Tuesday, July 13, 2010

IN SHORT ORDER ~ By J. Dane Tyler ~ A BIJOU DEBUT!

All right, A*K, here ya go, my ditty ~


IN SHORT ORDER
~ By J. Dane Tyler
an AT THE BIJOU debut

 
He drags on the cigarette and lets the smoke out through his nostrils in a gray-blue plume. It clashes with the red vinyl of the stools, chairs and pocked countertop. A lump of adobe which used to be a pile of donuts fossilizes under a glass cover at the L-turn. A waitress is smacking her gum and flipping through pages of a bright magazine with tattered corners and a permanent crease in the center.
 
He swipes absently at his straight hair and sweeps it out of his eyes.
He stares at the dossier in front of him and shifts in his uncomfortable booth seat. The ash from his smoke is three quarters of an inch long, but he doesn’t notice. His heavy brows are drawn over coal-colored eyes as he reads the forms.
 
Six women. All missing in the last three months, give or take. All of
them traceable to this area and no farther. One in particular has his attention. A pretty brunette named Cindy Wilkes. Her photo is like a model’s head shot. She’s in professionally done make-up, her hair delicately coifed around her slender face, one hand on her cheek. A tiny rhinestone winks from its bed in her painted fingernail. It’s that little stone that captures his attention. A distinctive mark someone would recognize if they saw it.
 
A meaty, cigar-choked voice from the back grinds into the dining room.
“Order up!”
 
He glances up at the clatter of a stoneware plate on the metal
pass-through shelf, and the waitress brushes her palms on the tiny scallop-edged apron cinched around her waist. She pats her hair into place, but the plastic shield of her hair spray gave up hours ago. She grips the edge of the platter with the pads of her fingers, careful not to damage the manicure which cost more than her pink polyester uniform. The tag bouncing from the top of one boob reads “Madeline”.
 
Madeline spins on squeaking orthopedic shoes, tattered from years of
hard floors and hard shifts. Still smacking gum behind bright scarlet lipstick, her cheap pantyhose swish against her skirt as she rounds the corner to his table.
 
“Here ya go,” she says around the gum. One edge of the plate bangs
onto the pitted Formica and Madeline slides it with practiced ease behind the dossier. She drops her weight onto one leg and thrusts her hip out to catch the hand which falls on it. “That it for ya?”
 
He doesn’t look up. “Can I get more coffee?” he says, but doesn’t meet
her eyes. His fall back on the page.
 
“Yeah, gimme a minute,” she sighs, and doesn’t hide her exasperation.

 
He juts his chin forward to acknowledge her statement, but when she
turns her back to him he looks up. “Hey, wait a sec.”
 
She stops. Her posture screams irritation when she turns back to him,
hand on hip again. “Yeah?”
 
“Let me ask you something.”

 
“I already told you, apple, cherry and blueberry.”

 
“No, not that. Look at these pictures.”

 
She exhales frustration through her nose and paces back to the table,
where he’s spreading a series of 3×5 photographs over the dossier folder.
 
“Ever seen any of these girls?” he says, and looks up at her for the
first time since he came in an hour ago. It took him forty-five minutes to get around to ordering.
 
Madeline puts one palm on the sticky table top, the other still on her
hip. She gazes at the photos, touching each one with a long, hooked nail before moving to the next. He watches her face, and sees something flash on it.
 
Recognition, maybe.

 
“Seen ‘em?” he says, and watches her closely.

 
She stands and shakes her head. “I dunno. Lotta people come through
here on their way to someplace else, y’know? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. None of ‘em look familiar.”
 
“None of ‘em? How ‘bout this one?” He points to the photo of Cindy
Wilkes, taps it.
 
“Nah, not really. Why? You a cop?”

 
“No, I ain’t a cop,” he lies. “But all these girls were around here

recently. Sure you’ve never seen ‘em? Maybe they came in here to eat?”
 
“Nah, I don’t think so. Maybe one of the other girls who work here.
You know, day shift.”
 
He nods. “Okay. Thanks.” But he’s not convinced.

 
He watches from the corner of his eye as she squeaks back toward the
kitchen and bangs through the swinging door. He hears her chattering and that grindy-smoke voice answers, but he can’t hear what they say.
 
He takes a bite of his burger, and something hard stops his jaw from
chewing. He fishes his fingers into his mouth in search of the foreign matter, brows drawn over his raven eyes again. He finds it and pulls it out.
 
His breath catches in his throat and his heart spikes when he sees it,
his eyes bulging from their sockets. He feels the nausea swirl in his stomach as horror freezes his blood.
 
A fingertip. A delicate fingertip, with a broken painted nail on it, a
tiny rhinestone embedded in the lacquer.
 
He’s too busy vomiting on the table to hear Madeline come out of the
kitchen with the shotgun in her hands.

(c) 2010 ~ Author J Dane Tyler
An AT THE BIJOU Debut!
Visual Selections gracing mood 
ala AmberNaddy, CelineWalker

 
SO WHO IS THIS GUY?
AT THE BIJOU QUESTIONED A SOURCE OF AUTHORITY. (We asked his wife)

Let's give it up for Vanessa, Mrs JDT, 
delivering a sassy BIO with BIAS ~
But Hey, isn't that just the most lovin' way?

J Dane Tyler plays with words the way others play with darts. He loves to throw them at his target and for him, the bullseye is giving you nightmares, and making you afraid of the dark.

Husband, father, a good writer, and a good friend. 
~ written with bias by his wife



The Author, grinnin':  There ya go, A*K, and thank you so much for this opportunity and the support. I appreciate that you feel my work is worth the showcase of your spotlights AT THE BIJOU.

Warmest thoughts,
JDT


The Chatelaine AT THE BIJOU, smilin' large:  JDT (and Mrs JDT) ... We're all feelin' the pleasure is gonna be ours with you two. Now go help yourselves to some popcorn and sit back and watch your story play. Thanks a'plenty for the honour of stagin' you! (Uh, who's gonna clean this mess up on the table?)

Posting all the fiction, all the time, rather than facets about the nature of his nature, do get welcomed in at the house of J. Dane Tyler.


~ Absolutely*Kate
and our fine staff of renown
*AT THE BIJOU*

14 comments:

Bukowski's Basement said...

Great flow... Great dialogue... Wonderful vibe... All-around greatness.

Carrie said...

Oh my goodness. The contents. Barf. Yuck. Yuck. XD WELCOME!

Ian said...

Bam! Waiter, a serve of finger-food all round, with a buckshot chaser. Oh, and call the Police Academy, we're gonna need another cop.

(My verification word is "nesse")

jdanetyler said...

@Bukowski's Basement: Thank you so much! High praise from a powerful prose-meister! I'm flattered and glad you enjoyed it. It was my attempt at a noir-feel and I've always been fond of the piece, though NOW (of course!) I see edits I could make. :)

@Carrie: Thank you so much! I'm glad you liked it. It's always an honor when horror writers think my stuff is... well, horrible. ;)

@Ian: LOL! Excellent! I love the verification word you got too. Very fitting! Thank you for stopping by to read and comment! I hope you enjoyed it!

Thanks to Absolutely*Kate for the chance to showcase here too. :)

And MY verification word for this comment is: POOTOSS.

Someone trying to tell me somethin'?

Laurita said...

Love this story, the dark, smokiness of it, the retching end. Great flow and flawless twist.

Welcome!

stevex09 said...

No way I could pass this one up! Great stuff and two thumbs up!

Pamila Payne said...

The cross-pollination that's going on here is awesome. There you are, just another clever handle in the Twitter stream one day, then you're a smart commenter on my blog, and now here you are, in one of my favorite hang outs... Hey... are you stalking me? Based on that scary piece, I'll be watching over my shoulder...

Harry said...

"Knuckle sandwich...order up!"

A very cool At The Bijou debut J. Dane, look forward to seeing more!

jdanetyler said...

@Pamila: I promise, I'm not stalking you. And no, that's not a meat grinder behind my back. That's a ... that's a pencil sharpener. Yeah. One of those old fashioned ones you used in grade school. Really. No you can't look. (Thank you.)

@Laurita: Thank you so much. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I'm honored it made you retch. Thank you for saying so. :)

@Harry: Thank you for the warm welcome, and I'm glad you enjoyed! "Knuckle Sandwich" -- AHAHAHAAAA!! Awesome! I should've named the piece that to begin with. :)

@Steve: Thanks for taking the time to come over and read and comment, Steve! I'm glad you liked the piece! :)

ABSOLUTELY*KATE said...

Well J Dane the Tyler, you're certainly shakin' up the lunch counter for folks comin' round AT THE BIJOU this day. For tryin' out a noir feel, the smoke just gray-blue plumed you in. Then your descrips? Gosh man, even more delicious than that lump of adobe donuts.

You're responsible for making me terrified of all waitresses with a MADELINE name tag ready to serve and of course for grossing me out at what you got caught between your teeth there, pal.

Nice smooth countering the concerns in the swerves of your tale. Aw shoot, thanks again for serving your sudden suspense up here.

~ Absolutely*Kate

jdanetyler said...

@A*K: What a fantastic experience you've provided here today! I'm all a-flutter with all the good vibes coming my way! I hardly know what to do with myself 'cept stand here and blush.

The generous warm welcome certainly made the debut grand. I couldn't have asked for a better crew and a better audience. It's been a wonder.

Thank you one and all, and be blessed -- you've all certainly blessed me!

-JDtheT-

Jeanette Cheezum said...

JDT, this is the first time I have read any of your work, and it was a pleasure. I expected the nail tip with the stone. BUT GROSS, NOT THE FINGER TIP.

L'Aussie said...

Fabulous story. Wow!

jdanetyler said...

@Jeanette: Thank you so much! I'm flattered, and it was quite an honor to debut here AT THE BIJOU. I loved how A*K took my words and made such an artistic piece from them. And I'm touched by the warm welcome from such talented writers and readers. Thank you again. :)

@Aussie: I'm glad you liked it! It's sort of a favorite of mine, and the closest I've ever come to writing something noir-ish, which is why I chose it. I really appreciate the welcome and the time to read and comment. It's been so much fun and such an honor to be here. Thank you!

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