DAVID FOULKS - SHORT-STORIES
David Foulks is from the small town of Greeneville, Tennessee. He is attending Full Sail University majoring in Creative Writing for Entertainment. Currently, he lives in Savannah, Georgia, with his wife, Lindsey.
Stealing the Truth
Detective Morrow twiddled his pen back and forth between his fingers as looked over his notes. “Curator, you are certain no one else had access to the painting?”
Sitting across from him was a well-kept man in his late 50s, suit and tie, though his comb over did nothing to hide the sweat on his brow. “No sir, the only people allowed to enter the room was the artist, the buyer, and myself. Even our security needed clearance from me. That room was tighter than Fort Knox.”
“Obviously,” The detective said as he sat back in his seat. He reached for a piece of paper tucked under his notebook. “Is this your signature, Mr. Dawson?”
The curator looked the paper over, “Yes sir, it is.”
Mr. Morrow nodded as he tucked the paper away, “This is your signature signing for the arrival of the painting, called The Truth. You would have seen the painting yourself them if you signed for it, correct?”
“That’s correct, but sir, I am telling you we have had countless priceless paintings pass through this gallery on tour from Van Gogh to Da Vinci. I know every inch of the security measures here. No one could have walked out with that painting if it had arrived.” The curator slammed his fist onto the metal table, taking a deep breath as he withdrew his hand. “I’m sorry, sir.”
Detective Morrow flipped through his notebook, “It’s understandable, sir. I mean, you are liable for the loss of an Eleanor original, and Mr. Franklin is out $300,000 for his winning bid. According to the contract signed by Miss Eleanor, Mr. Franklin, and yourself, Folle Gala is responsible for any mishandlings of the painting in question. Why did you sign such a one-sided contract?”
The curator looked down to his lap, clenching his fists, “Nobody paints anymore, Mr. Morrow. Nobody of note, anyway. People have access to all the beauty in the world through a screen.”
Detective Morrow sat his pin down on his notepad, “Then, why all of this, Mr. Dawson?”
Mr. Dawson continued, “To get people to come and see any art at all requires so much effort, and I thought having a new Eleanor original on show would bring people in. Her work is among the last of a dying art form. I wanted people to catch a glimpse of it before it died off forever.”
“Plus, the money gained from housing such a piece would hold the gala over for a long time,” Mr. Morrow added, collecting his notes, “but now, the gala is ruined, and you are facing time in prison for money laundering and fraud.”
“I’m telling you, Mr. Morrow, I have played it over in my head a thousand times. The only way the painting could have went missing was if it had never arrived.”
Mr. Morrow walked out of the police station. He tucked his jacket under his arm while making his way towards his car. Once he was inside he fastened his seatbelt and started the engine.
“So, how did it go?” A voice came from the backseat of the car.
Mr. Morrow jumped, turning around to see a beautiful woman laid out in the back seat. Her dress hugged each curve, and her dark hair framed her pale face in the moonlight.
“Please, don’t do that again,” Mr. Morrow warned, his hand releasing the grip on his holstered pistol.
“I asked you a question. How did the interrogation go?” The woman demanded.
Mr. Morrow put the car in drive and pulled away from the police station. “Mr. Dawson suspects the painting never arrived. Though he has no proof for his accusations, he is pretty adamant about it.”
“It’s too late now. All the evidence points to him losing the Truth. To think this is all it took to bring that little man down,” the woman chuckled. “Here, as promised, your cut.” She handed an envelope over the seat to Mr. Morrow. “Try not to spend it in one place.”
Taking the envelope, Mr. Morrow flipped through it and felt the stack of one hundred-dollar bills with his thumb.
“Don’t worry, it’s all there.” She smiled at him as she watched him through the rear-view mirror.
“Can I ask you a question?”
“I guess you can. Though, I have a right to not answer you.”
“Why all this, Miss Eleanor?”
Her face turned grim in the mirror, “I spent my life making art. To see a piece of my soul go for so little an amount; I was insulted. Nobody paints anymore, you know, and if they thought the Truth was worth so little, then they can’t have it.”
Mr. Morrow nodded.
“Besides,” she continued, “the insurance company found the Truth to be worth so much more.”
The Little Black Box
The referee’s whistle couldn’t drown out the shrill voice of Henry’s wife, “I can’t believe you forgot our anniversary.”
“What are you talking about?!” Henry yelled.
“Our anniversary! The day I made the biggest mistake of my life, apparently! All I wanted was a nice dinner, maybe some flowers, and you can’t even make that happen.”
Henry looked up from his television to see his wife, Debra, standing at the second story railing looking over their living room. “You say something? Sorry, this ref has no idea what a charge is.”
Debra yelled in frustration before walking back to their bedroom.
The doorbell suddenly rang loudly throughout the house.
“Debra, pizza is here.” Henry called out from the living room.
Henry got no reply as the bell rang out again. “Debra!”
Debra rushed downstairs towards the door, “Pizza? Seriously? What’s keeping you from getting up and getting it, Henry?”
“The Lakers, Debra, they are behind by seven.”
She sighed, opening the door to see no one standing outside. “There is nobody here, Henry.”
“Great, you were too late getting to the door.” As the game went to commercial break, Henry joined Debra at the front door.
“Well, if you could have spared a few seconds to get off your ass, then maybe you would have pizza by now. That’s more than I’m getting today it seems.”
“Wait, what is that?” Henry asked, looking out the door to the porch.
Sitting on the welcome rug was a small black box.
Henry opened the screen door and walked outside. He picked up the little box, big enough to fit in one hand. He could feel the wood grain to his touch, and the black wood seemed to be burnt. A small hint of ash rubbed off as he dusted the box with his free hand. The scent of smoke filled the front porch.
“Henry, you remembered.” Debra smiled, watching her husband.
Henry opened the top of the box, the lid flipping up to reveal a video screen. Inside, the box was empty. “Remembered what? It’s just a box.”
“Oh, forget it.” Debra slammed the door shut, stomping her way back through the house.
Henry followed her inside, carrying the box with him. He made it back to his chair as the game resumed with only two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and the Lakers were still down by 2. “Come on, guys, pull it together.” Henry cheered.
In his lap, the video screen on the box lit up.
Henry looked down at the screen to see what was happening.
Across the screen, Henry saw these words:
Henry watched the screen before looking up at the game playing out before him. “We need all the help we can get so why not. Yes.”
The word flashed on the screen before going blank.
Henry shrugged, looking back up at the television to see the Lakers catch a break with a flagrant foul. Their point guard steps to the free throw line.
“Damn, he hasn’t hit a free throw all game. Good try, though.”
The first shot goes in, closing the gap to one point. Then, his second shot goes up and in through the hoop. The score was suddenly tied with ten seconds left.
“Henry!” Debra called again, coming back downstairs.
Henry sighed. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the screen light up on the little black box again.
“HENRY!” Debra roared over the sound of the television.
“What is it, woman?” Henry yelled back, looking down at the black box screen.
“If you think I am going stick around with you watching the playoffs and ignoring me then forget it. I am going out tonight.”
Henry looked up at the television, seeing the last ten second unfold.
“You know what, I need silence. So, yes please.”
The black box screen went blank just as the Lakers stopped the Bulls from scoring at the buzzer. They were going into overtime.
Henry jumped up cheering, stomping his feet as he celebrated the turn of events. With his loud cheering, and explosive surround sound, he never heard the thud from the top of the steps, or the crash that came tumbling down to the bottom floor as his wife laid motionless, crumpled at the foot of the stairs.
“Debra? What about that pizza?” Henry called.
Debra didn’t answer.
“Well, she must have left.” Henry sat the little black box on his table beside his chair. “From now on, you are my good luck charm.”