Sorry for playing the hits, but I’m still undergoing writer’s block. I’m trying to jog my creativity by starting shit on Instagram, but that takes time.
Honesty, I forgot about this story. I posted it a year ago and while it isn’t my best work there’s still a few good ass jokes.
Pennies for the Dead
So I was doing a seance during the middle of the night-in a cemetery-when a security guard approached me.
“The hell are you doing?” he asked.
“Conjuring the dead. What does it look like?”
“Well hurry up. Gates close in an hour.”
So I cranked up the spirit box and pulled out the Ouija board. I asked the spirit box, “is a Joe Morris present?”
The box scanned through the channels before saying “Beelzebub”. Oh shit, I thought. I probably just cursed myself.
“No no no,” I replied. “JOE Morris.”
The box continued to scan but I was receiving no answers. The Ouija board was no help either. It kept spelling out “anal sex” and “go fuck yourself”. This was getting me nowhere.
I packed everything up and took out my flashlight. Next to Joe Morris’ tombstone was the name “Jezebel Morris”.
Dorthy Morris neglected to tell me that name.
Joe was Dorthy’s father. He was allegedly poisoning in 1952. The autopsy, however, was inconclusive. Dorthy’s been wanting this case solved her entire life. Now, in her twilight years, she lived a reclusive life on her family’s estate while her brain slowly demented away.
In my opinion, Joe died by natural causes. You know how men lived in those days. But I hadn’t had a case in months.
Was it wrong of me to take this elderly lady’s money? Yes.
I immediately left the cemetery and stopped at the Voodoo shop. I had to do something to spurn any demonic curses, ya know? Afterwards I drove to Dorthy’s estate.
I pounded on the door. She was hard of hearing.
“Is that you Lyle?” she asked
“No ma’am. It’s Ty Carson, private detective,” I replied.
I opened the door and found Dorthy with a blanket covering her lap in front of the fireplace. She was playing checkers.
“Who are you playing checkers with?” I asked.
“I’m not playing checkers.”
I quickly moved on to the business at hand. “I did what you asked,” I said. “I went to the cemetery to talk to Joe. I found out that the dead aren’t too keen on talking.”
“But I talked to Joe this morning,” she replied.
I ignored that comment.
“Who’s Jezebel?” I asked.
Dorthy gave me a puzzled look. “Jez has been dead for years,” she said.
“I know. Who was she?”
“No. I can’t betray Joe like that.”
“But she might be key to understanding Joe’s death.”
“No. That matter is closed.”
I shrugged. I figured that I could just go through public records in the morning. As I began to leave, I turned around.
“Oh, by the way,” I said, “the spirit box and Ouija board came to about $150. That will be charged to your account.”
“$5,000 you said?” Dorthy asked as she pulled out her checkbook.
I couldn’t shake the feeling of being followed.
I had a hunch that it was the repo man coming to take the Geo Metro. I pulled out my .38 and shouted into the dark. “I have your filthy money!” I yelled. “Show yourself!”
Out of the shadows, I heard a thick Boston accent: “Are you Mista Cahson?” it asked.
“What’s it to ya PAL?!”
The figure stepped forth slowly from the shadows. He was tossing a baseball into the air.
“I’m Mista Pete Morris,” the figure said. “I’m son of Dorthy Morris, your client. I understand that you’ve been taking my mutha’s money.”
“She’s been giving it to me in larger amounts than I’ve been asking. That’s hardly stealing,” I replied.
“Hey ohhh, buddy! I ain’t said nuthin about stealing.”
“Then you better make your point. I have a .38 aiming between your eyeballs.”
Pete straightened up his jacket and began stammering nervously. “All I’m asking is that you let me in on the cut,” he said.
“I don’t think so,” I replied. “I work better alone. Besides, fuck the Red Sox.”
“I’m tellin ya,” Pete said, “there’s somethin goin on with Dorthy.”
“Yeah, it’s called dementia.”
“No. There’s something else goin on up there at that estate. Something that can’t be explained, not of this world. Some things just can’t be stopped by bullets, ya know?”
Pete then tossed the baseball again and I shot it out of the air.
“I haven’t found one yet,” I said.
“Look, I have all the answers you’re looking for,” Pete continued. “The death of Joe Morris is deeper than you think.”
I put the gun back into my holster. “Buddy,” I said, “if you’re trying to grift your rich elderly mother out of her money, you’re gonna have to find another angle.”
As I turned around to finish my walk home, Pete spoke up again. “I know about Jezebel,” he said.
“So do I pal,” I said as I continued walking, “she was Dorthy’s sister who died of pneumonia a year before Joe’s death. She was 20 years old.”
“That’s not the whole story,” Pete replied, “in fact, she wasn’t Dorthy’s sister.”
I stopped, turned around, and pulled out a cigarette. “Alright bucko,” I said, “now you’ve got my attention.”
“Sorry babe,” I said to Sheila. “I got the whiskey dick.”
“It’s alright, I’m used to it,” she replied. “Maybe you shouldn’t drink before sex.”
“I wouldn’t know. Never tried it.”
Sheila climbed out of bed and got dressed. As she put her shirt on, she noticed the crap on the floor. “What’s this stuff?” she asked.
“Don’t touch it,” I said, “that’s a spirit box and a Ouija board. You might awaken a demon from hell. Trust me, that’s one can of worms you can’t close.”
“What are you doing with that?”
“It’s some case that I’m scamming *ahem* I mean helping some old lady solve.”
“Oh yeah, totally.” I looked over to the clock and noticed it was 7:30pm. “Speaking of, gotta get to work.” I got out of bed and threw my pants on. “You can stay here for the night,” I told Sheila, “but remember: DO NOT touch that damn Ouija board.”
I was running late. I had to meet Pete at the Morris estate where he was going to shed some light on Jezebel’s identity.
I arrived 45 minutes later. It was nearly pitch black. I grabbed my flask and flashlight and got to work. “This better be worth my time,” I told Pete.
“I told you that you’re not gonna need that .38,” he said.
“You let me be the judge of that.”
We began venturing into the woods. There was allegedly a cellar back behind the mansion that contained the remains of Jezebel. “I’ve been told all my life that this is an old Indian burial ground,” Pete said.
“Why didn’t you tell me that before I pissed on that hedge?” I asked.
“There it is,” he said. I shinned my flashlight in that direction. The cellar was only a few yards ahead.
“How far down is it?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I never been down there.”
I lit up a cigarette. “You go first,” I said.
Pete gathered up his courage and proceeded towards the cellar. He took a deep breath before going down the stairs. The cellar was deep. Too deep for my liking.
I put one hand on the .38.
Finally we reached the bottom. We were standing in a wide, musty corridor with multiple chambers. “What the hell was this place used for?” I asked Pete.
“Supposedly this was a torture chamber for runaway soldiers during the Civil War. Many slaves lost their lives down here.”
“Pete, I’m beginning to think that your family deserves to be cursed.”
“What’s this?” Pete asked. I shined the flashlight over to an old fire pit littered with ash and bones.
Then the cellar door slammed close.
I pulled out the 38. “Stay calm,” I said.
“I told you there’s something strange going on here!”
“Shut up Pete.”
“I can’t die down here! The Celtics are in the playoffs!”
“Pete, so help me god, if you don’t shut up I’ll shoot you myself!”
Suddenly my flashlight went out. Then something grabbed Pete. “Damn you Brad Stevens!!!!!!!” he screamed before disappearing into the dark.
I started firing indiscriminately into the shadows.
“Pete!” I screamed out.
There was only silence.
The flashlight kicked back on and I shined it all around the corridor. Pete was nowhere to be found. “Fuck this,” I said as I sprinted back up the stairs and to the car.
I floored the Geo Metro back to the apartment. I rushed in through the door and began frantically looking for the Ouija board. “Damn it Sheila!” I yelled. “What did you do with the Ouija board?”
Sheila stumbled out of the kitchen with a glass of wine. “The planchette began moving around,” she said as she slurred her words. “It started spelling out ‘You’re next’, ‘Hail Satan’, and ‘I heart ass’ I didn’t know what that meant so I threw it into the fireplace.”
“Sheila,” I said, “I might’ve opened a portal to hell.”
I quietly hoped that Pete lived a lonely, miserable life. He never mentioned anything about a spouse. His mother was barely cognizant of his existence. Honestly, he seemed to be a stupid sack of shit and nobody would have missed him.
But I didn’t want anyone reporting his disappearance. What would I have told the police? That he was sucked into some black hole in the middle of the woods?
I had to find Pete. And finding Pete probably led to solving the mystery of Joe Morris’ death.
Actually, I could have walked away from this entire thing and no one would have been the wiser. But I knew the spirits were listening in. I had to get to the bottom of this thing before they got to me.
I picked up the spirit box. “Listen here, damn you,” I said, “I know you can hear me. I want some answers! Where’s Pete? Who’s Jezebel?!”
The spirit box began scanning through the channels before spitting out “suck.my.penis.”
That’s it, I thought. I reloaded the .38 and went back to the Morris Estate.
It was 12:30am. I pounded on Dorthy’s door. “Is it the milk man?” I heard her ask. “Come in!”
I opened the door and there was Dorthy playing Trivial Pursuit alone. “Damn it Dorthy!” I said, “I need answers! Who’s Jezebel?!”
“Jezebel? She’s been dead for 20 years.”
“Records say she died in 1951. Stop jackin me around!” I pulled out the .38. I meant business.
The candles around the aged mansion began to flicker. Random objects started to move: books flipped open, mirrors were rattling, the record player was blasting Lionel Richie’s ‘Dancing on the Ceiling’. Dorthy meanwhile went into a trance. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she backed up into the shadows.
I turned on the spirit box. “Alright Jezebel! I know you’re on to me,” I said. “Talk to me! Let’s settle this thing!”
Suddenly the doors flew open. A woman floated into the room. Her eyes were as dark as night.
I lifted the .38.
But it was Sheila.
“Sheila, you’re drunk,” I said. “Go home!”
“I am not Sheila,” the demonic voice said. “I am Jezebel!”
“I don’t know Sheila,” I said, “you’ve faked demonic possessions before.”
“Try me, asswipe!” she replied. Then I pumped a few bullets into her chest.
“Alright, so I guess you’re Jezebel,” I said. “Where’s Pete?”
“His soul resides in HELL for all eternity!!!!”
“Good, he’s a Boston sports fan,” I said, “he needs to know how that feels.”
“You will join him soon enough!”
“Sorry sister, I already live in Ohio.”
I pulled the trigger again but I already emptied the revolver. I threw the gun at her and started running down the hallway while screaming for my life.
I hid in the closet under the staircase. Of course, it didn’t take long for her to find me. Using her demonic powers, Jezebel began to eat my soul. I started praying. “God, I regret everything,” I said.
Then God responded. Thunderbolts began raining down on Jezebel from some unseen force and she retreated into the shadows. I was still alive.
I crawled out from the closet. In front of me stood a wizard-like figure dressed in white robes and holding a staff.
“Thank you Jesus,” I said.
“I’m not Jesus,” the figure replied. “I’m Joe Morris.”
I stood up. “Joe Morris? Shouldn’t you be 120 years old?”
“119 to be precise.”
Then Pete ran down the hallway. “Ty! I’m still alive!” he said.
“I thought you went to hell,” I replied.
“I did. It ain’t such a bad place. I got to meet Dave Cowens.”
“He’s still alive dumbass.”
“Are you sure? By the way, did you piss your pants?”
“I did. It’s a side effect of my elavil prescription. Where did Jezebel go?”
“She went back to hell to lick her wounds,” Joe Morris said. “We must go to the cellar, return to hell, and make sure she never returns.”
“Fuck that,” I said. “This ain’t my problem. I’ll just collect the money from Dorthy and be on my merry way.”
Right then, a possessed Dorthy flew down from the ceiling and attacked me. While I fought her off, Joe Morris released more thunderbolts from his staff. Finally, she flew off of me and began writhing on the ground before whatever cursed spirit that possessed her left her body. Dorthy was dead.
“Mother!” Pete screamed.
“She hasn’t been your mother for a long time,” Joe said.
I took a moment to gather myself.
“Alright,” I said, “I need to change my pants before we go to the cellar.”
“So you’ve been in hell for 70 years Joe?” I asked.
“Why is that so hard for you to believe?”
“Did you die first? Or did you go down there for shits and giggles?”
“Unbeknownst to me, my family has been guarding this portal to hell for 200 years. Jezebel was a maid at our estate and I went outside my marriage to be with her. But Jezebel was secretly the devil and she cast me into the portal.”
“So is your body buried in that cemetery or what? If so, how the hell are you standing here with a flesh and blood body?”
“Don’t worry about it. The point is there’s been a rebellion in hell. Spirits are escaping to this earth and if we don’t stop Jezebel, there will be hell on earth!”
“Relax Joe, you’re just describing Toledo,” I said.
“You already made that joke.”
“How can three flesh and blood men stop an army of evil spirits?” Pete asked.
“While in Hell, I learned the ancient dark arts of Mesopotamia,” Joe replied. “I’ve been made a priest in these ancient religions. All I have to do is bless your weapon of choosing, and voila.”
“Can you bless the bullets of my .38?” I asked.
“What about my pocket knife?” Pete asked.
“That’s a pretty lame weapon, Pete.”
“Grab as many weapons as you can carry,” Joe replied.
“What about this machete?” Pete asked.
“What about this IWI Tavor TS12 shotgun?” I asked.
“Yes, yes. I will bless them all. We must hurry though.”
“Thanks Joe!” I said. “By the way, I’ve always wondered: what’s it like having sex with Satan?”
“Just be warned,” Joe said to me, “Hell ain’t what you think it is.”
“You just have to see.”
Joe, Pete, and I gathered our divinely blessed weapons and proceeded to the cellar in the woods. Joe went into the portal first, then Pete. I hesitantly went in last.
I felt my body break down into its molecular and atomic parts while time and space melted down. Then reality reconstructed itself and the three of us were in a large theater.
On stage was a nude couple: one an elderly woman and the other an average-looking dude with an abnormally large dong. A horse was also on stage. It was a community theater production of Equus.
“Ah shit. Now I know what you mean,” I said.
We rushed out of the theater, side by side, weapons on ready. We were men on a mission, a mission to find…and kill…Jezebel. And more importantly, we had to stop the dead from invading the earthly realm.
Outside the theater, we hailed a cab. The driver stopped and we all piled into the back. “Does anyone want to sit up here with me?” the driver asked. “Son of a bitch,” I said then got in the front seat.
“Where to?” the cabbie asked. “Downtown” Joe replied.
The cab driver then blasted Jon and Vangelis from the radio and was humming along. I turned to the backseat.
“Hell seems more boring and mildly irritating,” I said, “much like Minneapolis.”
“Yeah, but imagine spending spending eternity here,” Joe replied.
He had a point.
The cap pulled up to a downtown bank. We all piled out of the car. “Are you sure that the Empress of Hell and all of Damnation is here?” I asked.
“Of course, with their ungodly interest rates, there’s nowhere else she could be!” Joe said.
So the three of us…a wizard, an idiot, and a guy with a shotgun…walked into the bank lobby. We went up to a loan officer.
“We’re here to see Jezebel,” I tell the man.
“Do you have an appointment?” he asks.
I cocked the shotgun and blasted a hole in his chest. “She’ll be with you shortly,” the loan officer replied.
Security guards rushed into the lobby and began firing indiscriminately. Pete became an absolute beast and started slicing away with his machete. Joe unleashed fire bolts from his staff. I unloaded shell after shell from my shotgun.
As we looked over the absolute slaughter of security guards, with blood and guts strewn about the lobby, Joe nodded his head. “I think our plan is working out pretty good,” he said.
“I’m out of shells,” I said and dropped the shotgun. Then I pulled out the .38 and kissed it. “But I still got six shots.”
We all went into the elevator and Joe hit the button for the 666th floor. “Holy shit!” I said. “How many floors are in this building?”
32 minutes later, we arrived. Jezebel was in a conference call with all of her minions. She was planning the final stages of her Hellish invasion of earth.
“What took you so long?” she asked.
“Your slow ass elevator,” Pete said.
“You think your earthly powers can stop me?”
I lifted the .38. “Nothing can stop these bullets sister.”
I instantly wasted 5 bullets.
Sadly, I had to borrow a weapon from Pete. And let me tell you: it ain’t easy killing demons with a pocket knife.
In the midst of the mayhem, I lost track of Jezebel. “She escaped to the roof!” Pete yelled while decapitating a goblin.
I sprinted up the stairs to the very top of this 666-storied building. I was out of breath when I reached the roof. Jezebel was waiting.
“Your pathetic little weapon will do nothing to me,” she said.
“That’s not the first time I’ve heard that,” I replied.
Above the roof, Jezebel was opening a portal to Earth where all the spirits of this evil domain could trespass. I was running out of time. So I rushed Jezebel with the knife.
As I leapt towards her heart, she blocked my movement, knocking loose the pocket knife.
I was on the ground. Powerless. Jezebel laughed. “What a weakling,” she said as she put her pitchfork up to my neck.
“If you kill me,” I asked Jezebel, “where am I gonna go? I’m already in hell!”
“If you think it’s bad here, wait till I send you to Bridgeport!”
I closed my eyes in preparation for eternity. Then thunderbolts rained down on Jezebel. While Joe unleashed his unholy powers from the staff, Pete went absolute apeshit on Jezebel with his machete. This severely damaged her powers, thus closing the portal.
With her powers nearly drained, Jezebel stood at the edge of the roof. “Halt!” I yelled before Joe could make the final kill shot. “Jezebel still possesses Sheila’s body.”
I looked deep into Jezebel’s eyes. I could still see Sheila. “Sheila,” I pleaded, “I know that we never had sex because of my undiagnosed ED. I know that I’d often disappear into the bathroom and leave you with the bill. I know that I’d also clog the toilet and blame it on the cat,” I said, “but I also know that I love you and you should probably attend AA.”
Right then, Jezebel began to spastically writhe on the ground. The evil spirit departed Sheila’s body, and there alone stood a defeated Jezebel.
With one bullet left, I pulled out the .38. “Back to where you belong Satan: Massachusetts.”
I pulled the trigger.
The flash from the barrel echoed throughout Hell. In a puff of smoke went Jezebel.
I couldn’t believe it.
“Is she gone for good?” I asked Joe.
He looked out to the horizon. “We defeated her for the time being,” Joe said. “But the devil is never really gone. Where Jezebel resides now is in a hell of her own making, a place so unfathomable that God himself wouldn’t dare set foot. So Norway probably.”
I walked over to an unconscious Sheila. I kneeled down to awaken her. “What happened?” she asked.
“Just a temporary demonic possession. Nothing to worry about,” I said.
Sheila stood up and looked down to the sprawling city below. “Where are we?”
“We’re in Hell dear,” I said.
“It looks like Orlando.”
2 thoughts on “Pennies for the Dead (Full Story)”
Another great story. Your imagination sure runs wild, and I love how you name drop wretched places like Toledo and Bridgeport into the narrative.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Well thank you 🙏 you know what’s funny? I’ve never actually been to those places 🤷♂️
LikeLiked by 1 person