Thursday, November 22, 2007

This Rollercoaster Business!

First we're up! Then we're down. But that's the business we're in, right?

Absolutely.

Recently, I entered a writing contest and for a matter of a couple of hours, I was a finalist. Yay! Yippee! I done real good!

I told my friends. I even shared on my two chapter loops after my entry was posted. It was out there for everyone to read. Yay! Yippee!

But soon, things changed. I guess, unknowingly, I broke the rules and within an hour of my entry being posted, I was disqualified. Authors writing for a particular publishing house could not enter, it seemed. I assumed (wrongly) that that meant currently contracted authors. I've not had a contract with the publisher for seven years. I'm not current. I am "former" I guess. So, once I was told about the disqualification, I of course said that I understood, and was sorry for the inconvenience.

It is okay. Really, it is. I totally understand. It's just nice to know that my work was good enough to be selected. Now, this gives another person a chance to shine. Everyone deserves a chance to shine, right?

Some of my friends/colleagues/acquaintances and writing buds have asked about the entry. So, okay, I've got this handy-dandy little venue for posting stuff here on my blog, so why not? Here you go. :)

An Hour Late and a Dead Guy Short

“What do you mean I can’t? I can do anything I damned well please.” Mitzi slammed her purse on the counter and twisted to look at her sister.

“It’s illegal, Mitzi. You can’t.”

“Oh hell. Who would know? Besides, I need the money.”

“Obviously.”

“I don’t need sarcasm, little Miss Rich Sister. I need dollars. The mortgage is due. Final notice. I’m not losing my house.”

An understatement. She stared out the kitchen window to the garden. The house was the only good thing she’d done in years. Finally, she’d finagled her way into a loan, scraped up the down payment, and became a homeowner. She wasn’t about to be reduced to renter ranks. Again.

“I’ll give you the money.”

“No.”

“But—”

“I. Said. No.” She didn’t need handouts. Ever since Ken disappeared, she’d made it just fine—until the bottom dropped out of her business.

Everything. Gone

Just like Ken.

“It’s just phone sex, Molly. It’s not like I’m going to catch a disease. No one will know who I am. I’ll be safe in my house, tucked in my bed, and just talk some guy into getting his jollies off. I’ll be a hundred bucks richer every fifteen minutes. That’s four hundred dollars an hour. If I get him off sooner, my income goes up. Piece of cake.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I’m dead serious.”

“I’d have to be dead to do that.”

Mitzi figured Molly was pretty much dead when it came to sex, anyway. “We’ll, you’re not me.”

“The cops listen in on those things, you know.”

“What two consenting adults do on the phone is of no concern to anyone.”

“They try to catch Johns and hookers.”

“I’m not a hooker.”

Molly raised a brow. “What would you call it then? A guy creaming in his jeans. You get money. Hooker. You.”

“I wouldn’t even touch them!”

“Mitzi! Listen to yourself!”

“And sometimes it’s not guys. Women do it, too. Talk to other women.”

Molly clapped her hands over her ears. “Lalalalala! I do not want to hear anymore!” She grabbed her Gucci purse. The turquoise one that Mitzi had coveted for a month now.

Damn her.

In two seconds flat Molly whipped out a credit card. “Here. Or I won’t be able to live with myself.”

Mitzi swallowed her gumption. Probably thousands of dollars on that thing. Enough for the payment. Get her through until next month….

Damn.

“I can’t.” There. She said it.

Molly rolled her eyes. “I’m leaving.” She reached for Mitzi’s hand, slapped the card down in it, and held her gaze long.

Then she left.

Mitzi’s shoulders slumped.

Damn that card felt good in her hand. But she wouldn’t use it. She was on her own.

* * *

The message on her answering machine said to show up at two o’clock in the upstairs office at 3245 Halifax Street. No sign. Just walk on up and knock on the door at the top. Left.

Somebody would be there.

Yeah.

It felt a bit creepy but Mitzi swallowed her spookies, peered up into the dark stairwell, and stepped inside. No light?

She propped the door open with her hip and searched for something to keep it cracked while she took the stairs.

There. Half a brick.

She glanced at her watch. Late. Shit.

She wedged the brick in tight. A rectangle of light lit the way up.

Problem solved.

Would this company consider her problem-solving an asset?

Or would they just consider her “assets.”

Time would tell.

She took the stairs, stepped on something crunchy at the top, rapped on the door and glanced behind her. Dark corners. Shivers. Would she really want to work here?

The door creaked open. Slowly.

Wait.

Mitzi took in the silence.

Wait longer.

No one said, “Hello?” or “May I help you?” or “Kiss my ass?” or anything. Swallowing the spookies again, she pushed the door inward.

“Hel-looo?”

A shade was pulled down on the window opposite the door. No, wait. Jerked down. Torn. A triangle of light coming through.

Wrong place. Had to be in the wrong place.

Down. Two steps. Get out.

Turn around. Please. Come back.

What?

Turning, she saw that triangle of light penetrate hallway onto the stuff she’d crunched earlier. Light bulb. Smashed.

Oh dear. Not good.

Come back, please.

Crap.

She climbed the two steps, swallowed, and pushed forward into the room.

Holy shit!

There was a dead guy on the floor.

And his ghost was sitting in the chair next to him.

You’re late. And now I’m dead.

“Ken?”

****
Happy Turkey Day!

madz
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