Posts tagged ‘benefit’

September 1, 2011

Spot 006: To Whose Benefit?


by Bill Lapham

The snatch had been made and the drop retrieved by the courier. Information on the invasion’s target was on its way. Across the Channel, they would adjust the defense and blood would run in the water.
The traitor was sitting on a park bench, right leg crossed over left, smoking a cigarette in the waning light of a sunless day. The street lamps cast shafts of light through droplets of water floating weightlessly. There was a statue on the far side of the park, a man sitting on a galloping charger, one hand on the reigns, the other thrusting his sword to the sky. That was how he felt, striking a blow against the King.
He was pleased with himself. He had been planted in a perfect position to receive information about the landing and he had done nothing to draw attention to himself. He carried out his chores like any other industrious Englishman. When the time came, he stole the orders that named the operation and its objective: Overlord, the Port of Calais.
Just then, a man joined him on the bench. Neither said a word for a time, but sat quietly in the evening drizzle.
“We have you, Jarvis,” the second man said.
Jarvis’s face slackened.
“You would tell them about Calais, you fuck?” the second man asked, raising a pistol.
Jarvis shook his head vehemently, put out his hand and pleaded, “No!”
When the second man fired, Jarvis was flung face first into the mud.

See Authors page for Bill’s bio.



by Sandra Davies

It was a well-practised operation requiring only cooperation and a good memory for what had gone before. Was not the first time the situation had arisen and certainly would not be the last. Of all present, the eldest and most experienced one knew that. The elder of the males was most concerned at the likely outcome if they got it wrong, if they could not negotiate their way out of this, but he well remembered what had happened last time, and was not prepared to accept the consequences if the same conditions applied on this occasion. The youngest, most volatile, was most difficult to convince, still something of an optimist despite the fact that he suspected his inexperience had been taken advantage of. Each of them had something to lose, something to gain; if they could come to an agreement then this time two of them would gain, the loser would win another time. No agreement, they all lost. Eventually, following low-voiced discussion, a threat and then an offer to share the proceeds, they were heard to come to an agreement. The eldest told the second eldest “I owned up last time – it’s your turn now, and your turn to lose your pocket money.’

See Authors page for Sandra’s bio.



by Mike Handley

I never pulled the reporter’s notebook from my pocket.

A week earlier, I’d driven down the same dirt track to confirm and photograph the blond skeleton of what was to be a state official’s lakeside home. The lake wasn’t there yet, but that was just a formality.

The property owner — a longtime campaign supporter — had applied for the necessary creek-damming permit. He was also building the house for the man who forwarded an endorsement to the Corps of Engineers.

Strictly speaking, that’s a violation of the state’s ethics law. A public official cannot personally benefit from his or her office.

I met both men at the site of what they called a “guest house,” although the builders told me it was the politician’s vacation home. My hosts knew I’d come around and asked questions. This visit was for them to set the record straight, and I’m sure they appreciated my casualness.

I listened as they exchanged pleasantries like old chums, remarking over good deals on comfortable shoes. I shrugged when they asked, not rhetorically, why the media those days was so liberal. They talked about the pretty view and about how long it would take for the lake to grow a 10-pound bass.

A mile down the road, I pulled into a convenience store, got a cup of coffee and scribbled madly for close to two hours, documenting every word and action — pretty damning, considering they’d tried to maintain that they weren’t close friends at all.

See Authors page for Mike’s bio.



by Gita M. Smith

My Crystelle is not what you’d call a big earner. So the other day, when I goes in the salon for my usual, I slips her a $50.
“Mrs. Entwhistle, what’s this for?” she says, but I notice there’s no hand hesitation on the way to her pocket.
“Honey,” I says, “it’s because I got real pain-in-the-ass hair,” and I also notice she don’t deny it.
So later, when she’s finished my comb-out, real full, extra spray, like I like it, I asks her, I says, “Crystelle honey, you know I ain’t the kind to poke my beak in your business, but I can’t help asking how much you take in a week, on account of this place being so small and all, and there’s never hardly any clientele.”
So she leans in close and whispers, she says, “Mrs. E, this place ain’t supposed to take in a lot of money on account of the boss has other businesses, and he launders the money over here that he makes over there.”
So now I’m confused, but I don’t say nothing, and I walk over to the off-track because it’s Ladies’ Day Thursday. I’m thinking how nice it would be to win big and open up a little bakery (but no wedding cakes, too much agita). So then I’m crossing Delancey and I sees my friend, Rhoda Lazinsky, on the opposite sidewalk by the green grocer, and I calls to her, I yells, “Rhodie, don’t buy the plums! They’re non-union!”

Read more at: See Authors page for Gita’s bio.



by Paul de Denus

According to the Kodak imprint mark, this picture of us was taken in 1962. The color in our cheeks has faded some. There’s mom and dad corralling Wendy, Newsome and me. Wendy is the stiff and stern looking bookend. She is the oldest and has the most to gain. Newsome is the capable mysterious one. Typical for the middle child I suppose. That’s me, Oriole, the youngest, on the end. We’ve never got along. You can see the detachment in our faces. The only thing we have in common: our parents and their money. Even now during these hard and desperate times, it hasn’t been easy… with the funeral and all.

Oh yes. The funeral.

We received the terrible news Monday. Our parents were found brutally butchered. With an axe. Can you imagine? The authorities haven’t been able to piece it together. Sorry, no pun intended. Did they deserve it? Hard to say. They had issues. Secrets. Things that could tear a family apart. They’re in the grave now. Yes it’s a horrible thing but the killers did us a favor. They brought us all together again. We’ll each get a pretty piece of the estate.

Oh yes. The estate.

That’s what it’s all about really…why we’re all here. Millions of dollars left behind. We’ve already met with the lawyers and settled the details. On Saturday, Wendy, Newsome and I will meet…sort of like a family again… and bury the hatchet. We’ve got to get along now.

See Authors page for Paul’s bio.



by Travis Smith

“Does she have an alibi?” he asked Detective Harris, the woman in charge of the investigation, nodding towards the Mayor’s widow in the other room.
“Says she was at the club, like she always is in the afternoon. The other women have confirmed that, but none recall exactly when she left.”
Morgan looked around. The Mayor’s body had been removed and the crime scene unit, which had been collecting evidence, were circled around to listen to him.
“Possible motives for her?”
“The usual: mistress, life insurance policy, prenup.”
“Do we know anything about the mistress?”
“Not much, apparently some cheap floozy he kept for fun on the side.”
“Anyone else who might want him dead?”
“He wasn’t the cleanest politician, we know that, and more than a few city workers are unhappy about the pension cuts last year, so the list is long.”
“All right then. Keep at it everyone, and be careful, given the high profile nature of the victim. Harris, you come with me. Yates, you’re in charge here, and be sure to keep someone with the widow.”

As they pulled out of the driveway he started laughing. “So you’re a cheap floozy?”
“Very funny.”
“Did you get into the safe?”
“Five hundred thousand cash plus his off-shore bank information, and yes, I changed the combination, so we can have it all transferred before they figure out what’s gone.”
“Then let’s finish the game. Now that our pensions have been reinstated our beach house in Montserrat is waiting.”

See Authors page for Travis’s bio.



by Michael D. Brown

Roy tells me when we are alone shopping at Jersey malls for luggage for the books and movies I’m taking back with me, “Adrienne’s ex has no reason to move. He’s got a good deal paying only nine hundred dollars for the use of the whole house.” So back at my apartment when she is talking loudly on the phone with her sister, and trying to calm Felicia, who is ranting again about how her ex-husband Charlie is such a shit because he won’t come up with his quarter of the mortgage, I don’t feel her distress.
Roy says during a lull, “Never, get involved financially with family.”
He doesn’t like Adrienne having three hour liquid lunches with her boss and clients, although she says it’s one of the things an insurance broker has to do.
Each makes twice as much as I have ever earned teaching or working in an office. I only maintain the apartment in my name as a storage place for all my stuff, paying a portion of the rent to keep my books and belongings behind all the things they have moved in.
On my next to last day in New York, with both at work and Babette in doggie daycare, I have the apartment to myself. I watch old videotapes of my vacations with Jason and I’m aware of the urn containing his ashes on the bookcase filled with volumes of his stamp collection, but I can’t feel his presence in the place anymore.

See Authors page for Michael’s bio.



by Joe Gensle

She was a stickler.
Every morning at 6:21AM, she took the 2nd aisle seat on the right side of the second car, and hunkered down for her 42-minute BART rail commute into San Francisco.
She’d started each ride with a love letter drafted to Larry for later e-mailing. She’d share thoughts and dreams, how things might be when he got out of the service, sometimes share office gossip and even write anecdotally of her commute.
This day, she settled into her seat and opened her laptop. As the train filled and eased away from its 3rd stop, she heard a long belch, off…over left shoulder. ‘Disgusting and rude,’ she thought,’ and added ‘imbecilic’ when riders giggled aloud. Another burp, and more laughter.
Someone’s bad manners shred her concentration like cheap cheese, grating her last nerve. When she heard the loud report of flatulence–unmistakably a fart, and loud– and then another, nearby riders couldn’t contain themselves! She slammed the laptop shut, jumped up and turned, barking “LISTEN, MISTER!” convinced it was a man.
It was her man. There stood her Larry in uniform, home early from Iraq, hitting “Play” on his smart-phone‘s .mp3 sound effects to the comedic roars complicitous riders. She vaulted over the seatback into his arms. He knelt and proposed to her, to cheers and tears of the crowd.

He proposed on car 5319, and they were married May 3, 2019 (5/3/19). They named their first-born, “Bart,” who trained to be a practical joker.

Joe Gensle is on assignment in New Orleans. See Authors page for his bio.



All illustrations for Spot 006 supplied by Sandra Davies.