Posts Tagged ‘Blues inspired’

7th May
2012
written by amber

Black Magic

“Black magic, woman,” he said. “That’s how I’ll get what I want. Just you watch. It’ll be black magic.”

The first thing he did was a little voodoo on his uncle Cleo. Cleo had a bad heart, a very bad heart, and it only took a little nudge, a little bourbon and a blonde. Cleo left him $200,000 dollars in his will.

The second thing he did, after spending money on a posh apartment, a hot sports car and some fine clothes, was a little voodoo on his uncle Martin. Martin was too easily impressed with the dazzle of his nephew’s new-found wealth and was happy to let him invest in his business, a small combination restaurant and bar. Soon it was the most happening place in town.

Now he was ready for the woman. She’d turned him down three times, but he’d promised that his black magic would change that. She’d said, “Sam, you’ve got no money, you’ve got no job. A woman would be crazy to get involved with you.”

But he wasn’t stupid. Sam never had been stupid. The money, the flash, the fame, none of that would make Marianne love him. Real black magic was called for now. She had a boyfriend, but Sam dug into the guy’s activities, found the young girls he dated when he was on the road. Photographs were taken, photographs were delivered to her in plain brown envelopes.

He heard that she was heart-broken, but he kept his distance. He watched her through binoculars, walking her dog in the park, crying as she jogged. He arranged the death of the dog.

Yet, still he kept his distance. Mutual friends told him that she was throwing herself into her work, her physiotherapy, her wonderful hands touching and healing undeserving clods. Sam started a rumor which could never be traced back to him – Marianne had once suffered from leprosy. Because it was a lie, it was impossible for her to disprove it to everyone’s satisfaction.

The clinic let her go.

She was crushed, as low as she could be.

She came into his bar. She cried into the expensive red wine he poured for her. He introduced her to the woman who’d agreed to pose as his fiancé. When he stepped away to greet some important, famous customers, the fiancé confided to Marianne that she’d met someone else, that she was planning to dump Sam.

The trap was set and sprung. Marianne felt sorry for Sam. She felt a bond of tragedy with him. She asked him to drive her home to her apartment.

He escorted her to the parking lot and opened the door of his hot car for her. There was a loud sound and she fell into his arms, bleeding from her forehead. A former patient convinced that she’d infected him with leprosy had killed her.

Sam never dabbled in black magic again.

8th April
2012
written by amber

A Man Out There

“There’s a man out there. Might be your man, I don’t know,” Ricardo said.

Rosa got up from the bed and joined him at the view port. Sure enough, someone was bobbing around outside, untethered but wearing a bulky propulsion pack. “Are you sure it’s a man? Maybe it’s your woman.”

“I don’t have a woman. But you have a man, and he’s due back from the trading hub any day now. I knew this was too risky.” He began to pull on his clothing.

“How did you even know he was there?”

“I heard a sound. I think it was his helmet clunking against the view port. Rosa, I’m sunk. Even if he didn’t see us, he’ll recognize my ship. This is terrible!” He sank down on the bed, only half-dressed, and put his head into his hands.

She turned to him in all her naked glory. “Oh, so what! If Albert’s going to be gone three, four, even up to six months at a time, leaving me with no one but mining bots to keep me company, what does he expect? You’re the only one who comes by. Albert buys all our supplies at the trading hub – he says it’s cheaper than buying from travelling merchants. I told him I was lonely. I begged him to take me with him on his trading trips, but he says he needs me to watch over the bots. I think he married me just to get himself a business partner willing to put up with the isolation. But I never expected it to be like this.”

She stalked out of the bedroom, grabbing a flimsy wrap from a hook as she went by. Ricardo followed, still buttoning his shirt. He caught up with her in the radio room, where she was barking into a communicator, “Albert! Is that you?”

An angry male voice filled the room. “You slut, Rosa! You’d better get rid of him before I do something we’ll all regret. How could you?”

“You leave me alone all this time – what did you expect? Why did you marry me only to hide me away in the quietest part of the asteroid belt?”

“I had my reasons.”

“Yeah, business. It’s all business with you.” She slammed the communicator down.

“No, not business,” Albert’s voice was quieter now, with a pleading quality. “Rosa, you’re so beautiful, I didn’t want to lose you to another man. I thought we’d have kids, make our own little community. I thought we’d be richer by now so I could hire someone to take these trips and I could stay home with you. I never thought you’d be unfaithful, especially with-”

“He’s the only person who ever comes by, Albert. It’s not as if I had a lot of choice. You took us off the route for Galactic Supermarket and the Air Supply Fleet, you take the bots to be repaired instead of letting the technicians come here when you’re away. And if you’d known we were on Ricardo’s route, you probably would have gone to his superiors and stopped that too!”

“You bet I would have,” he said as Ricardo snapped on his collar. “I didn’t know there were travelling chaplains. I suppose you’re going to say that he was ministering to your spiritual needs.”

Leaving the room without looking at Rosa or saying goodbye, Ricardo heard her say, “In a way, he was.”

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.

This tale was inspired by some famous blues lines.

3rd April
2012
written by amber

Devil On My Doorstep

The Devil was on my doorstep. I don’t believe in the Devil but there was little doubt that it was him. The horns, the tail whipping around like the tail of an angry cat, the way smoke rose up from the wooden step where his black hooves glowed like coals.

“I just came in on the Greyhound,” he told me. “I need a place to stay. Can I come in?”

I admit it, I was afraid the neighbours might see him. “Yeah, if you can keep from setting my house on fire.”

He looked down at the charred holes his feet had drilled into my doorstep. “Oh, my bad.” And he stepped into my house.

“Been a long time, Jeff,” he said as he plunked himself down on my couch. “You got any beer?”

“I don’t know you,” I protested, standing by the door with my arms crossed, already regretting letting him into my house. I mean, I don’t believe in him and I’m not superstitious, but isn’t there something about inviting the Devil into your house?

“Yeah, you do. We used to be real close. All those years you were drinking so much, I was right beside you.”

I hadn’t seen him then, I was quite sure, but most of the time I’d been blind drunk. “But I quit drinking.”

“Yeah, well, sometimes I win one, sometimes I lose one. But anyway, you owe me. I saved your life. So what about that beer? I know Kimmie drinks a bit.”

I stumbled into the kitchen to grab a beer. He knew my name, my wife’s name, he knew that she drank and I didn’t, and he knew about the accident. The night I gave up drinking, after finding myself a hundred feet away from the totalled car, totally unscathed.

I returned to the living room and threw the can of beer to him. If he didn’t have enough power to keep it from spraying all over him, I didn’t care. “You say you saved me?” I asked him. “Why didn’t you save Caroline too?” Maybe I could start blaming him and stop blaming myself.

“She went Up, so don’t worry about her. And you’re probably going Up now too. In fact, letting me stay here will be another star in your chart.”

“Why don’t you just go back…Down?” I muttered, still not able to get past my last look at Caroline, bleeding out on the stretcher before the helicopter could arrive. Was Up better than the life she had ahead of her?

“I’ve been kicked out of Hell.” The Devil drained the beer and shoved past me into the kitchen where he grabbed three more out of the fridge.

“How the hell did that happen?”

He shook his head. “No one believes in me anymore, so they’re unpleasantly surprised when they wake up to the fact that they’re in Hell. But their disbelief doesn’t totally fade. They haven’t been brought up to fear me the way humankind once was, so they’re disrespectful, disobedient, and dissatisfied with the conditions.”

“Isn’t that the whole point? Payback for all the wrongs they did while alive.”

“That’s what I thought too! But they don’t see it that way. They keep petitioning me for appeals, because it wasn’t their fault, blah blah blah, mommy didn’t love them, they never had a break, everyone hated them. And yesterday, they rose up and kicked me out! They think they can run Hell better than I do. I only need to stay a few days, Jeff, they’ll be begging me to come back. Without me around, the demons will run amok, and don’t even ask me about the succubae.”

“What’s in it for me?”

“My g–” He seemed to strangle at the word. “You sound just like all the damned souls in Hades. Here, look at this.”

He grabbed Kimmie’s photo from the wall and shoved it in front of my face. I knew what she looked like, but suddenly she was hot hot hot. Not blazing fires of Hell hot, but so sexy I couldn’t wait until she got home. Then I remembered that the Devil would probably still be here when she got home. And then I noticed that what he’d done to make her look so good to me was make her look a little bit like Caroline.

“Cheap trick, man,” I told him. “You’d better go.”

He slouched out the door, his hooves glowing again and leaving scorch marks on the carpet. “Oh well, I had to try. You were one of my favourites, Jeff, that’s why I came here first. But I’m still pretty close to Annabelle next door.”

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.

This story was inspired by the title of a classic blues song.

21st January
2012
written by amber

Black Cat Bone

I had nothing but bad luck; bad luck was all I had.

Once I had a good life, but then the bad luck hit. It started with an accident at work, the vacuum punch took my hand off. A man can live without a hand, if he has to he can live without an arm, but the pain wouldn’t go away. Pain in a hand that wasn’t there. But I kept on working.

No doctor would treat my pain, other than the doctor on the street, you know who I mean. His medicine took my pain away, sure thing. But it took away my job, my wife and almost my life. I was living downtown, nearly spent, but an old woman there asked for my story and when she heard it, she said I had been cursed by someone jealous of the good life I once had.

She said I needed to get me a black cat bone.

New Orleans is the place for that kind of voodoo, so I hitched a ride and it was, Crescent City, here I am. And this is what I found – in the stores there, the price of a black cat bone was $59.99. Which naturally, I did not have.

To get by, I stole all kinds of stuff – food, liquor, a rain jacket someone left on their chair at Café du Monde when they went to the bathroom. But I knew it would be bad luck to steal that black cat bone.

So I decided to get my own. Plenty of cats in New Orleans. Plenty of cats who don’t make it across a street. Some of them are black. I stole a good sharp knife. But then I couldn’t do it. Every dead cat I found was already rank and I could not take the smell.

It would have to be fresh kill, so I started chasing cats. I think they understood what I was up to, so they avoided me. But there was a man down by Jackson Square with a box full of kittens. I cleaned myself up as best I could, wore the tourist’s jacket, and offered the man $4 for a black kitten.

He looked me up, he looked me down. “What you want this kitten for?” he demanded.

“I have rats and mice in my house,” I said.

“So why not get an older cat?” he asked. “These kittens won’t hunt.”

I had no answer for this, but suddenly I heard the voice of my wife, who had always wanted me to get us a kitten, but I never would. “My wife wants a kitten,” is all I said.

And so he sold me a black kitten and I carried it home. You’ve got to understand, home is a loose term. I was living then in the courtyard of an abandoned building, sneaking in through a wrought iron gate with a chain loose enough for the slim body I’d developed by not eating three square meals a day. There was a lounge chair in the courtyard for me to sleep on, and a piece of wood to make a shelter from sun or rain, a fountain for water. All the comforts.

I took my knife out of my pocket, and took that black kitten out from inside my shirt. She was sleeping and purring. I laid the knife against her leg. The leg seemed very thin. I felt her legs and found not one thick enough to provide the size of black cat bone I’d seen in the voodoo shops.

I’d have to wait until she grew bigger.

***
A year later, Noirette and I share a shotgun shack with Brenda, a woman who works at the cat shelter. You see, I had to get a job to afford food for Noirette. I started as a bus boy in a French Quarter restaurant, and soon became a waiter. I love my job, I love New Orleans, I love Brenda and I love Noirette.

Every single bone in that cat’s body has brought me luck.

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. If you’d like me to use your name in a story, I’d be happy to do that.

3rd October
2011
written by amber

After Midnight

I was waiting at the station after midnight in the rain. I was waiting on the platform for the eastbound Via train. But my baby didn’t step off, didn’t greet me, didn’t come. So I gathered up the flowers and the chocolates and the kisses and my pride and went back home again.

It was a lonely old house that night, and a lonely old house the whole next day. She didn’t call me on the telephone, she didn’t write. But she tweeted me.

“Baby, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to hurt you but I met another man. I know you won’t understand but he needs me and I need him. I’m so sorry. You’ll find someone else, I’m sure.”

I’d suspected it all along – there was another mule kicking in my stall. That faithless woman had cut me to the core. She stomped all over my heart. She did me wrong.

I’d never actually met her but she was the best baby I ever had. I knew I had to move on, had to get back in a groove, had to look for love again. So I went back online, to the same place I met her – Blues Addicts Seeking Women to Hurt Them.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story written every day 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 suggestions in the Comment section.

 

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