Friday, February 12, 2010

Love can be so surprising - -flash fiction

"We're really going to miss you around here Mr. McCracken."     

William put down the box long enough to clap Stanley on the back

"The heart wants what it wants Stanley, gotta go where the lady is. Can't do long distance anymore, I need more face time, you know what I mean?"

"Face time, is that what the kids are calling it nowadays?"

William gave the half smile half eye roll that Stanley's remark required, picked up his box and went on toward the exit of McMillan and McClellan, the law firm he'd helped build for the last eighteen years.

Just before he bumped through the door backward he said:

"You did remember to wire all the money from my old bank to the new account that you set up in Chicago right Stanley?"

"Yes sir, about twenty minutes ago, and I've had phone confirmation that everything was received just as expected."

The movers were already done filling the truck when William arrived in his driveway. He inspected the van, signed off on it and the driver slammed the door. William stood in the driveway and watched as his boxed and blanketed things started off on the journey to his new place. Correction their new place.

Since the moving van had to stop at all the weigh stations on route, William calculated that even if he lingered in the house for a few minutes to say goodbye, he'd be able to stop to eat and stretch his legs a few times and still beat the van by hours to Reanna's home. Correction their home. It was going to take some time to get used to being part of a we instead of just a me.

William had no idea how he'd gotten so lucky. He'd been in a bar one night in Chicago nursing a bourbon after settling a huge case and a gorgeous leggy brunette came up and asked him if he had a quarter for the phone. She said that she'd just dropped her cell into a toilet in the ladies room and she had to make a call. He loaned her his phone instead of a quarter, she stepped off a few paces to make her call, then came back to thank him and buy him a drink. The drink led to dinner, and dinner led to a night in his hotel room that still made him sweat when he thought about it.

They hadn't managed to be together since, but she made him smolder in texts and late night phone calls. Reanna was very invested in her job and her community and William understood finally that he was going to have to make a drastic move if he wanted to be with her, so he sold his house, quit his job, packed his things, and was moving half way across the country to be with her.

***

Reanna stood on the loading dock checking off items from William's home. Stanley stood at her shoulder reading the manifest. After a minute he exclaimed

"Wow, this stuff will go for a pretty penny at auction, especially the paintings and antiques."

A mover came up to her with a puzzled expression, "Excuse me miss, but Mr. McCracken told us we'd be delivering to your home, and this is just a storage facility. The address is right, but I think I need to call it in before we unload the entire truck."

"Oh no, Jeff," Reanna said as she read the name badge ironed onto the breast pocket of Jeff's coveralls, "please don't call it in! I bought a new house just for the two of us and I don't want to tip William off until he gets here, boy is he going to be surprised."

***

William was so surprised when he saw Reanna emerge from the ladies room in the rest stop just outside of Topeka. She kissed him until his knees got weak and told him that she just had to ride the rest of the way into Chicago with him and couldn't wait to set up their house together.

"What would you think about a little pit stop on the way?" Reanna murmured into his ear.

William found a suitable hotel and they spent the afternoon getting reacquainted. Anyone who saw Reanna leaving later might have noticed that she looked rather more self satisfied and somehow sleeker coming out than she had going into the hotel.

And they might also have noticed that even though she had what looked like a rather cumbersome garment bag, she handled it as if it weighed nothing. Looking closer they might even have noticed a tiny fleck of red on her shoe, but anyone trying to get that close would have been warned off by the gleam in her eye.

***

The moving van rolled away as Stanley and Reanna went to the rental car to get the very last thing out of the trunk.

She unzipped the garment bag a little bit for Stanley and said

"See just like I told the mover, Stanley, doesn't William look surprised?"

***

Reanna put out the last of the flames in the dumpster with a heavy duty fire extinguisher. It was too bad about Stanley, he had been quite useful and she may even have loved him a little bit. But why share when all it took was the snap of a scrawny neck and a flick of the wrist to add just a little more fuel to the fire……..

The thing that irked Reanna and may have even kicked the tires near the place where her conscience once resided was that Stanley hadn't even looked a little bit surprised.


 





Link to this week's 70 #fridayflash stories at Mad Utopia

41 comments:

Marisa Birns said...

Well color ME surprised!

Excellent story of love and betrayal and...

Uh, no. It was an excellent story of greed and horror.

Olivia Tejeda said...

Evil, evil woman. Reanna, too! This was such a touching Valentine's tale. Full of true love and good intent. No cynicism WHAT so ever! Loved it! ~ Olivia

Sulci Collective said...

My fiery Valentine? See here in britain, you'd try & get an apartment off the local Council by being a deserving (?) case. In the US seems like you have to grift and then murder the mark... Who said cultural differences?

So I'm guessing you're not a romantic then Karen!? Lovely stuff, in a nasty way.

marc nash

Dana said...

Am I cynical? As soon as you said it was a long-distance relationship I thought, "Uh-oh!".

Or maybe I'm really too much #fridayflash :P

Laura Eno said...

What is Valentine's Day without a bit of love, horror, greed and lust? You never actually said "what" she was though...

Karen from Mentor said...

I know, makes it kind of scarier huh?

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Dana, long distance can work out. You just have to make sure you don't hook up with someone who could snap you like a twig...

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

*stamping her foot*
I am TOO a romantic. But Valentine's day apparently brings out the worst in my muse......

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Marisa and Olivia....I almost took a poll to see if I could slide this into the slice of life category...after all...it's just a story about an average typical day in the life of an otherwordly supernaturally strong psychopath.

And there's a moral! She does feel bad [sorta] at the end......

Thanks for stopping in everybody!

David Masters said...

Great pace, and you set up the ending well throughout, while still letting it come as a surprise.

Beware the femme fatale!

Karen from Mentor said...

Thank you David. LOVE yours this week.

And you will be happy to know that "William" was "David" right up until I posted this morning and then I changed it just so you wouldn't be sad again that a namesake got bumped off.... :0)

Maria A. Kelly said...

Love it! Great story. What a twist. I didn't see it coming.

Deanna Schrayer said...

Wow Karen, what a story! Brilliant set up for a great twisty end.

When I read that comment about you not being a romantic I somehow knew you'd defend yourself. ;)

Lou said...

This is my kind of Valentines story. A black widow with a good plan. I love the part about him not being surprised.

shannon said...

Loved his name..McCraken. I just want to use it in sentences out loud, "you're an idiot, McCraken" "Are you on crack, McCraken!" That sort of thing. (Now my dog is staring up at me like I've lost it) What was really creepy about this horrible woman was the fact that she could sleep with him...yuk. :-) Heartwarming...lol.

Anne Tyler Lord said...

My what fun! And, I think you could slide this in under Slice of Life, hehe. It seems like those two have quite a racket going on.

Very twisted and a great story, as always, I love your imagination!

Kris said...

All I can say is... WOW! I didn't see it coming that Stanlwy was in on anything. And I never would have predicted the end! You go, girl!

Cathy Olliffe said...

Fun, fun, fun! I knew as soon as the gorgeous leggy brunette approached him that he was in deep trouble. Unless you're Brad Pitt, that kind of stuff just never happens!

Michelle said...

Ah Horror, Valentines, betrayal, surprise - what more could there be to add. well done. :)

David G Shrock said...

My kind of Valentine story! And I love the name, McCracken.

mazzz in Leeds said...

Ah, at last a heartwarming tale for Valentines weekend!
I knew I could count on you to come up with the goods, Karen...

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Mazzz, a heartwarming tale indeed. Especially the part that took place in the dumpster. [Ewwwwwwwwwwww]

McCracken is fun to say isn't it David?

@ Michelle, maybe some chocolate?

Thanks everybody for stopping in and for taking the time to comment !

Karen :0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Oh man Shannon, I'm just picturing your poor puzzled dog. After reading your comment I've been walking around shouting different things at McCracken all morning.

[it's starting to scare the neighbors]

Karen from Mentor said...

Hey Maria welcome to fridayflash! I'm glad I could surprise you with the ending.

@ Kris, ANY opportunity to get a "you go girl" is bliss for me...this was one of my longest flashes, but I thought it read pretty quick. I'm glad you didn't figure out the end before you got there. woot!


@ Lou, that was my favorite part too. Sometimes other people know you better than you know yourself. Stanley must have figured it was only a matter of time.....


Glad you all enjoyed it. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Cathy, well, since I like Brad Pitt I hope this doesn't actually happen to him, but I know what you mean, this guy being a lawyer and all should have been able to figure it out. Sheesh....hey, maybe I'm NOT a romantic after all...lol

[looks sheepishly at Marc]

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Anne, I'll run all my categories by you from now on, it seems like we'll agree. It's hard sometimes to categorize a story. This one really wanted to be slice of life, right up until it wanted to be horror.....so the two categories sat down and had a cup of tea together....[and a rendevous in a hotel...but we won't go there] and became a cross-genre story. And all parties concerned seem to be happy with the way it turned out. Well, except for William. Poor William. He never even saw it coming.....

giggling....

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Deanna, I offered Marc a peek at some of my poetry, but as of now he hasn't taken me up on it...

I think I am a romantic. I know I can [shudder] write romance, but why do it for Valentine's weekend when you can write a nice grisly tale of love, betrayal, greed, monsters and murder?

Ah...the simple things in life......

:0)

KjM said...

Who, or what, is Reanna? Dangerous, that's for sure.

"William had no idea how he'd gotten so lucky..." Once I read that I knew William was in trouble, just how much was unclear. Reanna clarified that in a hurry.

Very well done. This read very smoothly.

I also loved "...but anyone trying to get that close would have been warned off by the gleam in her eye."

Eric J. Krause said...

Nothing wrong with a horror story for Valentine's. It was a fun read, and though I figured he was in trouble from the start, I didn't see him meeting his end like that. Good story!

Marvin D Wilson said...

Very good! Had all the elements of a nicely crafted love story including some unconventional elements packed into a flash fiction. This is becoming quite the craze lately, establishing a niche in the literary world. I wonder if it's a by-product of the huge growth of blogging?

The Old Silly

G.P. Ching said...

Well, I was surprised by the ending. What a horrific tale and I'm glad my hubby didn't read this before moving across the country to marry me. Great story though!

CJ Hodges MacFarlane said...

Heh, I got a little worried when he had Stanley transfer his bank funds, and even more worried when his "love" was a loose beauty he had been approched by in a bar. Great bit of flash - especially the bit about Stanley not looking surprised. :)

Cecilia Dominic said...

So did she murder him, or was she some sort of succubus? Her strength and ability to do it cleanly makes me think the latter. Great story!

CD

Karen from Mentor said...

Thanks Cecilia, it was fun [and surprising] to write.

Yeah, CJ after I wrote the part about the money transfer I wondered if William wasn't a little bit TOO trusting....but hey...he'd lived a sheltered life. [unlike Stanley]

:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

@ Kevin, beware leggy women with that particular gleam, they always spell trouble.

@ Eric, I love it when the ending is still a surprise even though there are logical steps leading up to it....well logical if you think like a psychopath....

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop in and leave a comment guys! much appreciated.
:0)

Karen from Mentor said...

Hmmmmm GP, hopefully your hubby moving across the country was the only similarity to your situation and the one in the story...otherwise? I'm a bit scared of you now.

Karen from Mentor said...

Marvin!
Hey thanks for stopping in. I post new fiction every Friday.

And you're right about the growing popularity of flash because of the internet. There are close to 100 of us in this #fridayflash group who produce flash on a weekly basis. Jon Strother of Mad Utopia organized us and we have a blast every week.

I don't think it's a phase, I think flash done well is extremely difficult and can be as haunting as a whole novel, sometimes more so, since you have to take in the idea quickly and it can be a gut punch to the brain. Flash and poetry both make you boil an idea down to the basics, and tell it without wasting words.

I've really been enjoying exploring the art form.

Thanks for stopping in.

Karen :0)

PJ said...

The money transfer was my tip-off that something wasn't quite right but i didn't foresee dead bodies in the end ... i should've known with you, karen ;-) Scary little valentine's tale!

Karen from Mentor said...

I'm going to have to get a tee shirt that just says bwahahahahaha, PJ.

Thanks for stopping in!
:0)

Skycycler said...

They were lawyers - they had it coming! A gentle morality tale of paranormal gluttony with a side serving of leggy psychosis - touching stuff (and a very funny read!)
Simon.

estrella05azul said...

Okay, to say that I was really surprised would be a lie... but honestly I wasn't expecting this :)
Very nice though, loved it!