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Monday, January 21, 2013

January 14 2013 Short Story Challenge_Voodoo Road


Let's Write in 2013 

January 14, 2013 Writing Prompt:


"
During his third night out of town, a man traveling on business discovers a voodoo doll in his hotel room.”


"Voodoo Road" 

       Jaden Veneris was midway through a six-day business trip to the Southland, hitting New Orleans, Shreveport, and Baton Rouge after Atlanta, Huntsville, Mobile, and Jackson, Missippi.  Tonight he’d stay over in Shreveport, heading to Baton Rouge tomorrow AM. He’d checked in a couple of hours ago and eaten dinner in the hotel restaurant, then sipped a Scotch in the hotel bar, fending off a friendly lady in a strapless sequined cocktail dress and a wealth of poufy bleached blond tresses. Although a long-married husband, Jaden was never averse to a night on the town while out of town, but just not tonight: tonight he had more important, and longer-lasting, business to transact.

       He had not even brought in his suitcase when he checked in, because he didn’t want to enter the hotel room until the business had been done; but it was now after 8 PM, and his contact had told him “any time after 7.” So, leaving the hotel lounge, he walked outside to the parking lot and found his Mercedes SUV. As a travelling pharmaceutical Sales District Manager, he needed the SUV to carry samples and supplies, and it was provided by his grateful company. Jaden was the best Sales District Manager in the company’s 50-year history, and it was not just his charisma or ability to charm birds off the trees and money into his wallet. No, Jaden Veneris had secret talents, or rather covert sources, for which he paid quite highly, but very gratefully. An annual income in the high six figures, a high-class company vehicle, a three-story McMansion in his suburb’s Country Club Estates, Armani suits: to have all that, he’d gladly pay the costs of transacting private metaphysical business.

       Tonight’s transaction, though, wasn’t designed to further his sales abilities, nor to gently and telepathically persuade the VP of Sales to increase Jaden’s role or his income and commissions. Tonight would implement Jaden’s next life stage: the demise of his wife Marcia Raye, clearing the field for him to install his new mistress and future trophy wife, former cabaret torch singer Reeanne Ames, a sultry bombshell he had met at a sales convention in New Orleans six months earlier. Immediately Jaden had acquired the agreeable Reeanne as a “kept woman,” setting her up in an expensive apartment in the French Quarter, and visited her whenever possible, a reasonable trip from his home in a suburb outside Memphis. But he wanted more, and believed a woman who looked like Reeanne would polish off his lifestyle image very nicely.

       When Jaden unlocked his hotel room, he found it drab, bland, and therefore very acceptable. This trip he had deliberately chosen a chain known for its accommodation of business travelers, one that did not have valet parking, or a doorman, or a concierge who would be likely to notice unannounced visitors. He wanted privacy; tomorrow in New Orleans he would stay at Reeanne’s apartment, and very shortly she would be moving up to Memphis into his home. For tonight what he saw on the bed as soon as he entered the room was a one-foot high homemade cloth doll, rather like a Raggedy Ann, except that no Raggedy Ann is made with breasts and poufed “big” blonde hair, nor a sexy cocktail-style “little black dress,” nor emblazoned with the name “Marcia Raye” in embroidered red letters across its oversize chest. No commercially made Raggedy Ann has a ligature tightened around its skull, nor a garrote cutting deeply into its throat, nor a steak knife stabbed through its heart, and it hasn’t been dipped in pig’s blood, soaking its clothes, body, and internal stuffing.

       Jaden Veneris was an excellent sales manager because he understood people, and he readily recognized talents, far more so than most individuals. He also did not take risks when he really wanted something, and he really wanted Marcia Raye gone. So he had contracted with the best voodoo practitioner anywhere between South Carolina’s coast and West Texas, had paid very highly, and soon he would reap the rewards. Just as he shut and locked the hotel room door, the phone rang. Before he even took his next breath, Jaden knew what it would be: the Sheriff of his county calling to report a tragic demise, the death of Marcia Raye (nee Willmont) Veneris.


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