#amwriting – It was Him? [part 3]

As my fourth post of the month, this post is attributed the Twitter hashtag, #amwriting. It is the third post of my story, “It was Him?”.

Did you miss part 1 or part 2 of this story?

[part 1] [part 2]


It was Him? [part 3]

All during her shift as she bagged and sealed the ingredients and folded the ends of the boxes for the next person in line, Caitlin tried to figure out who would give her a message like that. You’re next. Next for what? Is the person going to blow my head off? Or is he going to beat me up? What? Maybe it isn’t a he, but a she.

By the time she got home, she was exhausted from the dread and suspense rolling around in her head all day. Unexpectedly, her landline rang. She tripped over the corner of her overstuffed chair landing face first onto the hardwood floor. “Augh!”

From there she crawled to the in-table where the phone continued to jangle. “Uhmm… Hello.”

“This is Officer Tanner. Just calling to make sure you made it home safe.”

I was safe until you called. “Thanks. Yes, I’m safe.”

“We haven’t found the culprit but we’re looking. Be sure to lock up. Have a good night.”

“You too. Goodbye.” She hung up the phone and, pulling herself up, sat haphazardly on the smaller chair. Abruptly, she jumped up and retrieved paper and pen from the first kitchen counter drawer and sat at her beat-up kitchen table.

She wrote down everyone she knew in her building, including the superintendent, Mr. Hall. Looking at the list, she tried to determine who she might have pissed off unintentionally.

She had raised her voice at Candy because of her stupid dog. The dog had gotten away from her and gone bouncing down the stairs tripping Caitlin up as she was climbing to her floor. Candy hadn’t seemed bothered at all. She said, “Sorry,” and grabbed the leash yanking the pooch to her side.

When the Mr. Hall knocked on her door the other night, he informed her she’d need to find another place to park next week because of road repair. Caitlin’s response was, “You got to be kidding! Where am I going to find a parking place that isn’t five miles away?”

As he sauntered down the stairs, he said, “Not my problem.”

She had countered, “Thanks a lot, lazy butt.”

Could he be angry enough to threaten a tenant?

She dutifully locked her door to the outside hall and trudged to the bedroom hoping to sleep.

The next morning Caitlin walked out of her apartment and locked her door a smidgen earlier, and trotted down the stairs. She knocked on Mr. Hall’s door and stood so he could see her clearly through the peephole. He threw open his door.

“What do you need, Cat?” His robe was cinched at just below his waist. Tuffs of hair decorated his chest in the middle. She could see the top of his white underwear.

“Are you mad at me?”

“You knock at this hour to ask me that?” He gave her a perplexing stare.

“Someone wrote a message in ice on my windshield yesterday morning. It was kind of threatening. At least, to me it was.”

Mr. Hall began to chuckle. Before long it was an all-out belly laugh. She stood in the hall utterly baffled. “What’s so darn funny?”

He leaned his arm against the door frame to get the laughter under control. “Cat, you’re next.”

A horrified look crossed her face. She slowly backed away from Mr. Hall’s door.

“Don’t go, Cat. I wrote that the night before. You’re next to get your walls painted. Remember the note I gave to you a month ago? You need to find someplace to be for three days while I get your apartment painted. I’ll have your windows open for ventilation.”

At first, she could tell she was losing her balance. She shifted from one foot to the other until her head cleared. “So I’m next to get my walls done, right?”

“Right. In two weeks, the painters will be in your place stinking it up. You need to find someplace to stay.” She frowned. I’m being thrown out twice! “When you come back from your job this afternoon, stop by so you can decide the color.”

“Oh! I have a choice?” Her index finger moved up to her mouth as she thought.

Mr. Hall grinned. He said goodbye and closed his door.



Please don’t feel shy about giving me feedback.

“…What happens is of little significance compared with the stories we tell ourselves about what happens. Events matter little, only stories of events affect us.” ― Rabih Alameddine, The Hakawati


Picasso Bottoms Up – part three

Did you miss the other two posts telling this story?: Part One, Part Two

Picasso Bottoms Up - part three
Image provided by
Wikipedia @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

The gallery was quiet. The curator had gone home after learning that nothing more could be done about the break-in until the next day. The shadows from the dimmed lights appeared to dance on the floor and walls. A cop car drove by at a snail’s pace, shining the floodlight through the front windows.

He held back in the gloom of the corner where the second corridor veered to the right. After the floodlight left, he headed to the hall of Picasso. He sat on a bench in the middle of the hall and admired his handy work with Melancoly Woman.

“These people are so narrow in their perception of life. I’m just trying to open up their minds a little,” he said to the photo of the great artist. “What’s so remarkable is that none of them know how I’m getting in here when the place is closed.” He giggled as if he was sharing a joke with the photo.

Bernard, forty-seven years old, had been a homeless soul for over twenty-five years. His parents had stopped looking for him before his thirtieth birthday. It didn’t seem to be of any importance to Bernard. He could be seen talking to someone imaginary named Pablo. He’d chatter away about the different galleries throughout the city. Bernard visited Pablo’s work in the various galleries on a regular basis, blubbering to the air around him about the painting being the work of his fictitious friend.

Tonight’s chore was to turn the painting, The Old Guitarist upside down. He took off the dirty corduroy jacket and the green sweater under it. He folded his outer clothing, laid them neatly on the bench, rubbed his palms against his shirt, and walked over to his intended canvas.

Once he was done with his task, he put the sweater and jacket back on and strolled down the main hall to the door that lead to the basement.

The next morning the forensic team knocked at the door. Ms. Strong gave them her professional smile as she greeted them. They wasted no time in getting to the Picasso hall. Ms. Strong tagged behind them.

As the team set up, she looked around haphazardly. It was during the second look around when she yelled in horror. The Old Guitarist, hanging on the wall opposite of the Melancoly Woman, was topsy-turvy.

“Who is doing this? Where were you guys last night? Drinking beers someplace when you should have been here?” There wasn’t any doubt that she was furious.

“Ma’am, we had patrol cars circling the building all night.”

“How about having an officer inside? Sounds like a great idea to me.” The plain-clothed men frowned as Ms. Strong set her tone at the sarcastic level.

The taller of the three men pushed buttons on his cell phone as he walked to the outer hall. The other two started brushing for prints, basically ignoring the woman in her plight.

I think one more post will wrap up this story. Four parts isn’t bad, is it?


Picasso Bottoms Up – part two

This is a continuation of my post from last Friday. Sorry I’m a little late with it. I meant to have it scheduled, but somehow I forgot. 😦

Picasso Bottoms Up
Image provided by
markldiaz @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/makoy13/

Of course, Ms. Strong called the police. While they waited for them to arrive, Ruth decided to take a glance through the other halls to see if anything else was disturbed. The corridor for DA Vinci didn’t seem to be disturbed at all. She half expected  The Vitruvian Man to be topsy-turvy, but it was hanging right side up. The Conversion of Saul, with the other painting that Michelangelo created were fine. Nothing was amiss in the hall of Homer’s paintings either.

When she got back to Picasso’s hall, Ms. Strong was sitting on one of the benches in the middle of the expanded space. “Ms. Strong, are you alright?”

“Sure. I just can’t figure out the why of this. One thing is certain, I’m glad nothing in here is original. I’ll never dream about working at the Louvre again.”

The heavy shoes of Lieutenant Nice clicked up the outer hall. The women stood up in anticipation. He was tall and well-built. His brown hair was starting to recede. His eyes looked coal-black, yet somehow, were kind.

“The morning is rather bitter today, isn’t it, ladies. My name is Bob Nice, pronounced Niece, by the way. I was told that a painting is missing or down, or something?”

Obviously he didn’t seem to care all that much about the weather.

“Someone turned is upside down,” Ms. Strong said, pointing to Melancoly Woman on the wall to her left.

“Have you touched the painting at all?” Lt. Nice asked.

“No,” Ruth and Ms. Strong said in unison.

After examining the painting closely, including the wires on the back of it, he instructed Ms. Strong to close the gallery so that a forensic crew could come in to work.

Nice pulled out a notebook and pen. “Who has access to the gallery other than the patrons?”

“Well… I do, of course. The janitor has keys.” She thought a full minute and then continued, “Some of the members of the board of the Art Society are here after hours, but I’m the one who lets them in and out. That’s it. There’s no one else.”

He turned his attention to Ruth. “How often are you here?”

“Two or three times a month, sir.”

“Why so often?”

“Walking through the halls of great artists is accelerating and, at the same time, relaxing.”

“How do you get it?”

He’s gone stupid, she said to herself. “Through the glass doors at the front. Sir, I’m here during regular showing hours only.”

Nice turned without uttering another word until he got to the entrance of the outer hall. “Ms. Strong, be sure to close this gallery for the time being. The forensic team will knock on the door.” And with that, his shoes, once again clicked loudly in the hall until he reached the rug in the lobby.

Ruth started to chuckle. When Ms. Strong joined in, they both began to laugh.

“I think I just made an enemy,” Ruth said in between the guffaws.

Trying to refrain her giggles, Ms. Strong said, “Well, I better lock up. I’m going to have to throw you out.”

Ms. Strong walked with Ruth to the front door. They both said their goodbyes and the door was closed and locked behind Ruth.

Want to know what happened next? Here is part three. 😛