Thursday, June 21, 2012

Writing Contest!

Jon Jordan announced if 30 people subscribe to CrimeSpree by Monday at noon, he'll spend his hoard of hard-saved cash on a gift of epic proportion for his wife Ruth.

The gift of epic proportion:

Yes, that is the DeathStar in Legos.

Now, I adore Ruth, and Jon is aces in my book, but I already subscribe to CrimeSpree and I don't need TWO issues.  So, what to do.


The steam was coming out of my ears.


A writing contest! And the prize is a subscription to CrimeSpree for a year!  International entries will be ok, cause CrimeSpree has an international rate.

So, usual rules apply.  Write a story using 100 words or fewer. Post in the comment section of this blog post.

Contest opens at NOON Friday (6/22) and closes at NOON on Saturday (6/23)  (all Eastern Shark Time)  so we can have time to pick the winner and get the subscription entered by the deadline.

Use the following words in the story:


The actual word must appear but can be part of a word and still qualify: cog/cogitate.  It helps if you bold or underline the word prompt in your entry.

The way to underline or bold is:
Put  < b > (no spaces) in front of the word  and < /b > (no spaces) at the end of the word  you want bold

Put < u > (no spaces) in front of the word and < /u >  (no spaces) at the end of the word you want underlined

If you need a mulligan, delete your comment and try again. The LAST entry is your final one. (It will help if you compose in a document first, rather than actually in the comment block)

Questions? Tweet to me @janet_reid

Want to subscribe to CrimeSpree without writing a story? Click here


NOT YET! (Comments are closed till the contest opens Friday 6/22 at noon)


CLOSED! (sorry!)


kregger said...

Cue music, Rebel Fanfare-Episode IV

The Death Star rises above the horizon.

A Rebel Alliance guard stands his post. “Tatooine sucks,” he spits.

He wipes his bloody face with a crusty glove and checks his blaster’s magazine.

Cue Voice-over

He knows his place in life--and in death, a cog in a wheel with
broken teeth.

His maniacal devotion to salvation through death-spree is understood.

“I’ll be lucky to get off a shot before it vaporizes this hell hole,” he grunts.

What’s a dead man to do?

“Eat Vader Crunch.” The soldier holds up a chocolate bar and smiles.

John Lucas Hargis said...

Deb clenched the half-eaten star crunch between her teeth as she locked the magazine into place.

Like hell! Another cog in that effer’s machine…

She bit into the gooey goodness, enjoying the pop of crisped rice--like shattering bone--in her mouth.

No killing spree. Just one shot to his pompous head.Deb swallowed the last bite, and let the target’s face fill her scope.

With caramel sweetness on her tongue, a squeezed trigger released a flash of quick-death. Blindsided by the assassin, Deb’s body slammed to the ground, pinning the discarded cellophane of her final meal.

Kelly Johnson said...

As a kid, I wanted to be a superhero. Guess most do. Thwarting crime sprees. Knocking bad guys out as word bubbles burst around me.




No star status for me, though. Didn’t need the adoring fans. I was content to be a simple cog in the machine of justice.

But I realized something along the way. It might’ve been when I emptied that magazine into her lying face. Or it could have been that even this action couldn’t erase her mocking smile from my mind. Regardless, I held my new fact as truth.

Villains get results.

Alec Breton said...

He slips from his "deathbed," removes the revolver from under the pillow, and slinks to the guard station outside his hospital room.
His shoes crunch on discarded pistachio shells.
"Useless rent-a-cop. Off chatting up the nurses again?"
He spies the Star Intelligencer magazine's headline: "Dying Detective Baffled By Crime Spree."
He frowns.
"Bunkum! Forget my reputation. The murders shall be avenged."
He sneaks out.
Later, the police burst in.
"The killer returned to the crime scene. Someone shot him. Who'd a'thunk it?"
He smiles.
"Haven't you heard of cognitive dissonance? Once the killer believed I was dying, he got sloppy."

Papillon crew said...

“What do you mean, it’s under the sealion?”

Kerry dropped her backpack to the ground. “I mean, that sealion just flopped onto the bench. If your wallet isn’t on the ground, it’s under the sealion.”

Marlie scrunched her magazine and stared helplessly at the snoozing beast. “Well, now what?”

The nature reserve guide blasted his whistle. The other tourists, in their too-big hats and too-high shorts, startled and shuffled forward.

High above, the capuchin swiftly liberated Marlie’s credit cards, tossing the wallet with the others from his crime spree. Winking at his accomplice below, he retreated unrecognized through the trees.

Colin Smith said...

I check the magazine in my rifle and peer over the bunker. Neither star in the sky nor Bosche on the field. I hate night patrol. I want to be in my bunk. Captain says we might go over tomorrow. Finally be done with this war. I hear a crunch. Over by the barn—I see him. Whiskey flask in hand, he’s preening himself in the reflection. I raise my rifle. One quick pop, one less cog in the German fighting machine. I pause. No—let him have his drink. He’ll be dead by tomorrow afternoon. We might all be.

Patrick DiOrio said...

The time it takes to smoke a cig, no longer. Crunch time, then, and I book.

I’m a driver. A star at getting bank robbers on a spree the hell outta there. On the seat a MAC-10, a fifty-clip magazine attached. Backup if we slip a cog and all goes to hell.

They come running.

Wheels crunch as I maneuver the pickup.

They pile in.

Sirens wail. Our way blocked.

Grab the MAC and cheese it out the door.

Open up, running. Grease the clip.

Shit outta. Cut down.

Fucking, cig. Screwed up and bought extra longs.

Hokum Casserole said...

Reagan, careful to avoid crunching any debris underfoot, snuck up on Nixon.

“Gimmeallyourmoney!” he yelled.

The effeminate timbre of Nixon’s shriek surprised Reagan.

“You scream like a girl,” Reagan razzed. “Scared the shit out of you, didn’t I?”

“You just startled me.” Nixon resumed counting.

“Think they recognized us?” Reagan asked.

“In these?” Nixon said, pointing at his molded rubber face. He set the last stack of bills on the table. “Not exactly the spree of the century, but it beats mopping floors.”

“So, 50-50, right?”

Nixon double-checked his Glock’s magazine. He chambered a round.

“Actually, I was thinking 100-0.”

Anna Roberts Moore said...

- You remember Sprees? I loved Sprees. Kinda like Sweet Tarts, only they weren’t sour.
- No. Hold this.
- Stacey and I used to ride our bikes up to the gas station. It was like two miles away or something. God, a mile felt like forever back then, didn’t it?
- What? Yeah, sure.
- She’d read the magazines, and the cashier would yell at her while I put Sprees and shit in my pockets. Wha’d you like when you were a kid?
- I don’t know . . . Star Crunch?
- Really?
- Yeah. Hand me Sam’s head.
- Shit! I didn’t even recognize him.

Steve Forti said...

Ellie chomped her Cap’n Crunch with confidence, calmly reading the back of the cereal box. She savored the Crunch Berries – those colorful nuggets the real star of the breakfast bowl. There was no rush, no mad dash to sit in traffic this morning.

No longer a cog in the corporate machine. The crooked executives saw to that.

She finished her bowl, rinsed it out. Thumbed a magazine, locked it in place, then slung the rifle over her shoulder. Ready for her spree.

Just because she no longer worked at PaperTech didn’t mean she wouldn’t be going to the office today.

Fanfreakingtastic Flower said...

She set out at dawn, truck and trailer tires quietly crunching gravel. She hadn't forgotten anything. Negative coggins, tack, clothes, and most importantly, Spree herself. Everything she needed. She checked the side view, wanting to see the mare's heart-shaped star. Seeing the star meant everything was okay. On the bench seat beside her sat a glossy magazine, advertising the glories of Scottsdale, Arizona. Mecca of the Arabian horse world. She wondered what he'd think, how long would it take him to figure it out. Whether he'd even care. She checked the side view again. Saw the star. Everything was okay.

Bill Scott said...

They're identical — Craig and Greg Schmeg. So, I’m not sure which one is responsible for the killing spree that left my partner dead.

It's crunch-time and they both just mumble, losing their one chance to give me a cogent reason not to pull the trigger. Berserk, I empty the magazine.

A facial scar, a star-shaped birthmark, a mother who didn't give them matchy-matchy names — any one of these things could have saved the innocent twin. Sure, now one has three bullets in his head and the other has two, that's distinguishing, but kinda after the point.

BPatterson said...

Glossy pages crunched in her fist.
“I am a STAR. They can’t DO THIS!” She screeched in full operatic fury.
“Darling,” he said, “If you don’t want to be recognized…”
She hurled the sweeteners with an inarticulate snarl. Packets of saccharine rained down.
“Then perhaps you shouldn’t have your little sprees in the West End.” he finished, wearily. A marvelous Isolde. He reminded himself.
She tore into the magazine. Shreds of skin and scandal fluttered.
“I’ll handle it.” He’d already gotten the journalist’s address and a new gun. An agent had to protect his client. At all costs.

sam said...

His name was Cog, short for “Cog in the Wheel of Destiny” out of “Fancy of Borneo’s Pleasure” and an unnamed sire. The magazine crunched under his piggy feet as he crossed his cage to Noleen.

“I wuuuv you Coggy Woggy!” Noleen kissed his twitchy nose. “You're my 'lil star.”

At the zenith of a winning spree, Cog was almost a shoe in to win the Grand Guinea. Almost.

Reckless Pleasure, a brown and white male, also out of Fancy, was making a comeback. Reckless had the advantage. One generation less inbred and one cage over. Reckless was Cog’s father.

Tara Tyler said...

Slinking up the slope, I slip another magazine of electric cogs into my ailing blaster. Have to make it the last 300 feet to my starship – without cover.

Five punk crimers on a killing spree and I’m the only one left – a ten year old girl. Suck it up, Dejah.

I zap the two closest crimers and my blaster dies on the third.

As he inspects the fallen, I jump out and charge him. Twice my size, I leap and smash his chest with my blaster. Crunch!

Phasing through the door, I take off, singing the last two.

Now what?

Aurora said...

The wooden fence on the side of the canyon road gave way with a satisfying crunch. The cliff turned out to be higher than she thought, and she hoped her body would still be recognizable, so the magazines could include pictures with the story: "Disgraced Starlet Commits Suicide After Shoplifting Spree." She had left a note, so people would know it wasn't an accident.

As her Mini Cooper flew down the hillside, the light pollution from the city below made the sky look pitch black. That was the problem with Hollywood these days, she thought. You never saw any stars anymore.

SiSi said...

I tugged my cap lower. Incognito, I crunched my celery stick and stared at the magazine headline screaming, “Star Goes On Carb Spree!” Despite my agent’s prediction, no one paid attention to the magazine, or the newspaper, or the frantic host of the show blaring from the television tucked into the corner of the newsstand.

Maybe no cared what I ate. Oh God, maybe no one cared about me. My last movie only stayed #1 for two weeks, and didn’t win a single award. What could I do?

I grabbed as many candy bars as I could and ran.

Voracious Reader said...

Crunch time! A crime spree was in progress. A cog at the vast Magazine Empire where she worked was stealing her cheesecake from the new Energy Star certified refrigerator in the community kitchen. Ellen planted her bait in the fridge then crawled into a cupboard and waited. Just before Ellen gave up the CEO walked in, looked around, went to the fridge and purloined her cheesecake! Ellen fell out of the cupboard at his feet and yelled, “Aha!” Startled, he looked sheepish when he said, ‘I love cheesecake.” Now, Ellen brings two pieces and he brings the coffee.

Bryan said...

The air handler had made crunching sounds as his deadly sand blew through the fan blades and into the lungs of his thousands of victims. Grady, the renowned point guard for the Cogan State College basketball team finally got his face on the cover of a magazine. But it wasn’t Sports Illustrated and wasn’t for his on court basketball prowess. Grady Janakovski was now the most wanted man in America, nicknamed “The Death Star”. His was no ordinary crime spree; rather he was wanted for introducing powdered ricin into the ventilation system of Civic Arena during the state basketball championships.

Lynn Cahoon said...

Sally Martin poured Captain Crunch and milk into her paper bowl. Glancing at the magazine on her desk, she longed to read about the newest movie star caught in a shoplifting crime spree. Did they even call actors movie stars anymore? Instead, she plugged in her ear phones, ready to answer the customer service calls from the bank’s customers. They should just call a spade a spade and call it the complaint line again. No one cared enough to listen, especially her supervisor. She was just a cog in the corporate wheel.
She hung up on the first five callers.

Pop Culture Nerd said...

Tired of all the damn paparazzi, especially the douches from STAR magazine, I decided to go on a murder spree down Sunset Boulevard by plowing my BMW into the bastards. I held my iPhone out the window and recorded the satisfying crunch of their bones under my wheels. No more being a cog in the fame machine for me.

Anonymous said...

Shaken from sleep, Lucy raced to the ringing phone. The apartment was dark, except for the full moon and a pure star – perhaps Venus -- illuminating spare walls.

She slipped on a home-organization magazine, catching herself in time to avoid a fall.

“Hello?” she asked, scared and irritated. Lucy lowered herself to the sofa and felt a crunch – remnants of the solo popcorn-and-movie night that had ended just two hours earlier.

It was Harold.

“I need you Lucinda. Big crime spree.”


“Don’t refuse me. You’re the vital cog in this operation.”

Melanie Conklin said...

At ten to eleven, Joe leaned over the monitors and rapped the glass.

“What’s your problem?” Steve said, flicking a crumb off his shirt.

Joe smacked the screen. “The damn precogs are behind. We’ll never make press.”

“Who cares? It’s not our magazine.”

“Don’t make me kick your ass.”

Steve opened his mouth. Joe’s expression shut it. Steve couldn’t help fucking the intern, and now they were crunched.

“Let’s run a cover on what’s-his-face, in that new movie. Say he was on a dick-sucking spree.”

“Shit. You think people will buy it?”

“Yeah, of course they will. He’s a star.”

Michael Seese said...

The warm sunshine on the plaza made Sarah feel like more than a cog in a corporate machine, but a rising star, as she engaged in her daily mid-afternoon ritual: reading Vogue magazine while noshing on a Nestle Crunch and Sprees.
She had the full arc of her life planned: senior administrative assistant, paralegal, lawyer, perhaps pause to get married, junior partner, and finally senior partner. Yes, some day, her name would adorn the letterhead. Life would be perfect.

Her pager buzzed.

Back to the grind, she thought, unaware that she was five minutes from dropping into a diabetic coma.

Rose Glitschka said...

Staring at mug shots reminded Jane of looking through fashion magazines. Neither was fun and both had unfortunate people that looked constipated.

“Do you recognize anyone?”


The officer gave her a skeptical look. “Are you sure?”

Annoyed by his patronizing stare Jane snapped at him. “Yes, I’m sure.” How could she forget? The sound of her right arm crunching under his heel still lingered in her dreams.

“Okay, don’t worry. We’ll stop his spree of attacks.” She doubted that. They hadn’t been able to stop them yet. “Here’s another book you can look through.”


kmz said...

The magazine was always trying to capture her. But some dumbshit out on a grocery spree would catch a glimpse and have just enough sense to lift a smartphone, snap a pic and post it. The mag didn’t.

Then some cogs—maybe photographers with tumblrs and twiddle-finger-time, maybe people in HR with fangirl acquaintances—would find it. Wince. When the crunch came, lumbering behind everyone’s desks, perching atop everyone’s rejected headlines and copies and smoking fat rolls of shredded stories, they’d curse. She wasn’t too bright a star, really, but money was money and it allowed the machine to work.

Anonymous said...

From his porch, Curtis saw nothing special about Jennafay—pageboy haircut and stocky. She sang in a whisper, but Starseeker’s judges worshipped her. She’d soon leave for the finals. He’d be crunching pretzels before the TV, razoring her magazine pictures.

She’d win. They’d sculpt her face and body. Fake beauty. She’d return, not recognizing him. It would eat at him.

Fireworks burst behind his eyelids. His fingers remembered squishing ma’s cat’s throat Tuesday after Jennafay advanced.

Curt chose a hammer from his tools and crossed the street. They’d all know him. The cat was just the start of the spree.

Rivka said...

The bubble gum wad fell from her mouth as she stared at her mother, who stood there pointing to the magazine page.
"This man," her mother said, tapping the picture, "is your real father. You might not know who he is, but believe me, back then, he was a real star."
All thought came to a crunching halt as she took in what this meant. Then the cogs and wheels began to turn in her insidious little head.
"Does this mean I get to go on a shopping spree?"

Crease said...

An errant star illuminated Tiff’s calf where fresh ink and bits of blood coiled around her ankle. “You will not tell Mom.”
“Aren’t you tired of pants and long sleeves when we’re home? In July?”
A green squadron whizzed around her legs and I saw order in the bloody chaos. His name, like a cuff.
“He’s not worth it.”
“I love him.”
She rolled up her teen idol magazine and smacked a firefly into a cog-shaped splat on her shin. Her giggles and the crunch of dry grass escaped into the night.
“Where are you going?”
“On a killing spree.”

Elizabeth Naranjo said...

She fired her words like a murderer on a killing spree.
"Jesus, Meg," Zach said. "Calm down."
"Don't tell me to calm down! I saw you."
"It was just lunch."
"Sure. Lunch."
They stared across the table, an antique French oak as heavy and oppressive as their marriage. Why was he denying it?
"I'm sorry," he said.
Meg struck out; magazines flew and tumblers shattered, spraying cognac. He wondered: would a child have changed things? But the thought was as elusive as starlight; an image of something that died long ago.
Zach left, shards of glass crunching beneath his boots.

KayC said...

They were holding a picture in front of her. There was so much blood. The hand under her chin was gentle. A bright light flashed in her eyes. They were talking about her.
“There’s no cognitive response, the pupils aren’t dilating, it’s like she’s estranged from her body.”
“Do you think she was responsible for the killing spree?”
He turned away.
An insidious smile etched across her detached face, exposing dried blood on her teeth. She pulled a broken glass Christmas star from under the scrunched magazine on her lap and lunged for the nearest throat.

shtrum said...

‘It’s from a recipe in Star.’
‘What? No National Enquirer? No People magazine?’ Too much sarcasm? my inner asshole snarked. I watched her rip the tops off a couple Spree wrappers and empty them into a bowl of Cap’n Crunch. It would’ve disgusted me if I hadn’t been so amped from snorting an anthill of crushed Adderalls earlier. The garish cartoon figure saluted me like we shared a secret. Fuck you. I don’t share anything.
‘It helps my cognitive abilities,’ she continued, pouring in a half can of Red Bull.
Ok, that did it. Now I’m going to puke.

Sandra Cormier said...

I looked up from my magazine to see Carl staring at me from the break room doorway, crunching on a cereal bar.

"We're just two cogs in the clock they call Star Enterprises," he said. "I'm goin' on a spree. Wanna come?"

I considered his words. The CEO had mown through most of the staff since the 10am coffee break, and it wouldn't be long before he reached us.

I looked under the table at Barb, the receptionist. I plucked the bloodied knife from her slack hand and wiped it with my paper napkin.

"Sure. I'm in."

Lynn(e) Schmidt said...

Sick of reading my magazine full of half naked women and men on steroids, I decided to go on a shopping spree. Key in the ignition, the cogs of the engine ground and moaned as I drove down to the Town Hall and forced them to allow me to purchase a star. That bright one, over there on the left. Walking out, I balled the certificate until it crunched in my hands. Throwing it in the back seat, I smiled. It’s the first step in taking over the universe.

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

I had to push the door open. Things crunched under my feet, despite my best efforts to avoid the mess.

Crap was everywhere. Chips, empty cans of soda, boxes of nerds, lipsticks without tops and magazines like ‘Star’ and ‘People’ were spread around the room. The cog of this wheel-of-destruction was still sleeping.

I nudged my sister with my foot, trying to wake her without waking her friends.

She blinked and looked up at me, blue eye shadow streaking her face.

“What the hell kind of spree did you girls go on last night?”

wonderactivist said...

A power outage brought all us neighbors together at the curb. Crunching Cheetos by moonlight, we talked Mad Men and Kim K's magazine article. Looking at the sky I asked, ”Anyone know the stars?'

Pointing to the Big Dipper, someone said, “Follow the arc to Arcturus, then speed straight to Spica--the blue one--a solitary virgin who brings wheat.”

“Smart girl to avoid men.”
“That's why she's blue.”

Someone added, “She's really two stars, side by side.”

”Or bipolar.”
“A shadow twin?”

Soon we forgot Kim's shopping sprees and all those cogs in Draper's machine.

Laura Hughes, MittensMorgul said...

He needed to be a star. Without any discernible talent, it had to be something simple. A robbery spree wouldn't make the front pages. Even rampaging like Godzilla wouldn't keep him there, since he wasn't a ten-story-tall lizard.

No, Alvie was sixty-five inches of nothing. His mother raved over Beautiful People in her magazines. He'd never be more than a rusty cog in the machine of life. Even she thought he was a loser.

One fine morning, he parked the old bat in front of a picture window at the television station, and threw her La-Z-Boy off the roof. Crunch.

Heather Hawke said...

Our Once Wayward Chick - a true happening of today.

Crafty-pants Raccoon does cogitate
As stars wink out from darkling sky
To shift aside ripped magazines
And nom on chicks too small to die.

But as the beast picks crunchy bones
Beneath the berry bramble plot,
An easter-egger flees the crime
And flies a fence now weak with rot.

Across another fence and more
To follow siren calls of hens,
She seeks her safety from the coon
With strangers found and now called friends.

Two little boys do end her spree
And take chick home abounce with glee.

Tanis Mallow said...

The Architect

Ruth crunched the final Lego cog into place and rubbed arthritic fingers. She was known for her brains and her elaborate constructions.
Jon wandered by. “First National?” he asked.
“Amazing detail. You're a star.”
“Girls on their way?”
She nodded. “Janet's driving.”
“Thought she'd retired south to fish.”
“Only 'til things cooled after her last freelance spree.”
“I worry, she drives too fast.”
Ruth patted his knobbly hand. “Kinda the point.” Double-checked her gun's magazine.
“Home for dinner?” he asked.
“That's the plan.”

Terri Lynn Coop said...

Cashiering at Walmart sucks. However, being a pre-cog cashier at Walmart is the parking garage two levels below sucks. People put their shit on my conveyor and I absorb the residual energy from their sweaty fingerprints as I ring it up.

Healthstar Vitamins. Beep. Congrats lady, it's twins.

Colonel Crunchballs. Beep. Skateboard Dude, traffic never loses.

Hand sanitizer. Beep. The magazine headline screams "Ten Cashiers Killed in Walmart Shooting Spree."

Looking up, I saw the big 11 over my register. Covering my ears to block out the screams, I ducked under the counter. Then I remembered Dustin was on break.

Flute71 said...

Susanna Coggs crunched on her Spree candies as she perused the latest issue of Star magazine. As news of the paparazzi's invasion of Miss Brittany's privacy seaped into Susanna's mind, she was thankful.
"Wow, that poor girl never gets a moments peace!" She thought to herself.
Her cell phone rang.
"Hello?" It was her editor.
"Well, what do you think of the front page? you sure got some great shots this time, eh?"
"I'm glad nobody chases me like that."
Snap. Susanna noticed the black dressed man as he took her picture and slunked behind the bushes.

Matthew Masucci said...

—spree,” the talking head said.

I thought about the big crunch: crime gripped the city. People worried for things.

Sunsets bathed the bay, the orange glow reflected like so many stars in those honeymooners’ eyes.

But nobody had ever seen anything like this.

I picked up Time Magazine, our city on the cover. No “best fishing in the nation” this year.

“A single cog just spins, worthless,” I told them. “But cogs together form a machine.”

I finished packing the duffel with thermite, two 9mms, a box of ammo.

I opened the pay-as-you-go cell and texted one word.


The Sleepy One said...

Ella shifted the magazine to her left hand, and reached to pick up the star-shaped Christmas pastry (“joulutorttu”, she reminded herself) her Finnish grandmother had placed before her. As she crunched through the crispy top layer of the pastry, she gasped.

She recognized the man on the second page, the one wanted for a four-state crime spree. She’d just went out on a date with him last night, where she’d pretended he was an incognito rock star as they’d sipped martinis.

Oh crap. “Guess I won’t take him to my office holiday party,” she muttered to herself.

PatrickH said...

Star-bursts above and about, as the destroyer’s array of chain guns emptied their magazines at the approaching pirate cog. The cog continued to close with the much larger ship. “Half-inchers,” shouted the captain. “Fire at will.”

Now the crunch of true artillery joined the chain gun star-bursts. The fire from the ship escalated into a spree of destructive energy, enveloped the cog and the pirates within.

So ended the pirate cog spree. Now the magazines could return to covering movie stars, shopping sprees, and why crunches are best to tighten up your abs.

NotJana said...

"My shopping spree was a success!"

Carl continued to steer star-shaped pasta into chicken soup. Maybe, by not turning around, this would end up much cheaper than he knew from experience. He'd crunched the numbers this morning and, without excessive spending, they should be okay.

"Smells good."

He hummed and turned to face her – and not a single shopping bag. No need for sneaking cognac into his coffee, then. She laughed, giggled, really, and winked knowingly at him. "Window shopping." She waved a pregnancy magazine in front of him. "Mostly."

Carl grinned.

'Okay' was overrated anyway.