Sophie let her mind sift through the catalog of memories to search for the last time she had been sitting somewhere waiting on a stake out like this. January 22nd of 2007 outside of the Handlebar Saloon. That was long ago, before she made detective. These days this kind of time was not something to be wasted on a murder case. But this witness refused to meet anyone but her. With the mayor so adamant that this case be solved immediately, really what mayor wasn’t impatient, Sophie agreed to break her unwritten rule and submit to the mind-numbing wait.
The trolley slowed as it reached the point of drop-off and Sophie stood to meet her source. But to her surprise there was not one person with a red scarf, but more than she could count. She felt her displeasure mount within her and decided the witness had panicked and was trying to disappear.
“Detain everyone with a red scarf,” Sophie said into her lapel mike.
This is a recurring character in my fiction writing, Detective Sophie Marcus. In time I intend to put together a longer treatment with her and her partner, but for now I am just developing her character traits in snippets like this. This is my entry for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers.
Miriam settled on the beach for the final time trying to keep the fond memoires fresh in her mind. She never expected to be here, much less take back such treasured memories. It was all a mistake, her being here. First there was the mysterious invitation she received in her email. But it was from Bradley, the guy she lost her heart to as a freshman at the university. Any chance to re-board that train was one she would take.
How could she know it wasn’t from him but from his roommate, Eric, who had loved her from afar for the whole time the trio worked their way through their courses. She liked Eric and wondered why he always complicated her efforts to be with Bradley. Only this weekend did she learn the truth of his affections. Eric had begged Bradley to create the opportunity.
Now as she sat holding his hand she wondered what her new reality could be.
Elyse Begley watched her subjects as they reacted to her latest test cycle. There was a good variety of needs represented in her two dozen patients. None of her colleagues ever admitted trying an alternative treatment such as this, but that did not deter Elyse. She embraced technology such as virtual reality glasses as a regular component of her psychology work. Her assistant, a new graduate student, watched in amazement as the experiment played out.
“What are they seeing?” Kelsey asked.
“It depends. Every mind is different. Plus there are different medicines at work in every brain.”
Elyse was especially interested in the experience of Les. He was her most troubled patient. She really wanted this to help him. He needed to be able to function again. The world knew him by his pen name, H.A. Marcum. His claim to fame was a series of best selling mysteries that kept the world breathless every three months when another rolled off the press. But it had been almost eight months since his last success.
Bill Turner was tired. Tired of doing the same old stories every year. He was the senior reporter for the Beacon Herald and had covered every story coming out of Penley River for thirty-seven years. Included in that number was twenty-seven times that he covered the Woodchuck festival. Everyone loved to rib him with the old joke “How much wood could a wood chuck chuck?” Bill really didn’t care. It was his final time having to endure this, so he sucked in a deep breath and headed off to do the work.
Bill made his way through the usual jumble of furry creatures eager to show off their skill. He gradually wound through the crowd to find a couple of sheets tied between two trees. When he parted the sheets he was met with a huge round of applause.
There was a wooden statue of him to the right and a brand new wooden fishing boat like the one of which he dreamed. Several woodchucks stood smiling as they watched the crusty newsman wiping his tears.
“For treating us like equals!” the wood chuck spokesman said.
I always told Rita if the was twenty-five years younger I would have swept her off her feet and marry her within 24 hours. She was comfortable with the decision to be alone. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t still willing to find my one true love.
I found myself looking for Table 19 when I arrived at the diner for my 4th Rita arranged date. I settled in to grab a menu so as to not look so conspicuous as I waited.
“Why is he at my table?” I heard a woman shriek. “I always eat at 19!”
Rita tried to reason with the woman, but she was unmovable.
Free food, a stack of coupons, nothing Rita offered seemed to satisfy the demands.
“Ma’am,” I said. “Please excuse the inconvenience. I was meeting a blind date, but I am sorry to cause you trouble.”
“Okay Kelsey, you can come,” the woman said suddenly different.
Jerome never had seen belly dancers, at least not in person. When he imagined it he chose to rely on the one image burned into his mind, that of a beautiful Barbara Eden in her genie outfit. So one could imagine his excitement when he saw their would be belly dancing in this three hour dance recital.
When the music began Jerome sat up in anticipation, but ten seconds later he sank back dejected. There was no Barbara Eden to bee seen anywhere near the stage. Instead it resembled a cruel joke. There was plenty of belly on display.
I am not sure this came off as funny as I intended, but it is a true story. At least seven or eight years ago I attended one of these marathon dance recitals and the belly dancers that made their appearance were nothing like Barbara Eden either. Without being unkind they were just a little older than a belly dancer in their prime.
Benjy wanted to find Katrina’s ring. The girl was all he could think of day or night. She was the mesmerizing kind of beauty that rewrote the narrative of a man’s life. Yes, he knew Alvin felt the same. Once they were the best of friends. But that was during elementary school and even middle school. But in high school the rivalry began. It had been true through sports, academics, and forensic meets. But none of that could hold a candle to this struggle. Katrina was a saint in her demeanor and could not be unkind to either boy. She only could devise this plan to decide. She hid her ring somewhere in the Seaside Park and she promised whoever retrieved it would have her heart.
Benjy tensed when Alvin’s familiar form popped up on a lower section of the trail. The choice to begin up high now seemed more risky than when he was alone here. If Alvin found the ring there he would never forgive himself.
“YAHOO!” he heard Alvin say just as he fished a golden ring out of the sand near his feet.
Both ran in a full sprint back to the small covered shelter where Katrina waited patiently.
There was a pained expression on her face when they approached.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t just do one and disappoint one of you,” She said.
Professor Cranston was tough. He was so old that the history he taught was current events when he was just a toddler. The technologically savvy members of the class had spent untold hours looking for some way to peg his age. There was even a running pool in the class supplemented each week of the semester no one successfully guessed his age. If no one could figure it out by the end of the class today the six hundred dollar pot would be disbursed back to its origins
For the eighth time this semester the class was back where Cranston’s ancestors wagon still sat, mired in mud. The wagon looked authentic, so the class believed him when he said it was. Everyone’s eyes glassed over as Cranston ended the last class with this lecture.
Then he smiled broadly as he reached under the wagon and retrieved an envelope. From within he retrieved a yellowed document. He turned the document to his class and let them see the words Birth Certificate.
“Thank you so much for the $600 contribution to my retirement fund!”