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The Burglar-Fiction by K. A. Williams
Bittersweet-Fiction by Jonathan Woods
Manny Dietrich's Adventure in the Blighted Kingdom-Fiction by Roger Johns
Extra Income-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
Interviewing a New Employee-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Gobble, Gobble-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
The Lunch Box-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Swallow-Fiction by Don Stoll
The Volkers-Fiction by Logan McConnell
All for One, One for All-Fiction by Jan Christensen
He's Nobody-Fiction by Richard Martinez
Who's Going to Pray for Me Now?-Fiction by Niles M. Reddick
Priorities-Flash Fiction by Gary Clifton
Tell It to the Monkey-Flash Fiction by Bernard Onken
Why Are You Just Sitting There?-Flash Fiction by Robert Weibezahl
This Most Magical Season-Flash Fiction by Bernice Holtzman
A Short Poem for a Long Trip-Poem by Richard LeDue
Things Found in a Public Parking Lot-Poem by Hillary Lyon
Tables-Poem by Meg Baird
Duke-Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Impending Death-Daniel G. Snethen
A Dispute over a Gambling Debt-Poem by Mark Young
Glockenspiel-Poem by Mark Young
Daredevils-Poem by John Tustin
The Trick Is-Poem by John Tustin
I'll Go to Hell When I Die for All My-Poem by Gale Acuff
I Don't Want to Die, Ever, Then I'd Miss-Poem by Gale Acuff
Sometimes you die when it's really not your-Poem by Gale Acuff
Lone Crow-Poem by Judith Nielsen
Losing Texas #1-Poem by Judith Nielsen
what is the cost-Poem by Judith Nielsen
Poignant Clouds (For Daryl)-Poem by Judith Nielsen
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
ALAT
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

M. A. De Neve—Extra Income

89_ym_extraincomehlyon.jpg
Art by Hillary Lyon 2021

EXTRA INCOME

by M.A. De Neve

 

          Alice brought her latte to the girls’ table. She sat down and listened to her friends.

           “Police cars, ambulances, reporters. They were all at the Totter house last night.”

          “Another murder?”

          “What else?”

          “They’re still not saying if it’s a serial killer.”

          “Of course, it’s a serial killer.”

          “It doesn’t fit the serial killer pattern,” Alice told her friends. She sipped her caramel latte and started to explain.  “Serial killers usually target a specific type of victim. Brunettes are popular with some serial killers. The killers are often sexual predators who target young women. They might take souvenirs, but robbery is seldom the motive.”

          Her friends looked at her wide eyed.  

          “I read lots,” Alice  explained. When they continued to stare at her, she added, “Mystery novels.”

          “So, Miss Detective, I suppose you’re profiling for the cops.”  Phyllis asked her.

          “Don’t be ridiculous,” Alice told her. “I’m a retired math teacher.”

          “We can all do the math here,” Carol smiled at her. “Five victims, zero fingerprints. Zero clues. All the victims were robbed and their bank accounts raided.  This killer has stolen several thousand dollars.”

          “Speaking of math,” Lucy piped in, “My Social Security for this month isn’t due until tomorrow. Can anyone lend me a few dollars for bus fare?”

          Alice took out her wallet and laid a ten-dollar bill on the table. Everyone one knew retired teachers got great pensions. The other women had been secretaries or nurses or housewives. They didn’t get the big pension checks. At least Alice was generous.

 

          The killer used the self-check-out at the Kroger grocery store.

          Across the aisle, Kimberly Fonseca paid for her roasted chicken, pasta and almond milk with her debit card. The killer watched her as she pressed in her pin number. Kimberly was a divorcee, a receptionist at the local radio station and the daughter an elderly couple who’d moved to Florida years ago. She requested cash back from the self-serve checkout, pushed the money into her wallet, grabbed her groceries and walked to her car.

          The killer had purchased only a jar on mayonnaise. “Good morning, Mrs. Fonseca,” the killer called to Kimberly.

          “Good morning,” Kimberly returned the smile, and walked to her car.

          One hour and twenty minutes later, she heard a knock on her door. The killer stood out there. “You forgot your gloves at the self-checkout.”

          Kimberly shook her head. “Those aren’t mine.”

          “Pity. They are such nice gloves.” Her visitor slowly pulled the gloves over long, surprising-strong fingers and stepped forward, forcing her to step backward.

 

          “Ran her through with an umbrella, one of those with the sharp ends,” Alice told her friends at Starbucks the next morning.  “It was sitting right by the door inside her home.”

          “How do you know all that?”

          Alice shrugged, “I hear things.”

          “Well, my son is an EMT; he was one of those who…who you know, responded to the call. He was there before the cops got there. He said nobody is supposed to talk.” Carol said. “The police keep the details to themselves.”

          “But he talked, didn’t he?” Alice insisted. “They all do.”

          “He didn’t tell me anything,” Carol looked nervously into her coffee.

          “Question is how do you get all these details, Alice?” Lucy asked.

          “Honey, neighbors don’t have to wait for the six o’clock news to hear the details.”

          “You aren’t a neighbor. You live three streets over.”

          “I hear things.”

          “So what do you hear about the killer, this mad man?”

          “Who says it's a man?” Alice liked to keep the conversation moving. This should do it.

          “A woman couldn’t commit all those murders.”

          “Why not?”

          “She wouldn’t be strong enough.”

          “It doesn’t take a lot to strength to run someone through with an umbrella.”

          “And one of the victims was a man.  A woman couldn’t overpower a man.”

          “He wouldn’t have suspected her. No, this killer is someone the victims all trust.  Otherwise why would Kimberly have let him—or her—into her home. We all know there’s a killer amongst us.”

          The women all ordered chocolate croissants. Their Social Security checks had come direct deposit that very morning. They were flush, at least until the end of the  month.

 

          The killer finished eating potato pancakes and watched as the restaurant's night manager counted up his receipts and prepared to close shop. The killer had already paid for the meal and slowly prepared to walk home.

          “Is someone coming to get you?” the manager asked.

          “I’m walking.”

          “Wait up. Let’s walk together. It’s such a nice night. The bank is on the way.”  He held a green canvas envelope filled with cash.

          “Of course,” the killer smiled.

 

          The manager’s body was found the next morning behind a dumpster in the bank's parking lot. He’d been stabbed repeatedly with a knife from his own restaurant.  Of course, the killer hadn’t left any prints.

 

          Alice used hair spray to get out the blood stains her jacket. It was an old laundry secret. She sprayed the garment with the hair spray, let it dry and most stains disappeared. While the washing machine removed the hair spray and any evidence of last night’s crime, she went online to review her bank account.  She didn’t understand how her friends existed month to month on Social Security checks. Because of her teachers’ pension, she got a little more than the rest of them did. Still she liked having extra money.

          Alice decided she could afford that trip to Alaska. Who knew how many opportunities a cruise might offer to grow her retirement accounts.

The End


M.A. DeNeve is a retired college instructor, crazy cat lady, tree hugger and bag lady.  Her short stories appeared in Over My Dead Body, Yellow Mama, Everyday Fiction  and Mysterical -E. Her novels are available on Amazon.



Hillary Lyon is an illustrator for horror/sci-fi and pulp fiction websites and magazines. She is also founder and senior editor for the independent poetry publisher, Subsynchronous Press. An SFPA Rhysling Award nominated poet, her poems have appeared in journals such as Eternal Haunted Summer, Jellyfish Whispers, Scfifaikuest, Illya’s Honey, and Red River Review, as well as numerous anthologies. Her short stories have appeared recently in Night to Dawn, Yellow Mama, Black Petals, Sirens Call, and Tales from the Moonlit Path, among others, as well as in numerous horror anthologies such as Night in New Orleans: Bizarre Beats from the Big EasyThuggish Itch: Viva Las Vegas, and White Noise & Ouija Boards. She appeared, briefly, as the uncredited "all-American Mom with baby" in Purple Cactus Media’s 2007 Arizona indie-film, "Vote for Zombie." Having lived in France, Brazil, Canada, and several states in the US, she now resides in southern Arizona.  https://hillarylyon.wordpress.com/

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2021