Invisible matters of the mind turned real into the written word.
|498 word entry to "The Art of Letter Writing Contest" Prompt: You must write a letter thanking your wealthy maiden aunt for the REALLY UGLY ornament she gave you for Christmas.
Dear rich Aunt Beula,
I want you to know that I am keeping my New Year’s Resolution not to ask you for money. I am writing to thank you for the REALLY UGLY ornament you sent me for Christmas. At first? It was a bit jarring. It is the perfect image of a miniature shrunken head modeled after my likeness.
I guess you still think it was my fault and I have no mind at all. Was it my fault, my girlfriend showed up as a surprise along with her extended family and charged the holiday party she arranged for you, over the phone to your name and address?
Me boasting about you living in a mansion and having more money than you knew what to do with must have gone to her head. She sure wanted to get to know you better. When her relatives found out they would be spending the night in jail because they partied hardy and lit it on fire by mistake, you really got burned up over how they treated you.
If the police and fire crew hadn’t arrived and everyone got smoke inhalation I think they’d be toasting you and partying still. I hope you are out of the hospital when you get this letter. I think you’ll like how I hired an interior decorator for you and home sat for you while the job was done. No-one else in your posh neighborhood has their own interior wild animal zoo.
I had to fire your staff when they wouldn’t make room in the servant quarters for the elephant. My girlfriend’s family and friends forgive you and have moved in taking their place. Things got so crowded that she and I decided to take an around the world cruise.
I’m sending this letter from a little island paradise we found and bought. Thanks for leaving the code to your wall safe taped behind the portrait of your dearly departed husband. We toast him with only the finest champagne each night for sharing his good fortune with us.
I keep the shrunken head ornament on a gold key chain attached to my belt. It is the only thing you ever gave me without my asking.
I look forward to hearing from you. We could use a little help handling your creditors. They’ve been making statements about how much they like the shrunken head. So much so, they would like to see mine turned into the real thing for comparison. I don’t think they are being funny at all. I’ve hired lawyers in your name to deal with them, since I can’t fire them.
In closing, I know you will be anxious to see me. I can’t wait to see what kind of welcome gift you may be planning. What could match this shrunken head?
Your loving nephew,
Stephen Jay Arnold, the third
|“Isn’t it obvious?” Nancy Cline loved ‘Who Done It’s’. She’d graduated from Miss Marple, Periot and Sherlock Holmes to follow her local police detective hero, Andrew Wright’s career. She finished cutting out her latest clipping from the Deseret News and gave it a kiss. “The clues to solving this case are right there.”
Her husband, Dennis Cline wasn’t bothered by losing first place on her hero worship throne. Her absorption in local murder stories meant his ear wasn’t being chewed off like before. He enjoyed the free space. “That right?”
Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks, she’d been fascinated by his tales of crime. Lies and boasts came easy, substituting mob names for his own forays into running a numbers racket and part time enforcer. “The Marty Shaw case?”
Nancy’s eyes flicked at him suspiciously, “What do you know about it?” His wife had taken him on as a student social worker project to reshape his life and gotten pregnant in the process. Marriage seemed a good cover.
On the surface Dennis got saved by Jesus, networked business church goers into an under-the-table lucrative crime syndicate franchise construction and road building contract business. Favors given and received made everyone happy except for the occasional sore loser like Marty Shaw. “He was a bad dude. Knew him when I was young.”
Dennis launched into a remember when tale so winding and dry Nancy’s eyes glazed over. “Never mind.”
“I’m going out. I’ll buy dinner before coming back.” She’d lost interest in her husband after she’d reshaped his life. Their son, at thirteen was being shaped up by a military school, having failed the administrations of his mother. Andrew Wright was her new cause celebre’.
“Sure. Have fun. Go solve the Marty Shaw Case.” Dennis knew his wife and the police detective were having an affair. The videos were a handy bit of potential blackmail if things got dicey about his part in what happened during the local murder. The relationship had its uses. Nancy kept him up-to-date with police insider information. Nice.
Waking up by means of having a gun barrel tapping the side of your head brings you instantly aware and alert. Dennis saw his own death written in the back of Andrew Wright’s eyes. “Poor staging,” he said. “Messy doing it in my own bed. I can tell this is your first time.”
“You never changed,” said Nancy. “You got worse.”
The pistol whipping hurt. The loving couple wanted everything he had, all the connections, payoff’s and proof of wrongdoing. Those higher up unknowns hidden beyond exposure would want to stay that way.
In the end, he gave the lovers what they wanted. They were digging their own graves. The balance would be broken between Dennis and the power structure. Mayhem. He wished he could see who did whom with what.
In the end, we are all misplaced zero's, when we become non-entities.
Nancy's bullet put an end to the thought.