My turn for the latest installment of… The Reclining Gentleman’s Fiction Relay… To see what went on before, check out… The Fiction Relay Homepage.
Suzi stared at Sam. With his malevolent look, any hope that he was a good guy quickly flickered out.
He didn’t see the man in the Panama hat until too late. “Sam!” Hope flickered back in, but Sam was now in no shape to help her. The Hat put away his sap, and hurried over to Suzi when he heard… “Shut that bitch up!”
Waking in a fog, Suzi could not recall what had happened. Too much discomfort to be dreaming, and it wasn’t at all like the dream she had recently. This one was all wrong, as she seemed to be laying on the cold bare floor of a van, her arms behind her back. Snatches of conversation from the front… “we’ll search her for them” “maybe a map” “be careful”. As the pain in her head subsided, she remembered Sam being bashed in the head, and the guy in the hat tying her hands. Groping her breasts. Raj smirking. The pain in her skull told her The Hat must have used the sap on her also. After a fruitless struggle with her bonds, Suzi decided to wait it out and see what would happen. ‘Damn, shouldn’t have gone back to the apartment, but I couldn’t leave the clues.’ ‘Did Raj look in the bag, does Raj have my bag… God, I hope not’. ‘Poor Melissa, what part she was playing.’ ‘And Sam, what is with this guy?’ Thoughts danced in her head, as she weighed her options. What to do with whoever was in the front of the van.
Blood seemed to be everywhere. His blood. Sam stopped it with a blouse from the floor, and surveyed the bedroom. Blood on the bedspread, where she had been standing when he entered the room. Suzi taken, Raj and the person who cold cocked him from behind, he assumed. Not much in the way of anything in Suzi’s apartment. A few photos and books, wine bottles, it looked more like a cheap motel room. A bag of sorts peeking out from the side of the bed. Inside, an iPad and some thumb drives… those now in his pocket. His gun still there. ‘Let’s see if she still has her phone.’
In need of smokes, the van slowed and swung to a stop behind a gas station. “Check on our passenger.” Playing asleep, Suzi waited for them to open the back door. Only the Panama hat came into view. As he reached in to check her bonds, she unleashed a vicious kick up under the throat, sending him backwards to the asphalt. Springing from the van, Suzi pinned him on the chest with one foot, while shoving his head over to the side, creating a loud snap. “How did you like that trick, mother fucker!” The inert hatless form did not answer. Spinning about, expecting Raj, she found only the empty van. ‘Must be in the store.’ Suzi passed a newspaper stand, the headline…
‘RESTAURANT MASSACRE…COOK FOUND HANGING IN WALK-IN COOLER!
Her stomach sickened. She slid down the street to an alley; where she could break into a run, put some distance, find a place to work on the rope.
Activating the location indicator, Sam saw her iPhone was moving away from Courtland and Winchester streets. A Shell station was noted. Not to far, hoped Suzi was moving with it. Racing to his car… the blue ball slowly moving along the map.
She had run for blocks. Exhausted, she crouched between two cars and tried to cut the ropes on a rusting bumper.
The Jag pulled to a stop, the passenger door opened… “Get in! Now!”
To be continued…
To see what happens to Suzi next… go visit that noted Colorado romance writer Dawn…
It’s been three months now. The shakes have gotten worse. Chef dropped the plate off at the counter, and plodded back to the grill. 3 a.m., liver and onions, bacon and eggs, whores and drunks. Oh well, life at the Huddle House in Chicago.
Lit a cig and stirred the hash browns around. Needed a drink.
Have to remember to put cream down on the 86 board, so they order in the morning. At least he won’t be there listening to the customers bitch if they forget. At 3 a.m they don’t care about cream.
Big slide from the Palmer House.
Friday Fictioneers 100Word Flash Fiction… with the debut of new head honcho Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Her photo prompt gave me this story from my Chicago days. To read her story, and find out more about the Friday Fictioneers… CLICK HERE … Why don’t you join us with one of your stories? We would love to have you.
I was recently invited to take part in a Fiction Relay, by The Reclining Gentleman. I had come across a chapter on my friend Chantel C’s blog, and liking these sorts of things… (One of my favorite books is Naked Came the Manatee. The first chapter was written by Dave Barry and the last by Carl Hiaasen, with eleven mystery writers in between, each inserting their own hero into the story. It was pretty wild. But I digress)… CC had written part 2, so I clicked on part 1 to see how it started. I had seen The Reclining Gentleman’s avatar (silhouette of a reclining gentleman) before, maybe you have too, and even read a few of his posts, first on Madison Woods’ Friday Fictioneers, I think. I complimented him on the relay idea, and his story, which brought about an invite to take part. After the usual “I’m not really a writer” BS, I decided to try it… and accepted. While I patiently waited, Delilah finished part 3. Here is my part of the ongoing story. You might want to first read the 3 chapters before mine, links at the bottom of the page… feel free to join in… I don’t think TRG will mind, drop him a line.
“What the Hell!” Startled from his rumination, the cigarette flew from Gino’s lips, creating an arc of sparks and ash across the stained tile. He ground it out, sending a glare at the new waitress.
Melissa caught Suzi, to save herself, wondering how Sam had rattled her so quickly.
“Who is this guy?” hissed Suzi.
Melissa uncoiled herself with pats and straightens. “Oh Hon, you’ll get to know him soon enough.”
“But, he knows me, he knows all about me. What does he want?” With hardening face, Melissa told her to fill another cup and finish her tables.
The booth by the window was empty.
After wiping the tables and refilling her station, Suzi got to experience the highlight of servers everywhere… counting tips. ‘This might not be such a bad job after all’ she thought, pocketing her day’s take. For a coffee shop, they added up. ‘Too bad Sam took up a booth all day. What was his deal, anyway?’
Melissa gave her a good-bye peck, “See you in the morning, and don’t you worry about Sam.” Gino just shot a black look, from behind the pass thru.
It was gray out, rain threatening, as Suzi scurried thru the early after work crowd, heading to her subway. It had been a busy day, she should have been exhausted, but her mind was full of questions, fueling an epinephrine release. Wanting to be home in her apartment behind a locked door, Suzi didn’t mind admitting, she was shaken by this Sam guy. Thoughts pounded her brain. ‘They told her she’d be safe coming to a big city, blend in, disappear. So, how does he know her, and what is her special ability? There is no possible way he could know about the Gold Club.’
She picked up a ‘Lean Cuisine’… Butternut Squash Ravioli… for later. Not as good as Gino’s cooking, but it will do, her Microwave du Jour. On top of the ‘Sam Thing’, Suzi could not figure out what she had done to offend the cook. She had been pleasant, complimenting him on his dishes, even tried to flirt a little. Maybe that’s how he treats the new girls. Another question for Melissa. And, after the Sam one, and The Gino one, comes The Uniform One. Thank God she didn’t have to wear it home. She knew it was a diner, but it wasn’t Mel’s Diner for Christ’s sake. Rocky Road ice cream for dessert… she deserved a treat tonight.
A guy, in a battered Panama hat outside the market, seemed to be staring at her. She thought she had seen him on the other side of the street, walking even with her, and thought, ‘you don’t see that kind of hat too much in the big city’. He looked away quickly, and when she exited, he was gone. Laughing it off, ‘I must be getting paranoid, Sam’s henchmen are everywhere’.
The entrance to the subway couldn’t come soon enough… to disappear in the depths with the crowd. Descending the stairs to the platforms below, she scanned her pass and pushed thru the turnstile. Her red hair slapping her face as a train whooshed into the station. Still a thrill, taking the train, nothing like that in Florida. It was then that she saw him.
To be continued…
Fiction Relay -Part One by The Reclining Gentleman
Fiction Relay- Part Two by Discovery
Fiction Relay- Part Three by Woman Who Writes Stuff
Dawn will write Part Five
The prompt is REFLECTION…
looking in the pool
behind my eyes, I try to see
why for am I here?
Well, that’s my effort. I hope it’s a Haiku… not sure really. I don’t know what one is to be honest, and reading the Wiki explanation made me more confused than ever. I had heard the term and read some. I liked them, I think. I will tell you one thing… I have not thought of ‘syllables’ for 50 years. So, I am happy I tried, and will try to learn more about Haikus.
The Haiku Bomber is responsible for my sudden poetic turn…
Do have a look at Quill Shiv’s challenge and maybe you will find your inner haijin.
The photo is by Michal Fanta…
I just started reading ‘The Victorian Chaise-Longue’ by Marghanita Laski… it has been a long time coming.
I first encountered this little book, when the title caught my eye, while looking through a Persephone Books catalog about three years ago. I had seen ‘Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day’ at the Palace Theater, which I absolutely loved… such a delightful story and with Frances McDormand and Amy Adams, what’s not to love. I liked it so much, I went back the next night, and while walking to my car, I saw the book in the window of Griffin Bay Books. When I went back to buy the next day, it had been sold… apparently someone else liked the movie as much as I. GBB ordered the book and I was soon enjoying Winifred Watson’s delightful story.
Persephone Books of London, reprints neglected classics by 20th century (mostly women) writers, like Watson’s 1930 story. I ordered their catalog and that’s where I saw ‘The Victorian Chaise-Longue’. They currently have 95 books listed, and they are beautifully made. The end papers feature a fabric print from the period the story takes place (‘the shiny cream curtains printed with huge pink roses’ p. 3). And a bookmark germane to the story (‘berlin-wool cross-stitch embroidery that sprawled in bright gigantic roses over the shabby felt’ p.13). Book #6 is described as a very scary story. It looked interesting. I tried the library… I tried the Inter-Library-Loan… I tried Amazon.com. Nowhere could I obtain the book. It was not available. So, over the last few years, when I would go to Amazon it would pop up sometimes (but never in stock… oh, there were some used copies somewhere for 35 or 40 bucks), as something I was interested in, you know, those helpful reminders. I get a new Persephone catalog twice a year, and this time I couldn’t take it any more and ordered it… it was only ₤12 plus 6 shipping, for a total of ₤18... I had no clue what that would be in $, but didn’t care and hit PayPal… it was $27.00.
‘The Victorian Chaise-Longue’, starts in 1953, and is the story of a young woman of means, who is suffering from tuberculosis and confined to bed. She is finally well enough to be allowed to move into the parlor and lay upon a chaise-longue she had purchased in an antique store right before she became stricken. She falls asleep, and when she awakes, she finds herself in a dingy gas-lit room in 1864, on the same chaise-longue… although newer looking… being cared for by a brusque sister she does not know. She thinks herself in a dream and keeps trying to wake up. When she finally realizes she is awake, the terror sets in. I’m now on page 50 of 99… my head is drooping, I’m tired, time for bed.
Now, I’m in a dream. I have never had one like this… not my usual ‘Waiter’s Dream’ where I keep forgetting to wait on my tables, and then can’t find them… or the ‘Actor’s Dream’ where I forget to go onstage. No, this one is too real. It is hard to keep going and I force myself to wake up. I realized, that near the end of the dream I had started to analyze it as if writing a blog. Great, now I’m writing in my sleep… even organizing photos.
This dream starts out as a secret report on an Eastern European war-torn country, there is a triangular flag on the cover, I think red, green and yellow. Soon it shifts to Africa… the unnamed country ends in ‘ia’… and I am thinking Ethiopia. There is a rebel encampment, and in this dream a group of aid workers are lined up before the leaders. I am not there, but looking at this through newspaper or magazine photos. One photo shows them sitting in a row and the next is the same photo, but now they have a dot on their foreheads. They have been shot, and I am wondering if they will fall backward or forwards. What will the next photo be. It was terrifying. I wake up. It was 2:30 a.m., and it took a long time to go back to sleep. As I lay there thinking about this strange dream, I realized it had happened to my family. My daughter’s husband’s sister was killed in Somalia, when a bullet struck her as she was riding in a convoy to deliver aid to a remote village. Valerie was a 23-year-old nurse, from Dublin, working for an Irish aid agency called Concern. A photo of her laughing, surrounded by Somali women and children hangs in Ashley and Declan’s front room. Her senseless death in 1993 was of major importance to Ireland, with the President attending her funeral. It had put a face to the tragedy of what was occurring in Somalia.
I always wonder what influences dreams. Sometimes it is obvious. I don’t really have nightmares… more annoyances really, like the waiter’s dream, although those can be a bitch. Did the story taking place on the chaise-longue start this terrifying dream? I don’t know. I had not thought of Valerie in a long time, although I know Declan does. And I’m sure she was terribly missed at the Christmas Table when they were in Dublin this year.
So, I’ll finish the story of the young woman on the Chaise-Longue today, only 49 pages to go and hope I am dream free tonight.
Here is where you can find a wonderful catalog… PERSEPHONE BOOKS
The photographs of Valerie were taken by John Trotter, a writer for the Sacramento Bee, while on his second trip to Africa in 1992. They were taken in Mogadishu during the first food distribution. This was important, because the people were now able to prepare their own food, and not have to rely on feeding centers to cook it for them. Valerie was in charge of the operation. There were thousands of people there for food that day. The photo with the boy, he liked, because her love showed thru her hands, and that had meaning. The children at the center said those hands came from Ireland to help them, and they loved her and trusted her. She was killed the following year on the way to help people.
I never make New Years Resolutions. 1 ~ Because if you want to do something… do it. I think resolutions are a crutch to procrastinate and make yourself feel better… and you will never keep them. 2 ~ Because I never kept them. So this year, my New Year’s Resolution is to reopen TedBook and write something in it. I feel better already.
My friend Margie told me, “only 8% were ever kept”. I read that if you put it in writing, it may actually have a chance of happening. Okay, it’s in writing now… it’s all up to me… I want to be in that 8%! Yesterday I looked to see when the last entry in TedBook occured… yikes! January 2, 2011… one whole year of silence! Another friend, Keri, reminded me of that this morning, after I mentioned I might start blogging again.
Why the silence? No one particular reason really… I think mostly procrastination. It’s not like I didn’t have any ideas… I had many, and wrote a lot of blogs in my mind, complete with photos. But, I never got to the point of transferring them into my computer. A lot of my friends asked me where TedBook was, and why they were not seeing new blogs. I would hear… “where’s your blog”, “what happened to TedBook”, “weren’t you writing a blog”… after a while it was down to two. O’B would bug me about it when we saw each other. Louisa would mention it… in November, I got a note from her… “Why aren’t you writing?” I could tell she was disappointed in me. I thought… “I’m disappointed in me too”. I have friends with blogs… Jane in L.A., a champion fighting Autism … Aggie in Chicago who posts a quiz everyday, except Saturday when she’s shacked up with her boyfriend.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was when O’B started a blog! She had moved back to Sacramento, after an absence of some 30 years, and she and Anthony had bought a house in Southside Park. Southside is a downtrodden mostly Latino neighborhood, that I have a feeling is becoming Yuppified (not naming any names here). Catherine is a curious and outgoing woman, who has undertaken the chronicling of Southside. Hence her blog
Southside Park: Forty-Six City Blocks of Surprise
Join me as I explore urban living in Sacramento’s Smallest Neighborhood.
Lord knows I waste enough time on facebook and playing Words with Friends (Alec Baldwin has yet to challenge me), so I really have the time… I just have to do it. I was jealous with every new post O’B made… and she is prolific. So, that’s what had been in the back of my mind, and I don’t mind admitting I was feeling guilty. My own daughter, Ashley, was now more of a writer than me. She had taken a creative writing class, and had written some impressive pieces. I had encouraged her to start a blog… and I can’t even do my own… at least she has two teenagers to blame, or maybe just the college classes she is doing. Sure better reasons than my slacking. So, this was where I was at on New Year’s Eve.
I don’t drink Champagne or go to New Year’s Eve parties anymore. The last one I went to, about 10 years ago, my date and I snuck out early and welcomed in the New Year in private… my best New Years Party ever. This year I watched a movie, and was saying Happy New Year to my facebook friends when I saw this post.
I had been meaning to check out Amy’s latest album, ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures’, and was glad for the reminder. I’ve always liked Amy and was saddened by her death and the loss of such a talent. After listening to “Our Day Will Come” and “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”, I was near tears. Her day will never come, and there is no Tomorrow for Amy Winehouse. It gave me pause to think… I was lucky, I had survived my drug of choice, which like her’s, was alcohol. It’s destructive force had ruined relationships and created havoc in my life, but my biggest regret, is that I could have been and should have been a better father. Unlike Amy, I was able to change my life for the better. But, Amy made me face myself and make some choices that night. One of those is to resume my blog.
Of course I bought the album and I reopened TedBook.