Monday, June 20, 2011

Beach House Noir at Do Some Damage

Steve Weddle at Do Some Damage offered up a summertime flash fiction challenge for some Beach House Noir, 500 to 5,000 words. I'm a little late to the game, but I finished a story to add to the mix, called "Wanderlust," which clocks in just under 630 words. 

The awesome stories are up at Do Some Damage. Congrats to Thomas Pluck, the winner of Duane Swiercyznki's Fun and Games


After a scorcher on Fire Island during the summer of 1994, Phil and Garrett were about to fall asleep in their upscale cottage rental when a questionable sound of flatulence arose. 
“Was that you?” Phil asked.  
“No,” Garrett said, sitting up. “I was about to ask you the same thing.”
Phil whispered. “Who the hell farted, then — and where did it come from?
Garrett pointed toward the closet. He quietly slipped out of bed and reached under the bed for a bat. He stood near the closet. Phil turned on his bedside lamp. 
“We know you’re in there,” Garrett warned. “I have a weapon, so don’t try anything funny.”  
“I fell asleep — don’t hurt me. Can I come out now?” the burglar asked.
Garrett pulled the closet doors open. A balding man, not yet sixty, struggled to get on his feet. He rubbed his eyes.
“Who the hell are you — and what are you doing here?” Garrett demanded. 
“My name is Tommy Rogers,” the intruder said. He glanced at Phil, who held a cordless phone in his hand. “Please, don’t call the police. I can explain.” 
Garrett loosened his grip on the bat. The paunchy invader appeared harmless. “Let’s hear it — and we’ll decide whether to call the cops or not.”
“This community — well, you know, it’s reputation and all,” Tommy said, gazing back and forth at the startled pair. 
“You’ve got something against gays?”
“No, not at all. It’s the atmosphere of isolated beach communities. Doors are left unlocked. Everyone’s too trusting — which is to my benefit.”
Garrett asked, “And what benefit would that be, Mr. Rogers? Money? Jewelry? Drugs?”  
The disheveled, uninvited man explained, “I look for a wallet on the dresser.” His gaze shifted toward the wallets sitting on their dresser, making his point. “I only remove one credit card, though. I touch nothing else.” 
Phil surmised the rest. “To buy time — until the victim realizes it’s missing, or the credit card company notifies the victim — whichever comes first, but could take a while.”
Tommy nodded. “Exactly. If I get a card, I beat feet; but you guys walked in before I even had a chance to look. I didn’t take anything — we’re all good, I promise. I ducked into the closet, waiting for you to either leave or go to sleep. Guess I’m the one who crapped out. What gave me away? Did I snore?”
“We heard you rip one,” Garrett said. 
“Damn chili dogs,” Tommy muttered, looking down at his feet.
Phil asked, “So what’s your goal with the stolen card?”
“I book a plane ticket and get the hell out of dodge. I fly to the next gay enclave and steal another card. I’ve been all over the world, and no one’s caught up to me yet.”
“Until now, you idiot.”
“Technically, you’re correct; but do you know that when a burglar enters a potentially occupied home, he is mentally prepared to commit homicide?” Tommy asked, but didn’t wait for a response as he pulled a gun from the small of his back. 
He shot Garrett before he could lift the bat. 
Tommy double-tapped Phil before he could dial 911, or any other number. He crumbled to the ground. 
Tommy heard the front screen door slam. 
“Doesn’t anyone ever lock their doors around here?” he grumbled. 
“Phil? Garrett?” You guys setting off fireworks?” a concerned friend asked. When he reached the bedroom door, his eyes met the intruder’s. His mouth fell open, but could form no words.  
“Fireworks,” Tommy sneered. “I got your fireworks right here.” Bang-bang. 
Tommy locked the front door behind him. The drifter strolled down the tree-lined boardwalk, blended in with the crowd, and made his way towards the ferry. 
He had a plane to catch.


  1. Kathleen - Oh, this is a great story! There's a nice twist to it, and you captured the setting so nicely. Thanks for sharing it. This is terrific!

  2. Thanks, Margot and Dan ~ so glad you liked it :-) Thanks for taking the time to stop by & read it!

  3. I'm sorry about that....I meant Don, not Dan! ~ Please accept my apologies. My eyes are kissing each other, I'm so tired! I've been operating on very little sleep many nights in a row. Guess it's time to pack it in for the night!

  4. Good piece. I was meaning to follow all the stuff for this contest but have just been swamped.

  5. Thanks, Charles & Marilyn! I've been so busy, too, Charles ~ I hear 'ya, buddy :-)

  6. Thanks, Steve! I appreciate your suggestion for this challenge. Some good summer reading!