Monday Matinee - The Quest - Rerun

Sparks Of Insanity By Vinny "Bond" Marini Monday, May 21, 2007

We began writing our new adventure for Monday Matinee and this morning when we awoke we saw that we had received an update from the evil monster that is Microsoft. Somewhere along the way all the music on the laptop disappeared and the word document with this week's story, that was open on the desktop when we went to sleep was missing...

Sunday was a travel day to Minnesota for business. We have the beginning of what we feel is a good story, but could not get it in shape to post. So we are pulling out an oldie but goodie for you today.

From December 18, 2006....Hope you enjoy...


Please take your seats, remember not to make noise and disturb your neighbors.


Frank Stevens
was normally a genial man. If you asked people who knew him they would say that Frank would be the last person to get into trouble with the law.

Truth be told, Frank had never been in trouble before, and as we meet him driving down the interstate early Saturday morning. he is singing along to the music.

Frank leaned down to work the CD player in his car. Prior to starting off on this trip he has stopped and picked up some new music. There is nothing like cruising along at 70 MPH with the sun roof open; listening to some good rock and roll, Frank thought to himself. The Black Crowes singing "Evil Eye." Frank owned many songs with this name, though they were all different.

This trip seemed so spur of the moment. Frank had shocked his boss by asking for the next
week off on a Thursday afternoon. Frank was always so precise and had everything planned in advance. When his boss inquired if there was anything wrong, Frank had just replied that it was a “family situation and he needed to deal with it.”

course his boss had approved the time-off. Frank was a his first employee and his most diligent worker and was always available to help others. If he had a family emergency, they would pitch in and help.

On Friday, everyone in the office asked if there was anything Frank needed, anything they could do. Later on, to a person, they would say that Frank never discussed the exact nature of this “family emergency”, and was acting a bit off. This was chalked up to his mind being on the situation at hand.

How long would you be gone, he was asked? He told them just the week should be fine to clear up the matter.

It was difficult for Frank to be so mysterious. He was CFO and Operations Manager of this small company. In total there were 56 employees and 13 of those worked off-site around the country. They managed software for human resources departments across the country.


When the owner, Harvey Norris, had decided to leave the monster firm he worked for, he recruited Frank from the same company. He promised Frank he would be taken care of and for the most part he had been. His salary and bonus were excellent and no one ever questioned his work.

His position also allowed him to travel across the country to visit clients, and potential clients. This is the part Frank loved the most. It allowed him to widen his
QUEST, which he realized, was necessary.

At the end of the day on Friday, Frank quietly said good night and walked out and into his car. Stopping home, he grabbed the four suitcases he had packed.

Kneeling on the floor next to the smallest of the four, Frank unzipped it and pulled out the container inside. It was an aluminum cannister, about 18" in height. Inside was Frank's ultimate reward. Twenty-nine "lovelies". For all the years he had to endure...had to be at the mercy of the call, whenever it came. Frank was not going to be denied his 29 "lovlies." He picked up the bags and as he walked out he quickly looked back and smiled.

He had driven for 12 hours straight, only stopping for gas and some Pepsi and snacks. Frank never ate meals. He picked. If he stopped for fast food ¾ of it would end up being eaten cold. That mattered little to Frank. He knew he needed food. Food was the “fuel” that allowed him
to continue on his QUEST.

Ah his QUEST. For one second, his strength slipped and he thought “the QUEST was coming to fruition.” Then he mentally slapped himself. FOCUS.

His eyes slid to the fuel gauge and he knew he had to make a stop soon. The stops he made during the night did not bother him. The clerks were always half asleep and never really looked up into the faces of their nocturnal customers. He could fill the tank, always making sure he put in exactly $25.00. Frank would then walk to the store area to get “fuel” for himself.

But during daylight the clerks are more awake, so you have to make sure you don’t do anything to make them remember you. If you do, well…we won’t think about that.


As the car was getting fed, Frank opened his trunk and looked around to make sure no one was watching. He unzipped the small bag and looked into the container. "Hello lovlies, soon we will rest," Frank whispered. Smiling, he closed it quickly and slammed the trunk closed.

Walking in and turning to his right he made his way down the first aisle. “All the same…all the same,” Frank thought to himself, his eyes constantly scanning left and right looking at the items on the shelves. This could be any gas station convenience store – all the same…all the same.
Frank’s right hand reached out to grab a box of Cheese Nips, “$25.00 for gas plus $2.50, $27.50, Frank calculated in his head. Then his left scooping up 2 packages of Hostess Cupcakes “1.00 each that is $29.50” – all the same all the same – and then he was at the cooler.

Frozen foods. Who comes to a gas station convenience store and buys a frozen dinner he thought and shook his head. Moving to his left, Frank started at the bottom, and scanned upward…then moving to the next door and starting at the top and scanning down.

Frank crab-walked sideways continuing down the cooler. Ice teas, ginger ale, then the coke products and Frank moved quickly by those. He drank one thing, Pepsi. Not Diet Pepsi, not caffeine-free, not diet caffeine-free. No, one thing – Pepsi in a 20 oz bottle.

Finally, the Pepsi products and Frank grabbed two “$1.50 each, ok $32.50”. Turning, Frank moved down another aisle and reached down to grab 4 Almond Joy bars, “$4.00, $36.50… humm” Frank thought again and grabbed two more candy bars “OK, $38.50.” This time Frank spoke the words, even shocking himself.

Frank looked into his hand to reassure himself that he had two twenty-dollar bills in his right hand.

The items were delicately balanced in his arms, but when Frank reached the counter he lost concentration and one of the Pepsi’s slipped and bounced on the counter.

The cashier reached out and stopped it before it rolled off. Frank silently cursed.

“Ya might wanna gets another one. Thisun will be all shook up now,” mumbled the adult sitting behind the counter. “God man, we have baskets ya know,” Stevie Owens thought to himself. Stevie was a 27 year old high school drop out. His biggest goal in life, at that moment, was getting back to the “Letters To Penthouse” he had hidden under the counter.

The Pepsi falling had also caused Frank to wince. He liked to get in pay his money, always leaving any extra behind, which is why he added the candy. Leave two big a “tip” they remember you. For a dollar-fifty, well not so much.

Frank put the rest of the items on the counter. Stevie turned and looked out the window at Frank’s car. “Don’t look at the car”, Frank thought to himself. “Pump 4? Twenty-five”, Stevie mumbled and hit the register keys then scanned the rest of the items. When he was done he mumbled “$40. 65” Frank looked at the clerk and then at the register. “Arg, the tax you ass!” he screamed silently.

Into his front pocket went his hand. His fingers probing. He did not want to pull out the wad of bills in his pocket. Of course they were all twenties and fives. That way – when he remembered the tax – he could just drop the money and not worry about getting that dirty change back. Hoping his fingers had slipped around a five and not a twenty Frank withdrew his hand and glanced down. YES! A fiver.

While Frank had been five-fishing, Stevie had thrown the items into two plastic bags. “Ah, Mista, ya gonna get a notda Pepsi?” Stevie said as he held out the suspect bottle. Frank looked up slightly; he had still managed not to make eye contact, and took the bottle from Stevie’s hand and pushed it into one of the bags and walked out.

“O hey man ya forgot ya ……..change?” Stevie’s voice followed as Frank went out the door, hardly hearing the last word.


“Damn, damn, damn damn" Frank mumbled as he slid into the driver’s seat, put on his seatbelt, started the car and threw it into drive. Go slow, they notice when you speed out, Frank reminded himself, and pulled onto the entry back to the Interstate.

Once on the interstate, Frank tried to control his breathing. Eventually he had it under control and put another CD in and turned the volume up full.

The sounds of "Evil Eye" by Billy Idol filling the car and flooding out the sunroof.

He tried to let the words fill his head, but instead his mind started spinning again. He began to see his life in little snippets. As a child, battered by his peers, he withdrew and became a loner. Watching from the shadows…always thinking about how he would make them all pay some day.

Then in high school, the coach had convinced him to go out for football. Frank found he had a talent. Playing defensive back, he enjoyed the hitting. Running full-steam into the opponent and knocking him back 5-yards.

His greatest satisfaction was not hitting the other teams, but in practice when he got to line up against one of those who had been his bully years before. It was like they didn’t even remember him, he was just another kid not “Frankie F**kwad”, the name they gave him years back.

Until that third day of practice his junior year, when his assignment was to blitz and while the quarterback was giving signals Frank heard him…heard him as if he had said it out loud.
“22, blue, warrior-right, 14 - frankie f**kwad, - hike!” This is what Frank heard and when he made his move he slipped between the linemen and kept going.
Now in practice, when you get to the quarterback you are only supposed to two-hand touch, to avoid injuries. This day “Frankie-f**kwad” was not following the rules and he hit that asshole Gary Bowers so hard he broke 3 ribs and dislocated his shoulder.

Of course the Coach was livid and screaming in Franks face as they took little Gary to the hospital. “That’s right, you crying little baby, whose the F**kwad now?” Frank thought and that is when he heard the Coach scream “And what is it with that ‘I’m a retard’ smile you have on???? Huh, STEVENS, WELL ARE YOU A RETARD?”

Frank never remembered what happened next but according to what he heard later, he had hit the coach with his fist. It was the last time Frank was on any kind of sports field and he sunk even deeper into the shadows.

But he did remember one thing. He liked the feeling he had when he hit both of them. The shot at Bowers was the most satisfying feeling he had ever had. It took a while to admit it to himself, but when he got up from the tackle, he was aroused. And when he was being pushed away from the coach after hitting him, well he had actually orgasmed!

That scared him at first, but later on, in his bedroom thinking about the incidents, he found it happened again.


And that is when THE QUEST had begun to form in his mind. When he began to understand his life mission.

He waited to truly begin until he went out of state to college. When he “reinvented” himself into this cool ladies man.

It wasn’t really hard. The girls didn’t know about “Frankie-F**kwad” – no one did. And he wasn’t really bad looking. His dark hair was a little long and never really combed, but it gave him a bad-boy image.

He began dating. Never staying with one long, sampling the variety as he used to like to say to himself. And THE QUEST formulated and percolated.

Then his junior year he moved off campus into an old house by himself. His friends – because he had many now…and that used to make him smirk and think “yeah, you would be surprised if you knew” – wondered why he was moving in alone. He just explained that he needed his “alone” time and winked to the guys and whispered “for the ladies dudes…”

Sometime his senior year was his first test. It went badly. Frank was very disappointed in himself and shut himself in his bedroom refusing to come out for three days.

Then just before graduation, he tried again. This time wasn’t as much of a failure, but he was still disappointed in the overall results.


Once he had graduated from college, Frank moved to the city where he got the first job he interviewed for. He could be very personable (actually if he wasn’t his QUEST would have been unattainable.

It was the large company where he met Harvey. Frank was just an accountant when he began and Harvey worked in IT. They clicked over drinks one night and became friends. That is why 10 years later, when Harvey left to start up his firm, he grabbed Frank up. By that time Frank was assistant Comptroller and was pretty secure. He would not have left if not for the knowledge that he would be able to travel around the county, expanding his paying field.

During those 10 years, Frank lived in a small house outside of town. He couldn’t live in an apartment in downtown as all the other single guys did. An apartment would just not do.

But he did spend many nights working the bars and clubs. Watching, learning, seducing, and practicing.

Yes, practicing. It wasn’t until he had completed his 7th test, that Frank felt he had mastered the task. Mastering did not mean ending it, it meant now he could put the entire process into higher gear.

And he did. Over the next few years, Frank was the "Knight on the Quest" and every test put in front of him was passed. Frank was feeling he was so close to the completion when the new job opportunity was put in front of him and he knew that this was another test he had to master.


Frank reached the intersection of I70 and I 15 and headed south, coming out of the mountains and heading for Las Vegas. He looked at the passenger seat and saw the empty wrappers and box and bottles. That clerk, he thought, I hope he didn’t look to close. Don’t worry, before they know anything you will be gone.

The car needed fuel and so did Frank and even though he hated to admit it, he needed sleep. That is fine though, traveling during the day was not wise.

He saw a billboard “TURN IN MOTEL- 3 MILES – TAKE THE BEAVER EXIT” and decided he should stop. He liked the name Beaver, Utah, in the state of Mormons, they have a town called Beaver and he chuckled. Luckily the TURN IN MOTEL also had a gas pump, so Frank pulled in, filled up the car… just $25.00 and then walked into the office. He put a twenty and a five on the counter and looked at the woman sitting there.Brunette, about 5’4”, hazel eyes...nice smile. “That all today Mister?” she asked, smiling again. As Frank aged, the women seemed more drawn to him and this was crucial in his QUEST.

Deepening his voice slightly, Frank spoke “Well, if you have a room, I think I could use a shower and a bit of sleep. Been on the road all night.” “Sure mister, got room 101 rights next door all cleaned and ready” and she reached down, snagged a key off an unseen board and put her hand out.

As Frank took the key his fingers touched hers and he felt it. It was not strong, as the touch was fleeting, but he knew it when it happened. And he looked at her hand…small, thin fingers, and the pinky…almost perfect. He looked up and saw her staring at him, the smile still there, but a bit questioning.

She had felt it too, he was sure. This surprised Frank. He had not expected another test. He thought the last was the final, the one that allowed him to complete THE QUEST. But the powers knew better than Frank, they always had, going back to the beginning.

Frank took the key and backed out the door, still looking and she looking at him. He put the key in the door and pushed open. The room was clean, that was good. He turned on the light and the TV. Frank never watched the TV; he liked the sound on in the background.

Turning he went out to the car and opened the trunk. He grabbed the two small bags, one which had a change of clothes and his toiletries in it, the other his "lovelies". The others stayed in the trunk.

As he pushed the trunk closed he looked up to see the girl standing in the window watching him. Her body was supple and young and Frank turned quickly and went into the room and locked the door. He put his back against the door and looked upward. “Again?...More? I thought I was done…” he whispered.

Frank walked to the bed and opened the special one. He pulled out the jar and opened it and looked inside and smiled. "ALL MINE...all 29 - would it be 30?", he thought, and closed the lid and put it back in his bag. Putting the bag on the bed, Frank walked toward the bathroom, unbuttoning his shirt and dropping it on the floor. Then he left his pants and underwear where they fell. Turning on the shower, Frank let the water run until it was scalding hot. If you are going to shower, you might as well get clean was Frank’s motto.

Stepping into the shower he unwrapped the tiny soap, tossing the wet paper onto the floor.

Using the tiny bar he scrubbed himself making sure to reach every crevice. The hot water just got hotter and his skin turned red as he continued to scrub.

When he was done, he turned the water off and stepped out of the tub. He hadn’t even bothered to close the curtain and the bathroom floor was wet causing him almost to slip. Grabbing two towels he started wiping himself off as he walked back toward the bed, sitting down on the comforter as he finished drying himself.

Frank stood and turned toward and began to stretch. That was when he realized he had not closed the curtains in the room and on the other side of the glass was the girl from the office…staring.


Frank dropped the towel and walked to the door. He opened the door and she stepped into the room and without a word began disrobing.

The sun was down by the time Frank had finished. He knew he had to get dressed and get back on the road soon.

Dressing quickly, Frank tossed his old clothes into his bag and taking one last look, left the room.

He locked the door and as he got into his car, he watched as another car pulled up and the man got out and walked to the office carrying a lunchbox. The night clerk coming to work. Drive slowly Frank thought.

He pulled out and got back onto the interstate. A full tank of gas in the car. But he had not bought any snacks. Fuel. He had planned on doing that before he left, but his interruption derailed his plans.

No matter, he was energized.


He drove, now Black Sabbath blasting their "Evil Eye" out of the car. The cool night air in the desert was invigorating. After about an hour of driving, Frank pulled to the side of the Interstate. This had to be done in the dark. Frank walked to the trunk, opened it and removed the items needed. He walked about 100 yards off the Interstate and finished this test. Heading back to the car his step was a bit lighter and he got in and pulled away.

A few hours later outside of Las Vegas, Frank filled the car ($25.00) and bought two more bottle of Pepsi, some chips and onion dip and moved on.

He went straight through Vegas, keeping the machine headed in the only direction he needed.

Four and a half hours later, Frank pulled into the long term parking lot at LAX. He locked the car, leaving all of the empty bottles and papers where they lay. Opening the trunk he removed three of the four bags, leaving the small one where it was.

He tossed the keys into the trunk and then slammed the hood closed.

Frank pulled out the wallet. He took the license and all other items with the name Frank Stevens and tossed them in the garbage pail. .

Replacing all the items with new identification, he was now Alfred Thomas, the same name that appears on the plane ticket in his pocket.

He walked to the outside baggage clerk and checked two of the three remaining bags. He really had wanted to take the second one with him and not check it, but he could not afford some $8.50/hour schlep to ruin anything by asking him to open the bag for a physical search if he carried it through security. They would not understand and it would ruin everything. He will not rest until that bag is back in his hands.

Frank walked to the nearest men’s room and selected the stall farthest from the door. Locking the door, he opened the bag he had and changed into new clothes again. He opened the stall and looking to ensure he was alone stuffed the old clothes into the trash can. He then washed his hands and face – scrubbing hard and using steaming hot water.

When he was done he looked in the mirror and smiled.


Picking up his bag he strode out the door and toward his gate. As he walked he looked at the departure board and saw his flight, Korean Airlines Flight 12 non –stop to Seoul, Korea. Not his final stop, only the first step in his final journey.

He walked to the gate, waited until they called the first-class customers and boarded.

Settling in he asked for some Champagne – time to celebrate – and as the plane took off into the night sky Alfred Thomas smiled and closed his eyes. His QUEST was over.


Seven days later when Frank Stevens did not show up at work, his boss was a bit concerned. Trying Frank’s cell phone, it went right to voice mail.

On Tuesday, they became more concerned. By Wednesday, they were concerned enough to call the police.

The police went to Frank’s home and finding no one there, broke in. They searched the house and found everything in order. As they were about to finish up, one of the detectives noticed the rug in the den was askew, and he lifted the edge.

“Hey, it looks like a trap door.”

They moved the furniture and pulling their guns, opened the trapdoor.

One by one, the first three officers climbed down the ladder into the opening they found.

When they reached the bottom, they moved their flashlights around the room they had entered. Two of the thee officers immediately contaminated the scene when they vomited all over evidence.


Six weeks later, all the pieces were finally falling into place.

Frank’s company discovered the main bank account had been emptied of $4.5-million dollars.

The remains of 12 women were found in the room under Frank Steven’s home, along with pictures of each which documented the horrors they had been put through. Reports from 8 other states had already been received. Bodies of women who had been found with the same injuries as those found in the hole.

Who knew how many more would be discovered over the years? Out of all the details released to the press one item was never reported. It was easy to identify because even the decomposed bodies had the tell-tale sign.

Each of the 30 women found was missing their left pinky.

© VEMjr 2006


20 Of Your Sparks

  1. Travis Says:
  2. I remember reading this one the first time. I got such a creepy shiver. Did it to me again.

    Too bad about your other story. Hopefully you can get it reconstructed. This new auto-save feature from blogger has got me so paranoid. When I was writing my story this weekend I found myself saving after every paragraph.

  3. TopChamp Says:
  4. you just can't beat a trapdoor... put a trap door in a story and I'm happy.

  5. Piacere Says:
  6. Oooooooo...Mr. B!! I remember this one! It still reminds me of Stephen King's 'Night Shift' short stories (e.g. Quitters, Inc.). Thanks for the revisit (and sorry about The Evil Empire - bastards!!).


  7. Matt-Man Says:
  8. Lengthy but incredibly boring. Just kidding Vin, you had me at Cheese Nips. Cheers!!

  9. Coco Says:
  10. Sometimes computers are evil ... but I'm glad it gave us a chance to read this one over again.

  11. the108 Says:
  12. Every time I read one of your stories, I sit here and want to know I so desperatly want to pick the brains of your characters and figure them out.

    Why women? He hadn't really been treated badly by women. Why the left pinky finger? I'm sitting here, once again, psycho-analyzing your

  13. Bond Says:
  14. TRAVIS: I have it reconstructed to where I was now (sitting in a printing plant waiting for a press approval gives you time to write...) my only problem now, as I see it, is that this is truly another novel in progress. It is something I am now sure I want to short by making it fit in two-three weeks. I have to see...

    TOPCHAMP: heheheeheheh I will remember that

    PIA: Glad I could refresh the tingles

    MATT-MAN: You have all the time in the world...go back and reread it you sloth! LOL

    COCO: Yes, especially PC's

    108: See, now this one is something I have thought about and have much more of the story marinading in the dark corners of my mind to give you the intervening years and what happens after he gets to LA and such.. maybe someday

  15. Angell Says:
  16. Thanks for repeating this one - I remember it giving me cause to turn over my shoulder while walking alone...

    Sorry to hear about the other story - hopefully you can remember it -I'm sure it was defiantely a winner. :D

  17. Travis Says:
  18. I'd say you have a happy predicament then! Maybe you can give us just a hint? Just a lil taste?

    I was not begging! I wasn't and you can't prove it!

  19. Bond Says:
  20. ANGELL: Glad you enjoyed

    TRAVIS: I think I might...hehehehe

  21. NoMas Says:
  22. Visiting from Serenity Quest.
    What a suspensful story - enjoyed it very much!

  23. Starrlight Says:
  24. This one was FREAKY ASSED!

    Sorry you got MicroHarded =(

  25. Bond Says:
  26. NOMAS: Thanks for stopping by, glad you enjoyed

    STARRLIGHT Freaky Assed and microharded in one comment...LOL

  27. well bond now i am scared. hope this is not autobiographical! ha ha guess i will have bad dreams tonight. i think i need a cruise!

    smiles, bee

  28. Turnbaby Says:
  29. LOL--the 'pinky man' reprised. Good stuff--suggested you roll it on out for your wider audience--glad you let them see. Very much a nice twisting thing

  30. Bond Says:
  31. BEE: Here, have some cake... ehheheh

    TURN: Had to pull out a repeat and thought this would work...

  32. Morgen Says:
  33. That is one awesome repeat, and PERFECT for 'graphic'

    You have such a way with detailed-characterizations - from the cops puking on the crime scene to the convenient store clerk wanting to return to his magazine...
    captivating and so well done.

    Sorry I've been absent for a while.
    I'm missing all the good stuff.

  34. Bond Says:
  35. MORGEN: Thanks for the nice words..we do miss you on THE COUCH and hope to see you around more often...

  36. MT Says:
  37. So there I was, wandering through the random meanderings, thinking "hmm.. the site does have this cool leather couch going for it, but I'm not getting the point..." when wham-BLAM I ran smack dab into Frank and his lovelies, and I was hooked. I can't remember the last time a short story on a blog caught my attention this way.

    I think I need therapy now. (ok, I needed therapy before, but... ) Kudos!

  38. Bond Says:
  39. MT: Glad you enjoyed THE QUEST. The rest of the COUCH is my meanderings...but Monday's are MONDAY MATINEE (well except tomorrow, since it is Memorial Day).

    Hope to see you back again...


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