Category: Flash Fiction

Winter – 2039

Winter – 2039

Flash Fiction by a New Model –‘Dialogue Only’

“My God, Frank, are you…you?”

“Of course, I’m, me! The treatment took less than two hours, Gracie. The transformation took hours, and it was amazing to feel the not unpleasant tingles and tightening of skin. When I looked in the examination room mirror I almost passed out with elation – and, or course, the anticipation. You’re scheduled for 6:00 AM Friday morning. Your procedure will take less time than mine, the doctor says. At Five O’clock that afternoon we fly to Nassau and ‘Paradise Island’. We’ve wanted to return there for years. Now, we’re going back younger than when we went the first time.”

“Frank, we talked about this. I thought we decided we were not going to do this, our Faith, all our discussions about the costs involved, about the altering of our belief in God…”

“Grace, Grace, please, sit with me…

“I know all of that… Costs? The business is doing well. We have good people we trust running it. We talked about the ‘Micro-Bots’ Micro-Biologists have been working on for many years. We also talked about it being part of God’s plan for us people of Faith to find this ‘Manufactured Man’s Immortality’, and about this being ‘His Plan for us’ – that Humankind seek and find their immortality with their own cognitive powers of discovery in Science and Technology. We talked long and hard about this, Grace… I changed my mind and kept the appointment with Doc Burrell.”

“But you said…”

“I know what I said, but those thoughts changed for me with a sudden mind-spark just before arriving at the doctor’s office. Then, when the Doctor gave me documentary information my mind was totally satisfied with the decision. Dr. Crosley had his doubts as well until he had seen the evidence…”

“What evidence? Don’t stop now.”

“Well, you can’t speak of this to anyone, and I frankly don”t know why it should be such a big secret. It has something to do with endemnifying the doctor and government regulations. While it’s been rather media-hyped, I think it might have something to do with people coming to their own conclusions about ‘Immortality’ without outside source information. Even today, in 2039, this in not a universally adknowledged and approved by everyone. Of course, when we see our friends, we will be forced to talk about it all to some extent. Just, no ‘pressuring’.”

“So, why were you given the information?”

“Because, as I said, just before getting to the doctor’s office, the truth – for me – struck the chord and I concluded it was the right thing for me to do. The doctor just cemented the decisio for me, for us, to do this procedure… and, yet, you must come to this conclusion on your own, Grace. You must come to this conclusion for yourself. Can’t you see the truth by looking at me?

“Look, The micro-biologists have been working for years developing this ‘Miracle of Humanity’. They can now provide to the medical profession the navigational training necessary to inject these Nano labs into the blood stream, into the veins, to replace dead cells with new cells, cure cancer, heart disease, arthritis, COPD, the long-feared body dysfunctions that have plagued all of humanity in the past. It is God’s way to helping MAN help himself… Can’t you see that, Grace? I thought your seeing me would convince you. Do you not want to be young and vital again – with me, Gracie? Why are we even having this conversation? You see me! That should be enough.”

“Of course, I want to be young and vital again with you. It’s just there is a nagging that comes from my mind and likely my soul that I can’t quite dispel… But, seeing you, listening to you, loving you so much, how can I do otherwise? I shall keep the appointment and join you and the other ‘Immortals’ as I’m sure the world will convert to MBT.” [Micro Biological Transformation]

“Just think, Gracie, we can do some of those things we’ve talked about, the travel to places of history…best of all, we can now solve your infertility issue and bring children into our world…”

“Why the long pause, Frank?”

“It just occurred to me… Other people will have these thoughts we’re having. Infertile women will become fertile, bring children into the world. Those children will bring more children into the world… My God! Earth will be over-run with people…

“Perhaps that is why intensive extra-planetary studies and exploration are taking place…

“My God, Gracie, think about it! God’s design is to populate the Universe, and, perhaps, beyond… makes me wonder, Gracie, just how long this MBT business has been with us. People have often pondered what their governments keep secret from them.

“Perhaps, this is the ‘Grand-daddy’ of them all!”

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood

January 18, 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

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The Rock

“You the guy that dealt with Winslow?”

“Maybe. Why you asking?”

“Let it go, Charlie. They’re not buying it.” (Bebe whispers)

“Shut-up, Bebe! They are buying it!”(Whisper)

“Charley, they got muscle. We got no muscle. This is crazy. You want to die? Criminy!”(Bebe whispers)

“Okay, look, fellows, my partner wants to ‘pass’ and, me, I don’t want to pass. You said you wanted the best! This is the best rock money can buy. You got the money! We got the best rock! C’mon, let’s deal! It’s cold in this auditorium, and I don’t like being cold.”

“You don’t like being cold! You’re a tough guy, huh, Charley?”

“This has nothing to do with ‘tough’, guys. You get my meaning? You asked for the merchandise. I’m supplying it, Mr. Delaney, am I not right?”

“We talked it over, Charlie, me and my guys. We don’t like you. You’re the guy that got Winslow sent away. We know about you and your operation.We don’t wish to deal with you, and this stupid conversation is over.”

“Not yet, it ain’t. I’m selling. You’re buying. Give me the dough!”

“Put your toy pistol away, Charlie. You’re covered six ways of Sunday! You fire one shot, you and your partner are cold and dead. That’s what I’m selling, hot-shot! You buying? Hey, Bippy, show the man your artillery. You see Bippy over there, wise-guy, see his ‘semi’. Now, put your gun down, take the diamond out of your pocket, and hand it to me, nice and easy like. Don’t try any funny stuff unless you truly have a ‘death wish’.”

“Come on, Charley. Give him the ‘ice’ and let’s get outta here. They’re not fooling around here!”

“Shut-up, Bebe! I’m handling this. Get over there with Delaney.”

“But, Charley…”

“Go on, get over there with Bucky Delaney.”

“Okay, we ready, now?”

“Ladies and gentlemen, let the record show I had nothing to do with this arrangement. It was their doing, the way they wanted it.” Charley gave a big smile, and continued…

“Ladies and gentleman, we’re gathered here today to unite in holy matrimony Buchanon Delaney and Bebe Forrestall…”

*

Have a ridiculously good holiday season! AND, A Happy and prosperous 2019, One and all!

Billy Ray Chitwood – December 26, 2019

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There Must Be A Better Way

There Must Be A Better Way

Hey, Man, this is great stuff! Wow! The sky’s amazing! Look at all the colors… Awesome, dude! What’s this stuff we’re doing?” A teenager named Beasley was speaking.

Another teenager named Freeman spoke, “It’s sensimilla, bonehead, and those colors are natural colors this time of day. It’s not the sensimilla you’re feeling, and you just took your first two drags…after a few more drags you’ll be seeing those dark clouds swooping down on you. Depending on your tolerance level for sensimilla, you’ll be catatonic and unable to tell me your name.” Freeman chuckled.

What about you, all-knowing one? How’s your tolerance level?”

I know how to control it. You’re going after it like you’re trying to reach Nirvana in ten minutes. You have a surprise coming. You just don’t listen. I told you, take it easy with this stuff.”

Hey, this stuff is legalized now in several states…it can’t be so bad.”

I don’t know what the legalized states are using, but I seriously doubt it’s sensimilla…it’s heavy grass, and costly, man, but, what do I know?”

Two ‘joints’ were consumed within thirty minutes.

How you doing, Beasley?” Freeman glanced at his neophyte friend.

Beasley’s eyes were opening and closing, wanting to stay with the narcotic effect. He was in a limp and listless waste land. He heard the question from his recently met friend, but he could not bring himself to answer. He was without energy and the ability to think.

Beasley fell back on the upper fringe of the hill, waggled his head occasionally, but was essentially motionless and useless.

Freeman eyed the prone body of his friend, laughed, and muttered: “The dumb ass bonehead! Couldn’t take it.”

Ten minutes later, Freeman was ready to leave the lovely hill that overlooked the ocean. He steadily lifted himself from the ground and moved to the mumbling, twitching body of his friend.

Freeman nudged him with his foot. “Come on, Beasley, get up. We gotta go. My girlfriend’s waiting for me.” Freeman only received more mumbling and twitching from Beasley.

With much more force, mixed with a little anger, Freeman roughly shoved Beasley’s body with his right foot, and it began rolling down the steep angled side of the hill toward the ocean.

Freeman carefully took measured steps to stop the body’s roll, but he had no leverage on the hill. He would go down himself if he rushed his movements.

Freeman waited for Beasley’s body to stop its roll, but, instead, it picked up speed. It was like Beasley was somehow helping the steep hill to propel him down…like, he was, in his mind, on some fanciful flight.Freeman did not go further down the hill. Instead, he turned toward a gravel road where his car was parked on the less steep and shorter side of the hill.Freeman had a moment of worry but it passed quickly. The grass was doing a nice number on him, keeping him calm, cool, and collected. He would check on his friend tomorrow.The roll down the hill likely worked off the sensimilla, and Beasley would be fine tomorrow.

***

Headline on the local newspaper’s front page the next day:

‘Body of Teenager found near beach at ‘Lone Tree Point’!

FLASH FICTION by:Billy Ray Chitwood

https://www.billyraychitwood.com

The Old Barn

The chill in the air and the darkness prevailed in the little town, and they searched everywhere for a place to rest their weary bodies. There were no rooms available at this hour of the evening, and they were desperate to be delivered from the chill that was fast becoming frigid. To add to the woes of the young couple, the wife was with child.

               On the outskirts of town as the night became darker and more unnerving in its coldness the couple saw in the distance an old red barn with light presented through a small cut-out on the side facing them.

               The couple made their way to the barn of little light. Arriving at the old clap-board structure, a rotted entry door hanging loosely from a rusty hinge and nails. Entering the barn, the couple noticed the low light was coming from a stall some twenty feet away. They approached the opening where the light shone and saw a man on a bed of straw with a young foal trying to stand on its new legs.

               The man heard the rustle of feet on straw-laden earth, turned and saw the young couple. The mother of the foal died in the offering of her foal. The man had tears in his eyes for his dead friend who had been with him so many years. The tears were also for the lovely foal and its needs. It was as though the foal with its soft moaning sounds knew that its mother would not be there to nurture and provide for it.

               The man lifted his wife from the donkey and started to place her on a stretch of straw nearby, but the man on the straw-bed next to the foal bade the couple to come to the light and the ambient warmth. “Please, put your wife here where my body has created warmth for her and the child to be… I’m sorry I can offer no more. My home is there in the distance, now in ashes from a lightning strike. I have been staying here with my old friend, LeAnn, who has served me so well through the years. After a long space of labor and much pain, LeAnn simply had not the strength to bring her foal to life and sustain him on her own. We had our final moments together just before your arrival… Forgive me, please allow your wife to rest here. The bread and the few food edibles there on the small table. Please, nourish yourselves with what is there.”

               “Are you married, good sir?” The man helped his wife to the straw bed.

               “My good wife died one year ago today. She is in a good place, now, after much pain and suffering. My bed is two stalls down. You rest beside your wife after I move the foal to my stall.”

               “But, where is the foal’s mother, kind sir?”

               “Buried just beyond the barn.”

               “Yes, we saw the marker… You are so kind to us. There were no rooms to be had in the town, and I was worried for my wife.”

               “She will be fine here for tonight. Tomorrow, I will help you more. Is your wife close to delivery time?”

               “Yes. Any day, good sir. Your kindness means so very much to us. I should like to pay you for that kindness.”

               “There is no need for that. I have plenty of money should I want the luxuries of life, my new friend. I choose to live the way I do, away from those who live in wickedness, those who live to take from those good but gullible folks who know no better. Please, do not worry about me, I am in the element I wish to be. Now, please, take what comfort you can from my humble quarters here. Tomorrow, whatever your plans, I shall help you achieve them. Are you comfortable there, dear lady?”

                The wife gave a sad and warm smile to the man and nodded her thanks. My wife cannot hear you, kind sir. She is deaf and has been since birth. I thank you for both of us and my donkey, Sam.”

                “We have not shared our names, but my name is Peter Warmsley.”

               “My name is David Metters, my wife is Sarah.”

               The men shook hands.

               “My foal and I are off to our beds… Ah, but wait, what shall we call my foal. What wondrous name shall she bear? Any ideas, my new friends?”

               They thought for minutes, smiling, enjoying the moments of camaraderie. “Does the name, Jacob, please you?” The man thought but for a few seconds.

               “Indeed, it does. ‘Jacob’ is a good and solid name for this beautiful foal.”

               With that, the man, picked up ‘Jacob’ and began to leave the stall.

               “Tomorrow, we shall discuss your needs, my new friends, your travel plans, to what ends you seek. I wish you good night, David and blessed be Sarah who carries a child of grace.” Then, Peter left David and Sarah.

               As Peter walked away with Jacob, David said to the parting Peter, “And that will be the name of our child, good Peter. Sleep well and in peace, Peter and Jacob.”

               In some monumental way, David and Sarah’s lives changed that night of December 24, 1963.

A bright star twinkled outside the cut-out window, providing light through the night.

Billy Ray Chitwood – December 21, 2018

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Ripples

sunset

Ripples 

      The lovely lady squinted as she stood on her penthouse balcony, grasped the iron railing and looked outward at the distant clouds hovering above the horizon.

Standing there in her long powdery blue night gown, her image portrayed a classic Princess-like profile with all the voluptuous and titillating curves that brought men to their knees. Her face was to cherish: lips full of the sweetest imaginable wine that gave kisses long lingering promises of other delights; magical blue eyes that mesmerized and projected a strange mystical sadness.

The sun she gathered from some days on the beach made her glow with some wondrous and nostalgic essence, her long silky auburn hair not bothered by the slight breeze that moved it gently across her face.

She watched the wave ripples shifting the sand and bringing ashore sea glass and ageless plant debris. Two tears appeared, spilled over the lower lids, and fell down her face. A small trembling smile came as her thoughts mixed with the sea glass and plants on the shore…

“Oh, Jessie,” she whispered as a zephyr carried her words out upon the ripples. “Why, why, why?” she implored of her Deity. “Why has the world gone crazy? Why did they send you to Afghanistan? I can’t make it without you. Here at our favorite retreat I hoped to find some semblance of sanity, but there is nowhere to go that will bring peace, a reason to go on without you.”

She sighed a small surrender.

She placed her left foot on the lower stretch of balcony iron and tightened her grip on the top railing. She looked again at the clouds on the distant horizon, at the ripples coming to shore with their cargo. She pulled her body upward on the railing and gave the horizon one more poignant gaze.

From some silent place inside the penthouse came the words: “Cut! That’s a take!”

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood

Okay, I’m bad, but aren’t you glad she didn’t jump?! Come on, you thought she would!H

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Fateful Flowers

Fateful Flowers

“Red or yellow roses, Sir?” asked the lady in the flower shop.

The young man in his early thirties smiled and raised his brow. “Now, how did you know it was to be roses, Millie?” He knew her from a name tag.

“It’s the body language, young man. Your step, your face, the happy gleam in your eyes.”

“Really! I’m that obvious?”

“You’re that obvious,” she teasingly grinned, “plus I’ve had this shop too many years not to know when love walks through the door.”

He put his hands on the counter and gently asked, “And, do you know how many roses I’ll be sending FTD today?”

“You’re a two-dozen fellow, I’m betting.” She pursed her lips.

“And, does my step, my face, and the happy gleam in my eyes tell you which color I’ll pick?”

“Red, of course! You’re obviously in love and you want the red roses to convey your love for the young lady.” She tilted her head slightly in a positive gesture.

“Why would I not choose yellow roses?” the man asked, amused by the conversation.

“Yellow roses would be fine, but you wish to make a deeper statement. Red gets the point of love across rather profoundly. They say, ‘I love you’. Yellow roses convey happiness and joy in more of a friendship fashion… My goodness, listen to me, giving you information you likely already know.”

“No, you’ve actually tagged me perfectly, and I thank you. It will be two dozen red roses, and I trust you will pick out twenty-four of your very best.”

“It will be my pleasure, plus an extra red rose to accentuate the strong statement. I shall make it a very special arrangement for you. You will wish a card sent with the roses…”

His name was Farris Stanley Ballanger. The flowers were going to Johnnie Mahannic. Stan spent some time in thought at the counter as to the words he would put on the card. Smiling, finally satisfied with his choice of words, he placed the card in the accompanying envelope, wrote ‘Dear Sweet Johnnie’ on the front, and handed it to Millie.

Stan paid for the flowers and chatted a few moments more with Millie.

As Stan was about to leave the store, he asked: “Do you mind if I hug you, Millie? You are such a great person.”

Millie obliged, and Stan left the store.

Later around midnight as Stan closed and locked his service station, he was robbed at gunpoint, marched to the ‘Men’s Room’ and shot to death at close range.

Stan’s roses arrived the next morning before news of the robbery and homicide reached Johnnie. Her heart filled with love overflowing as she read what Stan had written on the card:

Love and Time Eternal

It matters not the hours, the days, the years, the lifetime we spend together!

What matters is all the love we have gathered in our hearts

That will last eternally…

Forever, Stanley

Flash fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood

In Memory of my Uncle Stanley who lives forever in my heart! 

*

I’ve written a novel about love called, Phoenix Fire – It’s a beautiful story, if I do say so myself…

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This book begins with two joggers fatefully brought together on a running path when a lightning strike hits… The story that follows is about love and the obstacles that get in the way: betrayal, sibling rivalry, gambling, murder, a matriarch’s secret, a desert odyssey, and redemption. Read and enjoy.

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‘Happy’

‘Happy’

The light bright sorrel mare with a flaxen mane and tail came to the fence, quickly ate the apple, turned and trotted off neighing and twirling in a delightful display of ‘thanks’! I laughed along with its joy and it pranced around in a circle, eyeing me in my joy.

“Come, ‘Happy’,” I called, and it came to the fence again.

I rubbed ‘Happy’s’ long snout and leaned over the fence and kissed her between the eyes, her tail wagging with delight.

“Would you like me to ride you this afternoon? I’ll ride you bareback and forget that old saddle. Would you like that?”

Happy lifted its regal head in a definite yes.

Wearing sneakers, denims, and a pale blue tee-shirt I put my left foot on the middle wooden crossing on the fence and jumped aboard Happy.

“Okay, Happy, I’ve got your mane, run with the wind and get some exercise.”

Much like a race horse, ‘Happy’ broke and dashed away, accustomed to my near-200-pound weight and knew that I was not worried about her speed. Off she went down into the pasture-land of our 500-acre ranch.

It was a glorious day with clear blue sky and slight zephyr-like breezes as ‘Happy’ galloped, careful not to make sudden turns as I was without benefit of saddle and stirrups and possibly could lose my balance. I gave ‘Happy’ her freedom of direction and hanged on to her mane, leaning forward with my chin almost touching her bobbing head.

There was a stand of trees and a knoll after clearing the pasture and ‘Happy’ took me in that direction. The exhilaration of the ride was what I so badly needed after the argument with Margo over the bills and the money to pay them.

The thing was, we had no financial problems. We had money to live on for the rest of our lives. There was no need to worry, to fret about bills and the paying of them. Margo came from a good solid background of Irish ancestry and instilled in her was sort of frantic penchant for keeping up with and paying monthly bills instantly.

So, we argued to the point of my becoming irritated with the senseless argument and walked away from her as she continued to rail on about the bills.

She would be fine by the time I returned from this Saturday morning gallop, and, definitely, so would I.

On the knoll and now slowed to a canter, ‘Happy’ seemed somehow disturbed by something, “What is it, ‘Happy’? An animal of some kind, a snake? It was as if I expected ‘Happy’ to answer me, but then, I, too, heard the desperate sound that was upsetting her, actually, more a scream some distance away. I tugged at ‘Happy’s’ Mane toward the direction of the scream and headed in that direction.

There, between the trees, a man was assaulting a woman. ‘Happy’s’ baying got the man’s attention as I nudged ‘Happy’ to move faster toward the assault.

When ‘Happy’ slowed, I jumped from the horse and collided with the now standing man, half-dressed and menacing with a knife in his right hand. I dodged one thrust from the knife, and ‘Happy’ weaving head dodged the next thrust…at least, I thought so. But, in my side vision I saw blood running down ‘Happy’s’ neck area. That infuriated me and I rushed, tackled the man, and slammed my fists into his body and face. His knife went flying as kept up my own assault, mindful of the weeping lady and my wounded ‘Happy’.

When the man no longer moved I assumed he was unconscious and rose from his body. Checking on ‘Happy’s’ wound I found it was just a scratch. As I turned toward the lady, she yelled, “He’s getting up.” I turned and with my right haymaker the man went down and stayed down. ‘Happy’ moved over the man and placed a front hoof on his chest.

The lady had stopped sobbing. She told me what happened. She thought he was a nice guy. She met him at a girlfriend’s afternoon party, and he invited her to go for a ride in his new Corvette.

I looked off to the right and there was a shiny white Corvette parked on the shoulder of the farm road. I reached inside the man’s denim left pocket and found the car keys for the Corvette and slipped them into my own pocket.

The young lady was not seriously hurt. ‘Happy’ and I came along just in time. I went to the Corvette and marked the license plate in my head. I got astride ‘Happy’ and pulled the young lady up and behind me. We went back to the ranch house and found my wife standing by the fence with tears in her eyes.

I kissed my wife and introduced the young lady whose name she had not given. Lacy LaGreen was her name, and I knew the family.

I first called the police, gave directions to the man and his car, told them I had his car keys and would give them up when a resolution was made on the man’s assault and/or I would pass them on to the police for their disposition, to relay them on to the man’s family.

The young lady was most thankful to ‘Happy’ and me. Lacy would become both a good friend of my wife and me, but, to ‘Happy’s’ delight, a new riding partner.

The young man would eventually get a reduced sentence of 30-days jail time, and would blame the assault on too much alcohol.

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood -October 21, 2018

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The Long Lingering Night

The Long Lingering Night

“So, your answer is, no. You won’t go?”

“Hey, you can go. You don’t need me to go.”

“You said you would go, Charlie.”

“C’mon, Beth, Sweetheart, I’m working here on the laptop, and the final edit is going really well right now. It’s selfish, I know, but I’ll make it up to you. “

“Okay, I’ll go alone. This is the last night ‘The Sting’ is in town and I’m not going to miss them.”

“Good. I don’t want you to miss them, though I wish you would get Carol or someone to go with you.”

“No, I’m going alone. Go ahead, work on your book. I know it’s important to you.” Beth leaned down and gave Charlie a kiss. “See you later.”

“So, you’re not mad?”

“No, not mad. Love you, Charlie.” Beth yelled as she exited the front door.

“Love you, too. Enjoy,” Charlie yelled back to the closing door, immediately retreating back into his laptop and his final draft.

*

Having lost all track of time Charlie looked in the lower right-hand corner of his laptop screen and saw the time was 1:14 AM.

He worked six straight hours without a potty-break, without food or drink, all evening, and, now he sat smiling. He finished the final draft of his book, and the ‘dream channel’ began in his head, those wonderfully wild thoughts of acclaim and 5-Star Reviews…

Whoa!

He was so wrapped up in his accomplishment, he forgot Beth.

“Beth,” he yelled loudly, and not a response. Ah, she slipped in, saw him lost in his work and went to bed.

He rose from his swivel desk chair, stretched, and went to the bedroom.

Bed made. No Beth.

Hmmm. The concert would be over by now.

There came a quick stab of alarm and shame. He let Beth go to a concert by herself. Concerts were rowdy, always ultra-loud, with lots of booze and dope being consumed.

Oh, Christ, what kind of man was he? Letting his wife go into the night alone without him? How could he do that to her? His ‘writing’ was more important than his wife? You are a miserable sap!

Okay, stop with the self-recriminations!

What the hell was he to do?

Call Carol?

Wake her up at 1:30 in the AM?

Well, damn, He had to do something! Yes, call Carol.

Carol’s phone rang, Charlie was counting the rings, and, on the ninth, he was about to hang up when a gruff and sleepy voice answered.

“Hello!”

“Oh, Leonard, I didn’t know you were back from your business trip, sorry to wake you…”

“What the hell do you want this time of night, Charlie, for Christ’s sake?”

“Is Carol with you?”

“What the hell kind of question is that at 1:33 in the morning?”

“I’m really sorry, Leonard, but, dammit, Beth isn’t home from the concert, and I’m worried about her. Did Carol go with her?”

Now, with more concern for his friend, “No, she’s here beside me in bed. Hey, Charlie, Beth probably met a lady friend and she’s having after-concert drink. Can’t believe you let her go alone, Charlie!”

“Believe it, Leonard, I’m a bastard… And, no, she wouldn’t do that, Leonard. She wouldn’t stop for drinks. Beth would know I’d be worried.”

“Why didn’t you go with her, Charlie. I thought that was your plan.”

“Well, it was, Leonard, but I wanted to wrap up the final draft of my book.”

“I’m feeling your pain, Charlie, but, damn, you should have gone with her.”

“I know. Oh, how I know!”

“Check hospitals, Charlie. Check in with the police, but they’ll probably tell you they have to wait 48-hours before they can do anything. I’m sorry, Pal, that’s all I got. If anything occurs to me. I’ll call you. Carol’s awake now wanting to know what’s going on. Get back to us when you find out something, Charlie.”

The two friends disconnected.

For the next few hours, Charlie called hospitals, police stations in all jurisdictions in the metro area of Phoenix. Some he called twice.

He was now crying at intervals, beside himself for being such an idiot to let Beth go alone to the concert. He could do nothing but wait … Wait for what?

“Oh, God!” the tears came again.

He was totally lost, his mind blank but sending ugly themes of what might have happened. He tried to be rid of them by walking, making more coffee, drinking more coffee, and his pain was joined by a bone weariness. He was like a man drunk, drugged, without the power of any more thought.

The book. The damned book! His inveterate, his incorrigible addiction to writing had caused him to lose his wife, if not forever, for this time, for this agonizing time…

Wait!

Something about the book. Something in the book about one of the women characters. What was it? Come on, man, you wrote the damned book! What is it?

Then, it came to him, softly at first, then sharply like a razor slice of beard. But, Beth? Not Beth! No, that could not be the answer. Beth would not do that.

He rose from his swivel chair, went to the garage. The car was parked in the garage. What the hell?

He went back into the house, scratched his head, went to the guest bedroom.

There, the covers pulled snugly up to her chin, lay his sleeping beauty!

Charlie had never experienced a happier moment in his life. His love, his wife was safe from harm.

He smiled, removed his clothes, tossed them on the stuffed chair in the corner, and slipped into bed with his no longer missing Beth.

She roused.

He wrapped his arms around her, pulled her gently to him, kissed her with softness she could not resist.

They lingered there through their love-making, through the deep sighs of love and oneness…

Just before they faded and fell into their night’s long slumber, he smiled and said: “You know, you might have broken some copyright laws tonight! The very idea, using one of my literary characters as an object lesson for your husband.”

“Oh, be quiet, my darling, and go to sleep.!”

Flash Fiction by Billy Ray Chitwood

 

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Thoughts of an Assassin

©Thoughts of an Assassin

He watched from his secret spot above the street, his telescope adjusted for maximum clarity. The time on the tower clock showed 5:25 PM and the sun was getting lower in the western sky. Soon, on the lower horizon, the lucid orange colors would come, would dazzle the ‘romantics’ in the crowd of life’s living lovers …

He grinned at his thoughts:

Where else would the sun be at this time of night but in the western sky? Remarkable how we people speak and think so often in grandiose terms, adding the delicate modifier words to an important moment we’re describing, to a person we’re praising, to an object of devotion.

Hah! Am I just now succumbing to the art of poetry? Ah, the mind can bewitch and tease us in so many ways … Laura taught me that. Dear, beautiful, Laura, you introduced me to so much in life. We went to those romantic places you made so vivid for me in your telling. You were alive in a world I never knew, a political world you loved and believed in, a world you shared for a while with me, a simple man, unschooled in the finer etiquettes of life, a man who shunned the crowds, sought only his lonely miserable solitude in introverted and fearful insignificance…

He looked at his watch. The posted time for the politician’s arrival at the square was only twenty-five minutes away. He licked his lips but only because they were dry from being out in the open so long. He ran his open palm back through his sandy hair. It would not be long now.

He was at the party by chance. His old college friend, his only friend, had insisted he attend with him because he was ‘worried about your own introverted and quaint nature’, his friend said, and I shall never know how it was he convinced me to go with him. And, there, I sat in a golden stuffed love seat in a corner of the huge ornate room while a soft roaring of incessant chatter from small huddled groups came resoundingly to my ears.

The robotic roving waiter in black and white brought me my second Manhattan, and as I timidly took a sip I saw you, Laura, walking toward me, your long flowing colorful hair with a streak of peroxide somehow adding and sculpting the rest of your gorgeous body, tightly caressed by the burgundy gown and gold trim. As you neared me, I gulped for I saw that you were about to speak and the awful fear gripped and held me stupefied. Your beauty notwithstanding, my onset of paralysis was an awful discomfort mixed with both anxiety and a modicum of hope. It dawned on me to stand in meeting a lady, and that began the only three years of my life that would come to have meaning.

We fell in love so effortlessly and hopelessly. It was you, Laura who taught me the manners and the ways of culture and refinement…to the extent they could be taught to me. It was you, dearest Laura, who taught me love. The happiness and the love shared by the two of us, our trips to far-away places, the few friends with whom we shared some special moments, all would be the stuff of painting, poetry, songs. Then, you were gone, taken from me by a foolish political ploy that caused your death…and, my death.

He checked his watch. Five minutes. With his gloved hands he opened the long leather case, assembled easily, quickly all parts of the high-powered long-range rifle, the telescopic sight, the barrel, checked its heft, took a test-pose to check scope, and leaned back against the short roof wall…and waited.

Laura, my one and only love, this is for you. There is something within me that cannot allow this man to live, this man who took your life from me. Not through love did he take your life, but through a ruse that would cause your death and my only real reason for living.

I know you would not approve of my action here, my love, but men measure equities and losses in different ways than do beautiful women. But, still, I will ask you to forgive me this frailty of mind and body that urges me on to fulfill this deed. And, please, if there is that divine gate on golden shores of after-life, please be waiting to open that gate for me, dear lady of my heart.

The tall handsome man stood, took his position at the parapet, kneeling, sighting, as the black limousine came to a stop at the beautiful flower-laden square. The tower clock struck six lovely tones. All the secret service people came from the vehicles, gathered near the politician responsible for the man’s deep sorrow. The politician took his first step from the limousine.

A gunshot pierced the early evening air, unheard by the cheering crowds below.

The man lay dead on the roof floor by the short wall, blood slowly seeping from his head wound.

There was static heard only on the building’s roof, and these words: “Subject target eliminated. The president entourage may continue.”

Billy Ray Chitwood – October 14, 2018

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