"Wrong Place, Wrong Time" - A Spy Club Story
Parental Guidance is Advised - this story contains strong language and drug use.
This is the text version of the short story "Wrong Place, Wrong Time." Below, is a YouTube video containing an audio narration of this story. You can read the story below, listen to the YouTube narration, or, read and follow along with the video - whichever way you like to consume narratives.
In October of 2020, Andrew and Chaneen (members of As Per My Ability) played a mini-campaign game by Renegade Studios entitled Spy Club. It is a cooperative game where players take on a role of a neighborhood kid to solve a master crime. Upon completing the mini-campaign (five games), players are left with information relating to what is referred in the rulebook as a master crime. The information and color scheme are as follows:
Within the rulebook, the designers recommend that players take a few minutes around the table upon completing the campaign to develop an amusing story using the aspects relating to the master crime. Instead, Andrew and Chaneen decided to create a case using our aspects into a short narrative story. Think of it as reverse Mad Libs.
Our story can be found on our blog (here) at www.aspermyability.com. What you are about to read (or hear if you are listening on the YouTube channel) is a fictitious story—a result of our five-game campaign. For those of you reading along, each aspect of information is associated with a color (motive, location, object, character, the act). Highlighted words within the text represent direct aspects of our narrative campaign; everything else is a result of our collective imagination and Andrew’s knack for storytelling. Enjoy.
WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME: A SPY CLUB STORY
I. “The Opening Act”
“Tina…” The sheriff said slowly, quietly.
“And Tamara. They’re known as the terrible twins. At least that’s what people around the hood refer to ‘em.”
“Yes,” said the sheriff, turning from the window, seating himself behind his desk. “I am familiar with the Danner siblings.”
Sheriff Adrian sat in his rickety-wooden chair. “Drug addicts? Yes? As far as I see it, they’re troublemakers, unsavory type, and more importantly, well-known for, how do I say?—sexual activities for the right price? That’s my take on Tina and Tamara Danner.”
Adrian noticed how he did not enjoy standing on his feet as he once did. The stubborn thing about old age is how things fade. The inevitable touch of Mr. Old Age—Adrian’s vision, his hair, a couple of his teeth, his bladder, his ability to be on his feet, and, the real coup de grace: Adrian’s ability to get an erection. Not that a discussion of the twins, Tina and Tamara, is an appropriate cause for an erection. For the record, Adrian used to get as hard and horny as any of his teenage compatriots in his youth; before the unwelcomed visitation of Mr. Old Age.
“Uh - have my parents been called?”
“Someone has been sent to notify them.” sheriff Adrian reassured. The truth of the matter is that no one has been called, emailed, messaged, or notified; not yet, anyway. The upcoming conversation is only the opening act to a horror show not typically seen in Adrian’s jurisdiction. His jurisdiction is quiet. Which is the precise prescription for a hairless, vision-less, erection-less lawman. Still, when the opening act begins, it is law enforcement’s job to dig, to get to the bottom of things. A time of notification will come, yes. But as for right now… sheriff Adrian needed his shovel.
II. “Sister, Sister”
Tina and Tamara, twins of twenty-two years, slender bodies, ebony skin, and afro-style hair. Tina, heavily tattooed. Tamara, heavily pierced—the only way to tell the terrible twins apart, actually. Tina and Tamara Danner, high school dropouts, made a reputation in their minuscule community as the trashy, bottom-barrel women of the evening. Addicted to drugs, the twins’ view of the world is narrow—looking for men to use, hustle, and drugs to consume is a daily occurrence for the two young adults. They are running on the hamster wheel—unable to stop without a severe crash and burn. Naturally, as your grandma would say: You can’t make an omelet without breaking any eggs. It is worth noting that, with a hardcore drug lifestyle, many enemies are made. The twins possess many enemies—drug dealers they’ve ripped off, men they’ve stolen from, businesses they’ve shoplifted. Due to their drug-addled behavior, Tina and Tamara are, typically, considered by and large as social parasites.
Tina and Tamara’s father—currently serving a life sentence for a botched gas station robbery where the cash attendant, along with a few witnesses, in the heat of the moment, was shot and killed. Their mother—a forty-three-year-old homeless woman who disappeared from the community last year. After escaping the gas station debacle, along with other alleged charges including money laundering, a B&E charge for illegally entering a local church during a severe rainstorm, and the indirect involvement of a murdered drug dealer that threatened her children’s lives. The general consensus around her disappearance is that she generated enough heat to not feel safe in the community any longer. She packed up her limited belongings and moved along to the next village, town, city, or state. But, then again, sometimes people disappear for other reasons. Then again, some people end up swimming in the local river with a trench coat filled with rocks the size of newborns. Some people end up swimming in the river with a bullet-shaped hole in the back of their skull. Stranger things have happened…
III. “In the Beginning…”
The pimple-faced eighteen-year-old seated across Sheriff Adrian’s beautiful dark oak desk is Bradley Rose, the town’s snot-nosed brat. He sat wearing a short-sleeved red shirt. The local high school football logo—the Port-Point Grove Pandas—screen-printed on the sleeves, custom designer blue jeans, and a generic baseball cap to unit his unkempt curly black hair. Bradley’s place of employment, five-hundred yards from where he sat, down the street at Jack & Jill’s Hill Convenience Store—a play on the nursery rhyme; however, sheriff Adrian knows the establishment was owned by neither a Jack nor a Jill. It is owned by an affluent businessman by the name of Norman Rose—Bradley’s father.
“Son,” sheriff Adrian said plainly, “before we continue with this shit storm of a mess, I need to make you aware of a few things.”
“Sure,” Bradley replied.
Sheriff Adrian began, “you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. Blah blah blah. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand your rights as I have described to you?”
“I need to hear you, Bradley.”
“Yes. I understand.” Bradley said.
Sheriff Adrian picks up his coffee cup and takes a sip. It is cold and tastes dreadful.
“Well then, my first question is this: Do you want to wait for an attorney?”
No answer. Bradley sat in his chair, deep in thought.
“No…that’s alright. We can begin.”
“Are you sure, son? You have every right to wait.” Sheriff Adrian stood on a collision course for a long night of questions and answers. He stood up, moved across the linoleum floor to the dirty coffee machine resting on a small table in the corner of the room, and switched it on.
“We can begin,” Bradley repeated. And so he did…
IV. “Let Them Eat Cake”
In Magna Amica. That’s the name of the cabin. It’s Latin—roughly translates to The Big Friendly. Right on the shore. Two stories. Larger than life windows. If a mansion swallowed up a sawmill and shat out a building, it would be our cabin, The Big Friendly. More of a get-away resort than an isolated dwelling. We’ve had the place since I was a child. Father bought it for my mom—back when she was alive. My father is an intimidating person. You need to understand this to understand what I am about to tell you.
It was me, Joe, Buck, my older brother Chandler, members of Chandler’s poker club—whose names I cannot recall at the moment—and the calm dark waters outside the windows of The Big Friendly. The moon was down. It hung over the cabin like a giant spotlight.
The idea started as a prank, I swear, Sheriff. We gathered at The Big Friendly to celebrate Chandler’s upcoming wedding—he’s getting married next weekend, a massive wedding with around a thousand attendees coming from all over the country. As you know, Joe and Buck—who are slightly older than me—wanted to “take the event up a notch”—their words, not mine. They told me that if we developed a reputation for putting on stellar parties, well, we could be famous around town. We could have a reputation. People would want to party with us. It’s not that far-fetched of a desire for young single guys such as us.
The prank was simple. It wasn’t even original! Hell, it was so simple we ripped it off from every bachelor party movie in existence: Sexy women popping out of a cake. All of this, everything, over a complete uninspired prank. The twins, well, that was Joe and Buck’s dealings, as they have dealt with the Danner twins before—although I do not know what and to what degree.
The cake was my responsibility. I ordered a custom hollowed-out cake bigger than life! You see, unlike in all those Hollywood movies, we had two sexy girls popping out of ours. I special ordered from a shop known as LL Cool Cakes a week in advance; rush order. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, sheriff. LL Cool—that’s the owner, it’s what he goes by—did not disappoint. The cake was the size of a cathedral, fully decorated with vanilla frosting and outlined with patterns and designs… I didn’t figure the white cake and frosting would lead to such problems.
V. “Fifteen Seconds of Fame”
“So you designed the cake, is that what you’re saying?” Sheriff Adrian requested.
“Yes.” Bradley said solemnly.
“And these guys…Joe, Buck and….”
“Chandler. My brother, sir.”
“Right. Chandler. You collective heads of knuckle actually thought this was a good idea?”
“Why not?” Bradley said. “I mean, it works in all the movies…”
Sheriff Adrian shrugs his shoulders: “You’re not really well-versed with how these things in movies typically turn out, are ya, kid?”
Bradley blinks hard a few times, “but in the movies—“
“—Yeah, well, apparently not this one, kid.”
Sheriff Adrian feels disgusted, sitting in his office in the middle of the night with some rich-kid who thought such an insensitive prank could ever go over well when he should be wrapped in blankets, in his bed, dreaming the dreams of his youth.
The twins—Tina and Tamara, higher than a Giraffe's scrotum, by Sheriff Adrian’s estimation—popped out of the giant-sized custom cake just as requested. Unfortunately, due to the poor, poor design of the cake. Unknowing of what was to come, the black twins popped out covered in white cake and frosting.
“What was the comment again?” Sheriff Adrian requested. “You know, the one your brother Chandler made?”
A flop of sweat breaks out on Bradley’s forehead.
“Chandler was never a fan of the twins; none of us knew this. I swear.” Bradly assures.
“You’ve spend your entire waking life with your sibling. Come on, Bradley, what did he say, kid? What comment started the whole incident?”
Starring at the floor, Bradley says solemnly: “It’s about time you two stopped being niggers and embraced the white life. My dick just might get hard for these white broads.”
Later on, evidence would reflect that both Tina and Tamara had enough methamphetamine in their system to kick start a dead horse. As chronic, long time drug users—not to mention the amount of growing cabin fever of being stuck in a hollowed-out cake—their minds were not of their own.Becoming delusional and aggressive manifest in addicts when their brain is flooded with dopamine and have not slept in five days.
“Is that what did it? Is that what caused Tina to—?”
“It was Tamara.” Bradley corrected. “They both went crazy! I thought I was going to be catch a bullet, too.”
“That’s what being trapped in a tiny box, high on methamphetamines, and a solid dose of racism does to these broads.” Sheriff Adrian stated matter-of-factly.
“The sound,” Bradley reflects to himself, “the sound…it was unimpressive; like a balloon popping. It didn’t sound like the movies at all, sheriff.”
Sheriff Adrian is the one-and-only reigning sheriff of the Port-Point Grove community—had been for the better part of two decades. Before the promotion, Adrian walked a beat for another decade and some change. Before that, he worked nights for two years to pay his way into the police academy. From the police academy to his wooden sheriff’s desk in his long career, anti-drug campaigns have come and gone like a fart in the wind. First, there was “Hugs, not Drugs,” which gave way to “There Is No Hope in Dope” and “Stand Up Against Drugs.” Then, the ever-so-popular “Just Say No.” In all his years, what sheriff Adrian deduced was this: That no amount of money and/or anti-drug campaigns will stop the next generation from wanting to get high. They’ll find ways to alter their chemical makeup. They’ll take drugs to party. They’ll take pills to sleep. They’ll take medicines to deal with their anxiety. They’ll self-medicate to exist within a sick, sad, and cruel world.
Unfortunately, nobody—not even the good lord himself—expected one of the Danner sisters to be packing: A Seecamp .32 caliber ACP semiautomatic mini-pistol. A firearm small enough to fit within one’s palm. Tough ladies of yesteryear tucked them in their stockings for when the boys got a little rough. When you add a long history of drug abuse into the mix, hysteria, racism, and things tend to get complicated—even homicidal..
The office is quiet. The warm sun peaks over the horizon. The room is ever-slightly brighter than an twenty-minutes before; the change, bearably noticible to the eye. The light—an orange hue—symbolizing the transition of mistakes shuffling into the past; into the fray.
Bradley lowers his chin into his chest. With tears in his eyes, he asks:
“Sheriff? Is my brother…is he dead?”