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The Fifth Monday – Hard On’s Curse Conclusion

By Ben Van Dongen

Chad struggled to wake up. His dream, something about a hot Quebecois redhead with a Charles Bronson moustache, kept tugging him back to sleep. Yawning, his jaw cracked, and water slipped into his open mouth. The half of his face he wasn’t sleeping on was wet and cold. The sensation, along with a burning desire to take a piss, roused him.

Burning. The word repeated in his head. Burning. It was distasteful, making him frown and fidget. Burn. He smelled smoke, or char. Burner. The word made him sneer.

“Ah!” He jumped up, running in a circle, kicking up snow, screaming and clutching his bottom.

The grumbled, deep voice of the snoozing demon joined the yells. “Shut the fuck up Hard-On, I’m still fucking sleeping.” The words, accompanied by small fires, caught dry branches and grass in the patch on the ground, melted by the demons heat.

“My asshole is on fire! My asshole, it burns!” (more…)

The Fifth Monday: Hard-On’s Curse – Complete

Part One

Ben Van Dongen

Chad sat at a scarred counter, behind bulletproof glass. The pawn shop was empty and he was on the verge of beating his Joust high score, on his phone. His boss, Mr. T, was in the back office doing the day’s banking, and probably, he thought, some blow.

“Hard-on!” Mr. T’s yell was accompanied by a bang, crash, and swearing.

“I pity the fool who calls me Hard-on.” Chad ignored the continuing swearing that grew louder.

“Cut that shit out.”

Chad put one hand up, the other was furiously tapping his phone screen. “Don’t call me Hard-on and I won’t point out that you go by the name of an 80s icon.”

The owner of the pawn shop was perpetually sweaty. Thick black, sweaty, body hair poked through his t-shirt. Even his voice was greasy.

“Put that damn thing down. You responsible for that coin on my desk?” Mr. T swatted at Chad’s phone, but missed. Spit flew from his mouth and he pointed to his office.

Sad digital music played from the phone as the last ostrich-rider died.

“Come on T, I was going for the high score.”

“This is serious, little shit. The coin, on my desk.” Mr. T wiped his brow with a dirty handkerchief.

Chad pocketed his phone and swiveled to face his boss. “Yeah. Some super old, jacked-up, dude brought it in this morning.” (more…)

November Snow

By Ben Van Dongen

The alarm on my watch buzzed and beeped. I had a fuzzy recollection of setting it the night before, but at six in the morning, I couldn’t figure out why. Another hour, or dozen, of sleep would have felt amazing, but I relented and got up. I had a cot in a little room of the space I’d rented a few months prior – another fuzzy decision. There weren’t any windows in the room, so I was shocked to see snow on my way to the bathroom.

The building was on a little side street – glorified alley – called Maiden Lane. The scene was undisturbed, picturesque, and unwelcome at such an early hour. I had originally thought of the space for the detective agency because it was sleazy and run down when I was a kid. I figured it would be perfect, but in the years since I’d been there, the area was transformed into a hipster’s paradise. It was a Mecca of fashionable cafes, art studios, independent designers, and boutiques. I had a year lease though, so I tried to make the best of it. (more…)