Brad Pitt as Johnny Suede
There it is. My bed. Not a wrinkle in the bedspread, not even where it's neatly tucked under the edges of my extra fluffy pillows and swoops way up over the top. That always makes me think of Brad "What-were-you-thinking" Pitt's hairstyle in the flick, Johnny Suede. Whose idea was that, anyway? Wouldn't the pillows be just as comfortable lying on top of the bedspread? But I make it that way just because. Just because if I didn't, I'd be thinking about it all morning at work and would come home at lunch time just to tuck the damn pillows in like I should have done that morning.
It doesn't matter. I haven't gotten in that bed since –– when was it? Six weeks? Two months? I just stopped bothering. What's the point? I roll one way, then the other. I stare at the ceiling, at the walls, at my feet where they make two little tents under the blanket. I finally just made the bed one morning and never got back in it.
Sometimes I go for walks around the city. Daytime streets are owned by business people, panhandlers, buskers, street preachers. But at night, it's a whole different world. The first thing I learned is nobody talks.
That's how I found a way to actually catch a few winks. It's not much, but at least I can still function. I walk down to the city park at about three in the morning. It won't work before that, don't ask me why. I forgot to mention that on the way to the park, I have to either buy a newspaper, if there's one left in the machine, or I scrounge one out of a trash can on the way.
I lie down on this particular bench and cover my face with the newspaper. I'm out like a light. Believe me, I've given serious thought to dragging that old bench back to my apartment and putting the bed out on the curb for the vagrants. But I just stretch out and sleep for a solid two hours. It doesn't sound like much, but it's two hours of an absolute blackout. I've never slept that deeply in my life. The downside is the dreams. Vivid dreams. Usually, they involve the sound of something being dragged along the ground. A drag-and-stop, drag-and-stop sound. But still, I'm sleeping. I'll take the tradeoff.
The chief of police is telling people not to go out at night. For the last couple of months, some wacko has been wacking people and leaving the bodies in dumpsters. There's no rhyme or reason, but there is an M.O. The wackjob always leaves a newspaper covering the vic's face. How does that work? Does he stop off at an all-night diner for coffee and a paper on the way to find somebody to kill? If I keep going to that park, I might not wake up in a dumpster some morning, if you catch my meaning.
So I've just finished my walk to the park. I'm looking down at my bench, even though I've got a perfectly good bed a few blocks away in an apartment with two deadbolts on the door. I lie down and cover my face with the paper. Sleep is coming on like a stampede of uncounted sheep.
I wake up to ten cops surrounding me with their heat unpacked. I don't move a muscle. "I've been sleeping for hours," I tell them.
"Tell that to him," says one of the cops, pointing next to me on the ground.
I look down to see a man, lying on his back with a newspaper on his face. "Maybe he's sleeping like me."
"You'd better hope so." The cop reaches for the newspaper.
Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on April 05, 2017:
Paula and Shauna, I love it when a story comes out this way. I had a particular ending in mind, but in all the comments, I now see three possible endings. It might be said that with so much confusion, it is a poor ending, or that it is an ingenious ending. I'll leave it as an unsolved case for now. Thanks for having some fun with this one.
Suzie from Carson City on April 05, 2017:
Sha......EEEK! What a genius you are! That's it! That's where this wacko gets the newspaper to leave with the body! Hey, should I be afraid of you, GF?? I did not think of that...how did I miss it??
Is Sha right, Chris?? or........aren't you telling?? LOL
Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on April 05, 2017:
The question is: does the bench sleeper wake up with the newspaper still on his face? Or does the killer drag and stop, drag and stop to pick up the paper as he's dumping his latest victim?
Suzie from Carson City on April 02, 2017:
Chris...You truly are the master of flash fiction. I know something else for sure.....I should not have read this last thing just before going to bed!! But of course I am sleeping in my comfy bed....not on a park bench.
This tale is a goosebump maker!! Chills up & down my spine. And good grief ! This guy provides his own newspaper for the wacko!
Another great FLASH!
Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on April 02, 2017:
Lawrence, I am happy to hear that my intended goal has been achieved. chills are good. Thanks for visiting. I'll see you soon on the Coyote story.
Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on April 02, 2017:
Larry, thank you for visiting.
Lawrence Hebb on April 02, 2017:
This one gave me the chills!
Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on March 06, 2017:
Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on March 04, 2017:
Thank you, rebelogilbert. It's good to have you visit my hubs.
Gilbert Arevalo from Hacienda Heights, California on March 03, 2017:
Excellent vivid mood.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on March 03, 2017:
Sometimes I do the tuck, and I'd like to believe that other people do. Perhaps we have to take our own pictures. Anyway, you surely illustrated "vivid" as it is in your title, and then you leave us with that vivid sound. Good story-telling!
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on March 03, 2017:
I bet I dream of that dragging sound tonight. Do people really still make their beds? Why?
Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on March 03, 2017:
This leaves me wondering how many more nights before the whacko strikes again? Flash fiction with a twist. I like that...
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 03, 2017:
The Master of Flash Fiction strikes again!
Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on March 03, 2017:
John, I found a few, but they were ugly. Even google ads had the pillows on top. Good to see you today.
John Hansen from Gondwana Land on March 03, 2017:
Excellent flash fiction, Chris. I can't believe you couldn't find a photo of a bedspread tucked under the pillows. We always do that.