The Quiet Ones

flash fiction, gangster

Image via Flickr by Kent Wang

10 minute free write

Prompt: He was scheming, everyone knew that.

He was scheming, everyone knew that just by looking at him. From the slicked back hair to the pencil stash, upturned nose, and half-closed eyes, James Donovan Malone looked like trouble. The trouble was, no one could catch him at it.

Neighbors would watch warily as he walked his glossy doberman around the block. He didn’t use a leash. James¬†walked with this hands behind his back while whistling Twisted Nerve (a song from a 1969 British Horror film). His doberman, meanwhile, just trotted along by his side in a perfect “heel.” Also, although they walked together two or three times per day, no one every saw the dog squat.

There were other whiffs of the unnatural about him as well. For example, he never had any guests or visitors, was never seen in anything other than a three piece suit (even in 90 degree weather), and never seemed to leave the house, except to walk his dog.

“It just ain’t right, I tell ya,” Molly Hanson said as James walked by with his dog. Molly was a retired ER nurse with frizzy white hair, a care-lined face, and an eye for the unusual. She was also the neighborhood gossip-in-chief. “There’s something funny going on with that boy.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” Jeremy, her worthy opponent (in checkers and just about everything else) demurred. “He seems quiet enough to me. Better than the last neighbor we had. Remember all the loud music and parties?”

“That’s the problem.” Molly jumped a red piece over one of Jeremy’s black ones. “You always gotta watch out for the quiet ones.”

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