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three_cups_gameLenny
By: Colette Calapristi Casey
© copyright 2014

The grab was supposed to be easy: No witnesses, no yelling, neat and tidy with a bow pulled tight around it like a noose. The drop was to take place and Grand Central, no cops, no worries, and the payout my boss said he was owed.
The day started out all right, I tagged Lenny coming out of the Concord apartments on schedule. Lenny would walk that sissy dog, yappin all the way I gotta say, got the coffee, then back up to the digs.

I scoped out my spot by the newsstand and paid the guy filling in for the owner an easy 100 to let me hang out to be able to record the tones on the keypad of the door so I could let myself in. Lenny liked to use the side entrance after getting coffee I guess for the exercise of running the stairs. Geez. No wonder this guy was so skinny. Must have been real ugly too, cause he always had his cap pulled low over his weasel face.

This was my life for 6 weeks. Dog. Coffee. Stairs. Then watching Lenny grab a cab to work. I didn’t know much about this job other than Lenny was in deep with the mob and had to pay up. Over the six weeks, I couldn’t see how the hell the money Lenny supposedly took from the mob was spent. Lenny lived a pretty basic life, no big spending, no clubbing, not much of anything else, just work, dog, repeat.

The day finally came when I saw Lenny leave the apartment. I had parked my car in the ally outside the side door and entered they key code I had Joey the keymaker translate for me. I had been in the stairs a couple times before to get a feel for the space and figured if I stand behind the door I could nail Lenny with the sedative.

Everything went off as planned, I shot Lenny full of the stuff and he started acting like a drunk. Perfect, I could carry his sorry in debt ass out of the building with not so much as a blink from anybody watching.

The hold point wasn’t far from where I snatched him, but it was far enough. A couple blocks over there was this office building getting some renovations and with it came a new parking garage. Boss wanted to find the dough that Lenny had lifted, then once he got that, it was just a matter of a cement bodysuit that blended in nicely with the new garage.

After we get the dough then we did our drop at Grand Central.

I tied up Lenny nice and tight just the way the boss wanted him. But something seemed strange about this guy. I know he looked pretty damn thin but figured he was just a wiry kind of guy what with runnin’ all those damn stairs. Wait a sec. Oh shit. This guy is way to thin for moobs. I felt around again and as soon as I felt ‘em I felt sick, which usually would not be the case on a normal day.

Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit. This Lenny guy’s a chick. Holy shit. How was I supposed to know there were two Lenny Jascowitz’s in NYC.
My luck I snatched the wrong one, not the one with the dough or the…you know. Yeah, who knew?

My boss knew and expected me to know the same-know what I mean?

“Oh…my…god…what is going on.”

Okay, that’s a chick’s voice for sure. I took a step back into the shadows. If I ran, I’d be leavin’ her here for the boss, but that ain’t right, cause she didn’t do nothin’, it was me, it was my fault.

“ohhh…..”

Shit, more groaning. This chick is vocal. I had to think quick ‘cause the guys were expected me to let ‘em know the scoop on the dough.

“Where am I…”

Okay, well hell, she’s coming out of it. I had to think quick and I had to act fast. I reached into my pocket and found my back up syringe. This would buy me some more time, ‘cause I sure as hell needed it.

I came up behind the Lenny-chick and gave her one more boost. I guess with everything that was still in her system, she went right out which was good for me.

Her head fell into the sunbeam and her cap fell off her head. I could finally get a good look at her face. “Holy Shit, now that is the face of an Angel.”

Yeah, I said it out loud. What a knockout. She must be a model or something cause she was gorgeous. Her hair was short, I guess that’s what threw me off and yeah, the whole name thing.

I figured I had to move fast and threw her over my shoulder to get her downstairs and back to her neighborhood.

Lenny-chick was still pretty knocked out but I still had to make like a couple of drunks staggering down the street so’s I could get her back home. I looked at her again. Yeah, Angel face was still there.

It seemed like forever until we got back to her block, but we made it. I set her down by the Park that I used to watch her walk that little dog.

I put on a little act and laughed it up patted her on the back and yelled a drunken goodbye. She would be safe, but I wasn’t so sure about me and boss man.

It was a solid week before I started making my normal rounds again. I knew I had to face the boss man soon and I guess it had to be sooner rather than later.

I came up on his street and walked over to the Midnight Café, which was open 24 hours. The sun was starting to set and I knew the boss would be in back.

I walked past the diners and my favorite waitress Helen. A gorgeous gal, or I be see was like 40 years ago.

“Hey there handsome—haven’t seen you for a while.” Helen and her smokers voice, made her all that much more sexy.

“Yeah, been working a job. He back there?”

Helen nodded. “Sure is. He’s waiting for you.”

I am sure he was. I went into the back room and there he was sitting at his table, with Gus and Vince watching him and me for that matter.

“Where the hell you been?”

“I was working the job Boss, but something happened.”

Boss man started laughing. “yeah something happened. You pinched the wrong guy!”

Well, that’s it. Been nice knowing you folks.

“Yeah, I did Boss. I didn’t know there were two Lenny Jaskowitz’s in the same New York Burrough. “

Boss man started laughing. “Yeah, neither did we! And one was a dame!”

By now, Boss man, Gus and Vince were busting up laughing.

“You know Boss, I tried to find the other Lenny, but he vanished like a ghost or something. Here’s the money you gave me. I can do any other job you want, you let me know and you don’t even have to pay me.”

Boss man looked up at me and smiled. “You know, your mother was always good to me and she raised a good boy with you. But, I gotta tell ya kid, I don’t think your so good at this line of work. What you say I put you in one of my shops. I think you would fit better in that line of work.”

Was I hearing correctly? Boss wasn’t gonna wipe me out? I could still work for him and not screw up?

“Yeah, yeah boss, anything you say.”

Boss man smiled. “You know kid, you come from good stock. Your mother was a saint and stepped in for me after my blessed mother left this earth. So you my friend are what we call a brother from another mother. Now get outta here.”

I thanked him again and headed out the door with nothing but relief written all over me.

First I was going to Ma’s house and giving her a big hug and a kiss. Then I was going to get a good night’s rest. In the morning, I’m getting up, heading over to a coffee shop where a girl named Lenny walks her dog.

Prompt: “You work for the mob and you kidnap the wrong guy.”

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cityNo Wind, No Rain
by: Colette Calapristi Casey
© copyright 2014

The buildings glistened in the sun, street lights rotated from green to yellow to red. Neon signs flashed inviting patrons in and café’s were set for the evening’s dinner guests. Everything was at it should be, but where was everyone?

I ran down Monroe Center usually a gathering place for young professionals, hipsters and swing dancers in the Park on a Tuesday evening. But there was no one. Absolutely, positively no one.

No wind blew on the street, no rubbish overflowing from the trash cans. I searched in vain for signs of life, a stray dog, a frantic squirrel or a pigeon scrounging for a lone fry.

My voice echoed against unmoving buildings devoid of life. I was in a ghost town yet it seemed like I was the ghost. I felt the fear rise up in my chest and begin to pour out by way of my tears.

I stumbled as I reached for a park bench and sat, dropping my face into my hands.

“Where is everyone?” I said it very quietly at first, but the panic drove it to a higher volume. This time I screamed it. I waited for a response, but the only thing I heard was my own voice echoing throughout the city.

I tried desperately to remember how I got here, but it was to no avail. I laid on my side and rested my head on my arm. I searched the pavement for signs of life. An ant, a beetle or a fly. Nothing. Nothing but emptiness.

I felt myself fall into a deep sleep which provided some comfort. In my dream I heard voices and they were comforting.

In what seemed like an instant their soothing voices disappeared, jolting me awake in my deserted city.

I sat up and wondered into the Grand Hotel. Everything was as it should be. The magnificent chandelier set against the gold leaf ceiling was as regal as ever. The sent of vintage and new blended beautifully throughout, but still there was no one. I walked into the main lobby and realized I heard a sound!

I ran towards it and almost immediately knew what it was. The fountain was pushing water over the rocks and live plants. I had to admit, at this point some sound was better than no sound. I stepped up to the Starbucks bar and noticed that hot coffee was brewing and the espresso machine was on. I helped myself to a cup of coffee and sat again to rest. I was so tired. I don’t recall ever being this tired before. The lounge chair was an overstuffed wingback of red velvet. I set my feet upon the footstool hoping to hear the voices again. The voices that let me know I wasn’t alone.

And then they came.

“It will take some time, but I believe her prognosis is quite good.” The man’s voice was soothing. I fell deeper into my sleep.

“How soon will she come back to us Doctor?” That was my…husband? It sounded like him, but his voice was different. It was wavering.

“It’s too soon to tell. We’ll be keeping an eye on her.” I heard the other man say.

“Just keep talking to her. They say that Coma patients can still hear , even though they may not respond.”

In a coma? What did he say?

“Jennifer. Baby. I’m here sweetheart. We need you to be here too. We need you to come back to us. Can you hear me sweetheart?”

I heard him. His voice so tender and caring, but I couldn’t answer him. It’s as if through my sleep I was conscious but my body would not cooperate. “I’m here Sam! I didn’t go anywhere!”

“Jenn, McKenna drew you a picture today at school. She really misses her mommy.”

I have a child. I do! I have a child!

“She wanted me to give you this.”

I felt something against my cheek, but I still couldn’t move. My heart. My heart, I think it is breaking. It hurts so bad.

“You’re mom and dad are coming to visit tonight. They are worried about you, but I told them you were tough that you would be back in no time.”

I would. I will.

“Jennifer, I love you so much sweetheart. McKenna loves her mommy, come back to us babe, come back to us please.”

I felt him. I felt him all around me, I loved him and our child with all my heart. I don’t want to be here anymore. I want to leave. I’m so alone here. I need them, I need to see them.

“Jenn? Oh my God! Jenn?”

His voice was closer now and I think I can see him.

“Doctor! Nurse! Her eyes! I think she’s trying to open her eyes!” I could hear him shouting. I was feeling closer. I was feeling less alone.

“I’m coming darling. I am. Wait for me. I’ll be home.” I heard my voice, but it was only in my head.

My husband grabbed my hand and I held it. I would be home soon. It would be soon. This time when I fell deeper asleep, I dreamed of my family and of sunshine, dancing and people. Lots and lots of people.

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Home Run!
By: Colette Calapristi Casey
©2014

All my life my mom and me have been best friends, partners in crime she would say. I remember a long time ago on my fifth birthday my mom told me she loved me to the moon and back. I got a telescope for that birthday and we saw just how far that moon is! Holy Cow! Mom must love me a lot.

Well I didn’t think anything could be any better than that birthday a million years ago, but I gotta say, things have been ok. Me and mom have been peas and carrots, Pete and Repeat and she always called me her co-pilot on how she used to say, “This spaceship we call earth.” Yeah, we like to watch Star Trek and Dr. Who. Someday I might be an astronaut. Mom says I’m smart enough.

I wasn’t too sure when Marty came along last year. He was a BIG guy! Lots taller than my Dad who is in heaven; or what I remember of him. Marty made me smile and when mom was around him, well, she was really beautiful. For a mom.

I mean, he seemed okay and he liked to play baseball. I was pretty good back then, so he was able to keep up with me. Marty had a good pitch and he started coming round more and more, which was cool, I guess. One day he came over wearing a pair of Vulcan ears! Me and mom just cracked up laughing all over. So he could play ball and he was funny.

I’m excited because today is the big-BIG game between the Spokane Sports and the Colfax Cougars. We’ve been working hard to get ready and Marty even stepped in to help coach with our team. Wait, I can’t find my socks….

“Charlie! Come on! We’re going to be late.”

That’s my mom.

“Come on sport—let’s get a move on,”

That was Marty.

“Cooommiinnnnnnnggggg,” Geez Louise, its not like I planned to lose my socks. Oh—there they are! Why are they in my Scout Tool Box?

“Come on Charlie—really!” mom again.

I ran down the stairs and saw both of them looking at me with that look. You know the look, like, if you were like a second late to class and the teacher is looking at you like, I dunno, you had planned to be late. You know what look I’m saying. Maybe it’s because they’re both teachers at my school.

Yeah, I know what you’re saying lucky guy – not. But I don’t mind. Most kids like my mom and Marty so its cool. I guess it wouldn’t be cool if Marty was like mean and rotten like Mr. Sorenson or like crazy ole Miss Gentric.

“Come on Sonny, load up- The Little League Championship is a big deal kiddo. We don’t want to be late.”

That’s my mom again.

I walked out to the van and Marty was already in there and it was running. I climbed in the back and listened to them talk all the way there. It was cool. Marty kept cracking jokes and making me and mom laugh.

We pulled up to the field and Holy Cow! There were a lot more people than usual.

“We’re here sport. You ready?”

That was Marty. Again.

“Yeah, let’s do this!!!!”

We got out of the van and mom grabbed her hair that was blowing in the wind like crazy.

“Geez, sure it blustery. Hope this wind doesn’t cause you fellas any trouble.”

Marty laughed and patted me on the back. “Are you kidding? We don’t let a little bit of bad weather stop us do we sport?”

“No way. We’re tough Mom!”

Marty patted my back. I kind of liked it when he did that or gave me a hug.

Me and Marty waved goodbye to Mom and ran over to our dugout. I started laughing the whole way over there.

Marty looked at me. “What’s up buddy? You going to be able to hold on a few more minutes?”

I was laughing from my belly now and looked over at my Mom who was just sitting down on the bleachers. She looked confused.

“HAHAHAHAHAHA! Wow, we’re really gonna get her aren’t we Marty?”

Marty laughed too. He patted my back. “Yeah buddy, I think we are.”

When we got to the dugout, Marty and Coach rounded us up for our pep talk. Those are always cool.

“Alright Gentlemen, we got some special instructions for you here. After the Pledge of Allegiance and the Star Spangled Banner, don’t run out on the field. I’ll let you know when its time.”

That was coach.

“Coach Robinson and Charlie have a job to do before the game starts. You young men understand? We’ll let you know when it’s time to go on.”

All the guys looked at me weird, but they nodded their heads. A couple guys tried to get me to tell my secret, but there was no way.

It took FOREVER for the Pledge and song, but finally it was DONE!

Marty looked at me and grabbed the microphone off the bench, then he took me out to the mound. It was way cool.

“Good Afternoon everyone. I ask that you indulge me for just a few minutes. My name is Marty Robinson and I’m the Colfax Cougars assistant coach. Some of you may be asking what the heck I’m doing here right?”

It was funny the way he said it. The people in the bleachers laughed.

“Well, I’m here because of what I love. I love baseball. I love kids. I love Charlie here. And, I love his mom Elizabeth.”

I was watching Mom and her face was CRAZY! She didn’t know what was going on!

“Elizabeth, you are the light to my field, the crack in my bat….

People started laughing and ohhing and awing and stuff like that. Marty just kept going.

“…the stars to my night and my one and only homebase. Elizabeth, I love you to the moon and back. Will you do me the honor of sharing your star field with me for the rest of our lives?”

Mom was starting to run to Marty and she was just bawling and laughing. It was hysterical.

Mom made it to the mound with me and Marty. Marty took my hand then took my Mom’s. “Will you guys be my forever family?”

I liked the way he said that. All of it. It made me happy.

Okay, so maybe me AND mom might have been crying. But you could barely see mine.

Marty let go of our hands, reached into his pocket and pulled out a diamond engagement ring with a REAL diamond. Mom was like shaking, but it was a happy shake.

Mom was saying “yes”, she was nodding “yes”, I think if there was another way to say yes my mom would be doing it.

Marty picked me up and gave me a huge hug. Best sixth birthday ever.

Prompt:

A little league event
A school teacher
An engagement ring
blustery

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lovers-c-1910s-1-s1

    • A Day in a Moment to Last a Lifetime
    • by: Colette Calapristi Casey

©2014

Could it be true? Could the assassination of the President be tied to this??? George Hendrickson stood in amazement at the letter in his hands. He’d already read it twice but could not believe what his eyes were showing him. It was dated September 14, 1902, exactly one year after the assassination of President McKinley.

“Ida! Ida! In here girl! I want you to have a look at something!” Hendrickson shouted to the front office where his secretary, Ida Fairwhether was typing feverishly. Ida was a young woman of 22 and was experiencing her first adventure in the big city and away from the dairy farm of her youth. On a good day, Ida would braid her hair and drape it across the top of her head looking like the milkmaid she was. Ida was a proud woman and proud of her lineage. She often proclaimed that she could handle any tasks, because her family traced its roots back to the mid-1600’s when settlers brought cows to Plymouth in 1624. A true daughter of the revolution.

Ida heard her boss shout her name and stopped what she was doing immediately. Even though she was just on the other side of the door, she wanted to let him know she was on it.

“On my way Mr. Hendrickson!!”

Ida threw open the door and stopped at the scene before her. Her boss George Hendrickson stood dumb founded surrounded by pieces of dropped ceiling tiles, papers, wires, and the contents of the top right corner of his desk that included; the latest edition 1910 American Fruit Company clock; pencils and one bunch of ripe bananas.

“Sir? Are you alright in here?” Ida asked tentatively.

George shook his head slowly. “I’m not sure Miss Fairwhether. Have a look at this letter, will you please?”

Ida walked toward George while eyeing the disrupted ceiling above her. It wasn’t just the fallen and destroyed items; it was a very large beam shooting through the ceiling. “Sir? Is it safe for us to be in here? We could get hurt.”

George followed Ida’s eyes to the ceiling commanding a sense of presence to realize he and Miss Fairwhether may be in danger.

“Of course! Of Course. Let’s move into your office area Miss Fairwhether.”

Ida lifted her long skirt as to not drag it across the debris on the floor.

“If you don’t mind me asking Mr. Hendrickson, what happened in there? I had heard a noise but thought it was just a truck going by. I was so entranced in my work that I’m sorry to say I hadn’t noticed.”

George looked at Ida and wondered if the look on her face was one of concern. Concern for him? He wasn’t sure, but whatever it was, he liked it. He felt a little safer.

“Well, as best I can figure Miss Fairwhether, the construction on the sixth floor must have caused the damage we are now seeing on the fifth floor. I was told late last night that they were tearing up the flooring and had discovered a poorly constructed support beam. They were going to attempt to replace it, but it must have fallen through.”

“I’m surprised we haven’t heard from the construction crew yet. Don’t you think it would be appropriate for someone to check on us?” Ida asked indignantly.

The look on George’s face changed from shock to panic.

“Yes, you’re right! Quick please read this letter.”

Ida took the letter and began to read it at lightening speed, just as she had learned to do in Secretarial school. She was an “A” student.

“Oh my goodness Mr. Hendrickson! Can this be true? Could Mr. Shaw the company president have been involved in the assassination of President McKinley?

At that moment George and Ida heard voices outside their door. It was the construction crew from Floor 5 checking their work.

Knock. Knock. Knock. “Excuse me, we are just checking to see if everyone is alight in there. We seemed to have had an accident upstairs.

George looked at Ida and whispered. “Quick, hide the letter.” Ida’s blue eyes grew bright and wide. She folded the note, opened her blouse and slipped it into her corset.

Ida realized she had done this in front of her boss once she saw the look of delight cross his face.

“I’m so sorry Mr. Hendrickson!”

George blushed. “Not to worry Miss Fairwhether, we are now in this scheme together.”

Ida opened the door to the men and immediately began scolding them.

“Do you gentleman have any idea what could have happened here?? Mr. Hendrickson could have been seriously harmed!”

George smiled again. Could she really care? He thought to himself.

The construction workers began with a plethora of apologies and promised to return in the morning to repair any damage. They apologized for the inconvenience and noted that their employer was happy to compensate them both for any lost wages for the day.

George straightened and put his hands behind his back. His three-piece suit fell perfectly against his lean, young body.

“Well, gentlemen. Accidents happen and I believe your offer is quite fair. Let’s shake on it and we’ll say that everything’s Jake.”

The lead construction worker nodded his head, wiped his brow and moved toward George to shake his hand.

“Thank you for your understanding sir. We’re going out to get supplies now and will be here first thing in the a.m. to fix ‘er up.”

George nodded. “Yes, very well. If you’ll excuse us gentlemen, Miss Fairwhether and myself must make preparations for our absence in the office tomorrow.

The men nodded and Miss Fairwhether showed them the door.

Once closed she turned towards George, opened her blouse and retrieved the letter. She began reading it quietly, but loud enough that George could hear.

He moved closer to her. Her voice was serene like a meadow on a sunny day.

“To my judge and my jury. May God forgive me for what I have done. These are my last words on this earth. I am not a courageous man, for if I was, I would have come forward with what I know. For that, I am just as guilty as those who plotted to have President McKinley assassinated.”

Ida looked up at George and gasped.

“Continue reading Miss Fairwhether, please.”

“I am confessing the involvement in the assassination plot by the American Fruit Company and specifically Mr. Franklin Shaw. Mr. Shaw conspired with other trade titans to open up trade routes in direct conflict of President McKinley’s protectionist Acts to protect foreign investment.

Within the confines of where this letter is found are ledgers, memorandums and copies of phone messages by Mr. Shaw and other offending parties. Please, Mr. Shaw is a dangerous man. He threatened my family if I came forward with this information. I ask that you consider this if you are a family man. For if your efforts fail, you will be gravely punished by the most despicable of our society.”

Ida’s eyes grew wide. “You have to take this to the police Mr. Hendrickson. You have to!”

George stepped toward Ida. “I know Miss Fairwhether, I must. However, I must inquire. And, please forgive me if I seem indelicate, but this is a very important issue to me. “

A confused look came over Ida’s face. “Why must you even ask? You must know this is the right thing to do. What would happen if someone else crossed Mr. Shaw and something horrible happened? This would be on our hands.”

George raised a brow. “Our?”

Ida blushed again. “Yes. Our hands Mr. Hendrickson.”

George smiled. “I can only do this if I have your support. And, Miss Fairwhether, please, call me George.”

Ida smiled. “Well George, what do you say? I think its safe to say its curtains for Mr. Shaw.”

George hugged Ida. “Come on, let’s find the ledgers before the construction crew.”

Ida nodded. “I’ll get the Police. We’ll wrap up this mess in no time.”

Ida followed George into his office and they both looked up at the hole in the ceiling that had brought justice to a society and brought them together.

George turned to Ida, took her in his arms and kissed. Ida moved closer, stepped on the ripe banana and sighed.

Prompts:

The fifth floor

The President

Dropped ceiling tile

Ripe Bananas

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corks

Let’s Make a Deal
by: Colette Calapristi Casey
©2014

John watched as the salesman’s face turned from friendly to menacing. His whole demeanor changed, but he wondered if it was just instant buyer remorse or something else.

The overweight salesman who only a moment ago was all smiles leaned into John. “Now you know this is an enforceable contract?”

John pulled back. “Of course. This isn’t the first time I’ve bought a car.” John knew this guy was stupid, but now he believed he was seeing just how stupid.

The salesman leaned back in his chair and stacked his legs up on the desk. “Yes, but I told you, we were a special kind of car dealer. You recall our name don’t you?”

John scoffed. He knew it was “Friendly Used Cars” for the longest time and didn’t even pay attention to the sign when he pulled in. “Yeah, I heard you guys changed it, but I didn’t really pay attention. I just know you’ve been here forever, so I figured it was as good as place as any to pick up a good used car.”

The salesman lit up a cigar and rocked back in his chair. “Oh sure, we’ve been here going on 50 years. We’ve sold a lot of cars to a lot of satisfied customers in this town, but you know we just kept doing our best to get folks in the right cars. We went above and beyond on almost every sorry piece of scrap we accepted in trade-in. Like that little car you brought in today. I saw the homemade bodywork, noticed the brakes were gone and you put in additive to hide the knocking in the engine. But we still gave you a great car in return with a high trade in.”

John rolled his eyes. He was wondering what this guy was getting at because he had already signed the deal. “So, if you knew my car had so many problems, why did you make just a great deal? The way I see it, you made the decision to make the deal. I just took it. That’s it.”

The salesman puffed on his cigar and chuckled. “Yes sir I did. And, we here at Karma motors are well aware of the motivations of certain people. “

John raised a brow. “Certain people?”

The salesmen took his feet off the desk and leaned over making and holding eye contact with John.

“Yes sir. Certain people like yourself. People who think they’re smarter than everyone else. People who don’t care what they leave behind in their wake. You sir, have just that kind of reputation.

John kept eye contact and started laughing at the man. “Are we done here?”

The salesman leaned back again. “Almost. I just ask that you read the fine print at the bottom of our Karma Motors contract.”

John put on his glasses and noted the fine print at the bottom of page 3. The print on this document but was especially small. He pulled it closer and began to read.

“This document constitutes a binding contract between John Ulrich and Karma Motors.”

John looked up at the salesmen. “Wow, didn’t realize you guys have custom contracts.”
The salesman nodded. “Keep reading.”

“Any deviation from this amendment to the contract will result in immediate and impactful consequences. You’re Karma has now been activated. If any of the following conditions are not met, Karma will be activated:
1.) Lying to people out of malice
2.) Manipulating others for fun
3.) Treating others as if you are superior or smarter
4.) Taking credit for others ideas
5.) Not completing an obligation and then blaming others.

All items are under the contract and enforceable as signed by the above parties. If you violate any of the above conditions, you will receive exact Karma tenfold for each item including:
1.) Others will lie to you
2.) Others will manipulate you
3.) Others will treat you like you are stupid
4.) Others will take your ideas
5.) Others will blame you for their shortcomings.

Have a nice day.”

John looked up at the salesman and laughed. “You can’t honestly be serious.”

The salesman smiled. “Try me.”

John grabbed the keys to his new car and stood up from his chair.

“You need mental help buddy or you have a large deficiency in the brain department.” John said to the salesman.

The salesman smiled. “Ah, thank you. It’s always best to get the proof out of the way on the first day.”

“In here gentlemen!”

Two hospital orderlies came into the salesman’s office and proceeded to put John into a strait-jacket.

“What the hell? You can’t do this!!” shouted John.

The orderlies smiled. “There now buddy, we have a court order just came in. Said you are in need of psychiatric evaluation. Just for 24 hours and you’ll be fine. Not to worry, we’ll take care of you.”

John screamed as the orderlies carried him out the front door and into the waiting ambulance.

The salesman stood at the window waving goodbye to his satisfied customer. The owner of the car dealership came up behind him and patted him on the back.

“Now that was a good sale today Bob. That one will make a lot of folks happy.”

Bob turned to his boss. “We’ll we do what we can to make the world a little better place.”

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Change of Scenery
by: Colette Calapristi Casey
©2014

“Well ain’t this just the cat’s pajama’s!”

The man chuckled and took a sip of his rum and coke. He turned to the other woman at the table and winked. “You crack me up. I can’t believe you brought me here.”

“I only take my friends to the spiffiest places,” said Betty, a short brunette with bobbed hair and ruby red lips. Her cheeks blushed naturally which made her more endearing to those who knew her.

The other woman at the table smiled at the man and leaned into him. “I thought you’d get a kick out of this place. arrgggghhhh.”

Betty cocked her head. “What the hell was that?” She watched as the man and the woman leaned closer into each other and then kissed passionately.

Betty threw her hands up in the air. “Hey, hey hey you two! I ain’t no bluenose, but slow it down will ya? You just met and you’re already goofy for her!” Betty rolled her eyes, stood up from the table and walked away.

She walked to the middle of the room and tried to make sense of all that was happening. The place had changed drastically almost overnight. Gone were the white linens tablecloths, candelabras and her favorite paintings on the walls. Her comfortable surroundings had all changed so much that she had a hard time comprehending what she knew as reality.

She closed her eyes. She was not having fun and she didn’t like that at all. Betty looked around and zeroed in on a lone woman dancing in the middle of the room.

The woman was dressed very strangely to Betty. She wore a tied bandana across her head, a red skirt cinched on one side and a blouse that was way to big for her. Fell off her damn shoulders. However, there was one thing that caught Betty’s attention and that was string after string of pearls.

Betty came up along side the woman and whispered in her ear. “I’m a nut for pearls myself sister.”

The woman took the pearls and started swinging them to the music and singing along with the band “yeah, yeah!”

Betty laughed. “You’re all right, ya know?”

The woman nodded, laughed and gave Betty a hearty, “yeah, yeah.”

Betty and the woman danced side by side for quite awhile until Betty saw him walk into the room. She had seen him before. She couldn’t help herself, but she could never resist a man in a tux. Tonight however, he looked different. The sleek tailored tux that made her heart flutter was gone. In its place were a pair of red pants that looked like clown pants to Betty and his shirt, well, she had to admit, she didn’t really mind it. It looked a lot like the woman’s that Betty was just dancing with, but for some reason it looked a lot better on him with the buttons undone.

Betty cocked her head as Ryan moved closer. “Hey doll, you been in an accident or something.”

Ryan, a handsome man by any standard stopped and turned. His hair was a sandy blond and his skin tanned. But it wasn’t so much his looks that had captured Betty’s attention, it was his grin and that sparkle in his eyes that snagged her hook, line and sinker. Tonight however, one of those beautiful eyes was now covered with a patch. It reminded her of the time that her friend Mary and her guy Frankie rolled their car and Frankie lost an eye.

Betty repeated herself, “You ok doll?”

Ryan threw back his head and let out another laugh. “Yeah, it’s all cool!” he shouted.

Betty giggled and leaned into him. A wave of relief came over her, but she still couldn’t get over his getup. Betty had followed Ryan for as long as she could remember. He was the first one she could remember falling for since things changed.

As usual, Ryan always had people around him and tonight was no different. She didn’t mind that he was always busy when she was around, sitting people for dinner, bringing drinks, cracking jokes. She just liked watching him. She’d been watching him for a very long time.

“Here you are folks, the show’s already started in the bar, so it could be a little loud during your dinner.” Ryan explained

The man and woman who were just seated started laughing. “That’s the whole reason we’re here isn’t it?” stated the woman.

Ryan smiled. “Yes, well that’s what the aim is. I’ll give you a heads up though, tonight could get kind of dangerous.” Ryan winked at the couple and smiled.

Betty perked up. Danger? Well danger was her middle name. She started to laugh, but then stopped. A thought came to her mind of the night the cops showed up and pinched everyone in the room.

“You better watch out Ryan, I’d hate to see anything happen to that beautiful mug.”

Ryan laughed again. “Don’t worry about me, I’ll be able to take care of myself,” he said, then he took the woman’s hand and kissed it. Betty felt a pang of jealousy.

The night continued on with people coming and going and Betty drifting between those enjoying a meal and those on the dance floor. It was almost business as usual, except for the hats, the baggy clothes and…and….

“Pirates? That’s what it is! Why are there so many crazies dressed like Pirates?”

At that moment, Ryan appeared at the door with a gun in his hand and behind him were all the people she had come to know and love with guns and swords.

Her heart began to race, her mind filled with thoughts of mass shootings, or a case of contagious crazies, something, anything had to be done! Nothing was making sense at all!

BOOM!

Betty screamed and ducked under a table while Ryan and his friends came through the room firing their guns and yelling.

“Stop it Ryan! Stop it!!! What are you doing???”

Betty covered her ears waiting for the screams, but they never came. They never came because in their place was laughter! Betty crawled out from under the table and saw Ryan standing on a wooden plank and writing with a pen on a giant whiteboard, “Tonight’s Booty—2 for 1 deserts and half price cocktails.” The crowd roared!

Betty ran to the middle of the room and screamed. “What is going on? Have you all lost your marbles? Why are you all acting like this??”

Betty couldn’t take it anymore. Nothing in her life made sense and tonight…tonight was the worst, because it reminded her. Betty stopped and felt a cold chill go through her.

“It was that night. The night it all changed.” She heard Ryan across the room.

“Yeah it was!”

She turned toward him but he wasn’t talking to her, he was talking to someone else. She realized he had never spoken to her, only around her.

Betty felt a breeze continually grow stronger until it was so windy her hair blew around her face and the fringe on her dress danced wildly. The feather in her headband flew into the light and her pearls jangled across her chest. The wind was accompanied by something else, it was something that filled her with a sense of the familiar and it was warm.

Betty turned around and saw it all. She saw the night the mob bosses raided the club she where she was dancing, she saw the shot that went through her heart, she saw time pass and her wander from moment to moment and then she saw Stevie. Her heart leapt in her chest.

Stevie was hers forever and ever. She can’t believe she had forgotten him, but now that she sees him, it’s as if he was never gone.

“Hey there’s my girl with the gorgeous gams,” said the man standing in a tux surrounded by a bright light.

Betty felt breathless.

He continued on, “You gonna make me wait longer than I already have doll?”

Betty ran to his arms and hugged him with all her might.

“Whoa, you trying to crack a rib sweetheart?” Stevie said with his trademark grin and twinkle in his eye. The same look she saw in Ryan, but seeing it in Stevie now, she knew this was the real deal.

Betty remembered it had been so very long since she actually touched someone. “Oh Stevie, its been like such a bad dream. I’ve been so confused by everything. Once everything made sense, then it didn’t.”

Stevie held her closer. “Well, you know, ain’t that just like you. You always had to do things your way. No one could tell you where to go, what to do, but that’s what made me love ya doll.”

Stevie took a step back and looked over Betty. “How do you stay so beautiful eh? And why am I the luckiest guy in the universe?”

Betty could feel a tear run down her cheek. She touched it and realized that her tear was one of relief and happiness.

“Ah Stevie baby, get me outta here.”

Stevie winked, “Anything you say babe. Let’s blow this popsicle joint!”

A large theme restaurant
A confused ghost
A whiteboard
Windy

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Seasons Change
by: Colette Calapristi Casey
©2014

The wind blew relentlessly through the village pushing any hope of an early spring far, far away. Windows clung to small corners of frost that distorted each hint of light coming from within the cabins. It was cold. Very cold for March, but that is the way it has always been when Spring hit the Sierra Nevada’s. Even with the warming of the oceans, the Sierra’s still remained cold, bitter and brutal.

A lone figure moved slowly against the wind as if pushing an invisible wall of pressure. His cloak pressed upon his body and his hood was pulled tight. Marcus Coleman hulked through the snow-covered streets trudging a new path with each burdened step. Each inch forward brought him closer to the place he now called home. Trees were scarce in this country halting the build up of drifts against homes, cars, or any other structure. Last Spring one of the coal miners stopped to rest on his way home and was soon covered in snow. It took a full day to find him and when they did he looked as if he had fallen into a deep blue sleep.

Coleman brought his hands from the protection of the cloak and reached for the door. At first the handle did not turn, it was frozen. Coleman turned the knob again and pushed his full body weight into the door resulting in a violent burst. Coleman heard the gun click before he took a step. He stopped, dropped the hood and saw his wife in front of him with their shotgun aimed right for his head.

“Jesus woman, you tryin’ to kill me or what?” his voice was gruff and gentle at the same time.

Elaine gasped and took a step backwards, steading herself while she let the shotgun barrel lower to the floor.

Coleman stopped and looked at her in full bloom. Elaine was a beautiful woman at any age. They were practically children when they decided to marry, but the world was very different then. There was hope; there was a future before it all came crashing down during the Great Depression of 2018. Now seven years later, 2025 life seemed to settle into its new reality. But, he loved her. He loved everything about her and he would kill to protect her.

Elaine’s graying hair intertwined with the remains of summer blond that shined in the sun. Her blue eyes still had the sparkle of hope but had been changed by the reality of life. The lines of her face proudly displayed the life she had led. Deep lines from her pain of loss, laugh lines from the joy of being alive.
Elaine set the shotgun to the floor and ran to Coleman.

“You were late, I didn’t know what had happened to you and you know what’s out there. You know…you told me not to take chances…I’m sorry. My god if I would have shot you…oh Marcus…oh Marcus, I wouldn’t have known what I would have done.”

Elaine buried her face into his cloaked shoulder.

“There now Eli, you did exactly as you should and you know the scroungers from the cities have been more active then normal this Spring.” Coleman reached around and enveloped her small frame within his sturdy arms.

“Well, come on in and let’s get out of the cold you fool.” Elaine said as she wiped a small tear from her eye.

Elaine continued. “I was talking to Jeffrey from the valley and he said scrounger activity is increasing in their village.” Elaine shook her head. “I just don’t understand why they didn’t leave the cities when everything collapsed.

Coleman hung the cloak near the fire to thaw and dry for the next day. He settled into the rocking chair by the roaring fire that Elaine had started to warm the cabin. It had been a long day in the mine with only a small reward to show for it.

“Well, Eli, I don’t know why either. At least here we can live off the land. I guess they were so used to technology doing everything they just thought it would all come back. Like a reboot or something. Now you gots this whole generation of folks that don’t know anything about living with some technology—so they scrounge.”

Elaine went to the stove and pulled out the rabbit that she had cooked for dinner.

“You know Marcus, I look back and you know and I have to say I’m kind of thankful that every time we tried to have a baby didn’t work. I would hate to know that our children would be living in all this.” Elaine’s voice trailed away. A far away look settled into her eyes until she caught herself.”

Elaine straightened up and shook off her melancholy. “I caught a rabbit this morning! I thought you might enjoy a nice meat dinner to go with the potatoes.” Elaine smiled, pleased with her accomplishment as she brought him a plate where he sat.

“Thank you Eli, you did great, you’re quite the hunter.” Coleman laughed his gruff laugh.

Elaine bowed in acceptance. “Not bad for a 78 year old right Marcus?”

“78? Woman you never told me you were that old! I wouldn’t a guessed you a day over 30. Well hell, I lived my life waitin’ for the pOlice to arrest me for robbing the cradle.”

Elaine laughed and shook her head as she went over to the kitchen to fix herself a plate of dinner.

The two settled in sitting across from each other with the fireplace cranking out heat between them.

“So, how did you do today? Any luck in the mines?” Elaine asked as she cut a piece of the rabbit.

“Not much Lanthanum in the vein today. A couple of the others branched out into the older gold tunnels to see what we could find there. That first vein gave us the best info on getting to it. I think its there. We just gotta find it.”

“Well, that’s good. Sounds like you’ve ruled out where its not so you can find where it is.”

Coleman looked up from his dinner and smiled at his wife. His strong, beautiful wife.

“Well, it wasn’t a total loss you know.”

Elaine looked up from her plate and raised a brow. “Really?”

Coleman set his plate on the small table next to him and went over to his cloak; he reached inside and pulled out a canvas bag.

He was stiff from the day and the pain in his hip brought back his limp. At 80, he was surprised he could still provide.

“Got a special surprise for you babe. We came upon an old camp. Looked like someone hid out in the mine for a while and then left. They left this and I thought of you.” Coleman placed the bag on Elaine’s lap and bent over kissing her tenderly on her head.

Elaine cocked her head and then pulled the drawstring to open the bag. She gasped.

“Oh Marcus! I can’t believe it! There are so many!!!”

Elaine reached into the bag and started pulling out different bundles of wool fabric and wool yarn. She rubbed the materials in her hands like they were the most precious fabric on the planet.

“I’ll be able to knit some hats, and maybe some vests to keep us warmer through Spring. Thank you Marcus, thank you.”

Elaine stood up, stood on her tiptoes and kissed Marcus on the cheek.

“I love you, you know.” Elaine said quietly.

Marcus smiled, held her close and closed his eyes. “I know and you are my world as well.”

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