Monday, October 29, 2012

SampleSunday: REVENGE is Free for Halloween

Ever dreamed of getting even? These two short stories are filled with quiet horror and the desire for revenge. FREE now through Halloween: Home-made Pie & Sausage / Killing Julia Morris.

Two short stories (6K words, total) - Two short crime stories about revenge:

Home-made Pie and Sausage (crime/horror): Sometimes the most ordinary things in life can turn out to be the most horrifying - especially if you're the sheriff of a small town who didn't pay attention when he should have.

Killing Julie Morris (crime/murder) - Julie Morris was beautiful, rich, spoiled and used to getting her own way -- until she wanted the wrong man. This "chilling" story proves it's not a good idea to take people for granted.

from Killing Julie Morris

"I meant what I said," he calls to me. "You don't have to take the long run every time."

I turn and shade my eyes looking up at him. "I know that. I like it."

He shakes his head, jumps down, and walks closer. "Look, just because you're my sister doesn't mean you have to keep proving yourself to these guys here. We all know you're tougher than the rest of us." He's grinning but his eyes are serious. "Manny said you haven't been getting back until after dark every night. That's nuts. The other drivers can swap off, no need for you to always be the last one in. Give yourself a break. Have some fun."

I look down at our work boots. Toe to toe Vinnie isn't much taller than me. Being big and muscular and tough is good in a man. He's never realized it's not the same for a woman. Vinnie has a wife and four kids. My last tank of fish died from neglect. He doesn't see the difference.

"I like driving up the coast," I say. "I never get tired of it. I'll try to go a little faster and get back earlier."

Vinnie puts his hand on my shoulder. "That's not the point. I don't care when you get back. I just hate seeing you work longer hours than the rest of us."

"You work all the time, you just do it at home. Josephine said you were working on plans for that fountain all weekend."

Vinnie sighs. "Yeah, well, that was a waste of time. Looks like I'll be working on it again tonight."

"When's the party?"

"Not until June but you know Julie Morris -- you can't start too early to make plans for one of her parties."

"Why baseball bats?"

He laughs. "She said it's her kid's birthday and she's inviting his Midget League team but I think she's just sucking up to Henry Crane."

"Henry Crane?" I stare at him.

"Yeah." Vinnie taps the toe of his workboot with the ice bat, keeping his eyes lowered. "He's the coach this year and she wants to make sure her kid gets to play a lot." He shakes his head.

I take a deep breath. "You could tell her to get lost."

He nods. "Yeah, I could."

But he won't. That's how Vinnie is.

I take the ice bat from him and, with a grin, pretend to swing it toward his head. "Well, the party isn't until June. Maybe you'll get lucky and somebody'll shoot her and put her out of her misery."

He laughs out loud. "We can only hope."

He is still laughing as he turns and walks back to his ice plant. He got a kick out of the idea of Julie Morris being put out of her misery. Good. Because I've been thinking about ways to do that for years.

I've been driving this ice truck since high school and I've learned some real useful stuff. One is that you can watch what is going on all over the place. You drive the same roads every day and you have plenty of opportunity to watch people - it's amazing how predictable most folks are. The other thing is you become invisible. I bet it's the same for all delivery people but folks get so used to seeing you and your truck making your rounds they stop seeing you altogether. I like that.

from Home-made Pie and Sausage:

     Cletus Wilkes has a smooshed up, squashy kind of face that looks like someone punched him real hard up under the chin making his whole face sort of scrunch up and jut out. If that's what happened it happened a long time ago cause now he's got so many chins a punch would just sort of bounce off. Right now his chins are wobbling as he chews and a fine sheen of grease pools up on one chin before slowly sliding down to the next one finally dripping lazily onto the big paper napkin tucked into his collar to protect the light tan of his uniform shirt.

      "Damnation, honey, I believe you make a better smoked sausage than your old man done," he says grinning at me as he licks a slick of ketchup off his thick, rubbery lips.

      "There's still two more in the pan, Chief Wilkes," I tell him smiling. "No sense in them going to waste."

      "Well...," he pretends to think about this even though I know good and well he's been eyeing them all along.

      "An empty frying pan means a sunny day tomorrow."

      He laughs and his belly rattles the dishes on the counter.

      "Well, I'll just eat them as a community service then," he says. "Effie Parnell likes to hang her wash out on Thursdays and gets damn cranky if the sun ain't shining."

      I carry his plate back into the kitchen. The bell on the back of the door jingles and two city hunters in neon orange caps and camouflage jackets head for the beer coolers.

      "So, what's Old Bruno think about this being a cyber-cafe now?" He raises his voice so I can hear him even though I'm not ten feet away and the kitchen door is standing wide open. He pronounces the word "ka-FEE".

      I pretend to think about it as I spoon the sausages onto his plate and add another scoop of baked beans.

      "I don't think Pa has any idea what the internet is," I say putting the plate down in front of him. "He just knows it makes money and that's good enough for him."

      As though on cue I see the hunters settle into the folding metal chairs at the two work stations tucked between the camping supplies and the display of sweatshirts, baseball caps, coffee mugs, and other junk with the words Pine Creek Gorge, Pennsylvania's Grand Canyon on them. I glance at the clock but those two have been in here before and never argue when I tell them what they owe for on-line time.

      "How's the old reprobate doin, anyway?" Cletus says spearing the sausage with his fork sending a spray of hot grease in my direction. I jump back.

      "Not good." I grab a dishrag and wipe the counter around his plate. "He hasn't been downstairs in weeks now. I keep telling him he should see a doctor but you know him." Cletus laughs while he chews, his cheeks puffing out like a blowfish.

      "I sure do. All Bruno's problems can be found in one place - the bottom of a rum bottle."

      "You could go up and see him," I offer. "Might do him some good to talk to someone besides me." Like that's gonna happen. The last thing Cletus Wilkes is likely to do is haul his fat ass up two flights of steps to the rooms above the store.

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