The Shortcut

The Shortcut

A Story by Delmar Cooper

The Shortcut

 

“I told mama I wouldn’t cut through this alley no more and here I am doin’ it again.” Lamont muttered to himself. “It’ll be all right just one more time though. Sure, why I’m nearly home now.”

The noise and the light struck Lamont like a gang banger with a riot gun.

“What the h...”

“Watch your mouth, Lamont, you don’t know exactly who you talkin’ to.”

Lamont swallowed and felt his heart slide back down his esophagus. “I don’t even know exactly what I’m talkin’ to.” He said, rubbing his eyes.  There in the middle of the alley, just underneath the yellow street light was a…Well, Lamont didn’t know what to call such a spectacle.

Whoever, or whatever it was hung suspended by a string attached to a chest harness.  The string  went up only a few feet before connecting to a bright yellow helium balloon, so the whole mess hung over the alley dangling from a kid’s toy that wouldn’t have floated a Barbie doll much less a full sized man.

Lamont decided it must be a man,  a man dressed in a patched up choir robe with homemade plywood angel wings jury rigged onto the back of the harness.  Over his head was a gold tinsel halo held c**k-eyed by a piece of coat-hanger wire that disappeared down the back of his shirt collar.

“So, what you think, Lamont?” it asked.

“I think you a little early for Halloween.  Just what you supposed to be anyway?” Lamont asked right back.

“Awh Lamont,  imagination ain’t never been your long suit.  Here I go to all this fret and bother to manifest myself,  just like you see me in your head, and you still don’t get it. What’s it take to put you in the picture?”

The apparition was twisting counterclockwise under the balloon and had to speak over its right shoulder.

“Excuse me, do I know you?” Lamont asked, puzzled.

“Hang on a sec, let me change clothes;  these sure ain’t workin’. The apparition snapped his fingers and nothing happened, his eyes cut toward Lamont, “misfire”, he muttered, “it happens sometimes”.  He snapped his fingers again and a flash of blue light and a cannon-load of noise filled the alley.

“Much better,” he said, stepping out of the smoke. He was now dressed in a blue three piece suit with broad, cream colored pinstripes.  He wore a white snap brim hat with a blue polka-dot band and a pair of patent leather two-toned shoes.

“How’s this, Lamont? You catchin’ on now?”

“Yeah, I am” Lamont said. “Somebody done slipped me a mickey at the church social and it’s just now startin' to kick in.”

“Couldn’t have put it better myself, son. Yeah, I’m the big mickey slipper his’self, and I shore done slipped you a nice ‘un.  Seriously, you having what we in the trade call an epiphany.  I’m God, boy. Don’t you get it?”

“Oh yeah, I get it, God dresses up like a deacon in a cheap Christmas play, that or a Fourth Avenue pimp. Is that about right, God?”

“Sometimes I sure regret making you mortals so stupid. M’boy, if I appeared in my true nature you’d blow a fuse, strip a gear. You just ain’t got the eyeball capacity for it. What I did is take my image straight out of your head, Lamont.  Believe it or not this is how you see me.” God said.

“Humm…” Lamont studied the situation, whoever he was he sure had a handle on special effects, “Okay, let’s suppose I buy all that jazz. What’s an epiphany?”

“Good question. Boy howdy, we on the right track now! An epiphany is like havin' a dream while you still awake, or maybe a fit, but at the end of it you get to see God.”

“All right then” Lamont said, “it’s your quarter, what can I do for you?”

“I been watching you a long time Lamont.” God paused to brush a speck of imaginary lint off His vest. “You’re a real smart kid. I like that, and I can use a fellow like you in the business.”

“Business…?”

“You know Lamont, the God business. I want to put you on the payroll. I’m making some organizational changes, an outsource kinda deal, and I could use a few good men. Like the Marine Corps without all the sweat, get it? Wait, wrong analogy, more like the NBA, yeah the NBA. You, Lamont, are my number one draft pick. Now how does that grab you?”

“Got to admit it sounds good, and I could use a job, but we got a sayin'” around here"maybe you heard it before… ‘What’s in it for me?’”

“Sure, Lamont, I knew you wuz smart. You mean somethin’ like a sign-up bonus? Every Big League draft pick gets a sign-up bonus. Let me see, hummm…. A Lexus wouldn’t do you no good, you ain’t old enough for a driver’s license. Sides, I can think of somethin way better than any car. How ‘bout power? Everybody likes power. All the boys on my team gonna have a heap of power.” God said. “Yessiree, I’ll add it right here in your contract.”

“Contract?” Lamont questioned. “This thing gonna be in writin'?”

“Sure, you bet, jus’ like the NBA only in High Church Latin"you can read High Church Latin, can’t you?” God asked as he looked at Lamont over a pair of half framed reading glasses.

“Well, I’m probably a little rusty,” Lamont admitted candidly “but I tell you what, you give me a sample of this power so’s I can see is it the real high grade stuff an’ then if you still want me to, I’ll sign up.”

“Now you talkin’, kid.   Let me see what power I can give you….”

“Just give me what the ‘postles had. You know, somethin’ you got in open stock. I’ll try a little of it out and then sign right up.  If you think that’s fair?”

“Great idea. You got it.” God snapped His fingers and Lamont felt a little tingle walk down his spine.

God busied Himself with the contract, “All these High Church Latin contracts gots to be sealed and then signed in blood, but of course you know that.” God laid the contract over a garbage can lid and fished a stick of red sealing wax from His coat pocket. He rubbed His thumb and forefinger together and a flame shot up for just a second before it flickered out into nothing but blue smoke, sighing, he took a Ronson butane lighter from a vest pocket and melted the wax. His thumbprint was the seal. “Now this blood part won’t hurt a bit"just need your pinky finger….”

“Sure thing, uh, just let me stretch this power out a little first.  I believe the apostles could do cool s**t like castin' out devils, couldn’t they?”

“God” looked up quickly, staring at Lamont over the top of His half-rims, “That’s a little advanced for you, boy. Why not start out with the basics. Say, water into wine maybe. Yeah, I could use a drink my own self.”

“No, I think I can handle it.” Lamont snapped his fingers and quoted: “Get thee behind me Satan.”

The blue light returned and seemed to implode into the center of “God”, his face was equal parts surprise and anger. Instead of the loud noise there was a nasty sucking sound, like a toilet suddenly unclogging, and then “He” was gone.  The contents of “His” pockets- the lighter, three Cuban Monte Cristo cigars, and about a dollar in change clattered down to the last known address of his two-toned shoes.

The contract drifted down onto the bricks of the alley and Lamont picked it up. It was warm to the touch.

“Epiphany, my a*s,” Lamont said as he flicked the Ronson under the parchment. “I was born at night, but it wasn’t last night.”


© 2015 Delmar Cooper



Author's Note

Delmar Cooper
a Retread

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Featured Review

how come those who see the aliens always see them as short and gray with a big heads and bulging eyes?
Movies influence our imagination so much that there was a time I thought that I was Superfly,
long maxie coat, sideburns and large brimmed hat just like Youngblood Priest. I was not and
my mother reminded me of that fact every day.

Fascinating story Delmar, but you always write fascinating stories. I did manage to write a short
story the other night (between looking feverishly for a dependable used car) but it needs some
major work..........the short story and the car....lol

nicely done.....dana

Posted 2 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Years Ago

Good luck with the car, I know you'll do well with the story. Thank you for your comments.



Reviews

Was worth the read... am still chuckling.

Posted 3 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

3 Weeks Ago

Hope you had a Merry Christmas. Thanks for scraping off the mold and reading my stuff.
Chris

3 Weeks Ago

"Moldy-oldies" are still worth the effort... I look forward to newer thoughts.
I really enjoyed your story. "God meeting" stories are nothing new but this felt original and full of images and good dialogues that transported me to this alley with Lamont.
For some reason (although they are no real similarities) it reminded me of a mirrored version of a Stephen King's short story I read a few years ago, "The Man in The Black Suit".
Thank you for your inspiring imagination.

Posted 6 Months Ago


Your story shows amazing imagination & playfulness with a deeper meaning. I am not a fan of praying or speaking to God in high-falutin' Biblical language, like many of the devout do. I like this story becuz it shows an honest interchange between a mere mortal & the high almighty, but it's all done in everyday language & understanding. A perfect way to demonstrate: God meets us where we are. Great job.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

1 Year Ago

I enjoyed reading your review. I meant not to leave the impression that our boy hero was communing .. read more
barleygirl

1 Year Ago

Whatever each person calls the universal energy that connects us, I believe all things are both ligh.. read more
I enjoyed this story, especially the use of dialogue! The description was well developed to let the reader get a strong sense of both Lamont and the God character. I do have some suggestions regarding conventions. I believe the plot and characters are fine the way they are.

1)Watch your dialogue tags in this sentence: Lamont swallowed and felt his heart slide back down his esophagus. “I don’t even know exactly what I’m talkin’ to.” He said, rubbing his eyes.

instead try

Lamont swallowed and felt his heart slide back down his esophagus. “I don’t even know exactly what I’m talkin’ to(,)” (h)e said, rubbing his eyes.

2) This sentence gets a bit jumbled, maybe try revising for clarity : The string went up only a few feet before connecting to a bright yellow helium balloon, so the whole mess hung over the alley dangling from a kid’s toy that wouldn’t have floated a Barbie doll much less a full sized man.

maybe try

The string went up only a few feet before connecting to a bright yellow helium balloon(.) The whole mess hung over the alley(, )dangling from a kid’s toy that wouldn’t have floated a Barbie doll(,) much less a full sized man.

3) You have a comma splice here: The apparition snapped his fingers and nothing happened, his eyes cut toward Lamont, “misfire”, he muttered, “it happens sometimes”.

fix it by writing

The apparition snapped his fingers and nothing happened(.) (H)is eyes cut toward Lamont(.) “(M)isfire”, he muttered, “it happens sometimes(.)"

4) I could be wrong about this one, but is the expression shore done, or sure done, when you write, “Couldn’t have put it better myself, son. Yeah, I’m the big mickey slipper his’self, and I shore done slipped you a nice ‘un. Seriously, you having what we in the trade call an epiphany. I’m God, boy. Don’t you get it?”

5) I think this is a formatting issue when you copied and pasted, but it appears what I am going to guess was a dash turned into quotation marks. This happens to me when I do the same. You wrote: “Sure, you bet, jus’ like the NBA only in High Church Latin"you can read High Church Latin, can’t you?” God asked as he looked at Lamont over a pair of half framed reading glasses

I think you meant for a dash between Latin and you. There are other instances when your punctuation changed to a quotation mark as well.

6)You started using quotation marks around God here, But earlier you did not. Is this to represent that it wasn't the God Lamont had initially thought? The addition of the quotation marks threw me off. “God” looked up quickly, staring at Lamont over the top of His half-rims, “That’s a little advanced for you, boy. Why not start out with the basics. Say, water into wine maybe. Yeah, I could use a drink my own self.”



Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Whatever that thing is that Terry Gilliam does when he makes a movie, I see some of it here, or something similar, at least. Odd, quirky, different--yes, I like it. You've quite the imagination, Delmar, and the writing skills to go with it.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Years Ago

I'll have to look up Terry Gilliam. I'm very glad you liked this.
That is what you call short story writing. Well structured and provocative. I've got to say that I like this very much. The protagonists appear full formed in the readers mind and play out their story in unexpected but well crafted ways. In all ways top shelf writing. I now want more.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Years Ago

Ken, thanks so much for your comments and for reading. I'm glad you liked it and appreciate you for.. read more
'Lamont decided it must be a man, a man dressed in a patched up choir robe with homemade plywood angel wings jury rigged onto the back of the harness. Over his head was a gold tinsel halo held c**k-eyed by a piece of coat-hanger wire that disappeared down the back of his shirt collar.'

Oh yes!

What a story! Was so intrigued and involved in the more than provocative dialogue i forgot who the Star really was! Your writing made my face contort.. says she, smiling: i smiled, my brows rose, i giggled and i frowned; your flair with words made me feel and, isn't that what a writer would like to have happen?

Have to add that this is considered writing but without pretension.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Years Ago

I'm always thrilled when a reader enjoys something I've written. Your comments made my day . Thank.. read more
It is amazing what you can meet down an alley way! Seriously, your story worked really well and made a good read.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Years Ago

High praise, thanks. I hoped it would be fun to read. It was fun to write.
I really really enjoyed this story Delmar! The ending was superb! :)
I will certainly be checking out your other work.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Years Ago

Titus, thanks for your very kind words. I appreciate them as they come from an expert at the very v.. read more
Andronicus

2 Years Ago

Awww, Thanks so much!
Delmar, one can look at this story on so many levels and therefore, it is not only wholly enjoyable but. Also intriguing. The dialog advances the story so well and the descriptions are precise and pregnant. The only suggestion I',md make is in the second paragraph--you don't need to spell out "it was that sudden and unexpected. The previous sentence states that in a much more potent way. Thanks again for sharing this.

Posted 2 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Delmar Cooper

2 Years Ago

Taylor, thanks for reading and for your comments. Yes, the authorial intrusion is not helpful at al.. read more

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Added on May 21, 2015
Last Updated on May 28, 2015

Author

Delmar Cooper
Delmar Cooper

Trussville, AL



About
I write- a little. I don't write to reinvent the wheel, or discover fire. I just drag along from sentence to sentence hoping for a spark. more..

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