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Posts Tagged ‘fiction short story’

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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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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Frankie Goes Back to Hollywood
by: Colette Calapristi Casey
©2014

The lock turned easily and made its standard clicking noise to indicate all was safe on the western front. Well Western Groceries at least. Franklin, the lone store manager sighed heavily and rubbed his shoulders. “What a day” Franklin said under his breath and then turned away from the store he had worked for over 30 years.

Franklin strode down the old brick sidewalk careful not to trip on the warped bricks laid over 100 years ago. This was an old town. A town of not much notice and falsely quiet. Each storefront pushed its way onto main street shouting its wares, its sales and its brightly painted sales signs. As Franklin walked past the antique shop he noticed a pair of sunglasses that reminded him of a pair he had in 1980. He stopped and stared at the pair. A smile crept across his face and his eyes danced with the memory of a mullet, a corvette and a summer fling. Her name was Janelle. His heart began to beat a little faster and he could now see his breath in the air.

Janelle was an ordinary girl with an extraordinary smile. He had first captured Franklin’s attention as she came through his check out line. She purchased Silky shampoo, a pack of gum and Perfect Pink lip gloss. Not that he noticed. Each time she came in the store, Franklin watched her every move while he stocked the shelves, mopped the floors or checked her out. Checked out her groceries that is. Over time she came through his line more often until one day he walked her out to her car carrying her purchase. This time it was a Mountain Dew, bag of chips and hair bands.

“Janelle, I wanted to ask you something.” Franklin stuttered.
Janelle flashed that one of a kind smile. “Sure Frank, what’s up?”

Franklin gripped the plastic bag in his hands and began twisting it. “So, would you like to see a movie sometime?” The bag in his hands had now twisted all the way to the items at the bottom. And it was getting sweaty.

Janelle looked away and then back to Franklin. Those few moments that Franklin lost eye contact made his heart drop practically to the bottom of the bag he was holding.

“Yeah, that’d be fun. I’m free on Friday,” Janelle said and then Christmas lights. Her whole face smiled. Franklin could swear that even her strawberry blond hair started glowing.

A long rumble came up behind Franklin startling him away from his memory. At once, the sunny day in the parking lot was gone and he was once again a 55 year old overweight grocery store manager on his way  home occupied only by a cat that didn’t like him very much.
Before turning to away from the antique store he set his eyes once again on the sunglasses. How bright his youth had been. So bright in fact that he always thought he could do better based on his good looks, great car and wit. But now all that was gone, he had chased a jealous lover. Vanity would never let anyone rise above it for there was no room in anyone’s life for anyone else once vanity moved in.

Franklin looked around and ran his hand across his head that once boasted rich dark curls now only left with but a few strands that he had combed over to conceal the gleaming scalp.

Franklin sighed and turned away looking ahead at the darkness, the emptiness and his path home. His steps echoed in the village with every move towards home. There was nothing but the sounds of his steps and….music? Franklin stopped. He turned and looked down the alley. He had heard music.

The music was familiar, the rhythm haunting.

I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue

Uh-ah, uh-ah-ah, uh-ah-ah-ah

“Mick Jagger. Emotional Rescue.” Franklin said  out loud, I can name that tune in 6 notes or less. He smiled. The music attached itself to his core curiosity. He walked into the darkness of the alley following every note. The music came from a stairwell that led down under the street. With each step, the music became louder. Franklin reached the access door and opened it. He found himself walking along a dark hall and the music was pounding. He came upon another door and opened it slowly. At once, night had turned into day, Fall into Summer. Franklin felt something heavy on his head and reached up to realize his head was covered dark brown curls. He gasped, he looked around and saw his beloved Corvette. He smiled, but that’s not what he wanted to see. He was at the lake. It was warm and relaxing. He noticed it was all his friends from his youth, but he didn’t care. There was only one person he wanted to see. The music from the boom box continued to pound. Mick’s voice never sounded better:

“I’ll be your savior, steadfast and true
I’ll come to your emotional rescue
I’ll come to your emotional rescue”

He saw her. Strawberry Blond. She turned slowly and then….Christmas.

Uh-ah, uh-ah-ah, uh-ah-ah-ah

Prompt:
• Beneath the street
• A store manager
• A pair of sunglasses
• curious

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