Wednesday, February 21, 2018


This writing might stretch the concept of Write..Edit..Publish.. flash fiction prompt, IN TOO DEEP. Whew! I got the concept from reading DEADLY MESSENGERS, by Susan May. I wrote this as sort of a prologue for a short story - one of three horror/thriller stories on my resolutions/goal list for 2018. Although February is the month of romance, and by common assumption the story should involve Venus, Eros, Cupid, Aphrodite, Min, Bastet, Nuwa, Kamadeva, Freya; it does not.

Full critique acceptable as I am hoping to expand this into a thriller type short story. Click here to visit the Write..Edit..Publish web site and check out the other participants for this month's theme IN TOO DEEP, and to hank the WEP administrators Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee for inspiring my story start and structure. Regardless of whether it fits the WEP concept, I hope it captivates you as a reader.

Ok, here we go .. . . .  . .

Word Count: 960

“LUNATIC WALKS INTO A BAR” the headline read, and James tapped onto the link to bring up the video report.

He pushed the up- volume button on the back of his LG then set it on the bar to listen as he sipped an early afternoon beer.

“It was a usual Tuesday night,” the bartender told the microphone. The teletype identified the brown haired, Caucasian, lack-luster man as Ian Kirkland, owner/manager of Kirk’s Quirks, a bar and grille on South 100th Street West.

The camera panned back to show a corner street establishment, parking in the rear sign the most distinguished logo looming above a reddish neon that was nearly washed out in the blue backdrop of a stormy sky. James grunted his opinion of the air time the bar shooting would garner in the public eye given its seedy locale.

“How so,” the pretty, Barbie Doll type asked Kirkland as she flashed a smile towards the viewing audience.

James did not recognize her, so assumed she was a hungry intern the station had promoted when the other reporters refused to venture into this part of town.

Kirkland rolled his eyes skyward as the camera zoomed in, then looked directly into the camera. The average, busy viewer might have mistaken the gleam in Kirkland’s eyes as tears, but James knew it as the excitement of notoriety; even if only for this 15 minutes of fame. He'd witnessed it often.

“He was a regular,” Kirkland admitted. “Shy guy, not so good looking the Gals flocked to him. But, everyone who met him – including me – liked him. Paid cash for his beers, occasionally bought a round for the house, kept the Juke rockin’. Never went out with a Lady, but bought their drinks, treated them with respect. Sherman – ah that’s the shooter’s name,” and here the gleam dimmed and Kirkland looked nearly embarrassed to know the perp’s name. “Uhm, Sherman Hahn, yep, a regular. Well, he ordered his usual Bud Light, knocks his name on the pool line up, though its just a formality, ya know, there’s never a waiting line on a Tuesday – we only have tournaments on Thursdays and its three weeks to the first match of the season . . .”

Kirkland was silent a moment, as if pondering when the first match would happen, who the teams were. Barbie smiled her rehearsed smile, then prodded Kirkland with: “A typical Tuesday, nothing unusual  . . .”

“Right,” Kirkland quipped, back on the media trac. “Around ten this Yuppie type comes in –“

“Yuppie?” The Barbie asks.

Kirkland looks a bit confused. Then he seems to recall the age he is currently living in as he strokes his politically correct chin hair. “Ya know, investor/lawyer type. All arrogance and flashing cash. Musta got lost, GPS in the Prius out of whack.” He laughs nervously.

Yuppie wasn’t a modern word, and few people outside a select 80’s culture would even recognize the term. Techies and Geeks described today's young, ambitious, techno-hybrid entrepreneurs; but James knew that whatever they called themselves now, his brother’s associates – and possibly murderers- were highly sophisticated, well informed, cautious to the point of paranoid, intelligent, influential, and financially secure. Not to mention bold, unconscionable, and connected.

“Hmm,” the Barbie prompted.

“Well,” Kirkland said as the camera zoomed in on his neon lighted face. “Dude did not belong, though we all tried to ignore the fact. Cash is King, blah blah blah. But, there was just something off about the guy, and not just his clothing or speech. And he seemed to target Sherman with every . . . comment. I don’t know how to explain it. There just seemed to be a connection between the two, though they did not seem to be in the same worlds. Hard ta explain, ‘less you was there to witness.”

James exited the feed and took a shallow drink of his beer. He would have lit a cigarette, if it was still legal to smoke in the bar, and if he had not quit years ago. He knew the rest of the story: four dead, including the Yuppie, and the shooter disappeared. Same MO as his brother's shooting.

Robin Walton, several years younger and seemingly more than a generation's difference in world philosophy, had consistently impressed James with his exhaustive connections. James loved Robin, and never missed an opportunity for a casual meeting. Days before Robin's death, he texted and invited James to a luncheon at a downtown Bistro. James eagerly accepted- the two rarely met outside of family gatherings – but they barely had opportunity to catch up as several well dressed patrons stopped by their table to say “hello” and “thanks.”

When James asked who his co-horts were, Robin shrugged and said “people I’ve upgraded security systems.”

Then Robin was killed in an upscale bar by a regular patron. The investigators labeled the shooting random; Robin a victim of stranger psychosis. James’ investigation turned up two previous such shootings in a six month period. This made four. No one would listen to him: the Yuppie/Techie was the key to all these murders. Lunatic walks into a bar, and for no discernible reason kills a random number of usual patrons, and one unknown stranger that happens to be a Silicon Valley Yuppie.

Robin’s cell phone bleeped with a text. “Dude; thought you was dead.”

James stared at the message, unsure how to respond. He never really understood his brother, couldn't pretend to speak the same language. How was he to fit in Robin's world? But who else would solve Robin's murder? Not the police obviously. KCVN was turning deaf ear, had even fired James for asking too many questions. The text on his brother's phone had to lead somewhere.

He just needed a way in. One final step off the deep end.

Captivating? Engaging? Boring? Meet the IN TOO DEEP criteria? Toss it or write on?
Your feedback matters in the comments. Oh and Yes, I did accidentally publish a version of this two weeks ago.
Thank you.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Unique twist there at the end.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

James has Robin's phone? James took his place?

dolorah said...

Oh hell: This was not to publish for another two weeks!!!!

Denise Covey said...


Pat Garcia said...

I would definitely say go for it even though I'm not a horror fan. The confusion about who James really is, Robin or maybe taking Robin's place will force any reader to want to read further.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G

Yolanda Renée said...

First- it definitely fits the prompt!
Second - I LOVE the title!
Third - Investigating his brothers murder sounds like an adventure I want to follow.
Fourth - Great set up, Barbie, the interview, the pattern...

I say go for it, I'm all in!

Olga Godim said...

Oh, gosh. He is going to take his brother's place to find the murderer. That's going to be one scary story, I can feel it. Definitely fits the theme of this challenge.

Deborah Drucker said...

I like murder mysteries and it is interesting to determine the pattern that the murderer is following. Not sure why this murderer wants to kill techie/yuppies. I get the impression his is hiding his main target in killing a random group in the bar each time.

L.G. Keltner said...

I loved this! You have me hooked, and I want to know how things go from here. Well done!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Donna - interesting set up ... which I liked - the bar, the recording etc and Barbie ... so true to form. I hope you can develop the story ... or murder mystery - good luck ... and I hope he finds the killer! Good luck - cheers Hilary

Pat Hatt said...

Ah, swapped places. Never saw that coming. Hopefully he can muster up what needs to be done and find out the truth. Been a while since I heard yuppie used.

desk49 said...

The start of a mystery
A killer he’ll find
Four times it’s happen
With one stranger each time

The cop didn’t see the pattern so
James will have to solve the crime
Now all he have to do is
Understand the serial killers rhyme

D.G. Hudson said...

Twisted is right. No one seems to have a lot of faith in the law catching the criminals today. The legal system seems to fixate on the wrong things, and waste so much time being politically correct. A person would have to be very confident of himself to try to lure a killer, as many psychopaths just feed off the act of killing others. I would encourage your continuing with this series of stories. You've set the stage. I'd like to read more.

Denise Covey said...

Ah, Donna, you've certainly found a strong voice in the horror genre. I love how you've set goals for the year and hope you reach each one. This prologue is a good start. Judging by the other comments, a great start. I'm going to come back and read it again when I have more time.

You know we take just about anything at WEP. No need to get twisted up about what fits the prompt. Whatever spins in your head when you see it...


Anonymous said...

You scaled the story at a steady pace. It reminded me of a movie when I saw James. Well done.

dolorah said...

Pat G: Thanks

Yolanda: for once, the title came first, lol. I had to write something to fit it :)

Olga: I hope it ends up very scary

Deborah: I guess I'll find out as the story unfolds

LG: thanks

Hilary: Cheers!!

Pat H: Lets hope I can muster the Techy-speak to do the Yuppie term justice!

Desk49: right!!

DG: I suffer a lack of faith in LE these days too. Our justice system is afraid of stepping on perpetrator's rights.

DX: I'm making a veery slow start on those goals. I am enthused about this new story concept though,

Nidi: Thanks for stopping by.

Elizabeth said...

I would definitely like to see this story continue. It had me captivated from the start. Great details, I could picture the scene in the bar vividly.

Kalpanaa M said...

What a tangled web you've weaved - this story has to continue. I'm so intrigued about what's actually going on here.

Nilanjana Bose said...

No, don't toss it. This is building up to be one megascary story, I can just feel it. Certainly fits the prompt, no question about that. Very intriguing and engaging the whole set up. I want to read the rest! so please do post a link when it's published.

And I knew what a Yuppie is straightaway - gosh, that made me feel so oooold! :)

Toi Thomas said...

I really enjoyed this. I've been getting into mystery more and this story seems like it'll be a bit of a thriller, bordering on horror with all the killing that's taking place. I love the idea of replacing someone to solve a murder. Great piece! Keep it up.

Adura Ojo said...

I howled at "politically correct chin hair." :D
Donna, your stories are as engaging as they are unpredictable.
Love em.'

Anonymous said...

A thrilling tale of chasing a murder, and what a person is capable of to get justice for someone they care for. There is a lot of room for expansion here.

J Lenni Dorner said...

That was interesting. I like the "voice" the characters had. Good work!

Keith's Ramblings said...

The story, the characters, the voice and the setting were all brilliantly pieced together. Excellent.

Nick Wilford said...

I definitely want more! A very nice "hard boiled" feel to this.

Sally said...

I agree with the other commentators, we need more! Intriguing so far.

Gina Gao said...

I definitely want to read more! This is a great story.

dolorah said...

Thanks everyone. I'll be stopping by soon for return visits :)

Shannon Lawrence said...

I got to the end and wanted more, so definitely compelling!

Caitlin Coppola said...

Nice! Yep :) Keep writing this!

Arlee Bird said...

This was an intriguing read. Kept me hanging on until the end and I'd like to keep reading.

Arlee Bird
Tossing It Out