Thursday, August 5, 2010


Click for some mood music

When he sat down at the lunch counter in the Woolworth, Beth thought he reeked of regret. And she felt sorry for him.

Beth kept staring into her soup, trying not to turn and just working the reflection of the bowl just enough to catch of glimpse of his profile.

He saved her the trouble. "I'm Frank..."

She smiled, still peering into the goodness that was her Cream of Turnip.

"Hi Frank," she answered through her smile.

"I'm new here..." he said cueing her for her name.

She fiddled with her spoon, making rings. "Beth."

Frank turned a bit in his seat and asked. "Say Beth, how 'bout I take a gander at what seems to be a pretty lil' face." Beth perked, straightened her blouse and smiled.

The head waitress, the one who looked like a pioneer with all that Davy Crockett hair, stomped over and raised her eyebrows. "You botherin' her, Mister?"

Frank ignored Davy and lit a Lucky Strike. "Beth, whaddya say we give the place the slip and you let me buy you some ice cream?"

# # #

As they walked down Main Street, USA, Frank knew he made the right choice. Find the prettiest chickadee there -- those are the ones that'll take bullet for you -- because deep down, they're all insecure.

By the end of her deep dish of Vanilla, Frank knew she was that kind of girl. The diamond job was tomorrow and whichever way it played, he knew he needed his alibi and, if anything, someone to wipe up the blood.

Frank asked for the last spoonful and eased it into his mouth. Swallowing, he smiled. He could tell Beth was told she was ugly just one too many times. This one was just right.

Illustrator: Edmund Gray (not much info exists online for this pulp stylist). Music: "Little One" by Fabric - courtesy of the Internet Archive and you can download it HERE.

Bookmark and Share


  1. The atmosphere of this one was just spot on. Excellent!

  2. A sicko, that Frank. Preying on women so insecure they eat Cream of Turnip.

  3. Frank is a very bad man! I do hope Beth is okay though.

    Lovely tone, and very good 'voice' considering the setting.

  4. Nice...When you said Woolworth's, I had a flashback..Perfect setting for this piece..
    As for Frank, Stone Him!!!!!

    another great piece...

  5. Poor Beth. Not sure what I'm sorriest for -- her falling with that scumbag Frank, or eating cream of turnip. Seriously, good stuff, and love the title. Peace...

  6. Sorry Linda, the cream of turnip sounds amazing. Must find a recipe for when the cold returns.

    Loved this, and the picture(both visual and text) are perfect. And you're right, beauty and insecurity are a recipe for disaster.

  7. I think anticipating her heartbreak is almost worse than actually reading about it.

    Great story.

  8. Anthony, this was terrific. No holds barred terrific.
    The picture - where do you find this stuff???? - is stunning. I gazed at it for several minutes before clicking the music and starting to read.
    I read your story twice, just because I loved it. And also because I was trying to determine if she was really pretty or if he was being sarcastic... but she was.
    From someone who has never been overtly pretty, I always thought the pretty girls had confidence in spades. But what you say makes sense.
    Anyway, loved it, Ant. *bows to your mastery*

  9. A rock-solid jab of an honest message with just enough feint to make it fun.

    Trim and terrific. Just like Beth. If she lays off those ice-creams. She's getting a bit thick around the middle, don't you think?

  10. I've been to that Woolworth. I remember that counter. I don't remember the girl though. Shame.

    Amazing work, as always.

  11. What a great way to start my Friday. The music is divine and perfect, just like this story.

    No one really thinks about what goes on beneath a pretty surface, and Frank is smooth and evil. And I love the Davy Crockett woman.

    Purely excellent, Ant.

  12. Very atmospheric and gritty piece, the mood music was a nice touch. He's done this before, Frank. He'll do it again, until he catches that last bullet. Great story.

  13. every note a perfect one, very tight Ant.

  14. Frank is a real creep, and you've done a great job of describing him so. And poor Beth. I hope she ends up making him take the fall! But, even so, karma will out. Nicely written.

  15. Great atmosphere. Poor Beth. I hope Frank gets his.

  16. Great as usual Anthony. It had everything. Top job, mate.

    Have a great weekend.

  17. Oh, this is amazing. I remember when K-Mart still had diners in their stores; this rang with nostalgia for me.

    Fantastic setting with a few quick brushstrokes. Excellent characterization and your style, as always, knocks me out.

    Another amazing piece, Anthony. AMAZING.

  18. The Davy Crockett bit has got to be the best part, even though the story itself is damn good.
    Bravo Ant!

  19. "Looked like a pioneer with that Davy Crockett hair" = brilliant, I love that!

    Taut writing as ever


    Marc Nash

  20. I trust Beth has something up her sleeve - the pretty ones always go out with a bang too;)

  21. Davy Crockett hair and Cream of Turnip soup - fantasic little details! It adds to the atmosphere of the very ordinary setting but extraordinary situation that is to come

  22. Excellent piece and I loved the details! "Reeked of regret" set the tone of the whole story for me.

  23. What Ms. Erin said... don't underestimate the pretty ones. Or conversely, go right ahead. Underestimate 'em. That's where they get their strength.

    Either that or lots of cream of turnip soup.

  24. As in a previous comment, isn't it Woolworth's with an apostrophe s? I could picture this happening in Bloomfield. Woolworth's, Kresge's and Kress. All the same. Way before malls but not before 'molls.' Poor Beth. She never saw it coming. Being pretty must be a curse. I'll let you know in my next lifetime.

  25. Well this was a springtime and roses piece, wasn't it? ;)
    I'm a "happily ever after" girl. Thanks for my weekly dose of reality. As always, well written Anthony.

  26. Hmmm...emotional vampire user meets pretty insecure girl...why do I feel like I'm experiencing deja vu?

    Lmao! I think I've dated Frank about 5 times

    Good story, Mr. Smooth. You were right. I dig it, for all the reasons listed. ;)

  27. Who is responsible for that painting? I love it!

    I liked Linda's comment about who she was sorriest for and Wiswell's as well. I can't imagine a sadder soup. But you did.

    Always right on with mood and Davy Crockett hair is inspired. I have been served by that waitress.

  28. Hey everyone!

    thanks so much for reading. I really appreciate it...

    @harry: The illustrator's name is Edmund Gray. He's great isn't he?

  29. Best writing found here in the basement of all damned places. Ant, loved the music. Start creditin' the artists so we can open our wallets and get our Ant'mood going on eh?

    Dig man. Smooth.

  30. That Frank's a bad man, but he sure knows his business. Some good psychology going on there, Ant. The Cream of Turnip was a nice touch. Great story, sir!

  31. Loved the noir storyline, illustration, and music. Great job!

  32. How did I miss this? It's fantastic. The bastard. He's right though. Love that illustration.


Say something... Anything...