All right. It’s done. This is the final installment in the group story formerly known as “untitled.” I’m torn between “The Secret Life of Russell Fink” or “The Promise of Russell Fink.” The second one only makes sense to a few people. Kind of like me. Or most writers I know.

And on the off-chance you can’t get enough of these round robin stories, our buddies over at Story Board–Dineen, Robin, Ronie and Ron–are starting their own. Check it out here.

Without further ado, and with apologies to Dallas

Part Ten

“Alyssa?” Russell ran out from behind the cop cars and headed straight for them.

The arm loosened around Sarah’s neck, and she gulped air.

“What are you doing here, Russell? Following me? We broke up.”

“Actually, I broke up with you.”

Sarah didn’t care who broke up with whom. She just wanted this gun out of her back. And if Russell could do it, she just might kiss him for real this time.

The gun slipped lower and in a flurry of bodies, Sarah was slammed to her side by someone who must have been a defensive lineman before becoming a cop. Dang, she was going to have bruises. Better than being dead, though.

The lineman offered her a hand up while other cops hauled off Alyssa who was screaming something about a publicity stunt.

Russell stood there looking stunned while Kyle hustled over carrying a box.

Russell nodded to the box. “What’s in there? The drugs?”

“You could say that.” Kyle lifted off the lid slightly. Two of the ugliest toads Sarah had ever seen blinked back at her.

Sarah stepped back. “What are those?”

“Poisoned toads. People smoke the venom.”

She shuddered. Yuck. She just wanted to go home. Maybe get a massage, take a nap. She was so tired, she felt her eyes drifting shut …


Sarah was hearing voices. Where was she? The rollers running up and down her back reminded her. Oh yeah, the salon. Wow, that was a good story idea. She’d have to hit the computer as soon as she got back home.

“She thinks she’s such a great writer but I read one of her books and didn’t get it.”

Lynne murmured something but Sarah didn’t hear it. She kept her eyes closed. This could be interesting.

“I mean, they didn’t even have sex. What’s up with that? Good grief, all that chemistry and then… nothing.” A pause. “She’s asleep, isn’t she? I mean, she can’t hear me, right?”

That’s right, honey. I can’t hear a thing. Good grief.

The machine stopped and Sarah opened her eyes, blinked, and pretended to wake up, stretching out her arms in front of her.

Lynne hurried over. “Color looks good on you. Chick Flick Cherry. Very nice. You rest?”

“Yep. Had a nice little nap.”

“Good. See you in two weeks.”

Sarah slid her feet into her flip flops, paid and left the salon.

A man turned as she came out the door, holding the leash of a basset hound. He smiled at her. He had the cutest smile.

Maybe …

Nah, she pushed the thought out of her mind. The vestiges of her muse’s dancing in her brain still swirled around her, affecting her view of things. Still, if he ever read her book …

She strolled toward him, giving him a smile. Stopping within a foot of him, she reached her hand out. “Thanks for walking Sonny for me.” She took the leash out of his hand.

“No problem. When do you need me again?”

“I’m not sure, I’ll call you. Come on, Sonny, let’s go home.”

Sonny didn’t come at first, turning to look at the man before waddling after her.

She could have sworn he winked.