Andrew Schrader is a Los Angeles-based author and film director known for his fascination with the stranger sides of human nature. He’s directed two feature films, music videos for bands Osees, Moon-Drenched, and White Reaper, and was a script consultant on “Afterlife,” a horror series for Crypt TV.
His three-book series, What Goes On In The Walls at Night, was featured on the Reddit No Sleep podcast and twice won the Red City Review Book of the Year for fantasy and horror. He also wrote several episodes of the animated show Tig n’ Seek. Bad Realities is his fourth book of short stories.
He was somewhat physically attractive, but it was his personality, his humor that got her to accept a date with him. Over the course of the last three weeks, they had talked for hours, sometimes getting so caught up in the conversation, neither slept.
Work had been a nightmare.
The pictures he chose for his profile were of the man sitting in front of her, no filters, no hazy images, and certainly not a single image from when he was practically in second grade; no, he was honest. She truly appreciated his honesty.
He asked her out, and she couldn’t say no — she liked the person she got to know too much.
As she looked at him, she thought: How bad could it be? His eyes expressed joy, a little laughter, and his mouth was soft, without a hidden grimace.
Her experience with blind dates hadn’t been good, but her romantic inclination always implored her to give men the benefit of the doubt. It hadn’t worked out well so far but she thought: Truly, how bad could it be? Buy a meal. Drink something. Walk a ways. Maybe hold hands. Maybe even get in a kiss at the door of the taxi. She’s wasn’t taking him home, or going home with him, but she did so want to smell what he smelled like in a hug. She wanted to feel the texture of his skin, run her fingers up his hairy forearm. She wanted to check his teeth, to see if he was clean, and read the lines in his hands to see if he will live long.
While she was thinking all these things that he couldn’t read, he thought: I need to get you into my bed. Not a romantic but he wanted to hold her hand and look at it. He imagined putting a ring on her finger, not the ring. He also wanted a silver glittering bracelet on her thin wrist. He wanted to smell her skin and the top of her head and run his lips across her cheek. He really just wanted to feel whole.
There was something magical happening between them and they were both feeling it. After they finished their coffee and dessert, Peter grabbed her hand, gently squeezed it and said, “These last three weeks have been life changing for me, Liz. I feel as if we’ve known each other forever. I know this is our first actual face-to-face date, but I am hoping I can persuade you to come back to my place for an after dinner drink. I only live a few blocks from here and I promise to be a perfect gentleman.”
Not too perfect a gentleman, I hope, Liz thought to herself. She felt flush. A slight tingling ran through her whole body. She was trying to decide if it was a warning sign or if it was an erotic rush. Perhaps it was both. Like Peter, she, too, felt as if it had been months, not just three weeks, since they first started talking, and she knew that she wanted him as much as he seemed to want her.
She was about to say yes to his proposal to join him for an after dinner drink at his place when a man, obviously intoxicated, walked up to the table, put his hands on Peter’s shoulders, and said, “Petey! Of all the gin joints, dude.” The guy looked over at Liz, ran his tongue across his lips, and said, “And looky, looky, looky at this hot chick you bagged. I see your mojo’s still running hot and heavy.”
… flung down a wad of bills to cover the check, grabbed Liz’s hand, and said “Let’s get out of here. I know a shortcut through the kitchen. Hurry up!”
Liz was not happy about this turn of events, nor Peter’s sudden nasty tone of voice, and her desire for him evaporated instantly like a snowflake on her tongue. God, another loser, with a bunch of loser friends. Why does this always happen to me?
She pulled her hand away and stated, “I’ll get an Uber. Thanks for dinner.”
As Liz strode in the opposite direction to the lobby of the restaurant, she took her phone from her purse and tapped the Uber app. She sensed a presence behind her and whirled around, expecting to see Peter, but instead his friend stood there.
“Hi,” he said. “I want to apologize for my behavior at the table. I, uh, reacted badly when I saw Peter, and I wanted to get revenge for something he did years ago. Unfortunately, I put you in the middle of it, and that was inexcusable.”
Liz scowled at him. “If it’s inexcusable, then quit making excuses. I don’t want to be part of whatever petty drama you two are caught up in. Now, I’m going to get a ride and try to forget this evening ever happened.”
“Petty drama?” he laughed bitterly. “Peter was responsible for the death of my fiancée, is all. But OK, you didn’t know. I’m Charlie, by the way.”
“Whatever,” she muttered, noting that he seemed perfectly sober now.
Charlie continued, “Look, I can’t let you get an Uber. Haven’t you read the news about the serial rapist? We think he’s posing as a driver.”
“‘We?’ We who? You and your imaginary friends?” Liz snarked as she continued the procedure for getting a ride.
Liz said, “This whole night has been a total disaster and Peter sounded so promising and now I have to worry about a serial rapist. It is no wonder my good friend Paula has given up on trying to find love, as who needs all these complications in their life. Has this serial rapist been attacking multiple victims, or is this a single victim that was raped repeatedly over a period of time? Whatever, it is horrible, but I would feel a lot safer if it was a single victim, and don’t judge me for saying that, as I feel really bad for her and for anyone that had to go through an ordeal like that. What is wrong with men these days and why are they so unbalanced and out of control?”
Charlie answered, “I guess a lot of men have not grown up yet, as physically they are men, but mentally they are still mixed-up youths. The women have all the power when it comes to dating and that can be dehumanizing for the average guy. Men are expected to make all the first move, so this requires them to be confident and assertive and most women only care about money, and they constantly look for any possible red flag to give them an excuse to ghost the guy. Dating is unfair and when a guy is honest it is even worse, so you can’t go around blaming men for everything that is wrong. How about since I ruined your date, that I give you a ride back to your home, so you won’t have to worry about the rapist?”
Liz said, “That sounds nice, but first I have to make sure that you are not a rapist. Let me take a picture of your badge and your driver’s license and I will email them to my mom and then I will feel safe being with you. What kind of car are you driving, and I am going to want to take a picture of your license plate also. While you are answering my questions Charlie, tell me how much money you make being a cop.” Charlie said I have a Lincoln Continental and I am more than just a cop, as I am a detective and I do alright. Charlie held his arm out for Liz to hold on to, and they walked out the door together.
Liz said, “This is more like it”, as they drove toward her home and then an alert came on Charlies’ police radio. The voice said we have a 2513 on Washington Avenue and all available units are to proceed to help out. Charlie said that he was still on duty and that he should respond and that he could take Liz with him if she promised to stay in the car, because this could get dangerous. Liz asked, “What is a 2513” and Charlie told her that is a possession of firearm by a person addicted to a narcotic drug. Liz said, “Oh, let’s go!”
When they pulled up to the scene, with all the flashing lights and a crowd already gathered, Liz felt adrenaline course through her body. Wow, she thought, this is a real crime scene!
“Don’t get out of the car!” Charlie barked as he leapt from the car.
Of course she wouldn’t get out, she thought, everyone had seen this stuff on television. The innocent bystander just has to see what is going on…they go…they get killed…story over. Nah, she’d stay put.
Taking out her phone to prep it for a video of this whole thing she jumped as someone rapped on her window.
“Open up,” Peter shouted from the street.
“What? What are you doing here?” Liz screamed through the glass.
“Just open up and I’ll tell you,” Peter said.
With that Liz reached back and unlocked the back door of the Lincoln. Jim jumped in and slammed the door.
“Did you see that?” he huffed out.
“See what? I have no idea what is even going on. Why are you here?”
“I should ask you the same question!” replied Peter.
“Well your friend felt bad about ruining my night and when I said I was going to get an Uber home he told me about this serial rapist that is posing as an Uber driver and raping and killing women. He offered to bring me home. I had no idea where you even went off to or what the hell was going on. I still don’t!”
“Listen, Liz,” Peter said, “I wasn’t totally honest with you but I never lied about the way I felt about you. Charlie threw me for a loop and I got nervous. You see, about a year ago he was dating my sister, Meg. Him and Meg were engaged and I really tried convincing Meg not to go through with it. She was furious with me and told me that she was going to elope so that her and Charlie could get married and move on with their lives. I told her there was no way I would let my little sister marry such a creep. Charlie isn’t a great cop or detective like he says he is. He’s dirty. No one can ever catch him and I can’t prove it but I know the truth.”
“So what does this have to do with anything?” Liz asked.
“Well, the night they were supposed to run off I told Meg I needed to borrow her car for work. She didn’t care because they were taking this piece of crap,” Peter pointed around him. “Next thing I know she is walking down the sidewalk with her thumb out. I was like, what the hell are you doing?, and she said she was hitching a ride to meet Charlie since she had no car to use. Next thing I know a Dodge Ram pulls up and she jumps inside. The truck takes off and I am left in the dust with my jaw hanging open. Well, the guy in the Ram, he killed her. He took her out past that old brick building off I75 and raped and killed her.” His voice started to quaver. “It’s all my fault. If only I had let her take her car.”
“Oh my God, that’s what Charlie was talking about and that is the rapist he was warning me about! But I don’t get it. What does any of this have to do with Charlie being a dirty cop?” Liz asked.
“I don’t have proof yet but I think Charlie….”
I nominate Di at Pensitivity101 to continue the story~ Let me know if you are unable or don’t want to!
Set up a timer or sit near a clock so you can keep track of the six minutes you will be writing.
You can either use one of the prompts (photo or written) or you can free-write.
Get ready and write for 6 minutes, that is it! Can you write a complete story? Can you think of a new Sonnet? Can you write 400 words? 400? 500? There are no restrictions on what kind of writing you do, but you should try to be actively writing for six minutes.
After you are done writing, include your word count and then post back to this page #Simply6Minutes or include your link in the comments section. Pingbacks are enabled.
*Feel free to leave your work completely unedited. I believe it is good to see, especially for new writers, that even very seasoned writers don’t write a perfect first draft.*
The art of a spy deceiving their too-curious eyes Takes a pinch of cunning and a simple wily disguise But in the reality, I just wanted to break free Escaping the confines of pond life to swim in the sea They all said I couldn’t I was just a bright orange koi I’d stand out a mile and bigger fish I’d surely annoy They would beat me all up and leave me alone there bleeding But I’m a koi, a goldfish of superior breeding I’m not a stupid fish so while I am swimming, I think There must be a way to fake it out there in the big drink Then pow and bam it came to me like a flashing great spark A fish like me can only be a mahoosive great shark
Choose one of these paintings from above, and create a poem motivated by the portrait. There is no required poetic form. This is a very open prompt, simply requiring the use of one of Hellesen’s portraits as a jumping off point for your creativity. https://dversepoets.com/2023/05/23/an-artist-gets-his-due/
I sit and think back to that day on the train music and mayhem dance on my brain the smell in the air of sweat, gas and oil No need to fret I’m not one to toil I’d rather relax and take a smoke with a gal I remember that day I remember it all.
I am a goldfish, I’m orange but I’m called a goldfish, instead of an orange- fish. I suppose I’d be rounder and look more like an orange from one of those green trees up on dry land. Sometimes the big, round orange fruit things roll down the hill and into the water; we all get to have some nibbles when that happens. The best part is in the middle, so I always volunteer to go last in line.
There’s nothing golden about me though. My parents had hoped for a bigger, stronger fish I think. They are trying to force me into being something I’m not by strapping this shark fin to my back. Yes, it’s also a floaty. You see, I’m a gold, orange-fish that can not swim. Every time I try, I…
For visually challenged readers, this is a picture of a goldfish with a shark fin strapped to his back
‘Mom, do I have to wear this? All the others are swimming without one’.
‘Yes Finlay, I’m afraid you do until you get your full watergills. It will keep you safe and larger fish will see you as a predator, not prey when we move.’
‘But Mom, they’re all laughing at me.’
‘You’ll have the last laugh believe me as they will all be gobbled up.’
‘But Mom. We’re in a goldfish bowl!’
‘And we may get moved into a tank.’
Finlay pouted and blew air bubbles to the surface.
Sometimes Moms saw too much beyond the picture.
Write an acrostic poem with a syllable count of 8, 9, or 10 syllables per line (all the same, or a mixture of syllable counts, is fine).
Next Tuesday, May 31st, I will be presenting the scholarship in my son’s name, to two graduates of his high school. The Joseph Bialczak Excellence in Mathematics Scholarship. This was made to honor his legacy. ❤️
Letting the world know you were here Engaging your memory often Grasp the impact you had on others’ lives Asking the world to remember you Carrying memories day to day Your memory will live forever
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