Friday, March 29, 2013

A Beautiful Day

by Colleen Sutherland

Glen Valley's business district, like that of most small Midwestern towns and villages, is slowly shuttering down. Business after business have closed their doors over the past thirty years. There doesn't seem to be much the village board or the Chamber of Commerce can do to stop it.

Two doors down from Aggie's Diner, almost to Mike's Hardware, is a closed storefront, the windows dirty and cracked, the paint peeling off in big flakes. The painted letters in the window are faded but through the grime of years, passersby can read “Bunny's Bakery”. An old placard in the door reads: “Closed, Come Again.”

When it was open, Bunny was famous for her desserts. Need a wedding cake? Bunny provided it. Need sweet rolls for a morning meeting? Call the night before and Bunny would have them ready early the next morning to be picked up. And her cupcakes. Now those were a treat for all ages, in every flavor one could imagine and frosting for the season.

After lunch at the diner or after the Friday fish fry, Aggie's customers refused dessert and she knew they would stop over at Bunny's to pick up something to take home. Aggie didn't mind. She liked Bunny, as did everyone else. Bunny was there behind the counter, all chirpy and smiling, her hair tucked up in a pony tail. She was a skinny little thing who must never have tasted her own cheesecake, muffins and tarts. Customers took their treats to one of the little tables at the front of the shop to have coffee and watch Main Street goings on. Bunny's was gossip central in Glen Valley.

She greeted each customer with a cheery call, “Oh hello, Mike. Isn't it a beautiful day?” “Mrs. Cleary, so glad to see you! Isn't it a wonderful day!”    

Friday, March 22, 2013

Roll Credits

Image by Lara604 via
This story takes place after Rock Star, a story featured in the Black Coffee Fiction story anthology. -WP

 The knock on the door came four months after he left. Despite her better judgment, Leah opened the door to let Jillian in. The other woman stood there in the hallway for a moment, seemingly unsure whether to cross the threshold. Leah noted Jillian was dying her hair blue this week. She felt the half-hearted urge to say something bitchy about it, or the black heels with peek-a-boo toes that she must have thought added a casual sophistication to her jeans and T-shirt ensemble. But Leah was past bitchy. She turned around and walked to the kitchen, figuring that Jillian would either come in or leave. She heard the door close, and Jillian clack-clacked into the kitchen behind her.
“You want something to drink?” Leah asked.
“No thanks, Leah. I-” Jillian said.
“I'm making some chai. It's just as easy at this point to boil water for two as for one.” Leah turned her head over her shoulder just far enough to see Jillian out of the corner of her eye. The other woman had her hands in her jean pockets and shrugged.
“Yeah, okay,” she said.
Leah ran the tap cold and stuck the pot underneath the stream. They were both silent, the hollow patter of the water filling the kettle made the only sound. She sensed Jillian fidgeting and let her stew some more. It wasn't up to Leah to make the first move after all. She put the kettle on the stove.
“Look,” Jillian said, “I'm really sorry about what happened. I thought Justin was mad at just me, I didn't know.”
Leah folded her arms and stared at Jillian over her glasses. “I don't see how you would be expected to know. It's not your fault, right?” It was never Jillian's fault. Poor perfect Jillian.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Pawns in Peril - A Corncob and Michael Story

Image by Fonzy via Wikimedia Commons

For Corncob it was the easiest thing in the world to crack a safe but he wasn't sure he should, even if it was for a greater cause. It didn't help that safes by their very nature were only too willing to tell himi, via his telemechanical talent, not only their combination but their contents as well. Corncob sensed that the act of turning the tumblers and throwing the bolt was an almost sexual experience for a safe. And safes, by and large, were promiscuously-minded and eternally frustrated.
Corncob turned the dial until the last tumbler fell into alignment. He took a step back, and looked around for a towel or rag, feeling the need to wipe his hands.
"All done, Michael," Corncob said, "You open it."
"Something wrong?" Michael asked. His partner peered past the blind into the darkness, watching for approaching headlights in the driveway. 
"No, it's open. I just don't want to do it. I'd rather not turn the handle."
Michael sighed and left the window. " You going to explain what the problem is?"
Corncob shook his head. "You wouldn't understand." He felt Michael roll his eyes in the darkness. His partner approached the safe and slowly turned the handle. The safe door swung open and Corncob felt a psychic shudder.
"Let's just get this over with," Corncob said. He would need a shower after this job, then a bath.