Art and the philosophy of life

Archive for the ‘Short Stories’ Category

Neon…a short story

Free Slow Down Logo Stock Photo

She leaned against the glass door and practically fell into the lobby.  She straightened herself and went to the desk.

“Yes?  Can I help you?” asked the man greeting people.

“That’s a really heavy door.”

“So I’ve been told.”

“I want to know why you think it’s a good thing to slow down?  What if some people want to go fast?”

“It’s just the name of the place,” he whispered, bending over, hoping she would leave.  “It doesn’t really have to mean anything.”

“People are always saying slow down and smell the roses, or going on and on about how much people who go fast are missing.  Those people would be wrong.”

“Okay, fine,” he said, smiling at the people behind her, pointing them toward the interior of the bar.

“I think people who go slow miss a lot more because they only see one or two things, while the rest of us fast people see everything, or almost everything.”

“I agree.  Now, if you’ll just step out of the way….”

“And people are born with slow or fast personalities, so there’s nothing wrong with being either one, although how people can go slow is beyond me.”

“Of course it is,” he said, looking at the line starting to form behind her.

“Slow is slow.  You can’t get anything done.  I mean, I like to go fast, so does that mean I can’t go inside?”

“It does not,” he said, happily.  “In fact, why don’t you go inside right now.”

“What are you?”

“Excuse me?” he said.

“Fast or slow?”  What are you?”

“Uh, more in the middle, I think.”

“So, not slow?”

“No,” he admitted.  “Not slow.”

“Do you own this place?”

“Seriously?  Do I look like I own this place?”

“You don’t, but I thought I’d ask, just to make sure.  I think you should add the word DON’T to the top of the sign.”

“Don’t slow down?”

“Yes.  You may get a bunch of different people stopping by, but they’d probably drink more and party harder.”

He smiled, then started laughing.  “You might be right.”

“All the people who are going inside, look like they could fall asleep.”

“That’s not true,” he snickered.

“Words need to be chosen carefully.”

“They do.”

“It’s not the journey, it’s the destination that matters.”

“I always thought that was true.”

“It is, for a lot of us.  But those who want to hold people back, the people who come to this place to go slow, don’t get that.”

“They certainly do not.”

“I’m not saying it’s wrong to want to go slow, I just don’t understand why some think it’s wrong to go fast.”

“You’re bring up some very good points,” he agreed.  “So you’re a fastie?

“I am.”

He tore off a sheet of paper from the ledger in front of him and wrote DON’T ALWAYS in big letters, with a marker.  The he taped it above the sign on the wall.

“Thank you,” she said, looking at the people behind her.  “Fast and slow people can get along, at least for a few minutes, you know.”

People started mumbling and snickering.

“I mean it’s hard for fasties to drag things out when here’s so much they want to see and do, but it is possible.  So now this club is open to all of us.  Slow isn’t for everyone, neither is fast.  But it’s okay to be either one.”

There was a smattering of applause, although some people left, muttering about those awful fasties, always getting in their slow lanes.  Always in a hurry.

“Well, thank for your time,” she said.  “Have a great night.”

He watched her go, so did everyone else, for that matter, then a man in the back yelled, CAN YOU PLAY FASTER MUSIC IN THIS JOINT?  That’s when the fighting broke out.

A short story, about sprinkles. Neon sign.

Free Red neon signboard with inscription hanging on wall in dark public place at night Stock Photo

“I’d like a dozen plain donuts, than you,” he said, tapping his fingers on the counter.

“No sprinkles on any of them?” she asked, frowning at him.

“No.  All of them plain.”

“But sprinkles are special, they add color and fun.”

“I like them plain.”

“Okay,” she said, starting to put plain donuts into a box.  “The only reason I even have plain ones are because they haven’t been sprinkled yet.”


“I have a couple chocolate donuts without sprinkles, do you want one, or two?”

“What do you have against plain donuts?” he asked.

“Nothing, really.”

“I like them with coffee in the morning.  Not too sweet, and besides, the sprinkles are messy.”

“True,” she said.  “They can be messy.”

“And I’m not into frosting either.”

“Not even chocolate?”

“No, not even that.”

“Wow.  You’re really hard core.”

“I guess I am,” he said, smiling.

“I’ll thrown in an extra one, for luck.”

“Thanks,” he said, handing her the money.  “Do you eat donuts with lots of sprinkles?”

“Nope.  I like ’em plain.”

Shadow…a short story

Woman, Portrait, Face, Shadow, Profile

“Where’d you come from?” he asked, in surprise, taking a few steps back.

“Shadow,” she purred.

“I didn’t see you.”

“I didn’t want to be seen.”

“What do you want?”

“Oh, I want a lot of things,” she snickered.

“Well, good luck,” he said, trying to edge his way around her.

“You don’t have to be afraid of me.”

“Why would I be afraid of you?” he asked, his voice a little higher than usual.  “I’m just in a hurry, so please get out of my way.”

“Jack, you have all the time in the world,” she said, grabbing his arm.

She was surprisingly strong and when he tried to look into her eyes all he saw were tiny bursts of light.

“Let go of me,” he said, trying to pull away from her.

“Should I be hurt that you don’t remember me?”

“Remember you?  I’ve never seen you before in my entire life.  And how do you know my name?”

“When you were nine years old, some boys were beating you up after school.”

“That was a long time ago,” he said, uncomfortably.

“Every night you asked for someone to help you.”


“I helped you.”

“That was you?” he asked, softly.

“It was and you told me that I could have one wish, because I saved you.”

“Did I say that?”

She held up a sliver cube and he listened to his ten-year old self thanking her for helping him and promising to grant her one wish, at anytime during his lifetime, in payment.

“You’re here for your wish?”

“I am.  Those boys never bothered you again, did they?”

He shook his head.  “No one ever bothered me again.”

“I made sure of that,” she said.  “Now, I understand that you were a frightened child when you made your promise, but it was binding, nonetheless.”

“I understand.”

“Good,” she said, sliding her hand to his.

“Tell me what you want.”

“By the way, I enjoyed watching over you when you were young.”

“I didn’t know you did that,” he admitted.

“It wasn’t part of our deal.  I just thought you were something special and I wanted you to be safe.”

“Thank you.”

“Now, I want you to come with me,” she said, tightening her grip on his hand.

“Come with you where?” he asked, his heart starting to flutter.

“Shadow, of course, where else?”

“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea at all,” he said.

“We need your help and the pay is excellent.”

“You want me to do a job for you?”

“Yes, that’s exactly what I want you to do.”

“So, you won’t keep me there?”

“Why would I keep you there?”

He shrugged.  “No idea, but that’s what happens in books.  The person who goes with a fairy or some otherworldly being, is never seen again.”

“Well, that’s not going to happen to you.”

“What do you want me to do?”

“There’s a war going on in Shadow.  I want you to mediate.”

“Mediate between the two sides?”

“Three sides, and yes.”

“But I don’t know anything about your laws or…”

“That’s exactly why you are needed.  No preconceived ideas.”

“How long to I have to stay?”

“As long as it takes I guess, and if things work out, we’ll keep you on retainer.”

“You know I’m human, right?”

She laughed.  “I’ve known you most of your life, so yes, I know you’re human.”

“Will I be safe?”


“Promise?” he asked, smiling.

“Absolutely, just don’t go into any forests alone and don’t talk to the birds.”

He frowned at her and said, “The birds?”

“I’ll be with you the whole time, so don’t worry.”

“I like birds.”

“You won’t like these birds.”

“I have a case in court today.”

“It’s been postponed.”

“You got my case postponed?” he asked, in amazement.

“I know the judge.  He had nightmares when he was five.”

“So, I’m not an isolated case?”

“No.  I hope that doesn’t disappoint you.”

“It does not,” he said.  “I know that judge and he’s fair and has a good heart.”

“He better, or I’ll kick his ass,” she snorted.

“What are you?”

“I’m a shadow, made of smoke, need and desire.”

“What’s it like in Shadow?”

“It’s a lot like here but those who are part of it, appear and disappear at will. We Shadow Walk, which means we can duck into a shadow and be anywhere we like, when we step out.”

“Are all shadows, no matter how small, part of Shadow?”

“They are.  Now, if you’re ready,” she said, pulling him toward a shadow….








What’s wrong? A short story.

man learning on concrete wall

“What’s wrong?” she asked.  “You seem…I don’t know…sad, I guess.”

“I’m fine,” he said.

“You’re not fine.  I know you.  Let’s get out of this alley and go have some coffee.”

He pushed off from the wall he’d been leaning against and started walking next to her.

“I hate alleys,” she said.  “They aren’t as creepy, or smelly, in the daytime, but right now…yuk.”

“What do you want from me?” he asked, looking down as they walked.

“Nothing, really.  I just know that you’re hurting and I want to lessen it.”

“Why do you even care?”


“Just because you’re my sister, doesn’t mean you have to watch over me.”

“Ewe, watch over you you?  Not a chance.  Gross on toast,” she said, pretend shivering.

He bumped into her knocking her off balance and she shoved him back.

“If you want me to go away, or leave you alone, you’re going to have to tell me what’s wrong.”

“Fine,” he said, stopping.  “Life isn’t what I expected it to be.  There…are you happy?”

“Not really.  But do you think anyone’s life is what they expected it to be?  What did you expect it to be?” she asked.

He shrugged.  “Nicer.”

“Nicer than what?”

“Nicer than it is.”

“Give me a clue, okay?  A few details.  Like you wish your shoes were different, or that some girl you liked loved you or…?”

“Oh, please shut up!” he said, a little louder than he meant to.  “No, it’s none of those things.”

“Then what is it?  It’s not like you had that bad of a childhood.  I was there, you know.  You were the favorite.”

“Sorry about that,” he said, putting his hand on her shoulder.  “I didn’t know that was happening.  When I found out that it was, we were already old.”

“Old?  Are you saying that I’m old?  What does that make you, ancient?”

“I’m eleven months older than you are, so yes, that makes me ancient.”

“Tell me how you want life to be.”

“I don’t want it to be so mean.”

“That’s it?  You don’t want life to be mean?”

“Yes,” he said.  “That’s it.  If no one was mean, there wouldn’t be any problems.”

She stared at him.  “Is someone being mean to you?  Tell me, because I’ll beat whoever it is to death with a spoon.”

He smiled.  “You know I can take care of myself, don’t you?  And no one is being mean to me.  It’s the fact that everyone in the world seems to be treated in some kind of mean way and that’s why people are suffering and I’m sick of all the suffering.  Animals suffer, the earth Herself is suffering.  Kids pretending to be soldiers are dying in some stupid war because the idiot in charge is greedy and mean.  Look at our own country.  It’s disgusting.  It’s filled with hatred, and inequality…and meanness.”

“I love you,” she said.   “You are the only brother I have, after all, so if you’re unhappy, then I’m unhappy.  So tell me what I can do to make things better, so I don’t have to be unhappy anymore.  Because if I’m happy that means that you’re happy too.  Get it?  Because I’m unhappy, if you are and…”

“I GET it,” he groaned.

“Then tell me what you want me to do.”

“Stop world hunger and get rid of corrupt governments.  Start with those.”

“Okay,” she said.  “Let’s go buy a lot of cheese and bread and send it to where people are hungry.”

“Do you have any money?” he asked.

She stuck her hand in her pocket and said, “I have a dollar and forty-two cents.  How much do you have?”

“I don’t think that’s enough to help anyone.”

“It’ll help me,” said a homeless man, sitting on the sidewalk.

She gave him the money.

“We helped someone,” she said.  “It’s a beginning, right?”

“Right,” he said. “It is.  But we need to think bigger.”

“I can do that.  I can think bigger.  We can start a corporation to feed the hungry.”

“They already have those,” he said.

“Ours will be different.  We won’t just send food, but coloring books and crafts, something to make their lives better.  We’ll ask for donations and…but you still look miserable.”

“I feel as if I’m in a black pit and can’t get out.”

“Maybe you should see a doctor.”


“I can hold your hand all the time. It could help.  We should get a dog from the shelter, that would be helping someone.”

He pulled her to him and hugged her.  “You’re a really good sister,” he said.  “You know that, don’t you?”

“I do.  Now,” she said, pulling away.  “Let’s go get a dog, so the dog’s life will no longer be mean.”

“We can get a cat too.”

“Deal,” she said.  “And since you’re the favorite, you can tell mom.”



A very short story…a sign.

brown and black wooden wall decor

“Hi,” she said. “I’d like to place an order, please.”

“Sure, what would you like?” he asked.

“I’d like a new government run by women, an end to war and disease, as well as an end to all violence. I want all animals to be treated with love and respect and not eaten or murdered for any reason.”

“Is that it?”

“Yes, thank you.”

“It will be about twenty minutes.  Would you like an order of fries while you wait?

“That would be lovely,” she said smiling.  “I’ll just wait over here.  The chairs look comfortable.”

“Here’s your receipt,” he said, tearing off the bottom of her order.

She nodded and sat down.


Don’t you wish this was a real possibility?  That we could walk up to a sign that read, ORDER HERE, and order anything we wanted to order?  And…we would get it.


Photo:  Sean Thomas


A short story…

“The christian right-wing conservatives want to close public libraries and ban books. They’re already rewriting history, telling lies, saying slavery didn’t really happen.  Teachers can be fired or prosecuted for telling the truth.”

“People won’t stand for that,” he said.

“PEOPLE are the ones doing it,” she snapped.  “There’s a real war going on in this country.  Actually the war is taking place on multiple fronts at once, which is what they had planned all along.”

“The catholic church banned Harry Potter,” he said, shaking his head.  “Insane.”

“They had good reason to do it.  They said it was because the book taught witchcraft but that was a lie.  They banned it because it was about true friendship, kids working TOGETHER, strong individuals overcoming evil, which to me just means people who can think for themselves and overcome the status quo, the church and the corporate stranglehold.  The guys running things today, hide who they are because they don’t want to be boycotted, because boycotts actually work.  Anyway, the book showed what could be done when people worked together, to overcome evil.  It showed a need to break the rules, to stick together and support each other, even when it was scary.  It showed each person using her or his specific skills in order to make everyone stronger and better.  It showed how the kids were being manipulated and lied to by the adults, who couldn’t be trusted, just like the school systems and…”

“I get it,” he said.  “All the banned books scare those in charge.  They want chaos and fear to infect the masses, so they DON’T work together to overthrow them.  Look at 1984.  They had a fit over that one.”

“They did and now 1984 has become a reality.”

“That’s why they ban books, so they don’t become reality.”

“What they do is write laws that give them the power to do anything they want.  So if they threaten to imprison doctors for caring for women and their health needs, they can imprison librarians for keeping books they don’t like, on the shelves.  They have complete control over everything because they believe that their laws will protect them, since they write them to do just that.  But what if enough of us refuse to play the game?  What if we keep reading and doing what we want, because that’s what a free society is all about.”

“Do you want another oder of fries?”

“Yes,” she said, starting to make a list.

He held up his hand and got the attention of the kid behind the counter.  He pointed to the empty basket of fries and the kid nodded and gave him a thumb’s up.

“I agree with everything you said but I think we’re in too much trouble to fix things right now.  I think something is going to happen that will erase us, so this whole thing can begin again.  It’s happened before and we’re in too deep,” he said.

“So you think we should just let the domino’s fall where they may?” she asked.

“I don’t know if we have any other choice,” he said.  “Look at all the years women put into getting Roe v Wade passed and it took a corrupt supreme court and crazy men and other crazy women to overturn it in two seconds.  I think we’re doomed.  It’s going to be like a bad movie where the few survivors from our side, live in the desert, or in caves, while everything else turns into a prison and…”

“You’re probably right,” she sighed.  “I think I saw the film.  Makes me sick.  Everyone living under fishnets and tarps, dressed in rags, with bad medicine and bad hair, stirring grass in a can over a fire, for dinner and running from the drones.  Drones that are already following us.”

“People can’t fight back if they’re in prison.”

“They want us to believe that people have no power,” she said, “but they do, that’s what they fear the most.  Us, turning on them.”

“To many generations let them get away with murder, literally and figuratively.”

She nodded and leaned back in her chair, as the waiter put the fries on the table.

“Thank you,” they said at the same time.

“No problem,” he said, grinning.

“I think we need to make friends with, or at least get to know the gangs.”

He laughed.  “Like they’re going to welcome us with open arms?  I think you’re dreaming.”

“I trust them more than the government.”

“Because you have a fantasy going on in your head,” he said.  “The gangs aren’t the good guys you want to believe they are.  They kill people.  They’re into drugs, prostitution, they’re…”

“Not all of them.  Not if we have the same enemy,” she said, dipping three fries into a splotch of catsup.  “And who came up with the spelling of words anyway?  So stupid.  It should be catch-up, not cats-up.  Cats have nothing to do with tomatoes, and sometimes it starts with a K.  Just ridiculous.”

“Wow,” he laughed.  “You are so pissed off.”

“Ya think?  You’re a guy, you have no idea what women go through and now the morons, who never have to have a kid, want to OWN, our bodies.”


“It doesn’t effect you in the slightest way.  Just one more war against women.”

“We should move to a neutral country.”

“I don’t know how long those places will exist.  Not if the idiots have their way.  They want one world, like the one ring to rule them all. The New World Order, remember?  Bush senior was telling everyone it was coming.”

“How about a hot fudge sundae?”


“Extra hot fudge?”

“What do you think,” she mumbled.  “I think American will, at least for awhile, shut down and no one will be allowed to leave the country.  A lot of people are going to die, poisoned, or just killed, until they get the population down to the size they want it to be, and they will continue to enslave people.”

“It’s amazing that a few men can fuck things up this badly,” he said.

“Men have been fucking things up since the beginning of time, you know that, right?  Greed can do that to people.  Well, greed and the fear that others will take the things you have, including their power.”

“What do you want me to do?” he asked.

“I have a list,” she said.


A very short Earth Day story…

“We have to change the way people think,” she said.

“Think about what?” he asked.

“About being alive.  That’s where all the trouble lies.  That’s what makes it easy for the rich and powerful to manipulate us.  If we understood that it’s all just a game and we really exist somewhere else, then fighting to live wouldn’t be such a big deal and their power over us would massively diminish.”

“Never gonna happen,” he said, shaking his head.  “And while the masses can believe in invisible gods, I doubt they’d believe we aren’t truly who we seem to be.  They’d want proof.”

“Then 1984 times ten will happen.  We’re already slaves, unable to see our own chains.”

“You’re not an uplifting person.  You know that, don’t you?”

“I don’t think everyone feels that way about me,” she said, licking her ice cream cone.  “It’s so obvious that we are indoctrinated from birth to act, and behave, in a certain way, so that we work all our lives for the rich, then have a few years, if we’re lucky, before we die.  Reinforce the evil status quo.  Who actually benefits from our work?  The powerful do.  They get richer, constantly take more of our money, pass any laws they like, so they can do whatever they want to do, destroy freedom of speech, by shutting down public libraries, kill the dollar, which is easy if you just make all the stores stop accepting cash, so they know every single cent we spend and where we spend it, abuse women and minorities, and kill anyone who get in your way.  We are monitored, photographed, listened to and watched every second of every day…but we know NOTHING about them.”

“Little ray of sunshine.”

“Don’t you care?” she asked, biting into the sugar cone.”

“Will it do any good if I do?  The police are militarized and take orders from the very people you’re talking about.  There’s no real news, since the networks are owned by five companies, and if you pay attention, every anchor says exactly the same thing, word for word, since the news is scripted, so we only hear what they want us to hear.  They are screwing with the weather, weaponizing it, so that gives them even more power and….”

“I think I love you,” she said, wiping the corners of her mouth with her napkin.


She nodded.  “Wanna help me change the world?”

“Sure,” he said.

“What if they kill us?”

“What if they don’t?” he asked.

“Do you think it’s too late?  Their plans have been in motion for many years.  They want to reduce the population by something like eighty-one percent.”

“Like you said, we don’t really belong here, so what’s the big deal?”

“It’s one thing to say that, and another thing to face it in the real world.”

“I don’t want to work all my life and then die.  I don’t want to pay for their vacation homes, and their cars, good schools for their kids and all the rest.  I want to enjoy life, see the world, have fun and not be a slave to a desk.”

“Okay then,” she said.  “Let’s see what we can do.”

It’s all about the Details…part four

“The Detective thinks we’re his problem,” said Clare, digging though her purse.

“He doesn’t want to admit that we’ve been helpful,” chuckled Sunny.

“I can hear you,” sighed the Detective, as they all walked down the stairs to the street.  “How is it that dead guys end up in the two apartments that you’re interested in?”

“If I knew the answer to that question,” said Sunny, “I’d know not to go into those places.”

“There was no tattoo on his ankle, just some scaring,” he said.

“Then he tried to remove the ink by himself.  They do that sometimes.  Old school.  No laser removal for those guys, and that way, no one sees what’s going on.”

“You don’t know that’s what happened,” he said.

“Not for sure, but it’s my best guess,” said Sunny.  “Maybe if there’s a dead guy in the next apartment, we’ll have a trifecta.”

“I want to go with you next time,” he said.


He nodded.  “Really.”

“You might as well say yes,” said Clare, finally finding what she was looking for in the bottom of her bag.  “That way you won’t have to bother calling him.”

“Good point.”

“Are you eating another candy bar from the station?” he asked.

Clare smiled and took a big bite.

“How many did you take?” asked the Detective, frowning at her.

“She took everyone that was there,” said Sunny, holding out her hand for candy.  “We probably paid for them with our tax money anyway, so what’s the big deal?  Did you find out anything from the note the pigeon delivered?”

“No.  Not a thing.”

“I think you’re right Sunny,” said Clare, finishing off her candy bar.  “They only find things on TV programs, not in real life.  And they do it in less than an hour.”

“Detective, I can hear you grinding your teeth from here,” said Sunny, “and we’re outside.”

“Do y0u have another apartment to look at today?” he asked.

“One more,” she said.

The Detective’s phone rang…”What?” he said.  “Great.  Thanks.  If you find anything else, let me know.  Yeah, okay.”

“Care to share?” asked Sunny, when he hung up.

The second dead guy’s name is Simon Sims.  At least according to the information we have so far.”

Sunny and Clare started at him.

“Coincident?” asked Sunny.

“Doubt it, but the coroner is doing a DNA test.  He said he doesn’t think the two men are related but only science can tell us for sure.  Let’s go look at the next place” he said, ushering them toward his car.”

“Do you EVER say please?” asked Clare.

He ignored her.

“I’m starting to dislike him,” said Clare.  “He’s hyper, rude and…”

“…bossy,” added Sunny.”

“I can STILL hear you,” he said.

Sunny gave him the address and in ten minutes he pulled up in front of the building.

“Big windows,” said Clare.  “The cats will love those.”

“So will I,” said Sunny, happily.

“Let me go in first,” said the Detective.

“Why?” asked Sunny.  “Do you think someone is going to jump out at us?  We only find dead guys, so back off.”

They walked into the apartment and no one was bleeding on the living room floor.

“Look at all this light,” sighed Sunny, standing in front of one of the windows.

“Nice kitchen,” called Clare.  “Lots of cabinets.”

Sunny walked into the bedroom.  It wasn’t as big as she would have liked, but it would do.  She opened the closet door and quickly stepped to the side so the dead guy could fall freely to the floor.

“DEAD GUY IN THE BEDROOM,” she called.

The Detective and Clare came into the room and stared at the body.

“Looks like he was strangled,” said Sunny.  “I feel like I’m a game of Clue and the next guy will be killed with a the library with a candlestick.”

“This has to be the last one,” said Clare.  “Either someone doesn’t want you to move, or you have suddenly turned into a dead guy magnet.”

“The dead guys are here before I walk in,” Sunny reminded her.

“That’s true, and the only only people who know which apartment you’re going to look at, all work in the real estate office,” said Clare.

“Clare’s right, and none of the bodies have been in the apartment long.”

“So you think someone is killing guys and putting them into the apartments before I get there so that I’ll find them?”

“it’s a possibility,” said the Detective

“It doesn’t make any sense,” said Sunny.

“Things don’t have to make sense to be true,” he said.

The forensic team moved in and the three of them relocated to the hallway.

“I bet this is another Sims,” said Clare.

“I have the key to the apartment downstairs,” said Sunny.  It has two bedrooms so the real estate person said to take a look at it before I made my decision. Do you want to check it our?”

They looked everywhere, but np dead guy in the downstairs apartment.

“Maybe they’re only giving you one dead guy a day,” said Clare.  “You know, like the vitamins,”

“Anything’s possible, I guess,” said Sunny.

“Do you have any enemies?” he asked.

Sunny shrugged.  “No idea.”

“Even if she did, “said Clare,  “What kind of revenge would leaving dead guys in empty apartments be?  She doesn’t know them, so what’s the point?”

“No idea,” said the Detective.  “None at all.”







It’s all about the Details…part three

“So,” said Clare, as they stood at the bus stop.  “What do you think about Freddy and his ring?”

“I don’t know what to think,” said Sunny, “other than that group was disbanded over a hundred years ago and you never see that symbol in America.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means they are alive and well, but what are they doing now, and what are they doing here? They can’t still be fighting the church, right?  I mean it’s a losing battle.”

“If I were writing the story,” said Clare, “they would still be fighting the church, trying to get secret documents out of the Vatican basement, hoping to tell the truth and free the people.   If I was the pope, on the other hand, I’d have the church’s hitmen go after all the members, until none were left to tell the truth.  The one guy, who was vacationing in Aruba, when the others were murdered, would be killed when he came home. Then I’d have two fabulous women find his body, in an empty apartment, and have them solve the case in spite of the bumbling Detective in charge of the.”

They high-fived each other and waited for the door of the bus to open.

Clare handed Sunny another candy bar.

“How many did you take?” asked Sunny.

“All of them,” she said.  “They were on a desk in the reception area.”

“Does a police station have a reception desk?  I mean it’s not a hotel.”

“Well, some people do stay overnight, they are given a bed, food and water, but there’s no pool or mint on the pillow.”

“I see your point,” smiled Sunny.

“What’s with the Detective?”

“I think he’s tired, overworked, has no life outside his job and he doesn’t know what to do with us.  I think he hates the fact that we might have helped him. He knows we didn’t kill the guy, but he doesn’t have any real leads.  Do you truly think a woman killed him?”

“Makes sense.  There didn’t appear to be any indication that he fought back.  She was able to get close enough to shive him.”

“Oh I love it when you say words like shive and things,” said Sunny.

Clare laughed.  “That’s why I said it, but the word wasn’t used correctly.  Doesn’t matter though, as long as you liked it.  She had to be pretty strong to stab him the way she did.  She could have gone between his ribs, but she did it the hard way.”

“Do you think he knew her?” asked Sunny.

“No.  If he knew her, he would have known something was up.  I’m wondering if he was killed somewhere else and the body dumped in the apartment.  I think there should have been more blood.  If only Sherlock were here,” she said, biting her bottom lip.

“You don’t think it could have been a guy dressed up as a female, do you?”

“No, Freddie would have fought back.”

“Let’s get off here,” said Sunny, getting up.  “The real estate lady gave me the key to another apartment and I think it’s right over there.”

They disembarked and found the apartment building.  Busy street, small clothing store on the bottom level, two stories high. Brick, new windows and well cared for.

“It’s on the top floor,” said Sunny, “and it’s facing east, so I should get a lot of sun on the back porch in the summer, which means a nice garden.”

“This is a good area, but there is a lot of traffic.”

“It’s move in ready, everything’s been newly painted, and it’s only been on the market since yesterday.  Best of all, the rent covers everything,” she said, opening the door.

“Do you think the dead guy over there is included as well?” asked Clare.

“How is this possible?” groaned Sunny.  “Dead guys can’t be following me, I mean they were already dead when I got here,” said Sunny.  “Who knew apartment hunting could be this weird.”

“No one,” said Clare.  “No one at all.”

“Thanks,” she said, pulling out her phone.

“No.  Don’t call…”

“Hi.  It’s me, Sunny.  We found another dead guy.”

“So, said Detective Austin.  “You came to look at a second apartment, and found the dead guy in the corner.”

“Yes,” said Sunny.  “That’s exactly what happened.”

“It was different this time,” said Clare.  “This dead guy has been shot through the head, not stabbed.”

Detective Austin stared at her.

“Well, it’s true,” said Clare, frowning at him.

“No symbolic ring, he’s right handed and I didn’t kick him,” said Sunny.  “Not even once.”

“And you,” he said to Clare. “Was he killed by a woman?”

“I think so.  I mean no indication that this dead guy fought back either and it looks as if the shooter was close, when he was blown away.”

“Do you believe in life after death, Detective?” asked Sunny.  “Maybe someone on the other side can tell us who’s doing these things.  Oh, and Clare doesn’t think the first dead guy was killed in that apartment.  She thinks he was moved from someplace else, because there wasn’t enough blood for him to be stabbed where we found him.”

“The first guy was killed in the gangway next to the building, and brought up to the apartment, where you found him,” said the Detective.

Clare and Sunny did a complex handshake, to their own music, while the Detective shook his head and covered his eyes.

“You okay Robbie?” asked Sunny.  “You look a bit peaked.  Want a candy bar?”

Clare handed him a candy bar.  “Eat it, you’ll feel better after the sugar rush.”

“Did you take this from the station?”

“I thought they were there for the guests,” said Clare.  “They looked free, so I took a couple.”

He sighed and unwrapped the candy bar.  He ate it in two bites and went over to look at the body.

“He’s in the same corner as the other dead guy, said Clare.  “Do you think the body’s been moved?”

“Maybe the real estate lady is involved,” said Sunny.  “She might give us the key to places knowing there’s a dead guy on the floor.”

“She seemed really nice,” said Clare.

“You’re right,” agreed Sunny.  “She’d never do anything like that.  But what if…”

“The dead guys are about the same age, they kind of look alike, so maybe they knew each other,” said Clare.

“I bet it’s the hit guys from the Vatican,” said Sunny.

“What are you two TALKING ABOUT,” shouted the Detective.

“We’er brainstorming,” said Sunny.  “What’s wrong with you?  Want another candy bar?”

“There’s a pigeon tapping on the window,” said Clare.

“The whole city is filled with pigeons,” said the Detective.  “They’re everywhere.”

“Yeah, but not all of them have bits of paper attached to their legs.”

The Detective opened the window and grabbed the pigeon.”

“You hurt that bird and I’ll rip your hear out and feed it to hungry wolves, then I’ll throw you to the ground and stomp on you until nothing is left,” said Sunny, gently taking the cooing pigeon from his hands.  “He’s sorry, baby, he’s just a mean icky man who doesn’t know how to appreciate a beautiful being like you.”

“Back up,” said Clare, waving the Detective away form Sunny.  “She means what she said.  Wait until she takes the letter off the bird’s leg.  She will do anything to protect animals.”

A few minutes later, after Sunny kissed the bird all over it’s back and face, she handed the note to the Detective, then carried the bird to the open window.  “Thank you,” she said, putting the pigeon on the windowsill.  “You’re a very good bird and you don’t have to run errands for humans, you can fly wherever you like.  Go to where it’s always warm and the days sunny.  Maybe you’ll like it.”  The bird cooed, bobbed up and down a couple of times, then flew away.

“What does it say?” asked Clare.

got held up
can’t make it
meet me at our special
place at midnight

“Well,” said Sunny, that’s not very helpful.”

“Do you still want to tear out my heart and stomp on me?” asked the Detective.

Sunny walked right up to him and stretched to her full height.  “If I EVER see you grab a bird like then again you won’t live long enough to ask that question.”  Then she moved away and said, “No.  I’m good. The bird’s okay and gone, so you don’t have to worry. You’re safe…for now.”

The Detective looked at Clare, who just smiled and whispered…”She really cares about all of them.”

The Forensic team moved in and they all left the apartment.

“There’s no blood in the hall or on the stairs,” said Clare, and there was a lot of blood on the floor and wall, so he was probably killed here, using a silencer, or people would have called you when they heard the shot.”

“Look for a tattoo above his right ankle,” said Sunny.  “If it’s the same as the symbol on the ring, we have a pattern.”

“I think we already have a pattern,” said the Detective, “and you two, are part of it.”






How they met…a short story

“You’re different,” she said, standing next to the small table where he was sitting.  “I don’t know what’s it is, but you’re not human.”

“You can see me?” he asked, surprised.

“Well, duh!” she said, rolling her eyes.  “Why would I be talking to you if I couldn’t see you?”

“I’m invisible.”

“Maybe in your own mind,” she chuckled.  “So, what’s your story?  What are you?  Where are you from and what are you doing sitting in the Laughing Lizard all by yourself?”

“I can’t believe you can see me,” he said frowning.  “You’re not supposed to be able to do that.”

“Maybe you didn’t hear all of my questions.  I think we’re past the, I can’s see you, bit, don’t you agree?”

“People are watching you talk to yourself,” he said.

She looked to her left and sure enough, people were staring at her.  She held up her hand and smiled.  “Drama student.  We are doing a new version of The Invisible Man, and I’m practicing for a role.  I didn’t mean to disturb anyone.”

“You’re pretty good,” said an old man, munching on a carrot.  “Hope you get the part.”

“Thank you,” she said, bowing to him.

She turned back to the invisible person and whispered, “Meet me out in front.”  Then she picked up her backpack, her sunglasses and coffee, and exited the cafe.  He followed her.  She started walking.

“So?  What are you?”

“I’m an recorder.”

“I want to know what you are.  I mean are you an AI?  Like in the Terminator?  Exoskeleton, I’LL BE BACK! kind of thing, or are you just a different form of human from the future.”


“What do you mean, what?” she said, stopping on the sidewalk to stare at him.

“I’ll be back?  From where?  What are you talking about?  You think I’m here to terminate humans?”

“I have no idea why you’re here, that’s what I’m trying to find out.  What are you?  What purpose do you serve and why are you here?”

“I can ask you the same questions, can’t I.”

She glared at him and started walking again.

“I can and you know it.  No one knows anything about what they are, what purpose, if any, they serve and they sure don’t know why they’re here.”

“That’s mean,” she said.

“No it’s not.  It’s the truth.”

“I know,” she sighed.  “Can you make yourself visible?  I don’t want to be seen talking to myself again.”

“Is this okay?” he asked.

She bit her bottom lip and said, “Definitely,” as she took in his torn jeans and Aerosmith t-shirt.  He wore battered boots and his hair… “Hey, you look different than you did in The Lizard.”

“This is what you like, so I just thought…”

“Why did you look the way you did before?”

“That was my traveling look.  Nondescript, boring, forgettable.  If someone was able to see me they wouldn’t remember me at all.”

“I saw you.”

“I know.  You shouldn’t have been able to do that.”

“You look….”

“Like your fantasy.”

“How do you know?”

“I can read your heart and this is what you want.”

“I might hate you.”

He laughed.  “Hardly.”

“Are you going to answer my questions?”


“Why not?”

He shrugged.  “None of the answers matter.”

“What if they matter to me.”

“What if they do?”

“I know why you’re here.”

He laughed again.  “Do tell.”

“Seriously man, who talks like that?  Do tell?”

“Whatever,” he said.  “Tell me why you think I’m here.”

She sighed and stopped walking again.  “You’re here for the same reason I am.  Why do you think I can see you.  You’re here to see life on earth before The Third World War destroys everything.  Before this way of life is gone.”

“Where are you from?” he asked.

“Not important,” she said.

He nodded.  “It’s a shame they let things get this far.”

“Tell me about it,” she said.  “It could have been a wonderful planet, filled with life, beauty and harmony.”

“Once humans were here, all chances of those things were lost,” he said.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with them.”

“No one does.”

“They had so many chances,” she said, watching a squirrel run up a tree.

“Only one voice.  The voice of male violence, wealth, fear and again, greed.”

“Well,” she said.  “Let’s hope that if any of them survive, they do a better job next time.”

“They won’t.  They’ve had two world wars and a million smaller ones.  They never learn. They are simply a destructive and deadly species.”

“Want to get some ice cream?” she asked.

“Sure.  What’s your name?”

“When I’m here, it’s Kitty.”

“When I’m here, it’s Eddie.  Are you going to get a cone, a sundae, malt or….”

“Yes,” she snickered.  “All of the above.

“Me too,” he said.  “I think I like you Kitty.”

“Like I care,” she said, pushing him off the sidewalk.

“When I look like this you do,” he smiled.

“So unfair,” she said, grabbing his hand.  “Just so unfair.”





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