The following is the fourth post in a series of sponsored short stories written using Jamie Cat Callan’s fun and easy to use The Writer’s Toolbox (affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience). You can read more about Jamie’s other creations at the bottom of this post.
For those not as familiar with The Writer’s Toolbox, it prompts you with a first, middle, and last sentence as well as a series of descriptions, some more random than others, which help your writing pop as well as a protagonist complete with overarching goals and an obstacle to overcome. I absolutely love it.
You can also read the first post in the series here.
“I like hats.” That’s what Donald said the day before he killed Sally. They were also the last words he spoke to anyone, their boss had seen to that. Frank shared a look with his business partner as Lillian walked into the back room bringing a dark-haired woman in tow.
Frank dropped his brush into a glass of water, enjoying how the leftover paint spread out in the liquid like a red cloud. The movies made his profession out to be much more action-packed than it was.
The movies left out how much waiting was involved. There was waiting for a guest to arrive, then the waiting while fear simmered to a breaking point, followed by even more waiting for a guest to come back to after Donald got through with him or her.
Frank took up watercolors to pass the time. He’d found it excited him and yet simultaneously relaxed him even more than the feel of spandex. If his therapist was still alive, she might appreciate the fact he’d taken up a hobby.
“Hello Margaret, so nice to see you again.” Frank smiled and gestured for Margaret to have a seat while Donald locked the door, his expression as cold as November in Cincinnati.
“This is all a big misunderstanding,” said Margaret as Frank pulled over another chair and sat down across from her.
“You hear that Donald? It’s a misunderstanding.”
“Well now’s your chance to clear everything up. I suggest you use it. What you were up to, that weekend in Duluth?”
“It was the bartender from Seattle. He started to ask questions. I decided the only solution was to seduce him. We went on a date, a couple’s cooking class, and spent the night together. That’s all.”
“Is that so?” Frank arched an eyebrow. His gaze swept her body from toe to the top of her head, lingering on all her curves. She raised her arms, crossing them over her chest and hiding her breasts from view. He shook his head. The woman across from him didn’t have the first idea how to use her body to save her life. She was no calculating seductress. He’d been with enough of them to spot their tell-tale signs. Some people might even say that kind of woman was his addiction. Too bad for us both.
“I’m telling the truth.” Margaret’s eyes darted around the room. “There was a man selling bananas outside. The instructor ran out and had to buy a quarter of his supply. I still have the receipt for the class in my purse. All you have to do is call the number and ask him about it.”
Frank reached out a hand. Margaret drew back. The corner of his lips crept up as he slid the strap off her shoulder. He turned his head. “Lillian, be a doll and check out her story, won’t you?” Donald moved to the side to allow Lillian to pass leaving Margaret alone with the two men.
“So say your story checks out –”
Frank had to admit Margaret had spunk. “That still doesn’t explain why you were seen hightailing out of town.” He leaned back in his chair. “I mean why run if you have nothing to hide?”
“I wasn’t running. I was on my way to see Leslie, just like I promised.”
“Funny. From what I heard, you were spotted going in the exact opposite direction.”
“I can explain that too. I can explain everything.”
Frank snorted. “I’m sure you can.” He motioned to Donald, who approached the chairs and dropped a black leather bag by Frank’s leg. Frank turned the metal dials on either side of the clasp and a latch popped. He pulled the sides of the bag open so that the overhead light could reflect on the metal tools inside. Painting with watercolors wasn’t his only artistry.
Margaret blanched and her shoulders slumped as he pulled out a device with a diamond-sharp edge. “It all started the day Lillian learned to drive…”
Oh dear, things are looking bleak for Margaret. I hope for her sake they believe her story, as unbelievable as it sounds, without things having to get too messy.
You can jump to part 5 here.
I believe in this product so much I reached out to its creator, the lovely Jamie Cat Callan, author of the upcoming Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain je ne sais quoi (available January 2nd, 2018) to tell her how much I loved her creation and was beyond thrilled when she allowed me to use her prompts for these posts.
In addition to her upcoming novel, she is also the author of the books Bonjour, Happiness! , French Women Don’t Sleep Alone, and Ooh La La!: French Women’s Secrets to Feeling Beautiful Every Day
Thanks to Jamie, I’ve learned there is a word for a woman who emphasizes a life of passion, expressed through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm, and cultivation of life’s pleasures. That word is quaintrelle. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking that word would look great on my business card.