This was written for Friday Fictioneers. Thank you, Rochelle!
Wrong Side of the Tracks
“Truth will tell,” Brandt’s mother said after the wedding. Continue reading
I had the beginning of this story in my head. The funny thing is that you sometimes don’t know where the beginning will take you, and this one surprised me a little.
Written for the August 30 Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge.
First a bottleneck on the road and now a bottleneck at the charity event. I see who is causing it and suddenly wish I had a bottleneck in my hand, preferably high-proof. Continue reading
Quality Express hotel doesn’t exist anywhere (that I know of) except in my mind.
It’s Friday night at the Quality Express. The lights in the bar are low. Candles flicker on tables. It’s more ambiance than you’d expect for a hotel that caters to business travelers. Continue reading
PHOTO PROMPT © Kelvin M. Knight
Last week when Mama was here this wouldn’t have happened: No milk. One slice of bread. Bananas so black they melt into the counter. Continue reading
Part I Reality TV Presents: “Just Good Ole Boys”
Part II I Would Never Shoot The Sheriff
Now you may call me a traditionalist, but I thought the one place where I would not face reminders of my husband’s infidelity was at his funeral. You’d think it would be sacred territory.
There were at least a half-dozen black clad, veil-wearing weepers clinging on the arms of others as if they had lost their husbands. They blew into their hankies and sobbed, some bereft almost to the point of vapors. It became immediately clear that Ry’s dingdong had been ringing a lot of doorbells.
Reverend Mayfield stopped at one point as the wailing became more than slightly overwrought and drowned out his sermon. He looked at me in sympathy, but I was stewing and almost glaring at the coffin. Seeing it on tv was bad enough, but suspecting that he’d has his own door-to-door welcome wagon with all of these women ripped apart my insides.
Back at the house my sister, Clarice, served beer, wine, sweet tea, and bourbon as well as donated casseroles of every size, shape, and content, and patted my hand at intervals. “Stiff upper lip, Annie. Our Granny didn’t raise limp rags.”
“I was just thinking any one of those women could have killed him.”
“More like any one of their husbands.”
“It’s a wide playing field,” I said, took a sip of the old fashioned she’d made me, and shook my head. “How is it possible I didn’t know?”
“Maybe you did and you subliminally couldn’t accept it,” Clarice said, raising an eyebrow at me.
I raised an eyebrow back at her.
“No. You’re right,” she said even though I hadn’t said anything. “You wouldn’t handle anything subliminally. You’d have made him wish he were dead.”
“Ladies and Annie,” Linc said as he came up to us.
“Nice one, Sheriff. Have you been practicing your standup comedy in front of the mirror again?”
Clarice giggled. She punched Linc in his upper arm. “You’re looking mighty fine in your uniform these days. And probably mighty fine out of it too, right, Annie?”
“I wouldn’t know,” I said somewhat huffily.
Linc cleared his voice. I noticed that he had turned a little red, which was cute for a thirty-year old man.
“My understanding is that there were more than a few upset women at the funeral?” he asked.
Clarice gasped. “Don’t you have any consideration for Annie’s feelings?”
“Not lately, no,” he said.
It was my turn to gasp.
“I’m not fond of being lied to,” he said.
“I didn’t lie to you,” I said.
“Ry bought a gun.”
“I didn’t know.”
“Your fingerprints were on it.”
“That’s not possible.”
We were in each other’s faces. I could see the flecks of amber in his blue eyes. My breathing was hard as if I had just kissed him again.
“I can’t speak to possibilities. I can only speak for what the CSI guys found. Your fingerprints on the gun that was used to kill Ry and that Conrad Shears woman.”
I wished at that very moment that I was a fainter. It would have been a better scene ending than asking Clarice to find Uncle Newman, my soon-to-be lawyer.
As she walked away, I frowned at Linc. “You don’t think I did it, do you?”
He shrugged. “I hope to hell you didn’t, but we go with evidence. Your fingerprints on the murder weapon is pretty damning.”
“I still didn’t do it.”
“And I still got to take you in.”
He pulled out his handcuffs and gestured for me to extend my hands.
“Do you have to cuff me?”
“Yep. Just not the picture I had in my mind when I thought about doing it.”
“That guy,” Murphy says, jerking his thumb at the door that Damien had just exited through. “You were kissing him.”
I nod. Murphy has definitely passed the “observation” part of this test. He places his half-full mug of beer on the table, a drip of condensation dribbles down the side. He sits opposite me in the booth. With Damien’s departure, I feel like the evening is over, but it’s not quite fair to Murphy. Although what in the world happened for those twenty-five minutes that he disappeared? That’s a question I do and don’t want answered.
“He looks like Dominic.”
Again, I nod. In another world would I have found Murphy’s plodding thought process intriguing?
“Did you cheat on Dominic with him?”
I laugh because it so happens I do remember very vividly the first time I met Damien. “Only a kiss and my contacts were to blame.”
“Your contacts?” He frowns as if trying to place the word. He fingers the castaside pizza slice as if reconsidering and then flips it over.
I point to my eyes and his face clears and he bobs his head up and down in acknowledgment.
“I have to know, where did you go for that half-hour?” I ask, curiosity getting the best of me. If I were a cat…slash.
He immediately reddens, looks away from me toward the kitchen, and then down at his plate at the half-eaten slice of pizza. “I was in the men’s room like I said.”
I stare pointedly at him, but the part of me with the highly charged imagination doesn’t want to know.
“I have to read or functions don’t cooperate.”
I asked, didn’t I? When will I ever learn that my curiosity can sometimes go unfulfilled? I’m in the process of waving him off, but he starts talking again.
“So I started reading the next chapter of the Jack Reacher novel I got from the library, you know they have a ton of electronic books you can get on loan for free? And I just got so caught up in it that I kinda forgot where I was. Jack was in the middle of like an ambush situation and there was a lot of shooting and, man, I love guns. That book, it’s fan-fucking-tastic and I was like in another world,” he said, gulped some beer, and looked at me sheepishly. “Until some guy started banging on the stall door and asking if I’d fallen asleep. But he wasn’t really nice about it and he evidently doesn’t like Jack Reacher cause he kinda pushed me outta the way when I tried to explain. Ha. If I’d been 6’5” Jack Reacher he wouldn’t a done that. I thought about telling him I was a cop, but he was a big guy like an offensive lineman and you know I’m tall, but like no muscle but I’ve been trying to work out. Dominic says it attracts the ladies and if there’s a guy who knows more about that I don’t know him, but I guess you know all about Dominic. And who’s Damien again?”
“Dominic’s brother,” Murphy repeats and then gulps more beer. “Does Dominic’s brother get the kinda action that Dominic gets? Those Italian guys. What’s it about them? He looks like he could have muscles. I guess you would know about that. You’ve probably done the naked tango with him dozens a times. Did you do it when I was in the restroom? You’ve probably done it with both brothers. That’s kind of like incest, right? You must be into kinky. I’ve heard about girls like you, but never met one. My mother’s very Catholic. She was raised in Ireland, you know. She has to meet all the girls I go out with more than once. She’d probably scare you. I’m just letting you know for when you meet her. So do you like bondage?”
My mouth has fallen open. I am gaping. I wish I had a mirror. I’ve never seen myself gape before. I bet it’s super unattractive and yet Murphy keeps talking. He has now placed his hand over mine and is rubbing his thumb over my wrist until I jerk my hand into my lap, my fingers jabbing the roughness of my cast. His suggestive gaze defines the word lewd.
“Murphy, I appreciate your taking me for dinner tonight. Really. But my intuition says it’s just not going to work out for us.”
“Maybe just for tonight?”
I close my eyes and shake my head. I hate it when you read books where a character says they vomit a little in their mouths, but I just did that. I didn’t think it was possible until now. “Not even for tonight.”
“I guess it’s the brothers, right? I bet if there were a third one. . .”
“Please don’t finish that sentence.” I shudder.
“You’re going to pay half, right?” he asks, opening his wallet.
Anything to get out of here.