Finish This Sentence #5 – You Never Expected a Call From Me

“Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is __________. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me _______.” (Write a story that follows this line.)

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

writing-prompts

Download from our shop right now!

You might also like:

259 thoughts on “Finish This Sentence #5 – You Never Expected a Call From Me

  1. lynnRose96

    As the phone began ringing in my hand, I debated on not answering. All that good for nothing ex of mine wants is a piece of ass and I refuse to be that! Looking down at the phone I realized it wasn’t Kyle’s number. Puzzled I answered the phone. i
    “Hello?” I ask questioningly.
    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “Is this Emily?”
    I cleared my throat. “This is she?”
    “Ah good,” said the voice. “My name is Mark Fischbach. I know you never expected a call from me, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me improve a few things.” Mark Fischbach? The name sounded familiar but she couldn’t put her finger on where she’d heard that name before.
    “Um, what do you need exactly? I ask because I’m currently on lunch at work and I don’t have much longer before I have to get back.” I keep racking my brain to figure out how I know his name but it keeps coming up blank. I can’t think of any singers, actors, musicians or athletes that have that name so I’m stumped. I decide to boot up my laptop since I have it with me. If anything I can look this guy up so I know why I know that damn name.
    “Oh I’m terribly sorry! Would you prefer I call back later? It’s something that can wait a little bit so I don’t mind.” He says apologizing.
    “Honestly that’d be preferable. That way we can talk about it and I don’t have to cut it short.” Well that was a small lie, I mainly said it so I could be able to do a little research on the guy so I know who I’m dealing with and it’s not some pervert or criminal. Or for that matter somebody who’s working with Kyle to get me back because god knows that would be my luck.
    ‘Would around 2pm work for you? I can call you around then if it does.”
    “I’m sorry sir but it wouldn’t I don’t even get out of work until 3:30pm.And I have an aerobics class after that.” Not to mention I have to go check on my grandmother after that. I hope she’s doing better than she was yesterday but I won’t know until I get there. I took a drink of the root beer I had gotten.
    “That’s ok, how about you call me when you get the chance? You do have my number now after all.” He joked. Well I cou- HOLY SHIT! I spit out the root beer. My search for Mark had finally loaded (my computer is so slow sometimes) and I remembered why I knew that name. That name was the actual name of one of my favorite Youtubers of all time; Markiplier! I felt like I could barely breathe!!

  2. JuJutheasian

    “Hello” said the voice, it was a voice of a girl, “My name is Josephine. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me learn how to live again.” Josephine, I have never heard anybody with the name Josephine. Also how can I from all people be of any use? I am just a 15 year old boy from Cali, and I am supposed to show someone how to live life again? “Please, I can’t, I don’t know, I need your help.” I could feel my hands shaking, who could this possibly be? Is this a joke? I tried to respond to Josephine but my voice would not function. Finally after the 15th “Hello, I need help, Please?” I responded “Who are you?” my voice was hoarse and shaky. The sobbing of Josephine continued, “please I was told to call this number, if you are willing to help come to 826 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica.” Then the line was dead… Thoughts scrambled through my mind, should I call mom? Should I call the cops? I should just go right? I grabbed my wallet which contained exactly 10 dollars, and my car keys. My hands were shaking so much even though it was 29 degrees outside. Finally I heard the rumbling of the engine and I was off to find this mysterious girl Josephine.

    15 minutes after I pulled up to an ice cream shop, Sweet Rose Creamery. Why would someone in despair come here? By then I was more curious than scared. “Ding” I heard the doorbell ring as I entered the ice cream shop. It was packed with kids, some from my school, some from my neighbourhood, and some I have never seen before. Slowly I made myself across the room, looking for a depressed, crying girl. Nothing, everybody was laughing, eating, talking. So I bought a cone of strawberry ice cream, and waited. At exactly 6.66 pm my phone rang, unknown caller. I picked up “Hello?” I said “Where are you?” the same voice, the voice of Josephine said, I could hear she was choking back her tears. “I am where you told me to come, Josephine I want to help you, where are you?” I was desperate to find her, she was in a mess, I didn’t want the worst to happen. “I am so high up, I can feel the sunset” She responded. High up? Sunset? The roof! I rose so abruptly I dropped my cone, without any thought I just rushed to the counter and asked for the directions to the roof, I had to know, I had to get there fast. Luckily the girl in front of the counter was someone I knew, she let me through and I rushed up all the stairs, as I crashed through the door to the roof, I saw a blond girl by the edge just ready, and crying. My body took over and I sprinted across, and grabbed her wrist before she fell. I grabbed her and moved back, her screaming and pleading I could not let her die. Not another time.

    When finally she was exhausted and calm I pried my eyes open, the girl was in my arms sleeping, she looked so exhausted, tired, and … and beautiful. When I tried to wake her up, she would not budge she just kept her head on my shoulder, and kept mumbling something, at first I believed it was some nonsense, but then all the colour in my skin disappeared. She was whispering my name, “Oliver… Oliver”

  3. triish

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Robin Williams. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me ….”
    CLICK. I hung up the phone. “Prank call,” I had thought until my phone rang again and this time I gave it a chance. It might be entertaining.
    “I understand that this sounds crazy, being as you cried and re-watched your favorite films I starred in after you heard news of my death, but I do need your help Patricia.”
    “If I’m receiving this call, it must be from heaven and I’m deeply upset my loved ones haven’t called me. No offense to you.”
    “Patricia I am being serious. God has given be a great task, and upon watching your life from the clouds I came to find out you can be of great help to me. And the higher purpose.”
    “Alright, I’ll bite. What is it?” I said as I rolled my eyes. I put my phone on speaker and was tempted to make popcorn as I listened to the spiel.
    “I’ve learned that you have such a deep capacity for caring for others, but do you love yourself?”
    I admit I almost cried. I wasn’t expecting that honesty from anybody. I stayed silent.
    “You try so hard to make others proud of you, and because they don’t possess your heart, they do not return the favor. In your mind you think your unworthy. You beat yourself-”
    “Stop,” I said. “I try to be positive. Did you see that? Do you see how people bring me down?”
    “Yes,” Robin said. ” I seen all that. I see how they beat you up, and every night you question it and beat yourself up again. You need to be the one to build yourself. Take that from me kid.”
    “I-” I attempted to start.
    “NO, you listen. You gotta love yourself. Right now and every day. Or what’s the point? You got to live your life and love it or there is no purpose. Remember that kiddo.”
    CLICK. He had hung up on me.
    I got out of bed thinking I dreamed most of it but the calls were on the log. But instead of reading UNKNOWN NUMBER, it read: WILLIAMS. Smiling as I made my coffee, a robin landed on the window sill. He stared at me, chirped and then flew away.
    THE END

  4. ariputri

    I haven’t written anything in years (literally, years), but I’m trying to go back and write more. And I didn’t even have a proper plot in mind when I started this. Plus, English is not my first language and I didn’t really edit this well, but here we go:

    “Hello.” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Ben Beckett. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me with my situation.”

    I munched on my cereal, letting the sweet, fruity taste blended with the cold milk. What a nice dinner I had. I swallowed before answering. “Sorry, Ben who?”

    I didn’t know any Ben, did I?

    “Ben Beckett. From The Morning Show?”

    My eyes rolled up, searching for any face related to the name. I know a Ben Carson from college, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t work in a TV show.

    “Sorry, I didn’t watch much TV.” I ended up saying.

    There’s a soft huff from across the line. “That’s fine. Let me start this by introducing myself then. As I was saying, I am Ben Beckett, from The Morning Show. Have you watched our show, Ms. Alderine?”

    “I haven’t,” I answered truthfully. My morning usually consisted of me struggling out of bed and battling traffic to reach the office. “Sorry.”

    Wait, how did he know my name?

    “And how did you know my name, Mr Beckett?” I voiced the question.

    “Well, our show is covering all kinds of news; from politics to lifestyle, from Trump’s next ban to Jennifer Aniston’s new shoes. We actually have a high rating in our time slot.” he explained. If he were in front of me, I imagined him puffing his chest proudly.

    “Congratulations.” I grabbed my laptop and started to boot it up.

    “Thanks. And to answer your question, Ms Alderine, I come upon your contact number from a… well, from an informant.”

    “O…kay…?” I clicked the browser and started typing on the search tab. Ben Beckett. Morning Show.

    Hello, Mr. nice hair. And that smile didn’t hurt either.

    “So you see, Ms. Alderine, my informant here told me that you might know something about things that we’re interested at.”

    “Which is?” I can’t even think of anything in my life that would interest anyone. Except for my vast knowledge in Harry Potter franchise. I might win a tournament on that topic.

    “You’re working as a secretary for Max Willard, am I right?”

    My whole body stiffened. “I’m sorry, but you’re mistaken.”

    I could practically see him grinning his trademark grin. The left side of his mouth turned upwards showing his bleached teeth, just like the picture on his show’s ad. A smile that said ‘I know things and I know I’m absolutely right.’

    Dammit it was a nice smile.

    “Ah, I don’t think I am, Ms. Alderine. But I understand your hesitation. After all, it was the picture of your boss’s… delicate part that was on every TV and magazine the past months.”

    It was 6 weeks ago and it was totally hell. I didn’t think I’ve ever seen Maya from PR Department left her hair untended except during those weeks. But as the Personal Assistant (Yes, PA not secretary, thank you very much) to the CEO, I had done my best to work with PR Department to stop the unfortunate picture of Mr Willard’s tush from being showed in every media possible.

    Maya had told me last Wednesday that the media finally started to get bored by this. Whatever this Beckett guy had would definitely destroy the hard work I did.

    “If you have any question related to the incident, Mr. Beckett, please do call our PR team. They’d be glad to answer your inquiries.” I wasn’t the best in this kind of thing anyway.

    “Ms. Alderine, I do believe you want to answer this question yourself. After all, it was your name that is being compromised this time.”

    I almost dropped my spoon. “I’m sorry, what?”

    “We found proof that you were with Mr. Willard at the time that infamous photo was taken.”

    What? Is this a joke? “I was there. I am his PA, and that requires me to be around him during business day, and sometimes business night.”

    “Is that a yes?” I can heard him getting excited over my answer, “Do you confirm that it was true, then?”

    “I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware there was a question.”

    “Our proof, Ms. Alderine, may put you at the same place and at the same time as Mr. Willard when his… backside part was captured. More specifically, it put you right in front of him.”

    I was thankful I didn’t have any cereal in my mouth anymore, or else I’d be choked. “That is absurd, Mr. Beckett!” I felt my face getting hotter in rage. “That is not what happen.”

    “But you just said you were there with Mr. Willard…”

    “I did say that and I was there, yeah. But what you’re insinuating, that’s not true. I was on the same boat as Mr. Maxwell, given that we were on a business dinner with several other people. However, at the time the picture was taken, I was in the kitchen with our kitchen staff, making sure everything goes well!”

    “That was not what we heard, Ms. Alderine. Someone whispers to us that that’s not what happened. We knew that Mr. Willard at that time was supposed to be in a business dinner with Mr. Landon in Mr. Willard’s boat, and during that time each of them brought along their respective secretaries. Plus the two staff that would take care of the dinner.” He explained in a winning tone, which only infuriated me more.

    “So?” Challenged the now-red-face me. If that fucking Beckett was here, I would scratch his fake-tan skin.

    “So, that makes 6 of you in the boat. We know that Mr. Willard was on the deck doing his… ‘business’. The two staff I mentioned were both in the kitchen–we have proof of that. Mr. Landon and Ms. McKenzie, his secretary, were on the dinner room, waiting patiently for Mr Willard to come. Meanwhile, you–”

    I heard myself scoff loudly. “I what? Kneeling in front of my boss to help doing his ‘business’, as you said it, Mr. Beckett? Is that what you’re saying? Because that was just outrageous and a big fat lie!”

    “We have eyewitness that could put you right there.”

    “WHO?”

    “She asked to remain anonymous, Ms. Alderine…”

    “SHE? So it was a SHE?” My voice rose, “there was only one other SHE in that boat, Mr. Beckett, and SHE was too busy sucking her boss’s dick to even saw where I was!”

    Silence then, before the voice with that grin talked again, “I see. Thank you very much, Ms. Alderine. We very appreciate your cooperation in this.”

    And then he hung up.

  5. stray122

    “Hello, hello? How do i work this thing?” “Hello.” I replied. Some how I reconized that voice but where did I hear it from. “Who are you?” I asked. I only had a half hour break on this dreary Friday night. “It’s Kenshin, Kenshin Himura.” I knew this had to be a joke. But whoever was talking sounded just like the actor. I decided to play along, after all work was slow and boring, “Can I help you with something?” i asked alittle bored. “Press 5,7,9 after you hang up.’ just then the line went dead. Pulling my phone away from my ear i just looked at it. The flip phone was old and i hadn’t upgraded yet. 5,7,9 curious to see what would happen i pressed the numbers in sequence. I hit the call button and then my coworker yell as i disappaered.
    When i awoke i was lying on the ground. As my vison became clear i realized that i didn’t have my glasses but i have 20/20 in each eye. It feels wierd. My blue watch was still on my wrist though. i looked at it. The time read 1500, the day tuesday. Staring at it i must have been tired because i knew that it was friday just a second ago. Looking around and spotting a pond or something i crawled the short five feet towards it. Looking at my reflection i saw the me i was trying to create. My brown hair hung in a layered 35cm while the bangs were pushed to the left. i shook my hair and the loose bangs came undone hanging the excact way i drew them. Looking at my clothes were gray samurai pants, a gray yukata undershirt and a navy blue yukata shirt. The pants were ragged on the end and by my feet a sword in a sheath. Just then i heard voices.
    The fifteen to twenty men clashed swords as the sound echoed throughout the surrounding area. This scence i saw it before. i looked to my left and saw a hill. I darted out from behind the tree racing up the hill where i screeched to a halt as the scence out from the movied unfolded below me. Looking over the men i searched for the one with red hair. The sky colored the world blue but then i found him. As the blood flew through the air he continued to cut down the enemy. I watched his finishing strike take down the circle of men around him. As he slowly stood up the voice rang out, “We’ve won.” After he thrust his sword into the ground he stagured away. The soilders started to gather the dead men dragging them into a pile. My heart raced as i crept down the hill. Whenever one of the men looked my way i dogded behind a tree. i then darted out from behind the tree and ran. One of the men saw me and yelled to the others. They looked just as i grabbed the sword pulling it out from the ground. Racing off after Kenshin all the men saw was a blur of gray, blue and brown.

  6. dustymayjane

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Daniel Radcliffe. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me. You’re possibly the only one who can.”

    The voice, it was Harry, I’d know it anywhere.

    “I..Harry? Really?” I stuttered, disbelieving.

    “Daniel.” His accent as attractive as in the movies even though he sighed impatiently.

    I was speechless.

    “Are you there?”

    “Um, yes I’m here. What,…what can I do for you,…Har… Mr. Radcliffe?” I gulped. My hands were sweaty and my heart beat fast.

    “I’m looking for someone and believe you know his whereabouts.” Daniel continued when I offered nothing. “I’m searching for Hedwig.”

    Hedwig, Hedwig…”Of course! Yes, Hedwig, an eleventh birthday present by Rubeus Hagrid, who purchased the owl in Diagon Alley at the Eeylops Owl Emporium. The Philosopher’s Stone.” I spouted proudly. “I love that one, and Hagrid, what a dear friend.” I gushed.

    “Yes, Rubeus Hagrid was a wonderful character. Now tell me about Hedwig.”

    Oh how I wished I had Hedwig. I was fascinated by the thought. I fantasized about meeting Harry, secretly. A quiet place, in the park perhaps. Me, offering Harry his beloved Hedwig. Harry, ever so grateful for the kindness I had shown the dear bird. We become close friends and eventually more. Finally we marry and have little Harry’s. At least two. Would we live in London? I’d live anywhere.

    A cough on the line brought me back to reality. “I’m terribly sorry. But I don’t have Hedwig.”

    “Aren’t you S.J. McGrolingsly, ornithologist and author of Eye of the Owl?”

    My brain went into overdrive. ” Yes I am.” Oh dear, what has he done now? “I mean, Sam is my brother. I’m Sara McGrolingsly.”

    “Oh, so your brother’s the bird expert?”

    “I’m the bird expert. Sam, my… um, brother authored the book.” It was a terrible book and I hated admitting to knowing the author. As a bird lover I was not pleased at the inaccurate depiction of my favorite. For some reason I shared some of what I had never spoken aloud before. “My brother collects them, studies them. Pays dearly for some specimens. Does he have Hedwig? I can’t be sure.” I tried not to sound nervous but knew I was failing miserably.

    “Well if you have a number where he can be reached, I’d really…”

    “No! No…umm, I’ll ask Sam. You’ll have to give me your number.” I felt protective of my brother even though I didn’t like his hobby. I would never cage a bird when they needed to fly free. It was against nature. Sam’s obsession with them blurred the lines on sadistic.

    “I’ll call you back tomorrow. I’m not in the habit of giving out my number.” The line clicked dead. I listened the silence and felt an urge to smash the phone.

    “Harry’s much more polite, I’m sure.” I spoke to the phone in my hand and gently placed it back on the receiver. Sam wasn’t overseas. He was right across the yard in the barn where he kept his collection of birds. If Hedwig was there I was going to return him.

    I plotted, trying to guess what would get Sam to give me Hedwig. Once in the barn amongst the owls and other winged creatures, I summoned Sam and gently coerced Hedwig onto my arm.

    “There’s my pretty Hedwig. Sarah’s going to be so sad that I keep you from her.” Sam fed the owl a piece of raw chicken from the cooler. The long talons grasped the meat and sharp beak tore it to bits before swallowing. “Oh you are lovely but so is Harry.”

    Sara’s voice came through loudly and demanded Hedwig be given back to its rightful owner. “Besides I’ve always wanted to meet the handsome Harry Potter. Perhaps we’ll get along famously and who knows what might happen.”

    Sara let the barn, empty as before except for the large collection of birds. Hedwig’s weight felt nice on her arm and she again fantasized about her meeting with the dreamy Harry Potter.

    1. Observer Tim

      Sounds like Sara has a little celebrity issue there, DustyMay. I’m left with the impression that she’s either (a) totally star-struck, or (b) just a wee bit cray-cray; maybe some of both. Her brother the owl-thief doesn’t help. You did a great job conveying that impression through the dialogue. All in all this is a lovely portrait of an interesting character. 😀

      The only wart I saw was the perspective shift in the last three paragraphs, which is eminently fixable.

  7. mdbranley

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Neil Gaiman. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me on the research for my new story idea. Its set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin.”

    “Oh my God. You got my tweet!” I reply.

    “Well…yes and then I looked you up. It seems you are quite famous for having a file cabinet for a brain. A wealth of information on all things if you will.” He chuckles. “Anyway, Americans do baffle me and I want to explore the culture in Northern Wisconsin a bit further in something new. Are you interested in consulting?”

    “Oh absolutely! I would be honored!” I exclaim. (Neil Gaiman is my current favorite author) “But I do have to tell you I am brutally honest and sometimes abrasive.”

    “I kind of expected that my dear, Seems to be a trait in the people from that area,” he laughs. “I look forward to meeting with you and will be in touch when I am ready to work with you on this project.”

    “Oh thank you, thank you…” I gush.

    Then I wake up and realize that this is just a dream and in reality I probably offended Mr. Gaiman with my tweet that we don’t hunt deer with shotguns in the Northwoods…

    1. Observer Tim

      This is short and sweet and all too realistic. What would happen if Neil Gaiman did show up at your door to ask for local help on a novel set in your, ahem, neck of the woods? I find it enjoyable, but was hoping you’d let it be real, or write about how the dream then affected your MC’s subsequent actions; you’ve got plenty of words left…

  8. ReathaThomasOakley

    The Call

    “Arlee? You awake?”

    “What?” Arlee jumped at the sound of his wife’s voice, dropping the remote. “Drat!” He levered the recliner to the sitting position. “No, no, not asleep, just resting my eyes. Dinner ready?”

    “No, dear. I can’t find the atlas, thought you might know where it is.” Marge was searching through the bookcase next to the TV, carefully moving grandkids’ and cruise photos.

    “The atlas? Why are you–”

    “Didn’t you hear the phone?”

    “What?” Arlee was beginning to think he was still asleep, and dreaming.

    “The phone, we got a phone call.”

    “And, now you need an atlas?”

    “Yes, I do.” Marge sighed. “I think it’s in the Honda.”

    “You going someplace you need an atlas to find?” Maybe Marge had finally lost it, Arlee thought, gotta call the children.

    “No, silly, I just need to see where Nigeria is.”

    “Nigeria? Nigeria, Marge? That’s in Africa.”

    “Hmm, that’s what I thought, but where did Joan and what’s his name go three summers ago?” Marge sat on the sofa.

    “Nova Scotia, they went to Canada, not Africa.” Arlee stared at his wife of forty-two years. She looked the same, but still…

    “Well, she was very nice, wherever she was from.”

    “Marge, please, what are you talking about?”

    “The phone call,” Arlee shook his head. “I’m trying to explain. This very nice woman called, oh, such a sad story, she’s a widow, you see.” Arlee didn’t see at all. “Her husband was a minister–she didn’t say a denomination. Do you suppose they have Baptists in Nigeria?”

    “I have no idea,” Arlee’s reply was sad.

    “Anyway, before he died he put all their funds in a bank right here in Boise. Isn’t that amazing? African money in Idaho?” Arlee couldn’t speak.

    “Now she needs help getting the money and she chose us! I just have to send her enough cash to fly here to get the money, and not only will she pay us back, but she’ll share the other money with us.” Marge suddenly stood up.

    “Oh, I’m such a silly goose. Her husband wasn’t a preacher minister, was he? Not with having that kind of money.”

    “Silly goose,” Arlee said under his breath. “So, Marge, dear, what are you going to do?”

    “Well, remember that nature documentary on Africa?” Arlee shook his head. “Last March I believe, well, I suggested she take a boat ride on that river where the hippos have killed all those poor folks, take a very long boat ride.”

    “Oh, I do remember,” Arlee said, and smiled. “But, Marge, that was in Niger, not Nigeria!”

    “Oh, dear, you are right, Niger! I told you I was a silly goose.” She headed toward the kitchen. “Dinner in an hour. Now, don’t you go back to sleep.”

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      Poor Marge. I relate to her terrible memory for I also have it too, sadly, that occurs from time to time. Which is why I kind of need a notebook near me when I want to remember things that are enumerated, perhaps a list of movies I want to watch and I just jot them down there. Ironically, I do keep forgetting to bring my notebook with me from time to time, so I just write it in my notes on my phone.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Really hit me in the gut. I’m old enough to forget everything but I’m headed in reverse. So many movies, actors, songs stored away and when I pull the music from the grey matter it starts playing in my head, doesn’t matter if it’s Elvis or Johnny Mathis. Last night I statred singing Lola Albright. I challenge all of you to tell me who she is. Think Mancini.

          1. MoiraiTQ

            My son has eyebrows that can move independently of each other. He does wonders with them to the Peter Gunn theme.

      2. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thank you, Moirai. Marge and Arlee were one of the sweetest couples I’ve ever known. Arlee bought a brand new Edsel and drove it until his kids took his keys. Hmmm, I should have saved that for a story.

    2. Beebles

      Now if I read this right, Marge may be poor of memory, but she is sharp as cookie, and perhaps not the silly old goose she professes to be. She certainly seemed to tell the widow where to go and what she relates to Arlene is the polite version. Excellent character Reatha.

    3. Critique

      Methinks sweet Marge may portray being a silly goose but in fact the little grey cells are functioning remarkably well. Perhaps the silly goose is Joan…. hmm

    4. Observer Tim

      This is positively enchanting. Once my mind settled in on the situation I could almost hear the voices of the old couple and was afraid they’d fall for the grandchildren scam or the Nigerian bank scam, or any of a dozen others. At the end I was chuckling because it was getting very close to the Gracie Allen vibe. Wonderful job, Reatha!

  9. Kerry Charlton

    A NOIR STORY

    PART FOUR

    Fire engines, an ambulance or two and three police cars lined the street in front of Jeff Bailey’s modest office on the second floor or what used to be an office. Not only was the roof gone but all windows had blown out and angry flames were consuming the balance. Kathie and Jeff stood there helpless to the tragedy as the brave firemen struggled to eradicate the fire.

    ‘I pledge to you Dee,’ he thought, ‘they will pay for this. I stake my life on it.’

    “I’m sorry Mr. Bailey,” the chief said, “I realize your loss and feeling for your secretary, but I can’t allow you in there, it’s a roaring inferno.”

    “How many others were there?” Kathie asked.

    “The office on the first floor was still locked, maybe none, thank God.”

    The precinct officer arrived,.

    “I’m sorry Jeff, I understand your secretary may have perished.”

    “You’re lying through your teeth, Johnson. I know you’re on the take. You better stay the hel* out of my way. You’ll pay also”

    “You can’t talk to a police officer that way.”

    “And just what are you going to do about it? You better back off or I’ll change your face.”

    Another officer had heard the conversation and split the two apart,

    “Let it go Bob, Mr. Bailey’s just upset. You better let him alone or I’ll step in.”

    “We can’t help Jeff,” Kathie said, “let’s leave. I’m too weak to keep standing here.”

    “Okay doll face, you win, it isn’t going to bring Dee back but you know who did this as well as I do.”

    “Jeff, I know a lot about Whit’s activities and if you go to the FBI, I can help. But what we need to do now is get out of here. If he set the bomb or had one of his goons do it, he’ll try to kill us both and he won’t rest day or night about it.”

    “I have a little place in Connecticut, an old farm house, Jeff mentioned, “I go to when I need to think. We’ll rent a car, we can be there in less than an hour. My sister visits sometimes and she keeps some clothes there. She’s about your size, ‘cause I know you can’t go back.. There’s a general store there, you’d look smashing in gingham.

    “You’ll have to get me plowed to wear gingham.”

    “We can do that, let’s move.”

    On the drive up, the car radio was all over the news of the explosion and the whereabouts of a certain private eye. Standard police bull-honkey about ongoing investigation of the bombing was reported also.

    ‘Worthless,’ Jeff thought, ’but I’ll nail Whit if it’s the last thing I do.’

    “When you said out in the country, you really meant it,” Kathie said,.
    She watched the highway absorb into a narrow two lane asphalt strip wandering through some natural woodlands. In a few minutes a small farm house appeared through a small clearing with a park size lake resting in the rear, a small distance from the back door.

    The walls consisted of chinked logs with the bark on and the steep roof supported hand split shake shingles. Inside the afternoon sun strolled through the glass windows and bathed the entire house with their sunbeams. The floor was polished stone and as Jeff opened the front door, he noticed the exhausted beautiful face of Kathie’s light with a soft smile as she saw the interior of the cabin.

    Jeff picked the startled girl up in his arms, gently kissed her lips and stepped over the threshold,

    “Now don‘t think anything about this but I always wanted to do this and now I have.”

    The well stocked cabin produced a small dinner, while Kathie watched in amazement as Jeff scurried through the kitchen, A small fire illuminated the living area as the two strangers who had met only a day ago settled in for the night. Kathie crawled in bed and Jeff kissed her on the cheek and tucked her in.

    He slept by the fireplace till three in the morning when Kathie wandered in,

    “My arm hurts and I can‘t sleep. If you held me I might drift off and forget the day.”

    She reached for his hand and the two climbed into bed and as she had asked, he held her until the cardinals sang in the early morning.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Hi Reatha, it’s not the end, but for this week. Next week, I’ll try to wrap it up. I want to take tomorrow to read most of the other stories
        Work is crushing my time now and has for several months so my time is limited. Your story will be the first I read tomorrow
        On to next week. A battle between good and evil and an.unexpected death. ( No, I am not telling.)

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a nice respite point you’ve reached, Kerry. It’s a perfect ending to this segment, even though we know that payback is going to be made. I love how you can use a few simple words to carry the emotions of people thrown together on the edge of danger.

      I’m going to hold you to that “more next week” stuff.

    2. Critique

      Keeping my fingers crossed this could be the beginning of a long love life for Kathie and Jeff.
      The cabin sounds idyllic – the perfect place to recoup.

  10. igonzales81

    “Hello,” says the voice on the phone. “My name is Satan. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me, and someone I can help.”

    “Satan? Riiiight. Jerry, is that you? I’m really not in the mood right now. Would you believe me if I said I had a headache?”

    “How droll. Listen, want it or not, this is The Man in Red, and this is YOUR lucky day.”

    I check the caller ID again. Sure enough, it’s a triple six area code. “Okay. I’ll bite. Why is this my lucky day?”

    “Because I’m reaching out to you today—and today only—with an exclusive offer. Wait till I tell you about it; you won’t believe your good fortune.”

    “Wait a sec. You’re…telemarketing? Man, this is a new low. Even for you.”

    “No need for flattery, young man. As I was saying: for a very limited time, I’m offering you the fulfillment of any dream, wish, goal, drive, yearning, longing, or idle daydream. Imagine it: you can have exactly what you want, no strings attached, to enjoy for the rest of your life. Sound too good to be true? Well, I’ll do you one further: Every deal we make is guaranteed for all eternity. You can take it to the bank.”

    “And the cost is…?”

    “Glad you asked. All I’m looking for from you is one measly, insignificant soul,” this comes out more like a single quick breath. “Just think of the years, decades even, of enjoyment you can partake in. Every minute will seem to last forever. And it can all be yours with simple signature in fresh blood. What could be easier?”

    “Hmmm. You know, I’m doing okay right now, not sure there’s anything—”

    “Come now, you forget who you’re talking to. I know you better than anyone; it’s part of my job. How about that million dollars you’ve wanted since you were six?”

    I give a little laugh. “A million won’t go far these days. And how would I explain it to the IRS?”

    “Then maybe you’d like that Mustang? Fire engine red, with the racing stripe and the chrome hubcaps?”

    “I could never afford the insurance.”

    “Or that beachfront villa in Malibu? White sands, warm sun, and the endless ocean?”

    “You gonna spring for the taxes and upkeep for the rest of my life, too?”

    “All right, what about Angelina Jolie? I seem to recall some pretty fervent wishes involving her over the years.”

    “Those were nothing more than hopeless fantasies. Anyway, she’s got kids now; that was never part of the dream.”

    “Tut-tut. I’m picking up on a lot of negativity here. How do you expect to enjoy life with that attitude?”

    “One incremental development at a time. If there’s nothing more, I need to get back to going nowhere in life.”

    “Hold on. It’s time to trot out the big guns. I know something you really want, now more than ever. Something that can tempt even you.”

    “I doubt it, but go on.”

    “Publication.”

    I hesitate for that eternity. “Keep talking.”

    Author’s note: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons or characters is purely coincidental. The author does not condone or endorse pacts with Satan, deals with the devil, or the sale of the immortal soul for temporal gain, even if it’s something you really, really want. Furthermore, no principles were harmed in the writing of this story.

    At least, not yet.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        Smiley said brilliant and I say brilliant also. This is written so smoothly the words just flowed . There in is the lesson of the ages and that’s no bull honkey. Hats off to you igonzales81

    1. Observer Tim

      Hahahahahaaah! The disclaimer at the end elevates this story from clever to brilliant! I love the way your MC can dismiss everything except his writing. But that’s how Old Nick works, isn’t it. This one’s a big smile, IGonzales.

  11. Critique

    Spoofy Bits

    “Hello, it’s me,” said the voice on the phone. “I know you never expected to hear from me this soon but you’re the only one who can help me. I’m feeling down.”

    “Where are you?” Jimmy watched the sunrise bloom over the distant mountains, gripped the phone between his chin and shoulder, and rubbed sleep from his eyes. “You sound awful.”

    “The other side of the world. Sorry, it’s late there I know and I’m not sick.” She started sniffling. “I just got back from a three month tour. I’m exhausted. I can’t do this anymore.”

    “Addie, don’t you forget the only thing that matters is your heartbeat going strong.” He could hear her blowing her nose. “Your fans absolutely adore you.”

    “I feel like I’ve been hit by a freight train.” She hiccupped loudly obliging him to hold the phone away from his ear. “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Don’t laugh. Those boys knew how to pen reality.”

    Jimmy tentatively put the phone back to his ear. “I would never laugh at you. Are you on tour?”

    “I’m off six days then back on the road for five weeks in France and the Baltic states. It’s all too much Jimmy.” She sobbed then hiccupped again.

    “Sometimes you gotta switch it up. You give so much to the world. Take some time for yourself. Go to the spa, lunch with your friends.” Jimmy smothered a yawn.

    “How I wish you were here.” She sniffed. “I think I wanna tell you… my schedule… it’s ridiculous. I hardly have time to pee.”

    “Don’t give up. Everybody hurts sometimes Addie.” He said.

    “It’s a crazy life but it’s not so bad when I hear your voice Jimmy.” Addie said. “I’m so lucky. Never thought I’d meet someone like you.”

    “It’s not for us to know where the winding road of life leads. The only option we have is to seize the day. Tomorrow will take care of itself.” He said confidently.

    “Yup. You always say the right thing to keep me focused.” Her voice transmitted a teary smile. “I know one thing I can count on is you. Please don’t ever change. I think I’ll try and sleep now.”

    “Good. Sweet dreams Addie. All you’ve got to do is call and I’ll be there.” Jimmy paused then added. “You’ve got a friend.”

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I got most of it, sounds like a serious romance going on. Road trips are hell, just ask Loretta, or Dolly or Jimmy, Ricky, Hank, Porter, Johnny.or Tweety Bird.

        1. Critique

          I confess my Addie was Adele and my Jimmy was James Taylor – an unlikely duo but both amazing artists. I can only imagine the hell of road trips 🙁

      2. Critique

        Thanks for commenting Reatha.
        I read your post below about your success with your story. Congratulations! Have fun at the writers conference. I have yet to attend one.

    1. Observer Tim

      I love all the incidental song lines, Critique. I’m going to assume it’s a deliberate word game you’re playing, and you’ve done it well. So many lines triggered the music behind them, and I can still remember how that music used to make me smile. Very clever and very well done. 🙂

  12. Kerry Charlton

    A NOIR STORY

    PART THREE

    By a slim chance of fate, the crippled death car made it to Whit Sterling’s building. Louie the driver, had been shot twice, a bullet has missed his face but had blown off his right ear and what remained was caked in blood. The second found a home in his left shoulder and still the wound oozed blood. Being too weak to leave the car, he blew the horn only it wouldn’t work. So he eased the car to the metal roll up and hit it twice with his bumper and then passed out from lack of blood.

    When Sterling’s men opened up, the engine was still running. They carried Louie inside the warehouse and settled him on a skid pad and he briefly woke up. Sterling shook his head in disbelief,

    “What about the others,” he asked.

    “They‘re not movin‘ or breathin’ chief,.” Pasqual, his top lieutenant said

    “All three?”

    “There‘s blood from one end to another,” Louie said. “Miss Kathie was with Bailey and shot at us. How could he know?”

    “He has an extra sense but we’ll put him in the ground the next time and Kathie with him”

    Across the city, Kathie unloaded her recent lifestyle,

    “I started going with Whit Sterling about six months ago, he was attentive and kind to me and then his feelings for me grew cold. He wouldn’t let me loose. I never knew from one minute to the next how he would act.”

    “Street talk says you stiffed him a few days ago.”

    “He deserved it, having me move money around the city for him. I’m pretty sure he was going to get rid of me and Whit only has one way.”

    “Maybe so but Kathie, you have me involved and I’m sick of thinking about the thug. I put him away once, I guess I can do it again. What’s he running out of his warehouse?”

    “He moving numbers and protection scams and occasionally girls.”

    “I know he has the fuzz on the take, so they’re worthless but if he’s moving pros across state lines, we can work with the FBI.”

    Jeff stayed with her the entire night, looked after her and made sure there was no infection brewing. An early morning sun burned off the overnight mist as the phone rang, Jeff’ secretary Delores Doolittle, spoke in a frantic voice,.

    “Boss, the strangest thing, a special delivery man left a square, heavy box with your name on it, wouldn’t say who sent it.”

    “Listen up Dee, open a window and toss the box as far as you can. Now drop the phone and do it immediately.’

    Utter science waited with him. A scared voice entered the phone again,

    “Jeff all the windows are stuck and I can’t open then.”

    “Listen carefully girl, pick the box up and throw it thru the glass, now hurry.“

    Jeff could hear her start to scream and then an ear-splitting explosion traveled through the phone.

    “Good Lord,” Jeff said, “I think the bomb may have killed her. Her time wore out, it just killed her, no time, no time left.. If only she had another ten seconds, but no, that’s not how it works, isn‘t it?”.

    Kathie started to weep when she heard the sound. Jeff’s office was merely six blocks away and they heard multiple sirens split the crisp air.

  13. Smileyface256

    “Hello.”

    Everything stops. That oily voice…no, no, this can’t be happening, he wasn’t supposed to find me again…

    “I know you never expected a call from me, famous as I am…”

    There it is, the mockery, the condescending tone that says that I’m still under his thumb, his control…

    “…but I’ve been given your false name as someone who can, ironically, help me find you.”

    I thought I’d burned all my bridges. I thought I had made a clean break, destroyed all evidence of my old life. My forged identity had withstood all the background checks I went through to get a new job. Evidently it hadn’t been enough.

    “See you soon.” The message ends. See you soon. See you soon. See you soon, see you soon, see you soon, seeyousoonseeyousoonseeyousoonseeyousoonseeyou–there’s a knock on the door. I can’t breathe. I wedge myself further into the corner of my kitchen (when did I get there?) and hope that he’ll just go away.

    The lock clicks. The door creaks open.

    Every breath I take echoes in the silence. My heart pounds too loud. Everything is too loud, but I can’t stop, can’t quiet it…his measured footsteps sound in the entry hall, getting closer and closer…he’s here. He’s in my kitchen, towering in the entryway with a deadly smirk.

    “Hello, partner.”

      1. Smileyface256

        Okay, you asked for it. Here’s Part II:

        I know I should run, or scream, or stand up to him, but my body has other plans.

        He steps closer. “No one fools me and gets away with it.”

        I can’t–there’s not enough air, he’s here, he’s bending over me I can hear him move closer don’t look don’t look don’t look…

        The lock on the door clicks again. My old boss’s head snaps up. The door creaks open. “I’m home!”

        It’s Raymond, my roommate. I can’t let him get involved in this. I try to cry out, tell him to run, but all that comes out is a squeak. My former boss gets a sick sort of glee on his face as Raymond’s footsteps approach the kitchen.

        “Raymond, run!” I manage, just above a whisper. It’s not enough. He stops in the entryway, backpack over his shoulder, and catches sight of me. His face melts into stricken worry. He doesn’t seem to see my old boss standing over me.

        “Whoa, hey, buddy, what’s going on?”

        “R-run, h-he’s dangerous.” I point a shaky hand at my former boss.

        Raymond looks confused and mildly alarmed. “Who?”

        “H-him, he’s there, h-he’s right there, can’t you–” I can’t breathe again. My friend is going to die and I’ll be forced to watch.

        Raymond holds up his hands. “Dave, there’s nothing there.”

        “B-but he–he’s right there!”

        “Has he touched you?”

        I stare at my former boss, still smirking, still dangerous. “N-no…”

        “If he was as dangerous as you say, wouldn’t he have already attacked by now?”

        “I…” Raymond has a point. My boss wouldn’t have really let this conversation happen, or Raymond live this long. He was always a “shoot first, ask questions later” kind of guy. “Y-yeah. But I can still see him.”

        “But you know now that he’s not really there?”

        “I…I don’t know…”

        Raymond sets down his backpack. “Dave, I’m going to come toward you, okay?”

        “K-kay…”

        Raymond crosses the kitchen and sits in front of me, placing his hands on my shoulders “Jeez, buddy, you look like–when was the last time you slept?”

        My head feels full of sludge. “I…don’t know.”

        “Okay, forget I asked. Just focus on taking deeper breaths, alright?”

        “‘Kay…”

        “Just copy my breathing pattern.”

        Somehow, I’m able to calm down. My heart isn’t pounding in my ears, but I feel a dull ache at the base of my skull.

        “Better?”

        I glance at where my old boss was standing. He’s not there. “Yeah.”

        Raymond helps me to my feet and hands me my phone that ‘d dropped earlier. “Let’s get you to bed.”

        Sleep…sleep is good. I half-stumble to me room and face plant onto the mattress. Rumpled sheets never felt so good. My phone buzzes once and I glance at the screen: 1 New Voicemail.

        1. Observer Tim

          Wow. Just Wow.

          You did a great job portraying a post-traumatic flashback, Smileyface (boy, does that combinations sound strange together). One of my roomies was in the cabin of a train ostensibly driving when half of someone came up to the window. I’ve seen her reactions and this tale captures them perfectly. Sometimes we forget how thin the walls of reality really are.

          I hope your MC can get the help he’s going to need to get over this…

    1. Beebles

      Chilling, chilling, chillingchillingchillingchilling – as Igo said. It was actually that paragraph that caught my eye and meant I had to read it. Excellent twist of the prompt.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        What you write about is real. I worked for a man in Albany New York for about five years or so in the 1960’s. I still dream I’m in the office building but I can’t find my office or desk or anybody I know. Same dream three or four times a year, never, never changes so this kind of thing is dramatically real to certain people.

      1. Bushkill

        Gumshoe Grit

        “Hello, my name is Jimmy. I was a pretty big deal a few years back, but now keep a low profile. I need you to help me solve a problem.”

        The NYC accent was strong with this one. My mind wandered and my gaze followed, sweeping around the room until it came to rest on the hat rack. I had everything from construction and cowboy to black ski mask hanging in the corner. Mr. Brooklyn here sounded a little sketchy to me.

        “Hey! You still there?”

        I shifted in my seat, taking my legs off the desk and leaning forward. “Yeah, yeah, just thinking about what it is you might need. I don’t normally work on the phone like this. People listen, you know?”

        “Oh brother, I know, man, I know. That’s kinda’ why I need the help.” Yeah, that accent was going to make it tough. I’m from Philly.

        “Well, let’s meet up some place. Sort it out there. How ‘bout …” I rambled on about a few places to try and Jimmy seemed sweet to the idea so we settled on a dive bar and a time. I grabbed the peacemaker from my desk and an old ball cap. Halfway to the door, I went back to grab the ski mask and unceremoniously shoved it into my back pocket.

        It’s a good thing I was at the hat rack. I heard the muffled sound of voices on the other side of the door and then the thing just exploded inward. I dropped to one knee and went heels on the goliath darkening my doorstep.

        I don’t think he could see my hand shaking, but the way he slapped the business end of the bat into his meaty paw made a sickening ‘thwack’ sound that further unsettled me. I took a breath. “Hold it right there mister. Another step and I start putting holes in that fine suit of yours.”

        His eyes tracked to his right until the settled on me and then his head and shoulders followed.

        ‘Thwack’

        “Give me a reason, Mac.”

        ‘Thwack’

        “That’s startin’ to sound like a reason. Speak up.” I moved the hammer back and the metallic click thundered into the silence. The bat stopped moving, too.

        “Agent Johnson, FBI. We tracked a call to this location from a known felon.” His face held all the humor of a cinder block.

        “Right, buddy. How ‘bout some ID to back up that claim?” And that accent, another stinking New Yorker. They were spreading like a cancer.

        He passed the bat to his beady-eyed partner and pulled a shield and credentials from his pocket. I nodded and returned the hammer to a rest position, lowering the weapon but not putting it away just yet. “What ya’ need from me?”

        “We need you to wear a wire when you meet with Mr. Hoffa.”

        1. ReathaThomasOakley

          Clever, very clever. Perhaps we will soon know the truth. New Yorkers spreading like cancer might not win you lots of friends, but I thought it was funny.

          1. Bushkill

            The hat rack was supposed to have a village people feel to it. Except the ski mask. I liked the juxtaposition it created. And it takes the character from private detective to something maybe a little outaide the law … maybe not. It’s supposed to be a curious thing.

        2. Critique

          My favorite phrase: “his face held all the humor of a cinder block: 🙂 The ski mask ramps up the suspense and raises questions about what your MC actually does. Enjoyable read.

        3. Observer Tim

          Oh, this is a dark beginning. Are you going to tell us where Jimmy’s buried?

          That aside, this is a beautifully atmospheric take; the bit of city rivalry definitely works, and your dialogue does a great job moving the tale along. The only question that’s bothering me is why would an FBI agent be wielding a baseball bat? He still sounds more like a mob enforcer…

          1. Bushkill

            Couple of things going on there. First, agent Johnson is a reference to the FBI guys in the original Die Hard. Also, the bat is a nod to the crew Eliot Ness put together to take down Capone.

  14. randi100

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Billy Joel. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me write a new song.”

    I woke up laughing on that beautiful May morning. What a great dream that was.Billy Joel called me and asked me to help him write a new song!!!! I had loved Billy Joel and his music my whole life, the whole 45 years I had been on this earth. I guess I had a dream about him since I saw him in concert the night before. My 8th time seeing his show and it did not disappoint. I can’t quite pinpoint what it is about his music that moves me. Maybe it’s the lyrics, maybe it’s the melody, maybe a combination of both. I don’t know and I don’t care! Every single song makes me feel something, joy, desperation, sometimes sadness. I know every song backwards and forwards. I could put on my own show just singing his songs but no one would come to that show as I can’t carry a tune.
    After I stopped laughing I get dressed and left for work. Of course I listened to Billy Joel songs on my hour long commute. I sound amazing in the car! I was doing quite the rendition of “You May Be Right” when I ran that red light. I never even saw it, ran right through it. Fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I did see what I was about to hit, a midnight blue minivan. I saw the fear on the face of the driver because everything went into slow motion.
    The impact was crushing and so was the airbag. The wind was knocked out of me and I lost control of the car completely. Finally my car came to a stop but I was now upside down. I have no idea how many times my beautiful red Mustang flipped. I took a deep breath which caused excruciating pain. I clutched my hands to my head and found my hair soaked in blood. I became dizzy. I could hear something as I started to lose consciousness. I couldn’t quite make it out. My head was spinning, the ambulance siren was getting closer but I could still hear something. What was it? Music! It was music! My music was still playing but what song was it? As my eyes started to close I finally figured it out. Billy was still singing but this time it was “Only the good die young” Then everything went black.

    1. Tysheena Jackson

      Wow. Not only is this jarring read heartbreaking, but it manages to be bitter-sweet as well. Who doesn’t love a good ol’ Blly Joel tune? Gee. This one will stick with me for a minute.

    2. Critique

      A wonderful creative prompt interweaving Billy Joel’s music. Billy Joel is one of the best entertainers out there and you nailed the diversity of feelings he invokes in his music.

    3. Observer Tim

      I am hoping the end of this story is not the end of the MC’s story; that his airbag deployed would argue in favour of his survival. The focus on the character’s perceptions lends a strong sense of immediacy to it which really helps with both the tension and the emotion. Very nice, Randi.

  15. Bushkill

    Gumshoe Grit

    “Hello, my name is Jimmy. I was a pretty big deal a few years back, but now keep a low profile. I need you to help me solve a problem.”

    The NYC accent was strong with this one. My mind wandered and my gaze followed, sweeping around the room until it came to rest on the hat rack. I had everything from construction and cowboy to black ski mask hanging in the corner. Mr. Brooklyn here sounded a little sketchy to me.

    “Hey! You still there?”

    I shifted in my seat, taking my legs off the desk and leaning forward. “Yeah, yeah, just thinking about what it is you might need. I don’t normally work on the phone like this. People listen, you know?”

    “Oh brother, I know, man, I know. That’s kinda’ why I need the help.” Yeah, that accent was going to make it tough. I’m from Philly.

    “Well, let’s meet up some place. Sort it out there. How ‘bout …” I rambled on about a few places to try and Jimmy seemed sweet to the idea so we settled on a dive bar and a time. I grabbed the peacemaker from my desk and an old ball cap. Halfway to the door, I went back to grab the ski mask and unceremoniously shoved it into my back pocket.

    It’s a good thing I was at the hat rack. I heard the muffled sound of voices on the other side of the door and then the thing just exploded inward. I dropped to one knee and went heels on the goliath darkening my doorstep.

    I don’t think he could see my hand shaking, but the way he slapped the business end of the bat into his meaty paw made a sickening ‘thwack’ sound that further unsettled me. I took a breath. “Hold it right there mister. Another step and I start putting holes in that fine suit of yours.”

    His eyes tracked to his right until the settled on me and then his head and shoulders followed.

    ‘Thwack’

    “Give me a reason, Mac.”

    ‘Thwack’

    “That’s startin’ to sound like a reason. Speak up.” I cocked the hammer back and the metallic click thundered into the silence. The bat stopped moving, too.

    “Agent Johnson, FBI. We tracked a call to this location from a known felon.” His face held all the humor of a cinder block.

    “Right, buddy. How ‘bout some ID to back up that claim?” And that accent, another stinking New Yorker. They were spreading like a cancer.

    He passed the bat to his beady-eyed partner and pulled a shield and credentials from his pocket. I nodded and returned the hammer to a rest position, lowering the weapon but not putting it away just yet. “What ya’ need from me?”

    “We need you to wear a wire when you meet with Mr. Hoffa.”

  16. Beebles

    …and also to you Tysheena. Another May 4th story inspired by Joe and Raf
    ———————–

    ‘Hello, Geraint,” said the voice over Skype. “As you know, my name is Obi Wan. I know you never expected a call from me…’

    He didn’t know if it was for real or a hallucination from the twenty hour marathon Halo session he’d just pulled, was still pulling. The flickering image from out of the screen caused the Millennium Falcon hanging from the ceiling of his tartaric bedroom to strobe blue. The tinny voice filled his headphones. Somewhere, beneath ten days of growth, his lips had dried, his body frozen like a wampa on Hoth. Geraint remained still even when the holographic message had ended.

    ‘Grunt? Hey, Grunt, you there? You playing or what, man? We’re getting our asses creamed by these Elites, dude. Aw h£ll! C’mon respawn f’f*ck’s sake. Grunt, you there, man?’

    Geraint blinked. ‘Wha …?’

    ‘Dammit Grunt, I thought you were AFK. Sh*t, Brutes. Grenade Grunt! Grunt?’

    Geraint’s headset almost throttled him as he quit the desk. Shedding his pyjamas he trawled through the clothes on the floor, throwing legs into age stiffened jeans. He retrieved the headset.

    ‘Can’t talk, Wingman, Gotta pack. I’m on a mission for Obi Wan.’

    ‘Wha?’ was all he heard as he threw the headset back, scattering newly painted figures across coffee stained Magic cards and the buried letter from the recruitment office. A mouldy mug tottered but he caught it just in time. He set it down and picked up the photo of his father. Da had his Para’s mess kit on, crooked nose like a boxer, smiling, close set eyes. Geraint paused and ran a finger over his Da’s face.

    ‘I’m coming Da. Me and Obi are coming for you.’

    On the landing he almost bowled his mother over.

    ‘Geraint? What are you doing? Where are you going? I need your washing out.’

    ‘Oh, er … Hi, Mum.’ He didn’t know what to say. How could he tell her what Obi had told him? She wouldn’t understand. ‘Gotta go out.’ He headed for the stairs.

    ‘What, like that? Chr*st, Geraint please at least have a shower. I can smell you from here.’

    Some small fracture in her voice drew him up. He looked at her, she seemed so small, fragile, as if she could be folded into the washing basket she carried.

    ‘Listen, Ma, I can’t tell you how, but I know where Da is. I’m going to find him.’

    She dissolved in front of him, sliding to the floor under the weight of the linen.

    ‘Oh, Geraint, please no more. He’s gone, Geraint. You have to accept he’s gone.’

    ‘Missing, Ma-.’

    ‘Please. Oh, God, look at you. You look like a tramp.’ She was crying again. ‘I hoped you’d come back from college … different … get a job … not p*ss you’re life away on that bloody machine. We have to move on Geraint. Please.’

    He knew it, she couldn’t understand. She’d given up. Well he wouldn’t. Her sobbing had retreated into her bedroom by the time he reached the bottom of the stairs. He raised his arm to turn the latch and caught the smell from his armpit. Mmm perhaps, he was meeting a Jedi after all…

    ***
    He heard her emerge as he was getting out of the shower. It took him two blades to shave, wiping the condensation from the mirror. He ran his fingers down the glass, staring hard at the man he saw there.

    ‘… my name is Obi Wan… and I need your help to find your father.’
    ***
    She heard footsteps on the linoleum behind her and wiped her eyes before turning to see him there.

    She gasped.

    He wore his suit, the blue one he wore when he went away the first time. She walked up and straightened his tie and looked up into those eyes, nestled either side of his crooked nose, close as two eggs in a nest. She saw the letter from the recruitment agency in his hand.

    ‘You look just like your father.’

    He put his arms around her and kissed the top of her head.

    ‘I know, Ma. I know.’

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      Well, I’m honored Beebles, truly I am.

      And the descriptions? Superb! Absolutely incredible! I enjoyed reading it, regardless of the typo.

    2. Observer Tim

      This manages to be an interesting mix of wacky and touching, Beebles. I get the impression Geraint is having a hallucinogenic episode triggered by his online gaming mixed with something a tad more surreal. I hope he does find his father, or at least finds peace with his memory. Of course, I’m also a sucker for stories about lineage and multi-generational honour. 🙂

    3. ReathaThomasOakley

      I found this to be deeply moving. My oldest son had a high school friend who literally became the guy living in his parents’ basement, in front of his computer. At least Geraint found some meaning, and a mission. His mother folded into the laundry basket was beautiful and sad. Wonderfully written piece.

  17. Jennifer Park

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name… as someone who can….”

    I recognized the voice immediately. “Ironic, isn’t it, Nolan? Now you need me? Go to hell.”

    I hung up. I hate my brother. Self-important SOB. Deserves what’s coming.

  18. E.C

    “Hello!”

    “Who is th-”

    “I know you wouldn’t expect a call from me. As famous as I am.” Who the hell does he think he is?

    “Who are you?”

    “You’ll find out real soon. But right now I wanna play a game.”

    “No thank you. You must be mistaken.”

    “No wait! Marissa.” How does he know my name?

    “Who the f$!@ are you? Where did you get this number!”

    “A friend of mine. A friend of yours.”

    “Look, I don’t know who you are or how you know me. I’m calling the cops.”

    “That’s a bad idea.”

    “Why?”

    “I have your sister, Marissa. I have Kendall.” What kind of sick joke is this?

    “Let me talk to her.”

    “Let’s play first. Let’s play-”

    “What kind of twisted f-ing ploy is this?”

    “It’s just a game. Play with me Marissa. Play with me. Play with me.” He’s insane. But what if he really has Kendall?

    “Prove to me that you have my sister.”

    “Play with me.”

    “This isn’t a game! I will seriously call the police!”

    “First answer me a simple question.”

    “What?! No! Not until you answer one of my questions first.”

    “So you do wanna play. Ask away.”

    “Who are you?”

    “I am me. My turn-”

    “What! That wasn’t a real answer!”

    “But wasn’t it? It’s certainly true, because I’m not you or her or him or she.” Seriously messed up in the head.

    “Okay. I’m calling the police.”

    —————–

    “She hung up on me.” The buzz from the hung up phone reverberated through the room. “What if she doesn’t wanna see you boss?”

    “Shut up Clover. I just wanted you to scare her.”

    “Yeah I get it.” An unlit cigarette was hanging out of his dry mouth. Bright orange flames licked the end of it, leaving behind glowing embers.

    “When you do get her, make sure she’s in one piece.”

    “Pay me first Kendall. We had a deal, I got her attention.”

    (Clover refers to a character I had put in some previous prompts! “hiring a new villain” and “root canal secret mission”)

    1. Observer Tim

      I was a bit confused until I turned the story over in my head a couple of times and realized the Kendall (Marissa’s sister) is somehow behind this. Clover seems to be playing the flunky here; I hope he’s up to the task of being a full-scale villain in his own right. There’s a difference between being able to kill and being able to taunt, and you showed it quite well here.

  19. Tysheena Jackson

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “Ms. Jordan?”

    The young woman cleared her throat. “This is she?”

    “I know you never expected a call from me. You see, not many do, but I was given your name as someone who can help me with something of high importance.”

    “Help you? Who are you and how did you get this number?” Hanna glanced around the minimart, her cell phone pressed to her ear. She quickly scanned the people around her, there weren’t many shoppers out tonight. After all, it was 2 in the morning. Who in their right mind went grocery shopping at 2 AM? Besides the cashier and herself, only four other possibly sleep deprived human-beings dragged their carts around the minimart.

    “If I told you now you wouldn’t believe me,” said the man. Though his words clipped and tethered the way of an American, Hanna knew him to be of Irish descent. She hadn’t spent the last four years of her life rooming it with Maeve, a Dublin native with the wildest red hair and an even wilder heart, to not recognize an Irishman when she heard one. OK, she thought to herself. Don’t freak out. She pushed the grocery cart forward with her hip, keeping her free hand on the rail. “In fact,” the stranger continued, “I’d rather we met this night… in person.”

    When she rounded a corner, and began down the cereal aisle a middle-aged man’s gaze suddenly lost interest in the Raisin Bran cereal box he’d been holding, only to focus on her. Up ahead another man stopped to weigh oatmeal options. His brown bald head glanced up and met eyes with her from across the aisle. And when she stepped away from her cart and began to retreat she’d only got far as the DVD’s and CD’s section before a blockade of dangerous looking men barricaded themselves in front of all the exits in the store.

    “You don’t think this is a bit excessive?” she spat.

    “Don’t worry—they won’t hurt you. They were given direct commands not to unless you showed resistance.”

    “This is NOT protocol!” she hissed. “The Galactic Republic states—” Hanna soon realized that the voice had gone mute.

    In the next moment, she stood in total blackness. The lights in the store, including the street lights outside had gone out in a blink of an eye. It was the glow of her cell phone that remained. The young woman swallowed back the bile that had risen in her throat, and felt the beginnings of the force rise within her. And right before their eyes the phone in her hand elongated into that of a sword. Only it wasn’t a sword. The weapon was far more powerful than any other in the universe. Illuminating the minimart with a tumultuous shade of blue, she held out the thing that would later aid her in saving the nation. “You guys should stop now! I REALLY don’t want to use this!”

    “You stupid, Jedi! Let me teach you a lesson…” Hanna did all but hesitate to swing.

    In mere seconds the man was screaming out in pain as his now severed hands lay at her feet. The stench of seared flesh filled the atmosphere but to win this fight she knew she’d have to stomach it. Surprisingly others lunged at her yelling profanities against her humanity and cursing her family name. During the battle the words of her great, great grandfather came to mind willing her to call on the force.

    And in the words of the great Mace Windu: “Fight for your life, m*ther*****! Or don’t fight at all!” And boy, did she fight.

    MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU ON THIS DAY! 🙂

    1. Observer Tim

      I love the juxtaposition of the “real” world and the fictional one here, and despite the date I didn’t see the reveal coming. I don’t recall Mace Windu being that “street”, but then he was never on Earth. Very nicely done, Tysheena. 🙂

      And May the 4th be with you, always. Unless it becomes some kind of weird “Groundhog Day” thing…

      1. Tysheena Jackson

        Thanks for the comment, Observer! In this story, I wanted Samuel L. Jackson meets Mace Windu meets Samuel L. Jackson. It came to me last moment when I was having trouble ending the story.

        And thank you! I really hope the 4th remains the 4th! 🙂

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Even though I’m late commenting and not familiar with all the references, I do hope the 4th is still with you. Great take on the prompt.

  20. MoiraiTQ

    I was sitting on my bed, crocheting, and listening to Star Trek: The Next Generation on Netflix. I was in my zone. My phone rings. Blocked Call. I don’t answer blocked calls. No voicemail. It rings again. Blocked call. I pause my show and answer it.

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Hilary Clinton. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me learn how to crochet.”

    Really?

    “Who are you, really?”

    “Hillary Clinton.”

    “I don’t believe you. How do I really know who you are?”

    “I’m not sure other than I am me.”

    “OK.” I still wasn’t sure. It sounded like her. Her raspy and annoying voice was the same.

    “OK. For the sake of argument, I’ll believe you. You want me to teach you how to crochet? You must need to learn something to help you relax.”

    “Yes, after losing to Trump, my doctor told me to get a calm hobby. I tried reading, but that didn’t help. Same with writing. I would get all worked up and felt like my head was going to explode. Walking the dog didn’t help; he always wanted to go on the same trails as Bill’s. I didn’t want to go there. All my art pictures looked like a headache on a canvas. I googled relaxing hobbies and crocheting came up. My assistant is too busy to learn and then teach me. Can I count on you? My assistant already checked you out and you’re not a deplorable, but you still didn’t vote for me.”

    “Will that bother you that I didn’t vote for you?”

    “No because you didn’t vote for HIM, either. There goes my blood pressure. We cannot talk politics.”

    “OK. That gets my blood pressure up, too. We’ll talk yarn, hooks, and patterns. When do we start?”

    I’m still not convinced that it’s really Hillary. This is just so bizarre. I think Shellie is pulling a prank on me. Or maybe Dana. No, it’s gotta be Shellie. She’s probably listening in on the other phone line and laughing her butt off!

    “Well, I’m down the street from your house, so can we start tonight?”

    WHAT!? I don’t hear any helicopters? Nope, woudn’t anyway. No more Secret Service for her.

    “Sure. Give me a few minutes to get dressed.”

    “OK. We’ll be there in about 10 minutes.”

    Click was what I heard next on my phone. I waited a couple of minutes and thought Shellie would be calling or texting me next. Nothing.

    I sit there wondering. It’s been about five minutes. Well, just in case, I get up and get dressed. She will have to accept me in my jeans and t-shirt. After getting dressed, I go into the bathroom to brush teeth. I run a brush through my hair and braid it. Looking in the mirror, I think I’m ready.

    It’s been about five minutes. I gather my yarn, hooks, and phone and stuff it into my project bag. I head down the stairs to wait for the doorbell. I figure it won’t ring, but still want to be prepared. Just as my foot hits the living room floor from the last step, DING DONG.

    I stop in my tracks and just look at the door. Really?

    I set my project bag on the sofa, walk over to the door, and look through the peep hole. My eyebrows go up and my mouth pops open. Really?!?

    I open the door. Yep, there she is with a bodyguard next to her and one behind them. She smiles at me and says, “Shall we go? I know you like Loveland Aleworks beer, so I’ve had some picked up for you. It’s in the car. We can go to the hotel and you can teach me.”

    So this, ladies and gentlemen, is how I spent last Wednesday evening.

    1. Tysheena Jackson

      This is, honestly, such a golden story! Whose blood pressure remains the same when talking politics these days!? No ones. Great story!

      1. MoiraiTQ

        Thank you, Beebles. While I intended it to be her, I wasn’t sure until the door bell chimed if that was the way it was going to end. I fully expected it to be Shellie.

        btw, Shellie does exist and she would pull a prank like this. I will have to tell her that I’ve included her into my writing. She is a really good friend, fellow crocheter/knitter and I love her dearly.

    2. Observer Tim

      We don’t see a lot of “just so” stories on the site; this is one, and it’s a good’un. I really like the way you portray the eroding disbelief of the MC and sneak in some non-partisan commentary on last year’s political games. And the ending was perfectly fitting with the tale and the style.

      P.S. If you’re not familiar with “just so” stories, a famous movie in that form is Forrest Gump; events are presented as something that happened and the wider context, while present, is generally ignored. It’s a very hard genre to write well, and you pulled it off here.

    3. JosephFazzone

      I definitely think it would be a good idea that no one should talk about politics ever as a part of healthy existence. I loved this story, and the idea of what happens to the loser of an election. How do they regain their perspective? Can it ever be business as usual. Very interesting prompt. Great job!

  21. Kerry Charlton

    A NOIR STORY

    PART TWO

    A silent street greeted them as they exited from the neighborhood bar. Jeff felt Kathie’s arm slip comfortably in the nook of his and they made their way through the shady neighborhood. Blind alleys faced them left and right and Jeff instinctively pushed Katie against one wall beside the alley. The whine of a powerful V8 engine approached from the opposite alley across the street and both Katie and Jeff drew guns and aimed toward the roar.

    Jeff held both 38’s and Katie’s 45 started firing at the black blur as it exited the alley at high speed and headed toward the two. The windshield exploded, the radiator blew steam through the street and the car careened into a solid brick wall about twelve feet from where they stood. The right side front of the death car fell to the street as the hail of bullets continued to blast the side glass and door panels.

    Katie had reloaded and the auto struggled toward freedom. As more fired bullets exploded both the rear tires, the back rear window exploded. The car struggled away from them and Jeff lowered both pistols,

    “Stop Katie, they won’t be back if they make it to a hospital alive and certain jail.”

    He walked to where the car had passed and stared at a fresh trail of blood that had spilled from the crippled stack of metal. The engine of the auto waned into the night as well assight of the car.

    “You all right Katie?”

    She held her left arm in pain,

    “A flesh wound, it passed through my upper arm. Luckily missed all bones.”

    “I have equipment at my apartment that will clean the wound,” Jeff said. “We’re close, do you want me to carry you?”

    “Are you making up excuses to hold me, you devil?”

    “Oh never mind the romance, hold on to me with your right arm.”

    He slipped the tie from his shirt and made a make shift tourniquet to try to stop the flow.. It was only a five minute walk normally but Katie slowed to a crawl as Jeff lifted her in his arms and carried her,

    “You certainly are one beautiful woman.”

    “I don’t know how you can say this, I’m full of dirt, grime. Gunpowder and blood, can’t you see?“

    “I do see and I’m sorry you’re going through this, we’ll be there soon, but I still say you‘re stunning.”

    The two reached Jeff’s apartment in a converted row house. Neat as a pin, comfortable and filled with 78 records. After the wound cleansing, he poured a drink for her,

    “Would you like to hear some music?”

    “Have any good jazz?”

    “How about Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie?”

    “Perfect.”

    Jeff held her being careful not to bother her left arm in it’s swing. The music stopped after the last slab of shellac hit the turntable and completed it’s musical journey. By that time Kathie was sound asleep so Jeff settled in himself, still holding her.

    Meanwhile the riddled car made it’s way to a central city garage where Whit Sterling, a scourge among scourges, waited for what he wanted to hear,

    ‘Two dead, a enemy of his past, Jeff Bailey who had him sent up our ten years ago and his latest girl, Kathie Moffett who had stolen forty four thousand from him just three days ago.’ .

    To Be Continued. .

    1. Tysheena Jackson

      Keep ’em coming, Kerry! I’m totally captured by your writing abilities and storytelling skills. 🙂 Part II has things heating up!

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Kerry, so many of your perfect phrases keep me smiling, like “gunpowder and blood” here. Plus, you have the patter exactly how it needs to be.

  22. pven

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Kendall Jenner. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me find some perspective.”
    “I have no earthly idea who you are.”
    “Really? I’m a Kardashian?”
    “You said you were ‘Jenner.'”
    “I was in that Pepsi commercial?”
    “I’m more of a tea drinker, myself.”
    “But… Um…”
    “Have a nice day.”

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      Oh my gosh pven! This was way too funny! I found myself reading it over and over again for at least five times. Even my workmates dived right into it when I laughed so hard the first time I read your story.

      Wonderful read! I wish there were more.

  23. typewriter

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Richard Vermont. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me with my last case.”
    “Who is this?” I said, I didn’t know of no Richard Vermont. But, he had given, nothing but unknown source to a case. A Case? The line cut off. I had hung up after the dial tone. Standing in an alcove where two benches presented on either side. There was a painting on the wall, of a man wearing a blue suit that sported a fedora, standing inside an indeterminate-make, phone booth that stood at the bases of tall buildings. I’d cherished that vivid moment, here in the alcove, at the diner. While I recuperated from my tedious drive through Appalachian States, I ordered a lemonade and ham and cheese on rye sandwich.
    I sat in the right adjacent bench, waiting. I presumed stilled. And a blonde, petite waitress brought out my order; a glass of lemonade, garnished with a lemon wedge, and ham and cheese sandwich, on a plate, which looked appetizing. Beads of water dripped off the glass, onto the floor. The ice in the glass clinked. When she handed me my lunch, I was all right now. “Thank you.” I said.
    “Is there anything else?,” she’d asked.
    “No, I wanted to sit here and enjoy myself, thanks.”
    But, I wanted to perceive more on that painting over there, I pointed to the wall where the painting, tilted: Mr. Vermont’s Last Call (NYC 1948), was hanging.
    “That painting there. Well, you are the first. That painting is rare. The artist, unknown. It’s famous and quite visited. People browse at it when making calls. You shouldn’t spend over ten minutes loitering in this alcove.”
    “Why?” I asked.
    She babbled, there was no resistance. She told me that the painting held a supernatural effect in this alcove.
    “Did he call you?” She pleaded.
    “Call? And what kind of effect?” I said, uncertain what she meant.
    “Yeah, the call. Last call whatever… or something he said. Did you get it?”
    I’ve gotten a call, from a man who identifies as Richard Vermont, wanting help for a case. She looked at me. Everyone here in the diner drew their attention, some looked puzzled with mouths full of relish.
    “I’ve gotten a call.”
    “It’s him. If a companion spends too long in this alcove, the man in the painting calls, asking for help on a case. I’m uncertain. Interlopers, what we like to call the people whom are out-of-towners, think it’s bogus. What a way to scare the tourists. Some say its cause by a telepathic arch.
    I turned to the painting, one final time, and the man in the telephone booth was gone. The booth door was ajar.
    The waitress said: “Yeah, he moves stealthily. Like the minute hand on a clock.”
    I was anticipating if this was all so true.

    1. Observer Tim

      This is a beautifully done spook-builder, Typewriter. You literally sent a chill up my spine with this one. I hope Richard calls again, but even if he doesn’t you could have the waitress tell a story about what happened when others received the call. Hint, hint.

    2. pven

      This is a brilliant idea that could go in so many directions. The easy route would be that anyone who receives the “last call” perishes in some odd way. I believe the more interesting route would be that nobody has received the “last call,” that your narrator is the recipient of the last call, and that Mr. Vermont’s disappearance from the painting is unprecedented.

      To make that work, Mr. Vermont would need to provide some more information in the call. And the waitress would need to be well versed in Mr. Vermont’s disappearance, much like the servers at the Bubba Gump restaurants are experts in Forrest Gump trivia.

    3. Beebles

      Sound like one for the Mystery Machine. Probably turns out to be the janitor. Loved the concept. I love ghost stories about paintings but never quite been able to capture one on the page.

  24. RafTriesToWrite

    I belched while I laughed till my stomach hurts from laughing too much, this session is way too funny to be up here in Youtube. I’ve been watching a lot of Mini Ladd playing cards against humanity lately. I think I’m either in love or obsessed, perhaps both?

    Before I could even click on another Mini Ladd video my phone suddenly rang, it’s not my usual ringtone, but it was familiar somehow. It’s a ringtone I rarely hear.

    I checked my phone where I left it charging-in the living room. It was a random person with a random number, facetiming me. All my friends are in my contacts and none of them use facetime, so who is this? They must’ve had the wrong number. I thought to myself.

    I ignored it and went back to my computer. The ringing stopped for a good 2 seconds until it rang again, the same ringtone echoed in the living room as I stopped walking mid-way, grunting even and went back to check on my phone and to no surprise it was the same number. Why was this person facetiming me? Why not just call me or text or something? Why does it have to be facetime?

    I mentally prepared myself as I pulled my phone out from its charging station, I sat down, tried to get good lighting and camera angle. By camera angle, I mean facing my camera to the ceiling. I then answered the facetime.

    “What?” I asked quite annoyed. I instantly regret my rude welcome when the image of the person came in full view.

    “Hello?” He asks with his recognizable British mixed with not that strong of an Irish accent from the north.

    “Oh my God!” I freaked out. This is so unreal, I really can’t believe this!

    “My name is Craig, but it seems you already know that” I picked up my phone and faced the camera. I was nodding so hard that I feel like my head is coming off of my body.

    “Eyyyy! There ‘ya are! Anyway, I know you never expected a call from me, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me”

    “Did- Did I just?! What? Huh?” I couldn’t form the right words. I was star struck, I’m still freaking out. Mini Ladd was face timing me! I think I’m going to pass out.

    “Uhm, yeah.” Craig replied quite lengthy and uncomfortably. Perhaps it was because of me losing it. I can’t help it, the person that I obsess in front of a computer screen is talking to me through facetime. Thank you apple.

    “Your name appeared as the winner on the last month’s contest, so here I am asking if you could help me out, make some dank memes, play Black ops and perhaps, if you’re lucky, play some Gmod later with the guys-all recorded and streamed live of course.”

    Holy cheese sticks! Am I dead? I must be dead because this is truly a dream come true! Talking to me was already more than enough for me to lose it, but this, this tops it all off!

    “Oh, uh-uh, sure! Heck yeah! I’m sorry, I had to get my freak-out out of my system”

    “Nah, it’s cool, so are you ready now or?”

    “Now is good, now is definitely good!” I stood up and bolted to my computer as fast as I could.

    “Great! Let’s get started”

    He ended the facetime and sent me a text, a bunch of instructions on what to do. Needless to say, what happened next was the best 14 hours of my existence.

    Author’s note: Honestly, this would truly be a dream come true for me too.

      1. RafTriesToWrite

        Glad that I could make you feel my excitement as I imagined this happening to me Beebles. I tried to cut my story down to a shorter one as you’ve suggested, I hope I did okay this time or is it still too long? As for the pithy part, I still couldn’t quite grasp it firmly enough, but I am trying. Thank you for the comment, I gladly appreciate it-as always.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I agree with jhowe on your writing progress. The words dripped with excitement and tension. Keep up the good work and remember to do each week so you’re in a rhythm of writing often. The longer you do it, the easier it becomes. Once all the mechanics fall in place then 90% of your writing will rest with imagination and building your characters. When you finish a story and begin to regret losing a certain character you’ve become attached to, it will give you quite a jolt when you realize you have created someone you can actually care about. [One of the magic payoffs of writing.]

        1. RafTriesToWrite

          Thank you very much Kerry! It seems that I’ve set my bar higher this time, I hope I don’t disappoint you guys in the future and also, I’m just hoping that my level of writing now doesn’t plummet down and crash into the rubble. 🙂

      2. RafTriesToWrite

        Thank you for putting a smile on my face because of this jhowe. I’m glad that I’ve been improving as well but I still have a long way to go.

    1. Observer Tim

      I had to google Mini Ladd to find out he’s real; wouldn’t it be great to get a call from someone like that because he’s heard of you. I think if one of my online idols (e.g. Physics Girl or Kelsey Houston-Edwards) called me I’d be every bit as dumbstruck and incoherent. You captured it beautifully.

      This time around RafTriesToWriteAndSucceeds!

      1. RafTriesToWrite

        I’d probably lose it as well if my online idol calls me because I’m terribly shy and I’m not very talkative in person. I’ve always found comfort in expressing myself through writing and that’s why I’m here now.

        Greatly appreciate this Tim! Thank you.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      I enjoyed the story, especially details like pointing the phone toward the ceiling. That’s the kind of thing that makes a character very real. Keep up the good work.

  25. ShamelessHack

    “Gino’s Plumbing. Can I help you?”
    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Al. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me solve a certain large problem.”
    “You have a stuffed up sink, or a clogged toilet?” I say into the phone. Hey, It’s what I do.
    “No, no, no,” says the accented voice. “This problem concerns a large hole out in my back yard. It’s filling up with water, and seems to be getting larger. Fast.”
    “Hmm. A large hole in the yard getting larger fast, eh?”
    “Ja. And the water flowing into it is rapidly disappearing far below.”
    “Is the hole dark?”
    “Ja. Black.”
    “A black hole, eh?”
    “Uh, huh.”
    I think for a minute, but it’s not necessary. I know how to help this guy. It’s what I do.
    “Al,” I say into the phone. “The answer to your problem of an expanding black hole is E=mc2.”
    He ponders this for a moment, then he exclaims, “Ahh! Gott in himmel, you are right! Why didn’t I see that? You have solved my very big problem!”
    “Hey, no charge, Al,” I say with a shrug. “It’s what I do, Einstein.”

    1. Observer Tim

      This one brought a building smile to my face as my brain started with “No he wouldn’t” and then corrected itself. It’s clever and worth a really good chuckle. Not sure how the mass-energy equivalency is going to get him out of there unless he can somehow achieve v > c …

  26. JosephFazzone

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Observer Tim. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who needed help to finish your prompt.”

    Caught in the excitement, I exclaimed a bit too loudly on the phone. “Tim! Wow, such a fan! Let’s do this.”

    “Excellent,” Tim said. “We must meet up. There’s a quiet spot in the back of a Denny’s near my house. I will send you idea, and you create it. The others are coming.”

    Nervous, but anxious, I grabbed a pen, some crayons, and a pad of paper. I immediately drew a picture of a Denny’s restaurant, and jumped into the picture.

    Tim was seated in a huge booth at the back in a quiet corner. I motioned to the waitress for a cup of coffee, and pointed to where we were seated. He was wearing an earpiece.

    “I have Kerry Charlton starting up the prompt!” He said as he stood and shook my hand.

    “Who else is helping us?” I asked as I sat down.

    The waitress brought the coffee.

    Tim raised his hand up. “No thank you, Rina. It’s Starboard side, by the Microfacilitator, Wanda knows where it is.” He looked back to me. “Sorry, what?”

    “Who else is coming?”

    “Reatha has Annie tackling the controversial side, Hack is hacking the puns to pieces metaphorically, Jay is hacking them up literally, and Jhowe is shifting the perspective.”

    “We need Cosi for the quick wit and puns, and…”

    An eerie silence followed.

    “Tim?”

    Silence. I was beginning to get worried.

    “No puns. Keep it clean,” Tim reported. “We need to keep it user friendly or run the risk that the prompt won’t post.”

    “Just use an A*terisk,” Cosi commented.

    “Did you call Pete?”

    “I did,” he answered. “we have to make sure that this whole thing has some kind of climatic ending.”

    “Sounds like we’re stalling at the gate.”

    “Cliché!” Cosi announced, walking up to our table and unceremoniously plopping down beside me.

    “What I’m thinking is we take this thing into space, and…” Tim began.

    “Wait, what happened to Beebles?” I asked.

    Uncertainty shone in both of their eyes.

    “He’s missing!” The voice belonged to Reatha. Annie was behind her with a stack of papers and a petulant look.

    “A ha!” Cosi exclaimed. “I knew it! This was going to be a mystery all along.”

    “I don’t want to write a mystery,” I pouted.

    “Well you should have thought of that before you started this,” Tim explained.

    “Best laid plans of mice and men,” Reatha stated.

    The story was out of control. There was no direction, only ideas, and it left me feeling like the captain of the Titanic right when the ship hit the iceberg. We were sunk. Help!

    “We need to plot this better!” Tim raised his fist in the air. “Storyboarders assemble!

    I grabbed my sharpie, and a big piece of paper. “Okay! Save Beebles, and then…”

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      Clever indeed Joseph! The different personalities of the other writers fit quite perfectly in your story, wonderful read. Thank you for this!

      1. JosephFazzone

        Thanks, Raf. Definitely was fun, and seeing these great people in real life would be a blast. These people here are the best. So encouraging, and supportive. I have learned so much from them.

      1. Kerry Charlton

        I’m always happy to be part of the party,I love to start stories more than finish them. A very imaginative and funny story. If this really happened I would want to party 24/7 for a week and talk about life in general, then catch a plane to Bermuda, rent an ocean side villa and oh yes, start to write.

    2. ReathaThomasOakley

      Oh, how wonderful. Let me know which Denny’s and I’ll write us there. Plus, Annie is rather excited, we just learned the beginning chapter of her book got a nice award. More details as I have them.

      1. ReathaThomasOakley

        Thanks for the good words. Since I consider you all my writing family, here’s the story. My husband and I were snowbirds for nine years, Florida in winter, Wyoming in summer and fall. We moved to WY permanently the end of March. Two summers ago we joined a local writing group, and plan to attend this June the Wyoming Writers conference, which has a competition component. Even though frantically busy, I put several Annie stories in chronological order, did some rewriting, and because there was a word limit per entry, entered them in three parts. I got a call a few days ago. The judge considered the entries as the start of a novel, and not only awarded first place, but suggested publishing houses. In addition, I have a pitch session with an agent at the conference. It’s not a huge event, about 100 attendees, and I have no idea of number of entries, but nearly every year book deals are made. This is a long explanation because I want to give credit to this site and those who write here. Everything in my entries was the result of the weekly prompts, usually close to 500 words each. The wonderful comments kept me writing, something neglected for years. Until last fall I was also involved with the poetry Asides, as was my husband who has had several poems published in a regional magazine, but decided to focus on fiction for right now. I’m also rewriting the Girl stories, softening some of the more supernatural elements, and putting them together in a more cohesive way. I’ll probably post the “new” beginning soon for comments, etc. If you’ve read this far, thank you. I was going to wait until after the conference to share this, but couldn’t.

        1. Observer Tim

          This is fantastic news, Reatha! I sincerely hope all goes well; your natural skills at scene-setting and storytelling are beginning to pay off. Please keep us informed as things progress! 🙂

    3. Observer Tim

      The Denny’s isn’t quite that close to my home, and I haven’t mind-controlled the staff that work there yet. That said, I love it when we get into the metastories. Well, where is Beebles, and how to we find him before Her Majesty’s Secret Service does? Or perhaps he’s doing a job for them and we’ll see a prompt response from MI-5 come up this week…

  27. genchanting

    Posting didn’t work the last two weeks, so I hope it works now…

    The ground shook as another train roared past Annie Campton. Her skirt whipped against her legs and she shivered from the brisk air against her skin. Despite the cold weather, a wide grin remained determinedly set upon Annie’s lips.

    Nothing was going to bring Annie down today because today she was going to meet her idol. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined that she would actually have the chance to speak to the Chase Stone. But today she was going to, and more.

    This weekend, as she was doing her homework, Annie had gotten a call from an unknown number. Normally, Annie would ignore the call like her mom always told her to, but something caused her to answer it. Annie strongly believed that it was fate.

    Annie was Chase Stone’s number one fan. She had his posters decked over every available surface of her room, she had the limited edition Chase Stone figurine that could no longer be found anywhere, she followed him on every social media, and she ran a dedicated fan blog that sang his praises. Her older brother always made fun of her for it, but her obsession had finally, finally, paid off.

    The unknown number had turned out to be Chase Stone’s agent. He told Annie that they’d found her blog and seen how religiously she followed Chase’s tweets and Instagram posts. She’d won a secret competition to find Chase’s number one fan (which was obviously Annie). The prize was to spend the day with Chase along with getting to appear on a well-known talk show with him. The only stipulation was that she wasn’t allowed to tell anyone- not even her mom- because her appearance on the show had to be a secret. Her age wasn’t an issue- it would even help Chase’s image to be seen getting along with a young girl.

    So Annie put on her absolute favorite dress( though it was autumn and a little too cold for sundresses) and told her mom that she would be hanging out with Stacy. Though the lie stung at her conscience, Annie felt that her Mom would understand if she knew the reason. After her mom dropped her off she snuck away to the railroad crossing by the mall where she was supposed to meet Chase Stone. Annie understood that they had to meet somewhere out of the way, so that they weren’t mobbed by Chase’s fans.

    Finally, after nearly an hour of waiting, a black van with tinted windows slowed as it approached Annie. While it wasn’t the limo she’d anticipated, she excitedly stepped up to the window as the van pulled to a stop. Annie held her breath in anticipation- it was happening! But as the window was rolling down to reveal Chase’s beautiful face a police cruiser turned the corner. The window stopped short and the black van sped off, Chase Stone and all. Annie couldn’t stop a devastated wail.

    The cruiser slowed to a stop just as the van had, but the officer certainly wasn’t Chase.

    “What are you doing out here by yourself, young lady?” The officer asked politely, as if he hadn’t just ruined the best day of Annie’s life.

    Annie gave him the best glare she could muster and stormed off toward the mall she was supposed to be at. Judging by how fast the van had sped off, Annie didn’t think Chase was coming back. He must have thought she’d told the officer!

    Annie grumbled to herself and pulled out her phone. Her life was over.

    1. jhowe

      What a little gem I stumbled upon. You cranked up the tension the whole time and I was sweating with the anticipation of what I thought was coming. I was so relieved when the van sped off.

    2. Observer Tim

      It sounds to my cynical mind like Annie just missed out on a truly life-shattering adventure. The implications not stated are every bit as chilling as the autumn weather. You did a great job creating the setting with just a few words and capturing the teen girl’s attitude. I think JHowe was right calling it a gem. I find myself wishing I could see the ones that didn’t post. Very well done, genchanting.

    3. JosephFazzone

      This was AMAZING! I agree with Jhowe, what a gem, and I too was verrrrrrrry relieved that the Van sped away. I also really love that the whole time Annie thought this was the worst day of her life, and she will probably never know just how bad it really could have been. Fantastic work!

  28. Kerry Charlton

    A NOIR STORY

    Jeff Bailey’s walk up had one redeeming thing only. Located in a worn down neighborhood in Brooklyn, if you hung your body out the window behind the gumshoe’s desk, you could see the Brooklyn Bridge as it headed toward Manhattan. His feet propped upon the corner of his desk, Jeff was close to sleep after prowling the city the previous night looking for a misdirected, stacked blonde who husband had hired Jeff to spill the goods on her, so to speak.

    The jingle startled him to reality. He dropped one foot to the floor as he reached for the perpetrator,

    “Jeff Bailey, private eye here.”

    “Mr. Bailey, I’m Kathie Moffat and I’m in big trouble. I called Phillip Marlow for help. He gave me your number and said you’d be a better choice..”

    “Okay, spill it sister, who’d you shill?”

    “I beg your pardon, are you inferring I’ve done something wrong.“

    “We all do wrong things doll face, just some are worse than others.“

    “Well mine’s as bad as you think. I have your address, can we meet?”

    “Are you sure about not being followed, I’m not interested in taking any heat tonight. Of course there are exceptions. There’s a small bar down the street toward the bridge from my office.”

    “Ten minutes.” Click.

    Jeff set the phone gently, ‘She sounds like a soft breeze in summer,’ he thought. ’but has to be a mess of trouble.’ He had heard sweet honey on the phone before and all he got was trouble with a bullet that had his name on it . It didn’t stop Jeff Bailey though as he felt his 38 in his left coat pocket. A second gat found a resting place at his belt in the small of his back.

    ‘I bet a dollar against a nickel, she swings them as she walks,’ he mused as he hit the street. His well built frame swung down the one flight and his sleepy, half closed hazel eyes looked the street over for foreign objects. Forty three years of living on the edge had given him a ‘I don’t care about it,’ expression that attracted women like bees on honey, but beneath that half closed look, his mind ran like a sharp instrument separating him from constant danger.

    He entered the dimly lit watering hole and scanned the room. Most of the women looked up but one in particular, a raven hair beauty with long pins and a skirt that wasn’t able to cover them paid no attention at all. Her well filled frame moved not a muscle as he sauntered slowly to her side. The goof ball next to her, despite being hypnotized by her flare, quickly vacated the stool next to her. Jeff slipped in the same seat and still she looked away.

    “Joey,” he said, “Give Miss Moffat another drink and make mine Old Crow double neat.”

    “Mr. Bailey,” she said, “you sound better than you look.”

    “Ok, I’ll give you that one but remember you’re a dame in danger and I can help if I care to.”

    “Do you care to?”

    “Depends.”

    “On what?”

    “You.”

    She slipped her left hand over and settled it gently on his right thigh,

    “I just might be in the mood, please help me.“

    She turned to face him and bore through his soul with the darkest blue eyes he had ever witnessed.

    “My place?’

    “Lead on,” Katie whispered

    [To be continued ].

    .

    1. RafTriesToWrite

      Why do I get the feeling that as soon as they’re alone, one or the other would immediately swing his or her weapon to the opposite person?

    2. Observer Tim

      Nicely done, Kerry; I can get the sense of the action (in glorious black & white) building in this. Even Marlowe’s cast-offs can be really interesting… I’ll add my voice to the chorus asking for more. 🙂

  29. Pete

    Hello. My name is Earnest. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I was, but there’s been a mix-up and I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me get a story posted on Writer’s Digest.

    Good luck with that.

    Are you saying you can’t help me?

    I’m saying you’d have better luck buying cocaine on Craigslist.

    Is that difficult?

    Not as difficult as posting a prompt response.

    Do you mean a quick response?

    No, I mean, the prompts. They post a new one every Tuesday, or Wednesday, or sometimes…forget it. It can’t be done.

    But I’ve written something remarkable. Something I’d like to share.

    I doubt it.

    Why?

    Because your dead.

    Well, in a literal sense one could presume that I’d be—

    Look, are you going anywhere with this? I’m sort of on my lunch break.

    My apologies. So you won’t help me?

    Not won’t, can’t.

    This Craig guy, can he be of help?

    What?

    You mentioned a Craig. Remember, the ah, cocaine?

    Oh, I was just trying to see if Craigslist and cocaine would post. I can’t tell if it’s a spam filter or something else.

    But this Craig guy. The list?

    No, it’s…I didn’t mean anything, I was only saying that—

    Does he accept prose?

    You don’t want to go in there, trust me.

    I’m confused. I’ve digested the writing—yours is particularly dreadful if I’m being honest. But now I’d like to post.

    You can post sometimes, but not all the time.

    It’s a mystery?

    Very much so.

    1. jhowe

      A mystery indeed. Cool piece and very current. I think everyone here has fallen victim at least once. It is amazing how many famous writers, alive or dead, would be unable to post their best work.

    2. RafTriesToWrite

      I died from laughing when the MC said “Because your dead.” Thanks you for this Pete! Lovely story, even if it is, as you said a “stupid thing I just wrote”.

      On a side note, there hasn’t been any problems posting my stories so far. I’ve still yet to encounter this mysterious dilemma that a lot of you seem to be experiencing. Though, I’m really hoping it doesn’t haunt me too, haha! 🙂

    3. Observer Tim

      I’m with Raf; this was hilarious, while at the same time doing a great job of satirizing the recent issues with WordPress that have been plaguing both WD and us.

      Don’t take Mr. H’s critique too seriously; anybody who can call six words a novel obviously has more hot air than good sense. And he is, after all, dead. lol

  30. Jolly2

    “You Never Expected a Call From Me.”

    I usually don’t respond to an unexpected call as we have a well tried and excellent answerphone machine that seems to be enough to field any unexpected calls.

    “Congratulations! Your lottery ticket has finally come up and I’m pleased to inform you. You have won a substantial prize. Please don’t ask about the ticket. I’m pleased to inform you that you are one of our random winners.”

    Alarm bells immediately began to go off in my head, I have heard about these sort of scams, where all the caller is after really are your financial details.

    “Look here! You insolent piece of garbage.” I began. “You can take your lottery winnings and stuff the tickets up the rear end of a Bull. Wait in the vicinity and shovel up the proceeds and spread it on the garden. “But Sir! This is a genuine call. You really are a millionaire. Are you seriously giving the proceeds to myself? I certainly could do with the money. I will of course donate a certain sum to charity on behalf of both of us.”

    This stopped me in my tracks at once. Supposing, just
    supposing. No it couldn’t possibly be true, things like this never happened to me.

    “You are having me on;” I responded.

    “No Sir! I would like to thank you for your generosity, The children will be in touch to say thank you personally. I will see to that. I don’t need your signature as you have no ticket therefore the transfer of funds will be channelled directly to myself.”

    “Goodbye now Sir, Have fun with the Bulls.”

    The telephone went dead as my suspicious caller had hung up.
    The next day the papers were full of the story of the generosity of an unidentified winner of the lottery who had given up the proceeds to a telephone salesperson now believed to be sunning himself in Majorca.
    We are suffering the first of our April showers here. After all it yesterday was the first of April

    1. Observer Tim

      I’ve refused my share of that sort of lottery prize in the past, Jolly; I’d probably laugh out loud if that were the result. I love the little turnabout twist, and the reasoning of your MC is so natural. The only thing that throws me is that (here in Canada at least) lottery tickets are sold anonymously and the agencies (usually the government) wait for the winner to identify themselves and claim the prize. But this obviously isn’t set in Canada. Great job.

    2. Critique

      A fun read. Although I don’t believe this could happen there are way too many scam callers out there so no surprise your MC has developed a think skin 🙂

  31. cjmurphy1982

    Well, well, well. Business is picking up, even he knows who I am.

    I take the gun from the cabinet, placing the keys back into the drop box afterwards, as I was trained to do. The rifle may seem excessive for the task at hand but the sight is crucial if you want to ensure that the job is done properly, first time with no room for error. Important clients pay a premium for accuracy and discretion – we provide both.

    The jeep fires up and I’ve arrived within 20 minutes. Mr famous looks furtively from his window on the upper floor, as soon as he sees me he leaps from his desk. I sense him racing through the building while trying to appear cool and calm so as not to raise suspicion. He comes to the door and I begin exiting the vehicle, I catch his eye and he looks at me with furious eyes, the message being ‘get back in the vehicle’. I look at him coldly, waiting for an indication of the next move, he checks over his shoulder for signs that others haven’t noticed anything unusual, then nods backwards to suggest I meet him at the rear.

    I scoot round no problem, the rifle is concealed and nothing about me or the vehicle gives anything away about the deed at hand. As he greets me out the back he looks in a panic, I reassure him I’ve done this before and he doesn’t need to panic. ‘But when you’re famous they all want a piece of you’ he says. I assume he means the press, the fanatical fans, the writers with their blogs and column inches to fill. I assure him of complete discretion and he shows me inside.

    The room has been cleared and there will be no witnesses. ‘There, look’ He says with is eyes as he points silently, here it is, the problem that has the potential to ruin him. I deftly take out the rifle, fix the sight and aim. Bang, the whole thing is over in less than 30 seconds.

    Chef Ramsey can now open on his gala night and no-one will ever know what happened here, in his kitchen, just hours before.

    It’s a dirty job but someone has to kill rodents, even for famous people.

    1. Observer Tim

      The only thing missing from this story is the string of profanity coming out of Gordon Ramsey’s mouth. Somehow it just adds to the slightly surreal nature of the story that he’s using a rifle to take out a single rat (or mouse). Nicely done, CJ, you did a great job of holding the tension right to the very end.

  32. jhowe

    I end the call and stare at my cell phone. What a butthole. It rings again but I don’t answer. The phone gets so hot in my hand I drop it on the desk where it glows red and bursts into flames. Goddamn Samsung. I slap out the fire with a Rifle Enthusiast magazine as a chime sounds from inside a drawer. It’s my ringtone (Bad to the Bone) and it appears to be my phone, the same one that just took a dive.

    “Hello.”

    “Will you help me?” The smoke alarm starts blaring.

    “I can’t talk right now,” I say frantically.

    “Here, let me get that.” The alarm stops. Quite the coincidence but I’m not buying it.

    “You’re not God, so quit frickin’ around.” Again, I drop the hot phone and it starts burning. I put out the fire and the chime from the desk drawer sounds again. I open the drawer but don’t answer it. Sweat drips from my chin down the front of my shirt.

    “Will you help me?” He’d put it on speaker somehow.

    “How are you doing this? Leve me the frick alone.” I slam the drawer shut and run to my truck. Half way down the drive, He speaks through the stereo system and I start driving.

    “I need you to help me.”

    “Why me? Get some preacher to spread your word or whatever.”

    “I need a non-believer.”

    “Well… I never said I didn’t believe…”

    “Give it a rest, Charlie. I know these things.”

    “I just haven’t been to church lately.”

    “Lately? Try never. Anyway, that’s why I chose you. I need you the way you are.”

    “Ok, let’s just say you are God. I don’t think so, but say you are. What the hell can I do?”

    “I’m glad you asked,” He said.

    “No, for crying out frickin’ loud, I wasn’t asking. It was a rhetorical question.”

    “But never-the-less, you did ask.”

    “I just want to go home and sleep,” I say, pulling over so I can turn the truck around.

    “Yes, well, about that… in the future, never shut a desk drawer on a phone that’s prone to catching fire.” A fire truck speeds by. “You won’t need that house for a while anyway. I’ll get you a better one when you’re done.”

    “Done? Done what? I’m not doing anything for you. I’ll get my ass burnt up.”

    “There will be no more fires.” Smoke starts billowing from under the hood and I get out just in time. A little man with stiff new blue jeans and a flannel shirt stands beside me shaking his head.

    “To be fair, that fire was already brewing when I made my promise,” He says.

    “You’re not exactly what I expected.”

    An ancient looking man with a course robe and a flowing white beard stands where the small man had been.

    “Yeah, that’s better.” I say. “What do I have to do?”

    A dusty red F-150 with a gun rack and a ‘Goat Ropers Need Love Too’ sticker on the side window skids to a halt and a shapely woman with dirty blond hair gets out and tugs at her extra short denim skirt. It’s no use. She has too much leg and not enough skirt.

    “Betty Lou Thelma Liz will fill you in on your journey,” God says. “You two need to start talking to the Trump supporters and see what you can do.”

    1. Observer Tim

      I assume then that God has found someone else to handle the Christian Left (every bit as … uh, distinctive … as the Christian Right but in a different way). This is just priceless, JHowe, and a lovely combination of current satire and age-old comedy. I especially like that the long form of the woman’s name is Elizabeth Louise Thelma Elizabeth: a name so important you have to include it twice.

      1. jhowe

        The name, Betty Lou Thelma Liz and the goat ropers reference was from a song called Redneck Mother by Jerry Jeff Walker back in the sixties. You had to be there.

    2. RafTriesToWrite

      Loved the humor displayed here jhowe. I can’t keep myself from not laughing while I was reading this during working hours.

    3. ReathaThomasOakley

      Hmmm, your MC only starts to believe when there’s a robe and white beard, preconceived notions will always work with some folks. Fun piece.

  33. Observer Tim

    “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Yonatan 001. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me with a project I’m working on.”

    The story so far: Derryn 417 is on the moon running from the authorities in the company of a woman named Rina. Meanwhile, Saefert 325, a corporate ‘removal agent’ is closing in on him.

    1. Observer Tim

      Derryn 417

      Rina handed me my phone as I was sealing up the bodysleeve. I didn’t recognize the number, but the area code was from the moon. I felt the steady tromp of impending doom approaching, but opened the line anyway.

      “H-hello?”

      “Derryn 417? Of course it is. My name is Yonatan 001; I’ve received your name as someone who can help me with a small project I’m working on.”

      Rina’s eyes widened like a pair of green full moons. “Yonatan 001? THE Yonatan 001?”

      “Are you alone, Mr. 417? Should I call back later?”

      “I’m with…” How should I refer to Rina? I didn’t even know her full name and number. “…my lunar guide.”

      “Can she be trusted?”

      Rina shook her head no. I said, “Yes.”

      “Mr. 417, did you know that you are the first level three fabrication tech to make it to the Moon in the last two years?”

      “But… no, that doesn’t make sense. Mirrian 327 left for the Sirius system three months ago. She would have had to come through here.”

      “She arrived in three pieces. Two people had shuttle accidents, another was run over at the Earthside spaceport, and another died in a mugging gone wrong. You are the first; I’ve been looking, and I have very good eyes.”

      “Then how did I make it?”

      “Did you plan your travel?”

      “No; I just had a sudden impulse to quit my job and fly to the Moon. I was on the shuttle three hours after making my decision.”

      “That’s why you’re not dead. You didn’t tell anyone you were coming here. And you’re a level three fabrication tech with a specialty in spacecraft parts. I need that skill, and I’m willing to pay for it. Also, I understand you have come to the attention of the Earth and Lunar authorities…”

      I was about to answer when Rina interrupted. “Vector straight he has. Can you offer him protection? Otherwise he may not make it to the jobsite.”

      “Only if you take the job, and only when you’re out of Temp Accom. Call this number back when those conditions are satisfied and you’ll have your protection.”

      “Deal!” She flicked a thumb and killed the connection.

      “But Rina, I haven’t decided whether I’ll take the job.”

      “The alternative is taking a body bag back to Earth. Do you want the job?”

      “When you put it that way…”

    2. Observer Tim

      Saefert 325

      We ended up in a crowded and smelly part of one of the Mass Hab units on the lower level. You could easily lose a whole country in here, let alone two people. The noise of humanity made it nearly impossible to think, let alone talk, but when the kid pointed I saw my target and his woman climbing out of one of the sleeping capsules. I pulled out my gun and set the firing charge to 30%.

      The kid leaned close enough to shout in my ear. “What the Aldrin are you doing?”

      “Tracker round. I hit him with this and I can follow him anywhere he runs.”

      “The tracker will more likely hit one of the hundred or so people between us and them. Then the gunshot will stampede the crowd and you’ll be lucky to find your own arse. I can see them; follow me.”

      Normally I plow through a crowd like an icebreaker, but these people weren’t getting out of my way. Instead I had to follow the kid as she stepped through the crowd like she was a gas molecule. The only saving grace was that they were moving slower and the red-skinned girl was noticeable.

      Derryn 417

      Rina towed me through a denser throng than I’d ever seen before, even thicker than when we’d come down here. We didn’t even bother trying to talk over the crowd noise; we talked by radio instead.

      “Rina, when are we going to get out of this crowd?”

      “When the guy following us is well and truly mobbed.”

      “The guy following us?”

      “He’s an Earther like you. Because of one-sixth gravity he moves like an elephant in gazelle shoes. But he’s coming towards us fast, so maybe he’s got a guide too.”

      She kept pulling me along so I couldn’t get a proper step. Given that my steps kept throwing me half a meter upwards, that was probably a good thing; I was actually less obvious stumbling.

      “Okay, through here.”

      Rina pointed me through a meter-square accessway that led downwards. As she pushed me in I immediately forgot every evil thought I’d had about the smell of massed humanity.

      “What IS this place?”

      “Garbage transport tube. It goes down to the Recycling Level. We’ll get around faster there.”

      “Isn’t there another way?”

      “Not that doesn’t end in a bullet. Don’t be a baby.”

      The trip was mercifully short, because I couldn’t go very far without adding my lunch to the colours in the tunnel. If I’d know outer space was going to smell this bad I’d have brought noseplugs. Or maybe just stayed home.

      Once out of the tunnel we scrambled up onto a gangway.

      “Come on, Ryn. From here we go down to the main digesting vat, turn left and head for the exit to Section B. After that it’s a short climb to Industrial Sector and we’re home free.”

      And then we saw the two recycling techs with guns.

      1. jhowe

        OT, you’re getting to be quite the futuristic writer. You’re so smooth, as if you believe every word you’re writing. I think you’re the first person to ever insinuate that the moon has its own area code.

        1. Observer Tim

          It has two, actually. One for Earthside (where all the posh nobs live it up on their grand estates) and one for Darkside (where all the working stiffs and poor people eke out their existence). They’re like international dialing codes.

          I work out the details as they infiltrate the story, but try to keep everything consistent. To me the Moon, Mars, and all the others are real places; breaking the reality of that can break the story, so it’s better to be (a bit) obsessive about it. 🙂

      2. ReathaThomasOakley

        Tim, I am so involved with this story that I can hardly wait for the next part. The differences between the dark and light sides are wonderfully done, with, for me, political implications. Great, great story telling.

      3. Gerronimo

        “Hello,” said the voice on the phone. “My name is Robin Williams. I know you never expected a call from me, as famous as I am, but I’ve been given your name as someone who can help me.”
        “That’s not funny. ” Adam admonished. “Who is this?” It obviously had to be some who new him well enough to know how much the actor had meant to him. But they had the voice nailed “Todd, is that you?”
        “Robin. Robin Williams.”
        Starting to get irritated, Adam decide to beat him at his own game. “Okay, if this is Robin Williams, when and where were you born?”
        “July 21, 1951. Chicago Illinois.”
        “What’s your middle name?”
        “McLaurin.”
        “What was your first feature film?”
        “What’s the point of this?”
        “Your first leading role?” Adam corrected, feeling it was easy enough.
        “That’s absurd. I’ve never been in a movie. Are you going to help me or not?”
        Even his angry voice was dead on. “Okay fine.” Adam said, being done with the joke he clearly wasn’t in on. Giving him his address, Adam threw a wrench in the plan. “You show up here and I will help you.”
        “Alright. Ill be there shortly. And thank you.”
        “Yea, sure.” Adam said, hanging up the phone.
        In the middle of a turkey club, there was a knock at the door.
        Adam bolted upright, his heart beat quickening. Realizing it was impossible he made his way to the door. Opening it, he felt as though his stomach had fallen through the floor. He could only stare at the impossible sight before him. “You’re R-rob.” he tried, the words getting tangled in his mouth.
        “Robin Williams.” He affirmed. ” As I said over the phone.”
        “But your dead.”
        “No, just a bit lost.”
        “But I saw it. It was all over the news.”
        He simply smiled, “If I’m dead, what does that make you?” To which Adam had no answer. “Besides, why would my death be in the news.”
        “Are you serious? You are one of the greatest actors to ever walk the face of the earth.”
        “Im sorry son, you’ve got the wrong guy. I told you I’ve never even been in a movie. I couldn’t act my way out of a paper bag.”
        “Fine, whatever. So how can I help you?” He said with a bit more bite than intended.
        “Whats your purpose in life?”
        “I don’t know, I guess I don’t have one.”
        “Don’t be ridiculous. Everyone has a purpose. Not everyone realizes it, of course, but its there. Those who do realize it, can weave worlds. Save souls. Open peoples minds. It’s like…”
        “A Little spark of madness.” Adam finished. Given to us all.
        “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
        “You did say it.”
        “No you did.”
        Adam couldn’t tell if he was being serious.
        He only smiled. “It is your purpose to bring joy and laughter.”
        I doubt that. Im not very funny, believe it or not. Im actually pretty bitter and cynical.”
        “Perfect traits of a comedian. You know pain. You know suffering. Thus you have a clearer vision to the simple beauties life has to offer. Its your duty to paint the picture for people to see what they cant on their own.”
        “And how am I supposed to do that?”
        “Keep dreaming. No matter what. You never know what dreams may come.”
        A loud crash sounded behind Adam. Turning around, he didn’t even have time to see what had hit him, and everything went black.
        When he opened his eyes, he immediately regretted it. The light was blinding.
        “Man you’re lucky son.” Came an unfamiliar voice.
        “What?” Adam muttered. Trying to move proved painful.
        “Whoa,” He exclaimed. “you just lie still. You’ve been in an accident.”
        “What are you talking about, I was just standing in my living room?”
        “You just died son.”
        His eyes widening as he started coming to, Adam realized he was talking to a paramedic. Still clutching a defibrillator.
        “You blew a tire doing seventy plus, your truck rolled at least twenty times.”
        “Seriously?” he asked incredulously, but from the pain throbbing through his entire body was about as indicative as you could get.
        “You’re lucky to be alive son. Someone up there must be looking out for you.”
        The End

        1. Observer Tim

          This is a nice ghost/hallucination story, Gerronimo. You did a great job using the dialogue to capture your MC’s confusion at the situation. I’ve been there, and I know that defibrillation plays strange tricks on you. All in all a solid story. 🙂

COMMENT