Short Story Sunday: Emergency

“I will slip away like petals of a flower after the bloom has faded and dried into pale crunchy nothingness,” said Courtney.

Ryan glanced over at the woman sitting across from him. The date wasn’t going well. All he had asked her was what her plans were for the weekend. He’d told Courtney that he’d planned on going to his sister’s house and helping her and her husband build some raised garden beds. 

“I’m sorry Courtney, I’m not sure I heard you right.”

“I like men who don’t like to get their hands dirty,” said Courtney with a slight pout. 

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“I like the rugged outdoors type, but like, in luxurious cabin with cozy blankets, and a big fireplace, and good wine and cheese. Clean.”

This wasn’t going where he thought it would. He had to make an excuse to end the night early.

Courtney continued to talk. “I love the smell of the fresh wild trees in the mornings, and fresh ground coffee with dark rich beans, and just a hint of fresh organic unpasteurized cream, and a big bowl of fresh berries. Then a brisk hike among the pines. After the hike we’d sit on the deck our limbs entwined as we read books from our favorite authors. Then we’ll go shopping in the village for scented candles and unique art.”

This was the second time they’d gone out. The first time was to a film. They’d seen an art film about well, an artist. It was good. It was fun. They talked about it after over a shared piece of chocolate cake and port. It was cute the way she gushed on about the artist and the meaning of the work. Now she wasn’t so cute.

“Do you even own a suit Ryan? I’ve only seen you in jeans.”

“Of course. I have a closet full. Just got a new one last month,” he said. What he didn’t say was that he spent about $3,000 on it. 

“Good. We should go out then. Someplace nice. You can spoil me.”

He smiled and excused himself, telling her he was going to the bathroom. He stood outside wondering if he should just go. Then he checked his messages. Nobody gave him an excuse to leave. 

When he returned to the table Courtney was sipping her wine and looking content. He could just call it a night. He could go back to her house and, well, no, that wouldn’t be a good idea. The idea of sleeping with her, having sex with her, was the last thing he wanted to do. He could only imagine what she’d whisper in his ear. He didn’t want to imagine the things she’d ask him to do, or not do.

“Have you ever thought of going back to college Ryan? Do you always want to be a mechanic? Don’t you strive for more meaning in your life?”

“I graduated from college. I own my business. I have four extremely well paid mechanics working for me, plus five other guys. Ryan’s Auto Repair is my business. My customers are awesome. My guys are awesome. I’m proud of what I built.”

Courtney just pouted again. “You’re so attractive in a sort of boyish kind of sexy way. What would you do if one of your mechanics was working on a car and found a dead human body in the trunk?”

That was just creepy. 

“I’d call 911.”

The check came. Ryan called a ride share to take Courtney home. After she’d gone he walked out to his car, glad he was alone. Then he blocked her number.

Two days later while he was in his office going over his parts inventory, he heard some yelling and commotion coming from the shop.

His crew was gathered around the back of a 1959 Cadillac brought in for restoration. The trunk was open. Ryan thought of what Courtney had asked a few nights ago.

In the trunk was the body of a woman. She wore a black transparent baby doll nightgown. A red slash of blood was across her neck. 

It was Courtney.

As Ryan pulled out his phone to call 911, Courtney opened her eyes. Ryan realized the blood was fake.

“Surprise,” she yelled. Then she started to giggle. “Today is our third date,” she said. “You know what that means.”

Ryan turned his back and waited for someone to answer.

“911, what is your emergency?”

~ end

Tangled Tales

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