Art and the philosophy of life

Posts tagged ‘Short story’

Hitman…chapter 2

It was dark when Terry finally opened his eyes.  He reached for the alarm clock, knocking several things off the nightstand, before he remembered that that the clock was on the floor, along with his phone.

He lay on his back, staring at the ceiling.  The water stain in the corner seemed bigger, and there was  cobweb floating lazily in the air he had disturbed when he flipped over.

“This is no way to live,” he said to the empty room.  Then he stretched, and threw his legs over the side of the bed, angering the guy who was inside his head, hitting his brain with a hammer.  He made his way to the bathroom where he showered, saved, brushed his teeth and dressed in jeans and an Aerosmith t-shirt, that brought back a lot of great memories.

Then he walked into the living room, on his way to the kitchen, the two rooms divided by a counter top and three stools, and stopped.  She was sitting on the couch, reading one of the files Mile had delivered yesterday.

He pulled the gun from the small of his back and said, “Who the hell are you?”

“Do you want me to put my hands up?” she asked sweetly.

“Tell me who you are, why you’re here, or it will no longer be an issue.”

“I’m Sally Long, and according to this file, you’re supposed to kill me.”

“What’d you do?”

“Wrong place at the wrong tine,” she said.  “You know how that goes.”

He lowered the gun.  “What do you want?”

“I want you not to kill me, of course.”

“If I don’t do it, someone else will,” said Terry, “and that person might be as nice as I am.  How’d you get in here?”

“I’m good with locks,” she said, running her fingers through her short hair.

“What else are you good with?”

“Knives and…men.”

He laughed, and put two steaming hot mugs of coffee onto the coffee table.

“Thank you, and it’s nice to see the table used for what it was actually made for,” she said.

“Hope you like it black.”

She nodded.

“What did you see?” he asked, leaning back, taking a sip from his mug.

“I saw Two Hands Lazar kill Mickey Jenkens in the back room of Hell’s Garden.”

“What did the file say?” he asked, looking at the folder on her lap.

“You haven’t read it?”

“I was busy.”

“It said to disappear me.  Or erase me, or just knock me off, I guess.  Not a lot of details and the picture they used is four years old.  I was wondering if you’re rather kill Lazar and let me walk.  I didn’t run away, or try to hide, because I know your reputation.  That’s why I came here.  I wanted to talk to you and tell you what happened, so you could get to know me better and see that I’m not a threat.”

“As long as you’re above ground, you’ll be a threat to Lazar.”

“Well, not if he’s dead, right?  Oh, and I made some corrections to the information in the file.  My phone number has changed and I don’t live on Maple Street any longer.”

“Thanks.”

“Sure,” she said, pleasantly.

“Now what?”

“I was thinking,” she said, taking a sip of coffee.  “maybe, I could stay here, with you.  No one would ever think of looking for me in your place.  I could…clean up a bit and make some changes.  It wouldn’t be forever, just until things calm down.  I already got rid of my apartment and my car. My cat is in the carrier by the door.”

“You’re serious?”

“Without a doubt.”

“Okay,” he said.

“Okay?  Really?  Just like that?  Okay?”

“Sure, why not.  If you drive me crazy, or things change, I can always kill you later.”

“Aren’t you afraid I’ll kill you in your sleep?”

“No, because as I said, the next guy who comes for you, won’t be half as nice as I am.”

“Deal,” she said, holding out her hand.  “The couch is mine.”

“Deal.”

The cat meowed and she got up and let him out of his carrier.  “His name is Whisper, because his meow’s are very soft.”

The cat walked up to Terry then jumped onto his lap and curled up.

 

Hitman…chapter one.

The alarm clock hit the wall and fell to the floor. Terry turned over in bed and pulled the covers over his head.  I have to get shades on the windows to block out the bloody light, he thought for the nine thousandth time,  The phone rang, then followed the flight path of the clock.  Together they lay upon the dusty wooden floor and waited.

There was a knock on the door.  He growled and said, ” I have a GUN and it’s pointed at the door.”

The knocking continued, becoming more persistent and a lot LOUDER.

Terry wondered it anyone’s head ever exploded from a hangover.  He imagined that it happened all the time, but the liquor companies just kept it quiet.

He rolled off the bed and waited until the room stopped spinning before he got up.  Then he made his way to the door, threw it open, and said, “Whatever it is, it better be good enough to stop me from killing you where you stand.”

“The Order has a job for you,” said Miles, a tall, skinny man in a dark blue suit, who brushed past Terry and made his way to the kitchen table.  He opened his briefcase, pulled out three files and said,  “Oh, do sit down, Terry, but put some clothes on first.  You look…terrible.”

“I should kill you,” whispered Terry.  “It would be a great way to start this day and they’d never find your body.”

“Yes, yes, kill me, hide the body, and all that.  If you would stop drinking for a day or two, you might not feel as bad as you always do.  And really, only certain vampires have eyes as red as yours.”

“I really hate you,” said Terry, pulling on the sweatpants that were thrown over the living room chair.  “Good enough?” he asked, holding out his arms.

“You’re disgusting, but yes, they’re good enough.”

“Hey, I didn’t ask you to come here, you know.”

“Well, since you never come to the office, what other choice do we have?”

“We have an office?” he asked, frowning.  “Where is it?”

“I rest my case,” sighed Miles.

“Has anyone ever liked you?  Did your mother ever like you?  Anyone?  Anyone at all?”

“The only thing you hate about me is that I’m a functioning human being, as opposed to being an alcoholic dead beat.”

“I am not an alcoholic, Miles, nor am I a dead beat.  As for the functioning human being, you know I’m not completely human, so now my feelings are hurt.”

“Three files.  Three hits.  Need to be done fast.”

Terry tapped the files, then pointed to the door.  “Go away Miles and never darken my door again.”

“He wants these done by Friday.”

“Why?  What’s the rush?”

“No idea.”

“You never ask any questions, do you,” he said.

“I like breathing.”

Terry nodded.  “I’m going back to bed.  If you stay here, clean up the place.  It’s starting to get messy.”

Miles looked around, then closed his eyes.  “You could be so much more than you are.”

“Could’t we all,” said Terry, walking away.

 

Interview…

“Where did you meet her?”

“By my pond.  She was sitting on a bench, having lunch.  I think she was eating a cheese sandwich with pickles.  She had chips as well.  I herd them crunching, as she bit into them.”

“When did she notice you?” asked the interviewer.

“I croaked at her.  She looked down at me and smiled.  Then she said hello and offered me a bit of bread.  I like flies, but I didn’t think it would be polite to ask her to catch any for me, so I just smiled back.”

“Then what happened?”

“She told me about her life.  What had happened in the past and how she felt about the future.”

“What did you say?”

“Well, I croaked some more, telling her that everything would be okay, but I’m not sure she understood everything I said.”

“I can understand the language problems.  Not unusual, of course.”

“No.  It’s quite common, actually.”

“Please tell me more,” said the interviewer.

“In the end, she asked if she could kiss me.  She said it was possible that I was her prince.”

“What did you say?”

“I didn’t think it was true.  But she was very sad, so I told her that she could kiss me.”

“Then what happened?”

“She held out her hand and I hopped on.”

“And?”

“She smiled at me and said that if I wasn’t her prince, it would be okay, and she would love me no matter what happened.  She said she was grateful for my help.”

“Is that when she kissed you?”

“Yes.  She kissed me gently, then waited.”

“So you didn’t turn into her prince, did you,” signed the interviewer.

“Oh, yes.  I did turn into her prince.  Apparently, I was quite handsome, if she is to be believed.”

“Well, why aren’t you together?” asked the interviewer, quickly, looking around.  “Where is she?”

“She went home to pack.  We’re running away.  Going  someplace with bigger ponds.”

“Are you able to stay in human form for long periods of time?”

“I’m not sure.  It’s something I’ll have to get used to, I suppose.”

“And she’s okay with that?”

“We’re still working out the details.”

“Well, good luck to both of you, and may you have a long and wonderful life together.”

“Thank you very much.  I hope you have a nice day.”

“You too,” said the interviewer, closing her folder.  Thank you for your time.”

 

Photo:  Ksama
Unsplash

 

 

 

 

Neon and How they Met…

Pink and Blue Heart Neon Signage

“I thought this was a deli,” she said, standing in front of the counter.

“It is.  What would you like?” he asked.

“What about the soul thing?”

“What about it?”

“You want to hold my soul?”

“Uh, how would I do that?” he asked, frowning.  “We aren’t even sure there is such a thing and besides, even if souls existed, they’d be invisible, or misty, and no one could hold one.”

“So what does the sign mean?”

“It means our food is so good, you’ll feel it in your soul and never forget it.”

She laughed.  “Wow, that’s a lot of pressure to put on a lunch dish.”

“We can handle it,” he said, smiling.  “So you’re a virgin?”

“Excuse me?”

“You’re first time here,”  he said.

“Oh, yes.  First time here.”

“Then you have to write your name and number, or email, on one of those tags,” he said pointing to a small table, “and put it in the jar.   You might win a hundred dollars, or a free meal.  This is the only chance you’ll have to add your name.  Once you leave, when you return, you will no longer be a virgin.   And before you ask, yes men are virgins too.  Anyone who is here for the first time, qualifies for the prizes.”

“I’m a vegetarian.  What do you suggest?”

He thought for a moment and said.  “Go sit down.  I gotcha.”

Twenty minutes later he walked over and placed five dishes of delicious looking food in front of her.

“This one’s on me,” he said.  “Don’t worry about the cost, just enjoy the food.  I think we’re going to go out, then get married, have one kid, a dog, two cats and a pet rat. But hey, maybe that’s just my dream.  Eat up.”

She watched him walk away and started laughing, after which she tried hard not to make too many groaning sounds as she ate.

“OMG,” she said.  “THAT WAS OUTSTANDING.”

“Glad you liked it,” he said, smiling.  “How about the date?”

“I like rats,” she said. “Is this how you get to hold my soul?  By making me fall in love with you?”

“It happens in all different ways, but this is one of them.  Yes.”

“I’m crazy about neon.”

“Dancing?  Friday night?”

“Sure,” she said.

“Meet me here at seven?”

“Okay.”

“You probably want another slice of rye bread, am I right?”

She held out her hand, he gave her the bread, and waved as she left.

 

Photo:  Emre Can Acer
Pexels

 

Meeting of GODS, GODDESSES AND OTHERS…A short story

“Hi.  My name is…Dave Waxfeather,” said the handsome man, standing in front of the podium.

A soft murmur came from the people sitting in folding chairs in front of him.

“You’re supposed to be honest, when you’re here,” someone shouted.

Dave Waxfeather nodded, and fidgeted with the cuffs on his shirt.  “Hi. My name is Cain.”

“HI CAIN.”

“I’ve been around for…a long time.  Pretty much from the beginning, and, as some of you might know, I’ll be around to the very end.”

Soft laughter.

“I used to have anger issues, but I’ve managed to overcome them, for the most part.”

Nods, from those in the audience.

“If you’re not an Only Child, it may be difficult for you to understand how a sibling can drive you to the brink of insanity.  I was the first born, but Abel was the favorite.  I still don’t understand that.  I don’t know why.  And what kind of name is Abel anyway?  And Cain?  What were our parents thinking?”

Mumbling could be heard.

“Siblings take your stuff, including your parents’ attention.  When I was a kid, there wasn’t much to do.  My father was lazy and kind of a jerk, and my mom, well, she felt trapped, and she hated her life.  Actually, she hated my father. And she wasn’t the first woman to hate him.  Lilith was the first.  So, when my mother ran away, I didn’t blame her.  She’d had kids with a guy she couldn’t stand.  A man who though he was better than she was.  Anyway, it wasn’t the best home life, for a curious child.  And my brother was always right there.  Like a fly that simply would not go away.”

“We hear you,” shouted a man.  “We hear you.  Go on, son.”

“Keep in mind that we were, supposedly the only people on earth.  NOTHING was there.  No fast food, cars…nothing at all.  So, one day I just snapped.  I wasn’t myself.  Well, of course, I was my self.  We’re always like ourselves, even if we don’t like who we are, some of the time.  Anyway, I killed my brother.   Thank you for listening,” he said, and stepped off the stage.

Hands went out and touched his arm as he passed by, giving him strength and telling him they understood.

“Next,” said the woman at the podium.

A gorgeous woman took to the stage.

“Hi.  My name is Medusa.”

The audience, said, “HI, MEDUSA.”

“I’m angry about the lies that have been told about me.  The things they say in books, the stories they tell.  None of them are true.  They have been written by the men who desired me.  Wanted to control me.  Wanted to make me theirs.”

“We hear you,” shouted a tall brunette, in the second row.

“I went so far as to cut myself off from society.  I found a cave and stayed there, just so I could live my life my own way, but they still would not leave me alone.  Sending one man after another, to drag me back, to teach me a lesson, for not obeying them.  So, I killed those who entered my domain.”

“Only thing you could have done,” yelled a blond.

“Then they called ME a murderer.  THEY came after me and I was not expected to defend myself.”

“You did what you had to do,” said a woman in the front row.

“I want the truth to be told.  I want people to know how they harassed me, tormented me, and refused to let me live my life in solitude. I want new stories to be written…not just about myself, but about all of you, as well.  I’m sick of all the lies.”

The audience rose as one, and applauded.

Medusa bowed and went back to her seat.

“Well, that’s it for tonight,” said the host.  There’s coffee and cookies on the back table. Stay and chat, if you like.  Our next meeting for GODS, GODDESSES and OTHERS, will meet here next Tuesday night, at seven.  Hope to see all of you then.”

Hearts…a shortValentine’s Day story.

Red Neon Light Signage

“I’d like a pound of hearts, please.  The little ones with the tiny sayings on them.”

“You need to go to a different kind of place for those,” she said.  “Like a grocery store, or a candy store.  We don’t sell those tiny hearts here.”

He backed up and looked at the sign.  “It’s says HEARTS.”

“I know that,” she sighed. “But we only deal in real ones.”

“Real hearts?  Like the one inside my body?”

She nodded.  “The very one.  Would you like to sell yours?”

“How would I spend the money?  I’d be dead.”

“We would make sure your next of kin received your check.”

“Are you serious?”

She pushed a folder across the counter.  “These are the rates,” she said.  “You could set someone up for quite a long times, if you were to sell.”

He looked at the prices. “So the younger the heart, the more money.”

“Of course,” she said, leaning against the bar.  “If that’s not to your liking, there are a couple of other things available.”

“What, you want my liver too?”

“Yuk, no,” she said, making an ugly face.  “There’s a room in the back.  People who believe that hearts have power, will pay to drink your blood, then eat your heart.  They pay even more than the prices in this brochure.”

“So basically vampires.”

She nodded.  Or, if you want to sell your heart we can fix you up with a scubas.  You’ll die happy, and your family will have financial security.”

“No thanks.”

“Fine,” she said, taking back the brochure, getting ready to walk away.  “There is one more thing.”

“Hit me with it,” he said. “I can hardly wait.”

“We can fix you up with your heart’s desire.  You have to pay us for that one.”

“You mean like a dating service?”

“If that’s what you desire.  You just have to think about what you want, while you’re alive, and that’s what you’ll get.  When you die, your heart is used to pay your debt, for services rendered.”

“I don’t like any of the choices.”

“We have a Valentine’s Day special.”

“What is it?”

“It’s pretty boring.”

“I seriously doubt that.  Just tell me.”

“For a certain price,” she said, pushing a flier toward him, “we’ll find your so called, soul mate.  It’s pricy, but you’ll be very happy, I can assure you.”

“I just came in here for candy hearts.  The little ones with the tiny sayings on them.  Assorted colors.”

“As I said, we do not sell the tiny hearts with the sayings on them, no matter what color they are.  Now, you have taken up enough of my time, so  either choose one, or leave this establishment.”

“This is weird.”

“To you, maybe.”

“I’m gonna go, now.”

“If you change your mind, you might not be able to find us.”

“Why not?”

“Some people seem to think our business isn’t quite legal.  So we move…a lot.”

“Are you a vampire?”

“Yes.”

“I thought so,” he said.

“What gave it away?”

“The fangs, pale skin, the way you keep looking at my throat.”

“Yeah, that’s a tell for sure,” she sighed.  “I keep trying not to do that, look at everyone’s throat, I mean, but it’s hard not to when it’s a pulse point.”

“I guess.  Well, good luck,” he said.

“You too.  Hope you find the little hearts with the tiny sayings on them.”

“Thanks,” he said.  “I hope you find what you’re looking for as well.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day.”

He smiled at her, pushed open the door, and walked back into the night

 

Photo:  Maksim Goncharenok
Pexels

 

 

The Dream…5

She stared at the ceiling, listening to the phone ring.  Then she looked at the clock.  She’d been in the dream for twenty minutes.

“I need more,” she whispered, and closed her eyes.

But it was impossible. She couldn’t empty her m ind.  She told herself that it was okay.  She just needed a break.  Something to eat, something to drink, and then she would try again.  That would also give her time to think about what she had seen.

“That was me,” she said to the plant, sitting on the kitchen windowsill.  “And, I know it was, or IS real.”  The plant tried to nod but it had incredibly stiff leaves and, therefore, couldn’t manage it.  “I want to know when that’s happening?  Where it’s taking place, and if it’s a memory, my future, or just a dream and nothing more?”  The plant remained silent.  In fact, it had fallen asleep, so it was absolutely was no help to her at all.

She ate another peanut butter and jelly sandwich, three gigantic chocolate chip cookies, a fudge bar, and a couple of cashews.  Then she ripped the top off of a strawberry Greek yogurt, and ate that.

“I think it’s in the future,” she said, tapping her spoon against the edge of the yogurt cup.  “That feels right,” she grunted, popping a frozen waffle into the toaster oven.

“Okay.  It’s me, in an ocean, looking like something from out of the the black lagoon, only a really pretty green color, doing something I know is truly important.  But why?”

The toaster over binged and she grabbed the waffle, then dropped it onto the counter, shaking her hand and muttering, “hot, hot, hot.”  She gave the waffle a minute to cool off, then ate it in big bites.  “I’m ready to try again,” she told the plant, who was quite busy dreaming about roots, small seeds, and chlorophyl.

She got down on the floor, made sure everything was in order, closed her eyes, and slowly drifted back to the cave.

The woman was tapping and twisting the crystals, and looking at some kind of crystal tablet.  Upon closer look, there seemed to be a platform farther back in the small space.  A bed possibly, or natural table, made out of another huge crystal.  There was a large shell on one corner.  A decoration, or something else?  She wondered which.

She watched the woman continue twisting, and tapping, crystals.  She sometimes ran a loose crystal over the face of the tablet.  She did that for quite some time, and the longer she watched her, the more beautiful she became, and the more she understood.

She was a researcher.  An oceanographer, of sorts.  She lived in the small alcove inside the cave, and worked in the ocean itself.  She took samples, did experiments, and counted fish and other species.  She was trying to help the ocean, and those survivors who remained .  She knew the chances of reversal were slim, but she was doing what she could.  She believed that she might make a difference, no matter how small.

She had been made for deep ocean depths, as well as topside.  She had volunteered for the job.  Everyone had volunteered for the jobs they held, and they were all altered to fit into the environments in which they would live, for the rest of their lives.  Apart, and alone.  Always.

But she was happy, that much was obvious.  She was doing what she loved.  She thought the ocean was beautiful, the fish, her only companions, had become her friends.  She was never lonely.  She had no memories of being anything but what she was.  And then she stopped touching the crystals and hung her feet over the edge of her small cave floor, and kicked her webbed feet in the water, like a child playing.  Then she turned a rich,  dark purple, slide into the water and sped away.

She sat up and pushed the blanket to the side.  She stared at the clock, two a.m.  Her head was full of pictures and the story.  She went into the kitchen and put water into the tea kettle.  Then she ripped open an envelope of hot chocolate and poured it into a mug.  The plant wanted to know how things turned out, but had no way of asking, so it sat there hoping to be watered.

The whistle on the tea kettle snapped her out of her stupor.  She stirred the powder, while she poured the boiling hot water over it.

She was positive that what she saw was in the future.  She knew the choices she would make when that time arrived.  She stared at her hands, trying to imagine webbing between her fingers, but she couldn’t do it.  Then she poured water into a glass and watered the plant, who made a sound of relief that she couldn’t hear.

She turned, when she heard the key in the lock.

“Still up, I see,” he said.

She smiled, and nodded. “How was your gig?”

“Outstanding.”

“That’s great,” she said, happily.

“Did the dream keep you up,” he asked, walking toward her.

“Yes, but not in the way you think.  I have a story to tell you,” she said, putting two frozen waffles into the toaster oven.

He watched her, and knew he was in for something big.  She was cooking, and that always meant something big.

“This is NOT cooking,” she laughed. “I know what you’re thinking.”

“Looks like cooking to me,” he snickered, putting two plates on the table.

“I know what the dream means,” she said, walking into his arms.

“Tell me everything,” he said, hugging her.  “I can’t wait to hear.”

 

 

 

Post Script

When she told him, over waffles, and lemonade.  The plant was happy because it really wanted to know what was going on, and people never remember that plants are part of the family, so they fail to explain things to them.

 

Post Script 2

I’ve been having that dream for a very long time.

 

Neon…Elmer’s…a short story about glue.

Elmer's Logo

“Excuse me, but where’s the glue?”

“Glue?” asked the woman behind the counter.  “What glue?”

“Elmer’s glue.”

“We don’t sell glue here.”

“You’re kidding,” he said.  “This is ELMER’S.  You have to sell glue.”

“Look around.  This is a tattoo parlor.  Not a glue store.”

“I thought it was an Elmer’s Glue outlet,” he said, seeing people in chairs, getting various designs put on their bodies. “Okay,” he admitted. “You’re right, it doesn’t look like a glue store.”

“Do you want a tattoo?  I can help you with that.”

“What would I get?”

“No idea.  We have tons of art you can look at, or you can draw something yourself.”

“Any suggestions?” he asked.

“What do you like?” she asked.

He thought for a moment, then said, “Ice cream.  I like ice cream.”

She nodded and pulled up a picture of a dripping ice ream cone.  “I really like this one,” she said.  “The drips run down your arm, and you can choose any ice cream you like, chocolate, strawberry, anything at all.”

“Okay.  Strawberry, please.”

“I think Denise is almost finished with her customer.  She has an hour open before the next one.  Maybe she’ll be willing to take you.”

“Thanks.”

And that’s how a guy shopping for glue ended up with a tattoo of strawberry ice cream cone dripping down his right arm.  But wait…there’s more.  When he left, he saw a store on the other side of the street that said, WE SELL GLUE.  So all in all, it’s wasn’t such a bad way to start his week.

 

 

Photo:  Tim Mossholder

 

Alice…a short story about love.

Girl, Umbrella, Rain, Wet, Raining

Ever since she was a child, Alice loved the rain.  As she grew older, she would run to the window and press her face against the glass, trying to get a close to the drops as she possibly could.  Her parents thought she was adorable and expected her to  outgrow her passion for those stormy days very soon.

But Alice didn’t outgrow her passion for stormy days.  Instead she talked to the storm and to the raindrops falling on her.  She held out her hand to catch the rain, turned her face to the sky and laughed, as the water washed over her.

One stormy day, Alice realized that wherever she went, it was raining.  She could see the sun shining on the other side of the street, but it was pouring where she was standing.   That’s when she realized that her love for rain was being reciprocated.  She loved the rain…and the rain had fallen in love with her as well.

 

Photo:  Pixabay

Noir…Second chance.

silhouette photo of a man with hat standing near concrete building at daytime

She told him she wouldn’t wait.  If he was late, he’d never see her again.  So he hurried, knowing that he couldn’t let her slip through his fingers.  Not again.

He dropped his cigarette and ran.  He loved her.  He realized that now.  He shoved a man, pushing his way through the crowd.  It was a few minutes after four.  She wasn’t on the corner.  She was gone.

“Hey, Mac,” said a short man, in a dark wool coat and brown hat.  You Johnny?”

He nodded.  “A dame gave me a fiver and said to give this to you.”  He handed him an envelope.  “She was a real looker.”

“Yes.  She was,” he said, taking the envelope, turning away.

It was chilly, winter was close, and the sun was weak. He walked to the park and sat down on a bench.  Pigeons flew to him, like the did to everyone else.

“I don’t have anything for you,” he said, apologetically.  “Sorry.”

The birds pecked around his feet for a few minutes, then flew away. He sighed, tore open the envelope and held out his hand.  Her pearls slid into his palm, along with a small piece of paper, that read, this is all you’ll ever have of me.  

He closed his eyes, feeling empty inside.  She had given him another chance, one that he didn’t deserve, and he had blown it.  She was gone. It was over.

He stood up, slid the pearls into his pocket, pulled on his gloves and made his way to the nearest bar.

 

Photo:  Craig Whitehead
unsplash

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