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Friday, May 18, 2012

DANIEL DREAD copyright 2012 M.S.

“You are one ugly son of a bitch,” Daniel 's Father told him.

Daniel sat on the carpeted floor of his family 's trailer, watched Gilligan 's Island on a small black and white TV his Father stole from an old homeless man that had passed out drunk on the street. Daniel 's Mother was out again, another boyfriend or working at the Dairy Queen. His older sister ran away six months before. That wasn't a shock when it happened. No one cared either. Daniel tried to ignore his Father who was entertaining a creepy Mexican guy that just moved in down the street.

“Fucking kid is so fucking ugly, look at the poor bastard. He can't even grow hair,” His Father sat on the couch next to the creepy Mexican, who kept looking at Daniel and licking his lips, giggling at Daniel 's Father once in awhile. It was true. Daniel had a rare genetic problem where he couldn't grow hair. He was the butt of everyone's jokes. “Hey?” His Father kicked him in the shin. Daniel looked up at him, fought back tears. “That 's right, you worm. Fucking respect me.”

Daniel stood, he took the empty beer bottles to the kitchen. He opened the fridge, peered inside. Two more twelve packs of Miller light was in there and a rotten tomato. Daniel heard his stomach gurgle. He had to wait until his Mother came home. Maybe she would bring some half-eaten hamburgers.

“Where the fuck 's my beer boy? Get your ass in here,” His Father screamed.

Daniel quickly grabbed four beers from the open pack, sprinted back to living room. He handed the creepy Mexican his beers. The Mexican licked his lips and stared at Daniel intently. He turned quickly to his Father, handed him the beers, backed away slowly.

“Fucking twelve years old and the ugly bastard can't even grow hair.

Daniel rubbed his oversized head with his hand, swallowed back tears.


Daniel sat beside the bed and watched Sophie sleep. He rubbed his bald, oversized head with a hand. He felt his suit sticking to him from the tremendous heat outside the hotel room. She slept peacefully on her side, her gown riding up slightly. Daniel brushed Sophie's long brown greasy tasseled hair with his hand. He gently moved his hand down her smooth white neck, moved a few strands of hair around her ears. He sighed, then lifted her gown up, looked at her hard pink nipples on her small breasts. Then he neatly put her gown back down, continued to watch her sleep.

Daniel had been with Sophie for ten years, protecting her. She assists him in his work, even building his website. Daniel was in the exterminating business.

Daniel was fifteen when he met Sophie, she was seventeen. They lived in the apartments across from each other. He would watch her from his bedroom window, going to school or coming home from school. By that time Daniel had quit going and after the death of his Father a few years before, his Mother just didn't care about anything but the bottle.

Sophie awoke, sat up in the bed. She rubbed her eyes and yawned. “Why aren't you asleep?”

“I can't,” Daniel said, took his sunglasses off. He closed them, the darkness helped with the excruciating pain behind those tiny dark dots. He put his sunglasses back on, patted Sophie's hand.
“You get enough sleep for both of us.”

“Is it those stupid headaches?” She laid back down. Daniel fixed the covers on her. He nodded, tried to smile. “You shouldn't take such good care of me. I'm not worth it.”

“Don't say that, Soph. You're the best person I've ever met.”

“I'm glad you feel that way...” Sophie smiled. Daniel touched her cheek, gently rubbed with a hand. “I don't know what I would do without you....” With those words, Sophie fell fast asleep.

“No worries, Soph,” Daniel said. “I'll never leave your side.”


Daniel decided to go to his room where it was safe. That creepy Mexican and his Father were getting louder. Walking through the hallway to his room, he could hear them screaming at the NASCAR race on TV. A bottle shattered and Daniel ran into his room, slammed the door shut. He made sure this time he would lock it, to keep them both from disturbing his Epic fantasy card game.

Daniel noticed a weird burning smell. From under his bed an orange luminescence
protruded out of the left corner where he hid his cards in a shoe box. It grew bigger as he inched closer. Daniel bent down, slowly lifted the dragon pattern quilt at one corner. The burning smell became more foul, like someone had vomited under his bed. He moved his hand inside the orange bubble of light and it burst.

He drew back his hand. He felt hot breath from a drooling gaping mouth with two long fangs. The rest of the monster slowly appeared, floating above Daniel. The monster was grinning, drooling, saliva dripped from a long forked tongue, burning holes in the carpet as it fell like raindrops. It was sitting with boney legs crossed, and boney, milky-white hands extended towards Daniel. The skin drooped around the monster's bulging red eyes.

“Ah...I think you are the one....” The monster said.

“The one for what?” Daniel managed to say.
“To help me....” The monster motioned with his finger and Daniel was lifted in the air and brought to him. Daniel was high above his bed, looking down, his body began to shake.

Daniel sat on the couch, his body drenched in blood. The front door opened and he heard his Mother call out to a car with a loud muffler, “Good night, babes. See you tomorrow night.” She walked inside the trailer, a bag of burgers in her hands. She had her brown curly hair up in a bun, one long gray strand hanging down. Her waitress outfit fit too tight, but her figure seemed a little out of proportion.

Daniel 's Mother screamed.

Two bodies laying on the floor in a pool of blood. Their faces torn apart, chests split open. Daniel didn't move. He just kept whispering, “It came and ate Daddy's came and ate Daddy's heart....”


Daniel looked out the window as he and Sophie rode in the back of a cab down a gravel road on a cold, rainy day. He rested his hand under his chin, watched tiny raindrops multiply on the window. Sophie smiled at him. She always thought Daniel looked nicer in the gray suit than the blue one.

They were off to meet a woman in Denver, who's cats keep disappearing. In Daniel 's line of work, the extermination of monsters, takes you all over the country. You meet all kinds of people. Just last week in Dallas, Daniel helped out a local pizza restaurant that had trouble with a Swamp Cherub living in a dumpster attacking the owners employees. That little fat creature would fly out of the dumpster and chase them through the back alleys. The crazy thing is the damn thing wasn't suppose to be out of the swamps. Turned out it had attached itself on the back of a semi that stopped off to take a piss. Trapping that Swamp Cherub was easier than Sophie or Daniel thought. Homemade donuts smeared with the blood of a toad. Once in that wire trap, there was no way it was going to get away. Sophie never asked what happened to the creatures. She was always glad to believe Daniel destroyed them.

“Almost there, babe,” Sophie touched his knee. Daniel made a face. Catching these creatures was not his idea of fun, but it had to be done. He had no choice.


The building always looked cold, inhuman, swallowing people and their lives, leaving both skinless.

Daniel felt that when he first moved into the apartments with his Mother. She could no longer work because of a back injury. The check from the government came just in time to pay rent, nothing much else. Most of the time they spent their nights in darkness because of no electricity, and winters freezing because of no heat. She never woke before noon, which was alright, Daniel didn't go to school anymore, she never went in his room anyway. She barely said two words to him unless to scream drunken phrases that made no sense.

Regarding the death of his Father and his friend, Daniel told everyone it was drug related. Those men that came into the trailer shot both men. Daniel said he hid under the bed.

That, of course was a lie.

The night he and Sophie became friends forever has kept Daniel going. She'd came out of her apartment to meet someone. A tall, dark haired man that just appeared out of the shadows. They hugged, kissed. He took her around to bushes.

“I want that...” Daniel heard the voice inside his head, a shallow, rubbery voice. “I have to feed from it...”

Every time he heard the voice, his head felt as if it were going to explode. His eyes began to glow red. He grabbed his sunglasses from his dresser. With hands shaking, he placed them on his head. The tint from the lens helped the searing pain in his eyes.

Daniel checked on his Mother before he went out the apartment. She was passed out on her bed, a bottle in her hand. He went down the stairs, past the drug dealers and unsavory human monsters lurking about the halls.

“None of those will do...” The voice said. “Not enough energy....”

Daniel staggered out of the building, tripping over his feet, stumbling down the sidewalk. He heard Sophie panting behind the bushes. He approached, pushing his sunglasses off the bridge of his nose, let them fall to the sidewalk. His eyes were two balls of fire. Through the foliage of the bushes, he saw the tall dark man for what he was.

A hunched over creature covered in hair with yellow eyes. His long arms stretched out, hands with talons squeezing her neck. He stood on bent legs with hoofed feet. Sophie struggled in his presence, clamoring at those talons, her legs kicking behind her.

Daniel approached from behind the creature. With his hands encased in an orange circle of energy, Daniel reached inside the creature. An ear-piercing howl came from the creature. Loosening it's talons grip around Sophie's neck, she was able to slip from it's grasp. She fell to her knees and lost consciousness. The creature flailed it's arms, lashing out at anything as a veil of darkness fell upon it's limp body. Daniel began shake as he drained the creature of it's life source. The creature laid at Daniel's feet, lifeless.

Daniel was glowing-burnt umber. He fell to his knees, crawled toward Sophie. He was weak, but managed to his feet, summoned Sophie's body into the air, keeping her in a steady levitation, Daniel walked back to his building, past the junkies and whores in the hallway, and up the stairs. Once in the apartment, he laid Sophie on his bed and watched over her.


Daniel knocked on the door of a pink and baby blue house. After a few minutes, an elderly woman in a long floral dress appeared. She hunched over and had confused look on her face. She adjusted her glasses, which the frames were much too large for her small angular face.

“Hello, I'm Daniel contacted me by my website?” Daniel shook the old woman's hand gingerly. “You are Mrs. Holden?”

“ Yes, I am. Well, that was Grandson who did that, I don't know anything about computers or websites...” She opened her front door and Sophie and Daniel stepped inside the house.

Daniel looked around the house, seeing clutter everywhere. It was obvious the old woman was a hoarder. Six cats were lounging in the living room by an old TV set. Three more sat on a hutch by the window. “This is my assistant Sophie Williams,” Daniel said. Sophie nodded at Mrs. Holden. The old woman gave them both a funny look.

“Come through here,” She directed them to the living room. “You can take your sunglasses off, son. The lights aren't bright in here.”

“I'd rather not,” Daniel flashed a quick smile.

Mrs. Holden shrugged. “Suit yourself.”

“In the Email, the creature that was described sounded very familiar. What malady has it caused you?” Daniel sat on the sofa, disturbing dust that became a cloud that hung above his head.

“All I know is that thing is ugly. My Grandson and I tried to get rid of that thing with everything. Rat poison, bleach...he even tried to shoot that thing with his BB gun. Nothing worked. Eating my poor cats.”

“How do you know it eats your cats? Maybe they've gotten away.” Sophie sat next Daniel. She checking the place out, looking for secret tunnels or other entrances.

“That nasty thing leaves them lying around, half-eaten. My kitties would never run away!” Mrs. Holden dabbed her eyes with handkerchief, whether there was tears or not.

“Where is your Grandson, now?”

“Oh, Billy, he hasn't been home in a few days. I really don't know where he is. He's done this before. Last time he said he was with friends. I'm sure he was boozing it up!”

“You've seen this creature, right? When does it come out?”

“Oh my....always after dark...various times. Always in the kitchen, that’s where I hear the noise...banging of dishes....pots and pans... my canned goods thrown down on the counter tops. Ugly God-forsaken thing!”

Daniel and Sophie exchanged looks. She scribbled on a piece of paper and handed it to Daniel.

The thing is in the cabinets...

Daniel nodded.

“Could we see the kitchen?” He asked, rising from the sofa. Again a cloud of dust formed over top of his head. He struggled to stifle a cough.

Mrs. Holden gave him a funny look. “We?”

“Yes. Can we look at the kitchen?”

The old woman pulled herself up from the chair, walked toward the kitchen, but watching Daniel closely. “Strange..” She said under her breath.

The kitchen obviously hadn't been redecorated since the nineteen seventies. The refrigerator was and stove were the only new appliances, it was the strange design of the tiles that threw Daniel and Sophie for a loop. Light colored red and bright blue with a sunburst swirls.

Sophie walked over to the counter top. “Daniel,” She pointed at large scratches on the brown wood polish.

Daniel nodded. “These are markings,” He ran a finger through the deep carvings.

Mrs. Holden bent down slightly to investigate. She shrugged. “So?”

“It's messages from the pest,” Daniel explained. “I know what creature it is, I've seen one before. A Troll.”

“Oh. That's a stroke of luck,” Mrs. Holden said sarcastically. “Are you sure you know what your talking about? Those markings have been there since my Grandson's friend moved in.”

“How long has that been, Mrs. Holden?” Daniel moved his sunglasses down on the bridge of his nose. His eyes were glowing red.

“Three months ago ago, I believe when he moved in. He's studying at the City College---”

“Look at this, Sophie,” Daniel had Sophie feel a greasy residue on the markings. “This isn't just carvings, Mrs. Holden. It's a ransom note.”

The backdoor creaked open and shut with a loud thud. An oafish young man with a ponytail and large framed glasses appeared. He looked frightened at first, then his face was flushed with anger. He dropped his backpack on the kitchen floor.

“Oh, Hugo,” Mrs. Holden said. “Have you Christopher? He's been gone.....” Mrs. Holden was quiet for a second. “ Oh my.” She felt the tension in the air.

Daniel removed his sunglasses, folded them in the top pocket of his jacket. His eyes still glowing red, he saw the young oafish man's real appearance. His face had crevices with several boils attached to a red bulbous nose. His eyes were small, black, almost sunken in the face. Pointy ears stuck out from wild frizzy hair. The Troll stood there, salivating, baring his small clenched teeth. He was poised, ready to attack. He spread out his elongated fingers to show his razor sharp nails, balled them up in fists.
He ran at Mrs. Holden, growling, he pushed her aside. She fell to the floor, screaming for help. With one long swipe, his nails dragged across Daniel's cheeks, leaving four long, bloody indentures. Daniel screamed, automatically raised up his other hand to block the Troll's next move. The Troll leaped on top of the counters. He turned to everyone and growled with his teeth clenched together. The cabinet doors opened by themselves, all of them, the top ones as well as bottom. In no time at all, the Troll slipped through the right hand cabinet, top portion of his body disappeared in a dark hole in the wall, leaving his legs dangling out.
Daniel grabbed hold of the Troll by his ankles and let the creature pull both of them into the dark tunnel that seemed to re-size itself to fit whomever burrowed through.

The tunnel was long, walls padded with paper held together with a sticky substance. When they reached the end of the tunnel, they both fell into a cave. The only light was a fire in a hole in the middle of the cave floor. Daniel tumbled past the fire, knocking someone out of his way. He recovered his senses, shook off the pain from the fall. He saw it was naked a young man in his twenties bound by rope and gagged with a shirt.

“You're Mrs. Holden's Grandson, aren't you?” Daniel said.
The young man nodded furiously .Wild-eyed, He mumbled something. Daniel moved to untie the gag. He stopped when he felt the Troll's hot, sick-smelling breath on his neck.
Daniel grabbed the Troll by his throat and pushed the creature on his back. The Troll clawed Daniel's face. Daniel screamed, but didn't relent. He was in a zone. His eyes were glowing red and a voice was not his own. The Troll was hypnotized by the falsetto voice that recited in a language that was not human. The Troll instinctively pushed his claws into Daniel's ribcage. Again Daniel screamed, but it was too late for the Troll.
A purple gas was usurped from the Troll. It formed into a cloud, hovered above Daniel's head before entering into his nostrils and being swallowed by lips in the shape of an o. There was a snap and Daniel felt the creature's neck relax in his hands. Daniel's eyes widened, turned a a pale yellow. Small drops of bled saturated his collar. He saw darkness before losing consciousness.
Daniel and Sophie were back at the hotel room. She was laying bed, her eyelids becoming heavy. Daniel was worn out. His body hurt, not just from his wounds, but felt like a sick old man. He sat in a chair, watching over Sophie.
“Why did Mrs. Holden keep looking at you funny every time you spoke to me?” Sophie said groggily.

Daniel stood, sighed. “I don't know.” He walked to the bathroom in a hurry. He slammed the door hard. He looked at himself in the mirror, began to painfully peel away his clothes. He removed his shirt, revealing another horrible face attached to his right shoulder. The face red eyes grew brighter with every breath it drew.
“'ve done well, human. My appetite has been taken care of....for the moment.” The face said.
“How long do I have to keep doing this?” Daniel ran water in the bath tub.
“As long as you want the girl's spirit at your side.....Friend.” The face hissed.
Daniel climbed into the hot water, his skin tingled. “I guess forever then.”
The face hissed, “Forever.....”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

RISE copyright2012 M.S.

“Jenny, sweet, Jenny. I come see you as soon as I heard about the accident,” Dale said rushing through the door. He barely let the maid open the door when he tossed his hat to her, pushed her away from the bed room door. He saw that Jenny's mother was there as well as her brother Elijah.

Jenny was lying there with the covers to her neck, feeling faint. Beads of sweat had multiplied on her pale small face, her black  hair was drenched, stuck to her neck. Her once lively beautiful blue eyes were sunk in now. Her thin lips barely moved when she spoke.

“Oh, Dale. It's lovely of you to see me,” She whispered, holding out her hand to him.

“I would never leave your side in a time like this,” Dale took her hand, managed a slight smile. He fell to his knees at her bedside, kissed her hand.

“Betsy, get Mr. Toddler a chair,” Jenny's Mother said.

“Yes ma'am,” Betsy began to leave.

“Don't bother, Dale said. “My comfort is the least in my mind.”

“I wish this whole thing hadn't happened,” Elijah said. “It's all my fault.” Elijah placed a hand on his forehead.

“Please, Elijah,” His Mother said. She touched Elijah's arm. “Don't put all the blame on yourself.”
The Mother shifted in her chair, the long black gown becoming uncomfortable in the heat. “I told her not to go riding yesterday. The stars predicted a tragedy.”

“Has the Doctor been here?” Dale added some pepper in his words. He kissed Jenny's hand again.

“Yes,” Elijah said. “He has been here several times between today and tomorrow.”

“And he said what?” Dale demanded.

“Mr. Toddler. I do not like your tone. In my house you will be civil.” Jenny's Mother bolted up from her chair.

“You never liked me and liked it even less that I was with Jenny,” Dale shot back.

“It was the accusations, Mr. Toddler, that put you in ill favor with me. Of course I think you are beneath my daughter---”

“You don't have the right---”

“Please you two!” Elijah interrupted. “For Jenny's sake. Stop this. Mother, you can see Dale is upset, and with good cause. Let him be.”

“He always said we mismanage Jenny's money. We do right by her.” Jenny's Mother fought back tears.
Elijah put his arm around his Mother. “Let it go for now, Mother. Let us give them some time together. Come...have some tea.” Elijah urged her to leave with him.

As they went out of the bedroom, Jenny's Mother said, “I shall have something stronger, for my nerves.”

“Yes, Mother,” Elijah said.

Dale waited for their voices to disappear down the hall before he broke down. He sobbed terribly. He lowered his head into her covers. He felt Jenny's hands on his head, rubbing gently.

“Everything will be fine,” Jenny said, her voice weak.

“How did it happen?”

Jenny took a breath, the pain came in tiny parts. “My horse reared at a snake. I fell. The frightened creature stepped back, crushed my legs.”

“How long before those vampires called Dr. Mays?”

“He was out of town on a call. He came as soon as he could.”

“They did it on purpose. I knew I shouldn't have left you.”

“I suppose it was in the cards.”

“Please don't quote your Mother. Silly superstitious cow.”

“I often think of at your desk writing for the stage for me to perform my dance.”

“Soon, you'll be up and dancing again, I know it. As soon as the sickness is gone.”

Elijah appeared at the door. “Dr. Mays is here. Dale, I will fix you drink if you come with me.”

Dale stood, turned to Jenny. “I wont be long.”

Elijah cornered Dale in the hallway. He leaned closer to Dale. Dale turned his head from Elijah.”We would never do anything to hurt Jenny purpose. Mother and I are her only family.”

“You're drunk.” Dale said.

“I always have protected my little sister.”

“Didn't protect her well enough the past few days.'

“I already said I was sorry. I knew that horse was no good....she insisted on riding it.”

Dr. Mays came through, breaking up the private conversation. He went to the door, took one last look at Dale and Elijah. He gave them a hard look, then went in the bedroom.

“I didn't want to get rid of you,” Elijah said. “Mother didn't trust you. She thought all you wanted was Jenny's money.”

“Why did you tell Jenny about my wife, then?”

“I didn't....what wife?”

Dale stared at him. “The wife I left behind in San Francisco six years ago. I received a note from someone saying that if I didn't leave Jenny, they would tell her everything. The paper it was written on had a strange discoloring, the logo from your publishing company. I naturally assumed it was you because you were in Frisco last year. Maybe you checked up on me.”

Elijah shook his head. “No. I didn't know you had a wife at all. Didn't care to check on you. I was there to buy some property. Getting into the Hotel business...or was. Lost it mostly due to that bad land deal. It wasn't me. No interest in you at all.”

“When I was in Frisco, I noticed someone had been following me. A man watching my every move, hanging around street corners, hiding behind buildings. I was going to see my estranged wife. Ask her for the divorce. I always planned to tell Jenny. When I noticed the man following me, I hid in a church. I waited for two hours, as he did waiting for me to leave.

“He grew tired of the waiting, headed down the street. I turned the tables on him. It turns out he was Pinkerton man. A private investigator.”

“I had nothing at all to do with that. Perhaps, this is Mother's doing.” Elijah said.

At that moment Dr. Mays exited the bedroom. He was looking rather pale, confused. Dale and Elijah approached him, cautiously, exchanging looks. Dr. Mays closed the door behind him, leaned on it.

“What's wrong,Doctor?” Elijah asked.

“Extraordinary,” Dr. Mays sputtered. “Completely...insane.”

“What is?” Dale became excited, dread in his voice.

Dale put his hand on the doorknob. Dr. Mays shook his head. “Don't go in there,” He begged. “You will not believe your eyes.”

Dale turned the doorknob, the door thrust open. Jenny was hovering in the air above her bed. She was maybe ten feet up, and rising toward the ceiling. She lying on her back, her nightshirt dangling behind her. Tresses of her hair were waving, as if a gust of wind was the source of her ascent.

Jenny was smiling. Happy. She looked at the three of them and spoke softly. “It's amazing, isn't it? I don't know how...or why. I feel...invincible.”

Dale was without words. Elijah struggle to stay on his feet as he pushed past Dr. Mays, galloping down the hallway calling for his Mother. Dr. Mays closed his eyes, whispered some prayers.

“Why is this happening, Doctor?”

Dr. Mays was busy, his lips moving, barely a sound coming from his parting lips.

Dale put his hands on his shoulders, shook him. “I want an answer, now!” He screamed.

Dr. Mays pushed his hands away. “I don't know why this is happening! All of these years as a man of science..I have never prayed before tonight. This incident has frozen my ability to theorize. I simply can not explain this.”

Dale saw the notepaper on the table next to Jenny's bed, the paper with the logo of Elijah's failed publishing company. He was flabbergasted.

“Dale,” Jenny said. “If I can do this, then I will be able to walk. And I can return to the stage and dance.”

“Is that true, Dr. Mays? Will be able to walk again?” Dale turned to the Doctor quickly.

“No,” Dr. Mays said. “Did they not tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“The sickness,” Dr. Mays continued. “It spread to the other crushed leg. I had take them both.”

Dale walked to Jenny, who had not come down to her bed yet, still floating in the air, legless.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

FRANK copyright2012 m.s.

He heard his name being called out from three aisles over. Frank was talking to Mrs. Lynn and he thought it was pretty important to alert her about the coming thunderstorms this evening. Better yet, Frank needed to tell Mrs. Lynn about the storms that cut through the Ohio valley two days ago.

“Oh the destruction,” Frank said. “It's really terrible for all those families loosing their homes.”

“Yes, Frank dear. But I should finish shopping,” Mrs. Lynn was hunch backed, barely could push the shopping cart in a swift getaway. “Mr. Lynn likes to have his supper the same time every day. Five o clock. It's almost four-thirty---”

Frank put his hand on her cart, held it still. “See, those storms come up on you with no warning. Watch out while you're driving---”

Tom rushed up on Frank, calling his name. His feet shuffled side to side in a strange little walk like he was dancing the Rhumba. Tom was assistant manager at Storks grocery. Frank had been working with Tom for five years now, in every dept. For the last three, Tom has been Frank's boss, never seeing eye to eye, even when standing around talking to the customers.

“You didn't hear me calling out to you?” Tom was too close to Frank. It looked as if he was about to kiss Frank. It looked funny, not only for that. But Tom was two heads shorter than Frank. Tom adjusted his glasses on his face. He always reminded Frank how much he resembled Rick Moranis when he moved his glasses around his face, the way he spoke.

“I was with a customer.” Frank said.

“You were talking, frank. She was trying to get away from you,” Tom corrected him.

“She was asking about buttermilk. I told her the problems with the Dairy truck, is all.”

“Frank. We can always get somebody else to do Dairy. I need a better production period from you. Show everyone on the chart you are productive when you're here. But if you keep standing around talking to vendors and customers, your truck will get done in six hours it takes.”

Frank sighed, nodded.

“Just get the truck done, come in tomorrow at three instead of ten.”

“No,” Frank said. It was bubbling up inside him. He wanted thrash out, tell this guy to go fuck himself. Frank didn't have the nerve. He couldn't even form the words on his lips.

“What do you mean, Frank?” Tom got close again.

Frank hated the way he said his name, like it was a four letter word. Frank looked away for a moment. Tom was waiting for an answer, fuming.

“I have to be at Coney's tomorrow at three. Three to midnight.”

Tom shook his head. “ Jesus, Frank. Aren't you spreading yourself too thin?”

“Don't have a choice. Keep a roof over my wife and kids head. Gotta eat. Have heat when it's cold--”

“Alright! Alright. Come in at ten, leave at two-thirty. Make the dept. sparkle. Might have company tomorrow. Oh, and Frank?”


“Leave the D.M. alone. Stop asking about cutbacks in the company. He knows as much as you do about running of the company finances.”

“I was just being friendly.” Frank said, slowly picked up a box of cheese and placed a bag of thin sliced cheddar on a jay hook.

Frank remembered the days being a kid. Living in Boston, hot summer days. Turning on the Hydrants, cool water flowing in the streets. All of his friends were there, playing tidal wave, splashing. Afterward, running down the corner to the local store Frank's father owned. Getting Popsicle, Nehi's.

Those were good times. Simple times.

“Frank,” His wife called out to him. Frank was standing in the middle of the front yard, a full trash bag in his hands, looking up at the sky. “Frank!” She screamed. Eighteen years, Barbra thought. The man has never changed. “Frank, you're daydreaming again, damn it!”

he snapped out of it. Began smiling sheepishly. Barbra ran to him, handed him a twenty. She was still dressed in her waitress uniform. Still limping badly. Always on her feet, between the dinner and the Nursery, the poor woman only gets to put up her feet when she goes to bed at two in the morning. Then her day starts up at six A.M. To get their two sons off to school.

Barbra handed Frank the twenty. He looked at it, then at her. “What's this for?”

“Supper for the boys, you dope.” She barked.

Frank laughed. “Oh. Yeah.” He said.

“Don't be late for Coney's, alright? Oh. I fixed your Eagle head belt buckle. No excuse your pants to fall down now,” Barbra said.

That belt buckle belonged to my Dad.”

“I know, Frank.” Barbra said. She was tired of saying that. Tired of hearing herself say it.

“I don't want to go in. And I don't want you to go in to the dinner.”

“You know I have to, Frank. Rent is due on this Godforsaken Addams family house.”

Frank looked at the house. He shrugged. “I always thought it was the Munsters kind of house.” Frank laughed. It was a cross from a gasp and a woody woodpecker cackle.

Barbra gave him a disapproving look. “Go get the damn fried chicken, will you. Boys will be home soon. Keep the change for your supper break at Coney's.”

Frank dropped the trash bag at the corner of his driveway. She watched him get into his '91 Blue four door Impala, her arms folded into other.

“I'm going. I'm going,” Frank said.

He backed the car out of the driveway slowly. Out of nowhere, a ford truck nearly rammed him. Frank stopped just in time for the man to dodge him. He heard the man scream, “Asshole!” The truck zipped by, exceeding the thirty-five mile limit by at least fifteen more miles an hour.

Frank could see his wife still watching him. He smiled, threw his arms in the air. Barbra turned, went back into the house.

Working at the textile plant outside Baltimore wasn't too bad. Frank always had time to go see a game, although he didn't really care about sports. Still, it was nice to get out. It was nice to be with a friend, have a beer. Jack Kyle was a descent guy, loved his girlfriend, liked to go out a lot. He took care of Frank at the textile plant. Helped frank when the workers went on strike. Even helped him get a car. The car was alright. Nothing to write home---

“Are you listening to me?” A woman at Frank's register said. She was furious. Slammed her purse on the plastic counter top.”I gave my fucking order three times. Are you deaf?”

“No.” Frank replied. “I was just--”

“Ignoring me,” the woman said. It was almost eleven, closing time. She was a middle-aged short pudgy woman with her hair up in a bun. Her eyebrows were drawn too high on her forehead and her lipstick missed one side of her mouth.

“No, I swear. I'm tired, is all. I work two jobs--”

'I don't give a fuck! I just want my fucking order! I don't want your sad little life story. That is not going to fill my stomach.”

“What was it you wanted---”

“Is there a problem?” Chelsea, the shift manager slowly made her way over. “How can we help you, Ma’am?”

“I didn't know you employed retards. I just wanted two hot dogs and he ignored me.”

“No,” Frank tried. No one was listening. “I swear--”

“Frank, I told you if this happened again I would have to let you go?” Chelsea said, her tongue scraped the braces on her front teeth.

“But I work two double shifts a week for you when you call--”

“Leave Frank. Take off your badge. Apron.” Chelsea snatched the name badge from Frank.

Frank was in a daze. He couldn't believe it. Fired. He'd never been fired in his life. Just laid off, never fired. He walked past the pudgy woman, stopped, looked at her.

“You did this to yourself,” She said smugly.

Frank sighed, shuffled tired feet to the restaurant’s exit.

Frank sat in his Impala, hands on the wheel, just staring out in the night. He was lost. What would he tell Barbra? She's going to be so upset, he thought. He watched the other two workers inside Cony's cleaning up around the woman eating her Hot dogs.

“I should be in there helping them,” Frank said dryly.

He saw the pudgy woman come out the exit, her heels making a clacking sound on the pavement. Frank watched intently. She walked across the parking lot, behind bushes, to her jeep. Frank got out of his car. He followed quickly. He reached around to his belt, removed it from the loops of his blue Dickies.

He fixed the belt into a circle, the eagle belt buckle hanging loose. Frank caught up with the pudgy woman just as she was unlocking the doors of her jeep.

The only vehicle there beside hers was an abandoned beat up pickup. To the side of the parking lot were a row of houses facing the opposite direction of him. All of them with ivy growing on the backs of the houses. The lighting in the parking lot was minimal, light post at least fifteen feet away.

His shoes made clicking noises on blacktop. The pudgy woman turned, saw Frank with his arm up in the air. She started to scream when the belt buckle came down hard on the temple of her forehead. Frank struck two more times, the icon on the buckle made an indent in the woman's head. The last strike was matted in her soft bloody flesh.

Frank was wore out. He stumbled a few inches away from the dead woman, knelled. He heard a breath being drawn. He looked up, saw a woman standing beside one of the houses. Her hands cupped her mouth. Then she screamed.

Frank jumped to his feet, dashed for her. The woman ran, disappeared around the front of the houses, still screaming. Frank thought again. He turned around, ran past the body he'd left laying on it's back by the front tires of the jeep. He came upon that truck, dumped the belt in the back of the truck.

Frank made it to his Impala, started it immediately, spun out of the parking lot.

The snows in Boston were both brutal and beautiful. The city almost never shut down like places down south. People still had to get where they were going. They got there by any means possible. Snow always had a remembrance of Grandmother making hot cocoa over a stove---

“Do you understand what has happened her, Mr. Dorsey?” The plain clothes officer said.

Frank just batted his eyes. He thought for a few seconds. “Sure,” He said, rested his elbow on the small table in the interrogation room. “Someone was killed and your interviewing a lot of people. I hope you catch whoever did it.”

The officer smiled sideways, shook his head. He lit a cigarette, blew smoke in Frank's face.

“I think this winter will be colder than last years,” Frank said. “It seems too hot for too long causes a lot of unusual weather.”

The officer stood, left the interrogation room. Outside in the hallway were two other plain clothes officers and the police chief. They could see through double-sided window the interrogation of Frank in room number one and another man in room number two. Frank looked calm, collected. The other man, a much shorter, chunkier man with curly blond hair, was a wreck. He had been crying, screaming at the other officers, kicking chairs, the table, smoking erratically.

Frank was calm.

“What do you think?” The police chief asked.

“Oh geez, chief,” the officer that interviewed Frank shook his head. “He talks a lot...zones out a lot, too. It's him. Has to be. He had the motive.”

“But we found the murder weapon in suspect number two's truck, victim's blood all over it, his fingerprints. Victim had that eagle belt buckle emblem tattooed on her skull.” Another officer said.

“Here's the witness,” Police chief tried not to look so grim. The young woman tried not to look frightened. She kept pushing her long brown hair out of her eyes, moving her shoulders around for no reason. It was a nervous tick she developed since the incident. “Take your time, Ms. Channel. Neither one of those men can see you. Which one did you see in the parking lot at the time the victim was murdered?”

The young woman looked at frank, then the other man. She swallowed dryly. She looked at the officers, then back to the interrogation room.

“It was him,” She pointed to room number two. “I'll never forget that dreadful face.”

Monday, May 7, 2012

THE GOLDEN MONKEY copyright 2012 m.s.

“Steph, Steph,” Alan beamed as he came through the doors of Dragon's Lair Bar And Grill. He stepped down a marble platform and high stepped to the bar. Stephanie Mills, tall brown haired woman sat at the bar, looking uneasy. She was dressed very elegant in a green dress that was off the shoulder and seemed rather too short for a woman of imposing ladyship qualities. Her hair was drawn back in a bun, her makeup perfect. She was a bit thin, but her dress clung to her, showing her better assets.

Stephanie tried to ignore Alan at first, then noticed he was standing beside her. He didn't realize what she was doing, Alan was always lost in his own little world. “My God, Steph,” Alan bent down kissed her neck, breathing in her fragrance of Lilac perfume. “It has been at least five years since I last saw you. Where was that? Bree and Colin Hamper's party in Canton.”

“Alan. Alan Drake. Wonderful looking as always. Yes it has been that long, I can't believe it.” Stephanie looked away, took a sip of her Martini.

“Still drinking sour apple martinis I see,” Alan leaned on the bar, caught the bartender's attention. “Vodka and water, old boy.” He said.

“What ever happened to Bree and Colin?” Stephanie felt frail at that moment. What were the odds she would see someone from her college days. A whole other world millions of miles from the one she lived in now.

“They live in the big apple now. He's a banker, she works for the school system. Haven't changed much, just don't drink as much. Saw them a few weeks ago.”

“No children, then?”

“No, no. I'm afraid it wouldn't be right to raise children in that environment---- I mean they don't have much time...even for each other.”

There was a silence, both looking around the bar, listening to a thinning group of patrons conversations, comings and goings.

“So what is it you do now?” Stephanie said.

“Nothing at the moment,” Alan chuckled. He ordered another drink for the two of them, offered to move to a table. Stephanie politely refused. “Anyway, I don't feel as I wish to have another job just now. I made a good investment, plastics company, made out very good.”

“How wonderful.”

“What do you do, Steph?”

Stephanie thought a moment. “I'm a Hostess. For here, to be exact.”

“Really? I wasn't aware they had that sort of thing here. Not exactly exclusive for our kind, would you say?”

“No. I suppose not.”

“Steph,” Alan took a couple of bills from his wallet, paid the bartender. “You don't ever...think of you?”

Stephanie touched Alan's hand. “Quite often,Alan.”

Alan looked behind him. He saw a tall olive-skinned man standing at the entrance of the bar, looking very hard at Stephanie. The man was dressed in a white sports coat, a thin black tie and red boots.

Alan chuckled to himself. “I believe some man dressed very tacky, wishes to speak with you. He's been trying to get your attention for sometime.”

Stephanie saw the man and cringed. She looked away quickly.

“Who is he?” Alan chuckled again. “Someone needs to give him GQ or a man's fashion magazine for advice.”

“I—I suppose I should go and have a word with him. He-uh- works for the same firm as I do. I'll be right back. You understand?”

“Of course, Steph. I'll be here, still.”

Stephanie ambled over to the olive-skinned man standing at the entrance. She took a deep breath, stopped short of him. He reached out and grabbed her arm, pulling her into the foyer. Stephanie squealed as the man twisted her arm.

“Where is it, bitch!” He spoke in broken English with a Spanish accent.

“You're hurting me, Tony!” Stephanie screamed back.

Tony let go of her arm, then took hold of her dress, pulled her close to him “I want it back, now,” He said.

“I don't know what—”

“My watch, you bitch. You stole my dead Father's watch---I know you did. I saw you--”

“Here!” Stephanie wrangled it off her wrist, a gold watch, missing several links.

The nostrils of Tony were flaring, like a bull ready to strike. He kept those small beady eyes on Stephanie as he fixed the watch on his wrist.

“Who is that guy? I've seen him in here before,” Tony said.

Stephanie fixed herself, checking her makeup in her compact, trying to catch her breath. “He's a friend,” She said. “Just a friend from the old days. College.”

“No shit,” Tony smiled a toothy grin. “You went to college? Now you're a whore just like me. I only went to the seventh grade. No shit.”

“Look, Tony, I'm real sorry about the watch. You know how it is? I got that problem...I see something someone else has...and I just want it...i have to take it. I—I'll make it up to you later if you want.” She touched his arm.

Tony looked at where her hand was. He moved his arm away, smiled. “Not tonight, baby. Tony got his rich old man to play with. He ugly, but pay good.”

“Alright.” Stephanie was disappointed. She turned to walk away, Tony touched her arm. She faced him, her eyes averted.

“Hey you be careful at this joint. A cop has been floatin' around. That's why I ask who he was,” Tony pointed to the bar.

“Just be careful, eh?” Tony looked around the corner at Alan. They locked eyes for a moment. Tony shot back around. “No. I don't think he's a cop. I saw him in here a few nights ago with a man and woman. They didn't look happy to see him. Maybe he's a drug dealer. They gave him a gym bag. I don't know. Just be careful, eh?”

“Okay, Tony,” Stephanie barely managed to say. No, Stephanie thought. No way Alan could ever be a drug dealer, too stiff for that.

When she returned to Alan, he was curious, but standoffish.
“A friend, I presume.” Alan said, sliding a cigarette between his thin red lips.
“I told you,” Stephanie barked at him. “A colleague.”

Alan took a curious item from his coat pocket. A golden colored lighter in the shape of a monkey. Alan pressed the tail, the monkey opened it's mouth and a flame was produced. The lights overhead shimmered off the monkey, catching Stephanie's eye.

“Where d id you get that dreadful thing,” Stephanie's laugh was throaty, almost like a cough hacking something up.

Alan annoyed. He stuck out his bottom lip, as if he had been chastised by a parent. “God, Steph. You can be so judgmental. Haven't changed much.”

“I'm really not...not anymore. I've had things happen reduce me to a small size, Alan.”

Stephanie kept her eyes on that lighter. That golden monkey had almost hypnotized her.
Alan was speaking now, but she hadn't heard a thing he said. She was infatuated with that smiling monkey, even to the depths of imagining her lighting a cigarette for Tony, with that thing.

Stephanie found her hands were on on Alan's, stroking gently. He was leering at her, the way he used to do when they dated in college, sometimes that used creep her out. When he spoke again, it brought her to that reality.

“You want to get out of here?” Alan said.
Stephanie wanted to pull her hands away, but convinced herself not to, just for the sake of a trick. After the sex, she would explain to him what she was. Alan would understand. He would give her the money she needed.

Stephanie smiled. “Yes,” She said.
“I'll just pay the tab,” Alan tapped the plastic counter of the bar.
Alan laid the golden monkey on the bar. He caught the bartender's attention. Stephanie moved her hand over the lighter, gently moved it toward her. She quickly picked it up, dropped it in the opening of her purse.

Stephanie tried to forget about last night. It was no easy task. She was wreck after what happened. She was at the Dragon's Lair bar again drinking more scotch and water the bartender had ever seen.
“Geez,” He said setting down the eighth glass. “I'm going to have to cut you off, lady. You ain't gonna be able to drive.”

“I don't drive anyway. Any calls for me?” her voice creaked like the floors in an old dark house.

“No. Why don't you get a cell phone?” The bartender said.

“I have one,” Stephanie slurred. “I couldn't pay the bill—asshole.”

Why didn't Tony call her back? He must had to have heard her message. She called him from the department store phone down the street, left messages on his phone.

“You're a what?!” Alan's voice rose. He was standing over top of Stephanie after he had punched her three times in the face. He was naked, his shriveled up penis dangled in her face. “You're telling me you could have given me the clap....possibly AIDS!”

Stephanie began to sob quietly. “I thought you would understand.” He put his foot in her face and kicked her backwards.

He walked away. Stephanie noticed Alan was standing in front of the open window of his hotel room, four flights up. She leaped to her feet and sprinted. She closed her eyes. With both hand stretched out, Stephanie piled into Alan, knocking him over the ledge. She could hear him screaming all the way down.

Stephanie looked out the window. Alan was a spot on the busy intersection, traffic stopping all directions, car ramming into each other, horns and car alarms sounded off in a wicked symphony.

I a mental haze, She ran to get dressed. She rifled through his wallet, took a few hundred from. She rushed around in circles, not knowing what to do next. She went to the closet for no apparent reason.

That's where she found the gym bag Tony was talking about.

Stephanie took it over to the messy bed, sat it on the stained pillows. She slowly unzipped it. There was stacks of bills neatly on top of each other. She didn't count it. No time. But she did have an idea what to do next.

Stephanie found some stationary by the hotel telephone. She retrieved a pen from her purse. She started to write as fast and sloppily as she could. Who the hell knows how a suicide note is suppose to look like.

“I have done terrible things,” She read as she wrote. I am ashamed of everything I have ever done.”
She went on to list all sorts of seedy adventures in short erratic paragraphs. Everything from rape to blackmail. She signed Alan Drake after Yours Truly.

It was only after daybreak that Stephanie decided to call Tony. “Please come and meet me at Dragon's Lair, Tony.” This was the fifth message she left. “I have the money for us to go to Miami, be with your mother. We can help together as a happy family...I love you.”

Last message was very desperate. “ me..I'm in pieces...please....”

Six hours later, he still had not called, nor shown his olive-skinned face at the bar.

“I'll buy her another drink,” A big husky man said. He was sitting next to her at the bar. He was bald, wore small rimmed glasses that were too small for his large square head. He was wearing a leather jacket and an AC/DC shirt.

Stephanie turned to him, almost fell off her stool.

“Sir, I think she's had enough--”
“Okay. I'll take another scotch and a beer.” The man said.

The bartender cut his eyes at him, went away. He returned with a beer and a scotch. The man moved the glass toward Stephanie. She tried to focus on him, everything was becoming blurry, unstable.

Stephanie raised the glass. “Thank you,” She said. “I really needed this.”

“It's no problem. I understand how things can be. Sometimes life looks better after a few.” The man sipped his beer.

Stephanie finished her scotch, gingerly sat the glass on the blurry counter, making sure she didn't miss it. “So are you from around here?”

The man shrugged. “I'm from all over. How about you?”

“I can be from where ever you want me to be.”

The man laughed. “Is that right?”

“Yeah. And...and that's not a come on. It's my job.”

“Your...job, you say?”

Stephanie took out the golden monkey, lit her cigarette. “My profession is to be any kind of girl you want,” She slurred.

The man did a double take. He stared at the lighter in Stephanie's hand. She waved it around like it was a light saber. “That sure is an interesting lighter you have.”

“This?” She leaned in toward him, nearly falling off her stool. “This?”

“Yeah....what is that? A monkey. I see. Where did you get that?” The man reached into his back pocket, took out his wallet.

“A friend gave it to me. A dear...dear friend.”

“Did you know a Bree and Collin Hamper?”

“I know them yes.”

The man showed Stephanie his Identification. A badge next to it. “Should say it in the past tense, miss. They were found dead in their home two days ago. Both were shot twice in the back of the head. The only thing missing, according to Collin's mother-in-law, Collin was very proud of that item. It was a strange lighter in the shape of a golden monkey. If you look on the left side, the initials C.H. are engraved. How did you get it?”

Stephanie dropped the golden monkey on the floor. She stood, backed away from the bar. The man grabbed her arms, pulled her to him.

“It was spur of the moment....just something I had to have.”