Aug 27, 2009 by

Read TUCK 1 here

Read TUCK 2 here

Round 3 Challenge: Incorporate the death of a dog into your next passage. It should be no more than 400 words long.

If the dead doberman Frank found a week later on his doorstep next to the Washington Times delivery was an attempt to scare him off the case, it backfired. Standing in his bathrobe, a mug of black coffee in hand, Frank scanned the empty street. A note was pinned to the hound’s flank. He bent down to read it:

Love, Blackjack5555

The letters had been individually cut out and glued from a newspaper. By the font he could tell it was from the New York Times. Frank chortled. It didn’t go wasted on him that the would-be assassins were trying to scare Frank off by sending him kindergarten messages made out of the same liberal rag that had spent all of last year creaming itself over Obama as the next messiah and all of this year making up excuses for him.

Frank sipped his coffee and contemplated the note. Most death threats were like spam to him: everyday nuisances to be promptly chucked in the trash. But this one intrigued him. In part it was the early delivery. That the terrorists had already found him out meant they had breached intelligence security. But mostly it was the message: Love, Blackjack5555.

A lesser agent would have interpreted the signoff as a signature. But Frank Braun wasn’t top dog for nothing. “Jack” also meant ‘to hunt by jacklight.’ Sandwich that between “Black” and “5555” – or May 5, 1955, the day that West Germany became a sovereign state, in the same year that opened with the assassination of the president of Panama – and the reference became a veiled allusion to the coming assassination of America’s first negro president by violent non-state actors.

But the most devious part of the signoff was the word “Love.” It was a devil’s wink. Whoever composed this note knew full well Frank would decipher it. It wasn’t a death threat, after all. It was a declaration of war. Frank Braun was up against one twisted motherfucker.

He swallowed the last of his coffee then shoved the corpse with his foot off the porch. He’d dispose of it after breakfast. There was no point in calling in the CSI team. The results would just send them on a useless goose chase.

As he went back inside, he made a mental note that the grass needed mowing.

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  1. lol, I wonder what BlackJack5555 will have to say about this.

    • Looks like Blackjack5555 hasn’t got the guts to man up. But maybe I should cut the guy some slack. It’s hard work to unconditionally love everyone who’s ever lived, who’s living, and who will live. Would someone nominate this man for the Nobel Peace and Love Prize?

  2. So it is a signature, is it – or both? Would that make Frank ‘lesser’ after all or is it just about meaningful identity? Better to have just shot Frank when he came to the door! Oh! I’m losing the plot that would not have met with the Host’s expectations!

    Choices are getting harder and I guess that trend will continue as all is unveiled.

      • You got me – I’d never read it. Now Blackjack5555 has taken on a whole new meaning!!!

        Its a good example of how we can all fall foul of each others meaning just because we come to it from a different place – communication, its such a problem; we need to understand that, it could save a lot of aggravation. We all need to be aware that we are all unique and we are different with everyone with whom we interface. You and BJ4x5 both have elements of truth associated with your current approach you just need to combine the truth and dump the fantasy! Have fun. {:-)

  3. Probably the genre as much as the ideology but I am just a bit bored by this. Not caring about Frank doesn’t help. Not as interesting or as controversial as you hoped, Tuck. Maybe next week will impress, votes allowing.

    • Good because I heard it on the grapevine that Frank doesn’t care about Dan either. Who said I was looking to be interesting? But you’re right about the controversial bit. I’m just such a kindhearted S.O.B. I didn’t want to upset the readers.

  4. Blackjack5555

    It has nothing to do with not have the guts to talk to you tuck, when a child misbehaves just to get attention adults must ignore the misbehavings of the that child. I guess I didn’t make myself clear to you thou so I feel that I must correct the misconception I have given you. I wasn’t telling you what you can and can’t write, that is your free will. Free will is God’s wind that separates the grain from the chaff. What I was saying is that I believe that you are worth saving. I know many people like you, tuck, you are what is called the “funny” bully (at least they think they are). You go through life picking on the people that have the qualities that you hate about yourself, never knowing that is the reason for it, you think it just a good way to get any attention, good or bad. This is where your pain comes from, because no one wants to be around a person that acts like you. I feel bad for you, because like the others of your type I know under your hard shell, you have a soft, loving, and kind soul that should be shared with humankind. You have shown that you have no interest in growing and I can now see that your story is just a ploy for attention, so I will leave you to your demons, brother. Just please remember this in your darkest hour, there is at least one real living person on this earth that love you unconditionally. Love Blackjack5555

    PS. Blackjack5555’s meaning is this. Blackjack as in “a short, leather-covered club, consisting of a heavy head on a flexible handle, used as a weapon.” It was my father’s nick name as a kid. The “5555” is the birth years of my dead parents. Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Exactly. I’m picking on you because you have those qualities that I hate about myself. Deep down, under my hard shell, there is a soft, loving and kind Blackjack5555 that wants to share itself with humankind. You figured me out.

      Your dad’s nickname was Blackjack and 5555 is the birth years of your dead parents? Right. And the moon is made of cheddar. Maybe you should get back on your magic carpet and ride God’s wind back to Never Neverland. Although then I wouldn’t have anyone to turn to in my darkest hour.

      With Unconditional Love, Funny Bully

      • Blackjack5555

        I didn’t say that you where picking on me. I am above that kind of thing. If you would like to talk to me more you don’t have to try to insult me, just talk. I think that you have a very good person inside, but it wouldn’t be very much fun if we were all the same.
        I like your righting style. Although by making the hero hateful you do turn a great deal of people off to it. Heroes should be all around good guys, they can be bad asses without being hateful. The great thing about change is that it can happen to any of us at any time, even the characters in a story.
        As for the name, I guess you should get a hold of N.A.S.A., and let them know of your new findings.
        Love, Jack

  5. You know we don’t meet eye to eye on political ideology but from a craft point of view I admire the manner in which you construct your prose and the fact you found a way to weave into the plot and be historically correct (I checked) Blackjack’s name.

    While I don’t necessarily “care” about Frank I do find him intriguing in an devil’s advocate kind of way. I particularly liked the ending – with all this running about in Frank’s head, he can detach and make remark about the grass.

    And you know I still think your an S.O.B – but it’s not about personalities here, but the writing and for that, I hope you make it through the next round.

    • Jodi, so you’re saying that you don’t care about the fact that you have to care about a character? That’s poetry to my ears. I’ll even forgive your bleeding heart politics. At least you’re sensible when it comes to fiction.

  6. Auggie

    dead dog right off the black jack, i mean the bat, good. none of this beating around the Bush with stars and fish. i just hope frank can prevent the assasination.

  7. At last the knives have come out. Let me be the first to extend my thanks to Auggie and Jodi (“If you’ve got nothing constructive to contribute Auggie why don’t you just go piss in your own corner…”). About time people say what’s on their mind and stop pandering and kissing ass. I salute you both. Keep fighting the bad fight. You’re giving us what we want: sweat, blood and tears.

    Host, get out of bed and get online. Blackjack5555 has two comments waiting on the admin page for you to approve. I tried to approve them but can’t. I can’t respond to them when they’re not even posted. Get on it. This is no time to be sleeping. You’re missing all the fun.

    • A thanks from you Tuck … I shall go and print it off and frame it for my wall! Credit where credit is due and bitch slaps where they are also due!

  8. And I never considered the thank you might readily become a collectors item after the 4th!

  9. Enjoy the fun while you can, Tuck. A Damocles sword is hanging over your head.

  10. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out one of the necks on the chopping block is mine. Bring it on, host. You better know how to swing hard, cause I’ll flex my neck muscles and break that puny axe.

  11. Tsk tsk, Host.

  12. Looks like you dodged a bullet. The heat is on to impress this week.

  13. Just proves that it’s better to be an ass than to be silent. Blackjack Eros must be wetting himself with blessings and joy.

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