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Saturday, August 25

We'll Never Have Paris

"We’ll Never Have Paris"
Short fiction - Humor
by Rod Drake

It was just like the ending of Casablanca. Except that seventeen-year-old Tony and fifteen-year-old Mia weren’t at an airport on a rainy night, trying desperately to escape the Nazis and neither looked much like a world-weary Humphrey Bogart or a heart-broken Ingrid Bergman.

Mia was being driven by her parents to a private school several states away which would effectively end Tony and Mia’s budding relationship. Tony had no crafty ally like Claude Rains on his side or a loyal sidekick like Sam to play as “Time Goes By” and watch his back, plus Tony certainly didn’t want to do the noble thing and give up Mia for a greater cause. It wasn’t World War II, and Mia didn’t have a brilliant young husband important to the war effort anyway. They weren’t in black-and-white Morocco either, wherever that was. This was Oxnard, California.

Mia’s parents wanted the best for their only daughter, and Tony wasn’t it. A nice boy, they said, but not nice enough. Nice enough meant his lack of future plans, ambition, personality and social position. Tony hoped to become a skateboard professional, a world champion with tons of cool endorsements and endless publicity. His parents were divorced, and his mother spent a lot of time drinking at a downtown bar, which wasn’t named Rick’s CafĂ© Americain, nor was it anywhere near that classy.

Tony hoped Mia would run away with him, come on the national skateboarding circuit with him, once he figured out how to get on it and where it was. She seemed less enamored of the idea than Ilsa was of running away with Rick in Casablanca. In fact, she appeared to actually be looking forward to the private school out east. Tony complained that long-distance relationships don’t work, and Mia cheerily agreed with him. Tony and Mia didn’t even have Paris to remember.

After a brief hug with Mia, more friendship than anything else, her parents’ car pulled quickly out of the driveway as Tony stood in the street, hoping to see Mia’s tear-streaked face in the back window, but she was facing forward, listening to her iPod and bopping to the music.

Tony decided this wasn’t like the ending of Casablanca at all.

Rod Drake has been to Hollywood, he has been to Deadwood, and he keeps on searching for a heart of gold. Check out Rod's other stories published in Flashes of Speculation, Flash Forward, MicroHorror, Six Sentences and AcmeShorts.

Monday, August 20

The Monarch

"The Monarch"
Short Fiction - Suspense
by Heather Leet

She put her glasses on adjusted her suit and walked into the office building. To a casual observer she looked like every other young woman who was entering the busy office building on this Tuesday morning. In her dark suit and glasses she looked like your typical young executive who was climbing the ladder to the top hoping not to hit the glass ceiling. But if you were more then a casual observer, perhaps someone who also knew how to conceal your real identity, you might observe that the color of her hair was just a tad off, or that the glasses she wore were simple glass, or that the suit she wore covered the body of a skilled warrior. But these things were only apparent to another who worked in her same field and had employed similar tactics to conceal his identity. He got up from where he was sitting and adjusted his own suit and walked toward the building. Riding up in the elevator with his weapon concealed beneath the newspaper he held he regretted that it had been so easy to find out her every day identity. He had hoped that it would be harder to find her and still harder to kill her but it looked like this was going to be the easiest job he had ever had. He was very disappointed. He got off the elevator and headed toward the end of the hall where he knew her office was located. He smiled to himself as he looked around the luxurious office building. He could not believe that someone so skilled and adept would hide her secret identity behind the image of a frumpy accountant. What another disappointment. He expected something sexy not an accountant. He slowed as he got closer to her door. There was a sliver of a window running down the side of the door. He peered in and saw her sitting at her desk tapping away at the key board of her computer. This was too easy he thought as he twisted the knob of the office door and burst into the room. He barely felt the slight jolt as the bullet pierced his chest and blood bloomed on the front of his white shirt. She stood over him as he slide to the ground. “ Did you really think it would be that easy” she asked. “ I am really disappointed.” She said. “I was really looking forward to a challenge, and I am a little angry that I am now going to have to find a new identity to conceal my secret one, I really liked being an Accountant!” She went to her desk picked up her bag and walked back toward him. He felt hot and weak at the same time and he knew he would soon be dead. She kneeled down beside him and placed a monarch butterfly on his chest. Then she stepped over him and as she walked down the hallway he could hear the clicking of her heels on the hard wood floor, it was the last sound he would ever hear. When the police arrived to find his prone body the lead detective muttered, “I wonder what this guy did to piss off the Monarch?”