Sunday, November 20, 2011

F3 Cycle 57 "All in a night's work"



Flash Fiction Friday Cue: Use a bottle of ketchup in your story.
Word limit: 1000
Genre: Open



 “It’s not a fit night for the living to go outside Mr. Chevalier,” the old doorman Thomas said while opening the ornate glass and metal door leading outside my apartment building.

Lost in my own thoughts when I finally comprehended the words Thomas said I found them so odd they froze me in place on the edge of the foyer. I pondered the possible meaning, praying to a God I had long abandoned that this gentle and kind man was not implying anything. Standing there watching the wind and the rain from the stalled tropical storm hovering just off the coast, battering the city of Savannah, Georgia dispelled any foolish doubts that had momentarily crossed my mind.

“Yes, Thomas,” I said adjusting the collar of my trench coat and pulling my safari-style fedora tightly down on my head. “This night is not fit for the living; unfortunately I have important business with someone tonight.”

“Opening another restaurant sir, how many do you own now?” Thomas asked innocently.

“Maybe, if fate continues to be kind to me, and I own four” I said absentmindedly then stepping out into the weather. An awning stretching out from the door to the edge of the street prevented the worst of the weather from pelting me as I walked the distance to my waiting car. Feeling guilty for my brief paranoia I quickly turned around. “Say Thomas, it has been ages since I saw you and your lovely wife at my café on Bay Street. Call Sonya and make a reservation at your convenience, everything will be on the house.” The smile and thumbs up Thomas gave me in thanks soothed my troubled soul, if I have one, allowing me to focus my thoughts on the unpleasant task ahead.

My appointment was with a man in his private residence across the state line in South Carolina. Mere minutes after leaving the city behind the rural nature of the area along with the inclement weather combined to make the night pitch black, so deep was the darkness I began to feel myself transported in time. Driving the empty county roads with the undeveloped woods and marshes fleeting images briefly illuminated by my headlights I felt as if it was possible that anything could jump out in front of me. For various reasons I found that thought strangely funny.

Before long, the GPS system mounted on the dashboard of my car signaled my pending arrival. Turning off the main road, I was greeted by two huge horse statues on either side of the ornate gravel driveway. Minutes later, I was pulling up in front of a similarly ostentatious gate that was no mere ornamental fixture. The gate itself was over twenty-feet tall and was accompanied by what had to be a fifteen foot fence that I easily guessed would run the entire length of the estate. Security cameras, which strangely point both out and inward on the property, ran at intervals along its length.

“State the nature of your business here,” barked from a speaker mounted in a brick column beside the driveway.

“I’m Simon Chevalier; I have an appointment with Mr. Parker.” I responded beginning to feel the hairs on the back of neck tingle.

“When the gates open follow the driveway to the manor, do not stop. When you arrive someone will be at the door to let you in.” The person speaking to me from the speaker said.

With my destination in sight, I cheerfully followed the instructions, which soon had me inside the house and sitting in a comfortable chair in a study whose walls were lined with books. A cup of tea and a fire burning in the fireplace were very dignified touches of hospitality. Mr. Parker even had the dignity to allow me a few minutes to enjoy my surroundings.

“I trust the drive here was not too inconvenient,” Anthony Parker said storming into the room dressed in a very casual polo shirt and slacks, “and that the staff has met your every need while waiting for me.”

“Yes, everything has been fine.” I said, again making a mental note of the staff, they were loose ends that would eventually have to be dealt with.

The exchange of pleasantries was typical but Parker decided to come to the point first. “Please, Mr. Chevalier explain to me who pointed you my way and why I should do business with you.”

“Mr. Parker, we are both successful business men having friends on both sides of the law, which precludes me from disclosing where I heard your name. Just let me assure you I have… tastes that I am sure you can help me satisfy and I am willing to pay handsomely to have them met.“

From the minute I saw Parker walk into the room I knew my information was correct and that I was in the presence of an utter evil monster. The huge book he pulled down from one of the shelves with pictures of little boys for me to choose from only pushed me beyond my limit of endurance. I held back when I slapped him across the room just so he could see my eyes turn blood red and my vampire fangs extend from my upper and lower gums.

***

A few nights later, I am relaxing in the private dining room of my favorite restaurant. The stew placed in front of me is not exactly to my liking, the chunks of meat were stringy and I had failed to add enough red wine to the base leaving it rather bland. When my culinary skills fail, it depresses me but the arrival of Chief Detective Altman of the Savannah police department raised my spirits.

“So,” he began taking a seat at my table, “how did it go?”

“Robert, it went so well that I am now having Mr. Parker for dinner, or at least his remains.”

“His friends and benefactors are in a panic, the governors of three states and a certain United States senator are all asking the FBI to look into his mysterious and very sudden disappearance.” Robert said coyly watching me eat my dinner.

“Well that is why you ask me to look into these indelicate matters from time to time,” I replied after wiping my mouth with my napkin.

“Yeah,” Detective Altman said, “I just want you to know how much I appreciate your help on these problems we are unable to solve.”

“I did them for your grandfather, your father, and when your son ascends to your position I will do my best for him.”

“You’re a good man Simon,” Robert said getting up from my table and given my abilities, I knew he truly meant it. “Oh yeah, I almost forgot,” he said while fishing something out of his coat pocket.

He placed a bottle of Heinz ketchup on my table, a very old joke that went back to his grandfather. One that never fails to make me again feel my lost humanity.


19 comments:

Akelamalu said...

Vampires make better friends than enemies I would imagine LOL

Windsmoke. said...

Very well written especially the bottle of ketchup symbolising blood at the end :-).

Pixel Peeper said...

Did not expect that turn of events!

lime said...

i like it! you tell a terrific story and give that ketchup bottle a lot of meaning. now...can you send simon to penn state?

Randal Graves said...

You really cut the mustard with this one.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Clever!

Joyce said...

This is fantastic. I also had no hint as to where this was going, or especially, how it would finish. At first, it was filled with sadness. I felt the character was perhaps not like the rest of us, but still he seemed lost, without purpose, and out alone on a dark and stormy night on a quest that was not of his own choosing, but strictly of necessity. Then, when he reaches his destination and you know his mission, you feel like cheering out loud. At the end? You do cheer out loud. What a great story and I love Simon. Classy 'guy'!

Joyce said...

Well, I'm glad this finally posted here. I also posted my comments on the F3 site, but I thought I'd try again here. So glad it worked!

Mike said...

Nice bit of foreshadowing in the first two paragraphs followed up by the satisfying demise of Mr Parker. Rare and well done I think.

Veronica Marie Lewis-Shaw said...

“It’s not a fit night for the living to go outside Mr. Chevalier,”

Excellent tale, Beach. That first line is a perfect, yet subtle introduction to the reader of your vampyre character. I love how you take his inference of Thomas' words and gently lead the reader to conclusion.

I love the little 'hints' dropped throughout the narrative, leading up to a nice finish.

Thank you!

Good pacing here... not so heavy on description as to mire the reader, yet more than sufficient to tell the tale and keep the reader's interest.

Liberality said...

There are a few more people, well probably way too many people actually, that this vampire needs to meet up with.

Good story!

Cloudia said...

keep that humanity alive!


Did you see your boy Buffet last night on Hawaii 5-O?


Aloha from Honolulu

Comfort Spiral

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MRMacrum said...

Nicely twisted tale.

Truth 101 said...

The critic in me thinks you needed more words but I know you were limited.

On the other hand it's cool to see a cannibal vampire the hero.

The most amazing thing is you have time to write these stories BB. Wish I had your talent and drive.

Sue H said...

Yet another goody, BB.
The vampire as hero - excellent twist! I did wonder how you would work in the ketchup - great ending!

Beach Bum said...

Akelamalu: Yeah, I wrote three vampire stories, which are still on my blog where I made them utterly evil. I felt I had to give them a break.

Windsmoke: Thanks! Just playing around on a Saturday morning.

Pixel: Had to work something good into the story, I really did not know if it worked.

Lime: Got to admit Penn State was on my mind a little when I wrote it. Its getting bad when I can I can take what is normaly viewed as a monster and make him the good guy as compared to "normal" humans.

Randal: Actually got hungry after throwing in the Savannah, Georgia angle. A bunch of great places to eat down there.

Susan: Thank you very much!

Joyce: Yeah, I figured the bad guy got just what he deserved. Then again I can somehow see Simon getting heartburn for eating such a worthless pile of slime.

Mike: Thanks! I sort of like this one myself.

Veronica: I cut a good bit detail and was worried I might have still left too much in the story. I wanted to make Simon a person of culture and civilized behavior as compared to the real life monsters that lurk in real life.

Liberality: I have just about lost all my good humor with republicans, in my mind Simon prowls the halls of congress even now looking for the office of some butthole from Virginia.

Cloudia: Caught a little of 5-o and will see the entire episode on the internet.

Crum: Thanks!

Truth: I wish I could tell you how many stories die on the vine or turned out to be crap.

Sue H: I someone picture it as a joke because Simon is such a lover of fine food.

Nance said...

::squirm::
Let it not be said that The Bum is one to avoid touchy subjects.

Glen said...

You've reminded me that it is too long since I joined in - I need to get back on it.

Also that I need some ketchup

goatman said...

Use "saturnine" in a sentence:

Saturnine is one of those expressive words for which I know no definition without research.

Nice story.