Chapter 3

Written by: GreggMattson


“You killed Mother?”
A lightning bolt flashed simultaneously with an ear-splitting CRACK! As if the bolt gasped for breath, a deathly pause preceded a deafening crash that shook the police station as the lights went out.
“I did…I did!” Clara sat abruptly in a puddle from her wet dress, sobbing quietly.
“Of course you did, Clara,” said Deputy Harmon, looking outside. “This is a nasty storm. Be grateful you are not out there. Let’s get you something to drink and we’ll talk.” She added under her breath, “Wow! The entire Dawson clan is nuts.”
Lighting her torch, she took Clara’s hand and they walked into the back room, “Such icy fingers. Come with me sweetie, the coffee is already hot and we’ll get you all warmed up.”
“But you don’t un-der-staaaaand,” Clara shrieked.
Emergency lights cast a cold, dim pallor inside the kitchen of “Mother of Cod fine Seafood.”
“What are we going to do? Mother Marie is broken and leaking oil,” said Benjamin.
'Really?” snapped Jonas, unleashing his temper. “Marcus damaged it badly. It must go back to the service depot.”
“Then take Mother there. We have to work,” Janie placed a Cod fillet on the gas-fired grill. It sizzled. “We have customers in spite of the storm.”
The grill-vent fans started as the lights returned and illuminated the growing oil slick.
Janie said, “I’ll get a mop.”
“Not so fast lady,” McLeish barked as he stepped through the swinging door. “What happened?”
“Chief,” Jonas replied. “I am glad you’re here. Marcus tried to put us out of business.”
“Why do you say that?”
“He shot our masc-bot. Now we have to do all the work.”
“Many people want you out of business,” said McLeish. “Mother Marie represents something many people can’t accept.”
“Many people do accept that we have the world’s smartest masc-bot here,” argued Jonas. “That’s why we have so much business.” His face turned a darker shade of crimson and beads of sweat formed on his brow.
“Not everyone,” growled McLeish. “Wise up and learn to run this place without that monstrosity.” 
McLeish backed through the door. Jonas yelled, “But Chief, the police report? We had property damage. You must arrest Marcus!”
He continued without hesitation and nodded to patrons seated at their linen covered tables with candled centerpieces and who watched as he passed. A young couple entered and glanced back as McLeish left.
Marcus parked the car in his garage. He reached forward, patted its dashboard and whispered, “They don’t build them like this anymore.”
He silently reviewed his day and then said, “A lot of people wanted Mother gone. So, I did a good thing, right?”
Lightning flashed through the garage door windows and embedded persistent patterns of the inside garage walls. Rolling booms indicated the storm’s passing.
“Very soon, everything will be different.”
Marcus went inside and walked along the brightly lit hallway. 
Melissa looked up from her book, “Hi honey. How was your day?”
Gregg Mattson (USA)


Greg, I didn't get it until I read it the second time. It will be a challenge for follow up. I like the dry humor and could see this as a serial straight from 'The Twilight Zone'. It also makes Clara's admission of guilt surreal too. I'm chuckling over 'Mother Of Cod' and 'Masc-Bot'. Great piece!
Gregg.  You are a truly heartless man.  Kudos.  I have a feeling that by Chapter 6, I'm going to be pulling my hair out.