I love this part. Finding out the finalists before everyone else. Of course, then I have to tell everyone and it’s no longer a secret. Ah well, I suck at secrets anyway.
And, of course, it’s always fun to hear the whining of the judges every week when they suddenly realize how hard it is to pick five and only five finalists out of such a talented crowd as this. But through persuasion or brutality, I always manage to make them see it my way. And this week, it didn’t take that much effort to beat Richard Wood, @rbwood into submission. Just don’t tell him I told you that.
So here they are, this week’s finalists in no particular order:
Here are their entries. Read. Vote. Go! Poll’s on the right side of the page in case you’re blind. 😉
I glanced down into the blue light. I could make out an image, maybe a person, but I was too scared to really focus. I looked back at Tommy.
“Are you sure it’s real?”
“Hell, yeah,” he said, grabbing the rock from my hands. “If you’re too chicken shit to look in it, I’ll give someone else a turn. You can have your five bucks back.”
“But where did you get it?”
“I told you, I found it, that’s all you need to know.” He hopped back onto his bike, the rock under his arm. “You want to find out or not?”
“Okay,” I said.
Tommy smiled that devilish little grin of his and hopped back onto the grass.
“All right. Now just look in it until you see the picture. It will be there and it will tell you your destiny. Your best moment. The highlight of your life.”
“How do I know it’ll come true?”
“You’re such a chicken shit. Walt Greaney saw a bank vault and you know he’s a genius with money. And Sara Tomlinson saw herself at a beauty pageant – Miss damned America! It’s totally psychic, man. Just look!”
He stuck the rock out at me. I took it, sat down, cross-legged, and looked at the surface.
The blue light slowly grew and I could see an image. It was a person, definitely a person. It was me. I could tell it was me, but I looked so old, so bald and pudgy. I was holding a bowling trophy.
I threw the rock as hard as I could.
In two minutes, an entire story arc presented itself complete with all the explosions, one-liners and romance you could ever want from a movie.
Mr. Thornburg eased back in his chair puffing at a cigar, “Mighty impressive boys, but what’s left of the movie? You gave it all away in the trailer.”
Josh and Bobby Mead eye each other uneasily. Finally Bobby speaks up, “We don’t quite get your meaning, sir.”
“The trailer,” Thornburg lumbers out of his chair, “It’s like I already watched the movie.”
“This isn’t the trailer,” Josh Mead said, “It really is the first two minutes of the movie. This is just a preview. It goes on like this for another eighty-eight minutes.”
Mr. Thornburg’s eyebrows shoot up, “Ninety minutes of cuts to explosions, sex-scenes and one-liners?”
The Mead brothers nod with hesitancy.
Nicholas couldn’t imagine anything more wonderful than curling up on his couch in his lover’s arms, listening to him read his favorite stories in a voice like rich chocolate. Nothing sexier than a deep husky voice, like whiskey and cigarettes with a hint of pleasure. He sighed and went back to sweeping. It was a wonderful thought, but he lacked one crucial ingredient . . . a lover.
He checked the clock one last time. Five more minutes and he could get away with early closing. Not that he had anywhere to go, the deep quiet of the empty store was a preview of his lonely night to come.
When the bell rang to signal a customer he groaned out loud. Now he’d certainly be stuck here late.
The sexy growl had Nicholas whipping around to see who owned such an arousing voice. “Can I help you?”
“I was looking for the . . . adult reading section. Could you show me where to look?”
He quickly headed toward the back of the store, not wanting this man to see his sudden arousal. “Right over here. Is there anything else?”
“Well, my tastes are kind of specific. Do you have any male romance?”
“Written for men?”
“No, about men.”
Nicholas allowed himself a small smile, perhaps this evening wouldn’t turn out to be so lonely after all. “Right this way, I’m sure I can find something you’ll be interested in.”
“Keep them wanting more, darling!” the older woman walked briskly after her daughter. “You must keep them wanting more!”
Kathy rolled her eyes and kept walking towards her apartment. “Does it matter if they want more of me if I want nothing from them, mother?”
Her mother gasped in shock. “Of course, you want more from them! They are filthy rich! Why, it’s a sin for them to have so much money and not share it with you!”
Kathy unlocked her apartment wondering, again, why on earth did she agree to go to that speed dating thing her mother suggested she attend?
No, not suggest. That’s way to much of an understatement.
“Mom, they were all so boring and spiritless. They had nothing I wanted.”
“You told me you thought Robert was a little interesting.”
Kathy shook her head. “Yes, he was. When he walked away.”
Her mother sighed once she sat down and Kathy gave her a cup of tea. “Darling, speed dating is nothing but a preview of what is yet to come. ”
“If what’s coming for me is a life full of nothing, then I’ll pass.”
“You said Robert showed you his check book! I think that’s a good preview for the future and that things are looking up!”
“Mother!” Kathy shook her head, rubbing the bridge of her nose. “Mother, that’s not what I want. I can take care of myself.”
“But what about me? What about what I want for you?”
Kathy sighed heavily. “You want me married to a rich doctor or lawyer because of what it could mean for you. You don’t care at all about how I’d feel. No thank you! You want Robert so badly?” Kathy gave her mother a small business card from her purse. “Here. Call him and see if he’s interested in cougars.”
Kathy was hoping this would offend her mother. Perhaps make her feel the need to take her tea elsewhere. Instead, her mother looked thoughtfully at the business card extended to her. “Well…I didn’t get the marriage thing right the first two times…three times the charm?”
Before Kathy could snatch the business card back, her mother had grabbed it, looking at it as though it had the source to life. Perhaps to mother, it did.
“Well, if you don’t like him as a husband,” her mother stood and headed for the telephone, “perhaps you got a nice preview of how he’d be as a stepfather.”
“And that’s just a preview…”
Her lips slid off my index finger with a smack. At that moment, I would have walked across burning coals for her. Swam the English Channel in the dead of winter for her.
Killed for her.
Unfortunately, that was exactly what she had in mind.
Her warm, honey tinged breath enveloped my ear, but all I could focus on was how her soft breasts felt pressed up against the bare skin of my arm.
“You’re going to go to this address,” she said, and her taut body moved against mine while a small piece of paper was pressed into my hand.
“You’re going to tell the babysitter that you’re an old friend dropping in for a visit. I don’t care how you convince her, just make up a story.”
Her hand moved to the small of my back, tracing an intricate scribble that activated every single last nerve ending on my body.
“Find his guns. He keeps them in a cupboard at the very top of his closet. Get out the .22 hollow point pistol.”
She took my hand and moved it between her legs. She moaned and pressed into my palm, shuddering under my touch.
“Wait in the closet. He will open the door first to hang up his coat. Kill him the second you see him. Then leave the wife, leave the kids. Let no one else know you were there.”
And just like that, she was gone. Left me in an aroused pile of mush on the rusty park bench where she had scheduled our rendezvous.
This was madness. I had never killed anyone before. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist. I was addicted, drunk on the idea of her.
She owned me, in every sense of the word.