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The Custodian 2

Posted in calamities, Custodians, deal with the Devil, End of the world, Free E-Book, Loners, Short Story Writing, Story Subjects, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 29, 2018 by davidburtonwriting

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Custodians don’t save the world every day, but there’s always recalcitrant teachers who think they know what’s what, and mice. A problematic combination. Not to worry. Us professional Custodians are highly trained to take care of any situation. Especially ones specific to our particular school. Like this–.

The Custodian 2

© David Burton 2018

The Night Custodian, dark cap pulled low, wearing a well-fitting T-shirt and khaki pants pushed his custodial cart along the outside walkways of the Grace Glass Elementary school. Still daylight, most of the students had left for the day and only a few teachers remained.

He approached the bullpen, a fenced in space next to the main building where dumpsters, old furniture, pallets and boxes were kept. The chain link gate was open.

A woman’s short little scream came from inside.

Calm, despite the invasion of his area, he looked in. With a broken mop handle, Miss Penki, a young teacher new to the school, poked agitatedly between two dumpsters. Seeing the Custodian, she dropped the handle and nervously wiped her hands on her skirt as she backed away.

“Oh, there you are,” she said with an annoyingly haughty tone. “I caught a mouse in my classroom on one of those sticky traps. I was throwing the filthy thing into the trash when it squeaked at me. It dropped down there so I pushed it back out of sight.” She shook her hands as if ridding herself of mouse cooties. “Just let the thing die by itself. If you did your job, I wouldn’t have to do things like this.”

Miss Penki shuddered and quickly walked away.

From the gate, the Custodian watched her with a frown and narrowed eyes. He entered the bullpen and peered into the dark between the dumpsters. With the broken handle he slid the trap out. It was torn,

and there was no mouse.

He heard a scuttling, claws-scratching-on-cement sound. Alert he looked deep into a cluttered corner. Large, human-sized, beady red eyes regarded him. Slowly they blinked, then whatever owned the eyes turned and vanished.

Thoughtfully, the Custodian folded the trap together, shook his head, and pitched it in the trash, then resumed his rounds.

******

The next day as The Custodian closed his office door a kid stopped in front of him. “Mr Custodian, the Principle wants to see you in her office.”

The Custodian nodded, pointed a strong finger at the boy. The boy touched the finger with his own, tip to tip, smiled and ran off through the outside gate, the last student to leave.

In the Principal’s office he leaned casually against the wall, hands in pockets.

Lounging in her chair, the Principal, a handsome Hispanic woman, said, “Miss Penki seems to be missing. She was here for fourth period, but didn’t show up for fifth period. Her car is still here. Have you seen her lately?”

The Custodian raised a quizzical eyebrow.

Apparently she had some uncomplimentary words to say about you yesterday. Not doing your job?”

He hung his head, but didn’t mean it. Their eyes stayed connected.

Do you have any idea where she might be? Or do I need to call the police?”

Frowning, thinking, he stared at the floor. He had a thought.

What?” the principal asked.

A minute later they stalked toward the bullpen.

And she just pushed it away? Fool.”

It was late in a cloudy day and the bullpen was shaded, a bit spooky. He moved a couple pallets and boxes from where he’d seen the red eyes. Behind them he found a two foot diameter hole in the wall. Picking up the broken handle, he spun it like a martial arts Bo-staff as he studied the hole.

Still casually, yet expertly, spinning the broken mop handle, he led the way to a storage closet. The Principle waited as he found a half-filled plastic jug and a large flashlight. Together, they moved to a blank door with no number or name. The Custodian handed her the jug, opened the door with his key, and cautiously entered.

Wary, they made their way down a dark, narrow, dusty passage littered with old boxes, old equipment, and old furniture toward a muffled, keening cry for help. At the end, in a small open space covered with gravel The Custodian’s flashlight revealed Miss Penki, hands, knees, and face awkwardly stuck to a giant sticky trap.

Little mice scrambled out of the beam, giving a wide berth to a two foot tall rat. The big rodent growled a warning through long, pointy,

unrodent-like teeth. Its red eyes simmered.

Eyes on the rat, otherwise unperturbed, The Custodian poured a yellow liquid from the jug around Miss Penki’s knees, feet, hands and face. As she came loose from the trap the rat made a grab at her foot with human-looking claws. She yelped and scrabbled across the gravel while The Custodian beat the creature back with the handle.

The Principle helped her to her feet. Miss Penki opened her mouth to speak.

Not a word, Miss Penki,” The principle said in her no nonsense principle voice. A very unrat-like roar sounded behind the women as they stumbled toward the door.

Fighting noises, growls and grunts, gravel scrabbling and handle whacking, followed them out the door. Twin red beams of light burned gouges in the cement walls.

Outside, Miss Penki collapsed on the grass. “Oh my God! What was that thing? What happened to me?”

Still in principle mode, the Principle said, “There is no thing, Miss Penki. And nothing happened to you.”

What? But…?”

Miss Penki, in the unfortunate event you have to kill a mouse around here, do it quick and clean. Do not shove it under a Dumpster to suffer and die of thirst or hunger. Do you understand?”

The teacher’s eyes grew wide. She looked to the bullpen then the open

door then the Principle. “You mean…?”

Yes.”

The Custodian closed the door. He carried the sticky trap folded together. Blood spattered his ripped shirt and pants. The broken handle dripped blood. He nodded to the Principle.

She nodded back. “Put in a damage form. The school will buy you a new shirt and pants.”

The Custodian nodded, shot Miss Penki a hard look, and headed for the bullpen, twirling the bloody mop handle.

 The End

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Destiny plus 6

Posted in Book Release, Destiny, Free E-Book, Love, Novel writing, screenwriting, Short Story Writing, story ideas, Uncategorized, Vampires, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2012 by davidburtonwriting

A quick announcment: Hell Cop: Sneaker will be a free download on Amazon.com this Saturday and Sunday, March 31 and April 1. No fooling. Find it here. (It’s your Destiny. That sounds better than Fate, don’t you think?)

What’s your destiny, and do you even have one? And how can you tell? After all, no matter what you do, you can never know if it was of your own free will or just what Destiny, one of Dream’s  brothers in Neil Gamin’s Sandman graphic novel series, had written in one of his books.

Speaking of books and destiny – I recently finished the first draft of a short story that experienced an unplanned  growth spurt to 25000 words. Destiny made me do it. Maybe Destiny has the hots for beautiful French Accidental Vampires? Maybe it’s my destiny to become rich and famous by writing about Simone Gireaux’s first 350 years. I’ll never know until I try and you buy. (Sorry, couldn’t resist. It’s the long hidden, for good reason, huckster in me.)

Coincidence or fate, can you ever know the truth and could you handle it if you did. Like, you can never know if that person you had a one night stand with and then slipped out before they woke up and then, with some trepidation, ran into a few days later but they were only pissed because they wanted to ask you out on a proper date and they did and you ended up happily/unhappily married to was only a coincidence or Destiny looking at his Big Book of You and pushing you here or there with his Unfickle Finger of Fixed Fate.

The only way that I can think of offhand to KNOW if you fucked up your life on your own or if it was written in some big blank book by a pothead with a trust fund, would be to die and ask St. Peter, if you go that way, or Joe Smith the ticket taker on Captain Charon’s Cross River Excursion pontoon boat for an appeal. It’s your right, after all. That way you get to review all the documents and videos pertaining to your life and you should be able to ascertain why it went so bad.  If it went good, keep your mouth shut and take the credit.

One reason to believe in Destiny is that you don’t have to take the blame if things go bad. “Oh come on. It’s not my fault I’m  lazy and carry a few extra pounds which BTW I can take off any time, and nothing good ever happened to me, and I still live in my parent’s basement and that stupid manager at the video store won’t give me a raise to $8.25 an hour so I can get my own place and go to school and get married to my high School girlfriend even though she lives in an oceanfront mansion with her husband and three kids. It’s destiny’s fault. I’m the victim here!”

I think we’re all born with a do-it-yourself Destiny Kit. All you have to do is read and follow the instructions, even if the ones giving you the instructions (presumably parents) didn’t follow them because they believed that Dream’s brother had already written their life so why bother. Bother, man! Maybe Destiny has an eraser.

IDEAS

What if Destiny really did have an eraser? What would his price be to change yours? You know there’s always a price for that sort of thing. But what is it? Maybe you’d have to seek out a Fate Broker. It’s his or her job to go to Destiny’s secluded secret library and negotiate with the head librarian. There’s usually a task involved in these things. If you achieve your task then you get what you want out of life. If not, you go back one step. Make sure you read the fine print.

What if you weren’t happy with the way your life turned out and then you died. You’d been beginning to believe in reincarnation lately and thinking maybe you should do something good for someone else for a change when you died. Then you’re standing in that never-ending Purgatorial line waiting to find out if you get the golden escalator up or that rattley, stinky service elevator down, when you see stuck in a crack in the rough stone wall a business card. You take it. It’s for an attorney who promises to handle an appeal/assessment/refund of your destiny. Hmmm? Eventually you come across a pay phone, but you have no dimes (Inflation hasn’t caught up down there, yet.) A guy behind you has a slug on a string. You have the number, he has the slug. You call, make an appointment for both of you. He/she is slick and slimy – Angel, Demon, Soul? – and makes you fill out stacks of bureaucraticly official red tape, jump through hoops, (literally) and find witnesses (far too many are already in Hell. Hmmm). Finally you get your professional assessment of your destiny, and you find… What?! Your attorney urges you to sue.

What if you worked for Destiny? You had to make sure that what he wrote, happened as he wrote it. So you go to Life on a job and… fall in love. We all know the crazy shit that makes people do.

So we do have a destiny. But you’ll never know whether it’s Dream’s brother’s fault or your own. So just in case it ain’t him, better get to it.

Please watch out for the new novella whose title I don’t know yet. It was Mentor, then A Novice Vampire to go with the orignal, An Accidental Vampire, but neither one is quite right. If you happen on a novella by me and it’s about a Young Blood French vampire named Simone Gireaux, that’ll be it.  Young Blood. Hmmm.

Free Story

Posted in Free E-Book, Novel writing, screenwriting, Short Story Writing, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , on January 21, 2012 by davidburtonwriting

Sorry to say this is no What If? blog post. I know you’re disappointed, because you look forward so much to my occasional ramble through subjects I know little about but sometimes manage to fake it enough to write about. This is another shameless (well, mostly shameless, I do feel bad that I have to do it because I’m not (YET?) a big-time writer who has a staff and a Big 5 publisher to do all the dirty work)  promotion, but it’s for something FREE.  That is if you don’t count the cash or credit laid out for a Kindle E-reader which I believe you have to have to take advantage of this stupendous offer. I could be wrong (Really?) What the hell, go into techogeek mode and try it with a Nook or KOBO. All they (the rats) can say is no.

Okay, you can stop holding your breath now. I’m going to tell you the name of the free novelette (Damn it, according to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America I almost had a novella – I have 17,400 words and it takes 17,500+ to make a novella. Darn) on offer this weekend, Jan 20-22. Hell Cop: Sneaker. I know, exciting. If you can’t possibly contain your  rapidly growing obsession to read this fine tale of Hell go right now to www.amazon.com/dp/B006kixrxs and get it, man. You deserve it.

If you’re wondering, Hell Cop? Sneaker? try this – Go to the pages at the top right and click on Hell Cop: Sneaker for an interview with Sneaker herself. She is a Hell Cop, or Soul Retriever. She is hired to go into Hell and retrieve innocent souls sent down by purgitorial error.  Most times she partners up with Getter, a soon to be (if unwilling)  legendary Retriever. See Hell Cop and Hell CopII: The Golden Palace on Amazon.com or at Smashwords.com. Unfortunately, Mephisto, the chief of Helland Security in case you forgot, wants to take over Hell from Satan and thinks Getter is the one chosen  (he is) to stop him because of some silly prophecy and like that. So check out Sneaker and go from there. Reviews are appreciated.

Something else. The reason there’s no What If? post this time is because I’m heavy into a new story that is a sequel to my An Accidental Vampire story (see Amazon or Smashwords again. I told you, shameless) It takes place in 17th Century France, a place I haven’t been, though I used to travel a lot. Besides the previous story I haven’t written in the Historical genre before.  I could use some research help about the life and times of  the 1650’s in France. If you know anybody who lived there back then, or who knows about the times, or if you have any research suggestions, I would greatly appreciate hearing about them.

La Belle France is calling, so au revoir for now. Thanks for listening and for your support.

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