Monthly Archives: January 2018


The Witch and the Jurassic Wolf

Get out, get out,” the butcher yelled as he flung the side door so wide the wood cracked. Hugging their children tight, the crowd streamed out to their cars like marbles pouring from a jar. In their rush, they knocked over the Indian Chief.

As the cycle fell toward me, I hopped back into the pantry slamming the door—but not in time. My toes crushed as I pulled in with fear and adrenalin.

Taller, but no gutsier in my thirties than I had been in my teens, I hoped that this golden-hued, mega-heavy motorcycle might act as an obstruction between the witch and me.

Paralyzed in fear, I gawked through the vent. The installers had misplaced the vent slats at the top of the door instead of at the bottom, and backwards, too. I peeked across the dining room. It looked like a brawl between the Cutlery Queen and a prehistoric, bipedal throw-back was on.

An enormous gray tail deftly descended to the floor sweeping the motorcycle smack dab against the pantry door. Pinned in and trapped, I felt strangely safe in this storeroom with the Indian Chief now blocking me from the witch. Eight feet away, I could see what looked like a dinosaur with a Malamute snout, scaly wolf ears and wagging tail.

I’d seen a version of this mammoth in its purer dinosaur form in Life Magazine’s feature about a shark-toothed lizard. This impressive Allosaurus was at the top of its food chain.

The ancient reptile’s serrated, clawed teeth descended with each huff. The dinosaur’s head rammed the ceiling. A high beam cracked.

A gray and white tail rubbed against the vents. Unable to resist the chance to feel real dinosaur skin, I awkwardly crammed two fingers through the vent-holes. An intense crystal-blue eye met my gaze. A gentle lick brushed my fingers.

Machete is that you?

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“I think rookies with two first names shouldn’t tell me how to do my job,” Detective Morgan Liu, said, rolling her eyes. It was true she had been completely stressed since her former partner Jose Casilla, took two bullets in the course of a gang shooting. He was still hospitalized, in a coma. Meanwhile, she was stuck with Detective David Benjamin, sitting in a 1984 Cadillac. Undercover duty was the worst. “I can’t believe you brought donuts to a stakeout,” Morgan said.

“Hey, it’s a classic, timeless art form.”

“It’s a stupid cliché. And it’s probably why people call us pigs.”

“Last week you told me if I didn’t put on a couple pounds, I’d break when I had my first resisting arrest.” David was a wiry man, something he claimed was due to low pay and student loans. He ran his fingers through his blond hair to push his bangs back from his forehead, giving Morgan a smug grin. “Besides, the extra sugar helps me focus on the assignment.”

This particular assignment had her parked across from a rickety old apartment building, watching for an expected drug deal. Some idiot on the fourth floor was cooking up a storm, turning his apartment into a meth lab—or so an anonymous tipster had told her. The chief wanted her to investigate this in conjunction with some mysterious disappearances, coupled with an odd amount of people plummeting from rooftops, in what the coroner said didn’t appear to be suicides.

The area darkened, strange for a typical Los Angeles summer day. Morgan glanced out the window, but couldn’t see anything of note. Had a cloud just passed above?

Her movement caught the attention of a third officer, Jacob Lewis, who stood outside the apartment complex. He walked with the casual purposefulness of a native to the neighborhood. His eyes didn’t linger on her for long. He had his hands in the pockets of his hooded sweatshirt, which fell over baggy jeans.

“Odd,” Morgan said.

“What?” David asked.

“Nothing. A cloud must have gone over us. Darkened everything for a second and spooked me.”

David twisted his head toward the sky, looking up through the windshield. “I don’t see any clouds. Maybe you got some of that P.T.S.D. or whatnot. Should you be back if you’re all jumpy like this?”

“Drop it,” Morgan said.

Ignoring his all-too-apt comment, she popped open her laptop and set it on the center armrest. The laptop was equipped with recording software, and with a click of a button, a microphone concealed on Jacob’s person began broadcasting.

“He so looks like a narc,” David said.

“No, he doesn’t. He’s fine. Chief chose him for the job because he’s damn good at acting,” Morgan said. Her black hair felt loose in its tie, so she pulled her hair back into a fresh ponytail.

David nearly coughed out another mouthful of donut from laughing. “Seriously, Liu? Everyone knows chief chose him ‘cause he’s black. More likely to pass as a drug suspect.”

“You shouldn’t make comments like that while on duty, David.” Morgan shook her head with annoyance as she watched. “Now shut up so I can listen to his wire. As soon as we hear about a drug transaction, we have cause to arrest this idiot.”

The laptop broadcasted Jacob’s wire.

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