Archive for March, 2012

31st March
2012
written by amber

Bicycle

Officer, I not only saw the accident, but I saw what lead up to it.

Yes, I’d be willing to come down to the station and make a statement, but let me phone my husband to tell him he has to pick up our grand-daughter Sally at her after-school place. I was just stopping for some groceries on my way to do just that. No, wait, that won’t work. Marc has a meeting out of town this evening, he’ll be halfway to Lethbridge by now. Sorry, but I really have to run. I’ll be late as it is.

Oh, that would be very kind. We’re trying to get by with just the one car, but it does make life difficult at times. Are you sure they’re done with you here?

My, so young and in charge of all those other men, and that woman too! You’ve done well for yourself, not like that poor young man back there. I was holding his hand, after the accident. Perhaps I should have done more, breathed into him or something, that fellow in the green apron from the grocery store did just that. Pushed me out of the way and breathed into him. But when I got to him, before that, he was talking.

He was saying, “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Not as angrily as he was saying it when he first rode away on his bike, kind of sadly, in fact. Like he was sorry he’d done what he did.

Oh, can I tell you about it now, even though you’re driving and can’t write it down or anything? All right, but I have to start at the beginning, I have to tell you what happened before he rode away on his bike.

He was in the grocery store, in the line right in front of me, but he wasn’t buying anything, he was talking to the teller. It was obviously a private conversation, but none of us could help but hear it. He was begging her, the teller, to withdraw some kind of charges against him, he said she had to do it today before 5 p.m. because it’s Friday and if she didn’t withdraw them, then on Monday morning a bailiff was coming by to take away his bicycle. And he said he’d just gotten a job, and gotten ‘his act together’ and he would pay her the money he owed her, but he couldn’t pay it now and if only he could keep the job, he’d make everything okay.

I don’t think he was talking about their relationship. Well, maybe in a way he was, but I could sense a resignation about him, that he knew he’d ruined that chance forever, but he wanted to make things right with her, one by paying the money, and two by proving to her that he could straighten himself out. But she was very cold to him, she was angry that he’d come by her workplace, and she would not agree.

I guess he has disappointed her before. “I’ll get my money if the bailiff takes the stuff from you, but I have no guarantee that I’ll get it if I withdraw my claim, do I?” she said.

He offered to write an IOU and he said he’d get it witnessed by anyone she wanted. I offered to witness it, but no one else in the line-up did, and the next teller was glaring at her, so it was a tense situation. She told him to leave. He argued and pleaded a little more, then she picked up her phone and said she’d call Security, so he stormed out, cursing.

I had only a couple of things, so I was out of the store while he was still struggling to unlock his precious bike, too upset to do it quickly, cursing away as I said. I walked by, what could I do? And I didn’t want to have to walk too quickly on my way to get Sally, the concrete is hard on my legs. So I carried on down the street, and I saw him swoop through the traffic, cursing very loudly now, still just the one word.

And I heard the delivery truck, they go so quickly, trying to make their schedules, and it went by me and the young man on the bike just turned his wheel and put himself in front of it. I know he did it on purpose. I know he’d had enough of life.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

30th March
2012
written by amber

I’m here in Calgary today and in less than an hour my team and I will receive the details about the prop, line of dialogue and genre for the 2 – 5 minute movie we’ll be making over the weekend. I’ll be posting updates throughout the weekend on my facebook page. Wish us luck!

30th March
2012
written by amber

My Sister

My sister is so beautiful. Her eyes, her hair, her body, but especially her smile. When she greets someone, she approaches them, smiling broadly, then she closes her lips and smiles like someone savouring a delicious taste, chocolate perhaps, then her lips part again and the full glory of her smile shines forth. When she smiles like that, she’s irresistible.

I don’t think my husband is able to resist her.

What a horrible thing for me to think. I should trust them both more than that. He’s been a good and faithful husband to me for more than 7 years. But he has just met Brianna and I’m afraid he’ll be like all the rest.

She never meant to steal all my boyfriends. They usually told her that we’d broken up. I knew boys dated me just to get to her, but she never figured that out. She’s too nice to be suspicious that way.

“Don’t begrudge Brianna a few dates,” my mother would say. “You have no shortage of boyfriends.”

I had the reputation of being the wild one, the bad one, but of the very few boys who dated me for myself alone, not a one of them stayed faithful to me after meeting Brianna.

So I moved far away, to South Africa, and used the political unrest there as an excuse to have a small wedding, no family invited from abroad.

But now Brianna is visiting and I see it happening all over again. Not only that – she’s also charming my children.

“Auntie Brie is the best ever,” my daughter told me at bedtime last night.

So far I’ve been able to manage to keep my husband and Brianna from being alone together but he’s been talking about taking her on a road trip to Jo’burg and I can’t come due to the children’s dental appointments.

So, tomorrow is going to be ‘girl’s day out,’ just the two of us, up the tramway to the top of Table Mountain.

Lots of people fall off there.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

29th March
2012
written by amber

Last Case

The body lies in an alley, next to an over-flowing dumpster. I’ve been called from some kind of family reunion to oversee the investigation, yet I seem to have no idea of how I’d gotten here.

Am I drunk?

I move closer to the body, hovering above it without touching anything. I recognize the face.

It is mine.

Details about the family reunion return to me – many friends and relatives were there who had died. No one currently alive was there. I had been there, and it felt as if I belonged. Why aren’t I there still?

Is it because I still don’t trust my men to solve a murder case on their own? But how can I help, floating above the corpse (my corpse) as I am?

I have to admit, it is a surprise to me that I am dead. I certainly don’t remember how I got that way. I have no insider information for my men, and even if I do, no way to communicate it with them. It’s true, they are uncommonly insensitive to communications from the living, and certainly not a one of them seems sensitive to communications from the dead.

Here they come now, joking as they always do when arriving on a scene. I used to do it myself, to counteract the dread, to provide a layer of insulation. But, of course, that protective layer is stripped away the moment they see that it is me lying there.

It might have touched me, to see how upset they are, but I have noticed something in the arrangement of the trash around the body. Around my body.

The case we’d been working on concerned an organized crime hit, one bad guy who shot another bad guy, but if we solved it, we would have had enough ammunition to put a major player out of commission for the foreseeable future. Our forensics were good, but we needed our eye witness to clinch the case.

The eye witness was in the wind, but she’d called me late last night to set up a meet. And I went alone because everyone had already put in a long day and I was feeling sorry for them. And because the eye witness said that no one had been following her, so all I needed to do was pick her up and drive her to the station, after which we’d get her statement and see about setting her up somewhere safe until the trial.

We were to meet at a well-lit all-night coffee shop. But as I neared the place, I saw someone pulling her into the alley. She was struggling. I called it in and went after her. And there my memories end.

But I can see that I didn’t die immediately. Blood rings my head, flowing in all directions like a red Medusa, the wound in my forehead from which the blood flowed is an angled depression. Not a bullet wound, but a blow from the proverbial blunt object. A nearby two-by-four is the most probable weapon.

Head injury, memory loss, but time enough to arrange some litter just off the end of one arm, a Pringles can. Hovering nearer, I see my fingerprint in red just below the name of the layered stamped out salty snacks. Pringles is the nickname of our suspect in the hit, the one who had most to gain from killing the witness, from killing me.

But the wind is gusting through the alley and the can is rolling back and forth, already it’s at least a foot away from my finger. All it needs to do is get launched over a shallow dam of hamburger wrappers and gravel and dead leaves, and it’ll be gone to the next block, far beyond the standard search zone of my men.

Look! Look at that can! I scream to my men, but not a one of them hears me.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

 

 

28th March
2012
written by amber

After

I woke up. They told me that I might not, after the surgery. This possibility upset my daughter, but I was resigned to it. Life had gotten old as I got old.

So much pain for the past five years. Karma, perhaps. I had a glorious youth, never knew what pain was, never had a care in the world. I was beautiful, and I used it. So many boyfriends.

And then, my husband. He’d lost his first wife to depression. Nadia had killed herself and it tore him apart so badly, he swore he’d never love again. We dated for a long time before he gave in. And years later, he admitted that if he’d met both of us at the same time, he wouldn’t have known which of us to pick.

That didn’t insult me. It was high praise, from him.

He and I had 26 glorious years together. He’d had only four with Nadia, but she was the ghost who haunted our marriage. I’d had far more previous relationships, but they might as well never have happened, they were that meaningless to me, once I met him.

And then I lost him. He died nine years ago.

So I really didn’t care that much if I woke up or not, after the surgery. I knew what the remaining years of my life would be like, and it didn’t appeal to me. I had no idea what the afterlife would be like – nothingness, punishment, eternal bliss.

I certainly didn’t expect some kind of institutional waiting room, so it took me a few minutes to realize that everything about the situation was wrong. I was sitting in a chair – I should have been lying down in the recovery room or back in the ward. And my legs looked different. Longer, thinner, tanned. I was wearing some pretty sandals very much like my favourite sandals from years ago. My feet looked young, toes polished.

I ran my hands over my body. It was slim, impossibly slim. Abruptly, I stood up, noting that I did so without pain. The room was large and bright, but I seemed to be the only one there, so I pulled up the cotton dress I was wearing and examined my abdomen.

No scar from the surgery I’d just had. No scar from the surgery last year. The scar from my caesarian was there, and in every way, my body was as it had been then, in the years after Constance was born, the years that were my happiest.

So, this was heaven.

But without Richard, it would never be heaven.

Yet, even as I thought of him, I saw him, standing not far from me, emerging from the brightness. He smiled and I ran to him, embraced him, weeping.

All those nine years of loneliness washed over me. One embrace could not erase them, one kiss could be only the promise of an eternity of kisses to come. We have bodies in heaven, I marvelled, and that’s when I noticed that Richard held me with just one arm. He’d looked to me exactly as he looked in the years after Constance’s birth changed us from a couple into a family, but where was his right arm? He died from bone cancer that started in that arm, but it hadn’t been amputated. Did they amputate his arm in heaven?

I peered around, and then I saw her, held firmly by Richard’s right arm. Nadia.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story for every day of the year and posted on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012. Stories must be a minimum of 200 words. Please help me by adding first line or topic suggestions in the Comment section of any story.

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