The Old Man With A Knife (Garage Fiction #20)

Gillis Tibideaux wasn’t much to look at.  It was’t that he was ugly.  He was just rather plain.  An everyman.  Maybe a bit too skinny perhaps, but otherwise a nice fellow.

He was a quiet sort who kept to himself.  And after the incident in New York, he liked it like that.

CC License - dwstucke (flickr)

CC License – dwstucke (flickr)

Nearly twenty years ago, his dad gave him the old 1961 Shasta Airflyte before he died.  Even though it was only sixteen feet by seven feet, he’d made it home, one of the few permanent campers in the RV park.

Summer was in full swing, and the bayou was full of campers from all over the midwest.

His little oasis had fallen prey to the little banshees running around the campsites disturbing his peace.

He didn’t mind so much. Never married, and never any children of his own.  He’d learned to welcome how loud a six year old could belt out a holler from down by the river.

The setting sun burned through the blinds on the west end of the trailer.  He’d positioned it that way so he could always see the sunset.

He adjusted the blinds just enough for him to see the sun start to touch the water at the far end of the bayou.  Every summer it was the same.

In about an hour, things would get peaceful again. The campfires would start as the kids got too tired to wreak any more havoc.

It was also the same time the loneliness would set in. And the thoughts of regret would  swarm though his mind like a beehive hit with a stick.

He eyed the cupboard.  It was just a few feet away.  It would be quick and easy. No one would know a thing.  At least not for a while.

It was Friday on a long weekend.  He wouldn’t need to be at the butcher shop preparing fresh cuts until five a.m. on Tuesday.

Just real quick.  It won’t hurt anyone.  It will make you feel better. 

Gillis rubbed his temples with the middle three fingers of both of hands.  Taking a deep breath, he willed the thoughts away.

Bzzzz. Sting. Bzzzz. Sting.

Every weekend got a little harder to stop the swarm.  During the week he didn’t have to worry about it as the 14 hour days at the butcher shop kept him too tired to care.

But weekends.  That was always difficult.

I wonder if the customers would miss me, he thought.

Ms. Graham always asked for him.  For some reason she thought his cuts made the meat more tender. Then there’s Mr.Cunningham.  Gillis started to list off the locals he liked.  And even a few of the visitors, at least the ones that came back year after year.

Like the Freeneys who started coming down from Baton Rouge. Bill and Jen had been down several summers in row with their daughter Allison and son Scotty.

Gillis knew them from both the butcher shop and the campground.  They were hard to miss when they first pulled up in that Prevost motor coach that would make a rock star jealous.  It was a palace on wheels.

Even though the Freeneys were obviously wealthy, they were always kind to Gillis when they came into the shop.  They’d catch up and ask him what had changed since last year, even reminding Gillis of what he shared last year when they were in town.

It felt good being remembered.  And he always made sure they were well taken care of when they came to the shop.  He smiled for moment as he thought of them, and little Scotty’s twenty questions a minute.

What would it have been like to have a family?  Too late now. Buzz. Sting.

Gillis fought back the regrets.  He knew it was too late for family. And with no siblings and no family of his own, he’d learned to find comfort in the little things.  Like the people who came into the shop and made him feel needed or wanted.

All they had to do was notice him, maybe say his name.  Just a little chit chat.  Something that distracted him from feeling completely alone in the world.

Even if they were just customers. It made him feel good that someone took note he was there.

You know it will be quick.  No one will ever know. Bzzz. Sting.

Gillis sat down on the bench near the door.  He could pull it out to make the bed, but once he did that, there was next to no room to move around.

Sitting on the bench facing the simple wood cupboard, he thought about the last gift his dad gave him before he died.

Opening up the sparse cupboard, the leather knife-roll sat on the top shelf.

Remember son, a butcher has to have good knives. If he’d heard that once, he’d heard it a thousand times.  A sad smile came across his face as he remembered his dad’s voice.

Gillis never wanted to be a butcher, but after the fiasco in New York, he figured a butcher was a more noble profession than Wall Street banker.

And the year or so they got to work together side by side was worth it, even after his dad sold the butcher shop to cover the legal fees back in New York.

At least they were both free and didn’t owe anything to anyone.

Looking down at the knives Gillis thought You can join him.  It will only take a moment.

This time there was no buzz, there was no sting.

It was a lucid thought that somehowe made sense.

Your life is nothing really. No purpose.  Why go on? 

Gillis looked outside the blinds.  The sun was had cut halfway through the horizon at the end of the bayou.

The kids had quieted down. The grills were going.  Families were being families.

And here you are, with nothing. Avoided jail in new York only to live in your own prison.  No one cares about you.  Why should you?

The knives glistened as the rays of an orange sun angled through the blinds and washed over the leather roll.

That one.  The big one.  It will be quick.  Do it!

Gillis tried to keep his thoughts in check. But now the clear thoughts and buzzing ones all flowed into one seamless grind in his head.

No one cares about you. Who are you kidding?  This isn’t a life.  You’re already dead.

Gillis set his hands on the table in front of the knives as his palms began to sweat.  Moving his right hand from left to right over the leather roll, splayed out with all five knives, his hand hovered over the Wüsthof 9″ Hollow-Edge Carving Knife.

That’s the one.

A numbing feeling coursed through his body as his heart began to race.  He questioned why he hadn’t done this before.  All it would take is a firm thrust in and sweeping motion down and he could rest.

No more swarming thoughts. No more fly on the wall.  No more standing in silence while everyone around you lives life.

That’s it, right there. 

Gillis took the point of the razor sharp knife and pressed it into his neck about three inches under his right ear and just behind the jawline.  With the angle of the blade pointing down toward the table in front of him, all  it would take is one thrust.

Don’t wait.  No one will ever miss you.  They may mourn  for a moment, but in a day or two, you’ll be forgotten.  But this time, instead of walking around feeling the pain of being forgotten, you will sleep Gillis.  Do it!

Gillis gripped the handle of the knife with all his might, tensing his bicep he closed his eyes.

Bham … wham … wham.  The pounding on the door just a foot from Gillis’ left ear shook the trailer.

“Gillis? You in there! It’s Bill Freeney.”

Snapping to, Gillis looked at the knife roll and the missing 9” blade.  Without moving his head, he saw the butt of the blade near his clinched fist and pulled the knife away from his neck.”

“Yes. Just a moment.”

Startled. Gillis put the knife back in the roll and then flopped one end over onto the other. Still sitting on the bench, he reached over and opened the door to see Bill Freeney and his son Scotty.

“I hope we aren’t disturbing you.”

Still shaken Gillis kept his composure. “No, uh … I was just settling in.”

“Well we didn’t want to bother you.  But Jill has fixed more food than we know what to do with and when I went to put the steaks on … the ones we picked up earlier … I noticed we had an extra steak. Have you eaten yet?”


“Great.  We want you to come have dinner with the family.  Jill told me she wouldn’t take no for an answer. So you better come.”

Gillis looked at Bill and Scotty with a half smile “Thank you very much for the invitation.”

“If you haven’t eaten, ’no’ is not an option, we want you to come.”

“Well fine then. I just need to take care of something before I do anything else. It will only take a minute.”

“Fair enough.”

Gillis watched Bill and Scotty head back to their motor coach.  Closing the door and the blinds, he reached for the knife-roll on the table.

This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by Dogwood Daniels…

It was a simple phrase, in the traditional of old school fiction prompts:

The Old Man With A Knife.

These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project codenamed “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels and Me) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Tuesdays via podcast.

To read Jinn Zhong’s Garage Fiction-of-the-week, Click Here:  XII: Gouda – Hippopotamus
To read Dogwood Daniel’s GF-of-the-week, Click Here: Flowers  NOTE: “FLOWERS” IS A HIGHLY DISTURBING STORY. READER DISCRETION ADVISED


Three Fingers (Garage Fiction #19)

Tom Skinner looked down as the pale yellow light from the floor lamp in his study cascaded over the three fingers of 14 year-old Balvenie scotch his wife left for him on the armchair table before heading out with friends for a show at the National Theater.

Evelyn was meticulous.  She knew exactly how he liked his scotch.  Just one cube of ice and a slight shake of the glass so the scotch breathe enough for the bouquet to fill his nose on that first cool sip.  A sip that quickly turned into a gulp as Tom tried to take the sting out the call on the encrypted line, hardwired into his study.

CC License - Intangible Arts

CC License – IntangibleArts (Flickr)

“You’ll get the job done as a discussed Tom.  Unless of course you prefer Evelyn to get a copy of what I’m holding in my hand. I would imagine once she sees the extent of your depravity, she will never  want to see you or speak with you again. She is a bit more demure than the woman with the whip in this picture.  I suggest you finish what we started unless you want to live the rest of your life alone.”

Tom hung up on Miles without a word.  Grabbing another gulp of scotch he melted into the leather of his favorite wingback.  The chair, the side table, and all the other furniture in his study hadn’t changed in more then 30 years.

They were the same pieces he and Evelyn had hand picked when they first built the house in the early eighties.  He had just become the Deputy National Security Advisor for Bush 41.  And as a non-partisan patriot with one of the fastest rising stars in the intelligence business, it was no surprise when the current Administration tapped him to become the Director of National Intelligence, a role that put him in charge of all sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies including the CIA, NSA, and Homeland Security.

But with all his years in intelligence.  One lapse in judgement could cost him everything he holds dear.  The one thing that was irreplaceable, Evelyn.

He thought back on all they’d been through together, she deserved better than this.  Better than being ambushed from a White House thug like Miles Barton.

He should never have gone to that private club in Budapest with the Hungarian Ambassador, but it wasn’t completely voluntary. He knew after that second scotch that something was wrong.  And after waking up without his clothes in his hotel room.  He knew it was bad.  But after a thorough investigation by two of his trusted aides, everything came back clean.  Until Miles showed him one of the pictures.

He always tried to shield Evelyn from his work.  Intelligence was always a dirty business.  But this time he was at a crossroads.  Risk losing her, or make sure General John Cabot died in a tragic, untraceable accident during his next trip to Iraq.

His stomach churned as he mulled the options.  He’d been in the situation before.  Innocent people had died during intelligence operations, but all of it was in the line of duty, never to protect his own agenda  He’d only net General Cabot once, and he seemed a true patriot, not unlike himself. And the thought of killing an innocent man just for doing his job was virtually unconscionable.

Tom looked down at a remnant of the melted ice cube as it hung on for dear life swirling in the amber hue of that last finger of scotch.  Taking a final gulp, he got up from the wingback and walked to the sideboard to grab the decanter of Balvanie and another ice cube.

Walking back to his chair, he winced at the thought of living alone.  Amputated from the only woman he’d ever loved.   Their routines were like a dance.  From morning to night the they didn’t vary much.  Even with a chef in the house, Evelyn liked to make the two of them breakfast.  And in the evenings she wasn’t going to let the maid fix her husband’s drink when she was around.  For years the ritual had been the same, and they mused about growing old in the same brick home they’d raised their four kids in.

But now, this dirty intelligence business was about to rip their life apart.

Early on in the marriage, Evelyn had found the magazines one day while cleaning his office. She immediately withdrew, pained by the thought that she wasn’t enough for her him.  He assured her it wasn’t the case.  And about the time they’d healed the rift and begun to build trust once again, the Internet exploded and so did the access to porn. Now Tom had a silent way to keep his addiction going without being caught.

He loved his wife, but the sexual urge and easy access consumed him more and more. Sure he’d stop for a while, think it was behind him, but then the trigger would come and he’d be off to the races in his mind, looking for a way to act out. But he drew a line with porn.  That was until that night in Budapest.

He knew for years he had a weakness.  Had even sought solace in confessing his struggles to his Pastor.   And although he was conflicted, stepping out on Evelyn was never even a remote possibility.  Especially after more than 40 years of a happiness.   But in Budapest, even though he can’t remember what happened, he knew it all went south.

Staring at another three fingers of Balvanie, Tom silently wished he’d never gotten into this dirty business.  And as disgusted as he was with his own behavior.  He took another hard gulp.  The last thought before he dozed off was, there was no way I’m going to kill another patriot to save my own ass.

Tom came to as Evelyn stood over him, as beautiful as ever.

“Hunny, you look awful. Is everything ok.”

“Not really sweetheart, we need to talk.”

This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by Jinn Zhong…

“Svefn-g-englar” written and performed by Sigur Rós

LYRICS in original Icelandic and Vonlenska:

(Ég) er kominn aftur (á ný)
Inn í þig
(Það er) svo gott að vera (hér)
En stoppa stutt við

Ég flýt um í neðarsjávar hýði
(á hóteli)
beintengdur við rafmagnstöfluna
(og nærist)

tjú, tjú
tjú, tjú

En biðin gerir mig (leiðan)
Brot (hættan) sparka frá mér (og kall á)
Ég verð að fara (hjálp)

tjú, tjú, tjú
tjú, tjú, tjú

tjú, tjú, tjú, tjú, tjú

Ég spring út og friðurinn í loft upp

(Baðaður nýju ljósi
Ég græt og ég græt, aftengdur)
Ónýttur heili settur á brjóst og mataður af svefn

tjú, tjú, tjú
tjú, tjú, tjú

English Translation:

(I) am here once more (anew)
Inside of you
(It’s) so nice to be (in here)
But I can’t stay for long

I float around in liquid hibernation
(in a hotel)
connected to the electricity board
(and drinking)

tjú, tjú
tjú, tjú

But the wait makes me (uneasy)
I kick (the fragility) away from me (and I shout)
I have to go (help)

tjú, tjú, tjú
tjú, tjú, tjú

tjú, tjú, tjú, tjú, tjú

I explode out and the peace is gone

(Bathed in new light
I cry and I cry, disconnected)
An unused brain is put on breasts and is fed by sleep
Sleep angels

tjú, tjú, tjú
tjú, tjú, tjú

These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project codenamed “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels and Me) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Tuesdays via podcast.

To read Jinn Zhong’s Garage Fiction-of-the-week, Click Here:  Neðarsjávar Hýði
To read Dogwood Daniel’s GF-of-the-week, Click Here: The Mural, P1

Care for Game? (Garage Fiction #18)

Miles scrolled through the contacts on his phone, contemplating a random call or text.  He couldn’t stand being alone for too long.  The silence was suffocating.  He needed movement.  Interaction. Conflict if need be.  Just no silence.  One of the unfortunate scars of being an orphan.

Funny thing about being orphan, your parents don’t have to be dead to abandon you.  They just have to be absent, even when their sitting in the same room.  As far as Miles was concerned, he’d been abandoned long before the fire consumed his mom and dad as he watched while the house burned.

Sitting in the back corner of the coffee shop he watched the normal people come in and out.  Nurses, couriers, students, accountants, the occasional lobbyist or mid-level staffer, mostly just the working crowd back,  for another day’s grind.

He knew most of them were probably struggling paycheck to paycheck.  Washington D.C., wasn’t a cheap place to live and play. It could easily eat a couple of paychecks in a single weekend if you couldn’t hold your liquor or keep your pants on.  At least that was his experience. He smiled at the thought. He didn’t need his $175,000 Chief-of Staff salary, so his paychecks seemed to burn with ease.

He tried to hold back the disdain for the normal people. Empathy was never easy. Feelings were foreign to Miles.  He preferred calculation and mental gymnastics any day. It was better to keep people spinning like a plate on a stick than get too interested in the sappy side of life.

It was all about controlling the environment and bending it to what you wanted, emotions just got in the way. Unless you needed them as a tool.

Miles to a long sip of his French pressed java as he read the front page of the Financial Times.  He always preferred it over the Wall Street Journal.  The writing was better and he liked how the salmon color of the paper stood out on a newsstand.

He liked things that stood out.  Things that were bold.  Boldness, was a well used calling card he used to be heard and get things done. So the times was a fitting accessory.

Setting his cup on the table he caught a glimpse of John Copper as he walked in.  Nodding to Miles, John motioned toward the counter signaling he’d grab a coffee. Miles nodded back as he watched the six foot three brit get in line.

John and Miles met during orientation on their first day at Goldman Sachs.  Two alpha males who’d just as soon take you out in the alley and beat you then let you take money from them on a trading desk.

For them, it was all about the win.  And after seven years in a Wall Street foxhole together, they were ready to fight whoever, whenever—as long as it put money in their pockets.

“Morning Miles.”

“Morning Copper. How was the flight. Uneventful.  Thanks for sending the plane.  I was able to stay on at the High Street office until Tokyo opened.

“With pleasure my friend. So where do we stand.”

“I spoke with Hilal twice on the flight over.  And it looks good.  There is a Panamax Oil Tanker leaving the port of Dubai empty, later today. If you’re ready to put up the money. We can probably have it full by Wednesday next week.”

“At what price?”

“I think we can get it filled at about $20 a barrel.”

“Well done. That’s 60% under the market.”

“It’s possible it could go higher than twenty if ISIS has trouble getting it through Syria.”

“That’s fine.  We will be holding the tanker in Panama until oil hits around $80 a barrel.  We won’t miss five bucks.”

“You mean, you won’t miss four million.  That ship holds about 800,000 barrels.”

Miles laughed.  “I won’t miss four million.  But don’t give it away.  Better to let them think we’re unwilling to pay a dime over $20. They’ll capitulate.  Its the only way they can fund operations.  That’s blood oil, and their buyers are going to get harder to come by.”

“Why’s that?”

The President has a new guy running the coalition against ISIS. A General Abbot.”

“I think I saw him on the news.”

“I tried to dissuade him of Abbot.  But he wouldn’t listen. Seems to be a friend of a friend thing.”

“This guy a hard ass.”

“He’s a patriot and an Eagle Scout. All I know is that he’s tightening the noose by expanding the coalition.  And those who aren’t supporting the cause with troops and support on the ground are beefing up intelligence in the banking sector.  They’re watching global cash flows like a hawk.  Cut off the flow of funds, and you cut of the growing Caliphate.”

“That’s why your in the Whitehouse my friend. You take care of your end, and I’ll take care of mine. If we do this right, we will be sitting on fat check of about $44,000,000, even if we have to pay $25 a barrel.”

Miles smirked.

“That makes it easier to let that four million go. Even so, tell them not a dime over $20 and see what happens.”

“I will.”

“The bottom line is that we need this first one to go off very smoothly.  I think I can get to General Abbot, but it’s going to take a little time.  But, if I’m successful, it will be very easy for us going forward.  So make sure this goes off without any issues.”

“C’mon Miles. You know I’m a closer.”

“I know.  But this one has to be flawless.”

“Consider it done my friend.”

Copper took a sip of his coffee and looked down at the Financial Times.

“Glad to see you still like our paper over that American rag.”

Miles smiled.  They’d argued the merits of both papers, many a morning on the trading desk, until Copper finally convinced him that the Times was superior in every way.

“I have to run Copper.  I have a staff meeting in forty minutes. Why don’t we meet at the club later and I can kick your ass in a game of squash.”

Incredulous, Copper looked up as Miles stood.

“You amuse me Miles.  What are we now, seventy games to none? My favor of course.”

Miles grinned like the Cheshire cat.  He knew Balaam should be back by then. And hating to lose, he wanted to finally give Copper a good drubbing.

“I’ve been gaining some skills since we lastplayed.  C’mon, it’ll be fun.”

“If you say so. Around five o’clock?


“Fine.  See you then. Oh and leave the paper. I still need to finish my coffee.”


This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by me …

The Wrath of Jinn
(In reference to Garage Fiction Podcast Episode #15)


These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project called “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels and Me)  have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Mondays via podcast.

Author’s Note: Depending on how Jinn and Dogwood are feeling, their writings, posts, or podcasts may warrant an R rating for mature content (99% of this comes from Dogwood).

Godspeed… and I hope you enjoy our project.

To read Jinn Zhong’s Garage Fiction-of-the-week, Click Here: Coming Soon
To read Dogwood Daniel’s GF-of-the-week, Click Here: The Tramp Redux

A Family Friend (Garage Fiction #17)

Fidgety and perspiring, Dr. Ahmed Khoury’s eyes darted from left to right and back again.

He tried to control himself.  But all he could think about was wanting to run, to scream, to throw himself on the floor in the middle of the terminal and curl up in the fetal position.

Fleeting childish thoughts that would never reach daylight.  But for an instant they made him feel something, anything.

He’d been numb for the better part of 12 hours.  Utterly helpless after learning his daughter had never shown up for school today, having boarded a Turkish Airlines flight at Heathrow bound for Istanbul.

Every few minutes he wrestled another deluge of thoughts.  What did we do wrong?  Why did God forsake my family?  Please God keep her safe?

Desperate cries from a heart that was quickly losing faith.

Vigilantly scanning the passport control area, he didn’t see the them come up from behind.

“Dr. Khoury?”

Spinning around he was face to face with two agents from the British Consulate with badges at the ready for clear identification.

“Please come this way.”

Still visibly shaken he nodded and followed the agents through the security door at behind passport control.

The older agent motioned Dr. Khoury toward a sterile conference room as he continued down the hall.

“Please sit down.” The younger female agent pointed to one of four chairs surrounding a simple metal table that stood barren on a white stone floor. Dr. Khoury sat in the chair facing the door, with the wide two way mirror on his left.

“Would you care for something to drink Dr. Khoury? Tea?  Perhaps a coffee?”

Mouth parched he crackled a “No thank you.” Then thought better of it.  “Water would be fine.”

The agent smiled and left the room. She returned with a bottled of water and the other agent, her senior.

After some brief introductions. The agents had Dr. Khoury recount the days events.  And he complied. 

They already had his statements and his wife from the counter terrorism unit back in London.

But given his current state, the stress of losing his daughter and traveling 2000 miles to realize there is nothing he could do, they wanted to give him room to decompress if possible.

The last thing they wanted was for him going off half-cocked into Istanbul and ending up on the wrong side of town.  Or worse yet, the wrong side of whoever was involved in trafficking his daughter to Syria.

They continued the niceties, and as Dr. Khoury caught on his demeanor changed from resignation to defiance.  Defiance of the situation, the perpetrators, and anything that might stand in the way of him finding his daughter before it was too late.

“Dr. Khoury.  I know this is very difficult for you.  But there is nothing more you can do here.  We already have our counterterrorism unit working with our Turkish counterparts to try and locate your daughter right now. 

From what we’ve seen in the recruitment of foreign Jihadi brides, we have about a 48 hour window before they across the border into Syria.  Please know  we are doing all we can. And I strongly advise you consider traveling back to London and wait there for word from us when we know more.”

Glancing at the senior agent’s I.D. Card hanging from his breast pocket Dr. Khoury raised his head leveling a resolute gaze directly in the agents eyes.

“Agent Shannon. May I ask you a personal question?

“Of course.”

Do you have children?”

“I do.  A boy and girl.”

“How old are they?”

“William is 15 and Alison is 11.”

“May I ask you what you would do if you were in my position.”

Agent Shannon looked down at the table and paused before glancing over at his subordinate.

“Dr. Khoury. I can empathize with your position …”

Cutting into the agent’s answer, Dr. Khoury asked again. “With sincere respect Agent Shannon, I appreciate your empathy.  But my question was what would you do? What would you do if you were in my position.”

The agent blinked.  He looked down and then back at his subordinate who gave an approving glance.

“Off the record?”

“I’m a doctor. Agent Shannon.  I took an oath to maintain the confidence with every patient I see. I want to know what YOU would do.”

“I would do everything I could to get my daughter back.”

“That’s that I thought you might say. Please know that I respect your position.  And I am truly appreciative of everything you and your team are doing to secure my daughter’s return.  But as a father, I must do what I must do. I have come to Turkey to visit friends of the family and they will be expecting me soon. Am I free to leave.”

“Of course. Doctor. You are free to come and go as you wish. But I have to warn you.  The people who have lured your daughter to Turkey are professionals, and they are playing for keeps. It is important that you leave this matter to us.  Your daughters life may depend on it.”

Dr. Khoury smiled a warm smile.

“Before you go.  Do you have contact information where we can reach you while your staying in Istanbul.”

I do.  Taking the prescription pad from the outside pocket off his briefcase, he wrote the name and address of his host in Istanbul and handed it to Agent Shannon.

“I will be staying at this address for the duration of my stay.  You can also reach my on my cell as needed.”

Agent Shannon knew the meeting was over.

“Agent Brock will have your passport stamped and show you the way out. Please stay safe Dr. Khoury. Istanbul can be a treacherous place.”

As Dr. Khoury exited the secured area Agent Shannon made his way to one of the Gendarmes sitting at a computer terminal and he handed him Dr. Khoury’s contact information.

“Can you look this up for me.”

With a few key strokes the officer pulled Dr. Khoury’s host up on the screen. With raised eyebrows he grabbed Agent Shannon attention as he tapped the monitor.

Not only did it display the full name and address of Yaron Zahavy, but his full file as a former Captain in the Israeli Defense Forces and his current role as Mossad Deputy Station Chief for Istanbul and the Lavant.

Agent Shannon reached for a desk phone and started to dial.

Outside at baggage claim Dr. Khoury was nearing the terminal exit as his cell phone rang.

“Ahmed, Its Yaron.  Everything Ok?

“Yes.  I am on my way outside.”

“Glad you are well my friend.  Do hurry we don’t have much time.”

This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by Dogwood Daniels…

“A Graveyard at 26,000 Feet: The Tragic Fate of Those Left Behind on Mount Everest”written by Mark Newton, published on April 24, 2015 on Movie Pilot

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Around 250 people have died attempting to conquer Mount Everest, and many of them are still up there. Most of the unfortunate perish in the death zone, where rescue and even the removal of the corpse is treacherous and almost impossible, as the air above 8,000 feet is too thin to allow helicopter rescue. Even becoming injured in the death zone can be fatal. There are frequent stories of climbers being left behind by their team, simply because they do not have the time, resources or energy to help them. Indeed, passing dying climbers isn’t an infrequent occurrence, as Dean ‘Rocket’ Hall, a former soldier and current video game developer, mentioned on his recent expedition. His team encountered a dying, semi-conscious climber on an ascent in 2013. He explained:

“We got there, our lead sherpa shook the guy’s hand, and its was floppy as anything. I looked at the guy. I’d seen plenty of bodies in the military before. He looked as dead as a doornail to me. At the time, I was like, ‘Look, there’s no way I’d carry on to the summit if I could be somewhere helping someone.’ But I realized that if we didn’t — the guy was unconscious, at least. Definitely. And we argued about this back at base camp. Well, what if we’d put oxygen on him? Sure, it would have revived him, if he was actually still alive. But then what? We couldn’t bring him down. It’s just not physically possible. In which case, we would have revived him so he could be in pain. I just remember realizing how sad it was. And that was the overwhelming feeling: just how sad it was that he died alone.”

Read the rest here:


These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project called “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels and Me)  have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Mondays via podcast.

Author’s Note: Depending on how Jinn and Dogwood are feeling, their writings, posts, or podcasts may warrant an R rating for mature content (99% of this comes from Dogwood).

Godspeed… and I hope you enjoy our project.

To read Jinn Zhong’s Garage Fiction-of-the-week, Click Here: The King of Cups
To read Dogwood Daniel’s GF-of-the-week, Click Here: The Tramp

The Message (Garage Fiction #16)

The burnt orange hue of a cloudless evening sky filled John Cabot’s eyes as he made his way over the Potomac. He wondered what Ellen might be cooking.  Through the years she’d become a phenomenal chef, in spite of the Williams & Sonoma cookbooks. 

He smiled as he remembered their first epic fight.

“Who the hell buys cookbooks for their first anniversary present!”

“That’s what your supposed to do. It’s tradition … twenty-fifth is silver … fiftieth is gold.  The first year is paper. 

“So I have to wait until year sixty for a diamond?  You don’t get it do you?

His defensive position  held no ground as Ellen out flanked him on both sides before running right over top of him with military brilliance he hadn’t seen since Desert Storm back in ’90. He started to chuckle.  So much for tradition.  A hard lesson but any good soldier adapts.

Passing the Pentagon on his right, Cabot pointed his Silver Tahoe toward the exit ramp off Jefferson Memorial Highway.  He was just a few miles from his home in Arlington Ridge when his cell phone lit up with an unrecognized number.

He answered with a firm, “Cabot.”

“Hello General, it’s Miles Barton.”

Hearing the slithering voice Cabot’s body went tense. Ever the warrior, it was a fight not flight response.

“What can I do for you Mr. Barton.”

“Please call me Miles.”

Not one for placating the enemy with pleasantries he answered again in the same emotionless tone.  “What can I do for you Miles.”

“The President asked me to call.  He said your brief for the Security Counsel was very insightful.  And the early feedback he’s from other members raises some concern about our readiness.  He would like to meet with you privately before heading to China next week. Can you be here this Friday at eleven a.m.

“Give me a second while I check my calendar.”

He hit the mute button on his phone as he meandered through the front part of his neighborhood.  After about minute of thinking what Ellen might be cooking, he made a mental note of his schedule for Friday.  Morning off, take Radar to the vet. He knew there wasn’t a conflict, but making Miles wait was a luxury he might not get very often.

Cresting the hill overlooking his driveway, Cabot let another twenty seconds pass before unmuting the phone.

“Sorry to keep you waiting Miles.  Just had to run through my schedule and make sure I was good. Eleven will work fine for me.”

Cabot could hear Miles huff.  There was no love lost between them.  Having met just twelve hours prior, Cabot could tell it was going to be a long battle with this jayhole. But a battle he might come to enjoy.

“Thank you General.  The President and I look forward to meeting you on Friday.”  Miles stuck in the “I” to reiterate his level of importance as Chief of Staff.

“I thought you said it was a private meeting.” Cabot said with a grin.

“It is.  But it looks like the President wants us working a bit more closely together.  Especially now that you’ve pointed out ISIS has moved into Pakistan, Afghanistan, and even a training camp on the Mexican border not far from El Paso.  Point is the President wants to be briefed more frequently and those briefs usually go through me first. But we can discuss that in more detail on Friday General.”

Restraining a facetious comment Cabot let him go,  “Sounds great.  I look forward to seeing you and the President then. Goodnight Miles.”


As he hung up, he pulled the Tahoe into the middle bay of their three-car garage.  It forced him to look at the 1968 Austin Heeley 3000 cabriolet roadster he stopped working on when he accepted the appointment as Special Presidential Envoy. Thanks Pete, this job just gets getting better and better buddy. As he opened the door and walked toward the entrance to the kitchen, the smell of Ellen’s linguine and mussels snapped his mind out of the day’s work and on to what mattered most.

“Hey hunny, that you.”

“You expecting somebody else?”

“Yes as a matter of fact I am.  Kelsey’s finished her finals and came home for the weekend.  She and Amber went shopping.  They mentioned going to a movie so I wasn’t sure when they’d be back”

Where’s “Helen Keller?” Radar was already ninety-percent deaf.  And when the cataract surgery didn’t take, now he was blind too.

“Don’t call him that.” Ellen held her fist to her face and shook it at him.  But with the knuckle of middle finger as high as a teepee, the only thing she could hurth with a fist like that was her finger.

With a playful grin Cabot  grabbed her fist and pulled her close.  Giving her a strong quick kiss to calm her down.

“I was just kidding.” Radar could smell the old man.  Using the hard plastic edge of his cone, he tried to gouge the skin off Cabot’s ankle

“Don’t you be mean to him, he’s already on borrowed time.”

Cabot picked him up and scratched his head a belly.

“Did you give him his eye-juice?”

“No you can.”

He tried to keep a smile, but this was getting old, for both of them.  To stave off infection after the surgery,  Radar had to have eye drops every hour, twenty four hours a day, for a week.  The last time he’d been tortured this long with a lack of sleep  was in Kandahar, fighting the Taliban for nearly two straight weeks.

They both traded off the eye-juice rituals through a dinner and into bed.

As usual, Ellen coordinated the geriatric care.  “You’ve got nine through one a.m. And I’ll do two through six a.m.”

“Sounds good.”

After an amazing dinner for two and a 2004 bottle of De Stefano Sauvignon Blanc, he was too tired to worry about who had what.  He was just glad they were together.  And after twenty-five years together, he couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

Ellen set her alarms and was asleep by the time her head hit the pillow.  Cabot put his phone on do-not-disturb and set his four alarms. As he finished, a text came in.

Puzzled, Cabot hit the message button. With the do-not-disturb button on he shouldn’t be getting any messages.

Cabot felt the hair on the back of his neck stand at attention he stared at the blood red font on the phone.

“Nighty night General. Hope you and the girls sleep well.”

Looking at the number of the sender, he quickly flipped to the “received calls” and found a match. Switching back to “messages” he scrolled top and bottom for the text but it was gone. Deleted, without a trace.

Miles you son of a bitch!

This week’s Garage Fiction prompt was provided by Jinn Zhong…

“The Woman Who Woke Up In The Future” written by Arielle Pardes, published on April 15, 2015 on Vice

Here’s the article’s lead:

Naomi Jacobs was a 32-year-old single mother living in Manchester, England, when she went to sleep on April 30, 2008. She lived in a small flat with her ten-year-old son Leo and their cat Sophia. At the time, she was unemployed, but she had gone back to school, where she was pursuing a degree in psychology. When Naomi woke up the next morning, she didn’t remember any of this. Instead, she woke up believing she was 15 years old, bewildered by how she had ended up in the future.

It took years for Naomi to figure out what happened to her that night, but eventually, doctors gave her the diagnosis: transient global amnesia. The disorder only affects about five per 100,000 people each year, and results in sudden loss of memories. Unlike other forms of amnesia, people typically remember who they are and how to do stuff (Naomi, for example, could still remember her pin number and how to drive a car), but they forget qualitative memories. Those memories return eventually, but not before the traumatic, disorienting experience of feeling like you’ve traveled through time.

For Naomi, the experience wasn’t just jarring—it was a catalyst to change her life. Now, seven years later, she’s detailed everything that happened in a memoir, called Forgotten Girl. The book reveals a woman who forget the entirety of her adult life, rediscovered the person she grew up to be, and ultimately learned how to forgive herself.

Read the rest here:


These weekly scenes & stories are part of an ongoing project called “Garage Fiction”. Since January 2015, three writers (Jinn Zhong, Dogwood Daniels, and me) have committed to writing a flash fiction or scene each and every week. We post on Fridays and dissect on Mondays via podcast.

Author’s Note: Depending on how Jinn and Dogwood are feeling, their writings, posts, or podcasts may warrant an R rating for mature content (99% of this comes from Dogwood).

Godspeed… and I hope you enjoy our project.

To read Jinn Zhong’s Garage Fiction-of-the-week, Click Here: Mirror, Mirror
To read Dogwood Daniel’s GF-of-the-week, Click Here: Salt, IIV