Dunno – Can’t Read It
Dunno – Can’t Read It
I leaned on the bar and put both hands around my beer. That’s about the time I became aware that the big guy was talking. He wasn’t talking to me though, he was talking to Jessica. Jessica the young, lean millennial. Jessica, of the long red hair and even longer legs. Jessica, who had accepted the drink I offered and who I hoped to get to know better tonight.
Using his left index finger he pushed his Stetson back a little on his head and smiled. “Well, if he ever doesn’t treat you right, call me, ya-hear.”
I knew when he said “he” that he meant me. I thanked Jessica silently in my head. Turned on my biggest smile and stuck out my hand. “She’s got nothing to worry about from me” I said. “My name’s Slim. Well, it’s not really Slim, but that’s what my friends call me. You can call me Slim.”
“Nice to meet you Slim,” he shook my hand, “I was just about to tell your young lady here, that I’m the band.” He crooked fingers on both hands making air quotes when he said ‘the band’. “I like heavy metal, but I sing folk songs and I’d love you guys to stick around and listen to my set tonight. The crowd is pretty sparse and I could use all the support I can get.”
“We can probably stick around for a little while” Jessica said coyly, thick honey dripping off every word, “but, I’m trying to talk Slim into taking me dancing and it’s hard to dance to folk music.” She looked at me, took a small sip from the straw in her drink, and batted her eyes. “There’s a night club a couple of blocks over that should start heating up in about an hour.”
“Nice meetin’ ya’ll,” he said and he headed for the small stage in the corner. As he passed me he leaned in and whispered, “I just don’t understand these kids today. They’d rather go disco than throw up and hallucinate.” He shook his head and kept moving, muttering to himself.
Amy leaned forward and reached for the slip of yellow paper that was lying on the floor. It had been in the pocket of Dan’s sports coat that she was taking to the dry cleaners. She had gone through the pockets first, as was her custom, when she found the magnetic stripe key card and this piece of paper. The paper had dropped when she looked at the card.
The key card was boldly emblazoned with the name EconoLodge and, there were line drawings showing how to insert it into the lock. Amy knew where the EconoLodge was. Just off the bypass exit on the east side of town. She didn’t go to the east side of town. That was the sleazy side of town. Dark bars, smoke shops, and women with questionable fashion sense who seemed to always be standing out on the street. Young men were on every street corner too. Talking to the women and, Amy suspected, probably selling drugs. She didn’t like it down there and she had no reason to go.
She wondered why Dan had been there and when he might have been to the EconoLodge. It must have been a sales conference, she thought. After all, Dan was a rising star at the company. There might have been a meeting on the east side of town. Perhaps he was entertaining customers. Dan was not the kind of man who went to dark bars or had anything to do with ‘those kinds of women’. Dan was a father, after all. Dan was married to her. Her father owned the company. Dan was above that kind of behavior.
She picked up the yellow paper that she had dropped. It was about a 4×6 size and slightly crumpled. She turned it over. It was one of those preprinted forms. Blue ink. Lined. Receipt, it said at the top. Underneath, positioned just slightly wrong on the lines she read the hand printed carbon entry on the sheet. It read
Room 212 – 1 hour – $25
Champagne – $75
Tossing the sports coat on the floor next to the paper and the key Amy spun on her heel. She picked up her purse and warm-up jacket as she headed for the garage fishing for her car keys.
All that I have cared about is gone.
Everyone I loved has been taken away.
All that remains is this bottle, these nightmares, and the mistakes that I have yet to make.
But I will… I’m sure I will.
Once I had a family. Once I had money. Once I had a life filled with ambition and promise.
Those things are gone now.
It happened slowly at first. The shine disappeared.
Disappeared from the things I loved. Then slowly, but surely they all vanished.
Some crawled away of their own accord. Others I shoved out.
The process took years but I was thorough. Made sure it was complete.
Only one thing left to do before…
Wait, there is one remaining remora that I cannot shake.
This damn dog will not let go. Where did she come from? When did she latch on?
This nameless yellow cur. If she ever had a name, I do not recall it.
I cannot loosen her.
She stays by my side. Sleeps in the alley with her head on my lap.
I find myself looking. Looking for scraps.
She is either a demon or an angel, keeping me alive.
I curse her and bless her with the same breath.
I would be willing to wager that these guys didn’t have to figure out what “BFF” was before writing. Enjoy:
It was this morning (not last week), early in the AM, still dark out, things were not going according to plan. “What the hell is going on here?” I said out loud. No one heard, no one was listening, ergo, no one answered. No surprise really, I was sitting alone in a darkened room. Only the glow from my laptop pierced the darkness. And maybe, the LCD from my alarm clock face added a bit of light as well. Couple those with the LED’s from the various chargers, video games, cable boxes, coffee makers, and other sundry electronics that surround me and I probably should have been wearing shades. Now that I think about it, how do I ever get to sleep with all the lights on like this? Why do I even need lamps?
But, I digress. Let me back up a bit… “What the hell is going on here?” I said out loud. “Why isn’t my internet connection working?” I was frustrated. I wanted to see what the daily prompt was but the World Wide Web would not allow it. At least that is what I believed at the time. I cycled the power on my PC. No better. I stumbled downstairs and reset the router. No better. I tried to check facebook to no avail. I dozed off staring at my screen.
I woke and it was still dark. The clock said 6:58. My computer said 1858. Damn, I lost over 12 hours. What happened? I have vague recollections of voices speaking a language I didn’t understand, bright lights, the hum of machinery and electronics. Straps around my ankles, wrists and chest restraining me in a prone position, on my back. Spinning. Fading in and out of consciousness. Nothing else, till now. Now, when I woke up, 1858.
I am one giant bruise and what appears to be ligature marks around my ankles, wrists and chest. I check my laptop and find my internet connection is working. The daily prompt is “What are the things that hold you back from doing everything you’d like to do?”
Obviously this is easy although I cannot expound or provide details the simple answer is without a doubt:
Hope to do better tomorrow.
Check these out. I know that I can be disappointing but these guys never are:
‘The thin man was seated on my recliner in the dark. The reading lamp was positioned so as not to illuminate his face but I could see the dark handgun, on the arm of the chair very well. His two goons had my arms pinned behind my back and had done a very effective job of subduing me and restricting my movement. I think my nose was broken and the coppery taste in my mouth, all too familiar.
“Just so we’re clear” he said softly, “I wanna make sure you understand. You have till the end of the month to get the job done. I’ve got the doll, for collateral purposes, understand.” He reached into the pocket of his black suit coat and pulled out a crumpled pack of Camels, grabbed a match from the container on my end table and struck it with his thumbnail. He cupped the flame and leaned forward to light the smoke. I got a brief look at his face.
Dark, slicked back pomaded hair atop a long, narrow face; sunken cheeks framed a pencil thin mustache over thin lips that looked like they had been carved by a razor. His eyes were large and dark.
He exhaled the smoke, shook out the match and dropped it on my floor. “Hey,” I said. I didn’t finish the admonishment though because my outburst had been rewarded by a sharp punch to the kidney. My knees crumpled but, my new best friends kept me upright. The thin man picked up his gat, stood and turned towards the door. He was tall too, at least 6, 6. “That dame, Lorraine, better hope you care for her. Because if you don’t get this job done, in time…” he shook his head slowly, “well, let’s just say that her days are numbered.”
He signaled to the goons and they dropped me in a heap on the floor. I lay there while they filed out the front door of my apartment and quietly closed the door. I ached all over. I ached in places I didn’t even know existed before they started aching. It gave me time to think.
He said I had till the end of the month; that meant I had 26 days. Not a lot of time.’
Edward scanned to the next page “Chapter 2” it said at the top. He leaned back, set his library card to keep his place in the book and closed it. God, he loved reading these old detective novels. This one was going to be great. The kettle whistled. Edward set the book on his coffee table and headed to the kitchen to prepare his morning tea.
Not what you were looking for? Try one of these…
Ryan Beelzebub is out of the game. Retired from the DMV at the age of 26 with hundreds of millions of dollars and lots of highly placed friends, who all owe him favors.
On a diving trip in the Sea of Cortez his 127 foot yacht and his beautiful, supermodel wife go missing under suspicious circumstances. Ryan is back in the game.
Using his private jet and several expensive sports cars he solicits help from an old army buddy who was recently elected president of the United States. The two race motorcycles into the maw of a web of intrigue to discover the truth about Ryan’s family.
Beautiful women try to distract him from his quest but Ryan suspects that they are nothing more than bait for a trap set by his nemesis, Dr. Jones, and uses his martial arts skills to cast the beautiful women aside. Their wanton intrigue is wasted on him.
Holding the high moral ground, and not to be distracted from their purpose, Ryan and POTUS adventure across the globe visiting all the really cool and exotic locations. Putting together the pieces of the puzzle and using lots of high tech gadgets.
Explosions, action, fast cars, and beautiful women highlight this latest “Ryan Beelzebub” novel with several scenes set in a high rotation orbiting spacecraft.
Another Ryan Beelzebub Novel. Available as a Chaos House audio book and an e-book too. Soon to be out in paperback. Maybe a major motion picture as well – starring Tom Cruise and Jennifer Lawrence or other similarly beautiful and popular actors.
Cover Design – Pablo Painter
US $14.98 / $21.00 Can.
Spoof Publishing: NY, LA, El Paso, London, Buenos Aires
NY Times says: “A compelling read”
LA Times reports: “A real page-turner”
El Paso Times review: “A great read if there’s nothing on TV”
London Times says: “I don’t have time for this”
Buenos Aires Times: “Callos, apenas legible”
Better stuff from better writers:
I didn’t read the entire assignment before I started writing. I read only the headline – Nice is as Nice Does. I finished the story and then read that I was supposed to write about me and something nice that I have done. This story is not about me. However, the prompt coupled with a post on Facebook did serve as the inspiration. I figured that was close enough for a post.
“If you can guess what’s in my pocket, you can have it.” This is how my grandpa always greeted me when I would see him.
Over the years I learned to be generic with my guesses. The odds were greatly improved if I said “Candy” and not “Peppermint” or “a toy” vs “a top”. He always managed to bestow the prize before we parted ways but the game controlled the timing, and his prizes were often amazing.
When I turned 16 he had a key in his pocket. I didn’t guess it. I did spend some time wondering who’s old truck was parked in front of our house for the better part of a week before Grandpa could stand it no longer and flipped me the key. “Why don’t you go gas up that truck out front and call that girl you’ve been bird-dogging’” he said. My mom freaked over that one.
When I graduated he had a watch in his pocket, and not just any watch. It was the pocket watch that had been passed down in his family from father to son for generations. Grandpa had no sons but he had me.
When Anne and I announced our engagement Grandpa had his wedding ring in his pocket. He said, “Wear this for 25 years then take it off. It’s bad luck after that.” And, that’s exactly what I did. Anne has been my wife for 40 years but I haven’t worn a wedding ring for the last 15.
Grandpa passed away about 20 years ago. I was overseas when it happened. I got back for the funeral. Open casket, as he wanted. When we all filed by to pay our respects I tucked a picture in the breast pocket of his suit coat. It was a photo of him and me taken by my mom when I was about 6 years old. We seemed to be having a smiling competition. Who had the biggest smile. My front tooth was missing and I was holding up the baseball that had been in his pocket earlier that day. I patted his pocket to smooth it back down over the photo I had just placed there, “I know what’s in your pocket Grandpa. You keep this one.”
“Mirror, mirror on the wall.” Jeanette said as she wiped the steam from the glass and leaned in close pursing her lips at her reflection. She quickly spun and looked at Amy in the chair behind her. “What do you think, Amy?” she asked. “Who is more beautiful now, you or me?”
There was no reply. “What’s the matter Amy? Cat got your tongue?” She laughed.
Jeanette walked a wide berth around her friend and picked up clothes from the corner. As she began pulling them on slowly, she looked at the back of her friend’s head “I love the water pressure in your shower. Not wimpy, like at my house. My mom is such a stickler about the environment and conserving resources.”
Amy was still silent, staring at her lap. The ropes kept her from falling to the floor but had done nothing to staunch the flow of blood from her neck. Jeanette had done this before. She knew that it was best to disrobe before doing the wet work. The work was quick and easy. Tie them in the chair, grab their hair at the front of their head, pull their head back and run the knife from ear to ear. It was really easy. But the blood, OMG, the blood went everywhere. She had ruined her favorite white blouse the first time and had been lucky to get home without someone noticing.
This was better. Leaving her clothes across the room ensured nothing on her outfit and a quick shower ensured nothing on her either. “Bye, bye Amy, got to run.” She said and blew a kiss to the corpse of her friend. “I’ll say Hi to Todd for you. I think there may be a chance of him asking me to the Prom now instead of you. What do you think?” She pulled the bedroom door shut behind her, pushed her hair back and went out the front door. Amy’s parents wouldn’t be home for hours.
More reading from much better writers than I:
The morning sun will await me
I always rise first
The solitude suits me before the day.
A day like no other begins like all others.