Friday, September 21, 2012

Jeff Tsuruoka Week 13: Redemption or Bust - If You Want Blood (You Got It)

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Jeff Tsuruoka’s Picture Choice: 1

Title: Redemption or Bust - If You Want Blood (You Got It)

Part 6

The sun was hanging real low in the sky as Sheriff Jones and I rolled towards the police station.

He drove with a heavy right foot and seemed to enjoy the twists and curves of the county roads.

“He really was a cop, eh?” I asked him.

“That he was. State trooper. Detective Vernon Stroud.”

“Know him?”

“Just by reputation. He was involved in a big bust 'round here. Before my time on this job.”

He took his eyes off the road long enough to glare at me.

“I get the feeling you already know that, Jake.”

I didn't answer him. Didn't need to.

“We got a little ways to go still. What we talk about here in the car is off the record. When we get to my office it's official business. Follow?”

“I read you, Sheriff. There's just not that much I can tell you.”

“Can tell me or will tell me? There's a difference.”

“It's like I told your dispatcher on the phone. I can give you the what and the where. I don't know from the why.”

“You're not working here?”

“I'll tell you the same thing I told Vern. I'm on vacation here. I met a girl on the beach and we got friendly.”

“This girl have a name?”

“Marisa, Sheriff. Marisa Reubens.”

He took it well. I could hear the profanity bouncing around in his cranium but he kept it in.

“Didn't find out who she was 'til after the fact,” I said. “It was all going great until Vern busted in on us, knocked me out, and dragged her out to Bog Island.”

“And you went chasing after them.”

“Yeah, but when you put it that way it sounds even dumber than it actually was.”

He made a left turn onto a long, straight road. I could see the station house coming up fast.

“You're on vacation,” said Sheriff Jones.

“That's right.”

“Funny,” he said. “According to the State Police, so was Vern.”


The station house was a low brick building, square and new enough for the paint to smell fresh.

The lobby featured a long wooden bench and a Coke machine.

The young officer behind the front desk looked up as Sheriff Jones and I walked in the door. Jones nodded in greeting and received a nod in return.

Sheriff Jones' office was a small, spartan chamber.

There was a fine mahogany desk with a black leather chair behind it and two cheap folding chairs in front of it. A framed photograph stood on the corner of the desk, next to the telephone. There was nothing else on the desktop. Nothing.

A calender and a pair of green metal file cabinets covered the wall behind the desk. Bulletin boards took up the other walls.

The window was wide open and a ceiling fan made slow revolutions overhead.

He dropped into his chair and waved me over to one of the folding chairs.

I sat down and we stared at each other for a while.

He took his hat off and placed it down in front of him and then picked up the phone.

“You can send Mr. Miller in now.”

“Who's Mr. Miller?”

The office door opened before he could answer me. I stood up and turned around.

Mr. Miller was a tall, lanky man, with leathered pink skin and dirty blond hair that was going gray at the temples. He wore a pair of denim overalls over a white t-shirt. His hands crumpled and released a battered blue baseball cap.

“Evening, Sheriff,” he said.

“Thanks for waiting, Will.” He got out of his chair and walked around the desk to stand beside me. “Is this the man you saw leaving your cornfield in a black Mustang, Will?”

Will Miller took a couple of steps towards me. There was anger in his eyes and his whiskered chin shook with pent-up rage.

“Yeah, Sheriff. This is the guy. This is the guy who ruined my cornfield.”

I turned so Will could get a better look at me. I wasn't planning to deny anything.

“This is the guy.”

Sheriff Jones placed a hand on Will's shoulder and pulled him back.

“Thank you, Will,” he said. “You go on home. I'll take it from here.”

The irate farmer spun to face the sheriff but Jones pre-empted any commentary.

“Mr. Tunner and I are going to have a talk, Will. You know how I operate. I'm a gentleman and as far as I can tell so is Mr. Tunner, so we're going to sit down and talk and he's gonna tell me just what happened out on your farm.” He looked Will in the face. “Could be there's a perfectly good explanation for what happened today.” He switched off to me. “And it could be there isn't and if that's the case I'll deal with it in a way that's fair to everyone involved.”

Will wasn't mollified but he crushed his cap onto his head and left the office.

Sheriff Jones let his breath out and sat back down.

I followed suit.

“Tell me a story, Jake. And make it good.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Answering my questions with questions is not the way to get on my good side. You don't know me, so I'll give you that first one. But that's all you get.”

I nodded my understanding.

“What happened out on Will's farm today?” He regarded me with a seasoned lawman's eyes.

He already knew what went down out there, or at least what it looked like, and made no attempt to disguise that knowledge so I returned the favor.

I gave it to him straight, more or less.

Sheriff Jones was a good listener and he didn't blink as I piled it on.

“When I left the cornfield,” I told him, “one guy was unconscious and the other was down with two bullets in him-- leg and shoulder. They helped wreck Vern's SUV so I took the Mustang and got out of there.”

“After you called it in.”

“Yeah. That was me. I used the round guy's cell.”

“You don't still have that phone, do you?”

“Nope. Tossed it into the corn. Along with their guns and ammo, including the rifle I'd bet killed Vern. Dig around a little. You'll find 'em.”

“I intend to, Jake. I intend to.” He looked down at his desk and shook his head.

I didn't envy the man. He should've been free and clear, with another tourist season behind him, looking forward to a couple of months of relative peace and quiet.

“Trouble is,” he said, “we didn't find anyone out there other than Vern.” He put a big hand out to cut off my retort. “We did find some blood out there and more footprints than you could possibly make, but no body. No unconscious hitmen either.”

I crossed my arms and sat back in the uncomfortable folding chair.

“Find the Mustang?”

“We did. It's over at Impound as we speak.”

“Then you have the murder weapon.”

“I'm not gonna find your prints on it, am I, Jake?”

“You shouldn't. I only touched the barrel when I moved it off the back seat and tossed it in the trunk.”

“All right, then. Brass tacks, Jake. You're tellin' me that, through a series of events I don't want think about just yet, you happened to be riding shotgun in Vern's SUV when he got shot and then fought your way out of Miller's cornfield and took off in the alleged shooter's car?”

“That's what I'm telling you, Sheriff.”

Sheriff Jones rubbed his temples. “I have to admit your story does have the ring of truth about it.”

“There's a good reason for that.”

He chewed on it for a while, worked it like that last fatty bit of bacon you can't quite get your teeth through.

“You said you're here on vacation?” he asked.

“That was the idea.”

“I don't need to tell you your vacation's been extended. Indefinitely.”

“I'm with you, sheriff.”

“Good on you. Glad to know I've got a reasonable man to deal with.”

I felt myself flinch at the word, 'reasonable', and fought off the urge to hit the deck.

“You feeling okey, Jake?”

“Yeah, I'm all right. Last thing Vern said before he got shot was some crack about what a reasonable guy I was.”

Sheriff Jones let that go right by him. He called the desk officer into his office so I could give detailed descriptions of the two men I'd encountered in the cornfield.

Up close the young officer was even younger than I first thought. He was pale and kind of soft around the middle and had the hairline of a man three times his age.

“Want me to look for your car while I'm at it?” asked the sheriff.

“Don't sweat it. It'll turn up. Always does.”

“What are you driving again?”

“'74 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Metallic Mint Green.”

He thought about it for half a second. “You're right. It'll turn up.”

Sheriff Jones got up out of his chair so I got up out of mine.

“Mitch,” he said, “did I see Deputy Riggs hanging around here earlier?”

“Yes, boss,” replied the younger cop. “Not much going on tonight.”

“Go rattle his cage and let him know he's gonna drive Mr. Tunner here back over to the Sunshade Motel.”

When Mitch was gone the sheriff walked around the desk and stood in front of me.

“You're on vacation, Jake, which means the beach and the bar. And when I say the beach and the bar I mean that stretch of beach near Evangeline's place and the bar I picked you up in. I don't know what I'm into here. I should be sticking you in a holding cell for the time being but Evangeline seems to have taken to you so I'm gonna send you back to her. Still, I don't want you roaming around anywhere else until I have a handle on things. Got it?”

“Loud and clear, Sheriff.”

“All right then.” He walked me to his office door. “One more thing. You're off the case.”

“I was never on it, Sheriff.”

“Regardless, if I catch you anywhere near this investigation you're gonna need a colostomy to get my boot out of your ass.”

“No thanks,” I said. “Colostomy's not my bag.”

Sheriff Orion P. Jones wanted to laugh. He just couldn't bring himself to do it.

“Gonna have to remember that one,” he said as he ordered me out of his office.


I didn't much like Deputy Riggs.

Fifteen minutes in a car with him didn't do a thing to improve the vibe I got off of him.

Deputy Riggs was a bit older than me and was about my height. The man was thin to the point of sickliness and his face and hands looked like they were made of pale gray beef jerky.

He greeted me with a grunt when Mitch introduced us and hadn't spoken a word to me since we got into his cruiser and hit the road.

I didn't recognize anything we passed along the way.

Two turns and three unfamiliar roads later I popped the question.

“We're not going back to the Sunshade, are we?” I had no idea where we were.

Deputy Riggs didn't take his eyes off the road. “That kinda depends on you.”

His voice was deep and low, without a scratch or a rasp. It didn't track with a face that looked like it'd been used to smooth blacktop on the highway.

“We know you're a tough guy,” he continued. “That's why they sent me.”

“Badass cop, eh?”

He fired up an unfiltered cigarette and savored the first drag.

“Hell no, son. Them days are way, way behind me. You get to be my age you got to get by with... other skills.”

“Such as? I kinda feel like I'm coming up on that age.”

He chuckled. It was an ugly, throaty sound not unlike the sound a stubborn chainsaw motor makes when you're trying to start it up.

“You ain't there yet. You'll know it when you get there and that's for shit sure.”

“Sprinkle some pearls of wisdom my way.”

“Brains and leverage, pal. Brains and leverage. And since I'm running a little short of brains these days it's mostly leverage, if you catch my meaning.”

I stared straight ahead at the darkness out in front of the car.

“Evangeline,” I said.

“Brawn and brains. Man, you got it all, don't you?”

I shrugged. “Apparently not.”

Riggs looked at me and cackled. It didn't sound any prettier than his chuckle.

“Works like this, son. I'm takin' you to see the boss. You tell him what he needs to know you got no problems. Jerk us around and things are gonna go very, very badly for Evangeline.”

He took a last drag on his cigarette and flicked the butt out the window.

“And your job is to convince me to talk?”

“Something like that.”

“How 'bout I kick your ass and hightail it to Evangeline's myself?”

He nodded. “You'd be within your rights, I'll give you that. But when I don't show up with you a phone call gets made and I think you can guess what happens next.”

“Evangeline can take care of herself.” I wasn't sure if I said that for the deputy's benefit or my own.

“Don't I know it? You seen them shoulders? Shit, who am I talkin' to? Of course you've seen them. But they're not gonna help her much against a couple of hard-hitters she doesn't know about yet.”

I took a deep breath and let it out. The man was right.

“Suppose I don't know what your boss thinks I know?”

“Then we're all in for a long night, pal.”


After a while the corn and wheat I'd become so used to seeing gave way to industrial complexes. Warehouses, self-storage facilities, and a power plant took up the landscape on both sides of the road.

I should have been paying close attention, mapping the route in my head as we went, but I was too busy replaying every minute I'd spent with Marisa. I started on the beach and took it all the way up to Bog Island. There had to be something there, something that explained the mess I was in, but if there was I couldn't dig it up.

Riggs broke my concentration by making a hard right turn onto a gravel road. We rattled and rumbled for almost a mile before the road let out into a parking lot.

The lot was lit up by a line of floodlights mounted along the roof of a one-story brick building. There was no signage of any kind. I could see two closed garage doors and a set of double-doors in front of us.

My Olds was parked next to a big black Caddy in front of one of the garage doors.

The only sounds were the hum of those spotlights and the crunch of our footsteps as Riggs led me toward the double-doors.

He didn't say anything as we walked. He didn't need to.

He rang the bell and we waited.

I heard heavy footsteps testing the floor inside and then the door swung open.

Roundboy stood in the doorway. He was still wearing his aloha shirt and added a neck brace to his ensemble. There was a nice egg on the left side of his jaw.

He had a mean stare for me but couldn't muster up any words. He looked twenty years older than when I saw him in the cornfield. Getting his ass handed to him had him thinking.

“No hard feelings, bud,” I said.

He looked away and stepped aside so I could walk into the building.

Riggs left.

Roundboy closed the door and conducted me down a dim gray corridor. Florescent lighting flickered overhead and the air smelled stale and musty.

The corridor teed off after twenty yards or so. Roundboy nudged me to the right so I looked left.

Rosario was standing in the hallway in front of an open door. She was wearing a gray sleeveless top and black slacks with black leather sandals and was close enough for me to read the word, 'Ruthless', on her foot.

We locked eyes and stayed that way until Roundboy got impatient and shoved me to the right. He moved me along until we faced an open doorway to an unlit room.

“I thought I was gonna talk to the boss,” I said.

“What's your rush?”

A lot of things jumped to mind and how little I wanted to go into that dark room was on top of the heap.

I tensed up, ready to object, but Roundboy put his paws into my back and shoved me into the room.

I sprawled in the darkness, knocking over something light and metallic on my way to the floor.

Roundboy was on me before I could recover. His fist connected with the back of my head and when I tried to push myself back up I took a boot to the gut hard enough to flip me over. He leaned down and lifted me up by the front of my shirt.

“No hard feelings, bud,” he said.

Then he headbutted me into the arms of Morpheus.


I woke up with the headache of the century.

It was like having a steel ball bearing inside my skull that clunked and rolled around every time I moved.

I'd felt better coming off a four day bender.

The room was still dark, which was both good and bad at the same time, and I couldn't move my arms or legs because I was lashed to a metal folding chair.

My arms were secured behind my back. From the blazing tingles that ran from elbows to fingertips they had been that way for some time.

I shook off some of the dumb but didn't waste time thinking about my next move. There was no next move. Not for me. The next move was theirs. All I could do was hope somebody screwed up.

They made their move soon after I came to.

The door burst open and the lights came on.

I squeezed my eyes shut and after a couple of seconds I started blinking until the blindness wore off.

Roundboy was standing in front of me but I was more interested in the guy lurking in the doorway.

He was tall and well-built, with slicked-back black hair and a Fu Manchu mustache. He pulled off the look.

The high-end gray suit helped with that.

I didn't recognize the man but his eyes were familiar to me. I saw them in a photograph earlier that day. He had Reubens' eyes.

Roundboy welcomed me back to the land of the living with a couple of bracing open-handed slaps. The last one bloodied my nose.

“What did Marisa give you?” asked the man in the doorway. He had a good voice, cultured and even.

Roundboy slapped me again.

The other man walked all the way into the room.

“I think that's enough of that, Wayne. After all, Deputy Riggs assured me you'd be... reasonable.”

“Reubens,” I muttered.

“That's right, Mr. Tunner. It's the eyes, isn't it? All Reubens men have them.”

He let that sink in.

“I'll repeat my question. What did Marisa give you?”

“She didn't give me anything.”

Reubens sighed. “Deputy Riggs explained the cost of non-cooperation, did he not?”

“He did.”

“And so?”

“Look. The only thing Marisa gave me was her time. Nothing changed hands. Unless you count the shirt and shorts she was wearing when your boy grabbed her at the motel.”

“My boy? You mean my brother's boy. And not a very well chosen one as it turns out.” He smirked. “An undercover police detective.”

“How'd you find out about that?”

Reubens smiled and looked back at the doorway.

Rosario stepped into the room. “I told him. I still have contacts in the law enforcement community.”

She walked right up to me in the chair and put her hands on my shoulders.

“I know my sister gave you something. Where is it?”

I didn't answer fast enough to suit Roundboy. He bodied Rosario out of the way and let his hand fly free.

She turned to Reubens. “Marko, would you please get this animal out of here? I don't think he's helping.”

Marko Reubens indicated the door with a nod of his head.

Roundboy glared at Rosario and stomped out of the room.

“If I didn't know better,” I said, “I'd think the big guy has it in for me.”

“You killed his partner.”

“His partner didn't give me much choice.”

“What did Marisa give you?”

“You can get as many people to ask me that as you want and the answer's not gonna change.”

For a second I thought she was going to slap me too.

“Where is it?” she demanded.

“Where's what?”

“You care that little for Evangeline's safety?”

“What do you want me to tell you? I don't know what it is. I don't know where it is. If I can't answer your questions you're gonna go after her. If I give you a bullshit answer you're gonna check it out, find out I'm full of it, and go after her. I don't see a win here for me. Or her.”

Reubens chuckled and went back to stand in the doorway.

“Where is it, Jake?” asked Rosario. There was a strident tone in her voice that wasn't there before.

“I can't tell you what I don't know.”

Rosario leaned in and brushed some blood off of my cheek with her thumb.

“You must know. She gave you something. I'm sure of it.”

I shook my head. “We didn't make it to the gift-giving stage, Rosario. It didn't happen.”

“She said she left something in your care, Jake. I need to know where it is.”

Her eyes bored into mine and that's when it hit me. She wasn't asking. She was telling me something.

I tried the ropes binding my arms to the chair. They were well-tied but there was some give. More than there should have been. I had to keep this thing going long enough to get loose.

“She say that?” I asked.

Rosario broke off eye contact and stood up.

“Where is she, Rosario?”

The light behind her shifted and when I looked at the doorway Reubens was standing there with his arms crossed.

“Let me guess,” he said. “He says he doesn't know where it is.”

Rosario nodded her head.

“That's what he's telling me.”

The two of them continued to talk but I wasn't listening. I had something going and I knocked it around in my brain until it made sense.

Marisa did leave something for me.


The note.

Rosario stepped away from Reubens and leaned down to work me with her eyes again.

“You're sure, Jake? She gave you nothing at all?”

“Nothing. She gave me nothing.” I should have been shaking my head but I gave her just the slightest hint of a nod instead. I had to hope it got the job done. Subtlety's never been my game.

Rosario sighed and turned back to Reubens.

“Do you believe him?” he asked her.

“I think he's telling the truth,” she replied.

“All right.”

He drew a handgun and fired in one motion.

Rosario fell to the floor and lay still.

For the second time in twenty-four hours someone's blood and brains decorated my face.

Reubens holstered his piece and walked over to me.

“I'm sorry you had to see that,” he said. “I'm afraid I've made you a criminal. Witnessing the murder of a federal agent is a crime.”

I didn't even try to cover up my surprise.

“You didn't know that, did you?”

I counted my heartbeat down from crazy and kept quiet until I could speak without warbling.

“I heard she was ex-Bureau.”

He nodded. “Disgraced by her sister's connection to my brother. Not bad as far a cover stories go.”

I sat there and sucked wind.

“I don't know who she was playing harder just then. You or me.”

He put a hand on my shoulder.

“But none of that matters now. I believe that you told her the truth.”

“You gonna lay off Evangeline then?”

“Would that please you? The only reason I have to cause her... further harm... is personal amusement and I have to admit that that sort of thing doesn't really amuse me.”

I smoldered over the word, 'further', and made a mental note to add kicking the shit out of him to my bucket list.

“You could've just called,” I said. “Been a lot less mess that way.” The ropes felt looser.

“I could have, perhaps, but I had to know what you know and to do that I had to look you in the eye. Besides, I've grown curious about you.”

“Curious? There's not much to be curious about.”

“Your actions say otherwise. Your presence beside the policeman, for instance.”

“Dumb luck,” I said.

“You killed one of my best and disabled another.”

“It's amazing what a guy can do when he thinks he's gonna die.”

“It is, isn't it?” He drew his gun and pointed it at my chest. “What are you going to do now?”

I flexed my upper body and pushed up off of the seat at the same time-- and went nowhere. The ropes were still just tight enough.

My ass dropped back down on the seat.

Reubens' eyes went wide before he started laughing.

My heart was pounding again and my mind was racing in more directions than I could keep track of. There was nothing else to do but laugh. I couldn't help it. It was either that or suffer the kind of complete emotional breakdown I couldn't afford.

We laughed like a couple of idiots for a good long while. By the time it ran out Reubens had tears streaming out of the corners of his eyes.

“That's perfect,” he said.

My head was clear when laughing jag was over. I made a silent apology to Rosario.

“Where's Marisa?” I demanded.

He wiped his face before answering me. “You seem to have grown quite fond of my brother's wife, Mr. Tunner.”


He waved that away. “When one marries a Reubens it's forever, no matter what the court says.”

“What can I tell you? She's a nice girl.”

Reubens strolled back toward the doorway.

“Yes. Yes she was.”

It took me a second to get what he was telling me. When it sank all the way in I growled and made another go at breaking free.

The ropes snapped.

Reubens was faster. He swung hard and clocked me in the jaw with his gun hand.

I rolled with it but all I could do was slump back down in the chair. I tried to get my arms up to defend myself but they weren't taking orders from the likes of me.

A snap kick to my chest sent me crashing over backwards. The back of my head connected with the concrete floor.

I heard heavy footsteps running into the room as I lay there contemplating the florescent lights on the ceiling.

“I believe this is adieu, Mr. Tunner. I think you'll appreciate what we've cooked up for your disposal. You should never have fucked around with my brother's wife. I hope she was worth it.”

I had something snazzy to say but the words got jumbled up on the way out. Didn't matter. Reubens didn't stick around to hear it.

Something huge blotted out the lights and I found myself looking up at Roundboy standing over me.

The last thing I saw before they went out entirely was his right arm drawing back.


I woke up in the dark.

There wasn't a part of me that didn't hurt to some degree and I was bathed in sweat.

I was sweating because it was hot. Real hot. And I smelled gasoline. The smell was stronger than you ever want it to be.

When I tried to sit up I smacked my aching head against something hard and metallic and when I opened my mouth to holler I started hacking and coughing because of all the smoke.

I started doing the math. Small space. Metal overhead. Heat. Smoke. Lots of junk all around me. Lots of junk all around me that felt familiar somehow. I added it all up and came up with the trunk of a car.

My car.

The bastard dumped me in the trunk of my own car and set it on fire. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Reubens wasn't as smart as he thought he was.

I worked my way around until my feet were pressed against the back of the back seat, a back seat I destroyed when I tried to force an old bookcase into the trunk. The whole seat popped right off the base and I never did get around to having the thing reattached.

I wedged myself back and brought my legs as tight into my body as I could and drove both feet into the back of the seat.

The heat and the gas fumes had me coughing and spitting with each breath but I kept kicking until the seat shook loose.

Dim light from the cabin sneaked into the trunk but smoke came in with it, taking visibility right back down to zero.

I wriggled out of my shirt and used it to reach out and grab the metal bar that ran across the back seat for stability.

It was going to be a tight squeeze.

I wasted a few seconds cursing and then flipped onto my back and started working my way under the crossbar.

In the end it was the sweat that saved me. My torso got just slick enough for me to suck it in and force myself out of the trunk. I left a lot of skin on the jagged edges of broken coils and damned near left a kidney behind too but I made it through and landed in the footwell behind the driver's seat.

There was a tiny pocket of clean air down by the floor. I sucked it all in in one huge breath and opened the door.

I heaved myself out of the footwell to get clear of the fire and hit the ground hard, bounced, and then face-planted in the dirt, which was fine by me. I expected to get shot at any second so I stayed low and rested my battered face against the hard-packed earth.

After a dozen or so deep, even breaths I willed myself up to a crouch and took a step away from the Olds.

I was in an big dirt lot. The shells of other ruined cars sat rotting in various corners. None of them looked burnt out. Mine was the only one put to the torch. It was hard not to take that personally.

An abandoned brick building stood to my left, on the other side of the Olds. The handful of windows still in place were broken and filthy and a heavy metal door hung by one rusty hinge.

To my right was at least fifty yards of open, flat ground bordered by thick line of trees.

I counted to three and stood up. I didn't get shot so I took a step away from the burning car.

Something moved in the building's open doorway, just a shadow and a glint of metal I thought I saw for all of one second through a sheet of dark smoke. It was probably nothing but I couldn't think of any reason to stick around and find out so I tore ass across that open field the way only a battered man with lungs full of smoke who just regained consciousness can tear ass.

I staggered, fell, and crawled until I could get my legs to do what I wanted them to and broke into a run. Such as it was.

By the time I hit the trees it occurred to me that not only was I still bullet-free but no one was chasing me. I thought it over for a split second and kept right on running.

The woods were thicker than they looked from out in the lot. High limbs lush with green and yellow leaves blocked most of the sunlight. It was flat out dumb luck that steered me clear of any big, fat tree trunks as I stumbled and through the undergrowth.

I was still running hard when everything around me got bright. I was out of the woods and running through a field of pink flowers. It looked like a field of poppies.

When I got to the middle of the field I stopped and puked before collapsing to the ground.

There was nothing but silence around me. My heart was still pounding in my ears but it quieted and slowed as I lay there amid the flowers.

I didn't mean to fall asleep there but that's what happened.

And if I was lucky, very lucky, some flying monkeys would come and take me away.


Jeff Tsuruoka is an author in search of a writing career. He has found a home in the Flash Fiction circuit and is grateful to the blog hosts that give him the opportunity to get his work out there. You can follow him on Twitter @JTsuruoka and be sure to keep tabs on his weekly contributions to Daily Picspiration.



  1. OMG! You've done it again! Totally kept me on the edge of my seat, introduced memorable characters, bid adieu to one I thought would stick around, and threw more kinks in the plot without losing a shred of momentum! Top notch!!! :)

  2. Jeff, this was awesome! Heart pounding and twisty and turny. And I love the Wizard of OZ reference. That's what I thought of when I saw the prompt. Hehe.


  3. Wow - what a chapter. The turns and twists are delicious - dirty cops and all.

  4. Holy cow! Fantastic stuff, Jeff. You had my heart pounding, truly. Can't wait to see how this plays out.

  5. Just absolutely FABULOUS, JT!!! Terrific thriller material - heart pounding, mind twisting, brutal and fun. I have no idea where this will end up and can't wait to see! Thanks for a terrific Monday read!!!

  6. Your ability to maintain this prolific, noir mood and tension is seriously wicked. You're a genius with the story and this tale. And yet amongst that you maintain little details (green file cabinet stood out) that aid the scene just as much as the pacing.

    By the end of this segment, I was leaning toward, not blinking and clutching the front of my shirt. Damn.