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Crime Funny Fiction

Content warning: Some swearing

Dear Ms. Huxley,

Listen carefully. Well, I guess you can't very well listen to a missive, can you?

Read carefully.

This is a ransom note.

I have your son. 

Don't believe me? Then how would I know he's five years old, skinny as a Twizzler, his name is Timmy, and he never shuts the hell up?

Oh, sorry. Five and a half.

As for how I got ahold of him, let me say this: Maybe you should consider choosing a better preschool.

I mean, I didn't have to show my ID or anything. Just pointed to the kid I wanted and popped open my passenger door and the old lady practically launched him into the van. She didn't even try to guilt me into buckling him up. Which made us even, because I didn't turn around and try to guilt her when we pulled out of the parking lot and I saw her in the rearview mirror slipping a flask inside her pea coat.

Seriously, some people just have no consideration for today's youth.

Now, listen look.

If you ever want to see Timmy alive again, you will pay me $2,500 by this time next week.

Be thankful. I was gonna make it $5,000, but the kid told me you live alone now. Said your husband died during a hot dog eating contest, and I can empathize. I'm a single parent too, ever since I lost my girlfriend, Shelly.

Boston was his name. Or Quincy. Or maybe Las Vegas.

I mean to say, she dumped me and took our daughter and moved away, but you gotta admit, that's pretty close to what happened with you and your husband, right? So, I get it.

She said I'm too impulsive, too quick to anger, Shelly did. Said I should go to anger management counseling to seek help controlling my rage. Imagine that: a blank white room with unflattering lighting and no smoking allowed and a group of people sitting around in a circle talking about their shared flaws like Scientologists, like a cult. Makes me angry just thinking about it.

What a joke. God, you throw one bone china dish at someone's head and suddenly you're seen as Thanos with the Infinity Stones. Can you believe that? I really don't think I'm quick to ang—

Jesus Christ, lady! Do you even have $2,500? Your kid hasn't stopped eating since he's been here. Do I look like Subway to you? I don't have much food to begin with, and spam ain't cheap, y'know.

Shit, like father, like son, I guess.

Listen, Look, what I'm saying is, $2,500 isn't that selfish.

That's another problem Shelly had with me, by the by. Said I was too selfish, which is total bullshit. If that were really the case, I wouldn't have just given you a (pretty generous) price break on this ransom, right? I mean, I'm about as broke as the ten commandments myself.

No, when she said that, she was just mad because I chose to go to the football game with the boys instead of spending our daughter's fifth birthday with them. Thing is: birthdays come every year on the dot, but a Super Bowl in your hometown is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

And really, if you had the choice between eating nachos and drinking beer in end zone seats or consuming burnt Chuck E. Cheese pizza in the ball pit, tell me you wouldn't have done the same, Ms. Huxley. Tell me I was wrong. Go on, I'll wait.

Thought so.

But Shelly didn't think so, didn't that was a good enough reason. And guess what her constructive criticism was? You guessed it: counseling. White room. No smoking. Cult.

You bet your ass I didn't go.

Listen, Look, I know how this makes me sound, but I'm not a bad guy. I was there for my daughter's other four birthdays, there for all the unicorns and glitter and the time she rammed the half-broken birthday candles up her nose. I skipped a bar crawl just to stay with her in the ER. I even bought her a box of Twinkies on the way home. Low-fat Twinkies. That's gotta count for something, right?

I thought so anyway, until they left me three weeks ago.

I was home when they did it, too. Asleep, sure—the great thing about getting fired is that you have all the time in the world to catch up on your rest—but home. When I woke up, the house looked like Speedy Gonzalez ran through it. ¿Entiende? I'm talking no macaroni art on the refrigerator, no Dr. Seuss books on the coffee table, and no Twinkies in the pantry. Everything gone.

Do you know what that's like, Ms. Huxley? Not having a job? Not having a family? Not having Twinkies?

Well, maybe you do know about that last one, with how much your family loves to eat. Maybe you know about the second one too.

I still haven't gotten used to it myself.

But ever since my family left I've been thinking, and I was wondering if Shelly had a point. Maybe I am selfish. Maybe I am too impulsive.

Only sometimes, though. Kidnapping a child takes a lot more planning than you'd think.

But I went, you know. Last Saturday. I was driving to the post office, my old workplace, listening to the gleeful clink of the Molotov cocktails in the glove compartment, when I saw the sign on the other side of the road: "Graham Counseling Center." And you know what? I kept my ass driving all the way to the post office.

Boy, didn't I feel silly when I realized the Molotovs were just old, empty beer bottles and not the weapons of mass pandemonium that were sitting in my fridge.

On the way back I pulled into the counseling center. Not because I finally understood that Shelly was right or anything, but because I had the Twinkies on my mind. The ones my family took with them, I mean, not the replacement Twinkies your rude-ass son is devouring right now.

Pathetic? Perhaps, Ms. Huxley. But those Twinkies helped me open my eyes.

Don't get me wrong: the place was just as cultish as I'd expected, and the lighting revealed every acne scar and chipped tooth and crow's foot that made those people so furious in the first place.

But the room wasn't white. It was blue, like a blueberry. That kind of blue. (I know you'll know what I mean since I used food as a comparison.)

And I realized then, in that blue room, that maybe I didn't have all the answers.

When the class was finished, the instructor came over to me and asked me to remember that some people have it bad but they don't have to, that change always begins with me. He also asked who I was, how I got in there, and why I hadn't paid the class tuition.

But I digress.

Listen, Look, I guess what I'm trying to say, Ms. Huxley, is that maybe I got carried away in all this. Maybe Shelly was right. Maybe I knew that all along. Maybe I am capable of change, and sometimes I just have to stop and take a second and remember that.

So, you know what? I'm dropping the ransom down to $2,450. Just for you. You're welcome.

And hey, you're single too, right?

After this whole crazy mess blows over, maybe you and I could go out somewhere. I didn't ask your kid what you look like—he told me anyway—and it sounds like we'd be pretty good for each other. Think about it, will you?

I swear you wouldn't be disappointed. I promise it.

I'll even help you pick out a new preschool for Timmy.

Sincerely,

Yours truly,

With love,

Paul O'Malley

April 16, 2022 03:46

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25 comments

J.C. Lovero
11:57 Apr 16, 2022

Dear pen pal, What a fun story! In my mind, this is a prequel to an enemies to lovers romance where Shelly shows up with the ransom and falls madly in love with Paul over Twinkies or something LOL You nailed the voice in this one (as you always do with your comedy pieces). The narrator is just a hot mess express and I am HERE for it. There were punchy lines throughout (the entiende brought me back to high school Spanish and a cackle) and he was so endearing with all the talk about food (quickest way to my heart is food bribery - maybe Paul...

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Zack Powell
15:04 Apr 16, 2022

🧐 Prequel, you say? I like the way you think. You know I have a thing for the hot mess express. All aboard! We're doing a nationwide tour, at this point. LOL, I'll be looking forward to the day we see you post an anti-Timmy narrative. Now there's a story. Good luck with this week's prompts. I have a feeling you especially are gonna knock it out of the park. Juuuust a feeling. xoxo

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J.C. Lovero
15:52 Apr 16, 2022

#hotmessexpress party of three

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Riel Rosehill
20:46 Apr 16, 2022

Hot mess express? I like the sound of that, where do I get a ticket? J.C., what have the Timmies done to you? Send them my way, I'll throw them in a dungeon!

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J.C. Lovero
21:47 Apr 16, 2022

Let's just say Timmy had to be cut from my last memoir piece to save on word count 😬 Another story for another prompt, methinks

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Riel Rosehill
06:32 Apr 16, 2022

"have very low expectations" - Zaddy Powell, award winning author. I KNEW I could keep those expectations high. I knew it!! When I first read you asked for low expectations I thought, this isn't fair, he's going to knock it out of the park as usual, reserve those lowered expectations for the lesser writers here (precisely, me)🤣 Side note: You know what this reminds me of? "Love and Chocolate in Five Easy Steps" (hope I remembered that title correctly!) - that was last minute if I remember well, AND a shortlister. On the story: I can't bel...

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Zack Powell
15:21 Apr 16, 2022

This, to me, is suuuuper low expectations material, LOL. Easily my least favorite story I've done on here (besides maaaybe the SciFi one). Ah, the struggles of a procrastinator. And the crazy thing is, I had more prompts ideas this week than for any other week (there was an urban fantasy restaurant romance, a gay academia drama, a gay circus romcom, a story about a DMV instructor with a domestically abused test-taker, and more). But alas, we stumbled upon THIS hot mess. You're right about "Love and Chocolate," though. (When in doubt, monolo...

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Riel Rosehill
16:05 Apr 16, 2022

I'm right there with you, with the idea overload killed by procastination - and with this week's work being one of my least favourites (out of mine)... but hey, don't insult this story of yours, I liked it! It's under my protection :) Oh yes, have you seen Lavonne's comments under my story? We are officially shipped as co-authors buddies! I'm up for it if you are ;) PS: I'm so excited for next week, I've already picked my prompt and have an idea... can't wait to see what you will come up with and wether we pick the same prompt!!

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Zack Powell
16:46 Apr 16, 2022

🙏 Protect it well, sister. Yay, co-author buddies! First order of business: Let's co-author next week's prompts (I'm not just saying that because I have no ideas whatsoever for what I'm going to write about 😅😅😅.) Just kidding, I'm really looking forward to your story next week - if you've already got an idea this early into it, I'm expecting greatness!

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Riel Rosehill
17:02 Apr 16, 2022

Haha, well, if you are in need of inspiration, my story idea coincidentally has the potential to be two fun stories from two sides, if you are interested in actually doing that! - but we'd have to discuss it off site and not spill any secrets!

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J.C. Lovero
19:07 Apr 16, 2022

I'm totally on board with this ship. Zaddy and Ri Ri 4LIFE. Get into it. (crawling back into my hermit home)

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19:56 Apr 27, 2022

This story was so good! The tone and pacing made the story for me, it was so creative and a really fun response to the prompt. I am known to be a sucker for quirky love stories and this seems like the start of a great one! You should definitely consider writing a sequel to this story, I’d love to read it! Thank you for a great story!

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Kelsey H
06:55 Apr 21, 2022

Seriously I am so impressed that one week you can write something sad and moving and then the next week write something funny and off-beat. I have no idea how you come up with such unique ideas and characters every time. (And here I am writing my one story...). One thing which is always consistent though is the character voice, it is always strong and believable, I think that's what pulls me into your stories every time, regardless of the theme. Like character always comes before plot to me. Not that your plots are not good, but character ...

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Sharon Hancock
01:59 Apr 20, 2022

Hello Zack! I tell ya you never disappoint. Hilarious through and through. I guess he’ll stock more snacks before his next kidnapping, huh? And geez now I want a Twinkie! “the old lady practically launched him into the van.” 😂 I taught preschool so I totally get it. “I'm a single parent too, ever since I lost my girlfriend, Shelly. Boston was his name. Or Quincy. Or maybe Las Vegas. I mean to say, she dumped me and took our daughter and moved away”😂 Loved every bit of it! And especially how you chose to write a random note as your conte...

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Shea West
12:55 Apr 18, 2022

Zack, I feel like you and I woke up and chose "violence" in our stories this past week🤣🤣 I love a salty narrator, because I am one in my normal life. I like to play the game, AITA often! From the Twinkies to the grabbing a kid from preschool like it was nothing, this story has a lot to of spunk to it. You gave me a lot of confidence as a parent because you've gotta show ID and answer questions to check my kid outta preschool. What a kind kidnapper though, a discount on the ransom is only the fair thing to do in this economy. I got noth...

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Zelda C. Thorne
09:41 Apr 18, 2022

This made me chuckle. The voice was consistent throughout, all over the place emotionally, deluded. Despite the fact he's kidnapped her son, I feel like he wouldn't actually hurt the kid, which allows for comedy and even sympathy. Well done!

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Suma Jayachandar
16:47 Apr 17, 2022

Ha, did this Mr.Rage on rampage even get to sending that missive? This piece is so different from the last story in its tone and content I can tell you are getting adventurous in experimenting. Join the club😂

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Bradon L
22:02 Apr 16, 2022

I loved this! I love this type of humor. My favorite part is him accidentally writing his name at the end of the letter.🤣🤣. You have some serious range with your writing. Im not super into sad stories but your story Adam and Evelyn was very well written and captured pain and sadness perfectly. And then you crank out this masterpiece of absurdity! You’ve got skillz!

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Wafflez Wasfound
20:12 Apr 16, 2022

Awesome, as usual!!

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Michał Przywara
15:01 Apr 16, 2022

Hah, very funny! He does kind of get across that trainwreck-of-a-person feeling, who's developing self-awareness even as he writes his ransom letter. Ironically, probably the kind of stuff anger counseling would have had him do. Lots of funny one-liners. I liked "He also asked who I was, how I got in there, and why I hadn't paid the class tuition." The ending is perfect too. Never miss an opportunity, I guess :)

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Lavonne H.
04:03 Apr 16, 2022

He's all over the place!! What a loser with psychotic tendencies. But I actually feel for him what with all the criticism coming externally (Shelley) and internally (his written criticisms to Ms. Huxley). One of my (many) favourite lines: "[w]hich made us even, because I didn't turn around and try to guilt her when we pulled out of the parking lot and I saw her in the rearview mirror slipping a flask inside her pea coat." Worked with preschoolers and that flask is a necessity ;) ;) What you can pull together on a tight timeline is amazing. ...

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Zack Powell
14:53 Apr 16, 2022

You got that right, Lavonne - he's very all over the place. You're a kind soul to be able to sympathize with him. The flask 100% is a necessity. How else are you gonna get through the day? The tight timeline definitely brings out stuff you didn't know you had (for better or worse). This week's prompts don't seem as daunting, so hopefully we won't have to resort to last-minute posting this time. Fingers crossed on that one, LOL. Thanks as always for reading. And good job for posting two stories this week! I'm gonna go take a look at the new o...

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Patrick Samuel
16:31 Jun 24, 2022

Ready for some harsh but fair constructive criticism? Well tough luck, cause I don't have any. This is perfect as it is. And it took me half a second to get "broke as the ten commandments" but now I wish I had thought of it myself. Once again: congrats, pal!

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