Tag Archives: the tell-tale heart

Premeditated (for Trifecta)


With their obsession of all things three, the Trifecta overlords pulled out all the stops for their 33rd writing challenge, creating a triathlon of sorts for nerds like me. There are three parts to the challenge and the top three winners of each go on to compete in some kind of Super Bowl … or Olympics … or … oh, whatever. You guys know I don’t know about this stuff.

Plus I only managed to participate in one of the three legs:

Write a 33-333 word response using the 3rd definition of the following word:

score (noun)

Sorry, Trifecta. I wish your three-a-palooza didn’t fall during the summer when time is in such short supply. I always love playing and am glad that, with this entry, I at least have a chance of securing one of the nine spots that advance to the swimsuit … the interview … Round Two.

If I win, there’ll be three-bean salad and Three Musketeer bars for everyone!

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Premeditated

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He waited, crouched behind a dumpster in the alley. The only light came from a street lamp that illuminated the backdoor to the building. Even the moon seemed to be cooperating as it hid behind a mass of clouds directly above him. He dared not make a move for fear of revealing himself.  One inch here or there could cast a shadow. His stomach growled and he cursed himself for skipping dinner. He considered the granola bar in his pocket but dismissed it, realizing the crinkling plastic would be too great a risk. And he needed to stay focused.

The alley was only 33 feet long. He’d have to act quickly to execute his plan completely within its boundaries. He’d planned everything to the second and had even run a few drills in the dark over the last month. His only concern was noise. So he needed to be sure the first thing he took out was the windpipe. He couldn’t afford even a fraction of a distress call. The offices on the 2nd floor always kept their windows open and the after hours cleaning crew would surely hear any screaming.

“How can they stand to keep them open?” he wondered. The rancid smell of the alley was nauseating. He shuddered when what he hoped was a cat ran across his feet. He chose not to look down but to keep his gaze fixed on the door. The firm had been closed for three hours. He should have come out by now.

Why must he always make things so difficult?

He felt a breeze blow past him. Fall was coming. The holidays. He couldn’t let her endure another Christmas, another new year with him. “She wants this,” he reasoned to himself. “She practically came out and asked me to do it.”

Tonight, he would even the score for her. Tonight, he would set her free.

With tears in his eyes, he gripped the rope tightly as he watched the backdoor slowly swing open.

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The Inspiration for this Entry

I read an old favorite with my son not too long ago. Edgar Allen Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart. Of course, for my boy, it was the first reading. And he marveled at how crazed the narrator sounded, how meticulously he planned every detail and how he perceived his own actions to be fully justified and rational. Three hundred thirty-three words isn’t much with which to work when attempting to model anything after the great EAP, but I hope I captured at least a fraction of the character’s frenetic thought process.

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Does anyone out there still practice the art of dream interpretation?


Last night was one of the most dream-filled nights in my sleeping career. I went to dinner with friends and had only one glass of wine (the last I’m allowing myself before surgery) so that I would be still be able to take my sleep/chill out aid. Then, I forgot to take it.

Consequently, my sleep was sketchy and, by the time I realized my mistake, I was afraid it was too late and would tamper with my morning if I took anything. So, I powered through a truckload of crazy dreams. I actually think they were all strung together and so that’s how I’m reporting them here.

The dream started with me in an airport. Of course, it was not any airport that I’ve ever been in before. Initially, I was alone but, after a bit or wandering aimlessly through this enormous structure, I found myself now traveling on and off with various others. Among them were my husband, my two kids, my parents, and a married couple we’ve been friends with for years. 

I remember I kept thinking about how pretty the airport was. Very open and full of windows. I thought it looked just like the airport from “Up in the Air,” a movie that I have never seen (consciously or unconsciously) so I have no idea why it would have been such a significant point of reference to me in my dream. 

The airport was crowded and there was a sizeable cash transfer taking place between two parties while we were there. I have absolutely no idea how I was privy to this confidential information but at this point all the above characters in my dream assembled together and decided collectively that we were going to heist that money. ???  So, we immediately began hatching our very complex plan to get our hands on these funds. This segment of my dream was modeled closely after “Ocean’s 11,” another movie that I haven’t seen. And, coincidentally, another movie with George Clooney. (Maybe I have a subconscious crush on him. ??? Repeated Johnny Deep references would have made much more sense to me.)

Anyway, unfortunately, I don’t recall all the intricate details of the sting but, suffice it to say, it worked and we somehow managed to snag the cash. And then we spread out to different areas of the airport to avoid getting caught. My friends spent the next few hours planning how their portion would be used. At this point, my dream started to have a few strands of reality woven into it. Like the fact that it took place during Christmas season. So, my friends’ proposed expenditures included things like iPod touches, iPads and game systems. (How ridiculous is it that we had enough money to buy a Carribbean island and they were worrying about kiddie electronics?)

My son and I were together on another end of the airport. And he kept asking me why we stole the money. And how I could possibly explain that it was the right thing to do. Another strand of reality seeped in again.  He and I recently read ‘The Tell-tale Heart’ together (in my waking state) and all I could think about in the dream was the sound of that deafening heartbeat torturing me and admonishing me to remove myself from this terrible situation.

I was so hysterical about everything that my brother called my cell to calm me down. (How did he even know I was upset? Maybe my virtual mom told him.) He told me to try to relax and said it would help if I listened to his friend sing. So, she got on the phone and began singing ‘My Funny Valentine.’ It did not help and now I was thinking of Elvis Costello’s version of that song which reminded me I hadn’t talked to my husband in all of this insanity.

Which, of course, made him instantly appear. My mom somehow materialized right after he did and and we all began talking about the mess we’d gotten ourselves into and how we could get out of it. Never mind the fact that, apparently without the hundreds of millions we had stolen with others, we had not a dime to our names. We decided it didn’t matter and that we were going to find a way to dump the portion of the money we had back into the right hands (anonymously) and then flee the whole scene.

So, my husband grabbed the small suitcase I’d been carrying around with me but it fell open when he did. And inside were the two library books I am reading (right now … in reality) along with everything I’m bringing to the hospital tomorrow for my surgery (again … in reality).

There was a jolt in my dream that let me know that everything that happened prior to that moment wasn’t real. And that I needed to zip up my suitcase and get to the hospital before I missed my surgery. 

And then I woke up, a little panicked but at least relieved to know I wasn’t headed to jail.

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My brain is swimming today. I expect I’ll be writing more. Thanks for “listening.”

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