Let it go to voice mail

Set to vibrate, her phone skipped across the bar top, crashing into the stem of her wine glass. Her boss Sam was calling again. Without picking up the phone, Pauley turned it off, ignoring the blinking voicemail alert.

Downing the last swallow of her Merlot, Pauley searched for Ross, the new bartender. He wasn’t the regular Tuesday night guy, and he seemed out-of-place in the noisy bar. Shoving the goblet toward him, Pauley was about to ask for another drink when he sat a highball glass in front of her.

“Compliments of the gentleman,” tipping his head toward the right, Ross indicated an overweight man in a badly fitting brown suit, raising his own glass in a salute.

She scooped up the glass, and threw back the amber liquid in a single gulp. Spinning off her stool, Pauley wended her way toward the hotel lobby and away from her unwelcome suitor trouble. Just before she passed through the bar entrance, Pauley noticed an immaculately dressed brunette in black Armani.

Suddenly brought to her knees by an excruciating headache, Ross was inexplicably at her side, lifting her to her feet. Wrapping his arm around her waist, Ross half carried her toward the lobby elevators. Quickly losing control of her arms, Pauley tried desperately to unholster her handgun.

“You should have answered your phone, and you may have avoided dying,” he hissed in her ear as he punched the up button.

Just as the doors were closing, the woman in black stepped into the elevator with them.

“You look like you have your hands full, what floor?” Millicent asked without looking back at Pauley and her assassin.

Not letting go of Pauley, Ross silently reached around Millicent to push the button for Floor 12.

He didn’t notice Millicent was wearing black gloves, or the small bore needle she slipped between his exposed ribs.

She deftly took Pauley from him as he slid to the floor.

“You really should answer your phone.”

Rule of thirds

Trifecta, a weekly one-word prompt, challenges writers to use that word in its third definition form, using no less than 33 words or no more than 333. The week’s prompt is: Trouble [noun \ˈtrə-bəl\3: an instance of trouble

This is a two part piece submitted by Lance and me. You can find his installment, Part II, at Remedy.

Millicent and Pauley are both female assassins. Millicent, a force of nature created by Lance, is an expert with poisons. He describes her as having “dark hair with chocolate brown eyes….tall, curvy, impeccably dressed and accessorized.” She is the Cinnamon Girl.

Pauley, a sniper, is more the girl next door with deadly aim, and a reluctant conscience.


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I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

28 thoughts on “Let it go to voice mail

  1. Oh my God I love this! So much story with so few words. Damn! You’re good. I’d chose a line to praise but why not praise the whole thing. Excellent!


  2. It looks like Millicent may not entirely innocent here either. Great story. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the two pieces melded.


  3. There is good tension in this. I like the description of the characters too, it helps to put some kind of theme to the story that we wouldn’t have otherwise.

    Story circles can be a lot of fun for the writers, if they find a good match in their tag team, looks like you two did.

    Jester offered some great constructive criticism to put the icing on the cake.


  4. well that was just the most fun, the start to a really great movie (I almost saw it as a comedy/drama like the Ocean’s Eleven movies) ..because I can see the last line said with obvious wit and frustration with her…”You really should answer your phone” with a wink.

    you’re so lucky to get to work with the words of Lance, and adding your own was just perfection.


  5. I love it! Y’all make a great team, no doubt. Also, I am impressed by the concrit from jq. I think this community would benefit from more of that. I’m eager to get back in the game. Thanks to you and Lance for always being there.


  6. I love this. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE this. You guys work so well together, please tell me there will be more collaborations in the future? 🙂


  7. I love it! Great fun to read — Millicent and Pauley both sound like ladies I’d like to hear more about. And I think I may be afraid to dodge calls for the next week or two…


  8. Trouble indeed! I can’t decide if Millicent is a savior or another assassin! Two things. Millicent needs a question mark on “what floor”. And this sentence, “Suddenly brought to her knees by an excruciating headache, Ross was at her side, lifting her to her feet” makes it sound as though Ross was brought to his knees by Pauley’s headache. If you have the words (I don’t know where you’re running on the 333) maybe add “and then” or something? Just a word between headache and Ross for clarity. Minor notes. I loved the tension throughout. And I especially love a gritty female mystery lead.


    1. I always wonder about putting a question mark inside a quotation inside a sentence when a comma and not a period would be used if it weren’t a question… did that make sense? I have a few words leeway, I think I can clear up the ambiguity in the other sentence. I did have ‘suddenly’ in there twice, but I do need a transition.

      Thanks for the concrit. Your input is always welcome and helpful.


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