Obsessive Compulsive Amateur Sleuth, Scene 10

Written by Mark Wm Smith

An overeducated, blue-collar cowboy, Mark Wm Smith grew up on along the banks of the Yellowstone River in Eastern Montana. Raised by a long haul trucker and a bartending waitress, Mark learned the hard ways of the modern frontier, scraping life from the unforgiving high chaparral.

September 11, 2020

“Obsessive Compulsion” Scene 10

Bennington recognized the missed stop sign when Gloria laid her palm on the dash.

She shrieked. “Slow down before your hurt someone!”  

“It’ll be okay, Dear.” He slipped past a moving van and hit the brakes to prevent a kiss with the flash of taillights ahead of them.


“Yes, yes, Sweetie.” His thoughts leap-frogged through the pond of memories, searching options for a weekend getaway, knowing Gloria’s spotlight would seek him out once she regained emotional control.

The automobile in front of them sped away.

Bennington pressed the gas pedal to catch it. His head bobbed against the headrest. 

Gloria cursed. “Where are you going?” she demanded.

A red Volkswagen Beetle cut in before he could close the void and then slowed once the movement was complete.

“Come on, buddy! Did your grandma teach you to drive that thing?” He pushed the one-car-length limit until the motor compartment of the Bug was no longer visible.

“Benny,” Gloria pleaded. “What’s the rush? I thought this was a restful weekend.”

“You are correct, Honeybutton.” He shook off the anxiety. “My excitement for the getaway part has me edgy.”

He glimpsed a van swinging onto a side street in the right-hand mirror. 

Bennington zipped into the gap and sped past the uncooperative Volkswagen, knuckles turning white around the steering wheel, fighting the urge to flip the guy a bird. “Once we break free from traffic…”

Gloria groaned. Her fist gripped the safety handle near her head. “If we break free,” she said with a judgemental whine.

“Oh please, Glory.” He scrunched his brow. The stiffening of his forehead muscles triggered a reminder to tend to social cues. He tipped the rearview mirror in his direction and raised his eyebrows twice at his reflection. “Boy, you are right, my love. I’ve let so much negative energy build.” With a shrug, he let his handgrip loosen up. Pressure bled away, releasing an idea from his memory banks. “You know that chalet in Aspen? I figured we’d drive up, unwind—”

A siren howl drew his attention to the rear view. 

“Shit!” he exclaimed at the red and blue bubbler advertising his guilt to the public.

The cop in the passenger seat waved him to the side.

“I told you, Benny,” Gloria said.

Taughtness built around Bennington’s eye sockets. His windpipe constricted. He tugged for air. It had disappeared into an unexplainable vacuum, preventing the intake of oxygen. He sucked short spasmodic bits of it. 

“You’ve got to pull over, Benny.” Gloria viewed the cruiser over her shoulder. “They want you to stop.”

Bennington stared at the cars pulling aside and calculated the space their movement created. It presented a tiny window for a getaway. His foot twitched between the floor pedals. 

“Benny!” Gloria yelled right into his ear.

He swerved right and stomped for the brake, missing it and revving the engine high before he recovered.

Gloria gasped as they bumped over the curb. “What’s happening to us, Benny?” Her cracking voice unhinged a few more nerves. 

Bennington’s hand shook as he grasped for the handle. He missed twice before landing a desperate jerk that popped the door open. In his attempt to climb out, he hooked his toe on the running board.

The approaching officer halted, the snap of his sidearm holster as loud as a gunshot. “Sir! Stay in the vehicle, please.”

Bennington lifted his hand to signal agreement. The move caused him to miss a grab for the armrest. He tumbled to the roadway. The thud of moist clay against ceramic confused him. Two or three seconds passed before he realized his head had bounced on the blacktop. There was no sense of pain. He focused on the policeman bent over him.

“You alright, sir?” The voice came out muffled. The officer didn’t wait for an answer. He turned toward the back of his car to say, “Contusion. Semi-conscious.” Then he touched Bennington’s neck for a pulse.

The sensation overwhelmed Bennington’s rational mind, and he began choking. He latched onto the officer’s wrist and clawed for his face.

The policeman slapped Bennington. “Better make that confused and violent,” he yelled to his partner.

Gloria’s voice chanted in the distance, “oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.” 

You may also like…
“Desert Miles” Short Story
Amateur Sleuth in the Desert, One Point One

Amateur Sleuth in the Desert, One Point One

"Desert Miles" Scene 1 A four-foot tall dust devil skipped across Main Street, stuttering for a moment between Miles Thurman and the Law. It bobbed and weaved with the expertise of a boxer. Juneau poked his damp nose at a loose candy...

“Murder in The Orient” Short Story
Hard-Boiled Amateur Sleuth, Episode One

Hard-Boiled Amateur Sleuth, Episode One

Murder at the Edge of the Orient, Episode One There’s a heat that wraps you in its steamy wet blanket. An oppressive tropical heat. It pretends to shield you while locking you inside a cocoon of sensory depravation. The kind of heat that...

The Writer’s Thoughts
Corona, Coronaaaaa… Virus

Corona, Coronaaaaa… Virus

What I Did This Coronavirus.   Not much, it seems. Maybe it’s like that for you as well. All this free time… we all know the adage—ain’t nothing free. They made me work anyway. It’s harder to work when everybody you know is at home...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Forget Something?

Running Out of Pain is FREE


Abelard Rahn is on a wild ride toward... an early death if he's not careful. 

Get Your Free Copy of this suspenseful short story. 

You're In! Enjoy the Read!