The Hartwhile Custom Flit and Repair Shop

Working without a net here today. I wanted to extend my Hartwhile Garage story, but I can’t seemt o find it on the web. Not being able to find it means that I’ve never posted it and that it’s lost to the text searching of my root folder here on the computer. Not a difficult task but one which will further distract me from writing. So, no net.

Not recalling the owner or the badger’s names may make me crazy. I swear: I’ll be quick. That was easier than I thought.

Narkkid punched the garage door button with two fingers. The door rose like a stage drape as the hinged metal slats coiled onto a spindel three meters above her. The mechanic stood without stooping as the door chugged past her face. Some mornings an anxious customer witnessed her theatrical opening—most times, not. This morning as the cool outside air rolled into the front bay of Hartwhile Custom Flit and Repair Shop at the twelve o’clock spot on Honey Farm Circle so did a body.

“Tjon? Tjon! Get in here. We’ve got another body.” Something like a badger trotted up to the doorless doorway between the front bay and the big bay. He wore a pocket-riddled green vest; a human-sized Phillips head screwdriver ran down his back in a sheath like a sword.

“That’s the second one in a week,” Tjon said.

“Are we still clean?”

“It’ll just take twenty minutes.” Tjon bounded over to the body and snuffled the nape of the neck.

“And give Uma another half-day with no work,” Narkkid said. “She won’t thank me for that.”

“I don’t think this one’s dead, Kiddi”

Narkkid stopped scowling. “Good then. No police. Uma! Get in here and give us a hand.”

A woman in blue coveralls filled the same doorway like a serving of mashed potatoes. Her hair was thin and white and short; she really needed a hat.

“That’s the second one this week,” Uma said.

“But Tjon says this one ain’t dead.”

“Good then. No police. Want me to give you a hand?”

Narkkid palmed her forehead and rubbed her hand down her face to her chin like an egg. After a moment and without removing her hand she said, “Yeah. I do.”


“Just get the shoulders. I’ll get the feet.” Tjon hopped onto a workbench and began tepping on a monitor.


Uma crossed the arms over the stomach and hoisted the body up from its shoulders. “Where to, boss?”

Narkkid looked over to Tjon.

“Hang on, ladies,” the badger-ish mechanic said without looking away from the screen. “Nothing in the police blotter. Nothing on the news. Let me check craigslist.” Tjon peeked over the monitor at Uma.

“Come on, schab. This…” Uma inspected the body. “…this girl’s heavier than she looks.”

468 words on day 865

Frannie’s Finger Finale

Revisiting that dialogue exercise I came up with a few weeks past. No updates to the chokingly sluggish flow yet.

“Where did you get that Pop-tart?” Momma asked.
Sarah stared at her mother. I climbed on the counter—which I’m not supposed to do. I got into the cabinet—which I’m not supposed to do. I tore open a new box because I didn’t want strawberry—which I’m probably not supposed to do. I used scissors to open the foil—which I’m not supposed to do. One fell on the floor and the dog ate it—which he’s not supposed to do. I’d better tell the truth: “I dunno.”

“What? It’s black.”
“Chris, your aunt died. Take off the concert t-shirt and find something appropriate.”

Kevin twitched from a forgotten dream to upright in bed. A flop sweat adhering the sheets to his chest.
Socks purred in his lap and nudged his belly for attention.

Captain Oswald Rockford slammed the canopy of the mech closed—a difficult task given the dampening effect of the nuematics—and stomped his boots into the actuators. He detoured eye contact with his co-pilot while he snapped on toggles and pecked at his screen hard enough to stun his fingertip.
“I bought coffee,” [some rank lower than captain] Marta Hanrahan said.

“I’m never going to get this math done. I don’t understand the point of the quadratic equation. I mean, ‘Who cares? Who really cares?'” Brain tossed his book bag to the bottom of his locker like he was dumping a body.
“Did you see that Bonnie Archer transferred into our class though? Hot! Let get there early.”

“You’re not going to be able to get to the mailbox without burning your feet. Get some shoes on or don’t go.”
“Mom, I’ll be quick and run on the grass. You’ll see.”

“I don’t care how much they ‘appreciate me volunteering my time and effort’. I’m not loading full porta-potties into my pick-up.”
“Kyle, what else are they going to do? It’s starting to rain and you’re the only one with a truck. Come on I’ve already got some other guys to help us lift them up and strap them down.” Todd jingled Kyle’s keys then then pressed them into Kyle’s chest when he didn’t immediately reach for them. “Circle it around back, bud. Thanks.”

“I just don’t care.”
“Well, I do.”

“Give me the gun. Now!”
“It’s not even loaded.”

The sign read: Authorized personnel only. No public entry.

Frannie shuffled the Post-it out of her pocket and tekked in the code on the keypad.

The latch clunked promisingly, but the door to the man-trap didn’t open. She pressed and held the clear button for a moment and started over—this time using a four instead of the nine she’d thought it was the first time.

The latch clacked. Even more promising!

Frannie twisted the knob and stepped into the man-trap—just one biometric hack away from the raised floor. She saw the entry-alarm strobe to life in the next room but couldn’t hear the siren through the thick bullet-proof glass. The sentry startled to his feet and would have knocked his coffee off his folding table if food and drinks were allowed on the raised floor.

She snatched her photo-ID up from the zip lanyard on her belt and held it up as proof of her authority. The sentry shook his head and pointed to a blank space on his side of the man-trap which matched up with a fingerprint scanner on her side. Frannie held up her index finger like a question; the sentry looked exasperated and motioned again to the scanner on her side.

Frannie pressed her finger lightly to the scanner so that the frayed edges of silicon wouldn’t register.

629 words on day 844

Rhoda’s Death

Let’s get Rhoda killed off already…

Rhoda coughed then cringed from the pain. “Dammit.”

“Hold still, Rho-sweet,” Wendel said. “It’s not as bad as it looks. You’ve only been abed a day. We’ve got the time to find Morgan.” From behind Wendle, a monk squeezed her arm firmly then released his grip slowly; it was as bad as it looked.

Wendle tucked a few of Rhoda’s lavendar highlights behind the girl’s ears. This close she looked like her older fair-haired sister Morgan. Wendel knew they looked alike, all the Bearforts favored their father’s northern heritage, but she had not realized how much the girl’s dark hair and braids defined her. Nor how much she herself had let that dark hair convince her that Rhoda wasn’t Morgan’s little sister.

Wendle felt Rhoda’s warm breath on her own lips, and when she closed her eyes she betrayed Rhoda with a thought of Morgan. [expand that here, but not now]. Wendle opened her eyes to the cooling sensation of Rhoda inhaling.

“Is it dead?”

Wendle bit back a sob and nodded her head just enough.

“Good. I lost my foot though?”

Wendle echoed the nod. Rhoda looked to the darkness in the rafters for a moment. Then, reclaiming Wendle’s attention, she said, “Skin it. And have it taken back home.” The girl hadn’t lived on the Bearfort estate since before Wendle and Morgan were wed, but there was no question which home she meant. “Tell my father it choked on my foot. That’s good for a laugh at the table.”

Wendle nodded a third time and felt a smile stretch across her face. “It is and I will.”

Rhoda pressed the cuff of her shirt to Wendle’s tears. She surprised Wendle by hugging her close where Wendle smelled the girl’s black hair and tan skin. Melon from their bath this morning; dust from the road this afternoon. The undabbed tears on Wendle’s opposite cheek smeered through the würm’s blood on Rhoda’s own. Then, in her ear: “No one cries for me. No one. Now get out and get Morgan.”

The strength of Rhoda’s shove put Wendle on the polished floor and sparked the monk up from the stool where he waited for today’s last death. The monk insinuated himself to Rhoda’s side; rough fingers searched out a pulse on her neck. Wanting to do as Rhoda commanded—wanting to find her Morgan, Wendle stood but didn’t leave. “Is she?”

The monk situated Rhoda’s lolling arm to her chest. “Near enough.”

“Will she…”

“No,” he said. His placid face emphasized the point. “If you leave a little money, we’ll see she’s taken care of.” Wendle wanted to rain fire down on the man and his monastery. How dare he dismiss her death like turning a page to find another waiting. Blah blah….

Wendle looked at the girl. “She was a sorceress. A…the Bearfort sorceress.” She snatched the monk’s attention from the floor. “And my sister.” Wendle’s words dropped like a bell from a tower.

“Then you have my gratitude for being able to serve [our lord] and my assurance all will be well taken care of. Thank you.”

When Wendle reached the infirmary’s archway to the outside hall she stopped then turned and came back to Rhoda’s bed. Kissed her sister’s lips and left faster this time than the first.

There are pieces to this that I very much need to clean up and pieces that need repairing but for now I’m done.

578 words on day 841