Writing

Fast Fiction: Slaying of A Loved One, Small Town, Garden

{Another in a series of quickly written fiction pieces that are based on creative writing prompts. Thanks as always for your indulgences on behalf of your aspiring young Monkey fictionalist.Also, fictionalist may not be an actual word. Just so you know. Cheers, TGM}

Mr. Edward Jones loved to spend time in his backyard garden, and his efforts paid off.

Each spring the tulips would bloom first, big bright bursts of red and orange and yellow. In the summer it would be vegetables: tomatoes, green beans, lumpy cucumbers, mini squashes and yellow carrots. In the fall, the garden would be lined with purple mums.

Mr. Jones was a regular down at the local farm and feed store.Every few days he would pull into the lot in his old pickup truck, saunter through the greenhouse with his thumbs hitched into his suspenders, and leave with bags of fertilizer and trays of seedlings rattling around in the back of his pickup bed.

Edward had a big, gentle face, an easy smile, and stubby hands that always seemed to be covered in dirt. He seemed to dote on his wife, Dottie, who baked blueberry dog biscuits for the local craft fair each year.

Therefore, it was quite a shock to the small town of Bedford when Dottie’s decomposing corpse was found in the back row of the Jones’ garden one sun-drenched September morning.

It was even more of a shock when Mr. Jones confessed to the police that he had buried her there.

What came next was a game of “he said, he said” as Edward Jones and the local police chief presented their sides of the story to the press.

Edward said that Dottie had died of natural causes one morning, and not wanting to make a fuss, he decided to bury her in the garden without an official wake or funeral. “It was what he would have wanted,” he told the press.

The police chief told the press that investigators “considered the garden an active crime scene,” and refused to rule out Edward as a murder suspect. “We’re still looking at all the angles,” he said.

This put me in a bit of an awkward situation, as I was not only the paperboy who delivered the news to the Jones house, but also the one who had found Dottie’s body when I came around collecting one Saturday morning.

The Garden Murder had been the one and only topic during school that week. And I had become something of a celebrity for having found the body.

“What were you doing digging around in his garden?” a seventh grader named Sydney asked me during recess one day that week.

I took a deep breath. Telling the story was getting easier now that I had done it a dozen times or so by now.

“I wasn’t digging,” I said. “I was collecting for my paper route, and I usually go around to the side door. It was open, and when I knocked no one answered. So I walked out into the garden. Mr. Jones is usually in the garden and he usually pays me. I practically tripped over this big mound of dirt that had never been there before, and when I looked down in the soil I saw a finger.”

“Eeeeewwwww.” Came the collective gasp from everyone on the playground. It was the typical response when I got to the part about the finger.

I continued. “I saw the finger and I kicked a little more dirt and then I saw it was connected to a hand. And then a wrist. And then I started running.”

I had nearly peed my pants after realizing that the finger I had found was connected to a hand, and that the hand was connected to a body, but I left that part out of this schoolyard version of story. It didn’t do me or my celebrity status any favors.

I continued. “So I ran out of the garden and back home and told my mom.”

“How did you know that there was a whole body down there?” Someone asked from the back row.

I shrugged. “I don’t know. I just knew. Besides, it’s not like it would be any better if it was just a hand, right?”

“Were there bugs crawling all over it?” someone else asked.

I shrugged again. “I guess there were some bugs. But it was a garden, so there are always going to be some bugs. Nothing too weird.”

“Besides finding a dead body on your paper route,” Sydney quipped.

“Yeah,” I said. “Besides that.”

 

Shameless self indulgence, Writing

Grumpy Monkey Fiction: Pursuit, Gladiator, Revivalist

In which your humble Monkey narrator once again tries to create fiction in a short period of time using a creative writing prompt. This one took about 30 minutes, based on the three words “Pursuit, Gladiator and Revivalist.” Your Monkey is trying to get the writing time down to ten minutes but he is not there yet. The point of the exercise is not to get intimidated by the assignment ,but to use the deadline as a way to get something done without second-guessing yourself.

It’s not easy to run through the streets of New York City in a toga.

Especially if there’s an angry woman in a gladiator’s outfit hot on your heels, swinging a plastic sword as if she’s hell bent on taking your head off.

“Baby, please,” I wheezed as I sprinted up the sidewalk, the leaves of my laurel wreath flapping in the breeze.

THWACK! The sword slammed across the small of my back and I yelped.

“Dirtbag!” she hissed.

“Listen, honey. Roman senators had lots of different lovers. They had notorious sexual appetites. I was just getting into the role.” The words came out in gasps as I weaved in an out of traffic along Canal Street.

The gladiator’s name was Rosalie, and she was my girlfriend. We were both Roman revivalists who—inspired by repeat viewings of Gladiator and Spartacus—had written an an off-off-off-off Broadway play about the romance between a female gladiator and a senator.

Whether there had actually been female gladiators in ancient Rome was something I had never bothered to look up. I wasn’t the most committed revivalist. But now I was regretting casting Rosalie in the role, because it came with the plastic sword that she was now using against me.

It seems that Rosalie was taking issue with the news that I had gotten drunk on wine after last night’s cast party and slept with Page, who played a sultry slave girl in the show and looked pretty good in a toga.

Rosalie had gone home early after feeling light headed, and I had taken the opportunity to talk up Page.

Talking had led to kissing, and kissing had led to full blown intercourse.

CRACK! A blow from the sword landed flat on my head as I stopped to let a cab pass in the street. I yelped again.

“Lair!” she snarled.

“Sweetheart!” I deftly sidestepped the next blow and heard the sword whistle as it sailed past my ear. “Last night wasn’t about romance. Or even about sex. It was about the dramatic arts. I wanted to feel like an actual Roman senator.”

SQUISH!

Somehow Rosalie had managed to reload for another swing while I was explaining my case, and her next blow caught me directly in my….ummmmm….Roman jewels.

I shrieked and fell to the ground. Waves of sickening pain radiated from my groin up to my head.

Rosalie stood over me, triumphant. The sword was raised above her head, poised for another shot.

Battling back nausea, I glanced up and down the sidewalk.

Even in a city as jaded as New York, people weren’t used to seeing a Roman senator and gladiator battling in the street, and we were getting stares.

I caught the eye of the man closest to me, and motioned for him to come to my aid. “Brother!” I wheezed, reaching out my hand. “We’ve got to stick together.”

He reached his hand back towards me, and for a moment it looked like I was saved.

But then he stuck out his thumb and turned it down toward the ground. “Finish him,” he said and grinned at Rosalie.

And the plastic sword came crashing down.

Shameless self indulgence, Writing

10 Minutes of Grumpy Monkey Fiction

(In which your humble Monkey narrator takes a creative writing prompt and tries to turn it into fiction in about ten minutes give or take. In the case of this prompt, it was 25 minutes. The prompt was “Wild West, treasure and misguided decisions.” We try to keep it brief because the thought of writing for too long is can be intimidating and overwhelming. Thanks and good night everyone.)

There didn’t seem to be anything but bad decisions to make in this godforsaken town.

It was me, Tex and Santa Fe, each of us holding a six shooter, each of us with one bullet left. I was pointing my gun at Tex, he was pointing his at Santa Fe, and Santa Fe had me lined up in his sights.

“Look,” I said, spitting a wad of tobacco on the ground. “One of us is liar, one of us is a murderer and one of us is a thief.”

Tex growled back. “I ain’t no liar and I ain’t no thief.”

I glanced at him, one eyebrow slightly raised. “So then you’re the murderer?”

Santa Fe chimed in. “Unless he’s the liar. In which case he could be lying about not being the thief.”

Texas snapped back. “I ain’t no liar.”

Santa Fe looked bemused. “Again,” he said. “Lest I repeat myself. Denials don’t mean much if you’re the liar in the first place.”

My head started to throb. My arm was getting tired from holding the gun in the cocked position, and all this thinking wasn’t helping anything. “So,” I began, “if he’s not the liar, than he is the murderer.”

“Correct,” said Santa Fe. “In which case, we should kill him before he kills us like he did Billy Slim.”

I glanced down at the floor of the cave, where the empty treasure chest sat mocking me with its gaping, open mouth. The body of Billy Slim was on the ground next to it, a fresh bullet hole still leaking blood from his forehead.

I looked back up at Santa Fe, his gun still cocked, his eyes still narrow. He gave me an almost imperceptible nod, as if to say “Never you mind about this gun pointed at your head, partner. It’s me and you against the world.”

I decided it was time to take a chance. I didn’t really like Texas. I had never liked Texas. I didn’t like his mustache. Or his red plaid shirts. Or the way he dismounted his horse. Or the way he cooked beans. There was something about him that just rubbed me raw.

I squeezed the trigger and the boom from the pistol thundered off the walls of the cave. Texas took the slug square in the chest and staggered forward. Santa Fe deftly stepped to one side as Texas dropped to the ground.

I looked back over at Santa Fe, expecting to see the gun return to the holster in his belt. It was still pointed right at me. With his spare hand, he reached into the pocket of his trousers and pulled out a gold coin.

Santa Fe grunted. “Wrong move, Honcho. Guess Texas was telling the truth after all.”

He fired and I felt a bright hot bolt of lead crash into my forehead.

The world went bright white for a split second then faded to a dull gray.

“Damn,” I whispered.

And the world went black.