OLWG# 218- Trilogy

Written for OLWG# 218

Roxanne Tells Clifton

With a belly full of gin and a heart heavy with regret, Roxanne stumbled into the night. At the edge of the car park, she turned, raised her fist and yelled back, “Fuck you too, LeBlanc Beau-Nasty. I don’t need you!”


The Fortune Teller

“No, No, that can’t be true!” Cliff gasped.

“Oh, but it is,” responded the gipsy.

“Your precious and chaste Roxanne truly is with child.”

“I didn’t believe her. Now she’s gone, she left.”


The Workhouse

Four-year-old Andy LeBlanc hopped off the hard chair and reached up to hug his mother.

She didn’t lean down as he had hoped.

Instead, she reached down and tousled his dark hair before pulling her wrap tight and turning to leave.

He ran to the window and watched her walk away in the rain.

She paused only briefly at the gate.


This week’s prompts were:

  1. watched his mother walk away
  2. belly full of gin
  3. with child

OLWG# 217- The Tale of Red Molly and Her Jigsaw, as Told by my Grampa

Written for OLWG# 217

Me and Grampa stood at the overlook, gazing down on the valley that spread out below. The landscape consisted primarily of rocks, cholla, and prickly pear with chaparral (gobernadora) interspersed. Grandpa got that far away look in his eyes like he could see beyond the horizon. I knew that if I stayed quiet, he would tell me a story.

Shore ‘nuff, after a bit, he cleared his throat and pointed towards a mound in the middle of the valley.

“See that rise over there, boy?”

I didn’t speak, but I nodded my head. He must have heard it because he picked back up.

“Look a bit over halfway up the rise by that cluster of big rocks. That there’s where the underworld boss, Red Molly and her lieutenant Jigsaw McCue, will lie for all eternity.” I stopped talking for awhile and I thought that might be all he had to say about it. Then he picked back up, “See – back when I was a young man Red Molly and her Jigsaw controlled all the liquor, gambling and whores in the county.

“I worked for one of her adjutants, a man called ‘Gentle John’ running numbers on the east side. Gentle John was a giant of a man. He stood about six foot, eight inches and weighed maybe two-sixty. One night, just before I was fixing to go home, Gentle John pulled me aside and told me that Jigsaw wanted to see me. Ain’t that the shits? I asked why? What for? John just shrugged his shoulders. Said I was supposed to be at Andy’s around eight-thirty that night. Andy’s was a drinking establishment that Molly owned downtown on Sweet Street. The Jigsaw usually hung out in the back with some of his guys. They played cards, they hassled the ladies, and they drank. 

“That night, in the backroom at Andy’s, only Molly and Jigsaw sat at the card table. They weren’t drinking. They weren’t playing cards. McCue was on the phone, and Molly had a long thin cigar sitting in an ashtray near her right elbow, a curl of smoke drifting toward the light. She smiled when I came into the room.

“Molly told me that she had a job for me to do. She said she and Jigsaw wanted to take me out to the country and show me what needed doing.

“The whole thing made me nervous, but what was I gonna do? Huh? I shrugged my shoulders and said, ‘sure.’ They both got up, Jigsaw grabbed the deck of cards, and we went out the back door into the alley where a long black sedan waited for us. I opened the back door for Ms Molly and let her pull me in by the hand. McCue climbed behind the wheel, and the engine roared to life. We drove west out of town for almost an hour before we turned off the blacktop onto that dirt road.”

He pointed to the right of the mound, where I could see what might have been a rough track at some time, back in the day.

Grampa continued, “McCue pulled around to the lee side of the hill and stopped the car. He opened the boot and pulled out a shovel, threw it to me. Molly was slowly, deliberately, picking her way up the hill towards that pile of rocks. She sat down on one of ‘em, spread her knees apart as far as her skirt would allow, opened her handbag, and pulled out another one of her smelly cigars.  As she held the tip to a kitchen match, she spoke softly, ‘You need to dig two graves over there, Stitch. One of ‘em’s gonna be for you.’

“My blood ran cold. What the fuck had I done? I searched my memory, but I could not come up with anything that warranted my execution.

“I had a drop gun strapped to my ankle, though, so I got to work digging, working slow, waiting for an opportunity. I got the first hole dug. The night was hot, and I had taken off my shirt before I had dug even two feet deep. But I kept going till the Jigsaw told me it was deep enough. By the time that the second was about four feet deep. I felt beat. I was exhausted. The Jigsaw told me to lie down and make sure that I fit, but I didn’t do it. I crouched down instead and removed my pistol. When he came to look, I shot him. Hit him in the neck. Blood was spraying everywhere. Molly screamed as Jigsaw fell into the hole where I hid. I popped up, real quick like and shot her too. She went silent and fell backwards off the rock. She landed with a thump on the dirt.

“The Jigsaw had been real polite and fallen into the hole I had dug. I had to drag Red Molly to the one I had prepared for her.

“I searched her handbag and went through McCue’s pockets. Between the two of them, they had almost seven hundred dollars. I stuffed it in my pocket, covered ‘em both up and stomped the dirt down as good as I could. I drove back to town and parked the car about a block from Tony the Barber’s place. Next day was chaos. Everyone was running around trying to find Red Molly and her Jigsaw man. They found the car, but that was all. Two days later, The Barber went missin’. Never did find out what happened to him.”

Grampa looked at me over his shoulder. He turned and looked back over the valley. From the corner of his mouth, he whispered, “Don’t make me kill you now, boy. I don’t wanna have to do that.”

I shook my head, no.

This week’s prompts were:

  1. dig two graves
  2. not to be avoided
  3. the red cards

OLWG# 216- Danivoix

Written for OLWG# 216

Effie McDaniel was nigh-on the best looking woman in Danivoix, but she wasn’t easy to live with; she was thirty-three years old, had no children, had been married six and a half times (if you counted the time when she shacked up with Milton Toker for about six months, right after high school). These days, she was once again living with her Momma and Daddy. They lived not far from the park on Poplar, the one-way street that crossed Mission going south.

Effie’s daddy was desperate to get her out of the house, but he was beginning to think it was never going to happen. Then he met William C. Prentiss, a travelling book salesman out of Salem, and he had an idea.

Now Effie’s momma was named Earlene, and her daddy was called Buck. One Saturday afternoon, Buck and Earlene McDaniel went to the Buffet out on Route 63 for a bite to eat. They ended up working their way through the food line and sharing a booth with William C. Prentiss, who was in town to meet with Danivoix Independent School District representatives on Monday morning at 0945. He was hoping to sell them a few truckloads of textbooks, particularly books for High School English and Algebra use.

“You know,” Prentiss said, practising his sales pitch, “Kids these days need good textbooks more than ever. They need to learn the difference between Numeric Expressions and Variable Expressions.  They need to learn that apostrophe’s don’t make plural’s.” He added, jokingly, “At least I don’t think they do.” The three got along like a house afire, and Earlene invited William over to the house for a barbecue that same evening.

Now, I may have already mentioned that Effie was a stunner. It was she who answered Prentiss’ knock on the door that afternoon wearing a sheer white sundress. In his arms, Prentiss held a bottle of red wine and a bouquet.

In typical Effie fashion, she pulled the door open and spread her arms wide, “You must be Mr Prentiss. Mom and Dad said you were coming.” She gave him a quick and chaste hug before relieving him of his flowers and bottle of Lambrusco (frizzante). “I’ll get these flowers into a vase and grab an ice bucket to chill the wine. Mom and Dad are out back if you want to go through the den and out the slider. Can I bring you a drink? It’s still warm outside, and the beers are cold. We should let the wine chill for maybe fifteen or twenty minutes in the ice.”

William C. was immediately smitten. He took Effie up on her offer of a beer and headed out through the slider to the back patio so that he could greet his hosts. In due time, Effie came out with a tray loaded with a Peroni, covered in condensation and gave it to Prentiss. She had the bottle of Lambrusco on ice and four stemmed glasses. There was already a platter of antipasti on the table. It was a selection of cheeses and dried meats, along with a couple of bowls with olives.

The evening played along without a hitch. The steaks were perfectly grilled, and the company was companionable all around. Effie had conned Bill (he insisted that she call him Bill) into escorting her to church on Sunday morning. She secretly hoped that she could spend an hour or two, after church, lingering over a picnic lunch, under a tree, in the soft grass up by Prism Lake. There were places at Prism Lake where they could be alone. Effie thought that Bill looked like he’d be a good kisser. She wanted to find out.

Buck hoped the two kids would hit it off.

Earlene just kept watch as Bill interacted with her daughter. They seemed to be getting along well. She had already paired them together and thought of them as a couple. Earlene smiled, dreaming of grandchildren.

This week’s prompts were:

  • religion gets her all worked up
  • one way street
  • apostrophe’s don’t make plural’s?

OLWG# 215- Two-Step

Written for OLWG# 215

Joy stopped what she was doing and cocked her head to listen. There it was again, a light tapping; apparently, someone was at the door.

“Good afternoon, Ms Carmichael.” Julius Niedermeister, a colourful, local character, was standing on her stoop. He had his long hair brushed and pulled back into a ponytail at the nape of his neck. His jeans and fancy western shirt were clean and pressed. His felt hat was clutched in his right hand, held across his chest, the crown pretty well crushed in his fist. He gripped, with his left hand, a brown paper bag. In the crook of his elbow rested a bouquet. There was a collection of red and pink roses that looked exactly like those grown at the courthouse. To complement the roses, he had added a few stems of bright yellow, star-shaped ragworts.

“Good afternoon to you, Mr Niedermeister.” Joy replied. “What can I do for you today?” She smiled.

“Uhm,” he fumbled with his belongings till he dropped his hat on the porch. He left it there and used his now empty hand to free the flowers. He held them out as an offering. “I was hoping that you were home, Ms Carmichael. I brought you these.”

Joy started a grimace but managed to turn it quickly into a smile. As she reached for the flowers, she managed to squeak out a reply, “Why thank you, thank you very much.”

He continued, “I’d also like to ask you, well, if it would be all right with you … I mean if you wouldn’t mind … I’d like to call on you from time to time.” He paused, and she just stood in the doorway smiling. Finally, he cleared his throat and held out the paper bag, “This is a bottle of red that I picked up at Harry and Mickey’s Mobil Station on my way over. They had it in the refrigerator section so, it’s already chilled if you’d like to have some. If it’s too early for you, you, well, you could pop it in the fridge and have it later. I mean, that’s OK with me.” He smiled and stared at her. He waited.

“I believe it is a bit early for me to be having wine. I have coffee on though, would you like to join me for a coffee on the porch?”

Niedermeister handed over the bottle and smiled, “Yes, ma’am. I would like that very much. Can I help you fetch it?”

“I wouldn’t hear of it, sir,” Joy said. She pointed at a pair of old rockers that straddled a low table near the end of the veranda, “Have a seat. I’ll get the coffee.”

He nodded and turned as she had indicated.

She left the door ajar and went back into the house, heading for the kitchen, where she found the remnants of a pound cake, also from Harry and Mickey’s. Quickly, she smeared some butter on it and threw it into the toaster. There was warm coffee left in the pot so, she split it up equally into two cups and put them into the microwave for thirty seconds. “What the fuck?” she thought to herself as she sat the hot mugs on a metal Coca Cola tray. A minute or so longer, and she pulled the pound cake from the toaster oven and spooned some jam on a saucer. With everything on the tray, she took a deep breath and pushed through the screen door, back to the porch.

Neidermeister jumped up and went to take the tray, which he sat on the low table.

Julius, he had insisted she call him Julius, needed no prodding to go after they finished their coffee and cakes. He was quite the gentleman and thanked her before taking his leave. At the pavement, he paused and turned back to her, “May I call on you again, Joy? May I call you Joy? Do you like art? Paintings?”

“You may call me Joy yes, I do like art, and I would welcome the opportunity to sit on the porch and visit with you again, Julius.” She shook her head and watched him two-step down the street until he turned the corner, and she lost sight of him.

 To be continued 

This week’s prompts were:

  • roses and weeds
  • Orleans inspiration
  • red from the petrol station

R&R on Lockhart Street

-for the July 1: Flash Fiction Challenge

He finished his drink and beckoned to Meihui.
“You want another, Danny?” she smiled.
“No, baby, I’m gonna go home. I’ll see you later.”
She rose up on her toes and leaned over the counter
to give him a quick kiss on the lips.
He dropped
a handful of coloured bills on the bar.
She pushed them back and quickly moved away.
Outside, standing on the pavement in the light rain
Dan snapped a quick shot of a fire engine
Lights flashing.
Now, fifty years later,
it was the closest thing to a photo of her that he had.

The prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about “the old photograph.” What is captivating about it? Where did it come from? How does it incite a story? Go where the prompt leads!

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