Written on this date for TBP


Big Nick Dixon was nursing a dirty martini, trying to give off a strong ‘LEAVE ME ALONE’ vibe when the older couple approached him at the bar. She was probably in her late sixties, maybe her very late sixties, with a blue wash on her hair, a heavy polyester dress suit, and sensible shoes. He appeared to be a few years older than she. He wore Bermuda shorts that accented his saggy knees, one of those tropical shirts, and a straw fedora. Neither of them looked like they had been missing any meals but they looked happy and they were holding hands. They looked like a couple of tourists on vacation at the beach from Nebraska or somewhere like Nebraska.

“Scuse me, young fella,” the old guy said, “these seats taken?”

Nick shrugged and the couple sat down.

“Thanks, sonny,” the old man continued, “we’re both getting a little hard of hearing and don’t want to sit too close to the jukebox, in case some fool starts playing it. Know what I mean? Know what I mean?”

“See, Saul,” the blue-haired woman said, “he does look a lot like Pick. A younger Pick for sure but he looks a lot like Pick. Don’tcha think?”

The old man scrunched his eyes and looked at Nick, “Maybe so, Lenore; maybe a bit around the eyes. The hairline’s the same though. No doubt about that.” He put his hand on Nick’s shoulder, “Son, you wouldn’t happen to be Big Dick Nixon would ya? Nephew of Pick Dixon from Kansas City Missoura?”

This got Nick’s attention and he growled at the old man, “First of all, my name is Big Nick Dixon, not Big Dick Nixon. I don’t know if you think you’re being funny, but I fail to see the humour. Second of all, I have an uncle in Kansas City, but his name’s Edwin Dixon. I don’t know anybody named Pick.”

Lenore slapped the back of her hand on Saul’s shoulder, “Edwin,” she laughed out loud, “damn; don’t that beat all. No wonder he went by Pick. Can you imagine being named Edwin for your whole life? Shit… Edwin, Ha.”

When the bartender came over to get the old couple’s order Lenore was giggling to herself, her large girth shaking like a bowl of Jell-O; every so often she would say, “Edwin” again and laugh a little harder.

Saul ordered a gin and tonic for Lenore and a Jack, neat for himself. As the bartender went to fetch the drinks, Saul turned his attention back to Big Nick. “OK,” he said, “You are obviously Pick’s nephew. He told us we might find you here, and look, here you are.” The barman came by and set napkins and drinks in front of Saul and Lenore.

Nick turned and squared up with Saul, they were both big men, “What the hell do you want old man?”

“I want you,” Saul said, “or at least I want to hire you. Your uncle told us that you’re a pretty good thief, a cat burglar… know what I mean?”

“Stop right there,” Nick interjected, “I never steal cats. I’m a second story guy. I didn’t never take no cats. Wait, you know my Uncle Edwin?”

Lenore waved her hand and sipped her drink, “Relax, Dick.” she said, “It’s the same thing. It’s the same thing, and yes, we knew your Uncle Edwin.”

“What do you mean you knew Uncle Edwin?”

Unfortunately, Pick passed on last week – had a heart attack at the ponies in Greenwood County.” She paused for a minute and then added, “That’s in Kansas ya know.” She paused again and asked, “What do the girls call you? Do they call you ‘Big Dick’ or just ‘Dick’?”

My prompt was: A misunderstood burglar receives shocking news.

Picture Prompt #20


Ten quid and all the time in the world, that’s what Nigel had in his pocket when he pushed open the garden gate and stepped out onto the pavement. He turned up towards the High Street and started whistling a nameless tune, he was going to get a bite at the new Chinese take-away and eat it at the pub. He quite fancied a pint or two with his mates – Ginny was working tonight too so that was a bonus.

At the Mei Garden Take-Away he got a double order of Kung Pao Chicken. Mrs. Lee packed it up and sent him on his way. He went straight to the Royal Oak and was pleased to see Ginny behind the bar, William and Paul were holding down a small table by the window.

“Evenin’ Ginny,” he said, “Can I have a pint o’ Best and another of whatever Paul and William are each havin’ for them.”

She nodded, “whatcha got in the bag, Nigel?” she asked him. “Better not be cats!”

He leaned in close and whispered, “I got some take-away from that new Chinese place up the road. Can ye bring us a couple o’ plates and some forks too, Ginny?”

“Aww, geeze Nige,”she screwed up her face, “ye canna let Malcolm see ya eatin’ outside food in here. He’ll lose it!”

Nigel smiled at her and she put three bowls and three forks on the bar, “go on then, eat fast and bring these back here as soon as ye finish, so I can wash ’em up. I’ll fetch the beers.”

Nigel leaned over the bar and gave her a peck on the cheek, “Yer a peach Ginny, ya are.” He turned and headed over to the table with William and Paul. “Hail fellows well met,” he bellowed as he doled out the bowls and split up the Kung Pao. Then more softly he added, “Eat quickly lads or face the wrath of Maid Ginny and Sir Malcolm.”

They all tucked into their food. Ginny brought a round of drinks and when they finished, Paul took the incriminating evidence back to the bar. Their crime had gone undetected, as Malcolm was still out back, doing whatever it was that he was doing back there.

Nigel went through the bag but Mrs. Lee had only sent one fortune cookie.

“We only got the one, lads,” Nigel said to his mates. “I reckon we oughta give it to Ginny on account o’ her being so accommodatin’ an all.” It was agreed; and when she brought the next round they presented her the biscuit with plenty of fanfare and aplomb. She opened it straightaway, studied the small slip of paper for a moment, folded it in half and slipped it into her brassiere; she winked at the lads and turned back to the bar.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Ginny, what’s it say?” they all asked.

Ginny just looked back at them over her shoulder, she smiled, popped half of the cookie into her mouth, and kept walking. She waved to Mr. Skipworth as he came through the door.

OK – I’m going to tread all over TBP territory and issue a challenge. If you actually read all the way to the end of this, and you’re not too shy. Continue it on your blog and link it back to TBP here. This, of course, will be in addition to your response to the original prompt.

Might be fun.

An Affable Woman


Jake had been under the truck for at least an hour. But, he based that guess on the height of the sun, and truth be told, he really wasn’t sure how long he had been out. The sun was dipping towards the west but there was still a lot of daylight left. He took stock of his situation. He was on his back under the truck. He was sore all over and he couldn’t move his legs. He could feel his legs but he couldn’t move them, he thought he must be pinned somehow. He remembered picking up the block of ice from the ice house. He’d watched Lester load it into the back of his truck like it was nothing; as if it were light as a feather. He recollected getting on the road back towards the farm but then he had seen the Widow Perkins. She was picking her way across a fresh mowed field going somewhere – God knows where. In her one hand she held the leash of that damn skunk she kept as a pet. He was prancing along next to her looking all high and mighty. In her other hand she held a bright pink parasol, keeping the sun at bay. He was distracted and had begun slowing down to watch her walk.

Yes, Jake thought to himself, Widow Perkins was a handsome woman. She held herself well and she won a lot of blue ribbons in the cooking contests at the fair every year. A man could do worse than sporting the Widow Perkins on his arm. She was affable too. Only problems Jake could see were that she was deaf as a post and she kept that damn skunk. Maybe it reminded her of her late husband. Jake resolved that he would call on her in the fall after the harvest was in.

With that decided; he reached forward and cranked open the bottom of the windscreen on his ‘Model A’ truck. It was a fine summer day. Maybe a mite warm, but a fine day nonetheless.

No sooner did he get the windscreen open than he heard a slight noise that he didn’t recognize. It seemed to be coming from the engine. Listening to it, it grew louder, until it sounded like a passel of giggling 12 year old girls. Then it popped; it didn’t explode, per se, just popped. He thought it sounded like a champagne cork might sound, but having never heard a champagne cork he couldn’t be sure. Steam began to billow out from the truck’s radiator. It blocked his vision and the front tires veered hard to the right. The tremendous impact that resulted from his collision with the tree drove his chest into the steering wheel and the block of ice through the back of the cab before the truck rolled over. Before he lost consciousness he watched the Widow Perkins, as she kept walking away. Of course, Jake thought, she hadn’t heard the accident. She couldn’t hear the accident and when he woke, she was gone, so was her skunk.

Jake was now remembering some of the details of the crash. He turned his head and looked towards his feet hoping to see what had his legs pinned. He saw that it was the heavy block of ice that held him down. He thought that might be lucky, I simply have to wait for enough of the ice to melt and I’ll be free. I’ll have to walk back to town. There’ll be no traffic on the road, but I’ve done that before. He settled in to wait and he must have dozed.

He was chilled when he woke, but there was still light so he knew he hadn’t slept too long. He figured it must be near 8:00. He looked down at the still large block of ice and tried to move his legs. He managed to rock the block of ice a bit, it won’t be long now. When the ice moved Jake felt an almost liquid warmth move along his leg. He reached down to scratch behind his knee. When he brought his hand back up it was stained crimson, covered with blood. He sat up as far as he could and looked. Both his legs were gone from the knee down. The block of ice must have taken them during the crash, and then it had served as a compress to staunch the flow of arterial blood. As it melted it would gradually become a less effective tourniquet,  and Jake knew he would bleed out. He was going to die under a rolled over pickup truck. Killed by a big block of ice in the middle of summer and there was nothing he could do about it.

He didn’t panic though. His first thought was to ward off the chill, so he felt around for that piece of old horse blanket he normally kept behind the seat. He found it and covered himself. It was only about half a blanket but it covered him from the waist up to his chin. That feels better.

He thought about Belle and how she and his daughter had died in childbirth. He thought about how they now lay next to each other on the side of the hill, back o’ the house, with a hand carved stone marker being all that there is to testify to their very existence. The baby had been stillborn and Belle followed her straight away. At first he’d been angry with them both but eventually he had come to terms with it. It hadn’t been their fault. It had just happened. Who knows why?

He was getting colder and closed his eyes, maybe just a short nap. He thought about the Widow Perkins and wondered what had possessed her to take up with a skunk. Wondered how come, nobody ever knew why.