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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)

TITLE: Working the Toadsnot Murder
By annie keys


As I pull into the driveway of 402 Morgan Lane, I notice that the obligatory ambulance, two marked police cars and a hearse have arrived ahead of me. My partner, Mort, stands in the front yard, wearing his crime scene investigator overcoat and writing busily on a notepad with a stubby yellow pencil. I smirk in amusement, shaking my head; this is the techno age yet he carries that beat up old clipboard everywhere he goes. His avoidance of technology has caused many disagreements in our partnership.

A powdered sugar donut sticks out of Mort’s mouth and I can hear him sucking drool to keep it from dripping on his notes. I shudder, how can he eat a donut standing beside a dead body? As I walk up to the crime scene, he looks up from his scribbling, pulls the donut from his mouth and leverages it against his clipboard with his thumb. Not only do we disagree on the usefulness of technology in the workplace, we disagree on dietary disciplines. As I approach, I pop a sugar free mint into my mouth.

“Who do we have here?” I inquire as I decline the wave toward the donut box sitting on the front steps. “Youra Toadsnot.” Mort grins as he wipes his hand across his mouth, his wet lips obviously wishing the donut would be returned. Shaking my head, I’m stunned at his insensitivity.

Through the years, we’ve worked together on over 100 crime investigations. In spite of Mort’s obvious dismissal of technology, and even more obvious, our disagreement concerning healthy eating habits, together, we hold the precinct record for crimes solved. Our personalities are totally opposite. He relies on intuition and good old fashioned down and dirty crime scene investigation. My bent is toward minutiae and all the benefits that technology can provide.

One of only a few things we ever agree on is that there has been a crime and we’re going to find out who did it. Looking into the sky and rocking back on my heels, I whistle through my teeth and reply to his adolescent toadsnot insult, “C’mon, Mort, be serious, she’s dead, show some respect. What’s her name?”

Mort’s eyes revealing his obvious enjoyment of my annoyance, states, “Youra Toadsnot IS her name, seriously.” Momentarily taken aback by how life can be so unintentionally cruel, I clear my throat and ask for the details of the crime scene. Without blinking, Mort continued, “--and her oldest daughter’s name is Imma. Really, no joke, she’s thirty years old, beautiful, single and her name is Imma Toadsnot.” I squinted my eyes; grimacing as I shook my head from side to side I wondered if Imma had murdered her mother.

Obviously still enjoying the adolescent amusement of the victim’s appellation, Mort shoved the still half eaten donut into his coat pocket and noisily licked his fingers before turning his attention to his notes. He was getting better with his self-control, only a half a donut instead of two whole. Acknowledging his self-discipline, I gave him a “thumbs up” and popped another sugar free mint into my mouth as I pulled my Iphone out of my pocket.

Many hours later, the evening sunlight reflecting from the metal roof across the street found Mort and I still facing each other at our respective desks. My pristine, neatly organized work space seemed barren when offset by his. Mort’s desk being cluttered with Twinkie wrappers, Styrofoam coffee cups, paper pads and stubby dull pencils looked like a scene out of an old black and white detective film. All that was missing was a slow moving ceiling fan oscillating a breeze downward to ruffle the papers on his desk.

As we assembled our paperwork we looked at each other and simultaneously said, “I’m ready, you ready?” Now comes one of the few times in our day that we are in agreement. We both opened our top desk drawer and pulled out a well-worn Bible. We each held up our book and confirmed our agreement in one voice, “Lord, tomorrow, give us wisdom to see the truth, direction to apprehend the guilty, keep us safe in your loving care and bless our homes, in Jesus’ precious name. AAAAAmeN.”

As I took the stairs to the parking garage, Mort took the elevator. Stepping out into the warm summer’s night, I sighed, “And please, Lord, let Mrs. Toadsnot’s daughter, Imma, marry a man whose last name is Smith.”

(word count 743 fiction)

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This article has been read 485 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helen Curtis01/26/12
Imma Toadsnot?! Hilarious! I love the way you portray the relationship of the two MCs. It was great fun seeing the way they worked in their respective comfort zones, yet were still able to give respect to the other. If only we could all do that in the church; and we all know it's just like God to appoint opposites to work together in the church, too! It can be so very difficult, but if we would accept one another's strengths and weaknesses, how powerful God's church would be! Well done!
Hiram Claudio01/27/12
A very cute and entertaining story. I could envision a detective novel (or series)with these two.

In the very beginning you mention that they are different in their use of technology and their dietary habits. Then, a few paragraphs later, you mention it again, almost worded the same way. It felt a little repetitive.

I too like that they agreed on the Word and the Lord's power to guide them and keep them safe. I found myself wanting to know how the story turns out.

Very well written.
C D Swanson 01/27/12
Beautifully written, and beautiful message. I really enjoyed this. Great job!
God Bless~
Leola Ogle 01/27/12
This is one of my favorite - took me right there and I felt like I was watching an old detective movie, except obviously no iPhones back then. Great job! Delightful read! Yours and Imma Toadsnot - too funny! God bless!
Abel Blake01/28/12
Good characterization, though I think that the two MC's differences couldv'e been shown a little more than told. Now if the techie MC had only pulled out his Bible on a Kindle...
Allison Egley 01/29/12
Hehehe I love this.

I think the MCs doughnut miraculously appeared again.... At one point you said he "wished it would be returned," which to me indicates it's gone. But then a few paragraphs later, he's eating half a doughnut.

Funny you mentioned the black and white spy movie, because I totally read it in my head like that... With the famous spy voice and all. Nice job.
Sandra Petersen 01/29/12
A very amusing detective story. I could see this expanded to show how their different techniques (old school versus techno) might work together to solve a case. I could envision the original "odd couple," Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, or even Jack Klugman and Tony Randall, in the screen version of your story. (But I believe all four of those actors are deceased now.) It's difficult to fully develop two characters in 750 words if both are MCs. You did pretty good with that. I would have liked to see the murder solved but I know word limitations prevented that. All in all, this was funny and held my interest to the end.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/31/12
To me this story is Publish-ready--masterfully written.
harvestgal Ndaguba02/01/12
This is excellent writing. It left me wanting to read the rest of the story. It's really funny too, the names and all. I loved the ending. Keep up the good work.
Hiram Claudio02/02/12
Well done and congrats on the 2nd place finish!
C D Swanson 02/02/12
Congratulations on your ribbon! Nice job - and well deserved. God Bless~