Old Nick was sitting at his desk looking over a section of the list his secretary handed him.
The rumor was he checked it twice. In reality he checked it far more often, and he had the final call. The price of being the boss.
He sat there examining one of the names. The kid was on a bit of a bad streak lately but he was pretty good overall. He put a mark next to his name to give one last check before the final list was printed.
He’d have to be good for a few more days. It…
It was a rainy day, the day that I met her.
I remember the raindrops making their way down the shop windows as I walked along the sidewalk. I clutched my collar, holding it close to keep the precipitation out, and to keep the last vestiges of warmth inside my jacket. The jacket was old and worn, and it was already doing an unsatisfactory job keeping the rain at bay; I refused to carry an umbrella. My shoes splashed in the ever-growing menagerie of puddles, and I had to find some respite from the rain. …
I finished my coffee and tossed the paper cup into the trash. I tugged on the chain around my neck. It had been itching all morning.
“She in there?” I asked the officer.
“Yeah. They just brought her in.”
I opened the door to find the young woman sitting patiently in the chair. I took the seat across from her, tossing my little leather notebook on the table.
“I’m Detective Ford. Miss….er, Simpson right?”
“Yes. Why am I here?” she asked.
“We just have some questions for you. Just routine really.”
“Okay. Did I do something wrong?”
The bar was loud and packed with people.
It was truly the last place I wanted to be. I spent most of my time on the road going from small town to small town. At this point, I’d been to every little farming hamlet in the Midwest.
Alas, I had business in the city so I had to blend in with the office drones as they made their nightly ritual to the bar before going home. Their hour of cocktails serving as libations to the gods of spread sheets and TPS reports.
It was the tail end of happy hour…
I’m standing there with a box of Betty Crocker and a hand mixer and wondering what to do.
All I can think is “How did I get myself into this?”
You see I’m no baker.
I mean I know my way around the kitchen but baking isn’t my forte. I’ve mostly left the sweeter science alone.
My sister is the baker in the family, however a global pandemic she’s 2,000 miles away.
So I thought about buying a cake. I mean it’d be easy enough, just a quick jaunt over to the grocery story. …
We walked the same barren roads we’d been walking for years. The road and the few houses still standing never regained any of the colors they once had.
The world still carried the dull grey tones from the war. It touched everything around us. Even the trees bore the scars of a more violent time.
Our boots crunched on the gravel path on the outskirts of the burnt-out village. We walked with a purpose; it was a journey we’d been looking forward to for a long time. Our parents were both away working on the walls for the new settlement…
Matthew Donnellon is a writer, artist, and sit down comedian. He is the author of The Curious Case of Emma Lee and Other Stories.