Memories of HER Descent


“She is not especially neat or clean”

M.J. left those words
scrawled on the radiator, where she’d found them.

She did not clean them off with the others.

She knew they had been written about her.

These had been her Mother’s quarters, after all and these
words were her legacy.

Photo Source



James Howard Kirkpatrick glanced up at the lighted sign, “Girls, Girls, Girls”. He handed the five dollar cover to the big man who sat just inside the front door. The bouncer’s name was Dennis. James Howard knew Dennis because he had been coming here every Thursday night for the last six months.

“Evening James Howard,” said Dennis.

“Hi, Dennis,” James Howard replied. “Is Silver in tonight?”

“Got here about ten minutes ago,” Dennis smiled.

James Howard moved through the inner door into the gloom of the club. He looked at the girls on stage and the girls working the floor. Silver was not out, so he took a seat at a small round table in the back to wait. Led Zepplin music was blaring and Tawny was dancing. Tawny liked Led Zepplin. A bachelor party clustered close to the stage. They were whistling and tucking bills under the lacy garter she wore on her thigh.

Becka swung past his table. She wore a bikini top and short shorts, “Evenin’ James Howard,” she greeted him, “the usual?”

He nodded, “Thanks, Becka.”

Becka brought drinks and set them on the table just as James Howard spotted Silver. She was beautiful. She was his muse. After each Thursday evening at the club with Silver he penned several love poems. His goal was to compile a book for her and to present it as a wedding gift, after he had made her his own.

James Howard Kirkpatrick stood and waved. She spotted him, and began threading her way in his direction. She wore a loose fitting blouse that looked like it was silk or some other smooth, fabric. Tight hip-hugger jeans rode low on her waist and her belly button peeked out between the garments. They hugged and sat back down at the table. They both knew she had only a few minutes before her turn on stage.

“Hi, James Howard,” she said, “thanks for coming.” She picked up her fluted glass of sparkling apple cider and took a sip. She drank sparkling cider but they charged for champagne. He didn’t mind.

He smiled at her. They talked and laughed. She teased, and he encouraged until the DJ announced that she was next. She scurried backstage.

When she was gone James Howard Kirkpatrick pulled the small vial of clear liquid from his pocket. With his hands below the table, he removed the top. It was his latest love potion. He had brought it to test on Silver tonight, and he hoped this one would work better than the others. He was getting tired of waiting.

As he dumped the vial into her drink the music changed to Country Western. James Howard Kirkpatrick looked at the stage as Silver came out. She still had the jeans but the top was gone. She wore a shiny sterling silver triangle bra and a cowboy hat. She began shaking her hips and the bachelor party went wild.

 A Tuesday morning response to another Monday Writing Prompt generously provided by The Secret Keeper.

The Center of the River


The center of the river!

She had always heard that if she ventured beyond the valley she must stick to the center of the river. She would be safe there.

She had spent the last two days travelling this waterway. Sometimes she could wade, sometimes she had to swim but so far she had remained safe, just as the elders had said she would.

She had food enough for one more day, two if she was careful. She thought she should have found him by now. She could still make it home with the food she had; or she could continue her search and hope she found him before she had to risk moving to the bank to forage. That, she knew, would not be safe.

Did she love him that much?


Photo courtesy of VisDare Source


Whatever Happened to Judge Parker?


Milo stumbled down the stairs, looking for coffee. He had dutifully set up the new fangled pot last night and armed the timer for 0530. It was now 0600 so he wouldn’t have to wait for his morning Joe. He would just be able to pour it and enjoy it as he read the paper. He wanted to see what Little Orphan Annie was up to today. He loved to spend his mornings with Annie, Rex Morgan, Mary Worth, and Prince Valiant. Judge Parker used to be a good read too till that bastard Sam Driver elbowed his way into the strip and took over. He seldom bothered to read that one anymore. Milo didn’t care much for Sam Driver.

Milo cracked open the front door at the bottom of the stairs and peered out. There was the paper, about halfway down the walk. The street appeared deserted so he risked running out in only his boxers to fetch it. When he came back in he tossed the paper on the table, poured a cup and settled in. He unrolled the paper and pulled out the advertisements. He stacked all the sections, in order, on the table in front of him and turned them over one by one until he found the “Family and Life” section. That was where the word search, Ann Landers, and his favorite comics were to be found. That was where he always went first.

Paging through “Family and Life” he skimmed the movie listings and eventually found Ann Landers. The first letter was absurd. A woman had written in, asking about little creatures that looked like brightly coloured mustaches with eyes. She said that there was a colony of them living in her house. She didn’t know what they ate but she suspected that they liked cat food. She wanted to know how to get rid of them. He thought Ann would call her out. He thought sure it was a crank letter from one of those frat houses at Princeton but Ann told her that she had had a couple of these in her house as well. She had called the Truly Nolen guys and they had come out and taken care of the problem. She cautioned the writer that she should take care of it quickly because these things could get big and then they would be hard to be shed of.

The second letter was from a high school girl who asked if she should let Timmy get to second base. She loved him and thought that he might love her too. She couldn’t ask her parents and was conflicted. Ann Landers was her only hope for good advice. Ann told her she was a fool. Timmy was after only one thing. She advised against it, saying that true love could stand the test of time. Then there was an ad for her booklet on adolescence. The police log filled the rest of that column.

Milo set the paper down so that he could page through to the comics and that was when he saw the little guy. He looked like a red mustache with googly eyes. He was watching from across the table. Milo reached for the phone and dialed 411.

“Directory assistance, what city please?”

“Santa Royale”

“Go ahead.”

“I need a number for a pest control company. Maybe, Truly Nolen?”

“Do you have those little mustache guys?” The operator asked.

“Yeah, I’m looking at one right now.”

“Keep your eye on him,” she said, “they multiply fast. I’ll connect you.”





The stiff had been found in the bedroom. He was partially unclothed with ligature marks around his neck. The coroner would have to make the official determination but it clearly looked like he had been strangled with a cord or a rope around his neck.

His fiancée, Adurey De LaCroix, claimed to have been in the parlor all night entertaining their guests. As they had stood to leave he had excused himself, said his goodbyes, and retired to the back of the house. She had seen the guests out, finished her cocktail and discovered the body when she went looking for him. I was next up in the rotation so I caught the case. On the 911 call she had told the operator that by her determination, an intruder had broken in and resorted to violence when he had been discovered. There was a safe in the bedroom.


She stood next to a wingback chair and silently watched me enter the room. Her long black dress was slit high up the side. It was made of a clingy black material that looked wet and clung to her curves like a race car clung to a winding track. Blonde hair hung in tresses down her back.

I motioned for her to sit and made my way to a matching chair. A low table was positioned between us. A Warm fire crackled in the fireplace across the room and the wind howled around the eaves outside. She leaned forward and stared into my eyes.

“You have something to ask me, Detective?”

Her eyes were dark and seemed to pull the surroundings in, like a spider web snares a fly. I felt myself getting lost in the depths of her gaze; falling. Everything else was forgotten. Nothing else was important. The sudden sound of the door brought me back to my senses and she quickly averted her gaze, as though nothing had happened; releasing me.

I shook my head and blinked my eyes. Sergeant Billings had come into the room.

“Sorry to interrupt, Sir,” Billings intoned with his flat Midwestern accent, “the crime scene guys have found some recent scratch marks on the back door lock. It looks like the perpetrator might have finessed his way in. That would explain why we didn’t find signs of a forced entry.”

I looked back at her and watched as she lit a cigarette, carefully avoiding her eyes.

“I’ll need you to wait here, doll,” I said, “I’ll have further questions.”

“Of course,” she said as she tapped her ashes on the hardwood floor, leaned back and crossed her legs.

I wasn’t sure if I was looking forward to questioning her further, or not.

 A Tuesday afternoont response to another Monday Writing Prompt generously provided by The Secret Keeper.

Billings Station OLWG#5


I pulled my grip down from the overhead bin and blocked the aisle while the young family in front of me maneuvered out of their seats. The dad shot his cuffs and turned forward to lead his brood off the plane carrying a day pack and a briefcase. His wife, a tiny and tired dishwater blonde, smiled at me and struggled behind him as she pulled a rolling suitcase, with a large purse and a diaper bag hanging from her shoulder. She had a sleeping baby in a sling on her hip and held the hand of a toddler with a dirty face, a runny nose, and a wet t-shirt. I made my way from the plane straight out to the taxi line, no luggage.

There was a sign over the automatic doors advertising a local Indian casino and another written in blue script, “Welcome to Billings”.

I didn’t have to wait, straight to a yellow cab where a large older woman with a blue wash on her grey hair waited.

“Wanna throw your bag in the trunk?” she asked.

“Nah, I’ll just hold on to it.”

She beamed what must have been a shiny new set of chops at me and opened my door before scurrying back around to the driver’s seat.

She turned around and leaned on the seat-back. “What brings you to town, cowboy?” she asked.

I told her that my brother had died and I was in town for the funeral.

“Sorry to hear that,” she said, “where are we going?”

I gave her the address of the downtown hotel where I had a reservation. She spun around and fired up the engine. As we pulled away from the curb she dropped the flag on the meter and commenced to telling me her life’s story. By the time we merged onto the interstate I knew that she had been a widow for almost twenty-five years. She had five kids, two of which still lived in town, and she was a grandma twelve times over.

I asked her what the locals did for entertainment in the evenings. I asked about the Indian casino I had seen advertised in the terminal building.

“That place is OK if you’re not attached to your money.” She said. “If you just want to have a few drinks, and listen to some music; then Billings Station is the place to go.” She grinned over her shoulder, “The women are friendly, the drinks are strong and the country-western music is live and loud.”

I decided I’d stop in there tonight.

30 minutes to draft, maybe 5 more to correct the punctuation and fat finger typos.


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