Posted in Wretched Richard's Almanac

APRIL 26, 1970: FLAUNT YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

Shine up your sneakers, grab your party hats and noisemakers. It’s a day to cast off your inhibitions and get wild and crazy. Yes, today is World Intellectual Property Day, the day set aside to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe.” And get pleasantly pickled of course.

It’s not quite as over the top as say Fat Tuesday but it’s close. Celebrating the contributions of creators and innovators with two guys in clown suits and a person of unknown gender wearing nothing but a rubber chicken puts a fair amount of zest into a gray day in late April. And coming as it does on the heels of World Book and Copyright Day – well, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Why April 26 you ask? Because it’s the date on which the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization was established in 1970.  Perhaps you missed it.  What is intellectual property you ask? That’s the beautiful part. It’s anything you want it to be. What you are reading here at this moment by very elastic definition could be considered intellectual property – especially after three Harvey Wallbangers. So live it up; National Defense Transportation Day is nearly a month away.

These Aren’t Your Ordinary Old Bottle Rockets

An announcement in a London newspaper on April 26, 1792, described an upcoming special event in breathless anticipation: fireworks to celebrate the birthday of her royal highness the Duchess of York.

The fireworks display would depict the eruption and lava flow of Mount Etna on a scale never before seen. Under the mountain would be shown the cavern of Vulcan with the Cyclops at work forging the armor of Mars as portrayed in Virgil’s Aeneid. Music courtesy of Gluck, Haydn, Giardini and Handel.
As the work progresses, Venus and Cupid arrive to request armor for Aeneas. Mars arrives for his armor and is amorously distracted by Venus, annoying Vulcan. But at this moment the smoke thickens above, the crater on top of Etna vomits forth flames, and lava flows dreadfully down the side of the mountain. This continues with increasing violence until there is a prodigious eruption, punctuated by a tremendous explosion.

Coffee and tea are included.

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Posted in Wretched Richard's Almanac

APRIL 25, 1926: HERE THE MAESTRO DIED

The world premier of Giacomo Puccini’s last opera “Turandot” was held at Milan’s La Scala on April 25, 1926, two years after his death. Arturo Toscanini conducted. Toward the end of the third act, Toscanini laid down his baton, turned to the audience and announced: “Here the Maestro died.”  Puccini had died before finishing the opera. Subsequent performances at La Scala and elsewhere included the last few minutes of music composed by Franco Alfano using Puccini’s notes.  A highlight of the opera is “Nessun Dorma,” probably the most famous aria in all of opera.

Down at the End of Lonely Street

Elvis Presley scored his first number one hit on the Billboard Pop 100 on this date in 1956.  Recorded and released as a single in January, “Heartbreak Hotel” marked Presley’s debut on the RCA Victor record label . It spent seven weeks at number one, became his first million-seller, and was the best-selling single of 1956. The song was based on a newspaper article about a lonely man who committed suicide by jumping from a hotel window.

Posted in Wretched Richard's Almanac

APRIL 24, 1819: WHERE’S THE SODA, JERK?

Samuel Fahnestock was given a patent for the first soda fountain in 1819. Carbonated mineral water was all the rage at the time.  Joseph Priestley had created the first man-made carbonated water back in 1767, and Jacob Schweppes had developed a method of mass producing it, quickly leading to the production of different brands of soda and different flavors. Fahnestock’s soda fountain allowed these drinks to be sold by the glass. Oddly enough, it took more than fifty years for someone to create the first ice cream soda, even though ice cream had been around since at least the 10th century.

At the peak of their popularity in the 1940s and 1950s, soda fountains were everywhere – in pharmacies, ice cream parlors, candy stores, department stores, and five-and-dimes. They were public meeting places (or hangouts, when occupied by teenagers).

Soda fountains required the services of a soda jerk. The name referred not to the personality of the person serving sodas but to the jerking action used to swing the soda fountain handle back and forth when dispensing soda. The position of jerk was actually quite sought after and usually came only after an extended period of service in less desirable positions. The soda jerk was the star of the soda fountain show.

The decline of the soda fountain began in the early 1950s when the Walgreens chain introduced full self-service drug stores. Hello Dairy Queen and McDonalds and supersizing; goodbye chocolate soda with two straws and two cents plain.

Matilda, Part 5: Push Comes to Shove

“I haven’t finished my drink yet,” said Matilda. “But boy I’m starting to get anxious.”

“How about another toast?” said Humberto, winking at Odus, then turning to wink at Matilda as well.

“Okay,” said Matilda, raising her glass. “To the new owners of the Pooh-bah.”

Odus raised his glass, rum sloshing, and said: “To my dipstick what’s about to check some oil.” He chugged the rum and leered at Matilda. “Momma, you ain’t gonna know what hit you.” He stumbled toward her, reaching out, fell to his knees in front of her and let his head slump into her lap. He remained there, motionless, until Matilda pushed him and he collapsed to the floor.

“Thank goodness,” said Matilda, gulping the rest of her rum. Humberto roared with laughter.

“Just the two of us now,” he said, also stumbling as he plopped onto the chaise lounge next to her.

“You and me,” she said with a wicked smile. She pulled a small bottle from under the chaise lounge pillow, untwisted the cap and shook a small capsule into the palm of her hand. She tossed the pill into her mouth as Humberto watched.

“What’s that?” he asked suspiciously.

“It’s a real turn on,” said Matilda. “These little things make sex cosmic. Want one?”

“I don’t do that stuff,” said Humberto.

“Okay,” said Matilda. “I hope you can keep up with me.”

“Give me one,” said Humberto. “No, give me two.”

“Two?” said Matilda. “I don’t know. I’ve done two, and it’s really a knockout, but I don’t think you should. Not your first time.”

“Two,” Humberto demanded. She shook two capsules into his palm. He tossed them into his mouth and washed them down with the remaining rum. Then he began pawing at her.

“No wait,” she said, standing. “I don’t want to ruin the dress. Let’s take our clothes off first.” She pushed her dress off one shoulder. “Are you ready for more?” Humberto didn’t respond. He sat, the fingers of both hands frozen to the top button of his shirt, and stared straight ahead.

 

Humberto floated through space, doing his best to control the gossamer ship, but he couldn’t, and large objects that were not gossamer slammed into his head, one after another. He was dying. If only he could open his eyes, maybe he would survive. He concentrated on his eyes and, with great pain, willed them slowly open. He could see only a shadowy blur within the blinding brightness. As the blur sharpened, incrementally in time to the pounding of his head, he recognized Odus, retching over the side at the other end of the baby blue dinghy. Beyond, nothing but water.

 

After leaving Sweet Leilani ‘s Saloon, Matilda went to the train station, where she fed coins into the slot on a storage locker until the door swung open. Over five dollars. What bandits, she thought, as she pushed the bag filled with $100,000 U.S. dollars into the locker and shut the door. Then she returned to the harbor. She noticed that the Pooh-Bah was already gone as she mussed her hair, ripped her blouse a bit, and staggered toward a policeman. Collapsing against him, she looked up into surprised eyes and wailed: “Call my Daddy, please.”

Matilda is one of the 15 stories from Calypso, Stories of the Caribbean, available as an ebook or in a print edition with real pages and everything.

 

Posted in Wretched Richard's Almanac

APRIL 23, 1983: SATURDAY MORNING SUPERSTAR

Athlete turned actor, Buster Crabbe (Clarence Linden Crabbe II), looking back over his career, could easily have said “been there, done that.” After winning Olympic gold in 1932 for freestyle swimming, Crabbe dived into the movies, eventually starring in over a hundred movies, first taking a turn as the jungle hero in Tarzan the Fearless in the 1933 serial and a variety of jungle men in movies such as King of the Jungle that same year,  Jungle Man in 1941, and the 1952 serial King of the Congo.
Leaving the jungle for the far reaches of space, he played both Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon. His three Flash Gordon serials were Saturday morning staples in the 30s and 40s. The serials were also compiled into full-length movies. They appeared extensively on American television in the 1950s and 60s, and eventually were edited for release on home video. Later on television, Crabbe also found his way into the French Foreign Legion. As his acting career wound down, he became a spokesman for his own line of swimming pools. He died on April 23, 1983.

Don’t Try This at Home

According to the National Rifle Association, guns don’t kill people, people kill people.  On the other hand, if you were to make a fist with your index finger pointing at your intended victim, and shout Bang, bang, you’re dead, chances are the only injury inflicted would be to your pride as you endured the derisive laughter all around you.

On yet another hand, take the case of William Lawlis Pace. Nine-year-old Billy was accidently shot in the head by his older brother. Pace died on April 23, 2012.  In his sleep.  At a California nursing home – 94 and a half years after the incident. The bullet was still in his head.

Doctors in Texas where the shooting took place left the .22 caliber bullet in his head because – well, because that’s what they do in Texas.

In 2006, Pace was crowned the Guinness world record holder in the category of “unwanted cranial ammunition acquisition.” A proud moment indeed, and Wayne LaPierre did not attend the ceremony.

Thank God, the Second Amendment still protects a citizen’s right to walk around for 94 years with a bullet in his head.

Matilda, Part 4: Starry Starry Night

Humberto and Odus had already powered through a bottle of Harold’s rum in anticipation of the evening and were speculating once again on the lengths to which their prisoner might go to avoid being set afloat, even though, Humberto promised Odus, she’d be set afloat anyway, when she emerged from below, radiant, slightly flushed, blonde hair neatly combed. She wore a delicate gossamer dress.

“Sorry I took so long,” she said, smiling and sitting on the edge of a chaise lounge. Humberto had killed the engines earlier, and the yacht now gently rocked with the movement of the water.

“That’s all right,” he said, staring at her. “You’re very pretty.”

“Goddamn,” mumbled Odus, staring as well.

“Thank you,” said Matilda. “May I have a drink?”

“Yes, yes,” said Humberto, pouring rum into three tumblers. The two men had discussed at length exactly how much they should let her drink so she might reach a peak of wild abandon, yet not pass out, although Odus had made it clear that her passing out wouldn’t make any difference to him.

“It’s a beautiful night,” said Matilda, sipping at her rum. “So starry.”

“Great night for gettin’ it on,” said Odus, grinning and gulping at his rum. Matilda smiled at him, and Odus accepted her smile as encouragement. “Great night for really gettin’ it on,” he added. Matilda just smiled again, then lowered her eyes to her drink. Humberto and Odus downed their drinks, and Humberto filled their glasses. They watched and fidgeted as their quarry sipped in slow motion.

“How about a little chugalug?” said Odus, lifting his glass. “To a starry gettin’ it on night.” They all emptied their glasses, and Humberto winked at Odus who burped in reply. Humberto quickly refilled the three glasses. Matilda looked around.

“I’ll kind of miss the yacht. But Harold will just get another one, so it doesn’t matter much. How many boats have you stolen?”

“Six, seven maybe,” said Humberto.

“So are you really gonna go through with it?” said Odus.

“Of course,” said Matilda. “I promised.”

“Well, when we gonna do it?” shouted Odus.

“Soon,” said Matilda. “After I have another drink. I need to get warmed up.”

“You get yourself good and hot,” said Odus. He was sweating again. “I gotta pee first, anyhow. Save my place.” He stood and walked away, swaying as though they were adrift in a stormy sea.

“I really don’t like him very much,” said Matilda, looking at Humberto through big eyes. “It would be better with just the two of us.”

Humberto grinned. “He’ll probably pass out any way. Here, we’ll help him along.” He poured more rum into his missing partner’s glass and winked at her.

“Just us two,” said Matilda, putting her hand on his arm. She spotted Odus weaving toward them and said more loudly: “And after you steal them, can you always sell them – or fence them – do you fence boats?”

“I guess so,” said Humberto, also in a stage voice. “Sweet Leilani will pay $100,000 for this baby.”

“Wow,” said Matilda. “Who’s Sweet Leilani?”

“He runs a saloon in Caracas,” Humberto answered.

“He?”

“Real name’s Jack McIntyre,” said Odus, still standing and swaying. “They call him Sweet Leilani ’cause it’s Sweet Leilani’s Saloon. Why don’t you take your clothes off now, and be sweet t’us.”

continued

Matilda is one of the 15 stories from Calypso, Stories of the Caribbean, available as an ebook or in a print edition with real pages and everything.

Posted in Wretched Richard's Almanac

APRIL 22, 1886: BUT WILL YOU RESPECT ME IN THE MORNING?

In a blow to lounge lechers everywhere, the state of Ohio passed a law making seduction unlawful. Covering any man seduction1over 18, it prohibited sex, consensual or not, with a woman of any age if the woman were being taught or instructed by the man. It covered all subject matter, leaving a lot of room for interpretation.  Other states jumped on the anti-seduction bandwagon. In Virginia, he’d better not try to engineer an “illicit connexion with any unmarried female of previous chaste character” using the promise of marriage. In Georgia, he couldn’t “seduce a virtuous unmarried female and induce her to yield to his lustful embraces.” In some jurisdictions, however, a woman could not press charges on her own behalf; only the father could do so based on his property interests in his daughters’ chastity.

Naturally, such laws were enforced with varying degrees of fervor. An unfortunate man trapped by the law in New York was headed for certain conviction until he proposed to his victim during the trial. Just to make certain, he didn’t back out, the judge brought in a minister and had the ceremony performed then and there.

A court in Michigan, on the other hand, went out of its way to favor the accused male. On three charges of seduction, two were thrown out because the woman was no longer virtuous after the first seduction. The other was tossed when the court ruled that her claim that they had sex in a buggy was physically impossible.

 

Matilda, Part 3: Matilda Makes Nice

“Quit staring at me,” said Matilda. She was lying on the big chaise lounge, letting the sun bake her. Her words took Odus by surprise; her eyes had been shut, and he had assumed he was unobserved. “You animal,” she added, folding her arms over her breasts.

“Well, people gonna look at you, you lay around half naked. But that’s what you want. You want everybody to look. Hey look at my hot little bod. Maybe you even want more than lookin’, huh? Maybe them titties touched.”

“I was minding my business.” She pulled her big T-shirt on. “I don’t want you to look, touch, or anything else. Except go away. Pervert.” Odus clenched his fists and moved toward her. “Humberto told you to leave me alone.” Odus stopped and retreated.

“Bitch,” he mumbled.

“Asshole.”

 

“So what we gonna do with her?” asked Odus. “If we take her to Caracas and let her go, she’ll go to the police.”

“Hmmm,” said Humberto. “There’s a dinghy – little blue thing, just like the bitch’s baby blue eyes. Maybe we should set her adrift in it. That wouldn’t be killing her. And somebody would probably find her after a while.”

Matilda came in from the deck just in time to hear his suggestion. Seeing Humberto entertain the idea, she quickly said: “But I’d probably die. I’m not very rugged. And they’d catch you and. . .” She pulled a finger across her throat. “Take me to Caracas. I won’t tell anybody. Or I’ll tell them you blew up the boat and they’ll stop looking for it.”

“But they’ll look for us, ” said Humberto.

“I’ll give them phony descriptions.”

“Why would you do such a thing?” asked Humberto.

“Because I really don’t care if Harold gets his damn boat back. You probably deserve it more than he does. He’s an arrogant s o b. Look at the name of the boat – Pooh-Bah.”

“What does it mean?” asked Odus.

“It’s his way of telling the world how important he is, a high and mighty fart, a really super prick.” Odus laughed in appreciation of her description; Humberto clucked. “Please take me to Caracas.” She looked from one man to the other with wide eyes. “You can trust me. I know I was mean to you. But I’ll be nicer, a lot nicer.”  Odus frowned again as though he weren’t buying any of it. Matilda grabbed his hand and placed it on her bare knee. “I know you liked the way I looked before out on deck and wanted to touch me.” Odus was sweating now. “We’ll have a good time before we get to Caracas.” She stared at him until he flinched. Then she turned to include Humberto in the conversation. “All of us. I can really be nice.”

“Well,” said Humberto, delivering judgment. “We got time to think on it – until tomorrow afternoon – and we’ll still have the little blue dinghy if we need it.”

“And we’ll use it if you’re not really, really nice tonight,” said Odus.

continued

Matilda is one of the 15 stories from Calypso, Stories of the Caribbean, available as an ebook or in a print edition with real pages and everything.

Posted in Wretched Richard's Almanac

APRIL 21, 1986: SEEMS LIKE WE STRUCK OUT

Notorious gangster Al Capone moved to Chicago in 1919 where he built a career in gambling, alcohol, and prostitution rackets, eventually becoming Chicago’s go-to guy in the world of crime. He oversaw his various enterprises from a suite at the Lexington Hotel until his arrest in 1931.  He died in 1947.

The Lexington Hotel outlasted Capone by a good many years. In the 1980s, a construction Al-Capone-psd53402company undertook a renovation of the historic hotel. While surveying the building, the company made some unusual discoveries, including a shooting range and an elaborate series of hidden tunnels connecting to taverns and brothels and providing escape routes should the Chicago police get frisky and raid Capone’s headquarters. Most intriguing of all was a secret vault beneath the hotel, where rumor had it, Capone hid vast sums of his ill-gotten gains.

These discoveries were just too tempting for “investigative reporter” Geraldo Rivera to let pass by.  So on April 21, 1986, Geraldo planned to open the vault on live TV in a much ballyhooed special, The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults. What would the two-hour media event reveal? Piles of plunder? Bodies of Capone competitors? Jimmy Hoffa? Judge Crater? Among those who stood by Geraldo as the whole world watched were a medical examiner and agents of the Internal Revenue Service, lending the entire undertaking an aura of grim importance.

The vault was opened, and there . . . ? A lot of dirt and a couple of empty bottles. Geraldo did his best to snatch something out of the rubble, suggesting to 30 million disappointed viewers that the bottles were exciting because they had been used for bathtub gin during Prohibition. A nice try, but he summed up the evening by saying: “Seems like we struck out.”

Matilda, Part 2: What to Do with Our Surprise Passenger

Humberto stared at the sea ahead of them for several moments, then mumbled. “We probably got an hour or two on them, but they can overtake us. And they’ll know we’re headed for Caracas.” “Maybe they’ll think she took the boat out,” Odus offered.

“I would never take the boat anywhere without my stepdaddy’s permission,” said Matilda, looking toward heaven.

Thinking aloud, Humberto half spoke, half mumbled. “They’re expecting us to go to Caracas. What if we went to Maracaibo instead? They wouldn’t expect that. We could lose the yacht there. God, I hate to lose the yacht. It’s worth a bundle. Could we hide it somewhere for a while? No, we’ve got to lose it. But what about the girl?”

“That’s easy,” said Odus. He took two quick steps and scooped her up in his arms before she could react. “Let the sharks handle it.” As he carried her across the deck, she now twisted and flailed and fought him, real fear in her eyes for the first time. He leaned into the railing and held her out over the water.

“Stop,” shouted Humberto. “We can’t do that.”

“Listen to him,” pleaded Matilda, looking alternately at Odus and the sea stretching out below. “He’s older and wiser.”

“Goddamn it,” Odus muttered, lowering her to the deck, but fondling her as much as he could before she was on her feet and hurrying toward Humberto, her unlikely savior.

“That would be murder,” said Humberto. “Stealing is one thing, but murder is something else. That’s bad. They catch us, they shoot us. Besides, we are not killers.” The fear in Matilda’s eyes disappeared with his words, and her composure returned. Humberto was not watching her, did not see the change in her expression. He didn’t realize that he had lost command.

“I got an idea,” said Odus, rejoining them.

“Wow,” said Matilda, circling him, looking him up and down. “This should be good.”

“We find a hidden cove, maybe on one of the coastal islands,” said Odus, beaming. “Then we ransom the chick.” He looked to Humberto for the almost certain accolade. Humberto stared back at him for a moment, then turned his gaze to Matilda, allowing the idea to parade through his mind for inspection. Matilda, on the other hand, laughed out loud.

“What’s so funny?” Odus demanded.

“Ransom,” said Matilda through her laughter. “Didn’t you ever read ‘The Ransom of Red Chief’? Of course not. What am I thinking? You don’t read. You’re thinking my stepfather would pay to get me back. The most he’d give you is a bottle of champagne and a thank you note for taking me off his hands.”

“Your step papa doesn’t like you?” said Humberto.

“Positively hates me.”

“And your mama?”

“Well, she probably doesn’t hate me, but she’s more comfortable when I’m not around.”

“This is not the happy americano family from TV,” said Humberto, eyes narrowing.

“The Cleavers we’re not,” said Matilda. “Maybe Lizzie Borden and her family.”

“Hmmm,” said Humberto. “Then it’s very possible that the entire U.S. Navy is not pursuing us at the moment.”

“Whoops,” said Matilda; then she shrugged. “You’re right. I’d guess at this moment they’re probably peering into the volcano, saying it’s my own fault I missed it, if I couldn’t be in the right place at the right time. So now what?”

“Caracas,” said Humberto.

continued

Matilda is one of the 15 stories from Calypso, Stories of the Caribbean, available as an ebook or in a print edition with real pages and everything.

 

Posted in Wretched Richard's Almanac

April 20, 1935: Splish Splash, Snooky Was Taking a Bath

A music staple of the 40s and 50s, Your Hit Parade, made its radio debut on April 20, 1935. It lasted for nearly 25 years before being done in by rock and roll music – and perhaps Snooky Lanson. It began as a 60-minute program with 15 songs played in a random format, and eventually moved to television where the seven top-rated songs of the week were presented each week in elaborate production numbers requiring constant set and costume changes.  The list of top songs was compiled through a closely guarded top secret algorithm that involved record sales, quarters plunked into jukeboxes, shoplifted sheet music and the divination of an unidentified mystic in Memphis, Tennessee.

Dorothy Collins , Russell Arms, Snooky Lanson and Gisèle MacKenzie were top-billed during the show’s peak years. And Lucky Strike cigarettes starred throughout its run.

As the rock and roll era took over, the program’s chief fascination became seeing a singer like Snooky Lanson struggle with songs like Splish Splash and Hound Dog.

Matilda, Part 1: The Poobah
Goes to Sea

It couldn’t have been easier.

The Pooh-Bah’s engine roared to life without protest, and Humberto negotiated his way past the other yachts attempting to outsway each other as a show of sovereignty over the Playa Marique harbor. Behind him, the Bacchanal Beach Club sleeping off a night of hedonism with a reggae beat became tiny and meaningless.

Odus, useless as usual, lazed in a deck chair, dead to the world. But Humberto didn’t need him at the moment, and he enjoyed the solitude. He stood at the wheel as though he were the very proud – and legitimate – owner of the Pooh-Bah, as she plied the now glistening water. He whistled a lilt he had learned as a child on the streets of a less cosmopolitan Caracas. When he delivered this fine yacht to Caracas he would be rewarded handsomely. This time he’d take a little vacation. Buenos Aires, maybe. Or Rio.

Humberto’s reverie was shattered by the appearance of someone who wasn’t Odus – a young woman whose tousled blonde hair and oversized T-shirt suggested that until a few minutes ago she had been sleeping. She half glared at him through half-open eyes.

“Who the hell are you?” demanded Humberto, his eyes very open.

“Who the hell are you?” the young woman retorted.

“I asked first.”

“I don’t care. It’s my boat.” She paused. “Well, it’s Harold’s.”

“Who’s Harold?”

“None of your business. Get off this boat.”

“Is that the son?” She didn’t answer. “Or the father. You are a mistress to one of them, aren’t you?”

“You animal. Harold is my stepfather. It’s his boat.”

“Of course,” said Humberto. “I didn’t recognize you all messed up like that. You’re the daughter.”

“Matilda,” she answered. “Now who are you?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Humberto growled. “I’m in charge here.”

“Like hell you are.” She rested clenched fists on her hips, yielding not a bit. “You’re trespassing. Just what are you up to?”

“I am stealing your stepfather’s boat. And why are you here? You should be on your way to the volcano with your mama and papa.”

“I was with Ramon. He left and I fell – hey, this is none of your business. Who do you think you are? My nanny?”

“Your parents, they will be worried. Damnit. They’ll come looking for you, find the boat gone. I ought to slit your throat.”

“You bet your sweet ass they’ll come looking for me. The police maybe even the navy are probably after us already. You’re ass is grass.”

Odus stumbled toward them, tucking his shirt into his pants. “Hey man, who’s the chick?”

“Don’t call me a chick,” Matilda snapped. “My name is Matilda. But don’t call me that either. Just don’t call me.”

“Hot little chick, isn’t she?” said Odus, staring at her and grinning. “What’s she doing here?”

“She’s a stowaway,” said Humberto.

“I am not. I belong here. But you don’t, and you’ll both be in jail before long.”

“Nice legs,” said Odus, inspecting her. “I’ll bet she’s got a cute ass, too.”

“God, you’re slime,” Matilda said, making a face to suggest she was about to throw up.

“You little bitch,” said Odus, raising his arm to strike her.

“Stop it,” said Humberto.

“Yeh,” said Matilda, who had flinched only momentarily. “If I have any bruises when they catch you, you’ll probably never see the outside of a cell again, that is if they don’t shoot you.”

“What’s she talking about?” asked Odus, turning to Humberto.

“Our plans may have been fouled up, thanks to little miss hot pants here,” said Humberto. Matilda smiled at him. “Let me think,” he said.

“Oooh, that should be exciting,” said Matilda. “Can I watch?”

continued

Matilda is one of the 15 stories from Calypso, Stories of the Caribbean, available as an ebook or in a print edition with real pages and everything.