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Ever think twice about shopping alone at night. You should - especially if you're a pretty woman.
Richard Koss, other titles
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|AUTHOR'S OTHER TITLES (47)
904 North (Poetry) A tale in verse form about a middle-aged musician/writer down on his luck and recently divorced (again) who moves into a high rise apartment on the ninth floor, which happens to be the same suite a yo... [1,479 words]
A New Perspective (Essays) A different perspective on the 911 tragedy and its aftermath. [614 words]
Are We There Yet? (Essays) An essay I never thought I'd have to write followed by a question I never thought I would have to ask. [1,013 words]
Asleep At Last (Poetry) A man in a hospital bed is having difficulty falling asleep, but he soon will... [152 words]
Bad Boy (Short Stories) A true story about a bad boy growing up in 1950. Was he just mischievous? Would his behavior be considered bad today? [2,844 words]
Charlie And Mrs. Miller (Short Stories) A very short story about an old woman on her death bed whose last request is to see an old friend, much to the surprise of her daughters and granddaughters. [585 words]
Deja Vu (Poetry) In times like these, pacifists come out of the woodwork. This poem was written in anticipation of what we can expect from them. [106 words]
Empty Closets (Poetry) A poem which no doubt, is controversial. I'm sure many will consider it homophobic, (a stupid word) but if liberals are sincere in their belief that everyone is entitled to free speech and opinions, t... [223 words]
Family Genes Considered (Short Stories) A story that is unfortunately, much closer to the truth than not. Although the main character is fictional, the relatives described are quite real, which gives me reason to often ponder my own destin... [1,198 words]
Fatal Perception (Short Stories) An off-beat tale about an aging song writer who perceives he is being stalked by a strange little man. [2,959 words]
Goodbye America (Essays) An essay written by an aging writer who no longer understands the country in which he lives. [662 words]
Hooked (Short Stories) A short short story originally started as a poem, about a man's obsession with a special kind of woman. (Revised June 2001) [323 words] [Fantasy]
How To Fool Most Of The People Most Of The Time (Essays) An essay commenting on the recent election results. [1,530 words]
Know It? - I Wrote It (Short Stories) This is a funny, perhaps silly, outrageous story. I'm not sure of its exact origin, but I must forewarn you. I don't generally make use of extreme vulgarity or profanity in my writing, but in this c... [663 words]
Lost And Found (Poetry) A poem that was originally written as a lyric several years ago for a country western song. [156 words]
Madelaine (Short Stories) An eerie tale set in the modern day Pacific Northwest about a family's nightmarish encounter with a character from a legend with a darkside. [8,451 words]
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Nostalgic On A Bridge To Nowhere (Poetry) A nostalgic view of the life of a man in his twilight years. [369 words]
Over A Hundred Years Later Nothing New About Progressives (Essays) An essay revealing the fact that progressives haven't progressed much in over a hundred years. [1,317 words]
Please Read My Poem - Again (Poetry) The inspiration for this poem came to me after reading several poems (good and bad) posted on Storymania, as well as their reviews. The poem is directed primarily at the very young, talented writers w... [195 words]
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Shirley's Angel (Short Stories) A Christmas story: In the final analysis, we may discover that we love someone because of their vulnerability, rather than in spite of it. [2,228 words]
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Symbolism Over Substance – The Liberal Manifesto (Essays) A non-fiction essay about liberal ideology and its influence on today's U.S. and world culture. [1,229 words]
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The Diversity Mystique (Essays) The ultimate hype of political correctness. [1,083 words]
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The Farnsworth Affair (Short Stories) An innocent man becomes trapped in a web of circumstance from which there is no escape. A somewhat more lengthy story than I usually write. This is a suspense story in the mold of the English mystery... [5,045 words]
The Girl In The Taxi (Short Stories) A shy, young man has an erotic encounter with a strange girl. Is it real or just a dream? [1,493 words] [Erotic]
The Incurable Cynic (Poetry) A man reflects upon his life of cynicism. [143 words]
The Perfect Ending (Short Stories) A tale about a wanna-be writer trying to create a story with the perfect ending. With unsuspecting help from his wife, he succeds, but pays the ultimate price. [642 words]
The Price Of Freedom (2) (Short Stories) A short story. [396 words]
The Rhyme Of Eternal Triangles (Poetry) A poem that describes in a silly, funny way, the futility of wanting someone who doesn't want you. [223 words]
The Song That Failed (Short Stories) A somewhat dubious account of an amateur song writer's ill-fated chance at success. [156 words] [Humor]
The Waitress Fom Hell (Short Stories) The story of a patron's ongoing feud with an over-the-hill waitress. [750 words]
Think Before You Write (Essays) My observations, after reading the work of many aspiring young writers, prompted me to write this. It merely offers some common sense advice to any aspiring writer (including myself) and should not b... [988 words]
Tomorrow's Here (Poetry) The recent death of a friend inspired me to write a poem, which salutes this somewhat hapless, but likeable character. [114 words]
Victims (Poetry) A satirical poem that tells it like it is. The poem confronts a disturbing trend in our society - transferring blame to others instead of placing it squarely where it belongs. [255 words]
What A Pair (Ex-Husbands And Old Shoes) (Poetry) A symbolic poem comparing ex-husbands and old shoes. Some women divorce their husbands, expecting to find something better, only to realize eventually, that the grass is not always greener. [326 words]
What’S Wrong With Assimilation? (Essays) This essay was originally written in 2006 when the Senate was considering an Immigration reform bill, which of course, was not passed. [453 words]
While The Iron's Hot (Short Stories) The story of a woman, a victim of spousal abuse, and her solution to the problem. [774 words] [Relationships]
Wisdom - Lost With Tradition (Essays) An essay which compares the concept of traditional wisdom with the minds of today's intellectual elitists. [500 words]
Strange things happen on rainy, windy nights. Last Thursday was that kind of night. Kate and Carl decided to go shopping. Actually, it was Kate’s idea; Carl hated shopping. Her car was in the repair shop so Carl dropped her off at the Giant Eagle supermarket in Cresthaven Plaza at ten and promised to be back in an hour. He was headed for Michael’s bar to grab a couple of drinks with his buddies, leaving Kate to do all the shopping by herself. She really didn’t mind though because Carl was a real pain in the ass to be with in a supermarket - asking her why she needed this or that, while he picked out the dumbest shit that she’d usually end up throwing out.
On a night like this, the store wasn’t crowded and she moved up and down the isles in no time. Twenty-five minutes later her shopping list was nearly completed. Her last stop was at the produce section, picking up broccoli, spinach, carrots and some corn on the cob. Then she loaded up with melons, grapes, oranges, plums and other assorted fruits. Most of this good stuff was for Kate. She was a healthy eater, very little red meat, mostly vegetables and fruit. No junk food for her. She had to take care of that great body.
She was proud of her body and liked to show it off . Even tonight, though it was rainy and windy, she wore a windbreaker and tight shorts showing off those long shapely legs and buns of steel. Carl loved her body but he was Italian and didn’t like to see other men stare at her. But that was typical of most Italians, and speaking of Italians, her Irish father was not happy about her marrying one. But Carl’s family liked Kate and life among the Italians was anything but dull for the daughter of Tom O’Neil.
She met all of Carl’s family except his uncle Sam Lo Presti, the police sergeant who kept to himself a lot. He was a former homicide detective almost ready to retire. Carl said he’d been working on missing person cases for that past few years.
Kate was next in the checkout line and she stood there waiting her turn, listening to the cashier and the bagger talking about the two women shoppers who vanished from two different malls on the west side of town. This all happened in the last couple of weeks. Neither of the women had been found.
“Ninety-four sixty-five.” The cashier pulled the tape from the register and Kate handed her two fifties from her purse. The bagger helped her put her packages into the shopping cart. Kate stuffed her change into the front pocket of her shorts and wheeled the cart out the door to the dimly lit pick-up ramp. A roof extended over the ramp so she didn’t bother to open her umbrella.
The wind was blowing so hard now that Kate cupped her hands around her cigarette lighter, turning in several directions, trying to light up. She finally got the damn thing lit and looked up just in time up to see an older woman with a shopping cart coming out of the rain. She was wearing a funny hat and the rain was dripping from its brim. Her thick glasses were so wet and steamy, you could hardly see her eyes. She was a pathetic sight and softhearted Kate couldn’t help herself from asking the old woman, “Are you okay honey?”
“I can’t find my car. Somebody must have stolen it.” The woman’s voice was raspy and she sounded so helpless.
“You probably just forgot where you parked it. Happens to me all the time.”
The old woman stood there dripping. “You don’t think I should call the police?”
Kate looked at her watch. Carl wouldn’t be here for another fifteen minutes. She opened her umbrella and held it over the woman. “Let’s take another look and see if we can’t find it. Leave your cart here by mine. What Kind of car do you have?”
The woman described the car as Kate walked with her out to the dimly lit parking lot, holding the umbrella barely big enough to cover them both. The woman’s recollection of where she had parked her car took them to the far end of the lot. They were almost two hundred yards from the store when the old woman said, “Oh my God, there it is.”
Sure enough, there was the little red Ford Tempo the woman described, at the end of the last row of cars. As they approached the car, the woman fumbled for her keys. “At least let me drive you back to the store.”
The wind and rain were swirling harder now and Kate’s little umbrella wasn’t much help so she accepted the woman’s offer and got in the car with her.
After starting the car and turning on the wipers, the woman began cleaning her foggy glasses with a tissue. Kate looked at the half empty parking lot through the Windshield wiper blades. “What made you park so far away from the store?”
The woman continued wiping her glasses in silence and Kate got a funny feeling in the pit of her stomach as she suddenly thought of the woman’s shopping cart. It was empty!
Kate stared at the woman’s face. In the dim glow of the tall outdoor lighting poles, she could see the thick make-up, streaked from the rain, running down the woman’s face, revealing a large dark mole on her upper lip and patches of five-o- clock shadow where the make-up had been. She began to put her glasses back on and it was probably the hair on the back of her hand that froze Kate with a surge of panic. That and the clicking sound of a switch blade.
The police arrived at the supermarket after midnight. A shaken Carl LoPresti followed them to the station and filled out a missing person’s report. There were no witnesses who saw Kate leave the store and the only people who could specifically identify her were the cashier and bagger whose line she exited. Her cart full of groceries was still sitting on the pick-up ramp. The howling wind and rain made visibility virtually impossible and other shoppers questioned could not recall seeing a young woman of Kate’s description anywhere in the parking lot. Carl woke up Kate’s father at 1:30 a.m. and Mr. O’Neil was furious that Carl left her to shop by herself at night. They screamed at each other over the phone and O’Neil would’ve beaten Carl to a pulp if they had been face to face.
Later that morning, at 8 :15 a.m., Detective sergeant Sam Lo Presti arrived at the 17th precinct, got his coffee and started to review the missing person files on his desk. Just as he began reading the latest report concerning Kate Lo Presti, his phone rang.
“Lo Presti,” the sergeant’s voice was soft and raspy.
“Uncle Sam, you heard about my wife Kate, didn’t you?” Carl’s voice sounded desperate.
“Yeah Carl, I’m looking at the report as we speak. Don’t worry Carl, We’ll do everything we can to find her.”
As the sergeant tried to calm down his nephew on the telephone, two other men were seated in a glass-enclosed office just behind Detective Lo Presti’s desk.
“ Look at that goddamn rain come down. Is it ever gonna stop?” Lieutenant Dan Novince turned his swivel chair away from the foggy window covered with beads of raindrops. “I understand that missing girl was married to Lo Presti’s nephew.”
The other detective shook his head. “He was a bust out in homicide and I doubt if he ever found a missing person in his life. I hope that kid’s not counting on him to find his wife. The son-of-bitch is blind as a bat and dumb as dirt. He should be working in warrants, chasing down parking ticket offenders”
The lieutenant smiled at the other detective. “Why don’t you really tell us what you think of him?”
The other man defended his comments. “Well, just look at him.”
The two men stared through the glass, at the short, hairy man with thick glasses, seated at his desk, pretending to study the report of the missing Kate Lo Presti. He didn’t even look like a cop. In fact, he was almost pathetic looking, with those coke bottle spectacles and that big black mole on his upper lip.
The lieutenant’s phone rang, interrupting their reverie. He answered the phone as the other man left his office. It was going on nine o’clock. The phones began ringing all over the place. Another routine day at the 17th precinct. And outside, the raindrops continued to fall.
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© 2001 Richard Koss
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