Another day of free flash fiction from yours truly. I hope you are enjoying all the work the authors are piling into this. In the last month we’ve provided about a novella’s worth of free, quality stuff. Now, squirrel and lasagna. (I may have been cooped up too long.)
For those of you who love my velvety voice, I have recorded the story. I apologize for the visual, but it’s my last clean t-shirt. Laundry time. If you get these by email, click on this link to take you to my youtube channel.
Finally, a plug for the other authors: Paul Bennett, Robert Cely, Derek Elkins, Jamie D. Greening, Kathy Kexel, and Joe Shaw comprise the stable, including your humble host. As always, there’s no fee, we’re doing this to help you pass the time. We do ask that you buy our books/audio books to help pay the freight here. But that’s up to you! Mine are all on the right margin of the blog.
THE FUN POLICE
Benjamin was the first to point it out: “Hey, there’s a guy from LIVEPD!” At age four, he wasn’t yet aware that not everyone with a badge was featured on his parents favorite television program.
Anika lifted her head, forcing her gaze from the book she was reading, and caught a face full of sunlight. Squinting, she made out the police officer walking into the empty hockey rink where her kids were playing a crushingly fast game of street hockey.
The officer made a beeline for her, and pulled out something from his back pocket as he approached. She sat in her lawn chair and waited, the day too beautiful to allow this interruption to knock her from her sun-baked state of lethargy.
“I need to see your identification.”
“And a lovely afternoon to you too as well, Officer???”
“Levine. Patrolman Levine. Again, your identification card.”
“You know, Patrolman Levine, I wasn’t aware of any law being broken by sitting in a lawn chair on a sunny afternoon. Perhaps you could tell me what you need my identification for?”
Levine scanned the swarm of kids. “You’ve got half the neighborhood out here, and it breaks the governor’s rule on social distancing during COVID-19.”
Anika laughed at him. “Those are my kids. Now, leave me alone and let my kids finish their game.”
Levine turned and saw 9 faces, ages three to fourteen, examining him.
“What are you, Amish? Those kids can’t all be yours.”
Anika didn’t laugh this time. “Well then, good to see you’re comfortable with being a bigot. They’re all mine. And if you don’t like it, or don’t like big families, that’s your problem, not mine.”
Levine shook his head. “I need some proof that they’re all yours.”
Anika got out of her chair, and stood toe-to-toe with the cop.
“Where’s your mask and protective gear, Patrolman Levine? I don’t remember any officious twits being exempt from the rules, but I didn’t read all of them.”
Levine pulled a mask out of his pocket. Once it was in place, he keyed his microphone and called for another unit.
Anika sat back down. “You have got to be kidding. Why don’t you run along and go freeload a donut? They’re my kids, we aren’t breaking any laws, and you must have something better to do.”
“I was dispatched here on a complaint of an unruly mob breaking the rules. Why don’t you drop the attitude and just show me an id card so I can get out of here?”
Her head swiveled like a bird of prey. “I don’t see any mob. But you can tell Mr. Bombadil that we’re all just fine and dandy.”
“It’s not up to Anthony Bombadil any longer once I’ve been dispatched.”
Anika’s lips formed into a rictus. “Thank you. I knew it was Tony. He walked by here about 30 minutes ago dressed like he was going to land on the moon with that annoying little dog of his. Nobody else in the neighborhood would care. You see, he objects to my “Amish” family making too much noise when we’re over here. He lives in the blue house just over there.”
Her finger trembled with rage. “Now, blow. I’m taking the kids home in ten minutes for dinner. I’m not leaving until then, because they have – and she looked at her watch – another six minutes in the period. But you’ve tied me up for at least five, so make that 11 minutes from now that we leave.”
Levine knew when he was beaten. He keyed his microphone, cancelled the backup car and walked back to his patrol unit.
Eleven minutes later, Anika rounded up the kids and marched back to their home.
That night her eldest boy, Cairo, asked her to look at his left eye. Anika looked, and started to touch his face and drew back.
“You’ve got pink eye. The drops from the last bout are up in the bathroom. Go strip your sheets from the bed, all the towels you’ve touched, and put them in the washer. Then take a long shower and use the drops. It’ll clear up in a couple of days. Don’t touch the baby until I give you the all clear. You got this from his diaper change for sure.”
Cairo went up and stripped his bed, grabbed the towels, and put it all in the washer in the basement. He started to strip off his clothes and stopped. He had a wonderful, terrible, idea. Slipping out the basement door, he cut down the alley and circled around to the front of the blue house at the end of the block.
He couldn’t stop chuckling. His plan was to touch his eyes with both hands and then run his fingers all over Bombadil’s doorknobs. Once they were contaminated, he’d ring the bell and run. Odds were good the old coot would get a good dose himself. Pink eye was misery. Served him right.
Stopping outside the three-season porch, he dug deep into the corners of his eyes with every finger. He had four, maybe five doorknobs to cover, so he made sure his fingers were nice and sticky with the pus.
He grabbed the first knob and rubbed it. Opening the screen door, he did the inside knob as well. Continuing, he did the wooden door’s outer knob, and opened that very quietly, contaminating the inner knob as well.
Standing on the porch, he eyed the door to the house. There were no lights on at all, and he figured the old jerk was in bed. Reaching out, he did the outer knob thoroughly, and realized it was unlocked. This was too good to resist.
He gently turned the knob, and pushed the door open about four inches, just far enough to reach around and smear the inner knob. One more door before he was done…
Stepping into the small space before the last door, he reached out and touched the first knob of the last barrier to the living room.
He lived just long enough to feel the burn of the shotgun blast rip his abdomen open. Along with the 00 buckshot, the glass from the inner door and a patch of fabric from the curtain embedded in his belly before his spine was snapped.
He never heard old man Bombadil sob with anguish. He never heard the police interrogate the old man about his shooting the home invader. He wasn’t there to witness his hero, his mom, collapse in a puddle of grief.
But several of the cops, and Bombadil himself, came down with a wicked case of pink eye in the following days.