Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Harry x 2, Part I

Playing on our last entry, I’m going to continue last night’s Houdini saga.

As expected, I was able – with the invaluable assistance of my long-suffering wife – to write a relatively complete Houdini adventure that came in at 500 words.

Even though I don’t want to give away the ending, I’m going to paste most of it here, in its truncated form. I plan on expanding it a bit, but not to ridiculous length. Just adding some more descriptors and color.

So, herewith below, the original version, minus the end, to be followed in our next chapter in an expanded form.


I sat staring at a calendar that was older than Methuselah’s great-uncle. Still, it felt like it was newer than my last case.

If I smoked, I’d’ve lit up a Chesterfield. I have my vices, but that ain’t one, so I watched the cobwebs hang sleepily in the humid summer air. Even they seemed to lack purpose.

That’s the thing about my business; not a lot of people need you, but when they do, they really need you.

And what is that business? When I tell you my name, you’ll know. Or you think you will.

My name is Harry Houdini.

Yeah. Him.

You’re thinkin’, “Oh, the handcuffs guy.”

But that’s just what I do to pay the bills. It’s not my passion. Y’see, I’m what they call a “ghost breaker.” Or, more accurately, I’m the guy people call when they want to find out if a ghost is real.

And they never are – ever. I’ve traveled from Cairo to Kalamazoo, and the one thing I’ve learned is that ghosts are the bunk. I’ve seen too many people get taken by quack “mediums” to take it lightly, though.

My reverie was broken by the explosive ringing of the phone. I grabbed the earpiece. “It’s your nickel.”

“Harry?” It was a dame. “Holly Halliwell here.”

Holly ran the donut shop down the block. “Ran” was a relative term – as was “donuts.” She could make only two kinds: jelly doughnuts and long johns, and even those were dicey.

With a terrified tone, she stammered that her shop was suddenly haunted. Her donuts, which were better suited to being ship’s anchors, were suddenly lighter than air – literally. “Harry, they’re flying out the door!”

Jamming my fedora on my noggin, I headed to the shop.

I walked in, expecting to see evidence of a disturbed or fraudulent mind, but nearly got pounded in the puss by a jet-propelled jelly donut zooming its way out the door. That pastry was followed by a baker’s dozen, all in a hurry to get some fresh air.

Holly explained that she’d tried a new recipe only that morning, and as soon as she pulled the first batch from the fryer, they’d started flying around the shop. “Poltergeists” was her only explanation.

Using my world-renowned observational powers, I quickly cracked this cruller caper. “It ain’t pastrygeists, Holly; it’s yeast.” Clearly, these sinkers were being souped-up by the superheated yeast trapped inside. “It’s leavening, not levitation, doll.”

The solution was simple: instead of jelly buns, she needed to make the traditional ring type; the hole would not only allow the yeast to escape, but it’s well-known in my business that those treats were blessed by St. Honoré himself and are thus impervious to demonic possession.

Holly’s grateful face lit up like a “Hot Now” sign. “You mean …?”

To Be Continued …

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