Rain was spattering off the windows like a lunatic’s depiction of the Niagara Falls. Occasionally, the odd drop would be eerily illuminated by a passing headlight. These privileged drops would fade into dull oblivion within seconds, joining the herd of drops that continued to assault the windows like an angry geography teacher with an AK-47.
All writers have that one bugaboo story that refuses to finish. It’s as though the damned thing has something against you, and would do anything to mess with you, even to the point of sacrificing its chance of appearing anywhere in the Universe. My bugaboo story is called Renfield and the TomTom Ghost. It has been in production for two years, yet not even a hundred words have been “shot.”
Case File: Something’s Cooking Under Where?
6:58 PM: Dames play games with my head. They drive me to extremes. Run me off to sit in parking lots where the glow of the streetlamps glaze the top of my smoke rings in honey. Some dames disappear in the middle of the night. After twenty years. All because I was born to fight crime. All because I missed a few dinners, an anniversary or two, while out mopping vermin off the streets. Then she gets remarried, moves on with her life like I’m some speck of shit on the toilet rim that never spiraled down. I can only counter with three hundred sixty five canned chili dinners and a new leather duster. And now I’m about to attend my second class in an introduction to cooking course at the community college. I never dreamed there’d be a first, but canned chili only gets you so far before you reach colostomy bag status. So I sit here and wait. Watch the tall brunette, the curvy redhead, and the tattooed blond–my classmates–walk past and wonder which of these fair maidens slipped a favor in the front pocket of my duster last week. It’s a silly little thing. Pink silk with eyelet trim and a round cutout on one end. Some kind of exotic lingerie apparatus, I imagine. All I know is my pocket was bare at the start of class and later that night I found the kinky surprise. It’s a real mystery. Now the only thought in my mind as I step out of the car is: which of these dames wants to toss my bacon in the skillet?
Melvin sat on the garden wall, deep in thought. Chip pan fires were the stuff of 1970s public information films and soap operas. He didn’t know a single person who had suffered a chip pan fire but out of the blue, it happened to him.
I woke up feeling tired, even though I thought that I had slept through the night. My wife Sally looked like she hadn’t slept much either. I expected her to complain about my snoring, but she surprised me by saying “Duke, when did you become a great singer?”
There were only four tables in the cafe, and I saw that my date was already seated at one of them. I had figured this out by the process of elimination (there was nobody else in the cafe except her and the young woman behind the counter), and the stretched possibility that my date bore a slight resemblance to the younger, fitter, and brighter-looking person in her profile gallery. A “helpful hint” on the lonely hearts’ site says that you can judge your match’s interest level by the amount of preparation she has invested in meeting you. Interestingly, the lady had gussied herself up to a point which lay between rushing to the convenience store at five in the morning for coffee filters and awakening in a dumpster. And she seemed oblivious to every atom in the universe that wasn’t displayed on her iphone.
Reuben chomped on a crispy chicken back at the kitchen table when Deputy Nancy smoldered in through the back door, coughing smoke.
“Tanning again, Nanc?”
“These are flash burns!” The deputy dented her waist with the oven door handle. “Bog fog was thick. Smashed a boulder. Patrol car’s toast.”