Below & Beyond

Written for NYC Midnight Flash Fiction; 1000 words/48 hours.

Prompts: crime caper/a hotel car park/sleeping pill.


Paul caught his reflection in the back window of the battered Ford. He’d had black eyes before. No big deal. He rubbed his tender jaw. Expensive dental work would soon be no issue.

He reached in and checked the glove compartment again. The fake I.D.s and plane tickets were of course, still there.

He should have taken care of it the night before. They should already be on their way to the airport, laughing and looking forward to the future.

With the Worthington diamond.

He tugged on the leash, but the small dog continued urinating on his tyre. Paul slumped against the side of the car, the inglorious night before fresh in his mind.


Fast acting sleeping pills crushed into her dessert. The gluttonous Mrs. Worthington feeling faint. And the waiter and maid heroically being there to “assist her back to her room.” The lump of lard would be snoring her head off while he and Yvette casually sauntered out with the priceless necklace. With that chunky strand of pearls around her flabby neck, the woman may not even notice the diamond gone.

But he should have put the pills in one of the other five courses. For Mrs. Worthington succumbed to the pleading eyes of Mitzi, her equally rotund Maltese Terrier, and the little bowling ball with fur lapped at the chocolate ice cream with gusto.

“Noooooooooooo!”  Paul dashed to the table, bending low to snatch the dog away from the bowl with the flair expected of a Palazzo waiter.

“Ch-chocolate is dangerous for dogs Madam.” To prove his point, Mitzi slipped into a coma.

Mrs. Worthington mistook the waiter’s watery eyes for canine concern and rose as quickly as size allowed. The dining table cannoned into Paul’s head, cracking an eye socket and loosening teeth.

Yvette, seeing opportunity in the confusion, dashed in to “help”, but slid in the spilt dinner drinks and suddenly found herself wedged face first in the woman’s fathomless cleavage.

Her attempt to sound sympathetic was muffled in the abundant flesh and sounded more like contented grazing.

Mrs. Worthington seemed to appreciate the concern anyway.

“Above and beyond the call of duty,” she remarked.


Later in the night, Paul lurked in an alcove near the woman’s room while Yvette triggered the fire alarm. Guests stumbled past, opting, as he’d hoped, for self preservation over material possessions.

He emerged from his hiding spot, just in time to encounter Mrs. Worthington, clutching Mitzi, at a full gallop. She collected the lightly framed waiter like a bug on a windscreen, engulfing him and riding him toboggan style down the opulent hallway as though she were at Aspen.

They eventually ground to a halt; Mrs. Worthington stunned but spared further injury by Paul’s obligingly cracked ribs. The diamond cruelly swung millimetres from his face, but her girth pinned his arms. It took a moment for Paul to realise that not only was Mitzi well rested, but male.

He humped away happily at Paul’s unprotected head.


“This time below and beyond,” laughed Mrs. Worthington when she came to.


Now Yvette was their last hope.

“She must take it off to wash” Paul had reasoned. “I’ll offer to walk the stupid dog while she gets ready.”

Mrs. Worthington would be ending her traditional week’s stay this morning, and Yvette begrudgingly accepted this final chance.


Now there she was, spinning out of the Palazzo’s revolving door.


Yvette staggered toward him.

He dropped the dog leash and ran to her.

“You bastard!” she hissed.

Her slap was just as vicious, ensuring Paul would resemble a racoon more than the picture on the fake I.D.

“What happened? Didn’t you get it?”

“Oh I got it all right,” sneered Yvette, fixing him with a hateful stare. “I used my key to let myself into her room, like you said. But there was no sign of the necklace, so I crept into the bathroom.”

“You what?”

“It was so steamy I figured I could find the diamond. Get out before she knew what had happened.”

Yvette shivered, despite the warm morning.

“Mrs. Worthington opened the cubicle door and saw me.”

“What the hell did you do?”

“I gave her a Palazzo smile and offered her a towel.”


“She pulled me into the shower. Where I learnt two things. That Mrs. Worthington is used to getting her own way. And that there’s probably no Mr. Worthington.”

“Oh you poor..”

“Don’t touch me!” screeched Yvette.


She was still trembling when the limousine pulled up next to them. Mitzi gleefully scrambled into the open back door and onto the lap of his owner.

“There you are!” announced a delighted Mrs. Worthington. “You two really are wonderful.”

She unclipped the string of pearls and casually dropped them into their hands.

“A small token of my appreciation.”

She winked at Yvette. “Above and beyond.”

Mitzi appeared to shoot Paul a wink as well. His swollen eyes couldn’t be sure.


As the limo pulled away, they struggled for the pearls. Yvette demanded them as compensation but Paul refused to come out empty handed. They wrestled each other to the ground, where the strand gave way. Horrified, they watched as the pearls, funnelled by the angled drain, marched briskly away like a line of soldiers before plopping one by one through a grate and into the sewer below.

Paul tore off the cover, and with a primordial scream plunged headlong into the muck. He rose sludge covered and triumphant fifteen minutes later, grinning up at Yvette with a single pearl.




The driver held open the door and Mrs. Worthington struggled out of the back seat. “None of my business of course Madam, but should you have given your pearls to those people?”

“Those? Fakes, my dear. I sold the originals last year. You don’t get rich giving away real ones, sweetie.”

Pulling her dress from her butt crack, she carried Mitzi toward the beaming smiles of the cruise ship staff.

“You wouldn’t get ten bucks for the lot!” she laughed.



 Written for NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2016-1000 words/48 hrs.

Political satire/zoo/stolen bicycle.



“There was pandemonium at the San Diego Zoo this morning, with a possible outbreak of rabies in the primate area, the exposure of a brazen gang of thieves and a berserk mandrill having to be sedated.

More news at seven.”





“Honey, how’s my anus look?”

“Bright blue and incident free, dear.”


The mandrill lifted his tail even higher, swaggering past the gibbons to the front of his enclosure. He backed up to the bars and “faced” the day’s first visitors.

“My fellow simians, human subjects…”


“Bit early isn’t it?” complained a lemur, rubbing his eyes.


Madagascans,” muttered the mandrill, so only the gibbons heard.  “Do you even know what’s going on?”


Standard power grab based on flamboyantly colored anal glands, surmised the lemur through a yawn. “Not really,” he lied, “but I saw what happened last night when your neighbor there stole the human’s carry-beast.”  Satisfied with his contribution, the lemur casually reclined into the shade next to his mate.


The mandrill glared at the smug orangutan. In the foliage above, the night guard’s bicycle was visible through some obviously placed palm fronds.


“We have confiscated the dangerous beast which throws the human in its cold blooded anger,” announced the orangutan proudly. “Along with the ear rocks and vines that distract and upset them so much.” In one hand he held several cell phones. In the other, headphones and ear pieces. “For their own, um, safety of course.”


“Don’t let the humans see those.”

A capuchin monkey shook her small head. “The metal beast is not the problem. The human always reeks of alcohol! He has the balance of Mr. Baboon.”


“Your contribution is noted,” nodded the orangutan thoughtfully as he sneakily hid the contraband. “From this moment forth we declare a ban on consuming fermented fruit as well. For us of course, since we can’t really, um, enforce that on the humans.”


The baboon groaned, hiccupped and fell face first over a log in protest.


“Sacrilege!” cried the gibbon in support of his fallen brother.  He clung to the bars to add a dash of drama. “Why are we, the superior species, subject to such injustice?”


“Superior?” laughed the capuchin, “You are not even the superior species in your own cage! We are in a prison you idiot.”


Aghast, the gibbon turned to engage the chimpanzees in a feces flinging competition. “A battle of wits it is!” he shrieked.


The mandrill, alarmed that his rear end was no longer the centre of attention, saw his moment.

“Prison?” he roared. “These protective barriers keep predators away. We are lavished with food and attention by our loving subjects.”

Cameras clicked.

“See how they make reverent portraits of my rectum!” He turned to put the other ass cheek closer to the humans.

“This is by far my best side.”


“By far,” agreed the capuchin.


The orangutan scratched his head vigorously with one elongated finger. The cameras now swung to him. He grinned benevolently.

“Subjects? No. They are our responsibility. We must protect them from, um, stuff. Themselves mainly.”

The humans watched him elaborately gesture with his arms. They smiled and pointed back at him.

“Yeah, these guys are getting it.”


“You old fools, we are their captives,” shrieked the capuchin. “Part of an intricate socio-economic…”


A huge thump stopped him short. The gorilla had heard enough. “Fools? Wasn’t it you that said coconuts don’t kill gibbons, gibbons kill gibbons?”


Hoping they were supposed to, the chimps fell about laughing (since their cage was right next to the gorillas.) The gibbons chuckled to cover their coconut problem.


The macaques feigned hilarity, (hoping the chimps and gibbons had got it right.)

Only one from their group remained silent. An Asian macaque, scarred from witnessing his brother’s demise to a human’s gun in ‘Nam, clung desperately to a branch and tried to look invisible. The excited voices and clacking flashes were triggering, well,… flashbacks.


Every cage but the lemur’s now rocked with commotion.


Concerned staff joined the growing crowd.


The female gorillas were beseeching the males to let it go. The males were declining the suggestion, reminding them that King of the Apes was not just a slogan used by the humans.

The mandrills were strongly reminding the gibbons the extra fruit they’d been passing on meant backing up their leader when required. Gibbons were apologizing for being a little busy. The chimps made the most of the scolding by getting in several direct hits.


The capuchin struggled to be heard above the din.

“That which we call wings are naught but the rigid wires that bind us!” she screeched. Her troop chittered in agreement with this wisdom. They all started excitedly quoting their own favorite monkey philosophy. All but the PTSD macaque joined the lively discussion.


It was noisy, so the orangutans had to call loudly for quiet.



The mandrill reached across and grabbed a gibbon by the scruff of its neck.


The bewildered humans swung their attention back to him.


“We must take the situation by the throat. We need strong leadership,” he declared with a flourish.

“You O.K. there JoJo?” he whispered.

“All good pal,” mumbled the gibbon. “Here let me say a few words, buddy.”

The mandrill pushed the JoJo’s head through the bars to let the crowd see him easier.

“Look how committed this guy is,” pleaded the gibbon.

“I am, I am,” shouted the mandrill. He bared his teeth in a smile of humility.


The humans reacted with a curious mixture of photography and screaming. One of them hastily loaded a dart into a rifle.


“They can’t understand you,” warned the capuchin. “Put JoJo down!” Her warnings were drowned out in the cacophony of simian debate.

They can’t understand me thought the mandrill. It’s way over their heads.


From the macaque cage came a single “Nooooooooo.”


The dart whistled into the blue with a thud. The mandrill slumped, ass first down the bars of the cage.




Except for JoJo’s whisper of “Blue Moon down, Blue Moon down.”


And the crash of a ten speed racing bike falling to earth.


The orangutan looked as shocked as anyone.




From the shadows of the lemur cage came a small but determined voice.

“Honey, how’s my anus look?”




(Written for NYC midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2015-1000 words/48 hours. Genre-comedy, location-school detention, item-pretzel.)


You can do this.


An hour, tops.


And Larry Breen could forget about St. Tolerance forever.

It’s just one kid.

A kid with issues, sure. Who struggled with responsibility, race, religion, reality.

Pretty much anything starting with “r.”


Breen reached into the sanctuary of his inside coat pocket. He gulped from his new asthma inhaler before entering.



Standing on his desk, draped in a UN flag.

“This is not the first time a Luggajéan has been unfairly detained. Racist!”

Breen kneaded his temples as hard as the bruising would allow.

“Against which part of your French Hungarian African Canadian heritage?”

“Probably all of them. Khnyok!” scoffed Tyrone, descending in dramatic profile to accentuate his nose.

“Um, Jewish?”

“Since mid morning. Church of England first thing.”

Breen shuffled the history paper to the bottom of the pile. No need to question why “Bitch had it coming.” was the entirety of Tyrone’s Joan of Arc essay in first period.


“We have to talk about your inconsistent grades.”

Tyrone snatched the sheaf of papers.

“You kidding me? D for media studies? My school website page got like a billion hits.”

“And the picture of me buggering the school mascot got me on the national sex offenders list. Though you did get an A for photoshopping,” added Breen begrudgingly.

“Hey what about this one? I’ve scored some kind of acting gig or something. You are summonsed to appear…”

“Sorry, that’s mine” said Breen grabbing it back. “Did I mention it was an A+ in photoshopping?”

“Oh I see. A technology A because I’m Asian”

“Tyrone, you’re black.”

“But we live over a Chinese laundry,” he wailed.

“You aced Chemistry though.”

“Dad did all my homework.”

“Yes, I saw his lab on the news. Don’t worry Tyrone, six months will pass in a flash.”

“Hey what about this one? An F?”

“Your exam paper was blank.”

Tyrone tapped his forehead, eyebrow raised knowingly.

“It’s physics Tyrone, not psychics.”

“The others did seem a bit hands-on,” the boy mused, passing something unseen to something else unseen under his desk.

Breen leaned forward.

“Just feeding Quetzalcoatl, sir.”

“And when did you become legally blind?”

“Tuesday for about an hour after dad’s mushroom gumbo. It’s not a guide dog though. He followed the old man home from the airport.”

At the boy’s feet, a contented beagle in a harness chomped away on a phallic shaped treat. Breen winced; though his stomach growled like an overprotective father with an underdressed daughter. Being picked up by a beefcake in a curtained kombi. And a sticker saying if it’s rockin’ don’t bother knockin’.

“Hungry sir?”

“Well I haven’t eaten today,” Breen admitted. His lunch hour had been spent recovering in the sick bay. The chlorine in his inhaler had eradicated his sense of smell. A blessing in halitosis/flatulence 101.

“They’re druidic pretzels,” explained Tyrone as he held up another glazed penis with sesame seed sprinkled testicles. “Made them in cooking class.”

“Are there any not shaped like genitalia?” asked Breen against hope.

Tyrone rummaged through a tote bag adorned with Yiddish. Breen spied a Ziploc bag among the stone tablets, rosary beads and severed lamb’s head.

“Now this is how a pretzel should look,” he announced, retrieving the bag.

“Like the overlapped praying hands of a monk,” Tyrone agreed reverently.


Breen retreated to his desk, sneaking a bite. The piece lodged in his throat and he rocked back and forward trying to dislodge it. Tyrone leapt to his feet, and tapping in on his inner Japanese, politely returned the same number of bows.

“H-h-heim-lich m-m-manouvre” gasped Breen.

“Oh great,” responded Tyrone, “Holocaust guilt.”

Breen’s face had turned the brash purple of his tie. He clasped his hands, pleading. Tyrone paused only to prop up his camera phone on an L Ron Hubbard novel before arriving to help.

“Jehovah is really at odds with Samaritan right now” he sighed. To witness or rescue? Reluctantly, he grasped the teacher from behind.

“The power of Christ compels you!” he screamed, slamming Breen’s head onto the desk and stapling two essays together. Breen’s recoiling head cracked Tyrone in the face. The force dislodged the offending chunk of pretzel. It sailed in a graceful arc across the class where it was snapped out of the air by the grateful beagle.

“You saved my life,” rasped Breen. He drew greedily on his inhaler. “Eventually.”

He staggered upright, where Tyrone clutched his bleeding nose.

“You racist atheist fascist,” he groaned. “I’m going to the principal’s office with your blatantly intolerant DNA still fresh on my face.”

“But it’s on camera,” wheezed Breen. “It was clearly an accident!”

“I can delete that,” shrugged Tyrone.

“Or you can leave it in. Think of Student saves teacher’s life despite shocking facial injury on You Tube. A billion hits!”

Tyrone’s crudely stereotyped Judaism won the brief arm wrestle over his rather shaky vow of poverty.

Aaand detention’s over?”

“I was going to let you go for saving me anyway.”

“Vishnu be praised.” Tyrone grabbed his phone, shouldered his bag and led out Quetzalcoatl. At the door he stopped to light an enormous joint.

“Rastafarianism,” he smiled. “ And Hare Krishna, Mr. Breen.”


Breen watched through watery eyes as the boy led the beagle across the yard outside. Still starving, he gobbled down the rest of the pretzel, despite its stodgy texture. Typical. Tyrone was recipe challenged as well. Blissfully grateful for the lack of functioning taste buds, he finished every crumb.


The dog stopped to empty his bowels on the manicured lawn of St. Tolerance.

“Go nuts,” murmured Breen. He had survived the year. Survived Tyrone. Shit away, pooch.


But the beagle’s shining coil of turd formed a too-neat neat circle on the grass. The overlapping ends like the praying hands of a monk.


Breen’s purple complexion skipped the rest of the rainbow and went straight to green. He fumbled for his inhaler.

Tyrone waited for the beagle to finish, Ziploc bag at the ready.

He waved.

You know.

In that way those damn Rastafarian French Hungarian African Canadians do.