“The Thief of Hearts” first appeared in Futures: Mysterious Anthology Magazine (Barry Ergang, Managing Editor).
Smoking on Mount Rushmore 16 Selected & New Short Stories by Ed Lynskey
“Your mom insists on it. She wants Choo-Choo out of the house.” Dad paused for a beat. “This time she’s put her foot down.”

“The shoplifting charge is bogus.” I mashed the cell phone to my ear. “Why did you tell her about it?”

I could picture the troubled furrows lining Dad’s forehead. “How could I not? She deserves to know of something this serious.”

“But Choo-Choo is not a thief. The cops grabbed the wrong guy, and the arrest won’t stick.”

“Keep our fingers crossed that you’re right. After your mom has had a chance to cool off, I’ll chat with her again.”

“Thanks, Dad. I always appreciate it.”


After hanging up, I collapsed back on the lumpy sofa. My heartbeat ramped up as my old phobia stared me down. If Choo-Choo went to prison, I would live in this big old, drafty house by myself. I sealed off that paralyzing fear and centered my thoughts on my immediate problem. I felt my temper rising: what gave Mom the right to sit in judgment of Choo-Choo and me? Here they’d abandoned me to fend for myself here, and now they didn’t like how I did it. I acted responsibly with their credit card I used to cover my living expenses.

My parents had moved and now lived an hour’s drive away in their dream cedar log cabin on a rural manmade lake. Like always, Mom pitched a hissy fit they go, and Dad capitulated. Equally headstrong, I’d stayed behind in our old Arlington house located just south of Washington, D.C. and the Potomac River to graduate with the friends in my class.

I berated myself for acting like such a wimp. Here I was almost nineteen (I’d missed my freshman year out ill with encephalitis, the sleeping sickness) and warding off these childish panic attacks. I was so immature for my age. Would I ever grow up?

(End of opening scene to "The Thief of Hearts.")
 •  0 comments  •  flag
Twitter icon
Published on January 20, 2013 03:27 • 80 views • Tags: ed-lynskey, fiction, reading, writing

No comments have been added yet.

Cracked Rearview Mirror

Ed Lynskey
Enjoy reading my fiction? Subscribe to Ed Lynskey's Books Newsletter by notifying me of your interest at: e_lynskey@yahoo.com and I will add you to my newsletter list. Thank you.
Follow Ed Lynskey's blog with rss.