Breaking Up

– Mayhem – Murder – Mystery –

A Short Story by: BR Chitwood

Jan Cowper was a bit late in her arrival at the restaurant for a dinner date with her live-in boyfriend.

“Sorry I’m late, Tony…had some things to do after work.” She sat opposite him at the table for two and placed her purse on the floor beside her.

Tony eyed her… She was a knockout! Beautiful blue eyes and face framed by golden tresses… He hated what he was thinking.

“No, you’rOe not!” Tony spoke, three martinis up on his dinner date and his mind working at its peak.

“No, I’m not, ‘what’?” She responded, as the waiter took her martini order.

“You’re not sorry about being late…just words.”

“Just ‘words’, huh? Got it all figured out, do you, Tony?”

“You know what they say!”

“They, being?”

“The smart people of the world…”

“And, how would you know them, Tony?”

“You do that a lot!”

“I do what a lot.”

“You put me down a lot, Jan… It’s okay. I’m used to it, but it does get old.”

“I put you down a lot?”

“You do that a lot, too… Why are you always repeating everything I say? Do I have marbles in my mouth?”

“Why do I repeat what you say?” Jan chuckled. “Yeah, guess I do…just a dumb habit. It appears I’m irritating you a lot, Tony. You have any more observations?”

“As a matter of fact, I do… Your eyes wander all over the restaurant we might be in. You stare into the cars we pass on the road.  You watch people walking along the streets. It’s like you’re always thinking and planning something when we’re together. It’s not just annoying…it’s stupid! I’m not a jealous man, and you’re not going to make me into one. So, are you just bored with our relationship or are you a short-term commitment person?”

“Where’s all this coming from, Tony? I’m the same dame you met and gave a moronic pitch at Madison Square Garden a year ago. Maybe it was the Knicks that brought us together, though I admit you got me hot and bothered with your phony come-on and your ‘bulge’…you had that black curly hair and Dean Martin look that turned me on. Everything was great until you got too controlling and possessive…”

There was a short pause as the waiter delivered Jan’s martini…and Tony ordered another.

“Me, ‘controlling and possessive’, with you. You’re nuts! I would never attempt to control a woman, or, anybody for that matter. I thought we had something going when we decided to share living space. You gave me every indication that was so – your little pecks on the upper cheeks and your hands roaming on the lower cheeks… Now, for the past six weeks or so, you’ve changed big time. What is it, Jan? You got a new lover? Got all you want from me? What? Want to trade me in? Is that it?”

“Hey, Tony, lower the decibels! The other diners are looking at us. You trying to get us kicked out of this nice joint?”

“There’s the Jan I know these days! Skirting the questions, bringing it all back on me… Tell you what! It’s all so obvious to me what you’re doing, I’m going to make it easy for you. I mean, Jeez, I’ve seen this coming for weeks – an excuse here and there, working late, or, drinks with the girl-buddies, too tired for any fooling around, all the signs were there. Old ‘Jerk-water’ Tony, too easy on the patience and not wanting to believe what I instinctively knew…”

Tony rose from the table, tossed a fifty-dollar bill on the table. “We never got to dinner so that should handle the tab. If not, you get the rest. Enjoy the martini I just ordered…one of the guys at the bar will likely have the lack of good sense and approach you. I’ll have your clothes neatly packed in boxes for you to pick up outside the apartment door… This train is leaving the station.”

With that, Tony was gone, and Jan showed a half-smile to the other staring patrons and waiters. The smile was not a ‘poor-me’ smile, but more of a ‘victory’ smile. She finished her martini, left the fifty bucks on the table and exited the restaurant.

Jan walked several blocks down Fifth Avenue and entered another upscale restaurant. She was ushered to a nearly hidden table in the rear of the large room, in an area most lovely decorated with exotic plants and special pictures of notable people.

“How did it go?” the handsome and smartly dressed man stood and pulled out her chair.

She smiled and spoke, “Just as anticipated. The doofus is packing my clothes in boxes and putting them outside the apartment door. He will be a bit shocked when he notices my clothes already gone… Hope your end is all set. He will definitely be checking his floor safe in the master bedroom closet sooner or later.”

“It’s all set…don’t worry. Tony will likely booze a bit before going home and won’t have time to think about anything. You’re sure he knows you are not aware of the safe?”

“There is no way he can know…”

The couple smiled sweetly at each other and sipped their martinis.

***

Tony stopped and had a few more drinks before going back to his plush apartment. He was in a strange mood, not eager to eyeball the pretty ladies in the bistros, just mellow and somehow content with the decision he made relative to Jan. No question he was easy going, but he knew when he was being played. He bought her some beautiful gifts but that was his way…he did not second-guess himself, and, for a while, all went very well. Now, it was over, and he was glad it was over. He might feel some remorse in the next few days, but, tonight, he was in a good mood and happy to be free again.

When he finally made it home, he was not so tight with booze that he failed to notice Jan’s clothes all gone. Perhaps she had gotten the clothes during the day or this evening. In any event he was happy that all vestiges of Jan were out of the apartment. He turned on his stereo for some soft jazz, had a nightcap, and went to bed…still fully sober and content.

It was three days later when he discovered the robbery of his safe. Jolted by the discovery, losing a major portion of his financial fortune caused a great wave of distress to settle within him… Oh, he still had funds elsewhere and he would not be forced into great hardship like so many before him. Still, the effort and time to accumulate such wealth could not be simply accepted without some anger and anxiety.

The theft brought immediate rise to thoughts about Jan and her possible involvement. He spent days trying to locate her but she no longer worked with the same company. He visited restaurants and night spots they had frequented but no one had seen her or heard anything about her.

Time moved on – three weeks passed, a month, two months…

It was in the third month that he saw her in one of New York’s finest gourmet restaurants.

She was sitting in a lush leather and gold cloth booth across the opulent room. With her were two men and another woman. They were engaged in an animated argument about something, arms and hands waving in frantic gestures. Jan’s companion appeared really irate, his voice reaching a level that brought the maître d’ to the booth and diners to stare.

Whatever the disturbance, Jan and her companion rose from the booth and left the restaurant in angry haste.

Their dinner at an end, Tony and his business associate separated, the associate moving to the piano bar, and Tony leaving the restaurant. Tony was eager to follow Jan and her angry friend if it were possible to do so…he still felt Jan was somehow the instrument used to rob him of his floor safe finances.

Outside the restaurant Tony was only able to see Jan running after her companion’s car…it was obvious that he decided to leave her behind. She quickly hailed a cab and went into pursuit mode. Tony’s guess was that Jan would not catch him. Tony stood for a moment watching the cab become a tiny twinkle in the night…he felt no urge to hail his own cab and follow her. Instead, he was close enough to walk to his own apartment where he found it difficult to fall asleep – his mind was busy reliving the entire evening. For his part, the night had been successful with a business contract which would during its course give back all the finances lost in his safe robbery.

For a few moments more he remembered some of his good times with Jan, and, in some ways, he felt sorry for her. In her own way she was trying to cope with the challenges of living in one of the most eclectic and electric cities in the world – she loved Manhattan, and as the song so beautifully proclaimed, she was ‘caught between the moon and New York City’. He was no longer angry at Jan. Aside from feeling sorry for her, he wanted her to succeed and be truly happy – without the constant manic urges from life.

Two nights later the late night TV news carried a story about the body of a female found in the East River, later identified as Janice (Jan) Cowper.

Tony Peterson felt a range of emotions with the TV announcement and allowed the tears to flow unabashedly… Sleep was again difficult to attain.

At his office the next day two NYPD detectives visited and asked many questions, indicating to Tony that he was under heavy scrutiny in Jan’s homicide, the cause of death already determined by autopsy and forensic evidence.

Tony answered honestly all of the detectives’ questions and was crushed that they were considering him as a suspect in Jan’s death. They told him not to leave town and departed his office.

For several days, Tony was unable to maintain his ongoing business dealings and stayed home to meditate on possible scenarios for Jan’s killing. He figured it had to have something to do with the night he saw the outburst at the swanky restaurant, saw Jan and her companion leave abruptly. He remembered Jan chasing after the companion, hailing a cab and giving chase. Had she caught up to him? Had the companion killed her? Had the two of them conspired to rob him? Had perhaps Jan’s new lover and killer somehow connected him to her murder?

It was late when Tony retired for the night, restless, unable to sleep, his mind relentless with its pounding observations and questions.

Just when sleep did come, through the fog Tony heard a persistent ringing noise, then loud voices…finally fully awake and aware of his doorbell and the yelling.

Tony put on his robe and answered the doorbell and shouts.

“Tony Peterson?” one of the three policemen asked.

“Yes, I’m Tony Peterson,” came the soft answer from a man who knew that fate was about to take him down some precipitous and unknown pathways.

“You’re under arrest for the murder of Jan Cowper,” said the tall handsome officer.

Handcuffed, read his Miranda Rights, Tony was taken away.

Tony’s heart sank as he was led to the patrol car. Under the street light Tony suddenly noticed that the arresting officer was the man he had seen with Jan Cowper at the swanky restaurant.

Short Story by: B R Chitwood Archives – Jan. 15, 2021

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If you liked the above story, please try one of my full-length novels…actually, please try one of my full-length novels even if you don’t like the above story… 

I’m thinking you might like “Dominique”. This novel, set in Dallas/Ft.Worth,Texas, is a fast-paced read that has a lot of action, love, murder, romance, and suspense. Please give it a read and leave an amazon review and/or Goodreads review– reviews can be the life blood for authors.

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the reluctant savage

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The Reluctant Savage 
​(Embraces the genres of Mystery, Suspense, and Romance)
                           
THE STORY: Set in Phoenix, AZ

High school sweethearts, Billy Jay Campbell and Marcie Dangino reunite after many years apart. They discover the fire of their young love still glows brightly. With the Air Force behind him, Billy now works as an investigator for a law firm,

Two problems threaten to spoil his homecoming. Marcie is now married to a junior partner at Clarkson and Dangino, a firm that has occasionally employed Billy for their investigative work. The second problem occurs when Billy’s close friend and boss is murdered.

The Reluctant Savage follows a mystery that connects greed, murder, romance, and a love triangle.

Don’t miss this fast-paced, gritty novel!


See 5-Star Reviews at amazon!

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SAMPLE: FRONT SECTION OF BOOK:

Current Time: Now 

“You read this stuff a lot?”

His wry smile mocked her while she found the musk from his body diametrically pleasing. He knew there would be no answer to his question as he turned the book over several times in his hand, then tossed it absently on the bedside table. The book skidded over the table and fell to the floor out of sight in the dark corner. He stood and paced in the small bedroom, smacked himself on the right hip as he walked.

“You really don’t like me very much. Know how I can tell? Want to know how I can tell? Just give me a nod. You don’t need to talk, even if you could…Oh, Christ!”

He stopped pacing, pulled a tissue from the box on the bed table, and wiped her nose. He threw the tissue on the floor in disgust. “Stop with the sniffling and the runny nose mess. Got me feeling like a nursemaid. I’m going to let you go in a bit. I’ve got some thinking and talking to do. Then, I’ll let you go. Not much longer now, so try to relax.”

He looked down at the young woman on the bed, slowly ran his left hand through her golden hair, saw the redness around her eyes and cheeks. Gently he guided his fingers along her forehead and sat softly next to her.

An involuntary tautness came to her body, but she felt no panic. The man fingered the edges of the wide white tape that covered her lips and suddenly stripped it away.

The girl gasped, her eyes widened, and she began to open her mouth.

“Now, listen up,” the man said as his right hand closed over her lips, “I took the tape off, but you can’t be yelling and screaming. You got me? Blink if you do.”

The girl blinked and let out a deep sigh. “I would never scream and yell… you should know that. Can I have some water?” she asked weakly as the man took his hand away.

“In a minute, I’ll get you water, but now you have to listen. Will you listen to me, Marcie? I don’t want to put this tape back on you.”

“Yes,” her voice barely audible. “Can you please untie me? I hurt so badly.”

“Maybe…Yes, I will, but you have to listen first. Will you listen?”

“Yes, I told you I would,” her voice weak and cracking.

The man hesitated there on the bed for several seconds, staring steadily into the pleading eyes of the young woman. “Ah, what the hell, I’ll get your water now.”

The man left the room quickly, and the woman called Marcie closed her eyes and breathed deeply for the few seconds he was gone. As best she could she slowly arched and moved her body and wondered how long all of this would last. She in fact wondered how all of this had really begun…

When he returned, he stood silently in the doorway with a tall glass of water and watched the girl’s torpid stretching of her body, her face wrinkling with the aching moves. She was not trying to escape. She was only seeking some measure of comfort from the bindings. He came to a decision. Fateful or not, he had to do it. He hurried to the bed, placed the glass of water on the bedside table.

“Okay, I’m going to take away the bindings, but you have got to promise me you won’t try to get away from me…not until you’ve heard me out – not until you have completely heard me out. Do you understand me? Do you promise? You won’t have to try to escape when I’m finished. I’ll let you go. Do you promise, Marcie?”

“Yes, Billy,” came her soft broken reply, “I promise. I don’t want to escape from you. I wish you knew that. Just let me have my body back.”

Billy undid the bindings from the posts of the bed, then from her arms and ankles. When he laid the white rubber-corded bindings in four separate loop piles on the floor next to the bed, he held out the glass of water. He held the glass while Marcie squirmed, turned, and he could hear the sounds of her body responding to the release from bondage.

For a while Marcie lay curled in a fetal position on the bed, silent, moaning in near orgasmic release. Finally, she began to unfold herself, limb by limb, opening and closing her fingers, moving the various joints, until she ended up with her back against the headboard of the bed. Her short gold and lavender dress hiked up to show the gold bikini panties, and she made no attempt in her weakness to hide them. Some of her previous fear had left her. An uncertain calmness was spreading through her.

“Here, Marcie, drink some water.” She took the glass, spilled some drops on her bared thighs, and sipped cautiously at first, then gulped the water down. She sat uncertainly holding the empty glass until he took it from her.

“You want more?” he asked.

She meekly shook her head side to side, and painfully raised her arms above her head two times. She then leaned again against the headboard.

Billy moved the chair closer to the bed just a few feet from where Marcie now sat. With his nearness, her legs were drawn tightly together, and she pulled at her dress to hide her gold silk panties. It was more a gesture than a concern. He looked in her eyes softly and steadily until the silence between them prompted him to speak: “You’re so damned lovely, Marcie, I…”

“Billy, why…”

He didn’t allow her to finish the question. His mood subtly shifted, as though reminding himself that he could not go back to where his thoughts were taking him. “You are to listen, Marcie, remember?”

She nodded her assent, but added, “I’m queasy, Billy. Can I have some crackers?”

“When I’m finished you get your crackers. The water will hold you. Now, be quiet and listen to me…”

“Just a few crackers, Billy, that’s all, and another glass of water… Please! I’m feeling nauseous. Maybe it’ll settle my stomach.”

He sighed, blinked his eyes, shook his head and almost smiled. He got up, grabbed the empty glass off the nightstand, and left the room. Going out the bedroom door, he looked back at Marcie and gave her a thoughtful nod. He returned shortly with a paper napkin holding several saltines and the glass of water. Putting the water on the bedside table he handed her the napkin and soda crackers.

“Now, eat your crackers and don’t talk. I’ve got to get this said…” He watched her daintily nibble at the crackers, pausing to swallow with some effort. She almost choked with her first swallow, but he handed her the water to help force the food down. She managed to finish the crackers, more water, and appeared to be feeling better. Then Marcie closed her eyes for a moment, reopened them, and leaned back against the headboard.

“Thank you, Billy,” she muttered weakly as she tried to clear her throat of any lingering crackers. “I’ll be quiet now and let you talk.”

He bowed his head briefly as he picked a start point for his monologue. “You know none of this had to happen, and it’s so stupid to even hear me say that! Dammit, give me a time machine. Let me go back and get a second chance at all this But, damn, it did happen! You, I, Jerry, Albert, the frigging finger of fate. You’re beautiful, Marcie, and you know it, and you use it. You drove me crazy with it. You wanted too damned much from Jerry and me, and when you got it you turned it all inside out and made this happen…”

 “But, Billy, you know…”

“Shush, Marcie. I’ve got to get it out, so be quiet. That night, after the big dinner banquet, that night began this whole thing. Jerry drunk, you and creepy Albert half drunk and playful there in our little corner of the Eastside Tennis Club Lounge, and, yeah, I had a little buzz as well. It was Jerry, feeling his booze, who was dredging up the ‘fun game’ he got from the comedian. He was like a silly schoolboy about his idea. I can still see the wrinkled look on your face when he brought it up, the way you looked sort of embarrassed, the way you looked at all of us at the table. You gave him that, ‘Oh, Jerry, don’t be silly’ look. You put on a good show. Albert was the only one who didn’t have a clue. He was still up for more fun and games with you, the bastard! Guess I could have lived with it all, Marcie, but your part of setting me up…”

“But, I didn’t, Billy.”

“Shush, I’m talking here. Yeah, maybe I could have lived with it all until my ass was on the line, until I was the one to take the fall for something that was all ‘Swahili’ to me. Me, I was a really ripe country pumpkin ready for the pie bowl.”

“But it wasn’t that way, Billy. You have to believe me. It was Albert.”

“That’s Bull, Marcie, Albert hardly knew what was happening.”

“That was all an act, Billy. Albert knew much more than he let on. It was his evil doing all along. The little flirtatious business between Albert and me was all just fun and games, something we started at the beginning of my employment there. There was never anything serious between us.”

“Funny how you didn’t sing these songs when I was passed out on the floor, blood all over me. In the end you ran up here to your new cabin.”

“Billy, I thought you were dead. Please believe me! Albert was the only ringmaster for that little ‘solve the murder’ game. He used Jerry just like he used you. I didn’t trust him, but I also didn’t know what he was up to.”

“You really expect me to believe that? After all this crap I’ve been through, you’re just going to tell me that this was all Albert. You, sweet little Marcie, had no part in it at all. You’re something else. You want to be tied and taped again until I finish?”

“You don’t have to finish, Billy. I know you didn’t kill the little girl. I know you didn’t kill Jerry. And, you didn’t kill Albert and his wife. I killed Albert after he killed his wife and kid and came after me!”

“Jesus! Will you still use me like this? Have I been in a Grimm fairy tale all along? Do you have not an ounce of decency and feeling in you, Marcie? I’m eager to tell you this story of mine, and you’re telling me I have no story to tell. I was there, remember? The little girl, the woman, Jerry, and Albert, they were all there dead when I regained some senses. Their blood was all over me. They were all dead.”

Billy paused as the image of the little girl came and somehow got stuck in his throat. The memory quakes made him turn briefly away from Marcie. He shuttered and almost cried. Then his brain dipped and swooned for a moment. Maybe some of the brain action was coming from the old air force injury.

“Billy, it was Albert. He easily manipulated Jerry into bringing up the ‘game.’ He manipulated you. He manipulated all of us. That’s the truth, I swear it!”

“Marcie, don’t do this to me.”

“I swear to you it is true.”

“So why did you run, Marcie? Where were you when I came out of my drugged daze, blood all over me, bodies everywhere?”

“I was afraid, Billy. My God. I thought you were dead. Forgive me for being so weak and terrified. Albert was still making some small movements on the floor. I was afraid, and I’m ashamed that I left you. With all the blood on you, I was sure you were dead. I know better now. I know that Albert made sure you had blood all over you. That had to be his plan, Billy, but I didn’t know his plan. I swear to you, I did not know his plan.”

“Where did you get the gun to kill Albert? Were there guns all over the place?”

“Jerry gave it to me to carry, just in case there was any trouble – he worried about me after he got beat up after that merger meeting. Look, Billy, everyone was dead, or, I thought so, when I came into that room. Shock overtook me and I saw Albert standing over the dead girl on the bed. There was a gun next to him on the bed. He saw me, started to pick up the gun, and I shot him two, three times. He fell, twitched a couple times, and I ran. I’m sorry, Billy, but that’s the truth. I just had to be out of that room. I’m a coward but I would never have left had I known you were alive.”

“Why did you run here to the cabin?” Why not run to the police?”

“Jerry had just gotten this place. Nobody knew about it. People do stupid things in a crisis. The cabin was my first thought, just to be away from everything, where no one knew where I was. There was just so much to explain, and I wasn’t up to it. I ran to the car and drove up here. All I’ve said, Billy, I swear it’s all the truth.”

“Are you also going to tell me you love me? Even now, when I’ve had you imprisoned here for all these hours?”

“Yes, I’m going to tell you I love you, because I do.”

“That didn’t seem the case a short while ago, with the tears, the runny nose, and the fear in your eyes. You thought I was some kind of monster.”

“Damn it, Billy, my body was hurting. My brain was working overtime. The tears were not so much from fear as from sadness at seeing you this way.”

“God, Marcie, if I thought you meant any of what you’re saying, your words would take some of the pain away. It would maybe bring back some sanity I fear I’ve lost. It would…”

Suddenly, there were loud crashing sounds and harsh voices coming from behind the closed bedroom door.

 Instinctively, Billy rose from his chair with wild eyes, mouth agape, and moved quickly toward the only window in the small room. Amid a chorus of shrieks, the door burst open and Billy was slammed on the back of the head as he tried to exit the window. He fell limp and totally unconscious to the floor.

*

[End of Sample]

“The Reluctant Savage” is available at an Amazon Universal Site. Please BUY and enjoy. Leave an Amazon, Goodreads, Book Bub Review, please – that means so much to authors. Thank you.

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BR Chitwood – September 17, 2020

The Power Merchants

5-STAR Book Review for:
“The Power Merchants”

The Power Merchants (1)

JUST PUBLISHED IN JUNE – 2020!!!

by BR Chitwood

Here is my first book review for “The Power Merchants” –  A 5-Star Review Beauty!

Diogenes
5.0 out of 5 stars — Chitwood At His Best!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 June 2020
Verified Purchase
Author Billy Ray Chitwood is at his best in this tale of lawless adventure.
Most of Chitwood’s books that I’ve read so far deal with themes of crime, individual purpose and romance, but with ‘The Power Merchants’ there is a political message to the story that I don’t recall in his other works. But of course, this being a Chitwood novel, a healthy dollop of love interest is never far away. This time the main protagonist – advocate Bradley Bennett – finds himself falling for the platinum-blonde police officer Penny Sawyer amidst the surrounding chaos of corporate skulduggery, illicit sex, corruption in high places, the political elite, and rampaging hit men. (In a nod to the present day, Chitwood even throws in Covid-19 for good measure.)
Highly recommended for lovers of action novels with a large helping of romance.

*

AND

I give the reviewer:

♥♥♥♥♥

BUY SITE AT ANY ‘AMAZON STORE FRONT’:

Click Here to Buy:

mybook.to/ThePowerMerchants  

OR:

https://www.amazon.com/Power-Merchants-BR-Chitwood-ebook/dp/B088HFQQGG?pf_rd_r=6YC1W5DDQMSDQF30QKTX&pf_rd_p=be25f964-4afb-442f-819e-9e628b270a7c&pd_rd_r=5d869cd5-f975-4f16-8409-cb6d6f243b3e&pd_rd_w=5mpdj&pd_rd_wg=Fa24D&ref_=pd_gw_ci_mcx_mr_hp_d

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A ‘Morlock’ Supplement

A ‘Morlock’ Supplement

By BR Chitwood

My mind wants to shout so many angry thoughts at the dystopian madness the TV is dumping into my living room…the organized obscene filth of those who know not how to think about the verity of history or would void it for their anarchical pursuits…

Can a democracy not boldly modify its noble course through history as exterminators might rid a house of its destructive vermin? We are attacked from within by the dwellers of the ‘Swamp’ and their minions with seeming impunity. We know who they are. They rob us blind. Can we not mobilize our patriots to rid our country of this scourge?

A ‘Pandemic’! Murder, riots, looting in our cities! When does ‘enough’ come? Can so much ‘hatred’ for a hard-working president true to the cause of our country, perhaps, not so politically eloquent, cause a country to crumble?

Just words muttered in anxious, helpless wonder!

***

BR Chitwood -June 28, 2020

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The Power Merchants

FREE for five days! 

The Power Merchants

br BR Chitwood

AMAZON

The Power Merchants (5)
GOOD READING!

The Power Merchants

The Power Merchants

I cannot stop writing, so I’m throwing another book out there, and, hey, Twilight and back to my beloved desert in Arizona has given me either a brain-strain or a pleasant sense of longevity.

Whatever the hell it is, I am in step with it. The mind seems to be working well until I miss putting a period at the end of a sentence.

The book is the thing, though, and I’m feeling spry enough to say this novel of over 40,000 words is one of my best, tho I thought “Mama’s Madness” or “Stranger Abduction” or “A Common Evil” or “An Arizona Tragedy” or “Dominique” or – okay, I’ll stop ‘showing off’ – would bring me a small zephyr of success. Coupled with my lack of book marketing sense and my trying to be a comedian at the same time have completely embarrassed me to the point of tears. It is okay if grown men cry…a lot.

The book, dummy, get to the book.

The Power Merchants has a lot of themes about which to narrate: Love, Murder, Love (oops), Political Intrigue (or, Disgust, if most of you prefer), and our ‘Isolation Pet’, Covid-19, and our world today, drawing it all down to Scottsdale, AZ, the US, and, well, the world.

Putting Charlie McCarthy away for the Summer, here, please, just read ‘The Prologue’ and ‘Chapter One’ for free, decide if it might be a novel you want to read further. I am in the final stages of editing, so the book will be out in a week or so.

The only commitment I need is that all 500,000 of you lovely people BUY the book AND write AMAZON REVIEWS, and the first 100,000 people get their costs back. That is not so tough, right?

(Charly, you are down for the Summer. Be quiet, please.)

He is just kidding around, folks.

Can you let me know how you like the book cover?

Believe me, this is my best work since my last twenty books. Without that ‘further ado’ some people talk about, I give you the Prologue and a scary Chapter One

Please, enjoy.

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[From BR Chitwood’s – May 2020 novel:

“The Power Merchants”]

*

Prologue

She was a dazzling lady with long platinum hair in a perfect rhythmic bounce on her shoulders, without a stray maverick wisp out of place. Her cameo face, a near gemstone carved by a Master, her joyous blue eyes twinkling as she walked toward me. Her tanned body was covered by a soft mauve fabric that possessively clung to every curve of her body with every magical step she took. She could have been a Hollywood starlet made up beautifully for her role in an epic movie, portraying a ‘golden girl’ of Hollywood’s early days.

Watching her approach, I stole a glance over each of my shoulders to see if she was making those erogenous steps for me or someone behind me.

No one behind me, just a wall I forgot was there. OMG, she is walking to me.

With a coquettish smile of full lips made up of a soft and non-glaring shade of red matching her dress, she took loveliness to a completely new standard. She came to a stop at my high table and stools. All eyes in the posh Princess VP Lounge were upon her as she strode elegantly toward me.

She spoke and her voice matched all the rest of her, like mellow harp music in a grand arbor of lilacs and roses.

“You are Bradley Benedict and you match perfectly the description given of the gentleman with whom I was asked to keep company this evening – in a ‘nice way’, of course.” She gave me another erogenous move that I suspected no other woman could ever duplicate.”

I attempted a response, but she was obviously not through with her introduction…

“Do you mind terribly, Bradley, if we go to the lower tables and cushiony chairs in the Princess Dinner Lounge? It is more comfortable, and the music is so soft and pleasant there.”

“I don’t suppose…” The lounge music began its long session, and she was unable to hear me above the rumble of drums, bass, guitar, and horn.

I stood, smiled, loudly told the waiter to transfer my tab to the restaurant lounge, and the lovely lady and I strolled slowly the short distance to the other, more sedate, lounge.

The Princess Lounge was a large intimate room clothed in a magical lighting that seemed to sweep through the room with unobtrusive and delicate alternating shades of pleasing colors – if the shades were colors at all, but only subtle shifts at certain locations of the room. I could never tire of this lounge were I to have dinner with a special someone like the gorgeous lady who just joined me. The room was elegant in its leather comfort and sundry accouterments – fresh flowers, their scents an intoxicating pleasure in breathing, sculptures of high quality, notable portraits of prominent dignitaries on the golden-hued walls. The Princess Dinner Lounge was the epitome of consummate beauty, luxury and refinement.

In this truly magnificent environment, our drinks ordered, I spoke: “This is quite sudden, but then, how could I not accept such an offer from one so beautiful? You have me awkwardly off-balance, lovely lady. You know my name. I don’t know yours.”

“Christie Conway. Oh, Bradley, this lounge takes my breath away in its beauty.”

She paused, about to say something else, so I asked: “Yes, it is a magnificent room, and I’m delighted you like it. May I ask: to whom do I owe for such lovely company this evening? I can hardly wait for the answer to that question.”

With a slight shift in her soft lounge chair and a subtle smile that invited me to end all protocols, to rise from my own comfortable chair, to take a stride to her side, to lean and kiss those luscious lips, she said, “I’m sorry, Bradley, I’m sworn to secrecy.”

When I recovered from that impulsive moment, I responded. “So, are you with an agency that caters to requests like, ‘keeping company’ with men who might be in the throes of divorce, middle-age, or senility?”

“You know, it just occurred to me, we have names that form ‘BB’ and ‘CC’. Can we use those initials tonight?” Ah, she was changing the subject.

“And, pretty Miss, you didn’t answer my question. Are you with an agency, CC?”

“No, BB. I’m an unworking actress.”

“Here in Phoenix? Wait, wait, I have seen you on TV commercials. Did you act in California on one of the daily ‘soaps’?”

“Yes, and yes.”

“Okay, tell me, what is this all about? Is someone playing a colossal joke on me?”

“I don’t know about that, BB. I was just paid to give you company at dinner and to give you an envelope at my departure.”

CC reached into her purse and pulled out a small manila envelope.

I reached for the envelope, and she pulled it out of my reach and said: “I was told to give it to you upon my leaving tonight, so, if you want to skip buying me dinner I’ll give the envelope to you now, and leave.” She smiled sweetly.

“Would you like to leave now, CC?”

“No. I find you a handsome man, easy to talk to. I think we would have a fun evening, again, in a ‘nice way’.”

“I’m flattered. Thank you. Can you tell me anything about the person or persons who asked you to be here tonight? You are beautiful, and I would love to buy you dinner and spend the evening with you – in a ‘nice way’.” I smiled but I was sure the smile and eyebrow lift conveyed no gallantry at all.

“I was only told by the agency to be here tonight. The agency gets a percentage of the money. I can only say that I would not expect my agency to send me out for anything not lawful.”

Soft romantic music began to flow through the hidden speakers, audible enough to enhance and please any mode of conversation.

We talked, had dinner, and, at our parting in the parking lot we instinctively kissed – not a kiss of lovers but with perhaps a hint of that ‘goal’ in mind. She handed me the envelope and walked away to her car, stopping once to look back and give me a wave. That had to mean something.

Yeah, she was making sure you were not following her.

I absently put the envelope in my sport coat inside pocket and went to my car.

My mind berated me with thoughts…

You dummy. No phone number. No address. You are daft.

I tried, but she changed the subject.

You should have tried again. You are some ‘Romeo’.

*

Chapter One

The bikini-clad blonde on the large billboard looked down on me with a smile that said she loved me, and some uncontrollable part of me had the gall to convince my middle anatomy to get alert for action. That, as a full-body numbing buzz came and filled my total awareness with razor-sharp pains in all parts of my disabled bone and flesh.

First, though, I needed to remember why the hell I was lying in this ditch some fifty yards from what looked like a state highway. The area was too isolated to be a major road. At this point I saw no traffic at all.

Uh-oh, another sharp jolt just sparked my brain, letting me know where the pain was coming from. Just when I figured the pain was coming from the right side of my body and figured it was time for me to move, the left side of my head near the eye urgently warned me, ‘do not move quite yet’.

I closed my eyes tightly as though that might offer some sanity to the moment, but it only added to the pain. After softly touching my rib cage, carefully moving my feet and hands, after touching a spot above my left forehead, I felt the large wide lump with a long gaping valley running along my forehead, I let out a sharp cry when I touched bone some centimeters down, a half-inch above the eyebrow. The exquisite pain threw me back, slamming my head into a boulder I did not know was there, and one more yell came. With the yell came more pain, and some part of the engine inside me was fit enough to allow me some self-pity.

Self-Pity?

How did I get to self-pity when I did not even know my name? For whatever the stupidity, that thought had a consoling effect.

I lay there, not moving because both sides of my body were denying that simple task. So, I lay there, thinking. How the hell did I get here? That thought was swallowed up with the previous jarring truth. I did not know who and what to call me.

I did not know me.

Oh, my God.

The panic now lodged there in my crowded brain made me try again to get up out of the ditch, but I only fell back to my earthen bed of the moment – dusty earth, gravel, and the afore-mentioned boulder.

Some knowledge bade me take long deep breaths and not try to figure it all out. I guess some ruling gene from the cranial pool was trying to settle me down with the fact that my mind and body were going through a totally awesome shut-down, and, again, how do I get ‘there’ when I don’t even know my name and how and why fate put me here?

I lay there, taking deep breaths until sharp stabbing ouches hit me. I tried to calm my thinking. All events have reasons, good and bad. It would come to me. ‘Just relax’, I kept telling myself.

Lying still there, the pain was not so bad, and that bikini-blonde beauty was still trying to get me erected. In this state of pain, how the hell can that be?

Smiling lamely and with pain at my silly thoughts I kept my gaze on the billboard.

At some point, I felt like I was going to pass out, a slow swooning sensation, not pain so much.

That is when I heard movement among the dirt and gravel.

The thoughts came hard and fast. What can I do? I can hardly move.

Then I screamed at what I saw within ten feet of me.

It was a Mojave Rattlesnake.

Once again, how the deuce would I know about Mojave rattlesnakes when I do not even know my name? Then, another weird thought hit me, a movie I saw – Harrison Ford in Temple of Doom. Indiana Jones hated snakes, and he ran like hell from them.

That thought came at me from Hell’s murky furnace, and, hating snakes with good movie company, I rushed on ‘auto-pilot’ to get up, and the excruciating pain took me back to sudden darkness on my earthen bed of dirt and gravel.

Thoughts can be obnoxious – my last bit of thinking as the pain took me again to the nether world of abject unconsciousness: at least I will not see the wiggly bastard finish me off…

*****

Okay, you friends and readers out there, that is all you get for now, so, let me know your thoughts.

 Best wishes to all.

BR Chitwood – 5/1/20

 *

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Femme Fury Fatality

-Photo art by: Dennis Buchner – Unsplash-

Femme Fury Fatality

The sea from the balcony was glorious in its sunset pose. The brilliant yellow orb slowly dipped in the western sky, creating an unbridled inner stirring where phrases were worn closet clichés, feeble in rendering the poetic wonder of the Malibu scene. The heart and mind could never blend an appropriate coupling in describing a perfect utterance for a California evening in its sunset stages.

A lone couple walked along the edge of the slow-lapping surf with a beautiful Golden Retriever ahead joyfully leaping and romping in the choppy waters, chasing a large hard-rubber bone thrown by its master.

Melody Maybury stood pensively at the balcony’s sturdy stucco railing, engulfed in this splendid moment of another day’s end. There was a plaintive acceptance and gratitude for this ritual splendor. Delicate notes from Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini played softly from the balcony speaker, and Melody could not stop negative thoughts from intruding on this magical view.

“He’s a bastard. I’ve known Jeff Germaine for three years and I’ve never called him that before. Get over it. He could be telling you the truth. If you feel that way, move on. Find someone else. This is a sad story so often told. There’s someone out there who is real and can love you. But, am I being fair to Jeff? We’ve had some close, wonderful moments together. Oh, Damn, why am I doing this to myself?”

 Her thoughts persisted, negative, positive, back and forth, good guy, bad guy. What about the wonderful moments?

The phone ringing from inside broke into her monologue, and she left the sunset beauty and went inside to answer. She closed off the surf sounds by sliding shut the door to the balcony.

“Hello,” she spoke into the speaker.

“Melody, it’s Jeff. I’ve got a problem.”

Melody was silent.

“Melody, did you hear me? I’ve got a huge problem, and I need your help.”

“Really?” She stiffly responded. “You need my help? You told me you didn’t need me just last night. I’m hanging up, Jeff. I can’t help you, the way we are now.”

“Wait, please wait, Melody. Don’t hang up. I didn’t tell you, ‘I didn’t need you’ – I was talking about our spat: ‘I didn’t need the spat’. I do need you in my life. I love you. Please, Mel, hear me, ‘I need your help’. This is urgent for me or I would not call and bother you with it. It involves you as well as me. Please, hear me out. If you want us to be finished, we can be, but wait, please, until you hear me out. Melody, are you there?”

“Yes, I’m here, and I’ll listen but I’m not promising anything.”

“That’s okay, Melody. I’m a ‘heel’, I know, but I do love you. I hurt you and I’m so sorry. It was just the heat of our argument. Please try to believe me. Here’s why the call. I’m in the Santa Monica PD locked up on a bogus charge, and you are the only one who can help me. Please, Melody, help me.”

Melody heard loud voices and a scuffle in the background.

“Jeff, where did you go? Jeff?”

“I’m here. There’s another guy wanting me off the phone. Okay, here’s the story… Last night, when I left – at your request – I went to see Donna Grayson to ask her to call you, to tell you we were not an ‘item’, never had been, and that she was being a bitch for letting you think I was playing house with her…it never happened, Mel, truly, it never happened. But she wasn’t home, so I stayed last night in a motel off the Hollywood Freeway, and today, after…”

“Jeff, Jeff…”

“I’ve got to get off the phone, Mel, this guy here is nuts, but please believe me. I love you and only you. Donna was dead when I arrived at her place, and the cops think I did it. I did not kill her. Don’t even think that, Mel. I promise you, I did not. Can you make some calls for me, Mel? Try to get Les Baxter to get me bail, to get me out of here, let the studio know. I just tried to reach Les and could not. I’ve got to go. This guy is all over me, wanting the phone. I love you, Melody. Always have, always will…”

There was a loud crack in the phone, apparently dropped to the floor. “Hey, whoever you are, get off the damned phone so I can get a dial tone.” A gruff and nasty voice, not, Jeff’s.

Melody put the phone back in its cradle, and her thoughts came jumbled, all disjointed for some seconds. She sat on the long sofa for several minutes digesting what she heard from Jeff. Was his story the truth? Was it true he has not been seeing Donna? Donna was dead. My God, Jeff’s in jail for killing Donna. What to do? Call Les Baxter for help. Santa Monica PD. Get Jeff out of jail

After several attempts, she reached Les Baxter and gave him the information from Jeff. Then, she called her Dad and Mom in El Paso just to talk, to tell them she loved them and missed them. She never mentioned the bad news about the fella she was living with.

*

Later, the next day after Les Baxter posted bail, Jeff and Melody sat in their lovely Malibu home, looking out the glass doors to the balcony and on farther west over the gentle incoming waves to another incredible sunset.

“Do you want to talk about Donna’s murder, Jeff?”

They sat on the sofa sipping cocktails.

“I’d like to talk, Mel, but civilly, not in angry bursts. You say you now believe that Donna and I were not an item. Do you honestly believe that? If so, I want to talk.”

“Just remember, there were some strong suspicions and…” She shrugged, “yes, yes, I believe you. Now, tell me what happened.”

“Hmm, okay, from the beginning. I left the studio early yesterday because the script lady misplaced the scene and Jackson Argenté wanted the scene perfectly projected so we were not allowed to ad lib the dialogue…it would have been easy to ad lib as it was not that long a script. Argenté as a director can be a real ass, funny guy at times, really serious other times. I rather suspect Jackson had some amorous monkey business up his sleeve, if you know what I mean.

“So, I left early and went to the ‘Club’ – wanted to play nine holes of golf and occupy myself with thoughts of you, how to convince you of my fidelity. At the club, in the Men’s Grill looking for a pal to play nine holes with me, I joined Avery Bascomb for a drink and forgot about golf. Avery’s the new guy from San Francisco. I introduced you two last week. He likes ‘Hollywood Gin’ as do I so we played away much of the afternoon until thoughts of you and our spat got into my brain. I began losing concentration and money. You know me, I don’t like losing, got a little angry, broke a cocktail glass, and cut my hand.

“I called Donna from the ‘Men’s Grill’ and asked her if she would call you and make you understand there was nothing going on between her and me. She said she would but needed to see me to show me something important. I balked but there was something in her voice that sounded most urgent. It was on my way to Malibu, so I decided to stop and see what her urgency was.

“Her entry chimes went crazy on my third attempt at getting her to answer the door, and they wouldn’t stop…kept on chiming. Why wasn’t she answering? We had just talked on the phone. She would not have left, knowing I was coming to see what it was she wished to show me. The chimes were driving me nuts. They just would not stop chiming.

“So, I looked through the side door-window and saw her lying in a pool of blood there on the edge of the ‘great room’ and the entry hall. I was reaching for my cell phone to call the police when the siren wailed loudly just a few yards away, like, the cops turned the siren on when they saw me stepping away from the entry.

“I looked down and saw the blood from my cut at the ‘Men’s Grill’ and so did the two cops who were answering an apparent ‘red alert’ call from Donna. The cops opened the unlocked entry door and went to the body, checked for vital signs and there were none. The cops arrested me on the spot and took me to the Santa Monica PD. I screamed all the way about the ‘Men’s Grill’ glass breakage and my cut hand. They listened intently to my ‘Men’s Grill’ story, my calling Donna, but they had to take me in. They believed me but had no choice, they said… I’ve got no idea what it was Donna wanted to show me.

“That’s my story, Mel, and it’s the honest-to-God’s truth. You’ve got to believe me. I couldn’t do anything like that. I don’t even like playing bad guys in our movies.”

“I believe you, Jeff. We will get through this. I’m sorry I doubted you. The mind can do some crazy meandering at times. The cops can easily check the ‘Men’s Grill’ for proof of your alibi. That should be enough for them to drop the charges, don’t you think?”

“Hopefully. They won’t find anything in Donna’s place that can incriminate me. I was only there the one time with you.”

“It’s all going to work out, sweetheart. You’ve told me everything, right?”

“Of course, I have. I’ve never lied to you, Melody. I love you.”

*

As trials go, Jeff’s was a breeze. The judge appeared, called the two attorneys to the stand, whispered a few words – actually, quite a few words – and the lawyers returned to their respective seats.

The judge picked up his gavel, slammed it down on the wood and announced: “This case will not be heard for insufficient findings. Case dismissed.”

Later that day, movie director Jackson Argenté was arrested for the murder of Donna Grayson, his longtime secret paramour. His fingerprints and other evidence had been found at the murder scene. It was believed by most reports that Jeff just happened on the scene at the wrong time.

It was later noted in newspaper articles that the movie director had managed through extortion and payouts to keep other affairs and angry dispositions from print and media in general. Jackson Argenté was known to have a violent temper, with eruptions quite often.

The final chapter was written when Jackson Argenté was found hanging from a crude tangle of clothes tied around his neck and somehow connected to a ventilation duct.

Jeff Germaine and Melody Maybury became husband and wife in August that year and honeymooned in the south of France.

Of course, they lived happily ever after.

Billy Ray Chitwood – August 20, 2019

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“Daddy, No!”

Daddy, No!

 In a Colorado upscale community near Denver in August of 2018 there were acts of violence so vile that I thought not to write about them, but, then, changed my mind. The desire, nay, the need to write about these brutal homicides was too strong for me to ignore.

 

In the early morning hours of that day in August, a man strangled to death his wife, then smothered to death his two daughters, ages 3 and 4. They were crimes that captured the attention of the entire nation – perhaps even, the world. My need to write about these awful murders can hopefully be forgiven, but I wanted to get inside the head of this monster who would commit such atrocious acts. My novella is not a ‘long-dwelling account’ of the crimes themselves, but of the fictional prison life being lived currently by this family slayer. The book’s narrative is an attempt at understanding the sociopathy, psychopathy of this ugly form of humankind. It can be said accurately that I am playing ‘clinical psychologist’ in this book. Whether these humble thoughts can come near to that professional league, no way, but, at least, I get to relieve some anger and angst.

 

The following two paragraphs from the beginning of ‘Chapter Four’ in Daddy, No! just might create the terrifying atmosphere for the book. Superfluously, this novella is fiction, but many of the details therein come from truth of this tragedy. The following has truth as well.

 

Chapter Four

Sobbing in small choking gasps the little girls wrap their arms around each other, their tiny trembling bodies absorbed in these moments of terror, their short body-quakes synonymous with the gaping flairs of their eyes – wide with the unknown evil outside their bedroom door. With each audible wall bump, each stifled scream, and demonic moan, they tighten their grasps of each other. Their anguished faces are scarlet red and moist from their prolonged fear, their eyes darting hither and yon in nervous expectations of an unknown, impending danger. It is sheer paralyzing, catatonic disorientation, a manic madness their young lives have never experienced.

 

The darkness envelops them but the light-shaft from a bright moon at their bedroom window portrays grievous images of two tiny huddled masses compacted in terror so visceral it might absorb them in a maelstrom of madness. The twisted sheets upon which they now lie entwined are wet with their bodies’ waste. The blankets they are seldom without in the night are damp with the wetness of their mucous and their tears. Their eyes are swollen from the crying, chafed and red with the steady rubbing. Their hands, their bodies tremble in the horror that has joined them in the bedroom.

 

With the world’s population living among those who cut-off heads of people who believe contrary to their so-called religion, with evil perversions of all kinds on our planet, perhaps there is nothing left that can now shock us. Perhaps my skin is too thin, but the factors of these homicides stunned me, and I needed to prowl my mind and soul to find my own truths about this father from hell…herein Daddy, No! they lie.

 

In any event this my nineteenth book, a novella of 36,000 words plus. It is my hope you will read its contents and leave an Amazon review.

 

You can Order Daddy, No! on Amazon when the review is over: Paperback or Kindle, or, both. Thank you. The book was just listed.

 

BR Chitwood – May 19, 2019

 

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Wicked Marcie

Wicked Marcie

“You’re a filthy beast!” she spoke as tears fell down her cheeks.

“And, what kind of beast, would you say?” his face squinted in a soft strange sadness.

The woman did not understand the expression, read it as a ‘mocking’ of the situation. She appeared cautiously in conflict with her emotions. She spoke again.

“Oh, go ahead with your ugly passion, Willard. I can’t stop you, but you can know this: I’ve never hated you more than at this moment.”

Willard stopped mid-stride and stared at the woman in the wheelchair, his brow wrinkled, his tired face showing an anguish she could not comprehend. His steps were measured and slow as he neared the wheelchair. The woman quavered and showed a fear she sought to hide. She hunched as much as she was physically able, and spoke: “Please Willard, don’t slap me again, and don’t do the other thing…please! If I ever meant anything to you, please, please, don’t go in there tonight!”

For some terrible seconds, Willard stopped, stood erect, and appeared to consider what the woman was saying. With reticence, he looked wearily into her sad eyes before responding. “It was you, Bella!” He spoke in a soft voice with a hint of some sort of pity. “You put yourself in that wheelchair when you tried to kill me. You do remember that night, don’t you, Bella?”

“I didn’t try to kill you, Willard. I only wanted to keep you away from Marcie, just trying to scare you, that’s all. I could never kill anyone. Marcie did something bad that one night, and you’ve been making her pay for it ever since. For pity’s sake, she’s only fourteen years old. You said you loved her as your own. What you’re doing is criminal and sinful.”

“You rushed me. I dodged. You went flying into the coffee table and damaged your back. I’ve gone all these weeks caring for you, Bella, while Marcie kept flaunting her blossoming body at me, smiling and inviting. You never saw any of that, Bella. Yes, it’s criminal and sinful, what you’re thinking, and I’m also a man who has needs – needs you can’t satisfy until you mend.”

“Can you so easily justify your actions against our daughter, Willard?”

“Our adopted daughter, Bella, fourteen years, going on twenty-four. I’m justifying nothing! You believe what she tells you. You don’t see her coming on to me every night. She’s insatiable in her own sexual needs, a nymphet right out of a Nabakov novel. She must be. I avoid her. I tell her it is all wrong, both legally and morally what she wants from me. That doesn’t stop her from coming to my bed each night. I never harbored a sexual need for her. It never entered my mind and still does not. You remember that night when she came out to the den in only her panties and bra. You went to bed. I was drinking and half-drunk. She tried to seduce me with her eyes, with her swinging hips, with her sitting on my lap and tormenting me with her wiggling moves.

“You came out and saw it all, Bella, and knew that it must be my fault, not Marcie’s fault, the little girl we brought home when she was six years old. You didn’t notice me trying to disengage from her that night, struggling to get her off my lap. Whether she learned about sex from her many ‘night-stay-overs’ with ‘school friends’, or, watched porno movies, she tried to seduce me with her knowledge of every move in the sexual manual. She showed me filthy pictures to seduce me. She…”

“Stop, Willard! Please, stop! I Can’t listen to your vile comments any longer.” Bella started to move her wheelchair toward her bedroom, but he stopped her.

“Just one last thing, Bella, and you can go to bed… I will say no more after these last comments. Please, hear me out.”

Bella looked down at her hands, intertwined on her lap and remained silent.

“Yes, I slapped you a few times, not hard, just enough to stop your rants about Marcie and me. You would never let me tell you what I’m saying tonight, and I’m sure you will never believe me. I’ve tried to tell you before tonight but you always get so angry – and that gets me angry, and I don’t tell you. That changes tonight…

“I have never had sex with Marcie, Bella…not that night you saw her on my lap in her panties, not any night. Yes, she comes to my room, and, in my anger, I sometimes slap her, warn her about losing her home, having her put in some squalid detention center, and come short from really strapping her, finally getting her back to her own room.

“What you saw weeks ago is all that happened, Bella. I repeat, I have never had sex with Marcie. AND, it didn’t happened when you saw her on my lap. Yes, I had liquor working in my system, but I would never lose sight of my moral integrity altogether.

“I don’t know what Marcie is telling you, what kind of lurid tales she’s spinning, but this I do know. She is an evil young lady, and I have spent all the time I care to spend trying to straighten her out, talking to her in matter of fact terms, paternally and with caring feelings. AND, you need to know that, today, late this afternoon, after using up all my clear thinking in trying to save Marcie, I visited state officials and alerted them that the situation was no better than when I first reported it to them weeks ago. Yes, I reported Marcie to state officials and followed up with them on several occasions to keep them informed.

“They will be picking her up tomorrow morning. The officials are my friends, Bella, and they believe what I’ve told them. They believe me because what I’ve told them is true…they even did background checks on her former life before us, on her sinister parents.”

“My God, Willard! She’s our daughter.”

“Bella, do you not believe the words I’m telling you? Marcie is evil! I’ve tried to save her! Can’t you see that? She is telling you unsavory lies, working against us. She cannot stay any longer in this house. I truly can say, I’ve done all I can do… She now belongs to the state.

“I know this is difficult for you, but you have not seen Marcie as I’ve seen her. You have been wheelchair-bound, unable to lend your maternal counsel to her. You must know I would not lie to you about this. You know how I’ve loved you over the years…that has not changed. I still love you and long for the day you’re out of that wheelchair. Marcie is a victim of her previous parents, a ‘bad seed’, and I’ve come to know she cannot be here any longer. She is trying to hurt us, Bella. PLEASE! Understand that.”

Tears rushed down Bella’s face, and she could see the tears on Willard’s face as well.

With some effort, she reached a hand upward to her husband. Willard caressed the hand, kissed it, held it against his cheek for some seconds, and smiled gently.

“Now, you must go to bed and get your rest…”

Bella tried to speak, to give one last attempt at saving Marcie, but she knew, now, without any doubt, that Willard had spoken the truth to her. Her voice rendered incapable of speech by the tears, she sighed deeply, slowly shook her head as Willard wheeled her to the bedroom.

Willard pulled the bed cover up to her chin. He took a sleep capsule from a pill bottle on the bedside table, he spoke gently and with love. “Take the pill, dear Bella. You need to sleep and be away from the thoughts. Take also my love and know that tomorrow begins the first day of the rest of our lives. All our days will be happy and good after this darkness leaves us.”

Bella took the sleeping pill, wiped her eyes with a soft tissue and allowed Willard a kiss goodnight.

***

When three state officials arrived the next morning, no one answered their front door ring.

The Wingates would be expecting them. Concerned after multiple loud raps on the door, they jimmied the door and entered the house. The three state people eyed each other cautiously and with deep concern. Something was not right.

As they entered the master bedroom an awful odor greeted them along with splattered blood on the tiled floors and walls. The state authorities gagged at the sight in front of them.

A portion of the king-sized bed was covered with the blood of Bella Wingate, half-covered on the bed with rips to her gown and blood droplets on her chest and hands. Her face was oddly peaceful as though in sleep.

Stretched across Bella’s lower body was Willard Wingate, his own blood oozing out of  the multiple stab wounds to his now ripped and torn pajama top. He had apparently tried to fight off the killer. His mouth still held the terror he must have felt during the brutal attack.

“Oh, my God!” cried the state lady in the group. “That Marcie girl murdered her adoptive parents.” The lady reached for her phone and called ‘Dispatch’ to put an ‘all-points bulletin’ out for Marcie Wingate. “God, why didn’t we come back here with Mr. Wingate yesterday instead of putting it off ’til today. Dammit, that background check we did on her was enouugh to warrant our coming yesterday. Mr. and Mrs. Wingate would still be alive. Oh, my God!”

The two men shrugged sadly, one speaking, “Betty, how could we have possibly come to a conclusion like this? The report was bad, but it didn’t detail something like this. God help us! it is what it is.”

The officials searched the other rooms of the house but could not find Marcie.

***

Some three hundred miles down the Interstate, young Marcie Wingate was laughing at jokes being told by her patron of the road. The man was feeling good about this hitching-lady, and a good time was coming up in a few miles…he knew just the place.

Flash Fiction by BR Chitwood

Preview my books at:

https://www.billyraychitwood.com

 

A Closet Dark With Fear

A Closet Dark With Fear

Thought I might titillate you with the first two pages of a ‘Prologue.’ Call me shameless because the ‘Prologue’ is from my novel, Mama’s Madness.

This book was taken from some true life events and it was tough to write. It startled me to think that mothers of such quantifiable evil existed and doled it out at regular intervals. There are no ‘spoilers’ here and perhaps you will want to read more. The good news is that these mothers from hell are hopefully outside the reach of those reading this small portion.

From Mama’s Madness by Billy Ray (BR) Chitwood:

PROLOGUE

-The Year: 1985-

“Help me! Please help me!”

It is a piteous whimper, lost in the black void of the narrow closet. The weak and eerie sound of her own voice chills her more fiercely than the cold. The thought brings an aberrant amusement. Her own small voice frightens her!

A sound! A creaking sound. Far off. A footfall! Is it? No. It is not a footfall. It’s just one of the strange noises that comes in the night.

Is it night?

Time is lost. Time is gone from her world like a chunk of youth. The black hole draws her toward an uncertain vortex. She must close her eyes. But, not so tightly. She sees less with her eyes lightly closed. There is better control of her quivering body. With eyes open, the blackness comes alive with trickery.

Some crawling thing moves along her upper arm. That is her perception. She shifts and finds a wooden wall protrusion. A vertical beam. She moves her arm and body in back and forth rushes to accommodate the itch.

Her wrists are painfully numb and raw. The handcuffs seem now natural extensions of her hands.

Her shoulders ache in their sockets. They are taut from the pull of arms bound behind her back.

How long? God! It seems an eternity! A small lifetime she has lived in this palpable darkness. Maybe, it has been two days. The air has no texture or stir. It hangs there, stale and dank.

Her face is flushed with fever. It feels stiff and crusty from the tears running over her abrasive wounds. She squints and contorts. She opens and closes her mouth. There are sharp responses of pain. Her entire body feels leaden and bloated. When she moves there is a burning chaff between her thighs. A complacent soreness pervades. It no longer matters. Nor does the stench from her body’s waste matter.

It is her mind which throttles her. Whisks her off in searing flashes, abates, lingers amid the blackness. A fragile sentry. Both enemy and friend.

It is all happening again! She is next to die. Just like Celia. Was it a year ago? Two? Time, again, is elusive, lost. What does it matter? A year ago or an hour ago! Sarilee knows she is next. Just like Celia…

Mama beat Celia, too. Got so mad she shot her. But the bullet didn’t kill Celia. The fire killed Celia. The bullet lodged in Celia’s back and stayed there for two years. Celia healed with the bullet there in her back. Then, Celia had wanted to leave home.

Was that one year ago?

For some unknown fathoming, Sarilee wants to be precise in her remembering. Somehow, it is important to remember this point.

Yes, it was a year ago. They were living in an apartment near the old trailer court where Mama used to live…

***

Okay, that’s just the first two pages of Mama’s Madness. It’s my hope that you’re interested enough to read more. It is a dark tale but there are some moments of recompense and justice.

It’s on amazon.com US (Kindle and paperback). It’s on Nook, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Apple, It’s on amazon.co.uk. It is also on other E-formats.

Amazon US: https://goo.gl/F4QR56 

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/uuFFPj

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