Around the Bonfire

May 5, 2006

Collaborative Stories for Adventurous Writers

Filed under: General — bonfyre @ 2:25 am

Special Delivery

Part 5

Finola would be under the porch. At least, that’s what Melanie hoped. She knelt down and peered into the darkness under her house, further tearing her nylons. She grunted in irritation, as if it mattered.

Sure enough, there was her pooch about two yards out of reach, picking at her orange furry prey. In life, the cat was always a paw step ahead. In death, the cat was lunchmeat.

“Damn.” She snapped her fingers. “Finola, here girl, c’mon out. Come to Mama.” Her sweet talk was rewarded with a low growl. Finola was making it clear that Morris was finally hers to do with as she pleased. And even ‘Mama’ had no standing. Melanie saw an old rake handle next to her, and reached for it, not wanting to think about what she might actually do with it. She was startled by a voice right behind her.

“Come here often?”

She rose up and whacked her head on the underside of the porch, throwing stars into her field of vision.

“Hey! I’m sorry! Are you all right?” It was Rich. He helped her to her feet.

“Crap! What…when did you get back?” she asked, massaging the tender nugget on the back of her head.

“Last night, but I left my heart in San Francisco.” He smiled a little too wistfully, then gave her disheveled presence a once-over. “What happened to you?” She was still holding the rake handle, and she was covered in dust. Dust?

“You won’t believe me.” She turned her attention back under the house. “Help me get Finola out of there.”

“Your dog?” Rich squinted through the darkness at the spaniel, still chewing on the furball. “Is that your cat?”

“It was. Let’s get them out of here, and I’ll explain when we’re in the house.”

Ten minutes and a dog bite later, Rich was sitting on the side of the bathtub as Melanie dressed his wound. He held up his throbbing thumb and examined the bandage.

“Excellent work, Nurse Rainwater. I think I’ll recover.”

“That’s Doctor Rainwater to you. There’s beer in the fridge, help yourself.”

“Just what the doctor ordered. But I better not. I’m meeting a new client this afternoon.”

“I wondered why the monkeysuit. And I thought you dressed up for me.” She straightened his tie.

“Well, I decided that my usual slovenly self wouldn’t go over well as a first impression. But I’m not wearing any socks, if that’s any consolation.”

“I can see the headlines. ‘Rich Richards, World Famous Private Eye, Sockless!’ Your secret is safe with me.”

“I knew I could trust you, kid.” He gave her a gentle tap on the chin. “Now tell me why you’re covered in baby powder.”

This installment contributed by Alex.

What's the history between Melanie and PI Rich? Why doesn't Rich wear socks? Who's the other half of his impending appointment? Will Melanie drag him into the Smuggling Cat Carcass Ring? It's all up to you!

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April 17, 2006

Special Delivery, Part 4

Filed under: General,Stories — bonfyre @ 7:33 am

Even as her body racked with sobs, a part of Melanie’s mind stood watching dispassionately, taking in the scene and rating her reactions. The tulips, miraculously unharmed, were in gorgeous bloom. Would she keep them? The neutral doctor in her brain poked her with its usual incovenient analysis. Was she crying for Morris? Or was she crying for the nut who gutted her cat to create a Two-for-One “I Psychotically Hate You” bouquet? Perhaps she was really wracked about the prospect of dickering over her no-show fee with Albert’s no-frills insurance company? Or… the doctor voice sniggered… perhaps her grief in fact was for her stockings. The special-order pair had cost her a fortune, and she wouldn’t be able to get replacements in time for the ceremony tonight.

A soft snuffling noise distracted Mel from her tears. Finola had crept into the room and was tipping her nose with obvious distaste over the few intact areas of Morris-the-pinata’s glistening fur. A low growl buzzed from the cocker spaniel’s throat. Melanie wondered if Finola thought the cat was somehow disrespecting her by not jumping up and running away, or if she was was complaining because she’d been cheated of the chance to eviscerate the cat herself.

Melanie wiped her face, smoothed her skirt, and stood shakily. “Think,” she muttered. She began mentally digging for the bits of data she’d retained from her Criminal Psych class a decade ago. The smuggling bit was inconsistent with the revenge bit. Her vengeful psycho was surely dreaming that Morris would haunt her forever. By proxy, then, Morris’s killer would also haunt her forever. The stuffing of the cat was intended to not only shock Melanie, but to destroy her peace of mind.

It was also meant to intimidate everyone around her. The culprit probably timed the delivery to coincide with Albert’s appointment. Was Albert himself invloved? She didn’t think he was, but these squeaking pseudo-intellectual impotents… you just never knew. If not, then the sender must have other means of observing her reaction. The need to see her response would be irresistible.

Finola was now carefully sniffing the thick white dust that clumped around Morris. Mel shooed her away. The last thing she needed right now was a bitter spaniel doped out on she didn’t know what.

A smuggler, however, was going to want the product to be moved on as quickly and as quietly as possible. Two perps? So one of them had interfered with the other’s plans.

Unless the whole idea was to set Dr. Melanie Rainwater up and get her busted… Well, she’d see about that. 

She reached for the phone.  Then reconsidered.  Police would be very curious about all kinds of things.  They might get particularly curious about her association with the mayor.  She could hardly afford that kind of scrutiny right now.

Perhaps… yes, perhaps it was time to call in that favor.

Turning again for the phone, Melanie caught a glimpse of Finola dashing out the door with the sad corpse of Morris in tow. Fur, powder, and God knows what else went flying in every direction. “Finola!” she yelped, bolting after the dog.

This installment contributed by MJ.

April 15, 2006

Special Delivery, Part 3

Filed under: General,Stories — bonfyre @ 9:18 am

Albert Kamus’ eyes grew all over his face as he stared at very unnerving scene in front of him. He blinked once, squeaked shrilly and turned back toward the door.

“No! Albert, please wait,” Mel said, disentangling herself from the huge box and the very dead, stuffed Morris. “I can explain.”

But she couldn’t explain, could she? And why should she? After all, it wasn’t her under treatment and the package came to her, she surely didn’t know what was in it before she opened it. Still, she was petting the very dead, stuffed Morris. How dumb was that? She almost giggled girlishly think about the movie by that name.

“I can come back.”

Poor Albert with the almost famous name. Melanie Rainwater, Mel for short, got up, dusted her nave-blue skirt off awkwardly and self-consciously as she walked over to her patient and place a reassuring hand on his shoulder. His reaction was not at all what she expected.

“Oh! Oh! Oh!” Was the gist of what Albert said, although she couldn’t be sure. He flung an arm backward as if to ward off his own personal demons and knocked Mel across the room where she fell on top of Morris and, to this day, she swears she heard him scream in pain as her falling body busted him open as one would a Mexican pinata. Albert had turned around to look at the very disarrayed Mel, skirt shoved past her hips, her red hair she had just had styled that morning for the Mayor’s swearing-in tonight completely ruined.

“Don’t just stand there, damnit Albert, help me up, I–”

But Albert just pointed at her and said, “Oh my,” before fleeing from whence he came. Slowly, Mel realized that when she broke Morris it had been full of something powdery and white and she was sitting in the middle of it. The tears then commenced.

This installment contributed by Jerry Bolton.


April 13, 2006

Special Delivery, Part 2

Filed under: General,Stories — bonfyre @ 10:13 pm

After a less than pleasant landing and the tell-tale sound of her silk stocking ripping, she sat staring blankly at the object in her lap. It was Morris. Or, what was left of Morris- beautifully preserved in an alert hunting stance. His fur was glossier than it had been in real life. He looked taller and more regal. She supposed that all the formaldehyde added a certain stature he never managed to acquire living in her house- where most of his days were spent running in terror from Finola, the cat despising Cocker Spaniel.

The sender had stuck a bouquet of purple tulips between the stuffed cat’s rigid jaws- her favorite flowers. Morris the cat stared at her with shiny but lifeless eye and though she never much cared for the feline, she felt compelled to pet him. The creaking of the front door startled her. Before she could gather her wits about her and hide the cat, her 2 o’clock appointment walked through the office door.. Any seasoned visitor to a psychiatrist office has been trained to expect just about anything. However, finding your therapist sitting on the ground, stockings ripped to shreds, caressing a stuffed cat does fall into the category of highly unusual.

This installment contributed by Willa.

April 9, 2006

Special Delivery, Part 1

Filed under: General,Stories — bonfyre @ 11:12 pm

It was a fine spring day, the kind you don't get very often – bathed in golden light, the world stretched its arms back behind its head, stretched, yawned, and soaked itself in a tub of well-being for the day. Children who ordinarily leered and screeched at each other called a truce and formed temporary alliances, roaming the city in packs of bikes and boards, happily telling each other to go to hell and not meaning it for once.

Incongruous with the tenor of the day, a rumpled man in a rumpled brown uniform (representing, what he and his cohorts called, "The Big Brown Lie") struggled up the street with an awkward package. The package was difficult to bear not so much because it was heavy, but because the consequences of the Sup's wrath if anything were to happen to the package would be unbearable. The rumpled brown uniform knew that if the package itself got rumpled during its journey, he'd be looking for another uniform to make ends meet.

The rumple heaved the awkward package into its resting place in the house at the far end of the street. He shrugged through the pleasantries that the house's tidy recipient foisted upon him and beat a hasty retreat back to the welcome cool of his brown cab. The recipient struggled with the package, not because it was heavy, but because she saw the return address and had to debate whether or not to throw it out the window. She looked for an attached letter, and she scanned it for signs that the contents might detonate. She listened for ticking noises. Nothing suggested a course of action. Finally, sighing with bravery, she carefully cut the binding cord, carefully pulled the brown paper away, carefully unwound the bubble paper… and then she fell, a little less than carefully, on the floor, as if the package had been a bomb after all.

"Holy Mother of God!"

This installment contributed by MJ.

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