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“This is going to be the best one yet,” he said, glancing around the inside of the van. “You just wait.” On the floor he found a handful of balloons and shoved them into his pockets. These would start the show, creating balloon animals to tickle their fancy and set them at ease. Then he would move onto the better stuff, the great stuff actually. The showstoppers. No one could compare to his show, no one.

            His breath grew heavy; beads of sweat dampened his brow. He prayed it wouldn’t ruin his make up. “Can’t have that, no we can’t. Isn’t that right?” He looked over his shoulder, reaching in the back and drawing a purple hanky to his face, attached to that was a red one, and a green one and a yellow...he laughed out loud.

            Setting it back down, he opened the glove box and took out a piece of notebook paper and read the scribbles on it. “Mrs. Stevens. Three p.m. Almost time, I should check one last time.”

            Opening the satchel, he gazed intensely at its contents. There were no balloons, no horns, no buzzers or confetti, no toys or candy, no not here.

            He reached into the satchel and instead of a bottle of bubbles he took out a bottle of chloroform, studying it carefully. Satisfied, he placed it back between the duct tape, the rope and wooden stakes for jamming the doors. Shuffling around, he checked the blade of his serrated knife and his shears for cutting the phone chords. Among the hypodermic needles and razor blades, he found the glass jars he’d been wondering about. Lifting two out of the bag, air holes punched into the lids, he made kissing noises to the scorpion and black widow he regarded as members of his family.



This limited edition, autographed chapbook of six flash stories is still available at www.shocklines.com . But don’t delay, this online book store is closing and this chap will be no longer available and out of print as the publisher has gone out of business.