Tag Archives: crime

All I want for Christmas is a not guilty verdict

Well, Merry Christmas everyone. It doesn’t look very Christmassy here at the moment, with the warm weather and green grass, but I guess I can’t complain.

This week’s Friday Fictioneers story is the first repeat that I participated in before, back in 2012; in fact, it was my 3rd story ever, which you can read here, if you want. I was tempted to use the same story, but I ended up writing a different one.

FF3

copyright Scott L. Vannater

 

Okay, I ate the milk and cookies. But I did not eat the Elf on the Shelf.

I know the empty little suit is incriminating but it wasn’t me. Go ask the dog.

True, the suit was found in my bed.

Okay, I admit I ate the elf, but I didn’t attack the presents. The shreds of wrapping paper were planted.

By whom? No clue.

Fine! I shredded the presents, but that was before the fat man climbed down the chimney. I didn’t kill him, I swear.

This is all very stressful, your Honor. I request a scratching post recess.

 


The Bucket List of Crime

 

Joel had a bucket list of minor infractions, so when he saw a hitchhiker outside a prison, he picked him up.

“Thanks,” the man said. “You know you weren’t supposed to pick me up, right?”

“What, you gonna tell on me?”

“So why’d you do it?”

Joel pulled out his bucket list binder. The man flipped through it.

“Bicycling without helmet, illegal fishing, petty theft,” he read. “That’s a misdemeanor, actually.”

“Law expert, eh?” Joel said. “Makes sense, I suppose. What were you in for?”

“Oh, I wasn’t a prisoner,” the man said. “My car broke down. I’m the warden.”

hitchhikers


Blind Angel Luck

Today is my birthday, although this story has nothing to do with that.

Blind Angel Luck

The angel in my hand was blind, projecting an air of bland, unfocused benevolence out into the world. That was how I had envisioned it when I bought it: a chunk of divine plutonium, radiating good luck and positive vibes to all those nearby. It hadn’t really worked out that way.

“Hey, is this for sale?” my friend Phil asked, picking it up. People were circulating through my apartment, looking over the price-tagged items. I told people I needed to de-clutter. No one was fooled; I could barely buy food.

“Just take it,” I said, “if you dare. I bought it for good luck, after all.”

“Ah.” He put it in his pocket, then slipped $20 into my hand. “I’ll take my chances,” he said with a wink.

Two hours later, the sale was over and I was just sitting down in my much-emptier living room when someone pounded on the door. It was Phil.

“It worked! It worked!”

“What worked?”

“The angel. I went to the corner shop to buy a Coke and I was coming back when I got mugged.”

“How is that good?”

“I threw the angel at him when he turned around. It knocked him out cold. The police are giving me a reward. I’ll split it with you.”

I still don’t believe in good luck charms. But I might start carrying a stone angel around with me anyway.

 


I Woke up on Monday as a Dog

I woke up on Monday as a dog—a sloppy, tangle-furred St. Bernard who had grown up on the streets. Everyone in the neighborhood knew me and as the sun peeked between the brownstone houses that lined the east side of the street, I set out to discover breakfast. A few people called out to me, but I just barked and kept going. People around here might know me, but no one ever fed me.

No one except Mae, my adopted mother. She was blind—poor thing—but loved me no matter what. She fed me the same fare regardless of my form, sometimes with terrible results. There was a freezing day in February where I came to her as a goat only to find she had saved a steak just for me, cooked to medium-rare perfection. It repulsed me and as much as it hurt me to reject it, I could not touch it.

Mae was sitting on the porch steps when I bounded up. She could always tell when it was me. “Good morning, Harry. Come sit and talk to me for a while.” I barked at her and she nodded. “Maybe another day then.”

I wolfed down the bacon and eggs she had set out on the steps and lapped at the water next to it. The rest of the day was spent running around the streets and tearing into the garbage bags behind the McDonalds, searching for abandoned scraps and running away from the shouts and threats of the workers. It was a glorious existence.

On Tuesday, I woke up as a man and the grimmer reality that came with it. I ran a hand through my greasy hair, tried to straighten my clothes, and shuffled over to Mae’s where I ate with fork and knife and we talked about the weather and the arthritis she was getting in her knees. I brought my dishes in, washed them and the rest of the pile there, then took out her garbage. I was walking over to the park to sleep when I heard a shout.

“Harry, come here for a second.” It was a cop. I don’t know which one: I’m not good with faces, or names. He waited until I had approached the car, then kept looking at me until I was thoroughly unnerved.

“Some people complained about you urinating on the street yesterday.”

“Aw, Officer, I wasn’t myself yesterday,” I said. “You don’t arrest other dogs for marking their territory.”

The officer sighed and looked down. “I gotta take you in again, Harry. You know I hate to do it.”

“For what? What did I do?”

“You want the list?”

I went quietly. Violence is not what I’m about. I sat in the corner of the public cell but the other prisoners seemed to know me and left me alone. Luckily, the next day I woke up briefly to find that I was a sloth and then slept most of the day. When I did wake, it took half an hour to get over to the can and back to the bunk. At the end of the day, an official came in and talked to me privately but I was too sleepy to hear much. I caught the words “psychiatric” and “trial” but it didn’t concern me.

The next day, I woke up as a dragon.

The shock of sudden strength after a day as a sloth was electrifying. I had only been a dragon once before and that was when I had a horde to protect and I had spent the whole day sleeping on it. But not this time. I sat hunched on my bunk, eyes closed but flexing the muscles in my limbs and wings, feeling the deadly power in my claws.

“Harry, it’s time to go,” I heard someone call. I didn’t move. “Just go get him,” someone else said. “Cuffs but no shackles. He’s not a high risk.” The tip of my tail flicked back and forth in anticipation.

The cell door open and I sprang with a roar. I caught one look at the shocked expression on the guard’s face before I was on him, raking my talons across his face. My tail slammed him against the bars and I was free, my huge bulk crashing through the next room. It was pure exhilaration and I reveled in the power that I suddenly possessed.

I smashed through one room after another until suddenly, I was outside and then I was airborne and flying over the city. But where to go now? I couldn’t visit Mae—the weight of this new form would crush her house. I could not retreat to the subway system like I often did, not with my huge frame.

In the end, the form that gave me freedom caused my downfall. A dragon cannot hide well and they found me and netted me and brought me to another facility. A man came and talked to me, but all I could do was roar at him. It was his own fault for trying to talk to a dragon.

Today I woke up as a cat but they still guarded me as if I were a dragon. It’s a shame and I suppose I’ll never get out of here unless I turn into something stronger than a dragon, something strong enough to bend steel and smash concrete. I look out my window and see the beautiful blue sky. A perfect day for a cat to go exploring—a beautiful tabby cat with golden eyes who’s never hurt a person in his life.


The Rage Within

The Rage Within

ADX-Florence Supermax Prison, Fremont County, CNN

The guards say that no inmates ever went near Karl Zakharin’s zen garden, scratched out of a sandy corner of the exercise ground. Not unless they wanted one of their fingers to become a grisly addition, the center of a newly-pinked swirl of sand. Every day at 10:00 sharp, the crime boss would smooth out the sand and spend an hour drawing circles and whorls with a stick or arranging cigarette butts in an aesthetic fashion.

“Just letting out the rage that’s trapped inside,” he would say to anyone who asked. The guards were not so trusting and routinely dug up the sand patch, looking for contraband. They found nothing.

Three years later, the mystery was solved. A codebook, found 2000 miles away in a gang hideout, detailed the complex language through which Zakharin communicated with his vast syndicate. Authorities also found a commercially-built drone, which had flown high overheard every day, capturing the day’s messages.

Confronted by this evidence, Zakharin only smiled his customary leer of filed points. “It was therapy,” he told guards. “The rage was confined here behind these walls. I was only letting it out into the real world where it belongs.”

Zakharin is believed to have ordered the murders of 136 people while incarcerated.


Demon in the Light – Friday Fictioneers

I’m a bit weird when it comes to Friday Fictioneers. I look at the picture, try to find the most likely story, then do something completely different. To me, this picture has the look of fantasy, so I avoided that. That’s just me though; I look forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with.

copyright Kent Bonham

copyright Kent Bonham

Demon in the Light

“The book’s published.”

With those words, everything I had worked for started slipping away.

“Why do you think Walt did it?” I asked. “Why did he ruin his legacy and put our whole organization in jeopardy?”

“I guess he wanted a clear conscience.”

“But at what expense?”

Demon in the Light was a bestseller. The autobiography of Walt Brody, the founder of Asian Mercy, meticulously detailed his life of secret crime.

Now our donations are in freefall and I’m desperately trying to convince people to keep giving, for the children. And I keep wishing Walt had kept his veneer intact.

 


I Killed Rapunzel – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Sandra Crook

copyright Sandra Crook

I Killed Rapunzel

I killed Rapunzel.

The hair, it finally got to her. Some say it was the five hours of brushing a day that sent her mad; others, that her conditioner was cursed. All I know is she started strangling people.

She got five cops down on Brown Street; broke their necks with a single tug. Nothing there when I arrived but five corpses, and a single, 90-foot strand of hair.

I finally got her with a poison-tipped comb. No reward; they just handed me a pair of scissors.

Now what am I going to do with thirty bales of flaxen hair?

 


The Reality Gun

I woke up in what looked like a lab. Which was weird, since I’d fallen asleep on my couch watching reruns of the X-Files. A young woman bent over me and smiled brightly.

“Good morning, Mr. Churchwater.”

“Where am I?” I asked.

“You’re in a secure location.” That was a bad sign.

“How do you know my name?”

“Everyone knows the name Gregory Churchwater,” the woman said. “You’re the most famous hostage negotiator in the world.”

I smiled to myself. Heck yeah, I was. Time Magazine had named me their Negotiator of the Year three years in a row.

“The thing is, Mr. Churchwater, you’re too valuable a negotiator to waste your time with bank robbery standoffs and small time stuff like that. So we decided to kidnap you and freeze you cryogenically until a really big threat came along that no one else could handle.”

I was still trying to get my bearings and understand fully what she was saying. “You mean the government kidnapped me?”

“Yes.”

“Which one?”

“All of them,” she said. “Well, at least 183 of them. They formed the PCP: Protect Churchwater Pact, just for that purpose”

“You could have just asked me instead of kidnapping me.”

“Oh, you know you would have talked us out of it,” she chided, with a you-should-know-better smile.

I sat up, my head spinning. The room was all white and Star-Trekky. “The last thing I remember, it was May 6, 2018. You mean I’m in the future now?”

“Yes, you are. We have a huge crisis that is threatening the universe in a fundamental way.” Her smile never changed as she said this and I wondered if she was an android.

“What is the date today?” I asked. To think, all my family and friends could be dead now.

“It’s June 20, 2018,” she said. “Frankly, if we’d known, we wouldn’t have bothered kidnapping and freezing you. But that’s hindsight for you. Now, Dr. Grimsword will tell you about the threat.”

A young man in jeans and a T-shirt walked in. He saw me staring at his clothes and glanced down. “Casual Friday,” he said, apologetically. “If I’d known, I’d have worn a tie. But that’s super-villains for you.”

“Super-villains?”

“That’s why we woke you,” he said. “There’s a scientist named Igor Paintspackle Wong who’s holding the whole world ransom. He has built . . . a reality gun.”

This is not a reality gun but it came up when I did a Google Image search. It is apparently the scariest MRI in the world.

This is not a reality gun but it came up when I did a Google Image search. It is apparently the scariest MRI in the world.

Dr. Grimsword stopped with dramatic effect. “Which means,” I said slowly. “That it’s real?”

“No, it’s a gun that destroys fundamental aspects of reality. To demonstrate it, he blew up 5+3=8. We’re not sure how he did it, but now, 5+3 just comes back as an error. On a computer, on paper, even on your fingers, doesn’t matter. Just try it.”

I held up my hands, five fingers and three. “Damn,” I said mildly. “That’s really weird. I’ve never seen an error on my fingers before.”

“Hawking is working on fixing it. In the meantime, just switch hands. He didn’t mess with the communicative property.”

I switched hands, three fingers and five and sighed with relief. “So, where is this guy now?”

“He’s in a coffee shop in London,” Grimsword said. “Now he’s threatening to destroy the concept of beauty.”

“That’s pretty fundamental,” I said. Being groggy made me say obvious things. “So, we’d think beautiful people looked ugly or something?”

“No, we wouldn’t even know what beauty was,” Grimsword said. “As you can imagine, the film and modeling industries are in a panic. The only group supporting it is UGGO, the Unattractive Girls and Guys Organization, although we suspect they’re only doing it for the free publicity.”

“Alright,” I said. “Get me a cup of coffee and get this guy on the phone.”

A few minutes later, the phone was ringing and I was slurping a little life-giving caffeine into my mouth.

“Hello?”

“Hey, is this Mr. Wong? This is Gregory Churchwater.”

“Oh, it’s you,” he said. “I was wondering if you were going to call. Don’t even try to talk me out of it.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” I said. “Sense of beauty? Who needs it? Fire away, I say.” I saw Dr. Grimsword give me a look of alarm, but I had a brutally effective reverse psychology. I once told a terrorist that if he didn’t kill every hostage he had in five seconds, I was going to shoot them for him. He gave himself up three seconds later.

“Don’t you want to know my demands?” Igor Paintspackle Wong asked.

I sighed. “Fine. Get it over with.”

“I want to win a Nobel Prize,” he said. “I have been nominated for an award six years in a row and never won. Do you know what that’s like, to always be a nominee and never a winner.”

“Here’s the problem with that,” I said, stopping to take another sip of that glorious coffee. “If we give you a Nobel Prize now, it sets a bad precedent. What’s to stop some other mad scientist next year—”

“What did you call me?”

“What? You sound angry to me and you’re a scientist, so you’re a scientist who’s mad, right? Anyway, as I was saying, other mad scientists will get the idea it’s okay to hold the world hostage to get an award.”

“Well, then kiss beauty good-bye,” Wong said. “And it won’t stop there. Every day until I get my Nobel Prize, something else goes. Tomorrow it’s the concept of humor, then fashion, then justice, then pi, then being on time, then—”

“Yeah, I think I got the picture,” I said. “Listen, I hesitate to do this, but I think there’s something else I could interest you in. There’s another prize, much more exclusive than the Nobel Prizes, called the I.G. Nobel Prizes. The I.G. stands for “Intense Genius”, by the way. They don’t even award them every year, it’s that exclusive. I think you could win one for this reality gun of yours, if nothing else.”

There was a pause. “You really think so?”

“Oh, I know so,” I said. “You’re more than qualified. Look, let’s do this: you go get yourself another cappuccino and I’ll contact the Ig Nobel Prize people and see what we can set up, okay?”

“Okay, sounds good,” Wong said. “You know, I thought you were going to be mean, but you’re really nice.”

“Yep, that’s me,” I said, then hung up the phone. I turned to Dr. Grimsword. “Now, you get a contract agreeing never to kidnap me again or I’ll call him right back and tell him what the Ig Nobel Prizes really are.”

He nodded in defeat and left. “And get me another coffee!” I shouted.


Lust by Number – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Dawn Q. Landau

copyright Dawn Q. Landau

Lust by Number

One lonely shack by the shore of an unremembering sea.

Two lovers locked in the frantic embrace of the desperate.

Three days immersed in the depths of sin and escape.

Four men in a skiff, gold band gleaming on the leader.

Five minutes of pain, screams and shots.

Four men recede back over the horizon.

Three days of silence before a fisherman comes to spend a hard-earned weekend, soon spoiled.

Two desperate lovers carried away under sheets, leaving behind the life they pledged each other.

One shack, festooned with yellow tape, sitting lonely by the shore of an unremembering sea.

 


The World is my Stage – Friday Fictioneers

copyright Sandra Crook

copyright Sandra Crook

The World is my Stage

“1 billion hits by midnight or New York City is gone!” screamed the title of the live Internet feed. Seven hours left: 540,000,000 hits needed. The CIA considered them a credible threat and now the whole world watched, breath held.

Jason sat in front of the nuclear weapon mock-up, webcam capturing everything except his own screen. Members were reporting from all over the country. Everything was almost ready, and then the real strike, the hammer blow of vengeance, would fall.

The first rule of sleight of hand, Jason thought. Keep the audience focused anywhere but where the real action is.


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