Monday, December 8, 2008

Crimes of Passion - Chris Besse

Crimes of Passion
A Writers Vineyard Holiday Treat



The knife clattered to the floor leaving a dark, oozing stain on the kitchen tile. I looked at my fingers, covered with the same dark stain.

“Oh my God, look what you’ve done,” I cried in horror! I stared pop-eyed at my two and a half year old grandson, his mouth rimmed with the same dark stain that was covering my fingers and now was splattered all over the kitchen floor.

“Do you have any idea what Grandma is going to do if she sees this...this contraband...this evidence of culpability when she gets home? Do you?” I moaned.

“Yaw,” the little voice intoned.

“Yeah, as if you know what culpable means, right?” I ask him as I sink down to the floor, pushing the dark stain around, making it smear in a circular fashion as I finger-paint the dreaded Grandma person’s sparkling clean kitchen floor, a deep sense of foreboding stealing over me.

“Yaw,” the voice tones again.

For a two year old, Blake is a linguistic marvel, communicating in binary code a hundred times faster than a computer. Blake’s binary code consists of long strings of ‘yaws’ interspersed with the occasional ‘no’. Sometimes he nods his head with his ‘yaws’ to add emphasis. His no’s are usually very forceful, more like a NOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo with his little fists clenched at his sides and his lips compressed in indignation. Often his ‘no’ has a second word following it as in, ‘No Poppa’, (that would be me) which can mean anything from ‘no I don’t want your broccoli disguised as fake chicken nuggets’ to ‘no I’m not giving you the DVD remote, it’s mine.’ And it’s just as well because he knows how to work it far better than I do.

I sank to the floor and leaned up against the side cupboard. It wasn’t the mess on the floor that had me worried. It was the fact that Pat had told us in no uncertain terms that if even one spoonful of her special Christmas chocolate sauce was missing when she got back, there would be hell to pay.

There was no sound except the slurpy sound two people make while sucking chocolate off their fingers.

“Ummm, this is good, Buddy; you should try some of this chocolate from the floor.”

Blake tried it and his head nodded in approval, too busy sucking chocolate off the floor to say ‘yaw’.

“Shit,” I said to no one in particular.

“It” Blake mimed back.

I gasped. The ‘it’ was getting deeper by the minute and I thought if I left now I could get to Calgary International and catch a flight to Montreal or some other foreign destination before Pat got home.

“Oh crap,” I blurted out and instantly regretted it.

“Cap,” Blake mimed happily. I began a rapid sucking noise as my cerebral cortex tried to communicate to my lungs that I needed air, but my attempt to inhale large amounts of air for my oxygen-starved brain was defeated as I coughed and spluttered, my mouth full of chocolate sauce.

“No, no Blake, don’t say that,” I wheezed. I stared around wildly, wondering what to do, taking in the upside down bowl of Christmas chocolate sauce and the rapidly disappearing pool on the floor as Blake and I tried to see who could snork back the most sauce before it was all gone. (I told you it was good chocolate.) Not wanting to waste any, I thought, what the heck, in for a penny, in for a pound; might as well live for the moment, seeing as how my moments were numbered and would be terminated the minute Pat saw the end of her special holiday sauce.

My thoughts raced in full-blown panic mode. Then an idea struck me. I grabbed Blake and tucked him under one arm, mindful to keep the chocolate side out, and with my other hand grabbed the paper towels and Fantastic. I sprayed the remaining dark smudges and began frantically mopping up what remained of the sauce, swinging Blake around like a yo-yo.

There was a smack as Blake’s head connected with the kitchen counter.

“IT!” his little voice squealed in anger.

“Oops, sorry Buddy!” I patted his head.

“IT...urts,” the angry voice said again.

“Yeah, I know, you’ll be fine. It’ll give you character Buddy, trust me,” I told him as I finished mopping the floor and then plunked him on the counter.

“Here, put this on.” I put my half-lid motorcycle helmet on him and strapped it in place. It was way big, sinking down to just above his eyes which by now were scowling at me angrily from deep inside the helmet.

“IT!”

“Yup, that’s what we’re going to be in if we don’t make more sauce. Come on and help Grandpa now, OK?” I pleaded.

“Yaw!”

“K...” I dumped Pat’s recipe cards on the table, searching for her recipe.

“Sh...I mean darn, where would a Records Management Analyst keep a chocolate sauce recipe?” I wondered out loud. I looked under ‘C’ – nothing; I looked under ‘S’ for sauce – nothing, my panic mounting in hopeless frustration. “Of course, we wouldn’t want to save it under anything a normal person would save it under. It’s probably under something like ‘Unconventional mixture for quantifiable gatherings over forty’ or some such Sh...umm ‘it’ or other.” I was being careful now. I figured I had already contributed to Blake’s advancement in linguistic knowledge enough for one day.

“Screw it,” we don’t need no ‘stinking’ recipe, do we Blake o’l Buddy? We’ll just wing it; nobody will know the difference, will they?”

“Scwew it!” the little voice exclaimed triumphantly.

“Ha! You the man Buddy, give me five!”

Blake held up his little hand and gave me five.

“Yeah – five high, five low!” [I pulled my hand away before he could slap it] “Ha - you’re way to slow!”

“Yaw,” the voice said and the helmet slipped down over his eyes as he nodded his head.

“Here hold this, and this.” I handed him the bowl that had held the sauce and a large wooden spoon as I re-aligned his helmet.

At that moment the phone rang. I stared at it. It was Pat, probably calling to tell me she was just around the corner and she was inbound at the five minute waypoint.

“Awma,” Blake said pointing at the phone.

I ignored it, letting it ring through and concentrated instead on the last remaining five minutes of my life.

I began desperately dumping ingredients into the bowl that Blake clutched.

“Chocolate, icing sugar, more chocolate...and finally, water. OK stir, that’s it. No! Wait! Hey, stop waving that spoon around! Look, you’re splashing it all over,” I cried in desperation.

“Hmmm, looks a little chunky, Buddy, what do you think, more icing sugar?” The question hung in the air. Blake thrust his fingers into the gooey mess and popped them in his mouth. His little brows furrowed.

“IT!” he exclaimed.

“Right, more sugar it is.”

I shook copious handfuls of icing sugar into the bowl while Blake attempted to stir with his fingers; the spoon had been tossed in favour of a more primitive technique.

“What do you think?”

Again the fingers dipped and the mouth gaped open. This time his little head nodded in approval.

“Yaw.”

We felt, rather than heard the garage door begin to open and knew that we were out of altitude.

“IIIIIIITTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT,” we both screamed simultaneously. I have to admit that the next 15.53 seconds were a blur of desperate activity.

Blake was standing on the counter, helmet pulled down, little fists raised high, chanting, “IT, IT, IT,” while I stuffed boxes and containers into cupboards, dishwasher and the fridge. I heard an angry, muffled “IT” and realized that I had stuffed Blake into the fridge beside the broccoli. He scowled angrily at me as I swept him out and shoved him into a chair. I hastily sank down in the chair beside him just as the laundry room door closed and Pat and my daughter Ruth called out a greeting.

I glared at Blake and put my fingers to my lips and made the ‘Shhhssssh, be quiet’ sign to him.

“Hiiieeeeee,” Pat said cheerily as she swept into the kitchen, her arms loaded with grocery bags.

“Hi, Sweetie,” I said.

“AWMA!” Blake cried out gleefully.

Pat stopped in mid-stride, her eyes narrowing to little slits as she stared around her kitchen.

I jumped up.

“Here, let me help you, sweetie. You look tired. Let me make you a nice cup of tea. Wouldn’t you like to have a cup of tea? Maybe the Blake man would like to have a cup of tea with you, wouldn’t you Buddy?” I asked.

“WHERE’S my Christmas sauce...?” Pat began, but she stopped when she saw the bowl sitting on the counter. Her nostrils flared. I took a step. It was time to leave.

Oh if these walls could talk, I thought, but stared innocently back at her as I edged past her towards the door.

Ruth glared at me suspiciously.

“What’s that all over Blake’s shirt and what’s with the motorcycle helmet?” she asked.

I began to respond but before I could begin, Blake broke in.

“IT!” the little voice shouted triumphantly as he pointed at ‘our’ bowl of special sauce.

Busted! What could I say? Sometimes words just fail me.

Ride long, ride hard, and may the wind skate your path softly.
Chris Besse

This has been an original short story from Chris Besse
Chris Besse has a diploma in geology and a degree in theology, and is currently working in engineering systems at a large petrochemical facility. He has been an avid shooter since age fourteen and is a passionate motorcyclist who also practices traditional Shotokan Japanese karate. All of his life, Chris has been a student of history in general and military history specifically.

Chris has worked the science that paints the background for 'Element' for many years, and his study and continued interest in theology has been a unique microscope with which to observe and study human nature and social behavior on every level. He is currently working on books two and three of his 'Element' trilogy as well as a collection of short stories detailing life from the saddle of a motorcycle.

Chris and his wife, Pat, live in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada and in his spare time Chris enjoys playing with his granddaughter and four grandsons.

Please visit his website at:
www.elementscifi.com

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