Foul Play

It is Nanowrimo, and my goal has been one story a day. After a slow start. Leep and Cash and many others of the gang have been having all kinds of (Nano) adventures. Below is the very short tale I wrote today.


Leep knew there were regulations about how much cash money you could deposit to a bank account before the bank had to report you. So he put five thousand into the credit union, and another five thousand into the account that he and Cash had set up for the dining chair business. 

He immediately transferred the dining chair cash to his regular account, and a week later the five thousand from the credit union. The bank did not have to report it though of course they could, if they thought it suspicious.

But Leep was pretty sure there was nothing suspicious about a transfer from a business to a personal account. And the other was routine, too. Wasn’t it?

So now he had ten thousand dollars to play with, and a lot more, a lot, hidden under the floorboards in his bedroom closet, where his gun was.

He wondered whether he should quit his job at the mill. He felt he didn’t have quite enough to retire on, and anyway, what would he do with his time? It’s true, he thought of moving down to Playa, but he’d have to go check it out first, find out what the long term expenses might be, how long he could last and what his options were if his money ran out.

Wait. If he invested it, maybe it would never run out. Did investment companies have to report large cash deposits? He would have to google it. 

Meanwhile he went to the garden centre, now all indoors for fall, and found a big bushy basil plant to take to Beth. 

On the drive to Beth’s (Lizzie in his head) he heard an update on the radio about the body found in the pond at the golf course. A woman, a doctor, slight build, dark hair. Discovered three days after Leep’s windfall, and two days after she was reported missing by her husband. There was no mention of a stolen jeep.

The report said there were signs of foul play. What did that mean? Had she been assaulted? Beaten? Sexually assaulted? 

Leep felt queasy. He’d had bacon and eggs for breakfast and now they weren’t agreeing with him. He thought of the dark haired woman in the hospital parking lot and how she screamed and waved her arms as he drove away in her jeep. 

Beth’s car was in the driveway. The basil plant felt light. He would make sure Lizzie watered it right away.

Jimmy the Wrist [Repost]



Bernard’s mother was the accordion player in an ethnic folk band. They called themselves the Charlie Manson Quartet, and played for dances and weddings in Legion and Elk halls up and down the valley.

Of course, this was years and years before the Charles Manson family committed bloody murder in California. Bernard remembered guitarist Charlie Manson as the most benevolent kind of year-round Santa Claus, with his premature white hair and trimmed beard. Except when he drank, which was actually rare, he was a jolly trickster, who made charming but suggestive jokes in between songs, told the most ridiculous tall tales about fishing in the lakelands, and played Chinese Checkers with a fierce competitiveness.

The other band members were Harry Porter, the bass guitarist, and Jimmy “The Wrist” Corcoran, so named because he drummed a full spring wedding season with his left wrist in a cast. Bernard wasn’t sure the wrist ever healed properly, but the fracture never seemed to affect his drumming, which was odd. Or maybe he just wasn’t a very good drummer.

Jimmy was kicked out of the band after The Incident, and they never replaced him, using a small electronic rhythm device instead, which turned out to be a good thing because they could sell the van and just go from gig to gig in Harry’s massive old Lincoln, which had room for the three of them and their instruments. They became the Charlie Manson Trio.

Bernard’s mother was a pretty brunette, with doe-like brown eyes and a shy demeanour, though she really was, Bernard remembered, a crackerjack— smart, funny, and talented. She could play any kind of keyboard fluently and had a low, sweet singing voice.

She loved the water and Bernard remembered many summer afternoons at the beach, he digging in the sand for creatures— clams, mussels, burrowing sea bugs of all kinds —which he put in a big plastic washing tub filled with sand and water. Sometimes he waded on the shore in search of painted turtles, but didn’t put them in his washtub aquarium anymore because one young turtle ate all his collected clams. He brought them to his mother to be duly admired, and released them again.

Sometimes at the beach his mother read books from the library, sometimes chatted with Bernard about his collection, but mostly she liked to lean back in the blue and yellow strapped lounger in her swimsuit, and feel the sun. He remembered her humming, tunes the band played for people to dance to, or little patches of songs that she made up.

Bernard remembered one day, filled with the lazy sounds of waves lapping the shore, seagulls squawking overhead, his mother humming. The sunlight shimmered behind her, and he saw another, larger silhouette appear alongside.

“Hi Bernie,” said Jimmy The Wrist, waving stiffly. “Why don’t you go play in the water or somethin’?” Jimmy had a funny part in his hair, too close to the centre, which made him look a bit like Jimmy Olsen from the comics.

Bernie turned to his mother, who sat up in her lounge chair and ruffled his sandy hair.

“See if you can find another turtle — you can show Jimmy,” she said to her son.

People always looked strange on the beach when they were fully clothed; awkward and out of place. Jimmy wore a starched white shirt, open at the collar, and a pair of grey slacks with a belt. His shoes were polished black leather and fastened with shoelaces.

Jimmy joined Bernard’s mother on the lounger, perching on the edge, while Bernard waded ankle deep in the cool water. He hadn’t learned to swim yet, and wasn’t allowed to go any deeper.

All was well until Bernard heard loud voices. “No, I’m not!” his mother shouted. Bernard froze, and then he saw Jimmy stand up and slap his mother hard across the face. She screamed and Bernard started to propel himself from the shore towards them.

Before he reached his mother, before the blonde couple down the beach or the man at the concession stand up by the parking lot could react, a seagull, a raggedy old grey and white seagull, flew straight into Jimmy’s face.

It flew in with its beak and claws out, tearing up Jimmy’s clean-shaven face and neatly-parted hair. It fluttered its broad wings and flew away. There was blood.

Jimmy flailed around blindly, and Bernard’s mother put a towel into his hand, Bernard’s towel that had the Superman crest on it.

Jimmy was gasping and crying, the towel pressed to his face. Bernard reached his mother just as the young couple did, and she clasped his hand tightly, her other hand on her cheek. The man at the concession stand then arrived with a heavyset man in uniform, who, after talking in low tones to Bernard’s mother and the young couple, invited Jimmy to come along with him. No one seemed in a great hurry to tend to Jimmy’s wounds, but he was quiet now, and walked away with the officer silently, subdued.

Bernard’s mother knelt in the sand and enveloped Bernie in her arms. He could feel her breathing heavily, and feel the heat from the cheek that had been so forcefully struck. She hugged him tightly, and he looked over her shoulder at Jimmy and the officer in the parking lot as the officer opened a white car door and Jimmy bent to get inside. Just before his bloody face disappeared into the back seat, the old seagull returned, circled, and shit on the top of Jimmy’s head.

“We’ll get you a new towel,” Bernard’s mother, unseeing, whispered in his ear.


  • Original Prompt: Beach, May 5, 2016

The Saga of Jenny the Slut

Prompt: Saga
[Trigger Warning]

Girl Alone_In_The_Dark by_visceral

This is the saga of Jenny the Slut,
When accused of assault she could only say “Whut?”
The guy had the gun, our Jen was unarmed,
And Jen had the bruises, the guy was unharmed.
Now Jenny was pretty, there’s just no denying,
Even all blotchy with eyes puffed from crying,
Her hair long and flowing and and silky as sin,
And as fit as a champion, from toes up to chin.
“A temptress, a vixen, she lured the guy in.”
That’s what the man said, the man named Mr Quinn.

Now Jenny was sorry, why wouldn’t she be?
She was out on that Friday, footloose, fancy-free,
With her friends, Lou and Sally, she danced and drank beer,
At a club called The Honey Bee, down by the pier.
A guy approached Jenny, he was quite insistent.
“Not interested,” Jen said, “Don’t be so persistent.”
But he pushed and he pushed; would not hear the word “no”.
So Jenny told Sally, “Friend, I just have to go.”

She walked home alone, in the streets slick with rain,
Down the road past the Walmart, and into the lane,
She heard something behind her– the wind, or a creature?
She shivered, and hurried, so it couldn’t reach her,
At her door, the key fumbled, but she made it inside,
But not before he pushed her harshly aside.

The guy from the club! He told her “Be quiet!
“There’s no way to escape me, don’t bother to try it.”
A struggle, some shouting, Jenny knocked to the floor.
Such terror, such panic, she had not felt before.
He took out a gun, and said, “You’re not so smart now,
“Not too good for me, are you? Let’s make a start now.”
He grabbed at her hair and pushed her along,
Not knowing that Jenny was quick and was strong,
And lucky– he let down his guard for a minute,
She snatched his gun, made sure that bullets were in it…

“What were you wearing? Please tell the jury,
“Did you drink to excess? Was your memory blurry?”
Quinn wanted to know; then put Lou on the stand:
“Is your friend quite flirty? Is Jen in demand?
“Is she ‘nice’ to the men, does she have a tattoo?
“She cried ‘rape’ before, but it just wasn’t true.”
Jenny cringed and felt tiny, and remembered that time,
When the person who hurt her; committed a crime,
Walked free, free of stigma or fear or disdain.
Jenny sat there in silence. She smothered her pain.

The jury heard family speak of the guy:
“He’d never do this, he is modest and shy!”
The guy said, “She let me in, asked me to stay,
“How else did I get in, how else did we play?”

It is true that Jenny was at first unarmed,
And the guy was wounded so he wasn’t unharmed.
But what did the jury think, who did they believe?
Was Jenny a slut, was she quick to deceive?
Did she ‘want it’, and was she just prone to attack?
Or was she a victim, who tried to fight back?