Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

Yeah Write #123: Lo Satiation (#amwriting #flashfiction )

Heavy doors muffled the orchestra and ushers busied themselves with freshening carpets. Martine finished sewing a blouse button before returning to the coatroom. Most things had been hung, but a few needed garment bags and the hats required boxes.  She took photos of each item to add to the database. Martine had been commended recently for reducing the number of false claims under the new system she’d designed.

The last wool coat required some extra attention. The smell emanating from the fibers caused a shiver to zipper down her back. It’d been a long time since such luck had fallen in her path. The owner, a gentleman of no particular notoriety, had had no escort with him.  Her phone played Pop Goes the Weasel in her back pocket.  Lo, her husband, had a odd sense of humor. Martine wiped sweaty palms on her slacks, turned off the alert, and jangled the storage keys.

“Hey, Martine,” said Joey, a man wearing the same black and white employee ensemble. He had a neat gray beard and tight coils of ashy hair.

“You’re late. Getting slow?”

He slipped her a modestly expensive gold watch, held his palm up, and wiggled his fingers. “Speed gets you caught. Slow gets the cash.”

“How’s the apprentice working out?” Martine handed off a discrete roll of bills.

Joey snorted. “Rash and dumber than a jersey barrier.”

“Remind you of you, does he?”

A single guffaw burst from him. “Smart ass.” Joey paused and leaned to speak hushed. “You sure this is the one?”

She nodded.



“You might have to…”

“Oh, hell, no I can’t do that again. If not this one, then…I don’t know. Sparkle dress? She smelled marginally acceptable.”

“Too close to the edge. Might not work.”

“Better than the alternative, Joey.”

He nodded. “Alright, standard cover?”

“Yeah, thanks.” Martine grinned, though worry still creased her brow. “Hang tough, stickyfingers.”

Joey patted her hand and glided away with his naturally light-footed gait.

Just after second intermission when the carpet was ravaged with footprints and bits of paper, the watch’s owner emerged in a state of agitation.  Martine could feel the energy before he rounded the corner to the coatroom window.

“Where the hell is the lost and found in this place?” he groused to no one in particular.

“Here, sir. Can I help you?” Martine waved him closer.

“Yes, I’ve misplaced my watch.”

She asked him to describe it detail and showed a photo on the check-in tablet after he answered an identifying question correctly. When the man smiled in relief she went weak in the knees. She might have, at one time, described it as a hunger. Now, it was rather a memory of a desire.

“We keep valuables secure in a safe. Will you come this way please?”

She opened the door and escorted him to the rear. Sweat soaked her bra and her clothing chaffed.

The main door closed with a soft clunk as the automatic lock engaged. The soft lights in the wall lit their way. At one time, it’d been a connector to a high-end speakeasy. Few knew of it.  The man, nonplussed, made idle, friendly chit chat. She responded automatically and giggled at the right moments.

“The watch was the last thing my mother gave to me before…the dark times,” he said.

“There’s no one who hasn’t been touched by that tragedy.” Martine sighed. “He was unconscious when I found him. My husband, I mean.”

After they entered the waiting room, Martine pressed her lips into a tight line. She hated bringing the nice ones, but there wasn’t time to be picky.

“Wait here, it’ll be done in just a moment. So sorry about this.”

The door closed behind her and made a soft click. The handle had been removed from the inside.  She entered another room and addressed the frothing man in the cage. His feverish, red eyes regarded her. He moaned and held his head and screamed.

“Lo, honey. I know it hurts. Can you smell him? He’s perfect.”

He nodded. Suddenly, he bolted and rammed against the bars. Martine pushed a button and an attached sliding section to the waiting room opened.

Lo rushed in and the man barely had time to gurgle a scream.

Martine babble-yelled to the dying man. “I really am sorry. Zombies aren’t dead right away, you know? You just need to find the right meal to sate the hunger in time.”



8 comments on “Yeah Write #123: Lo Satiation (#amwriting #flashfiction )

  1. Kim Witbeck
    May 2, 2019

    Hello and thanks for such a vivid, creepy and sad tale! I personally wanted to know more what smells Martine was looking for and why Lo needed that, and felt maybe the last paragraph could be tighter to bring the tragedy fully home, but really minor quibbles in light of the very memorable story you shared. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      May 2, 2019

      Glad you enjoyd it. I love writing creepy 🙂 Martine is a “recovered/ing” zombie. To answer your question: to cure the affliction, the infected must consume a specific type of prey which happen to emit a certain pheremone that Martine and Lo can smell (whether this is DNA based or brain based is unclear). Find this person (or persons) and your condition doesn’t deteriorate.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kirsten Baltz
    May 2, 2019

    That was not an end I was expecting at all. I did catch some more of the foreshadowing on the re-read. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      May 2, 2019

      Glad that you saw the hints/clues later. I wanted to end on the unexpected.


  3. writejosephinewrite
    May 2, 2019

    Ooh, creepy. I was not expecting that. Really nice build up and clever how you did not give anything away up front.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      May 2, 2019

      Thank you 🙂 I tried to put in some clues that things aren’t quite like our world but wouldn’t be crystal clear until the end.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. innatejames
    May 2, 2019

    Yikes. Really nice twist and good hints that this world isn’t our world. As for the plot, I think I got it. Lo is her husband who is recovering from being a zombie. I’m not up on zombie lore so if this story is referring to a traditional zombie transition then it’s completely on me that I’m not clear what’s happening. Is Martine recovering? The name Lo confused me. It’s so uncommon, and I thought it was meant in the “lo and behold” sense. Simple fix: “My husband, Lo, that is.” Once again, your dialogue is whip smart and conveyed to me that this scam has been going on a while since she and Joey are clearly functioning on the same wavelength.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Laissez Faire
      May 2, 2019

      Thanks nate! I will take that “Yikes” and put it in a box to stare at later. You are right Martine is recovered (though you noticed she still has lingering effects) and she is seeking a cure for her husband. I /was/ turning zombie lore on it’s head…implying that they aren’t dead…yet…but they do deteriorate and be less selective in prey. Lo is on the cusp of no return, Martine has been looking for “the right person” for him.

      I was afraid the name would be confusing. He insisted that’s what his name was. Hah. Your fix though would ease that confusion. And thank you for noticing that the dialogue was meant to convey how long the scam is going on and that Joey knows exactly what the story is. Hopefully, it also showed that Martine is not an evil person but someone who will do what she needs to do. :))


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This entry was posted on May 1, 2019 by in fiction, horror, writing, Yeah Write and tagged , , , , , , , , .

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