The Interview of Merlon Zu’ul


 

Handleman straightened the nameplate on his desk and studied the wizened visage of Merlon Zu’ul. “You’ve an unusual name, is it European?”

He glanced down at the file he held.

“An old name,” Zu’ul answered.

“And an impressive CV, but we’re looking for financial backgrounds. Advisors to assist our clients grow their wealth and; well frankly, you have a doctorate in Mediaeval Alchemy.”

“Exactly.” Zu’ul intoned.


Second Place in the Chimera 66 #3 Challenge – Thanks again.

Then Whose?


“Good morning Miss Lilly,” he proffered a card.

“Abner Cluck, Acme Insurance.”

“Do you have adequate protection for your business?”

“The girls are responsible for their own, you say?”

“Sorry, I thought this was your house,
you were the madam in charge.”


Call me Stu!

Third place in the Mutant 750 #18 Challenge – Thanks


When I was born Ma named me Stuart,
but my da’, he called me Stu.
It were his name, you see.
It were his da’s name too.

Besides the sharing of our name,
we shared a taste in food.
We shared a taste for Bouillabaisse,
we shared a taste for Stew.

Coq au vin, Mechado, or perhaps an Étouffée;
Bourguignon, or Ragout, maybe a Cassoulet

Just say the word I’ll ladle out a
great big bowl for you

Of Chili, Compote, Gumbo,
Feijoada, or Mulligan Stew.

I like mine best when made with Beef;
unless there’s Lamb or Fish.
Often pork or chicken can make it quite a dish.

Now my da’ he’s in the churchyard.
My granda’, he’s there too.
Each New Year’s Day I visit them and this is what I do:

I spend an hour chopping veg-tables,
another dicing meat.
I cook it for at least eight more,
and when it’s fit to eat;
I take it to the graveyard and
I share it with my kin;
Put bowls upon their headstones
and invite them to dig in.

This year I made them Goulash,
last year a Pot-au-feu.
But I know that up in heaven –
they are always eating stew.

Jessica Hathaway


By the time I pulled my Hudson up to the scene, the sun was rising over the San Gabriels. It was a big house, with walls and a gate that probably should be called an estate, it was more than a house. I didn’t bother to show my badge to the uniform on the door, “Eddie here yet?” I asked.

“In the library,” the cop said pointing with his chin, as I breezed past him and went in.

I spotted my partner, Eddie Mercks, in a room off the hall talking to some dame. She was a straight haired blonde. Long, lean, and a real looker, the kind of girl who could keep you awake at night. The kind of girl you wouldn’t introduce to your mother. I recognized her. We had a history.

I headed that way and hooked Eddie by the elbow pulling him to the side. He held out his hands, palms down, “wait here doll.” He said to her, “We’re not done yet.”

“What are you doing, Eddie? Do you know who that broad is?”

“Jessica somebody,” he said. Then he consulted his notes, “Jessica Hathaway.”

“Yeah, that’s right and Jessica Hathaway is “Big Paulie” Costello’s girl.” I looked back at her. She was holding an unlit Lucky Strike between long manicured red-tipped fingers and leaning up against a Queen Anne desk. She wore a floor length crimson dress slit high up the front and her long legs went all the way down to the floor ending in high heeled mules that matched the outfit perfectly. I scanned back up the tight fitted dress, looking for weapons. I thought about patting her down but then I remembered “Big Paulie”, “Look Eddie, go easy on the broad, OK. We don’t want any trouble with Big Paulie’s boys.”

He nodded. “Sure thing Dan, but… “

“What’s the matter with you?” I interrupted, “Where’re your manners? Go light the lady’s cigarette – where’s the stiff?”

“In the Conservatory, Dan. It’s that way,” he says pointing further down the hall. Then he adds, “This fuckin’ house has a conservatory! Do you believe it?” He reaches into his pocket for some matches.

“I believe it,” I said pulling a crumpled pack of Camels from my jacket pocket and fishing out the last one. I flicked my Zippo and lit it as I turned towards the door, “Eddie,” I ask through the smoke, “Whose house is this?”

“I thought you knew, Dan.” He said, “This is Paulo Costello’s house. He’s also the stiff in the Conservatory. Tapped twice, once in the chest, once in the head, a real clean job.”

I looked back at Jessica. She smiled, pursed her red lips, and batted her eyes. She didn’t seem all that broken up to me. This case was starting to get interesting.

I headed down the hall.


Gypsy


Bewitched, enchanted, spirited off.

The gypsy came,
wove her spells, hypnotized.

She took them,
seduced them with her tambourine.

She danced for them, preyed on them.

Tempting, seducing, spinning
like a fevered tornado of scarves, and veils. Flashing legs and eyes.

She gave them drink, lured them, stole from them.

She was gone,
by morn.

She took them all.

Men are weak in matters of flesh.


Workin’ On Our Issues!


“Why am I here Paul? Why am I sitting in these weeds? I think my butt is getting wet! I thought you were taking me to lunch, but you didn’t even bring a picnic basket! I thought we were working on our relationship issues. I thought you were trying a little romance, like the counselor suggested. Now that we’re here I got nothing to eat, nothing to drink and you are just freakin’ ignoring me.

“You’re such an ass.

“I should have gone to the spa with the girls. They asked me to go but I wanted to give you the benefit of the doubt. God knows I try, Paul. I turned them down. For what, for this? They’ve got those hunky masseurs from the day spa to paw them and wedge them like clay. Meanwhile I get to sit here with a wet butt. With my blouse buttoned up to my chin, listening to your beard grow! How long have we been sitting here anyway? Seems like hours.

“I think we’re lucky to be alive after you crashed the canoe. Yeah, you thought I missed that didn’t you. I noticed when you lost control of the boat and ran aground. I saw the fear in your eyes when we were on the water and it got away from you. I also saw those fish that you ran over, I think you killed them. I think you killed them all. Innocent creatures, they deserved better. It was a whole school of perch, or something. Do you smell that Paul? Huh? Smells like dead fish to me. Their poor dead fish bodies are probably strewn all up and down the bank. God, it’s awful!”

paul-helleu-sketching-his-wife-1889

“Alice, did you pack my turps like I asked? I’ll never be able to thin these paints properly without turpentine. I’ve probably got fifteen brushes here and nothing to clean them with.

“Never mind, I’ll just smear colors on the canvas and pretend that I don’t know you. And, why did you have to wear that insipid hat? It’s an embarrassment! I’ve never seen anything so ugly. Give it to Goodwill, I say. Donate it to the Salvation Army, I suggest. But noooo, you keep it just to irritate me. The counselor told you that you needed to work on your aggressive tendencies.

“I’ve seen you working on your aggression, I’ve seen you honing it to a fine edge. I fear that one day you will run it across my throat just to watch me bleed out. Perhaps this beard will protect my jugular from the sharp blade of your anger. I can only hope.

“At least if I sit with my back to you and if you remain mute I can enjoy the day. A fine day indeed, smell the river and the fresh air.

“It’s wonderful.

“God knows I try, Alice. I thought you would enjoy a canoe trip. I should have warned you not to stand in the boat. I thought we would capsize for sure. I was lucky to get us to the bank without a dunking.

“If anyone comes by just keep your mouth shut, and lose the hat, or I’ll have to tell them that I don’t know you. That you just came over and sat next to me. That I believe you got lost on your way home from failing the final exam at millinery school.”


Second Place – Thanks guys