Short Stories

An Excerpt From My Newest Novel, “A Fly In The Wrong Soup”

Good Evening Everyone! I’m in the process of rewriting an old novel, I plan to release in Spring of 2020. This story is about a psychiatric hospital back in the early 1980’s. The characters in the novel, are the hospital staff who are quirky and borderline crazy. The storyline and plot evolves a missing suicidal patient named Susan Cole who falls in love with her psychiatrist who ends up a suspect in her disappearance. While this mystery is unfolding, outlandish events occurred throughout the hospital. Here’s an excerpt, I hope you will enjoy. Feel free to leave a comment after you read it. In the meantime, I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

  The next day, just before sunrise, brown bats flew off the East Campus Clock Tower startled by the clock’s loud chiming. The clock chimes during the day, stopping at twelve midnight. Then the bats would ventured from their cave to hang out for the rest of the night. The nocturnal creatures took turns during the cooler months hibernating in the clock tower or in a cave inside of Salter’s Point Cliff. Their creepy presence a normal part of the hospital’s landscape added to its overall mysterious mystique.

The bats soared like crackling thunder in the multi-colored sky. Swooping down toward the hospital parking lot and landing in a grove of pine trees. The creatures’ poop, a smelly grainy pile of brown substance often dirtied up the hospital’s parking lot. Hospital staff groaned and complained bitterly about the poop particularly when it stuck to their car tires like glue. Three times a day,  a specialized maintenance company would come to the hospital and clean the parking lot. However, the bat poop would return several hours later, annoying the staff, causing a nuisance. 

     Precisely at seven-ten,  Rachel’s red Toyota zoomed into the parking lot. She parked directly under a streetlight, a few yards from the hospital’s entrance. Rachel yawned, feeling exhausted from not getting enough rest from the night before. She had been up all night worrying about talking to Beth about Doctor Benny’s scandalous behavior. Rachel flinched after she thought what could happen to Doctor Benny’s career once she told.

Although she despised his behavior, she didn’t want him to lose his job. As Rachel struggled with her feelings, she reminded herself, it was the right decision. Doctor Benny must be confronted and disciplined as soon as possible. Soon, Madonna’s hit song Borderline came on the radio, and Rachel welcomed the distraction. Turning the volume up, Rachel’s upper body swayed to the melodic beat. As she grooved to the music,  an orange glow shone through her front window. The sun was rising over the hospital, and its bright rays sizzled on the paved parking lot.

     The blazing sun forced the bats out of surrounding pine trees, and the night creatures high-tailed it back to their cave. After the song Borderline went off, the news came on, and Rachel turned the volume down. She glanced across the parking lot and noticed an African-American man about six feet and two inches tall sporting a colossal-looking afro. He glided like a panther as he walked to the hospital entrance. Dressed in an army jacket with blue jeans, the man wore dark sunglasses and combat boots. Rachel thought his outfit to be quite odd.  Why was he wearing army clothes? Where was he going dressed like that?  

Immediately, her question was answered. The man used a key to unlock the sliding glass door then he disappeared into the building. Rachel was floored.  Oh my goodness, he works here! Go figured!

     Determined to find out the man’s name,  Rachel turned off the ignition. She opened the car door and hopped out.  She hurried to the hospital’s entrance and unlocked the sliding door shoving it open. Rachel went inside and found Joyce sitting in her usual spot. Rachel looked around and caught a glimpse of the man as he slipped through the admissions unit door.  Who is this guy? What does he do here?

“Good Morning,” Joyce sang interrupting Rachel’s thoughts. She flinched when she heard Joyce’s voice. “Oh, good morning!”

“Are you okay?” Joyce’s brown eyes were huge.

“I’m fine,” Rachel said. She took off, stepping briskly to the admissions unit. By the time Rachel walked on the floor, the tall man was nowhere in sight. Frustrated, she went to her office. She unlocked the door, stepping inside. Moving like lightning, Rachel locked her handbag in the desk drawer. She took off her coat and flung it over her swivel chair. Then she walked out, closing the door behind her.

Rachel’s plan was to visit Beth, but she decided to go to Jamie’s office instead. Rachel needed advice, and Jamie always knew what to say and do. As she stepped briskly to Jamie’s office, the tall man with the army garb came to her mind again. Now aware the man worked for the hospital, she wondered what type of job he had. A man dressed like that must have a strange job. I bet Jamie can tell me who he is. 

     Within minutes, Rachel was banging on Jamie’s office door. Then she twisted the doorknob and went inside. “Good Morning, early bird!”

“You’re always so damn chipper in the morning! It gets on my nerves!” Jamie frowned as she laid her newspaper on the desk.

“And you’re always in a sour mood!” Rachel laughed.

“So what’s up?” Jamie leaned forward, folding her arms on the desk. 

“You’re not going to believe what I saw last night!” Rachel said, flopping down on the sofa, totally forgetting the man she saw in the parking lot.

Jamie huffed rolling her eyes. “Okay, what did you see, a wicked witch?”

“Oh, stop being a sourpuss! You’re going to like this!”

“Would you please stop talking in circles and get on with it!” 

“If you insist.” Rachel inhaled deeply then her words tumbled out of her mouth all at once. “I saw John Beasley and Doctor Hornsby getting it on in the employee lounge last night.”

Jamie let out a small scream slapping her hands over her mouth. Her eyes looked like light brown buttons seemed to dance in their sockets. “Girl, you’re lying to me!”

“Girl, no, I’m not. The man humped her like a dog like this!” Rachel leaped to her feet and began jerking and wiggling her upper body.  Jamie howled with laughter.

“That’s not even the best part,” Rachel said. “Every time he yelled, woman give it to me, she barked like a dog! The woman sounded like a yelping Chihuahua,  arf, arf, arf, arf! It was weird as hell.”

Jamie was beside herself. She laughed so hard, tears leaked from the corners of her eyes. She almost fell backward out of the chair. “Damn, damn, damn! I don’t believe it!”

“Girl, you’re the one told me about Doctor Hornsby having sex with the security guards? Why don’t you believe me?”

“I do.” Jamie sighed, wiping her face.  “That slutty woman was barking? Now that’s precious,” she giggled.

Rachel frowned. “It’s disgusting and uncouth…who does that?”

“She does,” Jamie laughed as she reached inside her desk drawer and pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels Whiskey. “This requires a celebration. This is too damn good!”

Jamie placed the bottle on her desk, and Rachel twisted up her face. “Really, Jamie? A drink? It’s not even eight-thirty in the morning!”

“Pipe down. I just need a little sip to celebrate. Doctor Hornsby barking like a Chihuahua is too good to be true!” Jamie screwed the cap off turning the bottle upright to her lips. She took a sip of the brown liquor and coughed. “Damn, that’s good!”

Silent, but seething with rage, Rachel watched Jamie put the bottle of whiskey back in her desk drawer. Rachel rolled her eyes, shaking her head.  She adored Jamie, but she despised her constant drinking. Drinking on the job was not only an ethical concern of hers, but it was against hospital policy. However, reminding Jamie of this fact was a complete waste of time, so Rachel refrained from chastising her, keeping the focus on Doctor Hornsby instead. “I’ve got an epiphany,” Rachel blurted out.

“Oh?”

“I think John Beasley is responsible for Susan Cole’s disappearance.”

Jamie’s eyes widened. “How so?”

“He never saw Susan the night she disappeared from her hospital room because he was back in the employee lounge having sex with that barking Chihuahua Doctor Hornsby!” 

Jamie fell out laughing. “I think you got something there.”

“Do you think it’s a good idea to tell Beth about my theory?” Suddenly deep creases appeared on Rachel’s forehead, a sign she was worried about Beth’s reaction.

“Why not? It’s something to think about.” Jamie snickered.

“Did you ever get around to calling Joyce to make an appointment with Beth?”

Jamie’s eyes got big. “Ooh, I forgot! So sorry!”

“Well, I guess I’ll drop by. Are you still planning to come with me?” Rachel asked, fidgeting in her seat. Facing Beth alone, simply terrified her and she hoped Jamie would agreed to go.

“Of course. I wouldn’t miss it for the world! I want to see Beth’s face when we tell her this shit! Let’s go!” Jamie rushed to her feet and ran to the door. Relieved, Rachel followed her. The two women ran out of Jamie’s office and went straight to Beth’s. As Rachel looked on, Jamie knocked several times on Beth’s door, but there was no answer. “I guess she’s not at work,” Jamie concluded.

“Let’s check with Joyce,” Rachel suggested. The two women stepped briskly to the lobby and found Joyce perched on her stool, typing away. Jamie hunched over the counter with her broad back blocking Rachel’s view. “Joyce, Have you seen Beth this morning?” she yelled over the counter.

Joyce stopped typing. Her ample bottom rocked back and forth, scooting around on the stool until she finally faced the two social workers. Joyce grimaced and her eyes narrowed. “No, I haven’t seen Beth and good morning to you too!” She grumbled.

“Good morning, Joyce! Don’t mean to be rude,” Jamie apologized, grinning foolishly. 

“Do you know what her schedule is today?” Rachel asked.

“Beth informed me she’ll be in after lunch.” Joyce raised an eyebrow, suddenly getting suspicious. “You two look like you’re up to something! So what’s going on?”

Rachel giggled. “Up to something? I wouldn’t say that. We just need to talk to Beth about something important, that’s all.”

Jamie turned and started back across the lobby. “Just tell her to call us when she gets in.”

“Sure,” Joyce replied, giving them the side eye. Rachel caught up with Jamie and gave her the high five. “I hope we talk to Beth sometime today, I need to get this off my chest.”

“Don’t worry, we will,” Jamie said as they headed back to their respective offices. 

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