“Are you sure he lives here?” Emily Long had been a stringer for the AP for the past three years and if this story panned out, it would make her career.
“100 Forrest Avenue, Panama City, Florida. There’s no mistake.” Quentin Street called himself a consulting detective, like how Sherlock Holmes described himself. Emily had checked his credentials after he had first texted her, and he had been licensed as a private investigator in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and New York for the past twenty-five years, ever since she had been alive in fact, so that much was legit.
“But you’re accusing him of…”
“I know the allegations against him, Ms. Long. We are here to see what retired General Watts has to say about them.” The middle-aged detective, dressed in his signature blue jeans and garish Hawaiian shirt, raised his hand to knock on the door when it suddenly sprung open revealing a bald man of extreme age wearing khaki shorts, a “I heart Florida” t-shirt, and a scowl.
“I’m not deaf, you know. Come in Mr. Street. I assume this is Miss Long accompanying you.”
“How did you…” Emily slipped her hand inside her jacket pocket and turned on the audio recording app on her smartphone.”
“You can turn that thing off, Missie.” Watts’s piercing gray eyes seemed to bore a hole in her head. “I’m ready to confess to the murder. I thought the IED would cover up the clues.”
“It is true that they did, General.” Street stepped across the threshold, glancing at both of Watts’s hands, assuring himself that the elderly man wasn’t armed. “But it didn’t eliminate the witness.”
I wrote this for the twittering tales writing challenge hosted at like mercury colliding. The idea is to use the image above as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 280 words long. My word count is 277.
Actually, having no “challenges” in my gmail inbox, I “borrowed” this one from Fandango. The image reminded me of something you’d see in a Sherlock Holmes mystery, so I crafted one. I used a random address generator and came up with Panama City, Florida, which is home to the 153rd Cavalry Regiment. The rest was easy.
EDIT: I goofed. I thought it was 280 words but as it turns out, the challenge is 280 characters. My bad. I withdraw from the challenge, but I might as well let the story stay up on my blog.
7 thoughts on “The Man at 100 Forrest Avenue”
I was wondering as I read this if you had mistaken characters for words! 😱 Nevertheless, I enjoyed your 277 word tale.
I’m too much of a blabbermouth to hold myself to such a strict character limit. 😉
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280 characters?! What sort of challenge was this? A story that could fit in a tweet on twitter? A haiku? It might be intellectually challenging, but it’s no fun at all. Or, in the words of Albert Einstein (paraphrased), which were a variation on the principle of the much older Occam’s Razor, “[a story] should be as simple as possible, but not simpler.” A story with no “meat on its bones” isn’t a meal. It’s not even a junk-food snack. This protest alone is over 300 characters. “Oy !!!”
I agree, PL, which is why I didn’t attempt a re-write.
I’m glad you left the story up. It’s a good one. But I would like to reassure you and other doubters, that a group of us have been writing tweet-sized tales for almost 2 years now. It is much like 6 word stories and the like, in that it takes a bit of work to tell a story in so few words (characters as it were), but it is possible. I do invite you to give it a go. 🙂
I believe you, Kat but so far the shortest bit of flash fiction I’ve written has been 100 words. It’s tough for me to limit myself any further, but I’ll certainly consider giving it a whirl next time around. Thanks.
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