it yourself?” I asked once I was back under control.

“We had…”  She paused, tasting again the sour taste of that end moment where she decided it was all over and the only thing to do was kick him to the curb, or maybe what she had for lunch was coming back to haunt her.  Damn, I wish I had lunch.  “well, that’s not really needed.”

I love it when they know what I need.  I really do.  I get on my throne so I can look down on her pretty idea.  “Look, I’m all for the damsel in distress routine, and trust me girl, you pull it off in spades, but if I’m going to do some breaking, entering, or any combination of the two I want to know what I’m getting into.”

“He slept with my sister, okay.  Does that make your job easier?” she asked.

Ouch!  Score one for the jerk behind the desk.  Still, what must her sister look like that this goof cheated on this pissed off goddess in front of me.  “Sorry, but I work best when there are no surprises.  Keeps everyone happy, except your ex of course.”

“I don’t care if he’s happy or not,” Alita said.  “I just want my book.”

“Okay, I can work on that.  Where is your boyfriend’s place, and when do I get a check?”  I stick out my hand as a way of positive reinforcement.  It’s something that my mother taught me.  Always back up the vocal with the physical.  It sends a clear and unmistakable message.  It can also get you slapped, stabbed, or shot at.  I dare you to ask me how I know.

“He’s at The Downs, apartment 24b.”  There was a pause, but I refused to ruin the moment.  She finally gave up and continued.  “As for the check, what do you need to get started?

My smile goes on autopilot since I can tell where this is going.  Normally I would be all happy to take this on the off chance of payment or panties, but I have my cousin Antonio’s best interests at heart.  “Five hundred up front.  Two hundred a day, itemized, plus expenses.”

Alita starts up the pity works.  Her mascara better be waterproof.  I don’t like to see a woman become a clown.  “I really need that book,” she said through quivering lips.  “I can get you the money, but if he decides to do something to that book before I can get it to you.”  The pools were filling.

“And he knows how much this book means to you?”  I watch her left eye.  It seems to be filling faster then the right.  Ever notice that women seem to tear in the left eye first and men the right?  No?  Don’t you pay attention to people when you make them cry?

“Oh my God yes.  You’ve got to help me.  You can even keep the book until I can make it up to you,” she said.    Alita must have really deep eyes because I would have bet one would be tracing down those awesome cheekbones by now.  I hope she doesn’t drown before she lets the hurricane blow.

I gave her a moment to see more of the show, but then I heard that voice inside of me.  I hate that voice.  I tried to get some help to make it shut up, but my psychologist kept insisting it was just my conscience and that drugs weren’t needed.  I told him to tell that to my bank account.  Obviously he wasn’t similarly afflicted since he took my money.  “Okay.  We can work something out, but the book stays with me until we come to an agreement.”

Alita immediately put water conservation rules in place and the tide has turned.  I was now her bestest buddy.  “You are amazing.  Jessica told me you would be.”  She gives me a quick almost hug and sprints towards the door.

“What, did you say…”  My words were swatted by the door closing on their behinds.  Alita, like Elvis, had left the building.  Jessica!  I just got owned, and I should have seen it coming.  I will have to stop by and make sure to show Jessica my appreciation.  Do you think broken glass is an appropriate gift before Labor Day?

100 Word Story #4 Deadly Memories

“Young man,” said an older gentleman holding a futuristic device of LCD screens, nobs, and buttons, “would a movie of your life be interesting?”

“Hell yeah, dude,” Jeremiah said.

The man pointed his gizmo at Jeremiah and Jeremiahs world exploded as he fell to the ground.  The electrodes that had smashed through his skull almost jerked out of his brain, but the barbs held them in.  Jeremiah looked at the man as the old man pressed buttons.  The device came to life, and Jeremiah could hear his memories begin to play on the device as his eyes faded to black.