If you have been with us for a while, you know that I like to publish a short story in October. It started because my first story was a children’s story about a werewolf, so it made sense to publish at Halloween. Now it is just my thing. The last couple of stories had nothing to do with Halloween, but I this one is a nice complement to the spooky season.
This is a snippet of the story. If you like it, you can purchase the whole story (a short story, not a novel) on Amazon here. This is only available on Kindle.
I hope you enjoy the first 1200 words (10%) of my story, Ghost Puncher
She stood in the glorious morning sunlight, an angel of light. She buttoned her flowing white blouse and shook her golden hair from the collar.
“You’re a loser,” she spat. She was not an angel. “I’m out of here, Deuce. Lose my number.” She snatched up her bag and stomped out. Deuce watched her go. No point in chasing her. She was already gone, just like all the rest.
He yawned and stretched. He should feel something. Sadness, maybe? He wasn’t sure. There was only a sort of general numbness. It was like the engine had run out of gas but he was still moving. Moving towards what? He didn’t know. The only thing he did know was that if he ever stopped moving he’d die.
Bzzt. Bzzt. Bzzt…Bzzt. Bzz..
Deuce picked up the phone. An early job would be a good reason to get out of bed.
“Yeah,” Deuce answered. “Hang on.” He rolled over and grabbed a pencil and his leather bound notebook. “Ok, go ahead…uhuh…uhuh…yep, got it. I’ll text you later.” Deuce hung up the phone and tossed it on the empty pillow beside him. He wrapped the leather strap around the notebook and stared at it. There was a cross etched into the center, a gift from Monsignor. The old priest had hoped he would fill it with thoughts and prayers, but Deuce used it for work. Work kept him moving, kept him alive.
Deuce sat up, put his feet on the cold concrete, peeled his tongue from the roof of his mouth, and chuckled. His old man had always joked that it tasted like a train of camels had shit in his mouth while he’d slept. As a kid, he’d laughed, but it made no sense. Now, thirty nine years later, he finally understood. He groaned as he stood and straightened his back. It took a few steps for his hips to loosen up as he walked to the bathroom. He turned the shower water on to heat up. He was going Uptown today, so he needed to clean himself up.
The mundane act of shaving gave him something to focus on. He nicked his neck with the razor. It started to bleed. He watched it mix with the white foam then run down his neck. He felt nothing.
Deuce dropped down and blasted through thirty pushups and thirty squats. His heart was pumping. He was alive. A hot shower would feel good. He stepped in. It was cold. Of course it was.
Wide awake, Deuce dressed for Uptown. Tight jeans, soft leather boots, a v-neck tee and a faux flannel shirt with the sleeves rolled twice. He squeezed the mint toothpaste onto his brush and scrubbed vigorously. He spit, but a bitter taste remained.
It was going to take all day to get Uptown on the bus. He stuffed his notebook into his satchel and checked his pockets. Phone? Check. Wallet? Check. Keys? Check. Tossing the satchel over his shoulder, he left. He didn’t bother locking the door. If anyone was desperate enough to break into his place, they needed it worse than he did.
The bus was hot and stunk of diesel exhaust and b.o. He sat at the front. He had to smell everyone twice, but at least he could see through the windshield. The city was a strange place, full of all sorts. Some good, some less so. He wondered where he fell on that scale.
Deuce checked his notepad and confirmed with the driver that the next stop was his. He was almost there. He didn’t love his job, but he didn’t have a lot of skills. The ones he had weren’t “desirable” as the job recruiter described them. This job kept food in his belly, a roof over his head, and, if he saved, a Guinness with Monsignor.
The bus screeched to a halt. Deuce waited for the momentum to settle back before standing. He heard a commotion in the back. Like clockwork, someone tried to stand too early and fell over. The bus driver smiled. He fell more on the “less good” side of the scale. The door hissed and opened with a bang. Deuce thanked him, even though he paid for the ride. It was good practice to keep in good standing with those he depended on.
He returned his notebook to his satchel and pulled out his phone. He’d much rather navigate the old fashioned way, but didn’t want to stick out like a tourist in Uptown by reading signs. He entered the address into his navigation and followed the prompts. It was odd that his job brought him Uptown more often than not. Maybe no one could afford his services Downtown. Maybe Downtown folks were more willing to do their own dirty work.
Deuce arrived a minute earlier than the GPS predicted. It was satisfying to prove it wrong. He pressed the door open and looked up as the bell jingled. The coffee shop was busy. Deuce helped make room for a woman with a stroller and snagged her vacated seat. It was a good seat. His back to the wall, provided him a full view of the café. The baristas brewed coffee, steamed milk, and ground espresso. He could smell the fruit notes dancing with caramel undertones. His mouth watered. Coffee was the one thing strong enough to clear the bitterness from his palette.
The bell jingled again and the baristas behind the bar cheered as help arrived. A young man walked in, unkempt, unshaven, a worn knit cap on his head. It was strange how the rich and poor worked so hard to resemble the other. Deuce opened his notebook and reviewed his notes. The overwhelmed supervisor cursed the newcomer’s name for being late. That was him. Deuce slid the book back into his satchel, adjusting the bag to the small of his back.
Well, no time like the present.
Deuce slid his right hand into his pocket. The cold metal in his hand was comforting. He stood and approached the bar. The mark was putting his apron on at a snail’s pace, ignoring the supervisor’s tapping foot.
“Good morning, miss, may I have a scone? One of the chocolate chip ones?” Deuce asked the irritated supervisor. She needed something to do to keep from cursing the kid out, so went to work gathering the pastry. She handed him a brown bag, rolled at the top. “Oh, and fresh cup of, is that a Honduran coffee?” She smiled at the question. A kindred coffee aficionado. She began to fill the cup. The mark approached the register and began to clock in. Deuce stared at him until he became uncomfortable.
“Something I can get for you, bruh?” His voice dripped with the frustration of a rich kid stooping down to commoners’ labor.
“In fact, you can.” Deuce pulled his brass knuckles from his pocket and drove them into the kid’s nose. There was the ring of St. Patrick’s Bell, a sickening crunch, a girlish squeal, then a rush of blood. The barista fell backwards as the supervisor turned. She lifted the coffee above the falling body, careful not to spill. Deuce looked over the counter, at the boy curled into the fetal position on the floor, holding his face.
I hope you enjoyed this and are encouraged to read the full story. I hope it’s a blessing to you and helps encourage you find your calling. I have written a few other stories, all of which you can find on my Amazon Author Page. Please be sure to rate and review on Amazon as that helps with the ranking, which helps it get seen by more people. Above that, please share it with your friends.
Working for my life’s vision of writing stories in a beverage shop that I own.