Monthly Archives: June 2017

Fiction: Legal Theft–Good, Bad Plan (632 words)

“I don’t like you going to this,” Ellie sat at the foot of the bed, while Jameson wandered around the room, gathering the things he needed for the trip. “I don’t believe for one second that he actually wants to talk peace with you. He swore himself your enemy for life, and that’s not something that people tend to just get over one day.”

“You’re right—I’m confident he has no interest in peace with me, but if I don’t go, then he gets to point at me and call me the bad guy because he tried to make peace and I wouldn’t accept it. That is not a hassle I want to deal with.  Besides, he’s got one of the best chefs in the world working for him, so at least I’ll get quite the dinner.”

“And what if he kills you before dinner? You’ve gone that whole way, you’re dead, and you didn’t even get to eat?”

Jameson stopped packing for a moment to consider that. “He probably won’t actually kill me until after dinner,” he responded

“Really, that’s what you’re going with? He probably won’t kill you until you eat?” Ellie countered.

“Well, yeah,” Jameson started packing his things again. “The whole point of this invitation is so that he can be seen as the better man—making things right with me. There will be photo ops and speeches, I’m betting. And What makes for a better picture than two former enemies eating dinner together as happy as can be?”

“So—he probably actually won’t kill you until after dinner,” Ellie conceded. “But what about after dinner?”

Jameson tied the top of his bag off and sank down onto the bed next to Ellie. “Well, he’ll have to have an outside source if he wants to kill me on this visit. If one of his own men kills me, or more accurately tries to kill me, then all hopes of peace fall through in an instant. If he wants to keep that public perception he’s going for, then he’ll have to look like an external source attacked me, something he can swear to defeat, and then set up a ‘defeat’ of them.” Jameson stroked his chin thoughtfully. “It’s a pretty good plan, actually, if it went the way he wanted. He gets rid of me permanently, and gets to look like the good guy for ending the person or people who ‘killed me.’”

“No, no, no.” Ellie wrapped her arms tightly around Jameson’s chest. “Stop, please, I don’t want to talk about you dying anymore. I don’t like thinking about it.” She buried her face in the front of his shirt.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Jameson hugged her back, “Sometimes I forget that you didn’t grow up with this kind of thing.  I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Ellie sat up a little in his embrace, “I’m trying to get better about it.  I don’t live in constant fear of you being attacked anymore, really? This one is just so real, it’s so likely that you’ll be attacked—I’m losing my mind a little.”

“Hey now, I’ve never unsuccessfully fought off an attack, have I? I’ll be alright.” Jameson tried to squeeze her tighter in reassurance.

“That’s the thing, Jay, you only have to fail once. Fail once, and you’re gone forever.”

“I’m good, Ellie. I’m always good. I promise I will come home no worse for the wear.” Jameson promised, letting her go. “If I even have a scratch on me when I come back, I will do whatever you want to make it up to you.”

“I’m going to hold you to that.” Ellie insisted, standing up, and swinging Jameson’s bag over his shoulder. “Now, let’s get you on the road before I start to panic again.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

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Posted by on June 30, 2017 in Legal Theft Project, Stories


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Fiction: On the Road Again (508 words)

Jenna’s favorite feeling was the sense of freedom starting a trip. The office had her leave in so no one would be calling her, the house was all but shut down with everything but the fridge unplugged and all the doors and windows shut tight and locked, and all that was in front of her was the wide empty road. It was one of the reasons that she left so early in the morning, too, there was almost no one else out there on the road with her, which only increased her sense of freedom—no one could get in her way.

Jenna looked down quickly as a little bit of the real world seeped back in, and put her foot gently on the brakes. One very distinct group of people could get in her way, and that was the police after she got pulled over for going fifteen over the speed limit. That was the downside to an empty road, sometimes she got caught up in the excitement of it all. She set the cruise control to prevent her lead foot from taking over again. A speeding ticket would mean that she couldn’t afford all the fun little day trips that she and her sister had planned to do, and Jenna had absolutely no intention of missing a minute of their carefully planned vacation.

But now she had to settle in for the long haul. Four hours of driving until she could pick up her sister, then another seven to their final destination, but at least that last seven hours she could trade off with her sister a little bit.   Around the seventy-five minute mark, her feeling of freedom had drained away.  Now her car and the road before started to feel a bit like a cage. She would love to take a nap or play her Gameboy or read some—but she couldn’t let her mind wander, she had to keep an eye on the road and an eye for her speed and an eye on the cars around her, and she just didn’t have that many eyes.

Around two hours in, Jenna was starting to get properly grumpy. Whose bright idea was it to drive to this place anyway? Would it really have cost too much to fly there? When you factored in the cost of gas and car wear and tear, did it really seem like that much more? Then she and her sister could have both arrived there around the same time—comfy from a nice nap or maybe even the first few drinks into their vacation. That would be really nice, but instead, she still had hours of road ahead of her and she was starting to get a crick in her neck.

Finally pulling into her sister’s driveway, she stomped to the house to use the bathroom and get a snack before they headed back out on the road. And her sister was going to drive the first four hours of this leg, or Jenna was just going to lose it.

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Posted by on June 29, 2017 in Stories


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Fiction: Better to Come (99 words)

I let them go. It had been hard, to give them up. I loved them more than I had ever loved anyone or anything. And I genuinely thought that I would have died giving them up.

I survived. I came out on the other side heartbroken and ragged, but alive. They are better for it. And I guess I’m probably better for it too. I just don’t feel like it.

Sacrifice is worth it, they say. That in the long run, I will feel good for doing what I did to help them. Today, I just want to die.

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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in Stories


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Fiction: No Good Deed… (510 words)

“Do you ever feel bad for her?” Angela asked, chewing on the end of her carrot stick, and looking into the far corner of the cafeteria.

Mica turned around and saw Ashley sitting alone at the small table in the corner, eating her lunch turned away from everyone else. “No. If she wanted to eat lunch with someone, she could try not being such a bitch in her everyday life.” Mica answered, taking a bite out of her sandwich with probably unnecessary vigor.

“Yeah, but there has to be something wrong in her head, right?” Angela asked, looking back to Mica.

“There are many things wrong with her head,” Mica said viciously, but at the look from Angela, sighed, “What do you mean, Angela?”

“I mean, there has to be something wrong do be so determined to climb the corporate ladder that you are so vicious to everyone around you, right? There must be some trauma in her past to make her so determined to win, right?” Angela tried to insist.

“Maybe,” Mica countered, “But we all have trauma. You don’t see me throwing anyone under the bus to climb the ladder, do you?”

“Yeah, I guess,” Angela picked up a potato chip and chewed it thoughtfully. “I just feel bad for her, I don’t know why?”

“You’re too kind-hearted,” Mica said, “dangerously so. But if you want to be nice to her, no one is going to stop you. Just don’t expect me to join you.”

Angela suddenly stood up. “You know, what, I am going to be nice to her. Maybe that would change things.”

Mica rolled her eyes. “Good luck.”

Angela ignored the sarcastic tone, and gathered up her lunch, crossing the lunch room to Ashley’s corner.  “Hey, Ashley. Do you mind if I join you for the rest of lunch?”

Ashley looked up slowly, sizing up Angela as she went. She put on a smile so sweet and fake that it made Angela’s skin crawl a little. Angela was already regretting coming over to her and Ashely hadn’t even opened her mouth yet. “Actually, kind of. If Barbara or Bradley come into the lunch room today, I don’t want them to think that I’m friendly with you after your big mess up last week.  I don’t want association with you to bring down my value.”

Angela blinked at her in silence for a moment. “It wasn’t ‘my big mess up.’ The client went out of business. There is no way I could have prevented it or changed the outcome.”

Ashley tilted her head, sickening smile still in place. “Yeah, but it still goes on your record as a lost client on your care, and I don’t want to be associated with that.”

Angela blinked in silence for a moment longer, and then crossed back to where Mica was sitting, all but throwing down her food on the table.

“How’d that go for you?” Mica asked.

“Shut up.”  Angela countered, “Just shut up.”

“Told ya so,” Mica added before a glare from Angela shut her up.

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Posted by on June 27, 2017 in Stories


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Fiction: Hating the Wait (533 words)

All River could do now was wait. They had fortified their defenses. Her army was at her it’s strongest yet. They had a good position around their base—and she was fairly confident that the could outlast any siege that the Brotherhood could bring around them.

But now they were just waiting.  They had to wait for the Brotherhood to decide to come and attack them. They all knew that it was only a matter of time—but they didn’t know what length that time would be.  She paced around the front room of the little fortified base, trying not drive herself crazy, or anyone else crazy. David was standing near the door to the barracks, leaning against the wall and watching her walk herself around in different circles and squares, and any other shape that her mind could create, as a pathetic attempt at a distraction method.

“Are you going to do that until they show up?” David finally asked when River finished was he was pretty sure was a five point star. “It could still be a couple weeks before their army is at our door. Your legs are going to get tired.”

“Hardy-har,” River replied in a monotone, starting a new shape around the border of the room.

“Seriously though, Riv, you’ve got to calm down. You’re going to drive us all batty sooner rather than later if you keep running around like that.” David answered

“I’m going to drive myself crazy if I sit still, Dave. I can’t just stand around waiting to be attacked.”

“Well, there is a poker game going on in the barracks. I’m pretty sure the chef can always use help in the kitchen. Or, if you’re thinking a little bit more one-on-one, I’m pretty sure there’s a nice little supply closet we can disappear to for a couple hours or so,” David waggled his eyebrows suggestively.

River stopped in her pacing to give David a look. “Really? That’s what you’re thinking about? With everything going on?”

“Well, of course—“ David shrugged with a smile. “It took us so long to get together. If we’re going to be under siege, I might as well try and get as much as I can before it’s all war all the time.”

The anger and tension slid out of River in one quick wave as she shook her head at David. “You are utterly ridiculous. You know that?”

“I am aware. I’ve been told a time or two. Mostly by you, in fact.” David pushed up away from the wall, but didn’t step forward. He raised his arms just slightly, like inviting River forward for a hug. She rocked back and forth on her heels for a second, before walking forward into his arms. He wrapped his arms tightly around her waist as she rested her head against his collarbone.

“I love you,” She muttered into his chest, “Just in case I haven’t said it enough.”

“I love you too,” He murmured into her hair. He waited a whole additional fifteen seconds before added, “So, that closet…yes or no?”

She gave him a half-hearted shove in the chest. “You’re ridiculous.”

“See?” He laughed, “There you go again.”

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Posted by on June 26, 2017 in River's Story, Stories


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Fiction: Legal Theft– The Truth (812 words)

“Hey, AM.”

Marta looked up from the book she was reading cross legged on her bed to see Arthur—now sixteen years old and taller than both her and her sister, leaning against the doorframe to her room. He looked conflicted, and Marta wondered if he was going to try to pull that Since you’re my real mother can you tell Mom to let me… crap again. “Hey-o Kiddo, what’s up?”

“I wanted to ask you a question. Mom says I shouldn’t ask it, but—I don’t know. I kind of feel like I have to.”  Marta furrowed her eyebrows and considered him.

Technically, yes, he was her son, but Marta had never had that easy understanding of him that Avery did. They were a perfect case study of a genetic connection versus sixteen years of love, care, and direct devotion. That’s why he never got away with any of that real mother crap. They all knew that Avery was his mother, no ifs ands or buts.

“Yeah. Come in. You know you can ask me anything.”  Arthur crossed the room in two long strides, sitting himself down in Marta’s computer chair, spinning it so he faced the bed.  He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, and Marta started to be able to see just how really worried he was. “Kiddo, what’s wrong?”

“I want—um—it’s just,” Arthur took a deep breath. “Mom says that you won’t tell me no matter what, and that I shouldn’t even ask because it will just upset you, but it’s not just that I want to ask, I feel like I need to ask whether you answer me or not I’ll go crazy if I don’t ask.” All the words came spilling out of his mouth in rush, like if he paused he would lose his nerve.

Marta was starting feel anxious now. She knew that this moment was going to come eventually, but the older and older Arthur got, she started to believe that she was going to manage avoid it. “What did you want to ask me, then?”

“I wanted to know,” Arthur smiled weakly at her, “Do you know who my father is?”

Marta smiled wildly, “Of course Kiddo. You do, too. Tall guy, dark hair, sometimes talks in an annoying accent, always looks at your Mom with those sappy eyes that makes us want to gag.”

Arthur shook his head, looking down at his feet. “No, A.M., I know who my Dad is. Obviously, Dad is my Dad, but—who is my father, I mean, my biological father?”

Marta’s smiled faded away now. “I do, Arthur. I’ve never had a doubt about who your biological father is. But—The truth of the matter is, Kiddo, he wanted nothing to do with us. He called me a whore, telling me that I’d probably had sex with so many men I couldn’t be sure it was his, and then offered me four hundred dollars to never talk to him about it again. I didn’t take his money, but I never spoke to him again. And I never spoke about him again until now. If you really feel that you must know, that your life cannot be complete without knowing his name, then I will tell you, and only you, on the condition that you never tell Avery or Bradley, because they are both still Very angry about things that happened around the time you were born, but I’m telling you now—your Mom and Dad are better than that boy I ever could have done raising you, and I’ve always believed it’s not worth wasting time on people who aren’t willing to give their time to you, so…”

Marta had spoken a lot faster than she met to.  Perhaps Arthur’s rushed speaking from earlier was a family trait. He looked a bit stunned. She realized she’d never been so stern with him, and he never saw her properly angry, like she got whenever she thought about that stupid teenage boy who had insulted her character for a mistake that was equal parts both of their fault. It did take two to tango, as the cliché said.

“I don’t want to talk to him. I don’t want anyone in my life who doesn’t want to be in mine. But—I was going through Mom’s year book the other day and I looked at every single face to see if there were traits of mine. I need to know his name so I can stop wondering. I think I deserve that.” Arthur answered.

“It’s a secret you will have to keep from your Mom and Dad.  Until you die or I die, whichever comes first, you understand?” Marta insisted.

“Yes, I promise,” Arthur insisted, leaning a little bit closer.

“Okay,” Marta smiled, “Yeah. Okay. Then I’ll tell you who your biological father is.”


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Birthday Week

Just like every June, I’m coming toward that whole anniversary of my birth thing.  And, like every June since I was old enough to remember, I am being an absolute child about it. There will be a tiara and a happy birthday button and all kinds of other nonsense that really doesn’t fit with a woman who lives on her own, pays her own bills, and who is (as her doctor so kindly pointed out at her last check up) pushing thirty.

But, I am an adult and I do pay my own bills and I’m not thirty yet so I can decide to wear those tiaras and buttons and maybe even a sash if I’m feeling extra festive.

I’ve also given myself a present of minimal work this week, taking off anything that isn’t absolutely required of my to-do list (and pawning off some of the work that is actually required to other people, for that matter).

So–I’m taking the week off. I’ll see you guys on Friday for Legal Theft, then our reguluarly scheduled five a week starting again next Monday. Have a good week guys!

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Posted by on June 19, 2017 in BekahBeth's Thoughts


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