No loose ends

She grabbed a handful of his shirt, and roughly pulled him close to her. With no provocation, she grasped his lower lip firmly between her teeth, and proceeded to run her tongue slowly, seductively, along the line of his upper lip..

He felt a deeply sensuous growl escape her lips and travel like renegade electricity thru the tip of her tongue. In that instant, every fiber of his being simultaneously ignited..

Before he was able to wonder who she was, or what had possessed her, she let go.. One smoldering over the shoulder glance, and she was gone.

That was Friday night. It was Monday, and Giacomo still could not get the encounter out of his mind.

“I mean- I know I’m good lookin’- but come on..” He addressed his smirking reflection just this morning as he raised two days worth of coarse black stubble from his chin while  seriously considering the off beat chance that he had been such a lousy kisser, that she… “Na dat can’t be it…”

“Gio, you in dere?” Big Frank Malleo spat past the soggy cigar invariably clenched between his teeth. “ ‘Cause ya know, dese things ain’t in stone. I can always get someone else for dis job. Someone dat’s gonna give it his full, ya know, attention.”

“Na, Frank come on.” Gio smiled as he turned on his best Sicilian Submissive routine. “You know I’m your boy. I’m with you man, you got me Frank. All of me. You got my word.”

“Den let’s get moving on dis.” Frank’s previously reprimanding tone turned strictly business as he pushed a manilla envelope across their usual cafe table on the patio outside Pascarelli’s. “You know what to do. Don’t get back to me. Just do it.”

With that, Frank stood up, pushed back his summer weave fedora and entered the ornate wrought iron door of Pascarelli’s. Gio knew better than to be there when he returned.

Elise scrutinized her reflection from every angle. This face was her calling card. Her VIP pass. Her one ticket to easy street. She growled seductively at her likeness in the mirror and ran a wanton tongue over perfectly painted lips- her best rendition of an insatiably hungry mouth. She had put a lot of time into perfecting that look and damn if it wasn’t paying off..  

After all it had snagged her Ethan, hadn’t it? Ok, he was paunchy and forty five, but he was deliciously powerful in all the right places. His name alone demanded more respect than anyone she had ever known before she met him. It opened doors, cemented loyalties, and removed obstacles, as in the never to be heard from again kind of removed. But, aughtch! The mere thought of him touching each night her made her porcelain skin crawl.

Not so with that hunky guy she had laid one on the other night at the club. Now, he was hot. Well- in a big dumb deigo kind of way.

Those half mast bedroom eyes, that hadn’t’ even notice she existed till she had his delicious lower lip between her teeth, had whet her appetite from across the room. And that kiss!! “Oh my God!” she moaned just barely out loud-  that just might have been worth whatever Ethan would do to her if he ever found out.

But that wasn’t gonna happen.

Gio grabbed his gear and set up in the second floor apartment immediately after he left Frank at Pascarelli’s. He knew better than to let his mind wander back to the sexy mystery woman, so the less time he had to think the better.

This was a huge job. He had no idea how huge until he half slid the photo out of the manilla envelope in his car and saw none other than Ethan Dennis staring back at him. Whoa..

He had started out a small time hood, known on the street as Dennis the Menace. A couple a well placed caps, one of which faded Frank’s youngest brother, Dom and the Menace quickly ranked up to shot caller. The rest, as they say, was history.

Today he ran the largest street apothecary in the city. Rolling in dough was putting it mildly. Word was he owned a thirty room mansion on the East side complete with twelve bathrooms, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and some ridiculously manicured English Rose Garden. Who’d a thunk it? A guy that makes his bones gunning Frank Malleo’s kid brother likes ta play with flowers… Go figure.

Gio trained his scope on the secluded garden table the well greased Maitre d had reserved for Lord Ethan and his luncheon companion.

“Nothing to it.” He told himself as he adjusted the focus on his scope and lit a smoke.

His phone sounded, the assigned ringtone letting him know without looking that the target was on his way to the table. He watched casually through his field glasses as Lord Ethan and his luncheon companion, ‘probably a real babe if she’d take off those sunglasses’ were graciously seated at the table, and then waited for the Maitre d to exit the terrace before he lined up his scope.

The dispatch was going to be textbook. He had a clear headshot. Wham-Bam-Thank you Ma’am and he’d be outta here.

“Let’s do this.”

Mission accomplished, he rolled up the tarp, and thoroughly inspected the space for any sign the rifle had been there. Finding none, he saundered leisurely down the back stairs of the apartment building that would leave him off where he parked his car.

Just his luck, the midday traffic was backed up and a moving truck was blocking his exit. Impatiently he hit the steering wheel with the palm of his hand, looking anxiously for any break in the traffic.

And then it happened. He could hardly believe his eyes when right there just on the other side of his car window- he saw her.

The same renegade flash of electricity he had felt coursing through his veins that night when she kissed him hit him like a downed power line, and for a split second he forgot everything but how much he wanted that girl.

A split second was all it took for Elise to level her silenced 9mm glock and take the only shot she was gonna need.

As soon as she was safely in the back of the once offending moving van, she grabbed the throw away phone Big Frank Malleo had made sure was taped to the underside of the bar- where the big dumb deigo sat every Friday night- like clockwork.

“No loose ends.”  she announced into the phone, right before she brought a sturdy Doc Martin slamming down on top of it.

‘Too bad,’ she thought to herself rather as an afterthought, ‘He was a really great kisser….’

This was written for Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt, #writephoto

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Ginny Combs

He swung a right, at what was left of an old barn foundation and slowed, winding down the faded ribbon of  Ol’ Ginny Combs Road, as it laced its way to the house where he and his would live out their days in the shadow of that fine oak tree- Where local yarn would have it, Ginny herself had spent many a warm summer’s day, on an old tire swing, knotted to a low branch- long before life became a ligature, and she found herself a dangling at the end of her own rope….

                                                      *****************

Gunther Combs strode heavy footed on to the plank wood porch that ran the length of the house his son built for his wife and child the year before they’d lost him. He did so because he wanted his daughter in law to know he was there. He’d been making his presence known before he entered a room with her in it for nearly eighteen years. Far as he was concerned, if she got to heaven before him, he’d “clomp his boots through them pearly gates”.

“Ginny! Come on down. Yer papaws here.” Mama called up before Gunther even hit the door.

When Ginny’s daddy was alive, the way Gunther entered a room used to bother Mabel Marie.  It bothered her plenty. He made no bones about the reason he did it. In fact for years, he’d tell anyone that asked.

“I seen my son Lester and Mabel Marie a headed to the barn after dark, and I follered ‘em in there to see if they was a doin’ what I thought they was a doin’. And sure enough they was.  So I run Mabel Marie off my land, and whooped Lester within an inch of his life. But none of that stopped Mabel Marie from showin’ up late one night, knocked up and beat up, an a marrying my only boy three months later.”

“Where’s my baby girl at?” Gunther grunted at Mabel Marie as he helped himself to a still warm biscuit and took a seat at the kitchen table.

“Up yonder.” Mabel Marie motioned toward the stairs, her weathered hand covered in flour and bits of bread dough.

No matter how Gunther felt about the way she had come about getting into this world, little Ginny Combes was his baby girl. From the moment he laid eyes on her- she was his heart. Some said she was the spittin’ image of her mamaw, Gunther’s first and only love, who had died birthing a stillborn girl not quite a year after Ginny’s daddy, Lester had been born. Still others said it was because he longed for that dead baby. Said she was the daughter he never had the chance to know.

But Gunther- he knew it was because he had wished her dead so many times before she was born. He knew it was because he had gone so far as to petition the Lord God above “to remove that bastard child from that harlot’s womb”- to “take the mama if he had to”, but please “don’t sentence my boy to a lifetime a chasin’ around behind a loose woman”.  

Ginny was barely a year old, the summer Gunther hooked an old tire to a length of strong rope and secured it to a low branch on the oak tree that set between his barn and the house Lester was busy building. He knew that as soon as Lester finished that house and moved his family in, he was gonna need to make special, the time he spent with his baby girl, as she would no longer be living under his roof and available to him every moment he could steal away from the neverending work that was a farmers life.

Starting the first morning he woke up alone, Gunther got up at 3am just to get a foothold on his chores so he could spend an hour or so out on that tire swing with his baby girl right after breakfast.

She’d swing and he’d spin yarns. Tales, half fact- half fiction about his own youth, her daddy coming up, the mamaw she never knew.

“Don’t you know no stories ’bout my Mama?” Ginny had asked him more than once.

Gunther always answered the same way. “Yes, baby girl, that I do. But some stories just ain’t a fittin’ to be told.”

Even as a small child, Ginny could sense there was something just not right between her papaw and her mama. Not anything she could put a name to, just something that felt like distance. Even when they were all in the same room, Ginny felt like she had to travel miles to carry on a conversation with both of them at the same time.

As she grew older, she heard pieces of conversation here and there. At first mostly hushed words between old women- that always came to an abrupt halt as soon as she came within earshot.

When she got to school however, she learned what it was- the hard way. The sordid, ugly way only mean spirited children could tell it. They said her Mama was a whore. They said if it wasn’t for Gunther Combs forcing her Daddy to marry her Mama, that Ginny Combs herself would have been a bastard. Even before she knew the meaning of either of those hurtful words, she knew she had reason to be ashamed.

That shame is what drew Ginny to the old tire swing all alone on warm summer days, when all the other kids were playing hide-n-seek in hay lofts, swimming buck naked in the creek, and spitting watermelon seeds at each other.

When she’d slip her legs through the hole in that old tire swing, she’d be transported. Sometimes she would be a fairy princess, waiting for a handsome prince to come marry her and carry her off into the sunset. More often though, as she got older, her handsome prince whittled down to some boy, any boy, that would either not know- or not care about all those things that made her very existence shameful. A boy that would fall in love with her, and she with him. The ending of the story, either way she dreamed it was always the same though, together they would ride up out of here, and live happily ever after.

But some days, especially when the sun was just right, she would catch a glimpse of the old barn, with its remnants of charred wood siding and black smoke stained foundation stones- and the story she would tell herself, wouldn’t be a story at all. It would be the truth. The truth as she and the people she loved remembered it. It would be the story of the day she lost her father.

That day hadn’t started out a day like any other day. That day, her daddy rose earlier than usual. By the time Mama got Ginny up for chores, her daddy was already gone. Breakfast would be late, her mama said.

“Yer daddy went to the Newsoms to pick up that bailer. Can’t drive that big ol’ thang on the road when peoples a tryin’ to go ‘bout their bidness.” Mabel Marie was in the middle of explaining when the unmistakable thumping of Gunthers heavy muck boots hitting the porch interrupted her.

“Ginny Combes!” Gunther called through the screen door, as knowing Lester was probably on his way back with the bailer by now, and Ginny’s breakfast would be delayed till he returned- there wasn’t any reason for him to go in.

“Y’all two go play. I got work to do.” Mabel Marie huffed as she shooed Ginny out her kitchen and turned her attention to snapping beans.

Before the screen door slammed, Gunther had snatched little Ginny up and threw her on his back. “We’ll be at the tree.” he said matter of factly to Mabel Marie before he reared up and whinnied on down the porch steps..

Just as he was clearing the front of the house, he heard a loud pop followed by the sound of broken glass. Behind that, thick roils of black smoke and lapping tongues of fire burst out where the milking window had been only a moment before.

Gunther swung five year old Ginny down off his back and cried out, “Go tell yer Mama we got fire, Ginny! Run!” Then, broke out into a run himself.

He was just short of the barn when he saw Lester lifting himself, soaking wet out of the water trough, and running full on into the smoke filled, inferno that was now his barn.

Gunther could hear himself screaming Lesters name, yelling for him to “Stay Back!” but with the terrorized cries from the livestock as the flames engulfed them,  even through his panic- he was pretty sure Lester never heard a word.

The last thing Gunther remembered hearing before the main rafter collapsed and the whole barn exploded into flames, was gunshots. Gunther’s only son died trying to spare the livestock the horror of being consumed by the very same flames that cut him down.

“Ginny Combs!” Gunther called out at the top of his voice, “I don’t give a hoot if you are seventeen year old, you got a date with an ol’ man and a tire swing. Now git cher butt down here afor I come up after ye!”

“Gunther,” Mabel Marie said in a low tone, partly because she rarely spoke to him directly, and partly to make sure Ginny couldn’t overhear. “Ginny’s been a seein’ a lot of that Hames boy. See if you can’t find out his intentions. She won’t tell me nary a thing.”  

“Hames boy? Who the hell..” Gunther crowed before he cut himself off mid sentence due to some commotion out front of the house.

It was that Hames boy. He was running toward the house, flailing his arms and screaming at the top of his lungs:

“Miz Combes! Miz Combes! Come quick. It’s Ginny….”

Written in response to Sue Vincent’s Thursday Photo Prompt #writephoto

The Walk

Born Mary Rose Mulcahy, baptized in white lace, a shy, soft-spoken child- filled with feminine grace.

Raised by loving parents, in a modest, comfortable home who could see how far away, from all of this she’d roam.

Surely as a child- as she lay awake in bed, she never in her wildest dreams foresaw what was ahead.

Who can say if she had known that time would heal her rage, maybe she wouldn’t have walked away at such a tender age.

It doesn’t really matter now as she walks the dark ‘ho stro’ picking up tricks for a couple of bucks- for the drugs to make herself whole.

Born Mary Rose Mulcahy baptized in white lace she walks the strip in white stilettos, selling her feminine grace.

A bit of rhyming prose posted for Girlie on the Edge’s Six Sentence Story. Cue word this week : Strip

Flower

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

His name was Flower. At least that was the name printed on the contract of adoption the day he rescued Jaime.

That first night at the long metal box Flower would grow proud to call home, he took a quick run around his new digs. Through a small hole in the wall, he found a big soft cushion, just big enough for the two of them. From his vantage point on the cushion, he noticed another hole. When Flower went through that one, he was greeted by what could only have been a water bowl, built especially for him.

It was white and inviting and sat up high, so he could drink out of it without even leaning down. That big hole in the bottom seemed kind of menacing, but the water was clean and cold and he didn’t have to worry about it splashing over the sides no matter how excitedly he lapped at it, so he decided to think about that later.

When he went back through the holes, Jaime had set out a virtual feast of crunchy kibble and savory liver mash. Flower, always a stickler on the finer points of doggy etiquette, wolfed it down in four big bites.

Fat and happy now, he stretched out to take a little nap. Before he got to dreaming, he heard a dogs second favorite sound- next to food hitting a bowl- the jingle of the tether between dog and human that meant he was going outside for a sniff.

As they were walking out the door, however, a pair of gruff looking humans gave them the hand signal to stay. Even though Jaime seemed to know them, Flower could sense he was less than happy to see them. They were covered in something dark from neck to paws, with a shiny spot on each ones chest that reflected the sun. They both had their paws on big black sticks that hung from the thick leather collars they wore around their bellies.

One of them barked a command, and Jaime tied the tether with Flower at the other end of it to a tree. One of the men proceeded to pet Jaime roughly up and down his whole body. When he had finished, one of the humans disappeared through the hole in the side of the long metal box, while the other one gave Flower that ‘I’m the Alpha’ look he’d seen so many times before. Usually right before a human hit him.

After they’d gone, Flower could tell something was different inside of Jaime. He hoped it would be fixed by a nice long sniff, and to some degree it was. This might have had more to do with all the sounds Jaime was making as they walked, as it seemed he was more interested in making sounds than he was sniffing.

When they got back home, they were both ready for a nap. Flower bounded up onto the big cushion and was happy to see Jaime pick the same place to lay down. He wiggled around a bit until he found just the right spot.

Then Jaime did something Flower couldn’t have expected, because it had never happened to him before, he rolled over and nuzzled up to Flowers back where he made what Flower recognized as whelping noises- sounds that felt wet against his fur, as Jaime wrapped his long human arms around him and held on tight.

They laid there like that for quite some time before Flower saluted the fine feast he’d wolfed down earlier with a odorous round of applause and made Jaime laugh out loud for the first time ever. They both knew then and there, everything was gonna be alright.

And it was.

Posted for Rachel Ritchey’s #Blog Battle- Flowers

two lips



Arch under gable
And over brick
What you seek
You shall find
Between two lips



Three bodies in three days, and nothing to go on but a riddle. This little game of syntax Artie was playing with the powers that be was becoming even more gratifying than he had originally envisioned.

With law enforcement flummoxed, and the media ravenously clawing at the public drawing the rich red blood of indignation- he had a moment to sit back on his haunches and languish in his hard earned moment of triumph.

Success had been fleeting, and completely unsatisfying when he had pursued it through more traditional channels.

He had squandered his youth engorging his brain with the scientific rhetoric, theories, and hypothesis that should have culminated in the creation of a great name for himself in the field of asexual human reproduction- but in the end, he had been reduced to perfecting the production of an elite strain of genetically modified donor sperm, all of which having had its humble beginnings in his own testes.

The flaw it seems had been in the heterochromatin region. Before he was able to isolate and correct it, he had sired exactly four of these inept genetic re-combinations- which meant he continued to have his work cut out for him.

Three down. One to go.

The artistry was not in the eliminations themselves, they were just a series of unfortunate events that were necessary to protect the perfect line of prodigy he had successfully produced once the tweek had been made to the heterochromatin.

The true brilliance had come to him over a cafe au lait, at a popular coffee house in the trending Gatsby District downtown, where he had the good fortune to choose a seat directly across from a mural of what appeared to him to be a translucent woman. Though fully clothed, the artist had seen fit to etch some of her skeletal structure into her persona, and it struck him- the spinal column that corresponded with the braids in her hair resembled the double helix of the DNA chain that was currently his nemesis.

A simple transposition of his own genetic fopaux onto woman’s braids in the the mural, and the proverbial die was cast.

The riddle, stroke of genius that it was, had presented itself as more or less an afterthought, but what a delightful element of cat and mouse it had interjected into what otherwise would have been a rather mundane task.

As Artie settled into his newly favored point of vantage across the street from the mural that bore his distinguishing mark of genius, he sipped a cafe au lait and waited for the fourth and final testimony to any miscalculation on his part, to arrive.

Photo Prompt courtesy of: Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt: Imagination