The Tiger Cries at Midnight
A collection of my award winning short stories and excerpts from my recent novels. More
Charlie was more than morose that final Monday morning. As a mid-level manager, he was the man in charge of hiring security guards for the Cooksey Management Company and it seemed to him that his nightmares would never end. As he lingered on the Washington beltway in a six-mile backup, his stomach wrenched. He had already sat in the mummifying heat for an hour and a half, and as he watched the thirty-eighth car pull onto the shoulder and race toward the exit, he decided he couldn’t wait any longer so, in a quick jerking motion, he shifted his car into second, turned his wheels toward the shoulder, jammed on the accelerator and threw the car into third before he spotted the blue and red lights behind him. Just my luck, Charlie thought, just my stupid luck . . . to be the only man the cops nab the entire day.
Charlie lost another thirty minutes while the man-in-blue examined his license, his registration, his tags, and all the stickers on his windshield. The officer even checked the Sea World and Disney stickers on his rear bumper before kicking Charlie’s low front right tire three times.
Charlie was ready to scream! His gas gauge read empty and he knew he had to get to work fast or he’d be fired. He’d been late too many times already and he had no clue as to what lie he could tell this time. And now he had to pee, God, did he have to pee. He was exploding inside and out. He knew he had to get to his office fast or he’d have hell to pay. Charlie grabbed his cell phone, but he’d forgotten to pay last month’s bill and all he heard was dead air, not even static, he thought, just death. He reached down for his cup of 7-11 coffee, which was room temperature now, too tedious to drink, but he fumbled for it anyway, like an infant fumbles for a set of bobbing car keys, knowing his victory would be pyrrhic, but too pissed at the officer to go without at least one more quick shot of caffeine. And as he fumbled, the coffee slopped out of the cup and ran down the right leg of his trousers and now all he could think about was how desperately he needed to pee. He smooshed his heavy right hand down, trying to push the cup to the passenger’s seat, bursting the cup, as the rest of the coffee soaked into his pants.