Posted in Feature Short Story

The Dirty Deal

Looking back, after the fact, things kinda sucked. I was in need… I wanted what I wanted, but a little self-control goes a long way.

“So what are you going to do?”

I was in a fog and forgot Layla was sitting next to me, until she spoke up. We’re barely acquaintances, so I wasn’t about to bare my soul to her.

“I don’t know,” was my honest answer.

“You don’t have much time.”

Her unsolicited opinion made me give her a sharp look. I don’t know why she was rushing me to make a decision.

“Can I focus with the little time I have left?”


“Do you have any idea what I should do?” I was desperate.

“No… You fucked up.” She shrugged her shoulders like I missed out on a TV show I could see anytime.

“No. I could have made better choices, but I’m not fucked up yet.”

“If you say so. You don’t have the money to pay Jeff back and you couldn’t find Dre.”

I gritted my teeth and ignored Layla’s comments. I didn’t have time for an argument. I didn’t deliver on my promise and having Layla assist me has led me to all dead ends trying to track Dre. This girl has wasted my money and my time.

“Okay, I’m done talking to you. Get out my car.”

“Wait a minute. You’re not driving me home?”

“You got two hundred bucks from me for doing essentially nothing. Get out and catch an Uber.”

She looked pissed, but she left with no problem. Maybe she realized she’d taken advantage of me. Fuck the deal. I need to go back to the beginning and find Dre. He’s not that smart, so now I’m actually a little worried. I’ll find another way to square things with Jeff.

I drove fifteen miles out to a suburban area. The neighborhood park had trees in the background, looking like a forest. It was light when I first came by looking for clues at the last place Dre was seen. Now it’s dark. The street lights are out. I have my flashlight and my gun, so I walk in the wooded area cautiously. I listened carefully to the night sounds. The loudest were my own steps crunching on fallen branches. The hoot of the owls were too close for my liking. I stepped up to a clearing and I heard the sound of water that I didn’t hear the first time I came here. How did I miss this?

Suddenly, I heard steps fast approaching and a shadowy figure swung a big stick toward me. I ducked and raised my arm to protect myself. My flashlight got knocked down and I struggled with the shadow that didn’t appear to be stronger than me. I kicked it hard.


The shadow collapsed. I felt around the ground for my flashlight and shone it on the fallen figure. It’s Layla.

“What the hell are you doing? Why did you attack me?”

She laid there giving me a nasty look. I cocked my gun and pointed at her.

“I asked you a question! I can shoot you right now for attacking me. I have enough bruises on me to prove my case.”

“I was paid to make sure you failed. Jeff knew where Dre was and he loaned you the money so you’d be indebted to him.”

“So the whole ruse of Jeff needing a wannabe bounty-hunter was a setup? What were you trying to accomplish here? Why didn’t Jeff hire someone who had a chance of making me come back and deal with the consequences of failing?”

“What makes you think I’m alone?”

Posted in Feature Short Story


Jenny wrote her speech two weeks ago for the annual Mother’s Day event her company has for their employees. Having 80 percent women on staff, it started as an employee relations builder. It’s the first year Jenny won’t have her mother here for this day, and that inspired her speech. Her heart is heavy as she approaches the podium. She swallows hard to clear the lump in her throat.

“Good afternoon everyone and welcome to our annual Mother’s Day luncheon. Why do moms get their day of appreciation? Well, we should appreciate them daily, but this day is for going the extra mile. Why?

She loved you before you were born.

She loves you more than herself.

She wants you to have a better life than her.

She sacrifices for her child starting with pregnancy, altering the body; birth, traumatizing the body; sleepless days and nights caring for the infant, and making sure the needs of her child are met before her own. That love is non-ceasing. We have some of your kids who have prepared something special for you.”

Jenny takes deep breathes, choking back tears as she steps to the side where her seating is. She halts in front of the chair where her mom was supposed to sit. Someone stupidly added her mom’s name tag to a seat, and Jenny lost it, crying uncontrollably.

Posted in Feature Extended Story

Settling the Score

On a warm day around noon, prison gates slide open, and Sienna emerges through to freedom. She’s wearing an outfit that was popular two years ago, and a messy blowout an inmate did as a favor. She stands still next to an old taxicab that was called for her. A cool breeze blows through the spring air, and Sienna closes her eyes and enjoys the breeze tossing her hair around. The refreshing gust of air feels better with freedom. She didn’t let the smell of the cab’s old exhaust pollute this moment. Her mind revisits the cause of her imprisonment. Being ratted out by someone close hurt like hell, and Sienna had two years to think about what she was going to do when she was free. The cab driver sees her stalling and gets impatient.

Honk. Honk.

“Are you getting in? The meter’s runnin’ sweetheart.”

Sienna’s eyes don’t open. “Let the meter run. You’ll get your goddamn money.”

Sienna opens her eyes and meet his stare with a glare. She opens the back door of the cab and tosses her handbag on the seat, then flops down next to it. She shuts the door and looks around at the weathered cab. The smell of cigarettes ingrained in the old seats reminds her of her grandfather’s sofa. Sienna looks forward into the cab’s rear view mirror and sees the driver already looking at her, awaiting directions. She finger combs her wind-blown hair back down over her ears.

“I’m going to 5452 Wicker Street. It’s forty minutes away. But I need to make a stop beforehand to pick something up.”

“Where is that place?”

“It’s on the way.” Sienna’s stare down is too much for the driver.

“Alright. Whatever.” The cabby pulls off speeding down the road.

Sienna lays her head back, resting it on the seat. She thinks of the woman she once was, sharp, fast-talking, had many friends in the streets. She knows she did some serious shit she could have did real time for, but this two-year bullshit was petty and humiliating. None of her old connections would do business with her the way she went out.

Sienna looks up. “Hold up…the store is two blocks away, on the right hand corner.”

“Gotcha.” The driver moves to the right hand lane. “Wait a minute. The flower shop?”

“Yeah, just stop the car.” Sienna does little to hide her irritation.

Sienna walks in the flower shop. A middle age woman is cutting flowers and adding them to a vase.

“Hey cousin!”

“Hi SiSi! Why didn’t you call me to pick you up?”

The women embrace.

“Zara…you have a business to run. And I wanted to leave as soon as possible.”

“I can understand that.” Zara holds Sienna’s shoulders. “Whatever you need…you just name it. I know with all the shit you been through, you felt alone. But you stayed quiet, and kept your head down. What can I do for you cuz?”

“You done a lot… sending me money, and looking out for my son.” Sienna’s serious look softens. “But I do need one thing.”

“Name it.”

“Your bouquet special.”

Zara looks a bit stunned. “Are…are you sure about that?”

“Yes. I think she deserves it, and I want to give her what she deserves.”

“You’re a grown woman. I won’t question how you handle your business… I keep those ready.”

Zara walks to the back of the store. Sienna looks out the window and sees the impatient cabby looking at his watch. Zara reappears with a large bouquet of a mix of flowers in a vase. She looks Sienna in the eyes.

“I only gives these out to people who truly deserve it. Does… she deserve this?” Zara searches Sienna’s eyes for truth.

Sienna displays a stare of determination. “Oh she does. And I’m going straight there.” Sienna grabs the bouquet and leaves.

Later, the cab pulls up next to a house addressed 5452.

“This is it.” The cab driver says as he stops the meter.

“Yes. It is.” Sienna’s in deep thought.

“Uh, do you have the money?”

Sienna refocuses on the here and now. “Here.” Sienna puts a hundred dollar bill in his hand. “Keep the change.”

Sienna grabs her things and exits the cab. The flower bouquet is so large, it covers her face as she walks slowly up the steps. She rings the doorbell. A middle-aged woman looks through the blinds and sees the bouquet of flowers. She opens the door.

“This bouquet is beautiful.”

Sienna lowers the flowers to reveal her face. The woman is surprised. She cups her mouth and backs up. Sienna walks in and shuts the door behind her.

“When did you get out?”

“An hour ago. You were my top priority.”

“I…I didn’t expect to see you, and with a bouquet of flowers.”

“You’re my mother. You deserve these flowers for putting up with me, trying to stop me from getting myself killed…and for reporting one of my lesser offenses, so I wouldn’t get too much jail time, but enough to change me.”

“I didn’t know it would have been two years baby. I’m so sorry.”

“”No ma. I’m sorry to have put you in an impossible situation. Take the flowers. I had two years to think of ways to settle things with you.”