Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday Flash Fiction: Morning Vespas

There's a great writing community on Twitter, and every week, several of them post flash fiction. This is my contribution for the week. You can find other stories by searching the #fridayflash hashtag on Twitter.

Morning Vespas

“How long have you been involved with a motorcycle gang, Mrs. Dougherty?”

“Oh, heavens, they’re not motorcycles!” The petite woman twisted her silk scarf between her fingers and looked up at the two men questioning her. “They’re scooters! You boys can’t really think I’m involved with a gang. Tom would never forgive me! He works hard to keep order in this town, and I’d never do anything to disrupt that.”

“Tell that to the unfortunate gentleman in the body bag over there.” The detective inclined his head to the left.

“Well, you know, it really was Louisa Miller’s fault. You see, she wrecked her car, and her husband got her a scooter ‘cause she had less of a chance of hurting anyone else on it, and they get fantastic mileage!”

“And who else is involved?” asked the FBI agent, a tall, thin man with cold, gray eyes.

“Well, there’s Marlene Smith. She got her scooter when it cost her almost a hundred dollars to fill up her Buick. She wasn’t about to give up her part-time job, especially with her husband being just retired and underfoot all the time.”

The detective scribbled on his notepad. “So there are at least three of you. Do you know where the others are?”

“Well, I imagine they’ve gone on to Mass.”

“To where?” asked the agent.

“The six a.m. Mass at the monastery! Why, don’t you boys know about it? It’s beautiful, with the singing and the incense. We’re all up at 4 or 5, anyway, so we ride to church, then go to breakfast. That’s why we call ourselves the Morning Vespas.”

“Morning Vespas.” The detective looked up.

“Officer, why don’t you let me handle this?” asked the FBI agent. “The corner of your mouth is twitching.”

“Oh, you can laugh.” Mrs. Dougherty waved their amusement away. “Our children do. Tom won’t believe that it’s actually led to this, a dead body on a country road at dawn? That would be a good country song, don’t you think?”

“Mrs. Dougherty, just tell us how you got involved with this gentleman.”

“Well, you see, we met the deceased – that is the right term, isn’t it? – at Mass one morning. Seemed like a pleasant enough young man. But then his friend came in, a big brute of a guy, maybe you know who I’m talking about, agent? He had a face that was so scarred up, it would make his own mother shriek.”

“I cannot confirm or deny that I know such an individual. Please, go on. What did the men do?”

“Well, the nice young man dropped his Missalette! He’s probably been going to Mass his whole life, and that bully scared him silly! Well, Marlene was sitting right in front of him and said that the brute asked him where he hid it.”

“Hid what?”

“Well, that’s what we wanted to know. So the next time we saw him, about a week later, we asked him. The poor thing is so thin and pale with those big dark eyes that would make any mother or grandmother just want to take care of him, oh, it just breaks my heart!” She dabbed at the corner of her eyes with the scarf.

“There, now, Mrs. Dougherty, we can’t do anything about that now.” The detective patted her shoulder.

“Right.” She sniffled and took a deep breath. “So we asked him, or Louisa did, she’s so gentle that people just tell her anything, if he had gotten himself in some sort of trouble. He denied it in three languages, and that’s how we knew he needed our help! So Marlene followed him the next time we saw him a week after that.”

“Marlene is…?”

“She’s the one with ‘Kitchen Bitch’ in rhinestones on a pink leather jacket. We all have our nicknames on our jackets that match our Vespas. See?” She turned to show them the back of her yellow leather jacket. “I’m BusyBee.”

“Right.”

“So Marlene followed him downtown, but she lost him.”

“That wasn’t very smart, Mrs. Dougherty.”

“But we just wanted to help the poor boy out!”

“So tell us about this morning.”

“Well, he just showed up on my doorstep looking half scared out of his wits and covered in dirt. He asked if he could come to Mass with me. Of course I told him yes, and he got behind me on my scooter. We were riding along when a big truck appeared out of nowhere and started riding my tail. Then there were these loud pops, and he just tumbled off! I was so scared, but I found this little country lane that was too narrow for the truck and lost them. That’s when I called you boys. Oh, it just breaks my heart! He was always so polite!”

“Can you tell us about the truck?”

“Only that it was big.” Her eyes filled with tears again.

“Okay, Mrs. D., there’s your son. Why don’t you go talk to him while the agent and I finish up here?”

The FBI agent nodded after she had walked away. “Thank you, officer, that’s all I need for now. She’s lucky, but you need to find the others.”

“The timing is too coincidental.” The detective lowered his voice. “That was Maury the Mink on the back of her bike, wasn’t it? There was another murder last night. Sounds like Maury’s conscience was his undoing.”

“I can’t say, but she gave us some interesting facts that will help our investigation, including a link between Maury and Ronaldo. You’ll have to tell her son that she and her friends need to get into the witness protection program ASAP.”

The detective pushed his hands into his pockets. “Mayor Dougherty’s not going to like that.”

“It has to be done.”

“Well, then, agent, since you’re the tough guy here, how about you tell the old lady she’ll have to give up her scooter?”

18 comments:

Marisa Birns said...

This was so amusing and FUNNY!

So many great lines here.

Clever, quirky, and wonderful.

Kudos!

Cecilia Dominic said...

Thank you! I wasn't sure how to classify it. I think I know some of these old ladies. ;)

Deborah Aldridge said...

How adorable!

Laura Eno said...

Kitchen Bitch...Busy Bee...The Mayor??! This was hilarious! Perfect, Cecilia.

AnAlaskanGirl said...

I really like how you told the story through the conversation. Pretty Cool. :)

Chance said...

Nicely done an enjoyable read


Good stuff

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

This was gerat fun - I can picture the old dears perfectly :)

livloveslit said...

Cecilia that was a great story and laugh out loud funny! I'm still laughing at Morning Vespas! Why didn't I think of that? Thanks for sharing! ~ Olivia

Al Bruno III said...

That was terrific. This needs to be a series!

Like the A-Team but with more polyester.

J. M. Strother said...

I know it sounds odd, but that was a very funny murder. And the name of the "gang", what a hoot. Nice one.
~jon

Deanna Schrayer said...

Oh there has certainly got to be much more to this story. What a great group of characters you created here! I can easily see this becoming a novel.
Great job!

Elisabeth Black said...

Your dialogue is flawless. Cute story.

Mark Kerstetter said...

What a hoot!

Alex Carrick said...

Very entertaining. A number of fuuny lines and a leisurely ride down a country lane that ends in death. Some wacky old women truly scare me. I try to keep on their good side.

Donna Carrick said...

Great dialogue, Cecilia. It carries the story easily from start to finish -- no hiccups. A great cast of characters, too!

~Tim said...

Very clever!

Kim Batchelor said...

That was so funny Cecilia. Before you mentioned "vespas" I was thinking about my mother on her hover-around/rascal electric scooter. I always hated that thing because it always ran into people walking in front of it. I digress. Very inventive and I like how clearly you tell the story, good dialogue.

Eric J. Krause said...

Good story! I sure wouldn't want to be the one to tell them they have to give up their scooters!