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Sneak Preview of The Fledge Chronicles: The Dear Slayer

The following is a sneak-peek of the newest story from The Fledge Chronicles, “The Dear Slayer.” We catch up with Ben Gray, broken down on the side of the road…


He began to pace, then opted for opening the hood. This proved difficult to do in its dented condition. He examined the engine intently. It reminded Ben of touring that modern art museum in Manhattan with his sophisticated college roommate. Questions came to mind –Foremost: “What am I supposed to be seeing here?”


Ben was equally bewildered by six-cylinders and Jackson Pollack. But at least he knew there was usefulness underneath the hood. He still saw no value in the modern artist’s attempts to say something profound by means of splattering. This car, however, took him places. But not so much now. He almost gave in to the kind of despair that causes men to kick cars, heedless to the fragility of the human toe. But then something happened, and that something was a truck driving by. Then that something stopped, backed up in predictable fashion and stopped again a few feet away. Ben was saved. Perhaps he could escape this night with shreds of masculinity intact. Then the someone that had driven the something emerged into view.

Ben was prepared for all manner of grizzled old men. His fingernails would be blackened by manly work, his resume loaded with years of labor beneath vintage cars, Red Man hat cocked at an angle apparently intended to highlight a resemblance with Gomer Pyle. Much like many who have tried before, he was not at all accurate in his prophecies concerning the identity of his savior. Out of the stopped truck stepped the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. It was dark out, yes, but the night was an ineffective concealment in this case. Ben felt that the sun rose and he could see just fine. She smiled as she approached.

“A deer hit you?” she said.
Ben thought of her voice as the radiance of a lighthouse on the stormiest, blackest night, but with a southern accent that gave him a sharp case of what doctors in medical journals call “the tingles.”
“I said ‘A deer hit you?'” she said again.
“I think so. But I started it,” he said lamely.
“Well, it looks like you got bent up a little.”
“You should see the other guy.”
“I’m Sarah and apparently your savior.”
“I’m Ben—fully prepared for conversion.”
“Well, Ben. How’s the engine look?”
Ben peeked again at the series of hoses, steel, fans, caps and sundries.
“It seems like its fine. Maybe a slight fever?”
“Not the teacher’s pet in auto shop, I presume?”
“He called me Nancy, if that helps.”
“No worries,” she said, moving beside Ben to peer into the engine, “I have a little experience in the vehicular health department. My dad is a whiz with them.”
Ben caught the scent of her perfume and general cleanliness in his nostrils.
Is that shampoo? What is that?
He felt he had made the transition from almost heaven to the real thing. Everything about her entranced him. She was intoxicating, and he was now broken down on the side of the road under the influence.
“Well, I’d explain what’s going on with the engine,” she said, closing the hood, “but I’m not sure you’d understand, Nancy.”

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