Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2019

Archive for the tag “Short Story”

“Bad News Travels Slow” – Continued

giphy-9Saturday Fiction – Continued.

 “Bad News Travels Slow”

*****

“Who did this to you?” An obvious question from an obviously bored cop.

“I dunno. We didn’t exchange addresses. He was big, strong, and didn’t say much.”

“That’s not much of a description. How are we supposed to find the guy with just that?”

“Well, I’m sorry, Detective. That’s all I can give you. I was busy bleeding at the time. I’ll try to do better next time.” Why do I even bother?

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Bad News Travels Slow

 st anthony-dusk

It’s Saturday Fiction time.

THE KNIFE IN MY BACK WAS A GOOD SIGN. If I was dead I probably wouldn’t have noticed it was there.

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A Safe Place — Conclusion

revolver3“A Safe Place” – Conclusion

“Show me. If you didn’t kill her, who did?”

He pulled out one of the photos and held it up facing me.

“He did,” he said, pointing to the dark haired man who was younger than either of us and in a lot better shape.

“Him,” I said? “What makes you think it was him? Just because he was…” He interrupted me before I could finish my sentence.

“He told me he did it.”

Off in the distance we both heard sirens. He looked at me, an anger beginning to build in his eyes.

“Did you tip off the cops that I was here?”

“No, I didn’t. I didn’t tell anybody, but you better talk fast. They’re getting closer. He told you that he’d killed your wife? When” Why?”

“I told you. While I was in jail.”

I nodded, not knowing what else to do to get him to keep talking.

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A Safe Place – Continued

Detective-with-smoke-flipped-300x244A Safe Place – Continued—

He started moving toward me. I lifted my revolver and aimed it between his eyes.

“Stop right there, Cumberland. Don’t get any closer or I will shoot you dead.”

He stopped. “Can I just set this down? It’s getting heavy and it is hot. These are cheap oven mitts. I’ll put it down on the table and I’ll back up. OK?”

It seemed like a reasonable thing to ask. “OK, but no funny business. I’m a good shot.” That was lie too. I’d be lucky to hit him at all even though he was only five feet away. I hoped that my shaking knees weren’t obvious.

He did like he said. He put the lasagna down on a straw trivet, then went back to where he started. He closed the oven door and threw his mitts on the range top. I didn’t like his additions to our agreement. I told him so. He shrugged and I pressed him some more.

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A Safe Place – Continued

lasagna On my way through the lobby I peeked into their mailbox – nothing – and a chill ran down my spine. By now that box should have been stuffed with junk mail if nothing else.

The yellow “Crime Scene” tape was still stretched across their door. I could taste my lunch again.

I was hoping that I was wrong, but when I grabbed the knob and it turned, I knew that I wasn’t. I took my weapon out of my pocket. My palm was sweating, along with everything else.

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The Struggle To Tell A Story

writers-blockEVERY DAY I HEAR SOME WRITER GRUMBLING ABOUT “WRITER’S BLOCK.”  I’ve never had that and I find it hard to fathom. Not know what to write next? That has never been a problem.

I’ve asked a number of writers to explain it to me and they have trouble coming up with an answer that doesn’t go in circles, ending up with a shrug.

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A Safe Place – Continued

A SAFE PLACE – Continued –

“…I didn’t do it. I didn’t kill her.”Detective-with-smoke-flipped-300x244

If I’ve heard some guy say that once, I’ve heard it a hundred times. What else is he going to say? “I did it. I’m guilty.” Not in this state.

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A Safe Place – Continued

Jesus_savesA SAFE PLACE – Continued…

I was going to bring him in. I know that he says that he didn’t do it – that he didn’t kill her – they all do, but after that business in my office, I found it hard to believe.

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A Safe Place – Continued

typewriter gifContinued from last Saturday –

I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend the night crawling under every bridge abutment and behind every dumpster in town. I don’t care how much I want Cumberland’s scrawny neck. He’ll have to surface again and I’ll be waiting. But I’m going to need some help.

***

“I assume you’re up on this creep. I mean – you’d have to be dead not to be – unless you’re like me and you only buy a paper to look at the sports page and the crossword puzzle.”

“I guess I’m as familiar as the next guy about him. He offed his wife, right?”

“Yeah. He came to me because he thought his wife was running around on him. She was, and I don’t blame her. Her husband, Cumberland, that sick piece of trash, treated her like a slave – worse – he treated her like a slave’s three-legged dog. I didn’t like him from the start, but he paid in cash and I was behind on just about every bill I had.

“Uh – huh.”

“When I showed him the pictures – her and some guy comparing moles – he went berserk right here in the office. It was all I could do to keep him from killing me just because I was handy. I wish I’d thrown him and his cash… I wish I’d become a priest too, like my mother wanted, but Donna Jean Shansky was better looking than my mother, so….  

“What do you need me for?

“Tonight we’ll go back to the mission – you and me. If he’s back for another “hot and a cot” we’ll double team him. Handcuffs, ankle irons, Anti-aircraft guns, everything and a couple of hits to the kidneys if need be – just so he won’t feel like fighting back. I’ll take my .38 along, just in case. You bring the ’jack and nail his head if he starts to make a serious fuss. OK? Ready? Let’s stop for a burger on the way. I’ll drive.”

I usually work alone. That way I don’t have to split my attention – watching my target and watching the hired help who might be getting paid more by the target than by me. I’ve had it happen.

The guy who was with me for this take-down was someone I’d used before. He knew the streets and how to use a variety of tools that I’m not supposed to supply. I can’t go so far as to say that I did or did not trust him, but he could probably say the same thing about me. Hey, it’s almost a living.

After dark the neighborhood around the Beacon Light Mission looked even more depressing. Most of the streetlights had been broken by the small-time drug dealers who felt more secure in the shadows. Add a wispy fog that distorted what light there was coming from inside the Mission and the half hidden figures moving in and out of the light – well, it made it sure that there was no way to identify anyone before they went inside. We were going to have to go into the Mission to grab Cumberland. I hated that.

Outside I could slip in line behind him, one quick whack in the head and off we’d go, but inside, in the brighter lights – he might spot me first and then it would be a game of hide-and-seek. And I don’t seek as well as I hide. That’s the biggest reason I decided to get someone to go with me. Bad knees, a bum shoulder, and too many late night slap-outs have made me lose a step or two, or three, or… Point made?

To be Continued

A Safe Place

typewriter gifGETTING BACK TO A SATURDAY practice that I have neglected-

Below is the first few pages of a short story that I’m working on for a Writers Group.

I’d appreciate some feedback.

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Summer Magic

Blue Swing

Today’s posting is a short story I wrote about ten years ago

“Lightning bolts are all around, but don’t worry folks. I’ll land this plane. I can’t see because of the clouds and one engine is about to breakdown, but I’ll get us home.

Co-Pilot Smitty – radio my Mom and tell her I might be late for supper.”

Co-Pilot Smitty barked in acknowledgement and wagged his tail as the jetliner disappeared into a froth of dark clouds.

Danger was everywhere and only the best and most courageous pilot could get them down safely before Daddy got home.

***

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God Bless Joe Sheridan

Today I thought I would post a piece from my short fiction file.

God Bless Joe Sheridan” is the story of the airplane flight from Hell.

 

God Bless Joe SheridanBox tied with cord

 

I’VE NEVER BEEN IN JAIL, but, by God, I’ve done hard time. So have you, if you’ve ever flown coast to coast, shoehorned into a seat next to someone who could be the lovechild of Carrot Top and Casey Stengel.

You know the type. They talk incessantly, but make sense very rarely.

It was on a flight from San Francisco to Washington, D.C. I thought it was going to be a pleasure trip: see the Smithsonian, admire the classical architecture, shake my fist at Capitol Hill – all the usual stuff. Then I saw “him” trundling down the aisle of the Boeing 7-something-or-other jetliner.

“Uh oh” I said to myself. Why do bad things happen to, basically, nice guys?

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