Desperately Meaningless

At 5:00 A.M., Laura Kimber found herself standing in a piss stench hallway of a run down house on Kossuth Street. The camera man, stopped flashing pictures long enough to reload his camera and Kimber used that respite to walk through the bedroom for the third time. The fifty two year old man was stabbed twice in the neck and once in the heart, and then, it seemed, shot in the back of the head at close range.

Denver Burke was found by a neighbor, a middle aged Mexican woman on her way to work at a near by seedy motel as housekeeping. She noticed that the door to Burke's apartment was ajar, and she wanted to let him know so she knocked. No one answered so she let herself in and saw the body dead on the floor.

There were no witnesses, no motive, but still there was a body on the floor. After the stabbings the man was dead, and then dead some more with the gun shot blast. One of the uniforms sat on the bed trying to piece together everything about the senseless murder. The man earned minimum wage at his job, and he could hardly afford the rent. There were lottery scratch off tickets in the garbage, and of course there were no big winners or they wouldn't be in the garbage.

The man had no television, a broken micro-wave and a small compact refrigerator with only ice cubes in the freezer. He used dirty sheets as curtains to keep the sun out, and his toilet was busted. Kimber knew that because there was a bucket of water next to the bowl. She knew that he had to pour the water into the bowl so that it would flush.

Denver Burke was surviving the best way he knew how and was murdered for that ambition alone. A more meaningless murder could not have been committed.

“Burke has no family,” said another uniform as she walked into the bedroom. “He's just a loner, no wife, no kids, and hell no pets.”

Detective Laura Kimber looked up, distracted. “ pets?”

The uniform nodded and turned away.

The paramedics pronounced him at 5:05 A.M., and the scene was secured, with the Bridgeport Police keeping everyone but the other residents outside of that run down house on Kossuth Street.

Making his way into the building and up to that second floor roach infested apartment, Chambers noted right away that there was no sign of forced entry. Not at the front door, nor at the victim's apartment. All the windows in his small apartment were locked and secured.

Burke was face down, centered in a pool of coagulated blood that stained the already filthy white carpet. Chambers walked over to Laura Kimber, but she had nothing to add or say. She tightened her lips and closed her eyes.

“He died, just trying to live,” said Chambers.

There was a stillness in the room. No one else spoke.


© 2015 Frank Atanacio

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Comments 30 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 14 months ago from Olympia, WA

The title was pure genius...the story only improved upon that. :)

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 14 months ago from Dallas, Texas

Senseless loss of life so aptly described, Frank. What could one gain from this murder? You have beautifully captured another seedy slice of life and death.

Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 14 months ago from LOS ANGELES

I wonder if he had somehow scratched off the lucky lottery ticket and someone decided to claim it for themselves. The fact there was no sign of forced entry probably means it was someone he knew. Oh, well, that's the beauty of your short stories Frank, one can draw their own conclusions. Thank you for bringing me my favorite heroine back, Laura Kimber.

always exploring profile image

always exploring 14 months ago from Southern Illinois

Lordy this was graphic and you got it right, senseless! The poor man had nothing to lose but his life. Cruel world. Another good one to ponder.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

Billybuc, Pegcole, Dana Tate and Always Exploring.. I thank you guys for checking out my Meaningless piece of flash fiction bless you guys :)

clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 14 months ago from Nibiru

Sorry he had to go that way frank...but those scratched off lottery tickets were tickets i pulled out his dirty little pockets after he picked my wallet with a winning ticket valued at 25 BIG ONES! that thieving scoundrel was asking for it and i gave it to him....We had quite a struggle, that bag of bones surely put up a decent fight, but in the end my knife and pistol got the better of that old sac of nothing. Satisfied and thrilled, it was not a meaningless death, it was justified.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

LOL, oh you Jive Clive.. I knew you had something to do with it... 5-0 is on your trail... :)

always exploring profile image

always exploring 14 months ago from Southern Illinois

HaHa Only Clive could've done it. Get him 5-0...

clivewilliams profile image

clivewilliams 14 months ago from Nibiru

sorry guys, already skipped town, chilling in Nicaragua as we speak....:-)

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

Always and Clive, you guys are nuts LOL

Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 14 months ago from southern USA

Aw, poor Burke, who didn't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out ... maybe there is a serial "dark angel" going around thinking those barely existing in this life, like Burke, are better off dead, in his or her mind and is thinking he/she set him free from this life?

As always, dear Frankie, you painted a stark and sad picture with your vivid words. Good job!

I hope your team is still winning. Go Jets!

Hugs and Blessings

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 14 months ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Laura is going to snap. How much crappy can one person handle. They got their hands full because no murder is really senseless - it just looks that way. Awesome stuff - thanks

Jodah profile image

Jodah 14 months ago from Queensland Australia

It appears to be a senseless murder Frank, and some certainly are. One wonders if the lottery tickets are a clue (that Clive latched onto..can you discount his confession?) Laura Kimber's question " pets?" has me questioning the relevance there, as you don't usually add something like that for no reason. Hmm, leaves me with more questions than answers, which is good. Well done.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

Faith, I have faith.... I think we can go all the way!!!! Bless you girl :)

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

Eric and Jodah, thanks for visiting yet another Kimber short.. we appreciate your support :) bless you both...

annart profile image

annart 14 months ago from SW England

Yes, like John, I was puzzling over the 'no pets'. I just thought that most lonely people have pets but maybe he couldn't even a mouse! Desperate lives, eh.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 14 months ago from The Caribbean

I guess it took time (also takes time) to digest Chambers' statement. Your title is also a good summary for this and many other crimes of this nature.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you so much Annart and MsDora for stopping by and checking out my Meaningless crime

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 14 months ago from England

There are unanswered mysteries there aren't there? but still what a meaningless life and death, so sad, great story Frank!

Missy Smith profile image

Missy Smith 14 months ago from Florida

This is so sad, Frank. Unfortunately, this is how life is nowadays isn't it. It makes me angry and sad. You feel so bad for the character. He was just trying to live, but in another way, and I hate to say it; you almost feel relief the poor guy is out of his misery. His life was so hard and miserable. I felt that with your complete description of his apartment. Like I said, this may be your fictional story, but the truth is, this is happening to someone right now in the world. Just so sad!!!

aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 14 months ago from Stillwater, OK

Perfect ending: "he died just trying to live." I have known folks like that, too, but they died of natural causes.

Genna East profile image

Genna East 14 months ago from Massachusetts, USA

I have to agree with Billy Buc; the title is brilliant, and the story is the illumination.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

Nell Rose and Missy thank you for reading my shorts :)

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

aviannovice and Genna East good to see you folks happy holidays :)

FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 14 months ago from USA

That is one sorry SOB. Poor guy.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 14 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you flourish

manatita44 profile image

manatita44 13 months ago from london

One more awesome piece! Bloody and grusome. You seem to have mastered this. Yet the story is woven and moves well. Kimber does her stuff as normal.

Great language, I guess only you and I are as creative. I mean 'dead some more' and 'said another uniform.' How 'cool' is that! A very peaceful 2016 to you, Bro.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 13 months ago from Shelton Author

thank you for checking out mu flash fiction M... :)

wingedcentaur profile image

wingedcentaur 12 months ago from That Great Primordial Smash UP of This and That Which Gave Rise To All Beings and All Things!

I like what you do with these flash fictions, Frank. Sometimes there isn't an explanation. Sometimes there isn't a reason, something nicely packaged and clean, something that some clever investigator type can suddenly hit upon, some Columbo, Perry Mason moment.

"He died just trying to live." Sometimes that's all that can be said.

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 12 months ago from Shelton Author

thanks Winged...

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