Skywriting at Night

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A novel by
Barry "Mad Dog" Gottlieb

Chapter 1 

     Jet committed his first act—or crime, if you prefer—because, well, it was something to do. When you’re twelve years old you don’t need a better reason than that.

     It was on a clear, cool May afternoon that he walked the alleys, which to be quite honest is usually where he walked. Broad Street may have had the stores with their decaying window displays, the farting buses and the people—eyes glazed over on a mission from God—but the alleys! An old man pushing a shopping cart bulging with plastic bags full of soda cans. A lone bicycle tire chained to a telephone pole waiting for the rest of the bicycle to return. And a large stuffed Snoopy with a machete impaled through its heart. They don’t even need to tell their stories!

     As Jet walked by the rear of Cordin's Jewelry Store he noticed the back door cracked open just a hair. Being twelve—and a boy—he stopped to investigate, because this was odd. Even though Old Man Cordin spent the better part of his days in his front doorway trying to mentally will people inside the store to buy a pewter horseshoe charm, a pinkie ring with a cubic zirconium Mother Nature had too much taste to create or an ID bracelet that would tarnish to a sooty black within days, he wasn’t in the habit of leaving the back door unlocked.

     Jet pushed the door and peeked inside. The lights were out. That ungodly opera music that always blared from the radio with the broken speaker was missing. This was too good to be true.

     Pushing the door wide open, Jet stuck his head inside and looked around.

     "Mr. Cordin?" he called out. "You here Mr. Cordin?"

     He cautiously walked in, looking at the work tables and shelves piled high with empty gift boxes.

     "Anybody here?"

     He crept into the front showroom, the lowering sun bathing the store in a gray haze. The glass cases were filled with gold and silver and pewter jewelry. The window displays were tucked in for the night with a large black cloth.

     At one time the sign on the front window read:

Cordin's Jewelry
Watches * Rings * Gold Bought And Sold
Precious and Semi-precious Jewels

     But 27 years of direct sunlight will take its toll. Year by year the paint cracked, peeled and flaked off until on that day it read:

Cordin's Jewelry
Watches * Rings * Gold Bought And Sold
Precious And Semi-Precious Jew s

     Jet wandered from display case to display case, admiring the glittering merchandise. When he got to the end of the last case he walked behind the counter, glanced out the front window at the growing night and had an idea. Then he set to work.

Chapter 2 ]


Chapter:  1   2    3   4   5   6   7   8    9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18
                 19   20    21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34  


  Skywriting at Night - a novel by Mad Dog

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