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Latest Stories

September 28, 2022
Poetry Paweł Markiewicz

Autumnal Sonnet

The mist heralds a dreamy, tender Apollonian dawn. I philosophize about wings of hawk or king – sparrow. In amazing grove at the Blue Hours – was born here a fawn. You should adore as well as praise charm such a moony morn. The beauty of world is indeed so…
September 28, 2022
Crime Stories Peter Greenhall

Naughty Boy Series, Chapter 3: Friendships

The Skirmish - 1991 This was the place to be in the city of Shortland. Anyone who wanted to be someone was there, as was the someone who was known by everyone too. It was a gorgeous hot summer afternoon, on a Sunday. The pub garden was huge, and scattered…
September 28, 2022
Poetry Paweł Markiewicz

Flower-Like Sonnet

I cherish the dreamy crocus. I love the moony cornflower. I make love to bemused cactus. I affect dreamed daffodil. You are fond of vague elder. You love back a misty dahlia. You dote on languorous heather. You idolize the faint freesia. We prize hazy…
September 28, 2022
Flash Fiction NT Franklin

Smitty Gets Away

Smitty was where he wasn’t supposed to be and saw it all. Diamond Bill and two of his goons roughed up a fella, but it was the boss that shot the fella once in the head and twice in the chest. It was at that time he stopped trying to pry open the back door to…
September 28, 2022
Crime Stories Peter Greenhall

Naughty Boy Series, Chapter 14: The Proposition

February 2004 Jason was very tempted to go to the ladyboy bar, named 'Jenny's'. The music was always very good, a buzzing crowd, and some stunning looking lady boy's were there as well. He looked up and saw a load of girl's, well men, dancing on poles and…
September 28, 2022
Poetry Paweł Markiewicz

The Flower-Like Second Sonnet

I conceive the brilliant lilac. I build admirable holly. I design pleasant marigold. I constitute pleasing lily. You devise outstanding iris. You discover awesome poppy. You establish fine orchid. You forge an amazing pansy. She forms surprising peony. She…
September 25, 2022
Fantasy Stories Peter Greenhall

Energy, Volume II

Summer 1992 "Mummy, when I see Graham Alexander play football, I see fire inside his stomach. It burns really brightly, it's very nice to see". Hilary could see her daughter picture the image in her mind, completely fascinated by what she had witnessed…
September 25, 2022
Crime Stories Peter Greenhall

Naughty Boy Series, Chapter 2: The Brookies

September 2000 JJ entered Angie's bar to meet his potential new supplier, in an area of Brookbourne he'd never been to before, called Rippon. He was confident his connection to this guy was safe so he wasn't nervous about the person being an informer, or…
September 25, 2022
General Stories Lawrence Hartmann

God: A Dating App Adventure

“I won’t be hard to miss,” He had said on the phone. Well, He was right. When I got to our assigned meeting place – a Burger King on the outskirts of town – I could see Him from the parking lot: this incredibly bright, white light, there in the corner of the…
September 20, 2022
Poetry Peter Greenhall

Tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. RIP.

As you lay you to rest, in your final state, Westminster, UK, The World, Demonstrate, Your purpose, Your sense of duty, Was clear to see, Let's not forget, your family As time ticks towards the eleventh hour of the day, The funeral, The service, Melancholy. A…
September 20, 2022
Crime Stories Peter Greenhall

Naughty Boy Series: Chapter 8. Stamping Authority

 This was it, it was now or never. He knew this day was coming, he'd have to fight 'Big Ryan', the guy everyone said couldn't be beat. They all walked out of his apartment, all serious faced, not knowing if the fight would spill over and some of 'Big Ryan's'…
September 20, 2022
Flash Fiction Ava

Emotional Unstable

IS THERE ANY PLACE THAT I CAN STUDY IN? “Breakfast time.” White toasts with a slice of cucumber, a slice of tomato, half spoon of orange marmalade and a vegan sausage. A boiled egg. Granola with yoghurt with granola with yoghurt with corn flakes. A glass of…

This isn’t a story about two sisters after the same man.  It’s a story about the same man after two sisters.

Rose and I are “Irish twins”, eleven months apart.  She’s brunette and I’m blonde and we’re both...well, let’s just say we have hourglass figures.  Which is why Mr. Knutsen won’t leave us alone.  He wants us to make TV commercials for him, wearing tight sweaters and short skirts and acting amazed at the great buys available at “Krolly Knutsen’s Kar Korral”.  But we refuse.  We Jeffries are good, honest girls, and we will not shill for Kreepy Knutsen.  No way.

Till the day we sit down, add up our bills, and realize we’ve got maybe a month before we crash and burn.

Rose looks at me and sighs.  “Maybe I can get evening shifts at 7-Eleven after I get off from Macy’s.”

“Then who’s going to watch Mom at night while I waitress?”

The thing is, there just aren’t that many jobs available near the freeway exit we call home.  One of us could look for work in the big city, but that would leave the other one responsible for Mom 24/7 and soon two Jeffries women would need round-the-clock care.

So the next day I unlock my mental chastity belt and go see Mr. Knutsen.  When he sees me, he smiles a “gotcha” smile.  “Well, look who’s here!  Come in, honey, come in!”

Shuddering slightly, I follow him into his tiny, cluttered office.  There’s an extremely cute guy at the computer.

“My nephew, Buck,” says Mr. K.

“‘Buck?”

“Short for ‘Buckminster’,” says the guy.   “Whatcha gonna do?”  He grins.  He’s wearing horn-rimmed glasses.  I like him already.

“Buck’s here to learn about the business,” says Mr. K.  “Use his fancy MBA in a....what’d’ya call it?”

“An internship.”

“Right!  He’s supposed to do projects for me....wait! wait!”  Mr. K. holds up his hand like a traffic cop.  “I just had a helluva idea!  Buck!  You can work on our TV ads with Roxie here and her sister!”

“Roxanne,” I say through gritted teeth.  But Mr. K. is off and running.

“I bet you can improve our sales by 20%!  Maybe more!”

“I’m not sure advertising is...”

“No, no, this is great!  Tell you what...you get me 20% more and there’s a bonus in it for all of you!”

Buck looks at me; I look at Buck.  I wouldn’t mind a bonus.  I wouldn’t mind him.  “I’m willing if you are,” I say.  And...we’re off and running.

For the next two weeks, Rose and I work with Buck every chance we get.  He’s gone online and researched making TV commercials.  He’s got us “conceptualizing” and “storyboarding”, and he actually listens to our ideas.  He’s told Mr. K. to stay away.  I like him better all the time, and I’m grateful Rose already has the hots for an assistant manager at Macy’s.

Finally, we shoot two 30-second commercials.  Rose and I play normal, thinking women inquiring about Mr. K’s cars.  We look impressed by what we learn and nod at each other as if to say, “See?  Krolly Knutsen really isn’t out to cheat the bejesus out of us!”  But other than that we don’t tell any lies, and we look good.

Mr. K. blows a gasket when he sees them.  “Jeez, Buck!  No way I’m going to pay to run these on TV!  There’s no...showmanship!  No pizzazz!”

“But...they’re honest and informative.”

“If I want information I’ll watch the news!  If I want honest...”

I can’t stand it.  I leap to my feet.  “Mr. Knutsen!  How much does it cost to run these for a week?  Because Buck and Rose and I will pay for it!”

Mr. K. stares at us.  We stare back, wondering what I’ve done.

“Okay,” he says at last.  “I’ll pay for one week. That’s all, understand?  If sales don’t go up, then...” He makes a slicing motion across his neck.

You’ve probably already guessed the ending of this story, right?  Sales go up, we get our bonuses, and Buck and I live happily ever after.  Well, not exactly.

Sales don’t go up.  Turns out people buying Mr. K’s cars don’t want information, they just want cheap.  Figures.  No bonuses, but at least Mr. K. pays us off before he tells us goodbye.   And we start getting modeling jobs from being seen on TV, which help pay for Mom’s day care.

And Buck?  He’s doing research comparing Mr. K’s sales methods to other used-car dealerships.  He says he intends to prove that in the long run, honesty works.

We’re also doing a little joint research project on how the two of us work.  I won’t lie; it’s going well.

 

End

 

I'm a retired psychiatric nurse/hospital administrator/grant writer who now spends her time making slow-cooker marinaras, pining for yellow tulips, and writing fiction.

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