I just asked Twitter for a sentence to start a short story with and Steve Jensen gave me one. (Robert James Russell provided the title.) So now I’m going to write live on this one. Here comes:

Iā€™m sending all my money to Steve Jensen because Iā€™m out of my mind, I suppose.

It wasn’t a conscious decision, as I remember it. I just found myself at the Western Union office wondering why I was there and how I got there. I’d never even been in a Western Union before.

There was an odd buzzing noise inside my head and my brain felt itchy.

Concentrate. Concentrate! What the hell… ?

The noise was getting louder and I winced against the light flashing behind my eyes.

There’s something I’m supposed to remember!

Wales? Was that it? That’s where Jensen is, right? Right?

That’s still a place, isn’t it? I wonder what my money will end up being in pounds?

The light was starting to bore holes in my eardrums and I was having a hard time standing upright.

“Sweetie, are you OK?”

I jumped when the hand brushed against my arm. A little old lady. The real article. Pale blue cardigan and pearls and all. She smelled like baby-powder-smashed-flower perfume and it felt like I was choking on it.

“NO!” I heard the scream as if it came from someone else.

Faces swam past my vision in a blur as I felt myself falling, falling, falling… .


I sat in the kitchen cradling a cup of coffee in my hands, looking across the table at a man I didn’t recognize.

“Feeling better today?” he asked.

I watched him. He was calm, casual. He was wearing house-shoes moving about the kitchen as if he lived there.


His eyes were soft, concerned. He was good at this, but I knew better than to trust him.

“Baby?” he put his hand to my forehead and I managed not to flinch away. I could play his game. I just had to stay calm until he turned his back.

“Fine,” I said. It was too quiet and my voice sounded hoarse.

“I don’t know.” He sat across the table from me, his brow furrowed, his eyes searching my face. “Still have the headache?”

I nodded. I didn’t have a headache. My head felt incredibly clear, light. It was impossible to believe I’d ever had a headache in my life. But I couldn’t tell him that. Whoever he was.

“Isn’t there somewhere you’re supposed to be?” I asked.

“I’m not sure I should leave you alone today. You were in the hospital half the night. I can’t just go to work and leave you here.”

“I’m fine, I promise. You should go to work. I’m just going to go back to bed, I think.”

His frown was kinda sweet, actually. He was good.

“If you’re sure… .”

I reached across the table and put my hand over one of his.


He was pulling out of the driveway within the half-hour and I was unspeakably relieved.

I really hadn’t wanted to kill him.


There was a note on the dresser in the bedroom when I went upstairs.

You’re late.

I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t… .

This time, everything went black before I slumped to the floor.


The line at the airport was pretty long for a place I wasn’t sure existed the day before. I’d never been big on geography, but Wales just sounded like one of those places you read about but had never been real.

It was apparently real and even had airports. The woman at the counter didn’t blink an eye when I asked for a ticket.

“Where, exactly, love?”

I didn’t know. I didn’t know why I was even at the airport except that when I’d come to in the bedroom the note was gone and I packed a bag and went to the airport knowing it was where I had to go but not why. There was just a name in my head. Steve Jensen. He was in Wales.

I stood there, staring at her with a feeling of panic and desperation rising in my throat. She started to rattle off names, odd sounding names.

“Yes, that one.”


“Yes. That one.”

The ticket felt like ice in my hand.


“Something to drink for you?”

I shook my head.

“Fuzzy navel.” I heard the words come out of my mouth and I didn’t even know what that meant. But the flight attendant smiled as if that meant anything.

The buzzing started in my head again at the words.

Fuzzy… fuzzy… fuzzy…

It was what my head felt like but there was something else. Something the words meant. Something it was supposed to remind me of. Something I needed to remember!

I looked out of the window and the flash of light against the water sent a stab of pain through my head and all the way down to my toes.

“You all right?”

It was a man’s voice, beside me.

“I… yes.”

My voice came from far away. I couldn’t feel my fingers or my toes. I looked over at the man and through blurry vision I could see one word on an otherwise blank page of a journal in his lap.


I looked up at him. I didn’t want to, but my eyes were being pulled to his by something I couldn’t resist.

The red rims around pure black eyes were the last thing I saw.


“You didn’t bring it.”

The voice was silky smooth and right beside me. I could feel the cool breath on my ear.

“I… I had troubles.”

“I’ve never accepted excuses, Kitty. You know that.”

It was dark. My eyes were open but I could see nothing.

“I’ll fix it. You know I can, Steve.”

The sigh sounded almost kind.

“I’m tired of your mistakes, Kitty. I wish you didn’t make me do this.”

“No! Please! I can do this, Steve. Please!”

The noise sounded somehow far away, and the feeling of falling wasn’t frightening. Almost like flying.

I wonder if all those people I shot felt like this, in this moment when you realize you’re dead. It doesn’t hurt as much as I’d imagined. It’s not even really all that unpleasant.

Though I’m sorry I didn’t say goodbye to Bob. That was his name. In the kitchen. I remember now. Bob.

I wonder if he’ll even find out I’m dead. Tomorrow’s our twelve year anniversary. So kind, Bob. So gentle. Poor Bob… .

I think that will do it for this one. Thanks everyone. We should do this again soon. šŸ™‚