Yellow Mama Archives II

K. A. Williams

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Zumpe, Lee Clark

The Burglar

 

by K. A. Williams

                                                

 

 

I watched the house until the young man left. The lock was easy, thanks to my ex-con cousin's lock picking lessons. Even though there was no security system sign in the yard, I was nervous as I stepped inside. Seconds ticked, no alarm screamed in my ears. When I reached out to close the door, something hit me in the head.

The next thing I was aware of was a headache and then I discovered that my wrists were tied behind my back.

 The young man who must have knocked me out was sitting at the kitchen table across from me. I studied his face. It was possible.

"Why did you break into my house?" His voice, like his gaze, was more curious than angry.

My throat went dry and I swallowed nervously. "Have you called the cops?"

"I'm asking the questions," he stated, leaning forward.

I looked at my scattered stuff. On the table were keys, burglary tools, and my open wallet. My driver's license lay face up in front of him. Everything had gone wrong.

 I finally responded. "You don't have a security system."

He shook his head. "Other houses on this street don't have security systems either. I was looking out my bedroom window when your car came down the street, stopped at my mailbox, backed up and then parked two houses away. I watched you while you watched my house. I knew you could only see the front door, so I drove off, parked on the next street, cut through a neighbor's yard, came in the back door and waited."

"Then you haven't called the cops." I relaxed a little.

He frowned. "I will if you don't start telling me the truth."

I did not want the police involved, I was violating my parole by being here. "Take the keys. Go to my car. There's an envelope on the back seat." He waited for me to say more. I didn't. He grabbed up the keys and left.

When he returned, he slapped the envelope on the table and sat across from me again. He didn't open it. Instead he chose to compare the envelope's address with my driver's license. Then he gasped when he recognized the return address which was his own.

He stared at me, his dark eyes wide. "I didn't mail this - who did?"

"Did your aunt have a lawyer and a will?"

"Yes."

"Then her will must have told her lawyer to mail that old newspaper clipping and her obituary to me," I guessed. Her obituary had said she lived here with her only living relative, an unnamed seventeen year old nephew.

He opened the envelope and glanced at the clippings. "Why?"

I'd done some thinking about that since I received the envelope. "Your aunt's death wasn't sudden, she had time to think about her past before she died, right?"

He ran his fingers through his dark hair and nodded.

I didn't say anything else.

"Why did you ask me that? Tell me what's going on or I will call the cops now." He started to rise from his chair.

"Read the old newspaper clipping. See my name and address? I broke in to hunt for the blanket."

"The blanket?" he echoed, reading the old clipping.

I sighed, closed my eyes, and remembered. "We were at the park when our baby was kidnapped. We had just left him alone for one minute. We went to the police and we waited for a ransom call but the only calls were phony. We all knew they were phony because of something that wasn't mentioned in the newspaper only the true kidnapper would know about. The blanket. My late wife had stitched our baby's name into the blanket with red thread. We kept hoping,  but the real kidnapper never called."

I stopped and opened my eyes. He wasn't there. Had he decided to summon the cops after all? Desperate, I struggled against my bonds. No luck. Sweat covered me as the minutes slowly passed.

 

Suddenly something dingy white landed on the table in front of me. I stared in wonder at the faded stitches. Then I couldn't see the letters anymore for some reason. I could feel my wrists being unbound and when they were free, I held the baby blanket with trembling fingers ignoring the tingling feeling in my numb hands.

I looked across the table - he was back in his chair. "I'm Bobby," he said. The kidnapper had kept both his blanket and his name. "So my, uh, 'Aunt', lied to me about my parents dying in a car crash when I was a baby, and you're my father, right?"

I smiled, nodded, and realized that for the first time since that horrible day in the park, I was truly happy. With my cousin's help I had been able to afford to keep the same house, even after my wife's long and expensive illness, in the hope that someday the kidnapper would contact me. We'd had no other children and I was sorry my wife hadn't lived to see this wonderful day.

 

 

                                                                The End

 

First published in The Rockford Review in 2007.






The Easy Job

 

by K. A. Williams

 

 

My phone rang. I didn't recognize the number. "Hello?"

"Hi Bret, this is Rob. I got your number from Karl. He said you and him have worked together before."

"I'm listening."

"Easy job. I need a pickpocket. I'm at the bar that Karl suggested I meet you at. He said you'd know the one. Come as soon as you can. I'll be wearing a blue shirt."

I grabbed my coat, left my apartment, and started walking. It was only a block away.

Several men were sitting on bar stools when I got there. Two were wearing black shirts and both had glasses in front of them.

The other two were wearing blue shirts. One shirt was light blue, the other dark blue. Neither man had been served yet.

One of the black shirts got up and left. Now there was a vacant seat next to each of them. Light blue shirt looked like an undercover cop, so I sat beside the other one.

Tad, the bartender, set their drinks down and turned to me. Before I could order, his cell phone rang. He pulled it out of his pants, checked the number said, "Sorry, I have to take this," and turned away from me.

Dark blue shirt picked up the drink with his right hand, took a sip, then looked at both of us.

I started to say something, but he turned to the other guy and said in a low voice, "I'm Rob. You got here pretty quick after I called. You are Bret, right? Karl said you were the best he ever worked with, and I'm getting my crew together."

To my amazement, light blue shirt said, "Yeah, I'm Bret. What's the job?"

"Not here at the bar. Let's get a table. You never know who might be an undercover cop."

Light blue shirt laughed. "That's right, you never know."

I watched helplessly as Rob and the undercover cop got off the bar stools, drinks in hand, and headed for a table.

Tad set a glass of beer (my usual drink) in front of me. I put a fifty down. "Do me a favor. Anyone asks, you don't know me."

"Sure thing, Bret. Trouble?"

"That guy over there at the table is an undercover cop."

"The one in the dark blue shirt?" he asked.

"Dark blue shirt is the one I'm supposed to meet, but he started talking to the cop by mistake about a job."

"Uh, oh, that's bad news for you and everyone else that's violating parole, if their name and number is stored on his phone."

"That's what I was thinking." I laid down another fifty. "Let me know when they get up from the table."

"Sure."

"I'm going out the back when I'm done."

I drank the beer until Tad whispered, "They're getting up."

I turned my head slightly, then picked the right moment to slide off the stool, take a step, and run into Rob.

I almost knocked him down and steadied him with one hand while the other was in his right pants pocket, where I knew his phone would be.

After I quickly stuffed his phone into my jacket pocket, I moved away and said, "Sorry."

I walked toward the back like I was going to the restroom and went further down the hall to the exit. Then I stepped out into the alley behind the bar, scaring some cats who were dining in the garbage bin.

When I peeked around the building, I saw Rob and the cop standing just outside the bar. Rob patted the pockets of his pants and jacket before they both went back inside.

It wouldn't take them long to discover that the phone wasn't in there and then they would know I took it. Rob might realize I was the pickpocket he was supposed to meet but it would be too late for him.

I knew Tad would keep his mouth shut and act surprised that I'd left out the back door. He had no love for the cops. I'd even worked with his brother, Phil, on a few jobs.

I didn't want to be caught on the sidewalk between the bar and my apartment in case the cop decided to look for me, so I headed for the nearby subway entrance and hurried down the stairs.

I called Karl from a stall in the restroom, and he answered after the first ring. "How did the meeting go?"

"It was a disaster. Does Rob have my address?"

"No. What happened?"

I told Karl everything.

"I'll make some calls," he said. "Everyone we know should trash their phone so the cops can't track them."

"Right, especially since Rob might have already given the phone numbers of his potential crew to the cop while they were talking at the table."

"Get a new burner phone and I'll do the same. We'll have everyone give Terry their new numbers. Rob doesn't know about her and neither do the cops." Karl hung up.

I took the SIM cards out of both phones and flushed them. Then I factory reset the phones and left the restroom.

A bunch of people had just gotten off a train and I joined the crowd moving toward the exit. I slipped Rob's phone into the handbag of a woman and mine into a man's coat pocket.

As I walked home, I wondered what the easy job had been.

The End



For Love

 

by K. A. Williams

 

I combed Brenna's hair while she lay beside me on the bed. She stretched and love sparked in her green eyes. The unexpected sound of the doorbell startled us and we leapt from the bed.

I went to the door and opened it. Two uniformed policemen stood there.

"I'm Officer Drake and this is Officer Paulton. Are you Samuel Conover?"

I nodded, my throat dry.

"We have a warrant for your arrest," Drake said.

"What charge?"

"The murder of your brother, Robert."

Brenna distracted Paulton when she tried to run out the door they had left open. He stopped her.

While he was distracted, I stepped back quickly and grabbed my gun from behind the plant on the table. "Let her go!" I pointed my gun at him.

Drake must have drawn his gun while I was watching the other cop. The bullet caught me by surprise. Clasping my hand tightly over the wound didn't stop the blood or the pain.

Brenna came to me when I collapsed on the floor. Her long black hair brushed against my face and she cried.

I stroked her hair lovingly. "I did it … for you. He … can never … hurt you again." The words had taken all my strength.

The red haze before my eyes darkened. Brenna and the cops began to fade away.

"Call for an ambulance," a distant voice said, "and get this damn cat out of the way."

                                                                     The End

 

First published in Eclipse in 1995.

 

Also published in The Sixth Sense in 1996.




Different Paths

 

                                             by K. A. Williams

 

 

Rick leaned against his car and lit a joint. He had the radio on and was digging the music. Someone took a book from the trunk of the car beside his.

“Watcha doing?” the other student asked.

“What does it look like I’m doing?” Rick put the joint back to his lips and took another toke.

“It looks like you’re smoking weed, can I try it?”

Rick studied him. “How old are you?”

“I’m 16.”

“Really? You don’t look that old. You gotta name?”

“Jack.”

Rick smiled. “Okay, Jack.” He handed him the joint.

Jack inhaled and hacked his head off.

Rick took the joint back and cackled. “Do you like this song on the radio? It’s one of my favorites.”

Jack listened. “Yeah, it’s groovy, I dig their sound. Which band is it?”

“Guess Who.”

“Uh, I have no idea what band that is.”

“No, I mean the band’s name is The Guess Who.”

“Oh, right.”

“So, Jack, do you have a favorite band?”

“Yes.”

Rick waited a second, but Jack didn’t say anything else, so he asked, “Well, aren’t you gonna tell me the name of your favorite band?”

“I just told you. It’s Yes.”

“Oh. They’re okay.” Rick checked his watch. “We should be getting back to class. The lunch break is almost over. By the way, my name’s Rick.”

***

The phone rang in Jack’s room. He turned the volume down on his receiver and watched The Yes Album whirl around on the turntable in silence. “Hello?”

“It’s Rick. We’ll have to call off our summer road trip, I’ve been drafted.”

“Shit. Me too, man.”

“Sorry to hear that. What a bummer.”

“My parents are out of town. Come over and let’s get high.”

***

Rick was sweating, he hated having an assignment in his hometown. He peered at the foreign prime minister through the telescopic rifle sight when the man came outside. His finger tightened on the trigger, and he took a shot. A plainclothes cop shoved the prime minister away at the last possible second and the bullet impacted the door behind. The cop currently in his sights was looking straight at him. It was Jack.

Rick lowered the rifle and held it tightly as he jumped onto the roof of the adjacent building. He climbed quickly down the fire escape. Rick was sure Jack recognized the blue Cubs baseball cap he always wore.

His car was waiting in the alley, and he sped out of the city into the country. Another car was in hot pursuit. Rick knew it was Jack, especially when one of his tires was shot. They were both expert marksmen. He fought the weaving car and guided it off the road, stopping at the edge of a wheat field. He jumped out and ran through the tall wheat, bending down, until he tripped and fell. He stayed where he had fallen. It was windy and the wheat was moving, so he didn’t think Jack had pinpointed his exact location.

Jack’s car had a cassette deck. Loud music interrupted the silence. Rick recognized The Guess Who song. He remained still; the music made it impossible for him to hear anything at all. Jack wouldn’t find him, not if he stayed still.

Side one of the tape ended. Rick was nervous, he had to do something; he couldn’t just keep lying on his stomach. He pulled himself up slowly into a crouching position and tried to see over the wheat without exposing himself. Nothing was moving now, except him. He decided to bluff. “I see you, Jack. I’ve got you in my sights. Drop your gun, and I won’t shoot you.”

“I think that’s my line,” Jack said, from behind him. “I had no idea you were an assassin.”

Rick laid the rifle down on the ground, he’d never planned to kill Jack. “It’s not my fault the army trained me to be one. Since I’ve been caught, I’ll be disavowed and won’t live long enough for a trial. Do you plan to shoot me? Is that why you played the American Woman album for me first?”

“Of course not. I just happened to have been listening to it, and I needed a distraction. Get up, hands behind your back.”

“I wasn’t kidding. They’ll really kill me so I can’t testify against them.”

Jack sighed. “Suppose I believe you. What can I do about it?”

Rick stood up and turned around slowly to face him. “You could tell your boss I got away from you.”

“Haha, I don’t know about that. I usually catch who I’m after.”

“Surely, they can’t expect you to arrest all the bad guys.”

Jack’s eyes blinked. “You won't be safe here. Where will you go?”

“Canada. I should have gone there as soon as I got the draft notice.”

Jack holstered his revolver. “Me, too. I’ll help you change your tire.”

“It wouldn’t have needed changing if you hadn’t shot it.” Rick picked up the rifle and led the way to his Pontiac.

“I was always the best marksman,” Jack bragged.

“You were not!”

Rick opened the trunk and lifted out the jack, tire iron, and spare tire. Then he set the jack under the car and cranked it up.

Jack had started loosening the lug nuts on the flat tire when they both heard the siren. Jack pulled the car keys from his pocket and handed them to Rick. “Go! Send me a postcard.”

Rick hesitated before he took them. “What about you? They’ll wonder why you let me escape.”

“Don’t worry about it, just go!”

Jack watched Rick leap into his Mustang. The tires squealed as the car raced down the road. He squatted there thinking about how to make Rick’s escape look believable. Then he pulled his gun from its holster and laid it on the ground, before bopping himself on the head with the tire iron.

***

A voice penetrated Jack’s consciousness. “… alive.” Fingers removed themselves from his wrist as he opened his eyes and groaned from the headache pain. “Take it easy, you’re going to be fine. We’ve radioed for an ambulance.”

Jack sat up and regarded the uniformed police officer. “Please tell me you got the bastard that knocked me out and stole my car.”

The officer shook his head. “Sorry. We just got word that your Mustang was found abandoned at the docks. The fugitive has escaped without a trace.”

“Has he been identified yet?”

The officer frowned. “No. We’ve searched this car and there’s no registration in the glove compartment. We have no clue who this mystery would-be assassin is.”

Jack fought back a smile and said, "That's too bad."

 

                                                          The End


 


Something Wicked This Way Thumbs

 

by K. A. Williams

 

 

I knew better than to pick up a hitchhiker. But she looked so young and pretty.

I stopped the car, and she opened the passenger door.

Then I heard a laugh in my ear. A man stood at my open window pointing a gun in my face.

"You was so busy looking at Sherry, you never noticed me hiding in the ditch. Get out of the car. Now!"

I did and watched them drive away.

Of course what they didn't know was that I was a hitchhiker, too, and had stolen the car myself. Its owner was in the trunk.

 

                                                                  

“Something Wicked This Way Thumbs” was originally published in 2021 in Trembling With Fear.


K. A. Williams lives in North Carolina and writes speculative, mystery/crime, general fiction, and poetry. Over 250 stories and poems have appeared in many magazines including Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Mysterical-E, Aphelion, and The Sirens Call.


She now has a Facebook page where you can read some of her stories and follow links to her self-published ebooks.


https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100088596555838&mibextid=ZbWKwL


Apart from writing, K. A. enjoys music (mostly '70s and '80s rock), CYOA and word games.


























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