APPEARANCE
posted @ 7:42 pm in [ SPASMS ]

 

People don’t just disappear off the face of the earth. Well, sometimes they do, but the practice is generally frowned upon. Elaine Caudwell headed up the Missing Persons Unit of the local precinct. She didn’t love her job – love wasn’t strong enough a word. She lived her job. There was nothing else in life for Ms. Caudwell. The job had eclipsed every other person in her family, everyone she’d gone to school with, every individual who did not pertain in some way to her mission of finding those who couldn’t or wouldn’t be found. Cases like those of Jimmy Hoffa, Judge Crater and Amelia Earhart both obsessed and infuriated her.

As Ms. Caudwell often said, there is no such thing as a perfect disappearance. Forensics always turns something up. A hair, trace of blood, activity on a credit card or bank account. A Social Security number. Anything. The point was, people didn’t exist in a vacuum. They had basic needs that had to be fulfilled, and if they were dead and beyond needs, then evidence existed somewhere. People didn’t stay missing long with Elaine Caudwell on the case.

Until she realized she was in menopause.

Sometimes you don’t realize you want something until you can’t have it anymore. Now, the uselessness of her womb gnawed at her. Elaine’s famous concentration faltered. Her recovery rate dropped. Never having bothered to make friends among her co-workers, she no longer had anything of value to add to her job. Recognizing this, Elaine took her retirement, with full pension.

And then she did a very strange thing. She disappeared.

Well, not quite. Her old co-workers could have found her, if they’d bothered to try. They might have found airline manifests. Phone records of calls to an attorney. A passport application.

Elaine was gone for a month. When she returned, she was the proud adoptive mother of a young Zimbabwean girl. Elaine’s face hurt from smiling so much. The child took an instant liking to her, and they spent long, happy days in the park, at the Zoo, at her toddler gymnastics class, making cookies together, singing, laughing.

A few years later, Elaine sat on a bench in the park, watching her daughter run around with the other children and feeling more contented and purposeful than ever before. One of the women from Missing Persons was there with her child, too. Seeing Elaine, she was reminded of the tight-lipped, tense workaholic she used to know, and wondered if this was Elaine’s sister.

Whatever happened to Elaine, anyway? After leaving the force, she’d just disappeared.

  

Copyright 2006 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.





JUST SO YOU KNOW…
posted @ 6:55 pm in [ On Writing and Creativity ]

Got something going on tomorrow. Might not be back for a while.

Wish me luck.

xo, Amy





SNAKE & FREAKY JOHN – rough chapter 1
posted @ 8:45 pm in [ Snake & Freaky John Novel ]

“Course, fuckin’ spinach didn’t exist before Popeye came along,” Snake declared, pausing to fire up a bud. “After the cartoons came out, kids all over are clamoring for spinach, but it’s just a joke they made up, like Soylent Green, so they fuckin’ genetically engineered it.”

Freaky John took a toke himself and swallowed the smoke. “No fucking way.”

“Way, dude. Why do you think it tastes so bad?”

Freak acknowledged that this was true. “But dude, lots of shit tastes like shit. Fuckin’ liver, for instance.”

Snake sat up, offended. “Motherfuck! You don’t like liver?”

“Fuck, no!”

“How the fuck can you not like liver? It’s like, fuck, it’s like—nature’s perfect food!”

“It tastes like shit,” Freak enunciated.

“Dude, you’re just gonna sit there telling me you don’t fuckin’ like liver and onions?”

Freak blew a smoke ring. “Shit and onions.”

“But…” Words failed. “You’d like it if I made it.”

“No fuckin’way.”

“Way!”

“No,” Freak repeated, slowly. “I. Do not. Like liver.”

Suddenly Snake was on his feet. “Up! Get up, fuckface.”

Freak looked suspicious. “Why?”

“I’ll tell you why, moron. We’re gonna go out, we’re gonna pick up some fuckin’ liver and onions, I’m gonna fuckin’ cook it for you, and you’re gonna sit there and eat every bite and you’re gonna fucking love it, that’s why! Now get off your ass, we’re going to Food Town!”

Freaky John crossed his arms over his chest. “I’m not going to fuckin’ Food Town.”

“You’re going to fuckin’ Food Town.”

Freak glared. “You got any money to pay for the liver?”

“Need I remind you, asshole, I am the wheels of this fuckin’ operation. I pay for the gas, car insurance, license, registration, fuckin’ inspections, windshield wiper fluid—”

“I’m not going to Food Town!”

“—oil changes, hubcap fees, parking tickets, speeding tickets—”

“Unbelievable.”

“Are you listening to me?”

Freak cupped a hand to his ear. “What?”

“Fuckin’ retard.” Snake took a deep hit to calm himself down.

“Hey, man, pass the bud,” Freak protested.

“Fuck you,” Snake replied, charitably. He went over to the window and looked out at the street. It rained earlier that night. Now the streetlights made funny-colored reflections on the wet pavement. He leaned his forehead against the cool glass and finished the joint. “There’s liver in White Castle burgers, y’know.”

“Is not.” The Freakster stretched out a toe to hit the button on the remote control. The TV glowed to life. “News is on.”

Snake was back on the couch. “That anchor lady’s hot. I tell you about that dream I had?”

“The one where she’s a nun?”

“Yeah, I guess I did.”

“Only every night this week, man,” Freak giggled.

“Dude, nuns are hot.”

“Fuck!” Freak sat up and looked at the television. “Is that Margaret?”

Snake leaned forward and squinted. “Yeah, it is. See, the thing about nuns is—”

“Dude, what the fuck is Margaret doing on the ten o’clock news?”

“Freak, we’re talking about nuns here, okay? Don’t change the subject, it’s rude.”

“Shut up, I’m trying to hear.”

“Why? She’s right next door. You can listen to Margaret anytime.”

“Aw, fuck, it’s over now. You can’t shut the fuck up for three fucking seconds? Three fucking seconds? Cause that’s all I asked, was three fucking seconds.”

Snake opened his mouth to reply, closed it, looked down at his watch, counted to three, and looked up again. “Obviously.”

Freak pushed himself up from the couch and reached around in his shorts for his keys. “I’m going next door, see what’s up with Margaret.”

Snake bounced up and straightened his biker vest. “She’s fine. Unless she’s, like, dead or something.”

“That’s why we gotta find out. Although it’s a win-win situation either way.”

Snake lifted an eyebrow. “Because…?”

“If she’s alive, we can still get in through her kitchen window if we run out of food, and if she’s dead, then she can’t complain about the stereo.”

“Well, what are we waiting for?” Snake pulled the door open. “After you, sir.”

Freak slipped into his sandals, went out into the hall and banged on Margaret’s door. “Yo! Margaret! Open up!”

No answer.

Snake took his turn. “Yo, Superstar! We saw you on TV! You looked hot!”

The apartment was silent.

Freak tried again. “Margaret! The building’s on fire! We gotta get out!”

The door across the hall opened and elderly Mr. Hersch peered out. “The building’s on fire, you say?”

“Not really,” Freak answered. “We’re just saying that to get Margaret to come out.”

“Certainly she should come out if the building is on fire,” Mr. Hersch replied sensibly. “You’re good boys.”

Snake shook his head. “The building’s not on fire, idiot, we’re just trying to get Margaret to come out.”

Mr. Hersch blinked. “If the building’s not on fire, then what is on fire?”

“I dunno, your pants?”

The old man gasped. “My pants are on fire? Jonathan, is this true?”

Freaky John patted Mr. Hersch on the arm. “No, it’s all a joke. There’s no fire, and the aliens haven’t landed, either.”

“Aliens?!”

Snake pointed over Mr. Hersch’s shoulder. “Yeah, aliens! Look, there’s one down the hall! I think he’s the one that set the fire!”

Mr. Hersch blanched. “Really?”

Freak rolled his head back and belched. “No.”

The old man set his jaw. “Make a run for it, boys! I’ll stand guard! No alien bastard is going to set fire to this building on my watch!”

“You do that, Mr. Hersch.” Freak looked at Snake. “You hungry?”

“Yeah.” Snake patted his stomach. “I got a craving for liver and onions.”

Freak was already heading down the stairwell. “Dude, I’m not eating liver and onions.”

“Your mouth says no, but your eyes say yes.”

“Fuck you.”

“No, thanks.”

“Fag.”

Snake flicked his tongue out and made devil horns, which settled the argument.

Outside, the night was warm and sticky. Freak and Snake stood around for a minute, looking around the street.

Freak was the first to speak. “Dude, where we going?”

Snake tossed back his hair nonchalantly. “Food Town.”

“I told you, no fuckin’ liver and onions.”

“You think that’s all they sell, turd-brain? A whole motherfucking supermarket and they don’t sell anything but liver and onions?”

Freak nodded toward a black 1986 Monte Carlo with a three-foot cobra decal on the hood. “Walking or driving?”

Snake hesitated, stroking his goatee. “Snakemobile’s low on gas.”

“Dude, it’s two blocks.”

“Snakemobile is fuckin’ low on gas.”

“Unbelievable.” They turned and started walking. Freak pulled a joint from the pocket of his shorts and fired it up. After a nice deep hit, he passed the bud and shrugged. “How low is low?”

“Fumes.”

Freak nodded sagely. “What about kiwis?”

Snake took another hit and coughed. “What about ‘em?”

“They taste like fucking shit, man. Were those genetically engineered too?”

“I don’t see why not. Fuck, man, that makes sense. Kiwi probably stands for something, like a homonym or shit.”

“Homma…Homma-nimim?”

“Homonym. It’s where you got the first letters of a name and it makes a word. Like ‘Kleenex.’”

“Fuck, really? What does Kleenex stand for?”

“Shit, I think it’s the Klu Kux Klan or some shit.”

Freak stared. “The KKK invented Kleenex?”

“Sure. You see, back in the day, on off days when they weren’t wearing those white hoods and the hoods were just sitting in a fuckin’ closet or something, when one of the KKK guys had a cold, what do you think they blew their nose on?”

“You’re fucking kidding.”

“No joke.”

“Unbelievable.”

“See, that’s why a true American always picks his nose.”

Freak was skeptical. “Why not just use toilet paper?”

Snake shrugged. “Sure, you can do that. That’s what the French do.”

“The French are cool. They make the best fuckin’ toast I ever ate.” Freaky John grabbed Snake’s arm. “Dude! Let’s get toast!”

“They sell toast at Food Town? You don’t have to make it anymore?”

“Fuck, they genetically engineer the fuckin’ vegetables, they can probably manage toast.”

Snake looked admiringly at his friend. “Now, that’s fuckin’ logic. You learn that in law school, too?”

The electric door of the supermarket opened before them. Inside, Food Town was awash with bright fluorescents and air conditioning. An older woman wearing a green Food Town tunic was stocking a pyramid of cans of tomato sauce on a table. Snake thumped her shoulder. “Dude, where’s the toast?”

She glared. “I’m not a dude.”

Snake scoffed. “I can see that, but that’s not what I asked.”

“We don’t sell toast, dude. You have to buy the bread and make it yourself.”

The weed was really starting to hit. Freak shook his head and tried to remember something important and logical about genetic engineering. He’d just had a thought about that a minute ago… “What about kiwis?” he asked importantly.

“Produce aisle. And stop coming in here smelling like marijuana. You guys should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Snake swept his mane back magnificently. “Bet your liver tastes terrible.”

She ignored this. “Liver is in Meats, next to the tripe.”

Freakster remembered something. “Fuck, I left the TV on!”

“Do you have to curse?”

“What about ice cream? Dude, you got ice cream?”

The woman scowled at Snake. “I told you, I’m not a dude.”

“Not you, him! Freak, you got any ice cream?”

“Aisle fifteen, dairy.”

“Don’t interrupt, it’s rude,” Snake chided.

“No, I don’t have ice cream…what?”

Snake had Freaky John by the arm, propelling him toward the left side of the store. “Cherry Garcia time, baby.”

“I’m sure I left the TV on.”

“That’s not what’s important right now.”

“I’m pretty sure it is.”

“No, it’s not.”

“What are we talking about again?”

Snake squeezed Freak’s shoulder reassuringly. “You’re freaking out, man. Let’s get some ice cream and cool you down. Look, there’s Margaret.”

Freak’s eyes vaguely focused on an attractive woman about his own age, with dark-rimmed glasses and straight brown hair, selecting a tub of Haagen Dazs from the cooler. “Yo, Margaret. We just saw you on TV.”

His next-door neighbor burst into tears. “It’s on the news?”

Freak patted her arm awkwardly. “Don’t cry, Margaret. I mean, I’m sad I left the TV on, too, but it’s no reason to cry.”

“It’s not bad enough I lose my job, but do they have to put it on the news, too? What did they say? Do they think I did it?”

Snake laughed. “You had a job? Fuck, man, jobs are for losers. You’re better off without one, you ask me.”

Margaret’s shoulders sagged. “Shockingly, this doesn’t make me feel any better.”

Freak struggled to clear his head. “Why were you on the news?”

“I don’t want to talk about it here. Let’s go home, and I can tell you about it in private.”

“Fuck, being unemployed is the best thing that ever happened to me,” Snake added encouragingly. “Sleep in, go where I want, get paid for doing frigging nothing. Shit, everybody should do it.”

Margaret blinked. “Why do I even talk to you people?”

Freaky John grabbed a random tub of ice cream and headed toward the checkout. “I got what I want. Let’s get out of here.”

Snake excavated something from his nose. “So why’d you get fired, anyway?”

She sighed and followed Freak toward the cashier. “I told you, we can talk about it when we get back to the building.”

Snake was walking with her. “Did you sit on the copier? Cause I’d want copies of that.”

“No.”

“Did you get caught fucking in the break room?”

“No.”

“No? Well, fuck, you didn’t steal anything, did you?”

Margaret stopped in her tracks, tears shining on her cheeks. “Shut up, okay? I’ve had a bad enough day as it is. Now that I’ve lost my job, I shouldn’t even be spending money on this.” She looked down at the carton of ice cream in her hands.

Snake took the ice cream and plunked it on the counter next to Freak’s. “We’ve got it. Don’t sweat it, hot stuff.”

Freak patted his pockets. “Fuck. Snake, you got any money?”

“Oh, now I have to pay for everything?”

“Dude, I forgot my wallet! I’ll pay you when we get back.”

“Did you check your boxers?”

Freak unzipped the fly of his shorts and reached around inside. His face brightened as he pulled out a crumpled twenty. “Hey! Good call!”

Margaret wrinkled her nose. “You guys keep your money in your underwear?”

“Hell, no.” Snake adjusted the leather belt over his jeans. “I go commando.”

“Jesus Christ.”

Outside, Margaret shivered. “Funny how getting back into the heat makes you realize how cold it was in there.”

Freak stared. “That makes no fuckin’ sense whatsoever.”

Snake stroked his goatee wisely. “When you look at it logistically, it makes total fuckin’ sense. It’s all about the differential of the square root of the thermometer and shit.”

“I have no fuckin’ idea what you just said.”

“Me either,” said Margaret. “Let’s just enjoy the silence till we get back, okay?”

Freak nodded. “Okay.”

“Silence is golden,” Snake declared. “Silent night, right? Right?”

They reached the building door. Margaret took care of the lock while Freak held the grocery bag. Snake stood around for moral support.

Freak stepped aside to let Margaret up the stairwell first. “After you.”

“Thanks.” They reached the top of the stairs and turned the corner.

And were met by an icy blast of foam.

“Ha! Think you can just come down in your spaceships and set fire to my hallway? Well, you can take your UFOs and go right back where you came from!”

Margaret screamed and ran back down the stairwell. Freak slipped on the foam and fell on his ass. Snake wrestled the fire extinguisher from Mr. Hersch. “Fuck, who let you have one of these?”

“Oh, Jonathan, Snake, is that you? I beg your pardon, dear boys, I thought you were aliens. Oh, well, honest mistake.” Mr. Hersch smiled pleasantly at Freak, Snake and Margaret, who was peering around the corner. “Would you like to come in for a cookie?”

Copyright 2006 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.





CRUISING AND SHIT
posted @ 2:34 pm in [ Snake & Freaky John ]

Snake and Freaky John return to rock your Friday night…

These being Snake’s wheels, it was up to Snake to turn on the radio.  Recognizing the song playing, he announced, “The Who.”

Freaky John was rolling a joint on the dash.  “Who?”

Snake nodded.  “Yes.”

Freak raised his eyebrows.  “Doesn’t sound like Yes.  Maybe the Stones.”

Snake shook his head.  “Who.”

“The Stones, man, fuckin’ Mick Jagger.  ‘I can’t get no-oo, sat-iss-fack-shun…’”

“Not the Stones, dickhead, this is fuckin’ ‘Baba O’Riley.’”

Perplexed, Freaky John blew a smoke ring.  “Pop a wheelie?”

Snake pounded the steering wheel.  “No!  From Who’s Next!”

“I don’t know who’s next, we gotta wait for the next song and shit.”  Freak leaned back and took another nice big hit.  This was really good shit.  And this song kicked.  Ass.

Snake gritted his teeth.  “The album Who’s Next, brainiac!  Gimme that!”

“Snake, man, this station don’t play whole albums.”  Freaky John passed the bud to his colleague.  “They got fuckin’ Two-for-Tuesday, though.  That rocks.  Unbelievable.”

Snake took a hit and passed the bud back to Freakster.  “The Who, you fuck.  Townshend, Daltrey, Entwhistle, Moon – the goddamn, cocksucking, motherfucking Who!”

Freaky John relaxed.  “Oh, The Who.”

“Yes.  The Who.”  Snake released his death grip on the wheel.

Freaky John yawned and contemplated the dashboard.  “That was my next guess.”

Copyright 2004 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.





IN THE END
posted @ 4:50 pm in [ SPASMS ]

In the end, it wasn’t the act of introducing his fiancée to his parents that was difficult. It wasn’t her answering honestly his mother’s innocent question, “What do you do for a living?” with “I’m an actress in adult films,” although that was a little tricky.

It was when his dad looked at her, slapped his knee and said, “I thought I knew you from somewhere! How do you ram those dildoes so far up your butt?”

Copyright 2005 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.
Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.





SUGGESTIONS, PLEASE
posted @ 6:20 am in [ reader participation -SPASMS -two word ]

I’ll be writing today’s SPASM tonight, and I’d like your help! Please leave a comment of just two words (no more than two, please!) at the end of this post. When I get home, I’ll pick a comment, use that as my title, and write a story to go with it. The old “Two Word Stories” rules apply (here, in case you’re not familiar with the concept). 

Don’t worry about your words not being good enough, or whether they go together or whatever. Just try to avoid profanity and obscenity. I provide plenty of that as it is.

This’ll be fun!

xo, Amy





HEY, FOLKS!
posted @ 6:36 am in [ book -buy stuff -SPASMS -update ]

Hey, folks! Things have been happening at Castle SPASMS. Obviously, I’m writing them again, but there’s more:

1) I’m planning to self-publish a collection of about 200 stories. The stories are already written, of course, but there’s an actual designer designing the book, and I’m not sure how long it’s going to take. Even if it takes months, it will be worth it, because this lady is GOOD. I’ll keep ya posted.

2) I have a CafePress shop. I don’t think I ever mentioned that on LJ, because the shop is small and kind of sucky, but you can check out what’s there if you like: http://www.cafepress.com/spasmsproject.  If I get my act together, I’ll be updating the products to reflect www.spasmsproject.com instead of the URL for my LJ.  Anyway, if you’d like to buy a SPASMS mug or t-shirt, go for it. I’m thinking of buying a mug for my desk at work.

3) You might’ve noticed that some of the new SPASMS are a tad longer than before. I’ve always tried to stick with 500 words or less, but writing novels will tend to make you verbose. They’ll shrink to 500 as we go, probably. Think of it this way: More SPASMS for your money! Oh, wait. You don’t pay for these, I give them to you out of the kindness of my own heart! Well, just be grateful, then. 

Thanks to all who’ve been with me for the long haul (since 2004!) and thanks to my new readers. You guys rock. Go forth in triumph.

xo, Amy





OLGA’S GARDEN
posted @ 7:24 am in [ flower -garden -SPASMS ]

 

It snowed, but only in the front yard.

The back was a lush paradise of verdant grass and foliage. Cool, tropical-scented breezes tickled the leaves. Exotic orchids bloomed around the patio. A puddle near the back of the yard that had never dried from the previous year deepened, clearing and becoming home to koi and miniature frogs. A single lotus blossomed among the lily pads.

It had been a typical suburban garden until the new housekeeper came. Olga was Hungarian or Ukrainian or something. She barely spoke English, just like anybody else from the agency. Olga wasn’t a spectacular housecleaner. There were dust bunnies under the couches and trails of dirt below the cupboards. But the very day she started, a vase of flowers that Mrs. Belleci was going to throw away came back to life. Mrs. Belleci didn’t immediately connect the two events. She was more concerned with Olga’s substandard vacuuming.

Mrs. Belleci’s children were the first to notice the changes in the back. Her son brought an orchid in from the yard and gave it to her. Where did you get this, Mrs. Belleci demanded. From the yard, he said. Mrs. Belleci didn’t believe him, so he insisted she look. It hadn’t come together yet, and there were no signs of actual work—no shovel, no plant containers—but somehow, the yard was being transformed into a botanical garden.

Mrs. Belleci went to confront Olga. Clearly, this was why the housekeeper did such a poor job. Well, gardening was all well and fine, but Olga was being paid to work, not play with flowers. Olga said she didn’t go in the yard. She stayed in the house all day. To prove it, Olga showed Mrs. Belleci the soles of her shoes. They were clean.

Olga continued to work for the Bellecis, and the garden continued to grow. Autumn had arrived, but the trees hadn’t changed their colors. Leaves littered the street in front of the house, but it was still summer in the back. Olga went on a week’s vacation in November. The garden languished. Within minutes of the housekeeper’s return, the grass was green again. The neighbors’ yards were bare and frigid. It was January, after all. Mrs. Belleci’s yard was sunny and warm.

One day, Mrs. Belleci asked Olga to come sit with her on the patio. Mrs. Belleci gave Olga a glass of iced tea. When Olga entered the yard, the flowers opened.

You have a great gift, said Mrs. Belleci. You should not be working as a lowly maid.

I have nothing to do with this, said Olga.

I am going to remove the walls around my yard, so that our neighbors can see your work and appreciate your beauty.

I have nothing to do with this, said Olga. Do not tear down your walls because of me.

I must, said Mrs. Belleci. It is a crime not to share this.

The next day, a team of men came to take down the fences. By the end of the day, the snow had melted from the surrounding neighbors’ yards. By morning, the neighbors’ trees were budding.

Olga was suddenly very tired.

Mrs. Belleci made Olga lay on the couch. She rubbed Olga’s feet. The Belleci children brought Olga tea and chicken soup for strength.

By nightfall, Olga could barely find the strength to speak. I must leave, she whispered.

No, Olga. Please don’t leave. You make our home so beautiful.

I must.

The next morning, Olga’s room was bare. Mrs. Belleci and her children searched the house. Olga had gone.

The flowers by the patio were already dead.

Mrs. Belleci cried.

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 





THE PERDIFEROUS GUEST (Explanation!)
posted @ 8:09 pm in [ perdiferous -SPASMS ]

Thanks to all who commented and e-mailed me reagrding this post. I was really tired when I posted it, and I neglected to mention that it was a standalone piece. We did two separate stories with the same title, which is why I captioned it “Take 2.” Here is the first. We didn’t post the second one because we weren’t sure whether to develop it further.

Anyway, glad people liked it! Sorry there isn’t a conclusion. Maybe there will be, someday.

xo, Amy





THE PERDIFEROUS GUEST (Take 2)
posted @ 8:27 pm in [ jam -SPASMS -tim_x ]

 This is a jam, written about two years ago, by [info]tim_xand myself. Enjoy!

From the journals of Dr. Henry Wilkes Tonnage III

 

My dear friend Howard,

 

I am delighted to hear that my latest missive finds you well, too many of our friends have dropped out of contact, the reasons for which run the gamut from mortality to geography. All that are left now, old friend, are you, Wesley Barr & I. Wesley, that old adventurer, is planning a trip back to the dark continent; a journey which you can be certain I warned him against making. Especially considering what happened when last we were there. Do you recall that night, Howard? That dark night of screams in the jungle? Of the things we saw, and of our damnable guest?

 

 

Henry, old friend,

 

It has been many years since that fateful venture, yet I recall it every day. I thank you for warning Wesley against repeating the journey; you may rest assured that I have just penned a missive cautioning him against the same.  I am not ashamed to tell you, Henry, that I have relived that horrifying night many times in my dreams. I remember the screams, old friend, but the memory that haunts me most is the recollection of hiding in the tangled foliage in ebon night, daring not to move, lest our guest perceive my labored breathing…

 

 

Howard,

I got a deuced chill when I read your words pertaining to that night.  I sometimes think, perhaps wish, that I had imagined it all, but holding your letter in my hands dashed me back into reality.  I paid a visit to Wesley’s estate, in one last attempt to persuade him from folly, but I’m afraid he has already boarded the Tramp Steamer “Obeisance” to Africa.  All is lost, I fear, for Lord Barr will go once more into that jungle seeking to claim what he believes is his by right…but it is that which will claim him, for it belongs only to our guest of that dark night of long ago.

 

 

DEAR HENRY STOP – HAVE OBTAINED TWO TICKETS FOR THE STEAMER HMS VICTORIA DEPARTING BLAKESHEAD TOMORROW MORNING STOP – MEET ON DOCK BEFORE BOARDING STOP – BRING YOUR RIFLE STOP – I SHALL BRING THE OBJECT WE TOOK FROM THE JUNGLE STOP

 

 

My dearest Mary,

 

When you read this letter, darling, I shall be on board the H.M.S. Victoria, headed east. You may contact me via the ship’s wire if needs must. Henry and I are returning to the jungle to save your brother, Wesley. My love to you and the children. There is a possibility I may not return…

 

My dear Howard,

It pains me to hear that, once again, my brother places your life in jeopardy.  I am not even certain that you will receive this letter before you leave.  Know that my heart goes with you and, should you fail to return dies with you in that forsaken jungle.

To: Quartermaster Jervis, Fort Britannia- Africa
From Dr. Howard Phillips

Mr. Jervis,

I am forwarding this request to alert you of my arrival, and request that you ready the necessities for my compatriot and me.  When I was last in your care I left a particular locked trunk in your storeroom.  Please have it cleaned and ready for me.  That is all.

 

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly and Tim Mucci. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 





GAHHHH!!!
posted @ 7:25 am in [ infection -rob -SPASMS ]

Rob has an infection and is on massive anti-biotics. The upshot? He’ll be okay, but I got no sleep whatsoever last night, and now I gotta get ready for work.

Hopefully tonight, after work, drum lessons and whatnot, I’ll write a SPASM.  Fingers crossed that I don’t fall asleep first!

xo, Amy





SON OF A GUN
posted @ 6:12 am in [ SPASMS ]

Thanks to Sue for the first sentence.

 

“The son of a gun is a bullet,” he says, cradling the revolver.

I don’t know what to say, so I don’t say anything.

He squints up at me, looking for a response.

“Okay,” I say. Lamely.

“In films, how many times have you seen the villain talk to his victim before killing him? Explaining what they’re about, giving some long spiel about the Bible or some such thing?”

“Like in Pulp Fiction?”

“Right.”

I swallow. It isn’t hard to see where he’s going with this. “A lot, I guess.”

He nods. “That never made sense to me. A hit man is hired to perform a task without calling attention to himself or his client. Why prolong the event? Why waste time on chat?”

What am I supposed to say? “Right.”

“I know now, of course. It’s a power trip. He’s not talking to the victim, he’s talking to himself. It’s a way to keep yourself from going crazy. That’s my theory, anyway. For the moment.”

I look down at my shoes.

“Then again, there’s the times when a hit man is a sadist, too. Some of us like to torture our victims. The rationale, I believe, is that the target’s not going to live, anyway. He’s dead the minute we lay eyes on him. He’s a toy now.”

I can’t look at him. And yet, I can’t not look. He’s still watching me, cradling the revolver. “You said the son of a gun is a bullet,” I remember. “What did you mean?”

“The gun is supposed to be phallic. The barrel. But think about it the other way. It’s a birth canal.”

“Oh.”

“Or put it another way. A gun is an intention.”

An intention. I shift; my body is itching with anxiety.

He checks the chambers to be sure the gun is loaded. “Don’t look,” he advises.

I blink. How can I not look?

“Please,” he whispers.

In the moment it takes to blink again, blood is spattered all over me. He’s on the floor. The right side of his head is missing. My ears are ringing. The gun is still in his hand.

Great. Now how am I supposed to get out of these ropes?

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 





VERY WELL
posted @ 6:57 am in [ killer -middle ages -SPASMS ]

 

He had murdered two women already. It was difficult now to weigh his compulsion to kill against the widening police investigation. The urge to kill was mitigated by his instinct to stay alive and free.

Fortunately, the murderer was an intelligent man, a reader. He enjoyed books on history and science. He was also good with his hands. This all came into play when he hit upon his most brilliant idea: to build a time machine.

Feudal England—or, rather, Angleland— was the perfect place for him. No police force, no forensic science, fingerprinting, technology. Additionally, late Middle English was close enough to what people spoke in modern-day England that he believed he could get by. The possibility of killing an ancestor was remote, as his family hailed from Russia. The schematics for the time machine were downloaded from the internet. He gauged that he might be able to travel to the Middle Ages, but probably not back. That meant no toilets. No baths. No modern medicine, were he to be injured or fall ill. Very well, he would take precautions, get any applicable immunizations. True serial killers had to be perfect planners. His own case required a special kind of care.

It took years to build the time machine. During that time, the murderer schooled himself in the technology, trying desperately to engineer a method of return. He was growing older, and the thought of being stuck in feudal England at an advanced age with no medical care did not appeal much to him. Still, he held up his dream of finally being able to satiate his urges. That would have to suffice until the machine could be built and he could travel back and forth safely.

Finally, he discovered that while it was impossible to return from the past, it was possible to return from the future. This was because the future hadn’t happened yet, he reasoned, and this discovery agreed with current scientific theory. He was disappointed, but realized that he was, after all, in possession of a working time machine. He decided to write a paper and hold a press conference. Soon, he was a very rich, if somewhat old, man.

Years later, in his seventies, he decided there was nothing holding him back now. He was old, and he would die soon. Why not go back and satisfy his compulsion? He wrote a note, vaguely explaining that he was going back in time to fulfill a lifelong dream, and entered the time machine.

Instantaneously, he appeared in the middle of a street, crowded with serfs who immediately recognized him as a witch and stoned him to death.

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 

 





LICENSE
posted @ 4:16 pm in [ SPASMS ]

Of the two sisters, Karen was the nice one. Marilyn was the one most likely to do something stupid. Which was exactly what she did, one too many times. When Marilyn was caught driving drunk, she already had a suspended license for exactly that reason.

Easy enough to solve, she thought. “Sorry, officer, I forgot my license. My name’s Karen Cauldwell, and I live at—” she was slurring, but sober enough to give her sister’s address.

The officer checked, and sure enough, a Karen Cauldwell matching the drunk’s description lived at that address. The face that came up on the computer screen was similar enough to that of the drunk, and the physical description—five foot six, brown hair, green eyes—fit. Marilyn was booked and fingerprinted under Karen’s name, and Karen’s license was suspended.

The first thing Marilyn did when she was released on bail the next day was go online to the Department of Motor vehicles site and change Karen’s address to her own. That way, the suspension notice would be mailed to Marilyn’s own home, Marilyn would pay the fine, switch Karen’s address back, and nobody would be the wiser. Karen wouldn’t get mad, and Marilyn wouldn’t get in trouble.

Except that the very day after her address was changed without her permission, Karen went to the DMV to renew her license, and found it was suspended. Angry, Karen paid the fine—she had to have a license, after all—and determined to confront her sister.

But a couple of bad checks Marilyn had written caught up with her, and she left town, pronto. Karen arrived at Marilyn’s apartment, only to find her sister gone.

Well. Time to play a little identity theft herself, Karen mused. Her husband had ruined her credit before their divorce. Marilyn had just been given a credit card by some credit company who wasn’t paying attention. Karen went through the unopened mail, found the card, and decided the American Express card with the $5,000 limit was payback for the fine.

But Karen was basically a decent person. She could never let a bill go without paying it. In no time at all, Marilyn’s credit rating had skyrocketed.

A year later and several states away, Marilyn developed a drug habit. Inevitably, she hit upon the idea of calling up for a credit card. She was astonished to be awarded a $14,000 card with no questions asked.

Karen was disappointed, but not surprised, to find the credit rating she’d worked so hard to establish dropping before her very eyes. It wasn’t difficult to track her sister down in Nevada. Karen didn’t bother contacting Marilyn to let her know she was in town; she simply waited in the dark alley behind the diner where Marilyn worked, with the engine running. When Marilyn came out from her shift, Karen floored it.

Afterwards, Karen took the new credit card and ID card from Marilyn’s wallet. She put her own driver’s license in its place and drove away.

A crackhead came upon Marilyn’s body a short time later. The woman wasn’t too strung out to take Karen’s driver’s license and the cash.

That license sure would come in handy.

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 

 





THE GREAT MESMERO
posted @ 8:14 am in [ hypnotism -SPASMS ]

 

The Great Mesmero entered the room and spoke to the young woman sitting at the computer. “You have not vacuumed, I perceive.”

She turned in her chair. “No. I was over at the next-door neighbor’s all morning. Lucky for you, she’s not going to press charges.”

The Great Mesmero smiled and made a small gesture, as though he were wiping something away. “But of course. That is to be expected, my dear.”

“Not forever. Post-hypnotic suggestion doesn’t last too long. I had to promise her you’d fix the broken tread on her front steps before she agreed not to make a fuss.”

The Great Mesmero turned to look at Gail. “I didn’t break her steps. I never even entered her yard.”

“I know, I know, all you did was work in the garden naked and convince her that you were really wearing clothes. I get it. Kinky, but you didn’t hurt anybody. The thing is, she remembered after a while. She was in the house, doing some dishes, and suddenly realized you were out there in your birthday suit, and that’s when she started screaming. But she’s okay now, and like I said, she’s not pressing charges.”

The Great Mesmero stroked his goatee thoughtfully. “Perhaps I should pay her a call.”

“Perhaps you should wear pants when you go outside! Geez!”

The Great Mesmero patted her shoulder. “I shall endeavor to remember. The mere fact that I did such a thing really does, in your parlance, suck. But I shall make a clean sweep. You do not need to—”

“I don’t vacuum, Frank. Administrative assistants don’t clean. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish answering your fan mail. Oh, and we might have a gig in Finland. Hopefully we’ll hammer out the details this afternoon.” She glanced down at her desktop and saw the envelope. “And another thing. The blank pieces of paper won’t work on me. I want a real paycheck by the end of the day, or I walk.”

The Great Mesmero nodded, embarrassed. It was rather unfortunate that his new assistant wasn’t susceptible to suggestion.

 

Copyright 2008 Amy Frushour Kelly. All rights reserved.

Reproduction by any means prohibited without prior written consent.

 




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