It started as one of those days for Dert Waters, Crime Fighter.
He woke up to discover crime had maintained its unhealthy hold over the neighbourhood, and the bad guys were getting bolder and more daring.
He contemplated joining them for a moment or two but decided there was far more positive press in being a crime fighter.
His community needed him, without him there’d be chaos, or so he told himself.
After a satisfying bowl of porridge, he set off for the office.
It was a small downtown place with a small waiting room and a large office mostly to accommodate his secretary Daisy May, a large woman whose turn of phrase could reduce a man to tears.
Daisy had the coffee on, the morning paper on his desk and a pile of files he struggled to see over.
“That’s just last night,” announced Daisy as he stood observing them, “You’re lucky it’s a quiet week.”
Dert saw that the newsagent had been broken into again, they really did need to change their locks, the bakery as well, fresh bread was such a lure for some people and a new target, the florist had suffered an intrusion, and their supply of gladiolas had been taken.
It was time for action, but coffee came first.
He made his way down to the florist where the owner, Madge Bud, was sweeping up the mess of her shop. She was angry; she was distraught she wanted something done.
Dert Waters, he assured her was on the job, and no flower pot would be left unturned as he sought to bring in the guilty.
It was a well-known fact in the town that Dert’s success rate was not all that good. In fact, he was the reason crime was so high. Dert was a crime fighter in name only. It gave him a feeling of superiority that he possessed something no other town person had. Failure.
Most of the town and in particular the criminal element were highly successful ‘businessmen’.
It was common knowledge to everyone, but Dert, that most businesses ran two operations, a legal one and an illegal one. They argued it helped their bottom line. For insurance purposes crimes were reported, not that they wanted them solved as that might incriminate them, but more so to give Dert something to do and off their backs.
And so, the cycle began as it did each day. Crimes reported, crimes investigated, reports filed, Dert scratching his head, knowing there was a culprit but unable to solve anything, so went home, forgot about his day, came in the next day and started all over again. It was a win-win all round and any wonder he was happy in his job.
“I wanted to be a dancer,” said Crisp, my aged companion, after we’d listened to the guide’s talk about the life of the jilted dancer.
“I thought I was all grace and poise,” she continued, “I’d flit about the house twirling and pirouetting, it used to drive my parents crazy.”
To look at Crisp, being a dancer was not something that came to mind. If she’d once been a potential dancer, time had allowed her to grow out of it.
“My father took me aside one day and told me I wouldn’t ever be a dancer because I had two left feet. I was devastated at the time, but my father saw my reaction and told me to smarten up and stay the course and use my talents as an accountant. I’m not sure I’ve forgiven him for that. I hated accountancy.
I suggested we move on and join the others for tea.
It came as no surprise to anyone when he entered the shop and found it inhabited by fluffy, cuddly creatures.
After all, the shop was known as a place where the unusual met up with the even more unusual.
Today though, the fluffy, cuddly creatures, were in their thousands, milling about the shop floor, engaged in conversation the type fluffy, cuddly creatures engaged in.
They seemed so remarkably calm as if awaiting something that might stir them into action.
He knew that if he tried to pick one up, he could provoke them into an action he may regret. He knew this from a previous encounter the week before when the fluffy, cuddly creatures had acted as one in protecting their kind from his kind, which they obviously thought, represented a risk to themselves.
The cuddliness of them was, in fact, not to be taken for granted. To look at them, they were the sort of fluffy, cuddly creature you might take to bed with you, have sitting ornamentally on your bed or snuggle up to on a cold night as their big round brown eyes had a tendency to lure you in.
He wasn’t quite sure what to do about the mass of creatures on the shop floor when Barney his head cleaner came through the back door armed with a mop and a cage and started to gather up the fluffy, cuddly creatures into the cage.
Within seconds chaos ensured. Barney was devoured by the creatures whose feeding frenzy was nothing short of terrifying; they ate the mop as well as Barney before settling back into the lethargic state he had first discovered them in.
There was a lesson in all that.
He decided that today was going to be one of those days where it was best if he went home, had a cup of tea and left the shop to sort itself out.
September 24, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about snacking. It can feature crunchy snacks or creamy one. Who is snacking on what and why? How can you make this a story? Go where the prompt leads!
It was a difficult situation with three small boys to take to school and neither interested in eating breakfast.
Every offer was greeted with negativity.
I thought I can’t send them off to school without eating something.
I scrounged in the pantry and found an old box of pizza shapes. I poured some into a bowl knowing the youngest would eat anything.
He and his older brother took a few, at least they ate something. The eldest was not interested. He thought I would stop at the shop to buy breakfast; he was not impressed as we drove past.
It started out as another family dinner, the kids and families coming over to celebrate the birthday of the youngest grandson.
As the girls were all working, I decided to cook, and they would come with one dish each, a potato bake and a salad.
I had decided to cook the meat on the BBQ and have everything ready when they arrived.
I had purchased a new fire pit and was keen to show it off and so while we sat around and admired it and my good taste in such things as dinner warmed in the oven.
When darkness fell, I called them all in to sit around the table, and dinner would be served.
To my horror and for reasons unknown to me, I had set the oven to bake not warm.
The dinner wasn’t ruined but was a sorry sight.
I’d turned the sausages and rissoles into elephant’s arse, somewhat crunchier than I intended and no amount of tomato sauce was going the remedy the situation.
My daughter’s potato bake was not as we imagined though I have to say we did make the best of it. The little kids picked away at the softer bits, and we all joked about my obvious encroaching senility.
The dessert had been purchased from the cheesecake shop, and so was the highlight of the evening.
It came as no surprise when at the end of the evening as we discussed the next family dinner, the suggestion was made for all of us to chip in and buy takeaway.
I still don’t understand how I managed to stuff the dinner in that way.
It had been one of those days where the end of it couldn’t have come fast enough.
The oppressive heat had sapped the life out of everyone and every beast. Even Arn’s delivery truck had given up for the day and lay stationary in the lane behind his shop waiting for a better day and a day it felt was worth the effort of ticking over its motor.
Along the lane shop keepers sat in the evening light hoping to catch any sort of breeze that would make life slightly more bearable.
The heat was forecast to continue for the rest of the week and was not a prospect any of the workers looked forward to.
Mr Johnson had found himself a spot in the middle of the lane, in the middle of the old gutter, once used to drain all the shit and refuse from the surrounding houses. He didn’t care, like everyone else he was exhausted and good sit down was all he craved.
His bookkeeper Madge Green lounged against the shop wall and complained about the heat, saying she didn’t know how she was going to sleep on such a hot night.
Eventually, Mr Johnson got up, took his chair and went inside, took a cold drink from his fridge and announced he was sleeping on the top floor as he thought there might be a cooling breeze up there.
He disappeared, and the lane went back to being its well-lit oppressive self.
The blinds on the shop window in the High Street suddenly rise, and a dull yellow light shines on the window display.
A weathered hand reaches out and flips the closed sign to open.
The Weekend Shop is now open.
Friday through midnight Sunday.
Inside the figure of an old man can be seen shuffling towards the counter of a store that seems to have more dust than goods to sell.
Dan, the old man, wipes the accumulated dust from the counter and looks out into the darkness beyond his shop window.
He knows that before long, the customers will start to roll in, they always do.
It’s becoming more and more of an effort to open the store, knowing he won’t get any break until midnight Sunday.
He’s not getting any younger, but he knows he is the only one who sells what his customers want and so he understands the necessity of opening.
He spends Monday to Friday stocking up on the rare and valuable items demanded of him.
The bell tingles and his first customer enters. It’s Elise who is always first, she is polite, asks for her order, fondles it and places it in her shopping trolley. She pays him, nods her thanks and makes her way out into the darkness.
He doesn’t know much about the people who frequent his shop only that they are regular and they pay well.
This is the routine for the next several hours as there are folk who only come out under cover of darkness and scurry away well before the dawn.
As the first light penetrates the shop window, a different clientele arrives.
These are couples, shrouded in hoods and long dark gowns who peruse the shop, handling the stock, muttering to each other often in a language Dan doesn’t understand before approaching the counter. One customer slides a piece of paper over, and Dan sees he requires something he doesn’t have, but he immediately promises to get it. The customer leaves, and outside the store Dan sees him climb into a flash car which disappears into the city.
This is how the weekend goes, a steady stream of business, of people more often than not hidden behind hoods and dark glasses, some wearing odd-shaped hats and smelling of substances he rather not know about.
His till makes a steady ringing, his is a cash-only business, so he has no need for cards, he likes to see the colour money.
Late Sunday night and his final customer, Miss Agnes, arrives and she is the only customer who engages him in conversation. Miss Agnes seeks craddic berry, a rare Irish berry that Dan struggles at times to purchase but has since discovered he can freeze and so sometimes has to sell her some of his frozen stock. She doesn’t mind as she explains the berries keep her young and agile. “You wouldn’t know, would you?” she tells him on a regular basis, “that I’m one hundred and fifty years old. It’s the berries that do it.”
Dan has tried the berries, but he hasn’t found they worked so well on him. Worked well on his bowel is all he can say about them.
He wipes over the counter one last time, and as the clock strikes twelve, he brings down the blinds on the front window and flips the open to closed.
September 17, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story of mice. It can feature any variety of the little critters in any situation. Are the the character or the inciting incident? Use any genre, including BOTS (based on a true story). Go where the prompt leads!
There were three of them. John, Jack and Jeano. They lived happily behind the pantry in the old farmer’s house.
The farmer’s wife disliked them and was ever vigilant to do them harm.
She didn’t care that they were blind and so just felt their way around.
She ambushed them one Saturday morning and cut off their tails.
They ran in circles, why they asked why?
There was mayhem and chaos, the farmer’s wife chopping and chasing, the mystified mice scurrying to and fro.
They found refuge behind the pantry, and there they plotted and planned a rightful revenge.