Monday, April 17, 2006


Thanks to everyone who has submitted a story for my li'l contest. (I'll be taking submissions up until WEDNESDAY).
I thought this week I would share them with you...

Submitted by my buddy ZERO (he of the birthday gifts I received last week):

Saturday, April 15, 2006

10:58 P.M.

It would be the perfect crime—and the perfect way to celebrate Monty’s birthday.

We had spent the last month planning the heist. We had the timing
down to the second. We had our escape route planned to the inch. We
had contingency plans in place. We even kept track of historical
weather trends. It all pointed to the coming Wednesday as the perfect
day to carry out the deed. We were so brazenly confident we would
pull this off without a hitch, we could barely contain our
enthusiasm ... or our dreams.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

7:12 A.M.

The morning of the heist, I called Monty. Her voice was sleepy and
confused. I knew that was a bad sign.

“Wha ... who ... who is this?”

“It’s H-Day, Monty. You’re supposed to be at our rendezvous point
in forty-five minutes.”

There was a moment of silence before her trademark, almost violent
laugh shook my handset.

“Oh, come on. It’s my birthday! Not this ‘8-Day’ or whateverthehell
you said ... you said ... holy shit!

Again, it was a bad sign. I reassured her that our plan was still
intact, but she had to get her ass out of bed and hit the road
immediately. She hung up before I could even finish my sentence.

7:57 A.M.

I was sitting on the western-most bench in the Benny Hill Memorial
Park on 17th Avenue when the telltale screeching of car brakes
informed me Monty had arrived. I turned around and saw her
approaching. Good; she remembered to wear the right outfit. Our
appearance would be paramount to our success.

“Well, well.” I couldn’t help but be impressed. “You look like a ’50s
tourist straight out of Denmark.”

Monty scowled and spit out, “I look like a damned idiot, and it’s
supposed to be Norway.

8:31 A.M.

We had scoped out the intersection of 19th Avenue and Moss Street
every day for the last two weeks, to get the timing perfect. There
was an approximate three-minute window every day that offered an
opportunity. That small window would be our opportunity today.

Monty lit a cigarette.

“I thought you had quit.”

She scowled again—a common reaction to me nowadays—and replied, “I’m
not smoking. You’re seeing things.”

Knowing better than to argue with her, I nodded and returned my gaze
to the waiting intersection.

“Besides ... I’m nervous as hell.” She straightened her chic,
fashionable hat and squinted at the sun. “And why is it so friggin’
hot already?”

I grinned. “Don’t worry. This is gonna work like a charm.”

She exhaled quietly and retrieved a stopwatch from her massive,
chillingly stylish handbag.

“I can’t believe I’m letting myself be seen with this purse.” I
waited for her scowl. Instead, she gasped. “Dammit! They’re early!”

I wheeled around, and couldn’t believe my eyes. As if shot through
with electricity, I sprang upwards and grabbed Monty by the arm.
“Let’s go!”

8:40 A.M.

Moss Street was like any other thoroughfare in any other major city
in the country. It was lined with every conceivable merchant: mom-’n-
pop stores, pharmacies, bookstores, banks, Starbucks. Its sidewalks
were lined with every conceivable pedestrian: kids running about,
elderly couples quietly window shopping, businessmen pacing with
takeover bids running through their heads.

It was also where busy moms carted their kids around in strollers.

A few minutes early today, a particular woman was wheeling her
MetroLite LX stroller, with child securely tucked inside, past the
aged facade of Walt’s Office Supplies. In a matter of seconds she
would turn onto 19th and angle toward a tiny rest area, just beyond
the busy Save-Shop corner market.

She was aggressively bland in her sweats and her pony tail. Just
another mom out with her baby.

We approached the woman from a perpendicular direction, Monty
several steps ahead and to the right of me. Smoothly and expertly,
she intercepted the busy mom. With perhaps the worst Norwegian accent
a human could summon, Monty, with city map in hand eagerly bubbled,
“Excuse—I am looking for History Museum? Thank you!”

As I stepped up behind them, I could make out the woman’s eyes
growing large—no doubt due to Monty’s hat—and a puzzled expression
immediately appeared on her face.

“His Tree Museum? Gosh ... I’ve never heard of such a place.” I think
she was more amused than taken aback.

“No, no. His-tory Museum. You know, old stuff?”

“Oh, yes. Yes.” The woman turned around and pointed down the street.

This was my chance. I looked down into the stroller. The baby—a girl,
as I had known—was adorable, a tuft of golden hair atop a truly
cherubic face, and was wrapped in pink polka dot blankets. She eyed
me innocently. I was immediately surprised, perhaps even worried,
about something else I saw. Knowing each second counted, I brushed
aside my concern and reached into the stroller.

“—you make a left on 18th—”

I gingerly placed my fingers around the small, violet-hued candy
firmly held in the baby’s grasp, and deftly pulled in a motion I had
practiced a hundred times.

Too firmly held. The kid wouldn’t let go.

“—two blocks down you turn left—”

I yanked hard. The little shit wouldn’t let go! Instead of a
handful of candy, I was the recipient of an earful of wailing. The
ruse was up as soon as it had begun. Monty instantly panicked.
“Come on! Let’s get out of here!”

The woman, completely surprised, turned around. “What the hell—”

In my eagerness to retrieve the prize, compounded by the day's
unusual heat, the candy had warmed up slightly in my fingers. Now
those same fingers were stuck. I couldn’t escape my victim.

The woman, horrified, took her purse and whacked me in the head.
(Good thing it wasn’t Monty’s purse, or I’d have been killed
instantly.) The force of the impact somehow dislodged my fingers from
their sugary trap, and Monty and I bolted down the street.

“You fucking idiot,” she screamed at me. “Didn’t you think to wear
teflon-coated gloves?” Between panicked gasps, I wheezed out, “The
temperature is seven degrees warmer today than I expected. And this
wasn’t the candy the baby normally eats.”

We had barely made it to our getaway car before the all-too-familar
sound of sirens pierced the din of the city.


I began to open the car door—and then realized, to my horror, that my
fingers had glued themselves to the handle.

I’m stuck!

Monty howled in anger and ran to my side of the car.

“What the hell kind of candy was that, anyway?”

It dawned on me. “Oh, it must have been that anti-theft candy that’s
become so popular. Goddamn!”

Monty reached into her purse and pulled out a knife. (Why was she
carrying a knife with her?)

“I’ll cut them off!”

My eyes practically bulged out of their sockets. “Are you out of your
fucking mind? Get away from me! Get in the car!” I think my Jack
Torrance impersonation genuinely scared her, as she looked at me
warily while racing back to the passenger side. The obvious solution
suddenly coming to mind, I clambered in, and we drove off—my arm
outside, twisted at a perverse angle, my hand still attached to the

We got precisely one block before the cops pulled in front of our car.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

4:42 P.M.

Monty had been released from prison a week earlier. As I stepped
through the gate of the penitentiary, I saw her right in front of me,
suavely leaning against her car. She let out a yelp and ran up to me
and hugged me tightly. I didn’t expect that ... but then, I didn’t
expect the last two years. She smiled that winning smile of hers.
“How’re you doin’?”

Without even waiting for an answer, she grabbed my duffel bag and
threw it in the trunk. I shrugged and shook my head. I measured my
words. “I’m okay. Happy to be out. Happy to get on with my life.” We
got into the car and Monty drove us out of the prison grounds, back
into what most of us call normal existence.

I turned to her, gazing with a bit of amazement and amusement and
asked, “How are you? You seem rather perky.”

Monty grinned and exclaimed, “Why, I’m just fine! Life is good again.”

I nodded and turned my attention out the window, awed by the simple
sights of what had been the outside world and was now our world again.

After a couple of quiet, contemplative minutes, Monty cleared her

“My birthday’s in about a month. Any plans?”

Two drops of pee actually squirted out because I laughed so hard.

Good job, Zero. :)

And yeah, I totally would have sacrificed your hand.

I truly meant to come visit you this weekend, but I was held hostage by a chocolate bunny. I will make it up to you.
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