Friday, February 16, 2018

Cuddles the Cactus Flash Fiction Contest

Cuddles the Cactus has discovered the novels of Mike Cooper, and she's a big fan. To celebrate the UK edition of The Downside, let's have a writing contest!

The usual rules apply:

1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

2. Use these words in the story:


3. You must use the whole word, but that whole word can be part of a larger word. The letters for the
prompt must appear in consecutive order.
Thus: down/downtrodden is ok, but side/slide is not.

Spaces do not count against order.
Thus: Fred owned is ok .

The letters cannot be backwards.
Thus: side/sidearm is ok, but tide/edit is not

4. Post the entry in the comment column of THIS blog post.

5. One entry per person. If you need a mulligan (a do-over) erase your entry and post again. It helps to work out your entry first, then post.

6. International entries are allowed, but prizes may vary for international addresses.***

7. Titles count as part of the word count (you don't need a title)

8. Under no circumstances should you tweet anything about your particular entry to me. Example: "Hope you like my entry about Felix Buttonweezer!" This is grounds for disqualification.

8a. There are no circumstances in which it is ok to ask for feedback from ME on your contest entry. NONE. (You can however discuss your entry with the commenters in the comment trail...just leave me out of it.)

9. It's ok to tweet about the contest generally.
Example: "I just entered the flash fiction contest on Janet's blog and I didn't even get a lousy t-shirt"

10. Please do not post anything but contest entries. (Not for example "I love Felix Buttonweezer's entry!")

11. You agree that your contest entry can remain posted on the blog for the life of the blog. In other words, you can't later ask me to delete the entry and any comments about the entry at a later date.

12. The stories must be self-contained. That is: do not include links or footnotes to explain any part of the story. Those extras will not be considered part of the story.

Contest opens: 9:30am, Saturday, 2/17/18

Contest closes: 9am, Sunday, 2/18/18

If you're wondering how what time it is in NYC right now, here's the clock

If you'd like to see the entries that have won previous contests, there's  an .xls spread sheet here

(Thanks to Colin Smith for organizing and maintaining this!)

Questions? Tweet to me @Janet_Reid
Ready? SET?

Not yet!


Rats! Too late. Contest is now closed.
Results posted on Monday 2/19..errr... Tuesday 2/20 (sorry, I dove into mss on Sunday)

For those of you trying to get your mitts on Cuddles, no dice! The prize is Mike Cooper's The Downside (UK edition) which is almost as cuddly as Cuddles herself.


Steve Forti said...

“Eww, that tux is hideous. Tell me it's rented.”
ed. Bought it last night. Only twenty bucks!”
“You don't say.”
“Hey, check her out. Pretty cute, right?”
“Stunning. What's your plan?”
“Alcohol. Definitely need a shot of courage first.”
“Obviously. And then?”
“What's the best pickup line you got?”
fective. I'll consider it. But what follows that opening?”
“That's on you. Go get her, you mensch.”

“Oo. L
ookie what the cat dragged in.”
“Hi honey. You look great in white. Think we're ready?”
“I do.”

Linda Strader said...

She stared out the window at her kids heading for school. Peace at last, more or less. On the upside, he’d stolen her heart like a thief and a scoundrel. The downside? Well, she had no time for his shenanigans, which were getting old. He could switch from issuing demands to using his seductive charm—all in order to get his own way. No more, she decided. She’d stand firm! She’d hold her ground!
The sinuous form weaved between her legs, and gave a sensuous trill.
“Okay kitty, you win. What will it be? Tuna, beef, or chicken?”

Michael Seese said...

In my stomach lurks a knot not even a Boy Scout could untie, as fate forces me through the doors of my old high school. Now an outsider, I take a bittersour stumble down Memory Lane.

Time is the strangest sort of thief, stealing our innocence, replacing it with a clock, ticking endlessly.


Why didn't anyone hear the alarms go off? I want to scream. But I don't. There was enough screaming today.

“You OK, Officer?” the Chief asks me.

Sometimes I can hide behind my shield. Not today. Seventeen died here. And part of me perished with them.

Unknown said...

Ugly noises-- clinks, clangs. Two-leggeds' territory.


Get down. Low in the sedge, belly to the earth.

Tasty noises-- pattering, a squeal, a laugh. Unsteady gaits, even for tailless. Sweet smells. Closer.

Thuds. Cower.


A thick, sinewy forelimb points to the blood-smeared cave made of flat trees, where the round-teeth keep the tenderest meat.


Small feet skid, change direction, disappear into the cave.

Slink away, hungry.

Or not.

Clear trail to the meat cache.

Pad along the side, to the square hole.

Sniff. No hairless bulls. Only a skinny old cow guarding marbled flesh.


Marie McKay said...

The sun down, the urge becomes stronger.

I dropped the kids outside their school as normal, and this, whatever it is, crept up on me like a thief. Its identity vague: something lingering on the tip of my tongue, at the corner of my vision, at the edges of my mind. Fever; a flu?  No. There's vigour to it.

Now, I pace while my family eat; agitated by the scent of change. My core on fire with the flame of new.

I discard my old skin at the bottom of the domestic cage.
Does anyone see?

I am other.

One Of Us Has To Go said...

Charles is malnourished. Same thing every cold season. He resides in a hole in the hall of the school.

The bell rings. Students arrive.
Breaking news: The exam papers have been stolen.


Charles pricks his ears as the hall's loudspeakers crackle.
"Reward for any hint to catch the thief!"

Students queue for the police officer.
No success.
Suddenly, everybody looks down.
"A mouse!"
"I've witnessed the theft."
Officer: "Your full name, please?"
"Charles Colin Theodore Vincent."
"Just call me CCTV."

Arrest made. Reward of cheese for life given. Charles is no longer malnourished.

Colin Smith said...

The Old Thief came to my school once, but he wasn’t fast enough. Heimlich chased him off. Harry and The Thief go back a long way, it seems.

I knew The Thief would be back.

Sure enough. Mr. Patterson fell victim to his spindly hands the next day.

But he’d marked me down. And he’s patient. He just bided his time.

Now he’s here. I knew inside me it was him the moment he came in the room. The hood didn’t fool.

"Influenza?" he says. I barely croak a reply. I don’t need to. He knows.

He takes my pulse.

Mike Hays said...

A downside for an old-school thief
working a digital world
is finding the proper time
for a selfie.

Timothy Lowe said... listed it two hours too late. By the time I called, my brother Axel already bought the property. Bastard didn’t use the internet, never went on line. He saw the billboard: Sixteen acres for $13,000. A real steal.

A disused boarding school, crumbling brick. Prime for development, right off the highway.

He bulldozed, broke ground in April. When his strip-mall went up, I made sure it had a proper foundation. Hired my hands through Craigslist so he wouldn’t know. They shook things up, tossed Axel in the concrete mixer.

There’s a downside to being an old-school thief.

Mallory Love said...

Evan’s cell rang. Jack, his son, was calling. He let it go to voicemail. Like always. He was in a meeting. With a client. Downtown at a bar, schmoozing a stockholder. Work was a thief of personal time, which fell by the wayside in favor of a better lifestyle. Jack understood. Missed basketball games and award ceremonies were forgiven with iPhones and Xboxes.

His phone pinged five times with ignored messages. Evan silenced it and continued his conference. Later, while leaving, he glanced at his phone. Urgent texts. A school shooting. He called Jack, several times. It went to voicemail.

Amy Schaefer said...

Everybody wants to touch me. It's the downside of being gorgeous.

He approaches cautiously, lips wetted, eyes gleaming. Glancing around to make sure no one else is looking, because he's only barely bold enough to try this. He reaches out, body blocking the movement.

Just waiting to be schooled.

"Ouch!" He pulls back, abandoning stealth. I effing love it.

Mortified, he retreats. His spouse is rolling her eyes, lips pursed in a sour-lemon expression.

He's going to get an earful as they try to remove that spine together. My little gift.

You come at the cactus, you best not miss.

Barbara said...

He was a downside old-school thief,
pickpocket extraordinaire,
and watching him work was a thing of beauty.
Fingers, light as a falling leaf,
caressed his clients
with the finesse of a lover.
They never knew they'd been touched.
He'd even clipped a copper once
of all the brass buttons on his uniform.
Oh, yes. He was something to see.
The ladies loved him
and the boys wanted to be him.

Until a jealous lover,
a besotted old sot,
hammered his hands in a rage.
That was his end.
Couldn't lift a lima bean after that.
Not even with a fork.

Unknown said...

Doors of the old school opened slowly. Marcus moved haltingly down the halls; memories stealing into his conscious like a thief come to lift a valuable from its victim. He felt suddenly, ancient, an artifact of bygone times. Years of schooling distant; a side street, a blind alley in his destiny. Stopping at 216, he peered into the vacant room. Nothing looked familiar; the thief had stolen the opportunity to feel welcome. Mrs. Johnson surprised him with a touch on the shoulder. Her smile parting the clouds of despair; his life suddenly and finally meaningful.

Ken Frisbie, Jr. said...

Old man, I ain’t no fucking thief.
You ain’t no damn schoolmarm either.
What you guys up to?
Nuttin, Detective, Nuttin, just talkin.
What you doing—this side of town?
Just visiting, Detective—don’t ya know?
Y’all catch them guys been doin those hubcaps?
Think it’s your friend Buggie, don’t you?
Nah, Detective, ain’t none of Buggie.
Woops, sorry!
Didn’t mean to knock your coffee.
Get it Joe—bad back—can’t bend down.
Real sorry Detective.
I got it; can’t litter. Right? See ya later—you guys be good.
You get his wallet?
Did I get his wallet?

Katie Dean said...

Cathie flew off the bus, past her mom.
“Slow down. It’s icy out,” Sharon called, penguin walking up the driveway. Inside, she followed slushy footprints into the living room.
“Cathie, you know to take off your shoes.”
Crouching next to an old box, Cathie ruffled through her backpack. She pulled out a wriggling baby raccoon.
Wide-eyed, Sharon asked, “Sweetie, why do you have a raccoon?”
“She’s a kitty. She was outside school.” She placed the kit next to six kittens.They mewed together.
Sharon sighed and went to retrieve the mama cat to meet its new baby for the night.

Dena Pawling said...

Snowy days
School is closed
Susie's home

All windows
And all doors
Are locked tight

Nog is egged
Nodding off
Nitey night

Trouble comes
Tumbles down
Thief inside

As he lands
At the hearth
Arms are full

Cat peeks out
Creeps across
Claws unfold

Leaves his loot
Loves the milk
Late to go

Attack cat
Aims for face
And draws blood

Under siege
Up he goes

Soon she purrs
Susie's safe

Marty Weiss said...

Bardolph downed his blackjack of ale in one long gulp, belched loudly, then turned to the man at his side. “Many thanks, Sir Falstaff. I needed that.”

“Why you old thief, your need for spirits of any sort is written on your face.”

“Aye, m’lord. Ever since I was a young schoolboy, however so briefly, I’ve had a liking for the spirits.”

“My friend, no one could mistake your red nose and the collection of pustules and carbuncles on your cheeks as anything else but a testament to a lifelong love of the spirits. None of them holy.”

Theresa B (of Nebulopathy) said...

Laughter pierced the lion’s courage, a glimpse of my knickers schooled the scarecrow’s brains, and the tin man… A night with a mechanical man has no downsides, but suddenly the old rust bucket is claiming I’m a thief when he freely surrendered his heart along with his axe.


All my quest needs now is a magical ball or two.

I’m off to see the wizard.

Richelle Elberg said...

He lies beside me.
Tail thumps softly, sending his love.
Once he jumped and pawed and wagged and licked me senseless. Pulled me down the sidewalk.
That stinky eager smile stole my heart.
Now only his eyes hold all that feeling; it’s concentrated in his gaze.

Time, you heartless thief!
I stroke him, whispering a thousand shared memories.
I was thirteen years old, an awkward schoolgirl, when we met.
My best friend through broken hearts and proms. Caps and gowns.
There’s only one way to reward him now.
Blind with tears, I place him gently in the car.

Megan V said...

The jiggle key fits in the ignition like an ass in tight jeans—with wiggles and grunts—but the engine congratulates me with a familiar tune. Vroom. I shift gears. Hit the clutch.
Most rooks would’ve stopped when they spotted the manual. But I’m old school and there’s no stick I can’t handle.
Late night like this, the mark won’t notice his Honda is missing until morning.
I park it.
Wake to a taptaptap on the window and some new bracelets.
Fucking Find My Phone.
It turns out there’s a downside to being an old school thief.

Unknown said...

“Mom! Mom!”
Her son bounced over to her, a colorful box in his hand.
She knew where this was going.
She was down to her last few dollars. She had checked her balance on the bus ride to work, doing mental gymnastics to figure out how to make it stretch another week.
She glanced from side to side, then at her son in his old coat, arms too long for the sleeves.
“Everybody at school has them!”
She nodded and when his back was turned, slipped the toy into her purse.
She wasn’t a thief.
She’d pay them back.

Sian Brighal said...

It’s the worst kind of theft...the kind where you fill the fat thief’s deep pockets because you’ve not been taught better. The old in the shadows of looming senility can see it from their side of schooling. They know what’s gone down, how dependence has replaced them apron-strings that kids now call ethernet cables have shortened minds on long loose leashes. They gather and mutter while kids scatter from lessons, laughing at the obsolescence of outdated connections as they rush to their standalone lives.

Unknown said...

Sippy-cup spilled.

“Idiot,” screamed dad’s crystallized voice. He slapped me upside the head.

“It's my school project.”

“You're a thief,” hissed mom’s gin-soaked rage. She smashed the pottery plate.

“Not a chance,” scoffed grandma's nicotine-stained words. I went to tryouts anyway.

Punches flowed down like rain. Coach turned his back.

Dog didn't yelp loud enough, so I kicked again.

“Sinner,” pastor thundered from his fake-Jesus pedestal.

Black eye shining, grandma stopped nagging.

“Not with that trash,” the girl giggled to her friends.

In the alley, she whimpered. I didn't stop.

“Shoot,” the voice told me.

Now they give a damn.

Lennon Faris said...

Nothing killed it. Couldn’t take it down. Monster fed on pain, power.
It was human once, I said. Send me. I’ll finish this.
Government sent me back 17 years. Crept through old doublewide like a thief. Couple shouting from kitchen, gunshot. In the back room, monster forgotten. I peeked into crib. Picked up sobbing monster. So easy, I realized. Now’s my moment.
I nestled monster firm against my chest.
Kissed its forehead.
The monster asphyxiated.
In my arms, the baby sighed.

I wake at my desk, school papers fluttering. Outside, monster roars. My baby-faced students watch me.
Now’s my moment.

Steph Ellis said...

The staff room was quiet. Danny recalled old schooldays and the numerous detentions spent standing outside its hallowed door. The memories got him down, ignited resentment, but now was not the time and he smothered his feelings. The alarm had been triggered. He had to move quickly. The Finance Office was just ahead. School trip money not banked still on site. And they’d called him stupid! They’d called him the boy most likely to end up inside, the one with arrested development. But Danny was not a thief. Unlike the shadow ahead of him. Handcuffs ready he moved forward.

Miriam said...

This was no ordinary robbery. It was a merciless plan to break a teacher down.

The iPads? Untouched on the bookshelf, like they were obsolete as the old dictionaries beside them. My laptop? Closed on my desk, the chalk dust on the lid undisturbed.

The thief took the best listener in class, who sat with perfect posture every day. Who never interrupted a lesson with a fidget spinner or a fart joke. Who never wasted time, pretending to need another drink of water. The sharpest one in school. My favorite.

All that remained was a speck of sandy soil.

Unknown said...

There's no downside to being an old school thief.
Okay, you need the right tools and if you can't find a fence you're stuck with an old school: so you need a way in and out. That's planning, not a downside.
There's a small risk of jail time, sure. Free bed and board; a holiday from the world. There's no actual downside.
But the rewards! Diamond Jack sold Harrow for... well, he's never said, but a waitress gave him that nickname when she saw her tip.
So... field generator, miniaturiser, containment unit: £19,000 all in.
Do we have a deal?

Anonymous said...

Blue had owned the planet a couple centuries now, thanks to her despairing parents’ idea that being Guardian might help settle her.

“Here’s where you can put your planet,” Blue had hissed, but as usual they’d already gone.

The planet was pretty-ish, she conceded privately, tamping her vitriol down, if rather kitsch (oo-la-la it wasn’t), mouthy and thief-ish; and for a short while she remembered to monitor its atmospheric levels and evolutionary progressions.

But uncared-for things eventually die.

“I’m sorry,” said Blue, watching its tiny lights flicker out.

And briefly, there


in darkness, she very nearly meant it.

Craig F said...

I am going to have to abstain from entering, lest my entry becomes a political rant.

A thief stole the life of the daughter of a dear, old friend. She has, at last, collapsed after the events at the school Wednesday. I hope to get her away from this house and the memories when she awakens but it is almost beside the school and the streets are mobbed. The real downside is the continual line of politicians who think that a shot up kid is some sort of fucking Kodak moment.

renee said...

“Wait? Hie!” fretted the fish thief outside in his Olds, id exploding that he’d been sidelined by those who considered him “down and and out” and his salmon "too old-school” for the hold-up.

What a downer. But he’d once again preside over the fishy dissidents that had blind-sided him with put-downs. He scolded himself for not schooling the unmensch.

“Oolichan!” He muttered. He’d own the whole bunch. Emboldened, he stole away down a side-street with the old getaway clunker.

That’s the downside of a thief who chooses Coho over candlefish.

Stephen G Parks said...

Jakarta’s long sun illuminates the dust. With a parched cough, you dodge motorbikes jostling down the crowded rows of the traditional evening market.

Why’d you ever enrol in this stupid school anyway? They take all your money, toss you on some God-forsaken street, calling it “Orientation.”

Weathered farmers, selling fresh durian, are wary of you. They’ve got your number, see that hunger, not morality, drives your actions.

“Pergi, pencuri!”

You fade into the crowd, pleased at your prize: one small durian.

Beside you, your schoolmaster appears. His ruler cracks your knuckles. “First lesson: hunger betrays a thief. Start again.”

Just Jan said...

There are down sides to keeping an alligator. Thermoregulation is a big deal. Like Goldilocks, these creatures want the temperature just right.

Schooling is also important. Not for the animal, but for the general public. An alligator’s personal space, for instance, is something you don’t want to encroach upon. My wife, Debbie, failed that topic.

Her brother, Victor, plots revenge.

“It’s a dumb animal,” I tell him in disbelief.

“It’s a thief,” he insists. And one night, just like Debbie, he makes a mistake.

Which is the up side of keeping an alligator.

Will MacPhail said...

The downside to being in high school at my age is no one will take you seriously.

I’m not in the slow class, I just always seem to be a few credits short.

Priorities and such.

Family obligations and all.

I’m being bullied by a thief, and every day he steals my jersey and says I’m too fat to play intramural basketball.

I say, “Don’t body shame me, man.”

“You’re too old to be here.”

“That’s ageism, brah.”

“You shower with boys. It’s completely inappropriate.”

“Homophobic much?”

Today, after school, the coach will find steroids in Jax’s locker.

Demain et hier said...

We were so happy that last Christmas morning. Opening a present, he shouted, "Train says 'choo!'" Laughed each time his new toy shot down the tracks.
It had snowed, so we went outside to play. Near a house where two boys were out testing a new present of their own. They fired and ended up stealing every bit of my joy.
Pain stayed by my side as I grew older. I promised never to let it go.
But time is a thief as well, taking with it the memories I'd sworn to protect.
Now I can't recall why I'm alone.

StackAttack said...

The Headmistress of Downlow School of Mischief and Debauchery perused the application with all the enthusiasm of a lethargic cat. Until she reached the last page.


“Yes, ma’am.”

“High seas or space?”

“Little bit of this. Little bit of that,” he said, flashing an elusive smile. Nobody liked a braggart.

She set aside her rimless spectacles to consider the thief with renewed vigor. “Very well. We’ll be in touch.”

When they parted, the thief carried an old pair of rimless spectacles; the Headmistress a thief’s wallet. Neither said a word, not even after school commenced.

Nobody liked a braggart.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

“This is unworthy of you,” said the joker to the thief. “Like a shark trying to mate a cactus without benefit sea or sand. You can’t keep it.”

Old Nick ignored the demon in motley, cooing at the babe in his arms. They disappeared into a side alley off Downing Street.

“Why ever not? My son has taken the prince’s place. This is a royal baby.”

“We eat the ones we take. Royal or not.”

“I’m keeping him. We will send him to school with my son.”

“You’re losing it, old Nick.”

“You’ll be his nanny.”

“Demons don’t change nappies.”

Ly Kesse said...

There is nothing like an old fool. The words ran through Marjorie's head as she wandered down the side street, past the school.

At least that was what she told herself. But the proposition from her son sounded so reasonable.

She could continue to live in her house, her palace. And her son would pay her for the privilege. No longer would she need to worry about a place to live or another source of income.

Too good to be true. Probably because it was.

Her son, the thief, had her dead to rights.

Unknown said...

Dear Ms. Reid,

I’m writing to submit a “novel” idea: lift my leathery green ass out of this cup and put me down inside the sink to water me. This b-team teacup lacks proper drainage. Any schmo can see that from the dirt on the porcelain. I’m an old-school cactus. I need drainage. Don’t be the thief of my brief existence.


p.s. There’s two of us. Swirly-brains is a separate cactus, grafted onto my head. Please refer to us by our proper names, as we find your single name for two individuals offensive and belittling.

RKeelan said...

"Jean du Lac—Master Thief, Man of Manners." Jean bowed over a lopsided lace cuff. "At your service."

My heart fluttered.

“Tonight, I aim to steal the most tantalizing prize of all.” Jean pulled a bedraggled rose from his sleeve. “Your heart.”

I leaned closer. His breath smelled of onions.

Jean traced a wrinkle down my cheek. “Your skin is so”—he gazed into my eyes—“corrugated.”

“Heeeee-Ah!” Putsch o' oldmaid, right in Jean’s throat. “Lise de l’Église strikes again!”

Jean sank to his knees, clutching his throat.

“Be wary where you seek love,” I said. “Or you’ll find nun.”

Sherin Nicole said...

She lived a colloquial life. Sold her soul, lied down with dogs, and played both sides against the middle. On occasion she denied death and swam with the fishes—schools of them. Her aphorisms were orgasmic; she’d stolen hearts and left them cold. Lovers could be such idioms, and she such a petty thief. There’d be no rest for a woman this wicked, so she skipped the afterlife and proclaimed herself, “goddess” (figuratively).

Nate Wilson said...

"I'm just an old school thief. Small scale only. There's no down side."

Roger deflated. "My source said you'd branched out."

Jenkins shook his head. "I ain't altered my business model in 50 years. And I never been caught. This is all I got."

"Nothing else? I need the stuff tomorrow."

"Nope. I only hit hatcheries, poach swarms of tiny fish. The skins make gorgeous jewelry. Huge profit margins."

"No feathers to fill my knock-off jackets? He swore you did those on the side."

"Like I said. I'm just an old school thief. Small scale only. There's no down side."

Anonymous said...

You stop for a moment just outside the Arena, center yourself, wonder who your opponent will be. Young or old, male or female. Please, you think, let it be a criminal. A murderer. A rapist. At the very least a thief. Please, merciful gods, not another fresh-faced bright-eyed idiot kid straight out of combat school.

A thought occurs to you. Maybe your luck will run out. Maybe this time you'll go down. Maybe this is your last fight.

It's not much of a thought, but it does comfort you. You square your shoulders, and enter the Arena.

midwestern_ohper said...

“I don’t want to go, it’s d- Ow!“

ow shut up, we have work to do.”

He’s always excited for a grab and tag.
Too excited if you ask me.

Which no one ever does.


K shrugs. His idea of acting like them.

A combination of old and new school as they say on Big Blue.
I still have no idea what it means.

I take another shot of O2, the fourth I effortlessly knock back, as per my usual before every mission.

“Catch and release?”

K nods, I’m resigned.

The humans are fascinating after all, if dumb.

John Davis Frain said...

The Word Thief leaned into his keyboard. Once upon a time… he began, sans outline.

Downside: The stumbles, dead-ends, and rewrites.
Upside: Discovering his story scene by scene.

He chose pantser over plotter. Typed 188,000 words. Less is more, he knew, so did he need to edit?

Upside: Finishing.
Downside: Rejection.

Eight drafts later, schooled in editing, he kept 77,000 words and finished. Did he dare query?

Downside: The exhaustive costs of being an author.
Upside: The beautiful benefits of sharing your story.

He overcame the freight of doubt and boldly leaned into his keyboard. Dear Amazing Agent…

french sojourn said...

“Remember Micky…that ballsy little thief? Turns out he pulled off the biggest old school diamond heist in history. Shows up in Antwerp, changes into painter’s gear, then walks into one of Engelhard’s biggest showrooms. The rest of the painting crew didn’t know him from Adam. He’s lying Michelangelo like, sideways on the scaffolding painting the ceiling. They all leave at quitting time except him. He stays up there, stiff as a corpse, till the store closes…robs the place blind. Unfortunately, some rookie detective checks the paint brushes for prints…bingo.
However, by then he’s dirty dancing down under with some Sheila.”

Amy Johnson said...

The super unlocked Mrs. Chen’s door for me. I’d miss her grandmotherly “hello, dear” whenever we saw each other in the hallway. And I would need to find someone else to feed Mittens when I traveled overseas for work.

I had never been inside. Seventies kitsch. Oolong tea, five varieties. I felt a bit like a thief, going through her things. But I couldn’t bear to think of anything precious ending up down in the dumpster. Old books. Sun Tzu—who’d have thought? A metal box. Her passport. But a different name. More passports, more names.

Stacy said...

I was walking along Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, trying not to think about how downhill my life had careened lately. A Tibetan monk approached me sideways and put a bracelet of wooden beads on my wrist. Wanted me to sign a pledge of support to his temple. Ah, no cash, but there was a Chase nearby. Darted in, came back out. He was gone. Looked up “Monk bracelet” online and discovered he wasn’t Tibetan at all, but an old-school thief. Still, I kept it. It was the nicest thing anyone had done for me in weeks.

katie said...

I'm an old school thief. No cyber scams for me - I'm a try the patio door and look for cash kind of guy.
When I crept in they where sitting down to lunch.
"I'm here to water the plants. Side door was open."
"Isn't this the Greens' house?"
"No, we're Wilson."
"Shoot, Street instead of Avenue. Smells great."
Eventually they invited me to stay and lunch was scrumptious. So we're the diamond earrings left out in the bathroom.
See? Old school.