In The Bag

Door bolted and blinds drawn, Darlene stood at her counter staring at the ten-pound bag of cat food.  She doesn’t have cats.  Mrs. Anderson’s words echoed in her mind.

She inspected the bag of Meow Mix.  Nothing written on the bag; the top flap was still sealed.  “This can’t be right,” Darlene muttered in frustration.  “What the heck…” she tore open the bag and poured the contents onto her kitchen counter.    She gagged.  Seafood Medley smelled more like Rotting Fish Guts, but she figured Meow Mix marketing nixed that flavor name.

Darlene ran her fingers through the kibbles looking for… what, exactly she didn’t know.  After several minutes of separating the kibbles with her fingers, all she ended up with was greasy fingers and the sense that every neighborhood stray would soon be on her doorstep.

With both hands, she scooped kibble and dumped it back in the bag.  On the third handful, the doorbell rang.  Startled, she dropped the food on the floor.

The ignored doorbell was followed by three raps on the solid wood door.  “Police!”

Darlene pulled out two small plastic dishes and put them on the counter, then headed for the door.  She almost wiped the rank kibble dust off her hands, but decided not to.  She opened the door and extended her right hand.  “Darlene Whitman.  Can I help you?”

The young officer wore a look of obligation mingled with disinterest.  “We received a call that you stole a bag of cat food from a neighbor.”  He spied her grimy hand and wrinkled his nose.

Darlene laughed even though, at that moment, she wanted to pound the freak “nosy gossip” gene out of Dottie with Myrtle’s Louisville Slugger.  “Myrtle had to leave unexpectedly and asked me to feed her cats.”

“Lucky me,” the office muttered.

“I’m sorry about the misunderstanding.  We think Dottie Anderson has dementia, but her poor husband refuses to accept it.”

“I still have to write a report on the complaint,” the said officer grimly.


Those of you following Darlene’s Story may not like that you still don’t know what the deal is with the bag of cat food.  I’ve included a bonus segment below the Trifecta info.  It isn’t part of the Trifecta response, and it is told from Myrtle’s point of view. Best of all, you will find out the significance of the cat food bag.

In keeping with the Trifecta theme, it comes in under 333 words 🙂


This is another segment in Darlene’s Story and it is my response to the Trifecta weekly prompt which was to write a 33 to 333 word response (mine is 333) using the following word/definition:

TrifectaPicture11-1FREAK (noun):  : one that is markedly unusual or abnormal: as (a)   a person or animal having a physical oddity and appearing in a circus sideshow; (b)   slang (1) : a sexual deviate (2) : a person who uses an illicit drug; (c)   hippie; (d)   an atypical postage stamp usually caused by a unique defect in paper (as a crease) or a unique event in the  manufacturing process (as a speck of dirt on the plate) that does not produce a constant or systematic effect

For complete challenge details, click the tricycle picture to go to Trifecta’s site.


Additional segment begins here (not part of Trifecta response):

Myrtle Crawford waited in the jail’s interview room, her wrists and ankles shackled.  She had only spent one night in jail, but her neck and hips were stiff.  The coils from the worn cot mattress and the wafer-thin pillow made her feel every one of her eighty-two years- and then some.

Two officers led Darlene into the room.  “Fifteen minutes,” one said before closing the door.  Myrtle could see through the tiny window that he kept post right outside the door.

“Darlene,” Myrtle said when Darlene sat in the chair across from her at the table.  “Did you find the cat food?”

“The bag I found was unopened.  Did you have one already opened?

“Those bags are a modern marvel,” Myrtle said.  “With the triple layers, the food stays fresh forever.  When you close the bag, it’s like it was never opened.” 

Darlene’s brow furrowed.

“So the cats are fed?”

“Dottie Anderson stopped by and said you didn’t have cats.”

Myrtle laughed.  “We don’t own cats- it’s the other way around.  They come and go as they please.  They are sneaky ones.”  Myrtle leaned forward.  “Old Tyrone is the fattest cat in Scottsdale.”  With a nod, she added, “You can take that to the bank.  Three hundred and twelve times.”

Darlene looked puzzled, but Myrtle let her words sink in.  When she saw Darlene’s eyes light and a smile spread, Myrtle knew she understood.

Tyrone O’Reilly was the president of the Old Town Bank in downtown Scottsdale.  He was also rumored to be involved in some slightly shady side deals.  Of course, Mrytle knew he was more than slightly shady- he dwelled entirely in the shadows.  The key to a safe deposit box- number 312- was in the cat food bag.  Literally.

Darlene grinned.  “Your cats will be fed.  Do you have any other special instructions?”

The door creaked open.  “One minute,” the officer barked.

Myrtle shook her head.  “You’ll know what to do.”


These two parts continue Darlene’s Story.  Click here for Darlene’s Story page if you want to read the entire piece.  Thanks for stopping by!


59 thoughts on “In The Bag

  1. The Real Cie June 3, 2013 / 10:23 AM

    I’m so broke that I’m considering sifting through my cats’ kibble for hidden safe deposit box numbers.

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:03 PM

      You know, if I thought that might work, I’d probably do the same 🙂 Thanks for reading, The Real Cie!

  2. nrhatch June 3, 2013 / 10:25 AM

    Love it! Thanks for not leaving us in the dark . . . and creating new shadows for us to ponder.

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:04 PM

      I really debated about posting both, because it does make for a lengthy post. I’m glad you liked them, Nancy!

      • knotrune June 4, 2013 / 2:09 AM

        It’s not too long! Quite the opposite 🙂 I love this story and it always makes me happy to find you’ve posted a new episode.

        • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 10:46 PM

          It’s good to know that you didn’t think it was too much, Knotrune! I appreciate you following the series!

  3. Sarah Ann June 3, 2013 / 12:16 PM

    Thank you for the tantalising extra segment. Now we have to wait and see what’s in the deposit box. You are a tease. 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:08 PM

      😳 Haha! Sorry to be a tease, Sarah Ann. These 333-word challenges just bring it out in me, I guess! I will definitely get around to the deposit box contents.

  4. momtheobscure June 3, 2013 / 12:18 PM

    Ha, ha Dottie called the cops for a stolen bag of catfood. She sure is, well, dotty.
    Thanks for the additional segment. I am enjoying following this story

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:09 PM

      Yeah, this lady has waaaaay too much time on her hands. I appreciate you taking time to read both parts, Momtheobscure…I know it was a bit much for one post 🙂

  5. awriterweavesatale June 3, 2013 / 2:03 PM

    nice little flash fiction piece!

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:09 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Awriterweavesatale!

  6. philosophermouseofthehedge June 3, 2013 / 3:49 PM

    Oh the greasy cat food fingers – great little detail…along with the 3 layers – it all adds up to real! ( and really good)

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:10 PM

      Thanks, Phil! I’m glad you liked the details – and I hoped the story would be believable 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:11 PM

      Hmmm…let’s see how long I can drag that out 🙂 Only kidding. I’ll reveal as soon as the word count permits, Ann!

  7. Jo-Anne Teal (@jtvancouver) June 3, 2013 / 7:15 PM

    Glad someone else mentioned the ‘greasy cat food fingers’ too. I totally know what you meant and the detail pulled me even further into the story. Intriguing series, can’t wait to find out what happens! :))

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:12 PM

      Thanks so much for continuing to read the story, Jo-Anne! I’m glad you’re enjoying it so far 🙂

  8. Draug419 June 3, 2013 / 8:09 PM

    I could feel the kitty food grit on my fingers ewww haha 😀

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:13 PM

      Cat food is so nasty smelling and feeling. Thanks for reading, Draug!

  9. Michael June 3, 2013 / 8:48 PM

    I don’t know, maybe they should call it Rotting Fish Guts. I mean, so far as we know, cats can’t read English, so the advertising is really superfluous. Unless cats can read….in which case we’ve got a more serious problem. 😀

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:14 PM

      Hahaha! You crack me up, Michael! Yes, if cats can read, the human race is in huge trouble 🙂

  10. AmbaliKa June 3, 2013 / 8:59 PM

    Ok , I am hooked , i wonder how they got the idea in the first place ,do tell .:)

    • jannatwrites June 3, 2013 / 9:16 PM

      Well, quite a bit has happened in the story so far – too much to properly summarize (the Darlene’s Story page has the entire story all in one place if you’re curious about what has transpired.)

      Myrtle is an older lady who knows a lot about the neighborhood. Too much, really. She’s just being cautious, which is why she hid the key. We’ll find out what she’s stashed away soon 🙂 Thanks for reading these segments, AmbaliKa!

  11. pattisj June 3, 2013 / 9:12 PM

    Oh, good! Bonus info!!

  12. judithhb June 3, 2013 / 10:57 PM

    Loved the bonus information. Wouldn’t have been able to wait for the next installment. Is this going to be published as a book eventually Janna?

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 10:49 PM

      I’m glad the second part satisfied some curiosity, Judith! I would like to publish this as a longer work. I don’t have a good track record with finishing my projects, but I’m making myself work on this one regularly.

  13. Tracie June 4, 2013 / 4:32 AM

    I love that you shared the extra installment…and yet still kept us waiting on a ledge of more to come. Good stuff.

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 10:50 PM

      Thanks so much for reading, Tracie! I don’t try to leave everyone hanging, but keeping it short seems to have that effect 🙂

  14. trifectawriting June 4, 2013 / 7:11 AM

    Dottie does not mess around, huh? Let’s hope Darlene can stay out of trouble.

    Thank you for linking up!

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 10:50 PM

      I don’t know if there’s any way Darlene can avoid trouble at this point 🙂

  15. Jennifer June 4, 2013 / 7:33 AM

    LOVE the bonus. Thank you. And I love these two wily women.

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 10:51 PM

      Your comment made me smile, Jennifer. I’m glad you are enjoying the story so far!

  16. Debbie June 4, 2013 / 7:50 AM

    Aha!! Your bonus information really makes it clear what’s going on, as you promised. Thanks, and now a request — more, please!

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 10:55 PM

      Haha! I’ve got a week to figure out how much info I’m going to reveal in this story (I’ve got a couple of big things that I want to save for the longer version.) I appreciate you taking time to follow along with this story (even with your near day trip to Ireland :))

  17. Valerie June 4, 2013 / 11:05 AM

    Oh I love this! I can’t wait for more, and as for the cat food, I have a dog who would just love to have some;)

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 10:56 PM

      Hehe…I have dogs that love the cat food, too….but we have to keep it up high because the cat food does not like their digestive systems (I’ll just leave it at that!)

      Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Valerie!

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 10:58 PM

      Thanks, Joanne! This story has gone on so long that sometimes I think it’s becoming boring.

  18. Christine June 4, 2013 / 1:26 PM

    I love-love-love this serial. Your writing is just stellar, and Darlene is such a great character. Thanks for posting both pieces!

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 10:59 PM

      Your comment is a huge compliment, Christine – thank you! I appreciate you following this story and sharing your thoughts. I’ll do my best to keep it interesting 🙂

  19. diannegray June 4, 2013 / 1:28 PM

    I love the extra segment, Janna! Can’t wait to see what happens – the entire story is very intriguing! 😀

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 11:01 PM

      Thanks, Dianne! I wish I could just make myself sit down and write out the rest of the story, but the procrastinator in me says, ‘nah, just wait for Monday’s Trifecta prompt and see what happens.’ This is going to trip me up, I just know it!

  20. Eric Alagan June 4, 2013 / 5:11 PM

    Safe box 312 – I wonder what it holds – a document, a murder weapon or worse —

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 11:03 PM

      Oh, I hate to think of the ‘worse’, Eric 🙂 Thanks for continuing to follow the story!

    • jannatwrites June 4, 2013 / 11:04 PM

      Thanks, Kelly! I know it was double the reading, but I had hoped the extra info revealed would make it worth it 🙂

  21. Tina June 5, 2013 / 6:02 PM

    Cat kibble? Sheer genius! Nobody would ever look in there. Not willingly, anyway!

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2013 / 7:15 AM

      I’d recommend a face mask and gloves when sifting through kitty kibble…but that’s just me. It could be great theft deterrent! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Tina!

  22. Brian Benoit June 5, 2013 / 8:32 PM

    Rotting Fish Guts – definitely a better name 🙂 I love your easy style. Please keep it up!

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2013 / 7:15 AM

      Truth in advertising, right? 🙂 Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Brian!

  23. Diane Turner June 5, 2013 / 9:36 PM

    Perfect to hide the key in the cat kibble. That bonus piece was great. Thanks a bunch.

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2013 / 7:17 AM

      Thanks, Diane! Now thieves out there are going to be checking cat food bags when they break into houses 🙂

  24. Imelda June 6, 2013 / 8:34 AM

    I am glad you included here the next installment to the story. It gets exciting by the chapter. 🙂 You have already made a good backbone for another book, Janna. 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2013 / 11:05 PM

      Thanks for reading, Imelda! The encouraging comments make me want to finish this project.

  25. steph June 6, 2013 / 4:38 PM

    I loved the double segment this week. Such great intrigue. The code between Darlene and Myrtle is great. And I love the description of the cat food. I have a bag of Meow Mix in the house. I try not to smell it or touch it, but the cat loves it. On to the safety deposit box…

    • jannatwrites June 6, 2013 / 11:12 PM

      I don’t have Meow Mix, but I haven’t met a cat food (or dog food) that didn’t reek 🙂 I appreciate you continuing to follow along with this story, Steph. It is turning out to be much longer than I ever intended!

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