Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Flash Fiction Friday (Cycle 28) The Sudden Goodbye

Flash Fiction Friday Prompt: RANDOM FIRST SENTENCE – Following the rules of the game listed above, find your first sentence.
Genre: Open, though Hardboiled, noir, crime action would be nice.
Word Count: Under 700 words
Deadline: Thursday, April 28, 2011 4:30 pm EST

(Author's note: Here was the rule. "It’s pretty simple, grab the book closest to you right now. Open to pg. 70. Choose the 7th sentence. In the meme, you would then post that sentence to your status, but for our purposes I want you to use this pseudo-random sentence as your start sentence." Grabbed the closest book and it was "The Castaways" by Elin Hilderbrand.)

The receptionist at Addison’s office, Florabel, answered the phone. Though muffled by the wall separating her work area from his inner office he heard the extreme distaste in her voice suggesting his current client and lover was on the way up from the lobby. It was confirmed a few seconds later as his silver-haired, 60-something assistant opened the door and leaned in. “Mrs. Foster is on her way up boss,” she said with a look of disgust on her face. “Would you mind if I take the rest of the day off so I can go home and take a long shower, whenever she is within fifty-yards of me I suddenly feel dirty.” She finished with all seriousness.

“Sure Flora,” Addison Blake replied, “this meeting should be quick.”

“What?” Flora said taken aback. “I guess it’s then up to her penthouse love nest where your sweaty bodies will clash in ecstasy.” Addison looked at her deep in thought for several seconds without saying anything. Realizing something was wrong Flora backed out silently and closed the door.

Minutes later Sharon Foster walked through the door into Addison’s inner office, her fiery red-hair bouncing on her shoulders and her green eyes gazing adoringly on him as he sat in his old office chair. She was wearing a purple evening gown that paradoxically both clung tightly to her athletic body and was seemingly loose enough that on a whim it could slide off her and fall to the floor.

“Darling,” Sharon whispered in her angelic voice, “I haven’t seen you in days and we’re over an hour late for the Charleston charity benefit tonight. I’m all for being fashionable but this is just rude, and you are not even dressed for the occasion.”

Addison could not help himself but smile at her beauty and the sharp intelligence of the women he had come to know over the last year. As teenagers they had known each other back in high school but traveled in far different social circles. She was the queen of everything, both worshipped and feared by the entire student body and most teachers, on the other hand he was the second-string quarterback playing under her talented and college bound boyfriend. After graduation, she became famous and he discovered how badly people treated each other first in the army, then as a cop, and finally as a private investigator.

When their paths crossed again, she was the distraught wife of a missing investment banker, Thomas Allen Foster, while Addison was a highly recommended private investigator she personally sought out. Addison had taken the case not just for the monetary reward but the chance to be next her again. Sharon’s husband had suddenly disappeared in the Caribbean right before being indicted for allegedly stealing millions of dollars from investors.

Sharon came to Addison in the hopes of finding her husband, or at least his remains allowing her to take control of the rest of his sizable estate. She stood to inherit at least three-hundred million dollars after all the lawyers finished picking over the eighty-billion dollar corpse of his investment firm. Addison began the search and after some possible sightings on various islands Sharon had recommended they use her sailboat and look for him together.

Thomas had scores of hidden condominiums, beach houses, and yachts all through the Caribbean in places way off the tourist track. He often boasted to his wife that he could live in luxury with the money he had in secret accounts and stay hidden from the world. At first Addison was a total professional tracking down the man who had ruined thousands of lives. However, the allure of the Caribbean and the beauty of Sharon Foster slowly challenged this behavior. Before long, they were making love on deserted islands underneath the moon with Addison slowly succumbing to her hints that they could make a life together.

But things about Thomas’ disappearance never added up, his last confirmed sighting had him living on Cat Island in the Bahamas where he owned a beach house. During this time Sharon had witnesses placing her in Nassau for several days shopping while staying at a condo on the island. Her main witnesses confirming her alibi were her maid and a young doctor rumors had was her lover. Neither was with her all the time but the local police were convinced their testimony accounted for Sharon's whereabouts at the time Thomas went missing.  

The home on Cat Island had the latest in security systems including cameras that recorded everything inside and on the grounds in great detail. Various law enforcement officials had already reviewed the videos showed him living a quiet, if not monkish life until he simply disappeared. It was obvious the recording device was tampered with for the crucial time Thomas went missing but it would take a password to be allowed into the security system that everyone knew the paranoid banker always kept to himself.

Important people in America were increasingly eager to expedite Thomas being declared dead with Sharon being one of the most active, so after many months of searching they finally sailed back home. It was during one of Addison’s many nights with Sharon in her home that he began to notice all of Thomas’ memorabilia, of particular note was the title of “Emperor of Wall Street” a business journalist on television had given him on one of his many interviews with her. The rest of the business community had run with the title to the point Thomas made the cover of "Time” magazine looking all regal while wearing a crown. It was then that Addison remembered the bust of Julius Caesar sitting in a corner of the Bahamian beach house next the computer that controlled the security system. On a whim and without telling Sharon he caught a flight back down to Cat Island to test a stupid hunch.

Addison remembered sitting in front of the computer and thinking it shouldn’t be this simple but when he typed in “Caesar” the system accepted the password. A few keystrokes allowed him to recover the deleted video segments and it showed Sharon and Thomas enjoying a pleasant breakfast. The resolution on the screen was high enough that it allowed Addison to see the poison she poured into his orange juice and how a few minutes later she dragged his dead body from the house. The outside cameras showed her dumping the body into a speed boat tied up at the dock then riding off on the beautiful electric blue ocean.


Shaking off the memories of their time together and of the video showing Sharon murdering her banker husband in cold blood Addison reached for a small television remote in kept in the drawer of his desk. "Sharon there is something you need to see." He said while turning on the television and starting the DVD player holding a copy of the security video showing Thomas' last day alive.

As the incriminating video ended with Sharon in the speedboat taking her husband's body out to sea to be dumped Addison was only slightly surprised to see she had whipped out a nasty looking small semi-automatic pistol which was pointed straight at his heart. “Couldn’t leave well enough alone you stupid fuck,” she hissed at him. “We had our good times and you would have been well paid, but now you are just one more loose end I will somehow have to clean up. I have enough money and power to clear my name even here in Charleston.”

Still sitting in his office chair Addison figured this was it, she was only three feet away and while the bullet would be small, at that distance he had no chance. Addison did see a blur on the other side of his office door and was very surprised to see Flora kick it open and pointing a plastic looking toy gun at Sharon who was spinning around trying to aim her weapon on the sudden disturbance.

Two small darts embedded themselves in Sharon’s chest after a popping sound came from the toy, Sharon then went into spasms and fell to the floor unconscious. Just out of simple spite Flora kept the voltage flowing on the tazer with Sharon’s body still twitching and her eyes open but sightless.

“Glad I came back to check on you boss.” Flora said with a bemused tone in her voice. “Never liked that woman, I always felt she was trouble.” Flora said with the sound of police sirens in the distance growing louder.

Addison got from his chair and walked over to Sharon, looking down on the unconscious lady he silently thought himself a fool while wondering what could have been.

(Another author's note: Yes, it is WAY over the word limit and I apologize, as usual it was tough just being able to sit down and write without having someone insanely screaming my name every two minutes. When I started writing things got out of hand and I just kept going. The last twenty minutes trying to get this done was wild, I will now go have a couple of beers.) 


Ingrid Hardy said...

Word count smerd count... this was completely enjoable! Really, really like the characters. My only complaint, I did not understand this sentence: "Seconds after showing Sharon the copy of the video she tried to delete Addison was only slightly surprised to see she had whipped out a nasty looking small semi-automatic pistol which was pointed straight at his heart." --It confused me somewhat, but truy, the characters were VERY interesting. Well done!

Cloudia said...

you deserve a beer.


Warm Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral




Beach Bum said...

Ingrid: You were right! I jumped straight from Addison's memories to Sharon pulling the gun and it did not make any sense.

I went back and added a couple of pieces that should smooth it out.

Cloudia: You know, I soon found out I was out of beer.

Windsmoke. said...

Sorry to say but i saw that the wife done it from a mile away, very enjoyable all the same especially the poison part as i'm a big fan of Agatha Christie who uses poison to commit murder in many of her books :-).

Marja said...

wondering what could have been hey?
Bad to the bone. Loved your story and I thought it would be her. Always good to have a woman backing you up :)

Akelamalu said...

Thank God for Flora! I think she's sweet on her boss. ;)

Loved it Beach. Are you sure you're not a published author - you're very, very good you know. :)

John McElveen said...

THIS was absolutely AWESOME!!!!

Great job New friend!!


Teresa said...

Yay for the "older" woman...never count them out !

Flannery Alden said...

Neat story. Good bless the hearts of PI's. It can get the best of them, but reason usually wins out.

I think you could make one more pass at editing this and be able to make the word count. There's a good story here with a lot of details that are interesting but not germane to the plot.

That said...good stuff!

RegCPA5963 said...

I liked the story, reminded me of an old time crime story, where you can guess the outcome, but it takes nothing away from its entertainment. Call me strange but I kinda liked Mrs. Foster

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

Good story... I see the "girl Friday" saves the day! Yay, Flora!!

I second Flannery's comment... you could trim some of the "non-essential" and come in under the count. You definitely have talent... flash fiction is a good place to refine it.

The first draft of my very first flash fiction story was almost 400 words over the 800 word count allowed... it was an agonizing process, but I finally trimmed it down to 812. And, my submission for this week actually came in under 700. I am LOVING flash!!

Best line in your story... for me... "She was wearing a purple evening gown that paradoxically both clung tightly to her athletic body and was seemingly loose enough that on a whim it could slide off her and fall to the floor." I LOVE this line... creates some great imagery in my head.

Thank you for posting this story... I enjoyed it very much!

Beach Bum said...

Windsmoke: Yeah, I never really tried to hide the fact. For me it was Addison's desire for Sharon that was dominate. This was yet another cluster fuck of a story for me. I had a certain way I wanted to write it which would have kept be near the word limit but that blew up with the demands around me and once I did have time to sit and write I lost it.

By that time I just didn't care and wanted to get the story written.

Marja: I actually based Flora on a person I know, the woman would be an excellent president.

Akelamalu: Me a published author? Thank you so much, but only in the fantasy realm that is my strange mind.

John: Thanks Dude!

Teresa: Like I mentioned to Windsmoke, I had an actual person in mind for Flora.

Flannery: Thank you, its a mess I know. Thinking about putting a desk and ear plug in a closet with a doorknob that can be locked before I try writing next time.

Reg and Veronica: The person I visualized for Mrs. Foster was on a commercial for adult underwear last year. She looked 40-something was smoking hot.

Doc said...

I wouldn't sweat the word count. You've written a solid story that holds it's own. Good job Beach!


Ron Earl Phillips said...

Man that was long ... ;)

Good stuff Parrothead. Classic feel. There were a couple spots like Ingrid mentioned, but didn't hurt the flow.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I loved the self-awareness in the line Addison remembered sitting in front of the computer and thinking it shouldn’t be this simple but when he typed in “Caesar” the system accepted the password. It feel like a bit of a thumbing of the nose to all those films in which the hacker breaks into the White House computer system in one try.
Very refreshing to see Flora kick some ass!

Pixel Peeper said...

Another two thumbs up to Flora!

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

Have you given thought to writing a story with Flora as the main character? Would love to see more of her!

Ranch Chimp said...

Geeezz Bum ... this is horrid! These folk's are "evil" ... glad it's only fiction and I'm poor! :) ... No .... fine story indeed Bum. I almost expected to see a Royal Wedding story though, due to the occassion. I can only say I watched it (RW), and it brought tear's to my eye's ... shameful being a grown man ... of course I covered it as well in my journal/ blog, tear's and all.

Joyce said...

I'm with everybody else. Who cares how many words this had! This was fantastic. Happy Secretaries or Receptionists Day for sure. Love the characters and the way you built it up. I had a feeling the wife was up to no good, but it was cool the way you eased all that in. And the ending was so perfect. Would really love to see more these two as well. Great team!

Nance said...

"After graduation, she became famous and he discovered how badly people treated each other first in the army, then as a cop, and finally as a private investigator."

I'd love to make that a starting sentence in a piece of my own.

Beach Bum said...

Doc: Thanks, I will do better on the next story.

Ron and Barbara: Thanks, yeah I will have to touch it up eventually.

Pixel and Veronica: A Flora story is a definite possibility.

Ranch: Watched a little of it and listened to most Friday morning. Its good to have a little fantasy every once and a while in these sorry times.

Joyce: May write a followup when the urge hits.

Nance: Feel free, I've know a few people like Sharon, they are a curious bunch.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Red haired vixens with green eyes and purple attire are always a risky venture. And, yet, we never can really resist, now can we?

Anonymous said...

Sorry it took me so long to get to this. Busy weekend that turned into a busier week.

You really had some great lines in this, lines that I know will stick with me for awhile. Loved the allusions to Caesar, which fit perfectly for a character like this.

Maybe I've got some Srping Fever, or maybe I just need a vacation, but I found myself really wanting to know more about Addison and Sharon's adventures in the islands. With the way you were knocking out the great lines in here, I know I would have lost myself completely in whatever longer story you had to tell. Now that I think about it, I've often found myself wishing these stories were in longer form...