Black Flowers

"Pulp Mythology" excerpt from Black Flowers

Okay so this will be the last short story excerpt I post from Black Flowers before it releases in a few days. Hope you enjoy this little sneak peek.

Disclaimer: There are suggestive themes and explicit language.

She sat in the back booth of the diner with an unlit cigarette hanging loosely from her lips and one hand shoved in the pocket of her leather jacket, tightly gripping the snub-nosed .38 revolver as she waited for the woman to show. Her eyes gazed out the window over the wet pavement of the nearly empty parking lot. The waitress eyed her suspiciously as she made her way over.

She knew she must be quite a sight, even aside from the green hair cut into a messy mohawk that partially hung in her eyes and the studded jacket. There was now a puffy black eye and a fat lip to accompany her already attention-grabbing looks.

"Rough night?" asked the waitress as she removed the notepad and pencil from her apron.

She laughed with a lack of enthusiasm. "Yeah, you could say that."

"Now you don't have any intentions of lighting that up in here, do you honey?"

She smiled at the peculiarity of the question, withdrew the cigarette from her lips with her left hand, and placed it behind her ear. All the while never lifting a finger from the gun in her jacket pocket. "No, just knowing it's there will help calm me."

The waitress gave her a wink and a nod, "Well that's quite all right, as long as we have an understanding. Our owner's father who used to smoke two packs a day just died from lung cancer, so he doesn't allow smoking in any of his establishments anymore. Probably an overreaction that's gonna hurt business but hey, I don't make the rules, I just enforce them. So what can I get you tonight?"

"I'll start off with a coffee. Black. I'm waiting for someone."

"One black coffee coming up, sweetheart."

The waitress turned around and got the coffeemaker brewing a fresh pot. She heard the door chime as someone entered and she turned to see a tall, redheaded woman in a form-fitting, green dress with a large purse slung over her shoulder approaching her. Leaf had to admit she was more than a little impressed. The lady was a knockout; she usually didn't go for the prissy-looking bitches, but exceptions could be made now and then.

"Are you Bennie's friend? Miss Cartwright?" asked the redhead.

"That'd be me. Sit your pretty little ass in that booth and we'll have a talk," she said with a smile as she bit her lip ring in a suggestive manner.

Okay, cool it, Leaf. This woman probably intends on killing you before the night is through; she's not interested in going to bed with you.

The redhead set her purse in the booth beside her and got straight to the point. "If you know where Bennie is, tell him that if he returns our property now there will be no repercussions. If he keeps us waiting, though, he is endangering himself and everyone he cares about, including yourself, Miss Cartwright."

"‘Leaf’ is just fine," she said, appearing unaffected by the woman's threats. "So that's your deal, huh? Return your stuff or you're going to kill us? Not even going to butter me up a little bit? I've seen jackhammers with a more subtle touch."

"Well, Miss Cart . . . Leaf, if you prefer," she said with a malicious grin. "We happen to be on a rather tight schedule, so forgive me if I don't have time for common niceties. Your friend Bennie's theft has upset many years of planning for us."

"First of all," Leaf interjected, "I don't know where Bennie is. I'm still trying to find him myself, and second, it might be helpful to know what it is he took. So, when and if I locate him, I'll know what to return to you."

The waitress set a steaming cup of coffee down in front of Leaf and then turned to the redhead. "And what can I get for you, darling?"

"Nothing. I'm fine," said the redhead coldly without making eye contact with the waitress.

"Excuse my friend's manners . . . Debbie, is it?" said Leaf as she glanced at the waitress's name tag. "She's had a really rough night as well. She just had her heart broken by a no-good man."

The waitress perked up. "Isn't that a damn shame?" She slapped her hands down on the table and leaned in close to the redheaded woman. "Some of these men around here just don't know how to treat a lady, do they?"

The redhead sat there quietly without responding, growing more annoyed by the second.

The waitress looked at Leaf and said, "That bastard isn't the one that gave you the shiner there, is it?"

Leaf could hardly contain her amusement. "As a matter of fact, it is."

The waitress pursed her lips angrily and began shaking her head, "I knew it, I just knew it. My friends think I'm crazy but I've always said, 'A man that'll break your heart'll just as soon as break your nose.'"

Leaf couldn't keep from snickering and the waitress eyed her with distrust, now suspecting she was being made fun of. Leaf regained her composure and responded with complete seriousness, "Don't worry, Debbie. I knocked him flat on his ass for it. He'll think twice before putting his hand on either one of us again."

Debbie smiled. "All right, now that's what I like to hear. I—"

"On second thought, I'll have the number two with a side of eggs and some coffee," the redheaded woman blurted out in a desperate attempt to derail the conversation.

"Well, all right, darling. No need to get all excited. Coming right up." The waitress rolled her eyes at Leaf as she wrote down the order on her notepad and sauntered off to the kitchen.

The redhead shot a look at Leaf that was sharp enough to cut diamonds. "May I ask why you did that?"

Leaf shrugged and smirked. "Figured it'd piss you off. Worked, didn't it?"

"I believe you've mistaken me for someone else. I'm not the type of person you want to play games with." Her facial expression was intensely serious and something in her eyes told Leaf she truly might not want to anger this woman . . . .

All right so the countdown is finally coming to an end, Black Flowers will be out this Saturday and hopefully my anxiety doesn’t do me in before that happens!

"The Evil Among Us" excerpt from Black Flowers

So the following is an excerpt from the first story in my short story collection Black Flowers. I just wanted to give people a little sneak peek before the book releases in less than a week. Hope you like it!

Disclaimer: There are implied mature themes and some explicit language.

Jim awoke to find a tall, thin man in a suit standing beside his bed. A faint glow filtered in from the night-light in the hall as Jim’s steady breathing turned to frantic, shallow gulps of air. Who is this man? Why is he here? What does he want?

“Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you, little fella,” the man said with an artificial tone that reminded Jim of a radio disc jockey.

“Who are you? Where’s my mom?” Jim attempted to sound as calm as possible in order to keep the man from noticing that he was trembling beneath his covers.

“I’m one of your mother’s friends. No need to worry – she’s asleep in just the other room.”

Jim was afraid to contemplate on just what exactly the term “asleep” might imply.

“I see you’re into baseball,” he said shooting a quick glance at Jim’s glove. “You know, I also used to play baseball when I was your age. It is America’s favorite pastime, after all.”

“Mooooom?” Jim said barely able to raise his voice above a whisper.

“Don’t worry, slugger. She’s just in there,” he said pointing to Jim’s door and down the hallway to his mother’s room.

“Moooooooom!” Jim said raising his voice to that of a slight yell, betraying the fright he had tried to conceal.

“Aw, now don’t be that way!” The man sat down on the bed next to him and placed his hand on Jim’s blanket-covered leg. “I don’t wanna hurt you. I just wanna be your friend.”

The man’s face was now only a few feet away from Jim’s. He could faintly see the man’s toothy grin and vaguely smell the spicy scent of his cologne.

“Winston, step away from my son right now, or I’ll blow your goddamn brains out!” Jim could just barely make out the silhouette of his mother in the doorway holding what appeared to be a small revolver.

“Ella, I was just talking with him. Right? We were just talking about baseball, weren’t we?” He turned to Jim.

“Get the hell away from my son, and get the hell out of my home before I put a bullet in your head.” His mother’s voice was calm and steady now, but Jim recognized the fury that lay beneath.

“All right, all right,” the man said as he lowered his head and slipped by her out the bedroom doorway. “You got the wrong impression, though.”

She turned to Jim. “Are you all right?”

He nodded.

She followed the man through the front door with the revolver raised the entire time. The door shut behind her.

A few moments later, she came rushing back into Jim’s room and sat on the bed next to him, placing the revolver on his bedside table and taking his head into her hands. She kissed his forehead and cradled him against her chest. “I’m so sorry, baby. I’m so, so sorry.”

Her disheveled hair hung in strands across his face and she began to sob quietly, clinging to him. He could smell the alcohol on her breath.

“I won’t let this ever happen again, sweetheart. There won’t be men coming here anymore, I promise,” she said as she gently rocked him back and forth in her arms.

They stayed this way for what felt like hours to Jim. Then she silently crawled beneath the covers with her dress still on and the two slept, her arm across his chest and his back pressed against her. . . .

Anyways that was a short excerpt from “The Evil Among Us.” I will probably post an excerpt from another one of the stories later in the week for those interested.