By Glen Donaldson
Beneath the flimsy cover of an upturned umbrella, Holmes Garvey, ex-lead singer of the once chart-topping liquid funk four piece Sherlock Holmes and the Mysteries, strode through the front gates of the overgrown cemetery amidst heavy rain and deafening cracks of thunder, taking care not to get his piercings wet.
It was after midnight on his 39th birthday and he was headed straight for the same place he always sought out when the need took him – a hollowed out tree stump next to the unmarked grave along the eastern side stone wall. Visitors to the graveyard knew the stone wall as the marker that separated the companion and family plots on one side from the single graves on the other. Just about anyone else would have needed either a compass or a local spirit guide to locate this exact spot inside Spider Gates Cemetery, but after so many late night trips he could have felt his way there blindfolded.
Clutched under one arm was a sealed waterproof bag containing roughly two dozen stolen printer ink cartridges ready to be placed next to the others already inside the hollow until the time was right to fence them. Garvey knew better than most that printer consumables were in high demand, and took pleasure in the knowledge that, ounce for ounce, they were far more expensive than some illegal drugs.
His sister in law worked as a purchasing analyst for a public utility in Las Vegas and was in the habit of ordering thousands of dollars of extra printer ink and toner, having it delivered to her office and then getting him to ship it off to a New Jersey company for resale. What was ordered in Vegas didn’t always stay in Vegas.
And then he heard it – the unmistakable crackle of a police radio somewhere close within the darkness. A shifty look spread across Garvey’s face and the elevator inside him began to fall with dizzying speed. All thought fled from him, the way the water draws back before a tsunami. There was only a great emptiness. Sensing the power balance of his situation and a new reality was about to unfold, he closed his eyes and an afterimage formed on the back of his eyelids, a 4 x 4 precast prison cell with a leaky ceiling.
Soft, but loud enough to be caught above the rain, he heard words double dipped in irony, surely for his benefit: “Copy that.”
Glen Donaldson (Brisbane, Australia) is not another writer who wishes to share the names of his pet twin cats, for reasons including the fact he doesn’t own any. He has had stories appear in more than two dozen print and on-line collections. He identifies with the label ‘idealist’, though he secretly wishes he was more of a realist.