A Little Bit of Progress for the Progress Report, by Jeff Baker. May 7/8, 2020.

Did more notes than actual writing on the mystery story (that’s progress too!) so I now know most of what’s going to happen. I just have to write it up. Also finished the flash fiction story for the May Flash Fiction Draw Challenge & will post it in a couple of days. It looks kind of goofy; there is no way I would climax a serious yarn like this, but the story IS kind of goofy! And I also sent off two stories to two different markets (both rejected stories, but still good, I think!)

That’s all for now!

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“Sojourn In Brooklyn” with Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker. May 7, 2020


Sojourn In Brooklyn

By Jeff Baker

(A Bryce Going Story)


I hadn’t ever expected to see the Brooklyn Bridge again, let alone be back East but the job I had didn’t question my fake I.D. and they were paying me so I rode along in their truck to unload all the stuff. It was all legal (except for me) and they were paying me under the table so I was fine with it. I hadn’t been to New York since I was a little kid, driving up here one summer with my Mom and Dad when I was about nine. That had been about seven years ago, and I doubted we would run into anybody who knew my name wasn’t really Bryce Going. I wasn’t sure where any of my family here would be, as long as we didn’t go back to Philly.

“Too bad we weren’t here for the Bicentennial,” I said.

“Too bad, nothin’,” my boss said from the driver’s seat. “Bumper to bumper traffic, streets closed off, all to buy a cheap tri-corner hat from some cheap sidewalk salesman or a button from some girl who wants to sell ya something else. Trust me; you were better at home watching it all on T.V.”

Nat, the older guy lounging in the sleeper berth, laughed. They had taken turns driving since we left Colorado and I could have had worse company. Besides, they didn’t bug me with questions about “my girlfriend” so it was all cool. The job was pretty cut-and-dried; pick stuff up, drive it across the country and unload it at the destination. We did the loading and unloading ourselves. I wasn’t being too picky about pay but the money was good. We had won the bid, something that was new to me, and I wasn’t really ready to settle down anywhere. I’d slept through the part of the trip after loading all the boxes on the truck by hand. I was a little more used to it than I’d been a couple of months before when I’d started the job. But this was my furthest trip out from the home base in Boulder, Colorado, even though the boss I drove with had been out here in July, the month before.

We got there in the early morning and started unloading in the August heat. Fortunately, the loading dock had an awning and fans and there was a kind lady who kept us supplied with water. We were done by the late afternoon, and I sat on the dock with my shirt off, taking in the breeze and sipping water while my boss talked with the warehouse foreman and signed papers. I glanced around; some of the buildings in this area were probably about a hundred years old. Some of them even older.

“Okay, guys, here’s the news,” my boss said, folding papers and sticking them in his pocket. We’re going to eat and take it easy and head back tomorrow, but we’ll have to sleep in the truck again tonight. And we’ll be in this yard all night, they’ll lock the gate behind us but we’ll be safe. No problem for me; after being on the road for about a year, I was happy with sleeping in the truck, even if I’d had my turn in the sleeper berth the night before. Dinner was at a greasy spoon but it was turkey with all the trimmings as far as I was concerned.

The three of us sacked-out in the cab of the truck shortly after dusk, the windows partly open to let in the cool night air. I sunk down in the seat and dozed.

It must have been after midnight when I though I heard a noise. For an instant, I wondered where I was. I sat up groggily, just enough to look out the passenger side window. I thought I’d heard something. Then I saw a flash of moonlight on metal.

A rifle. Sticking up just a few feet from the window. I’d heard there were rough areas near where we were: Red Hook, somebody had said. That’s when I heard the noise again, that had woken me up. A gunshot. I saw a reddish flare in the dark. I ducked down and hit the floor of the cab of the truck. For the next few minutes I cowered there as I heard gunfire echoing all around us. It didn’t sound like it did on the T.V. shows; like a truck backfiring. It sounded, well, thicker somehow. Like it was coming from far away, but it was right outside. I glanced over at my boss; he was sound asleep. I heard Nat’s snoring from the sleeper berth. The gunfire went on.

When the gunfire stopped, I looked out the window and saw a couple of men in tall hats, carrying rifles running right through the fence.

I shuddered and huddled back down on the floor as the gunfire resumed again. I wasn’t sure how long it was before I fell asleep.

In the morning, I checked the truck. No sign of bullet holes. No sign of any disturbance at all. The Warehouse Foreman had arrived before we woke up and unlocked the gate. We were going to grab breakfast on our way out of the city.

“Hold up a minute,” the foreman said and walked back into the warehouse, emerging a minute or so later carrying three bottles of water. “My wife would never forgive me, she worries!” he handed us the water and my boss asked if he’d seen the celebrations for the Bicentennial.

“Yeah, Bryce here said he wanted to be here,” my boss said.

“They sure made it into a big production,” the Foreman said. “Traffic snarled up, half the city brought to a standstill. I’m just surprised they aren’t making a big fuss over the Battle of Brooklyn.”

“There was a Battle of Brooklyn?” Nat asked.

“Yeah,” the foreman said. “My Grandmother used to talk about hearing about it from her grandfather who heard about it from his grandfather who heard…oh, well. There was fighting all over this area for a while, right about this time of year and then they fought the big Battle of Brooklyn right at the end of the month, little more than a month after the Fourth of July. Then our troops retreated to Boston or somewhere. Exactly two hundred years ago.”

We drove back west and I stared out the window, wondering about ghosts that still fought long-ended battles with phantom weapons.



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Mystery Progress Report, May6, 2020 by Jeff Baker.

Worked on the mystery story tonight/this morning. Actually fixed a couple of little plot points. Progress! And, I finished the Flash Fiction story for Friday, titled “Sojourn in Brooklyn,” in which the wandering Bryce Going goes East and we find out exactly which city he’s from.

That should do it for now.

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Mystery and Progress Reports, May 4/5, 2020, by Jeff Baker

I realized that I haven’t been writing many mysteries in the last couple of years, so I wrote out a short list of some unfinished ones and plan to finish one or two by the beginning of Fall.  Did some writing on one of them and on the weekly flash fiction story for Friday. And I worked on the story for the Monthly Flash Fiction Draw Challenge. Very fortunately I have an unfinished story (part of a series) which fits all three of the draws (Location, genre and object.) Making it into a flash fiction (I only had about 300 words written in 2018!) is just a matter of finishing the tale and watching word economy.

As for it being part of a series, when I have a couple more, or one longer full-length story I may put them out as a ‘zine or chapbook. Nothing to lose!

That’s all for now!

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Progress Report: April 30-May 3rd or thereabouts, from Jeff Baker.

Last couple of days I plotted out a story that’s due by the end of August for a Halloween anthology. Even though I said I wouldn’t get in an anthology deadline like that again until a few other things straighten themselves out. Oh, well. And plotting out is writing, too.

Also, I wrote a column that will be posted either in a couple of weeks or next month (June.)

That’s all.

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Midnight Basketball; Friday Flash Fics by Jeff Baker, May 1, 2020.


Midnight Basketball

By Jeff Baker


The sharp bouncing of ball on concrete and the squeaking of shoes echoed through the darkened park, if anybody could hear them. Lit by the moon the three players had no trouble seeing the old basketball goal standing against the wire fence that surrounded the court; open on one side to the playground and the grassy soccer field.

“Awright! Yeah!”

“Hey! Lookit!”

“Got it! Yeah! Slam dunk!”

Roddy, the muscular young Asian guy jumped up and down, pumping a fist in the air.

“Still got it!” he yelled.

“Yeah, but do you got this?” Anthony, the skinny Black guy grabbed the ball, ran between the other two and let the ball sail from his fingers, just missing the net.

“Outa practice!” Skid, the wiry Latino guy said, diving for the ball, grabbing it and jumping up. He floated over the goal and dropped it in. “Two points!” Skid said.

“No points! You cheated!” Anthony said, laughing.

“Yeah, I’m goin’ someplace bad!” Skid said, drifting down to the ground. The other two laughed.

“Hey, how much time we got?” Anthony asked.

“Probably about three more hours,” Roddy said, glancing at the horizon. “Here, think fast!”

He grabbed the ball from Skid and tossed it to Anthony. In another moment they were scrimmaging again. Blocking, jumping, shooting, laughing. At one point the ball bounced through the side of the enclosed court that wasn’t enclosed and bounced off an invisible wall and back onto the court. Roddy winced. He remembered one of his first nights on the basketball court, before Anthony and Skid had shown up, when he’d run screaming and had slammed into the invisible wall. Lying on the ground, dazed, he re-lived the night he’d lain there bleeding after the girl he’d tried to mug had shot him in the chest.

Anthony dunked again, this time letting himself float down to the ground.

“Wish I could do that,” came the small voice a few feet away. Anthony, Skid and Roddy turned and stared. There was a small figure curled-up at the base of the big tree between the sidewalk and the parking lot, just outside the fence surrounding the court.

“You talkin’ to us?” Anthony asked. People couldn’t see the three of them, or hear them either. They’d tried to communicate with some of the people who’d come to shoot hoops after dark, with no luck.

“Yeah,” the figure said. “I never played with the big kids before. I couldn’t toss a ball that far!” It was a little girl, maybe about six or seven. “Who are you?”

“We play here,” Anthony said. “At night. I’m Anthony. That’s Skid and Roddy.”

“You play there all the time? I can’t go in there. I’m Ella.”

“We’re here playing until the sun comes up,” Skid said. “We spend the day…someplace else…” His mouth suddenly felt dry.

“Watch my jump shot,” Roddy said. He ran under the basket, missed by a mile and slammed into the goal. He jumped up from the ground with a goofy smile and took a bow. Ella laughed. That was worth it.

“What about you?” Skid asked. “You hang out here all the time?”

“I sleep a lot,” she said. “I play in the park when it’s light. You’re not here. You ever see the man with wings?”

“Something like that,” Roddy said. “Right after my run in with…well, yeah…”

“The man with wings said I had to wait for Mommy and Daddy to come here and take me with them,” Ella said.

“Goin’ up.” Anthony said quietly.

“Lucky her.” Skid said.

“When do you three get to go home?” Ella asked.

“We…play at night here as long as that goal is standing,” Roddy said, thumbing at the hoop. “That’s what they told us. It’s to see what we lost.”

“At least you can play,” Ella said. She looked up. “Wow! Look at the stars.”

The four of them stared up at the starry sky. Anthony didn’t know when he’d looked at the stars last.

“I’m going to sleep now,” Ella said in a matter-of-fact little-girl way. She leaned against the tree, closed her eyes and was no longer visible.

“All right, whose ball?” Skid asked.

“Mine!” Anthony said, grabbing the ball and making a run for the basket.

The court echoed with squeaks and thumps which went unheard as the three lost souls played the night away.





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Today’s Progress Report by Jeff Baker (4/29/20)

Wrote about a page (in various chunks on different parts of the ms.) and now I have about 1,100 words. Not bad, for something that started out as an idea from a dream that I wrote down about four years ago! I may have it ready to send off in about a month!

Keeping odd hours, the writing took place in the early morning hours  of Wed. 29th.

That’s all for now!

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