fiction / short stories / Uncategorized

Dancing Ned

Old Ned could put his nose in the air and smell misery from miles away. He never missed an opportunity to help. Oh yes, Ned was good like that. He made cloven tracks right towards the sound of a mournful soul in need.

Farmer Bixby sat on a large rock. The brilliant moon bathed him in sorrow’s scorned light. Seasons had come and gone, and each year, the crops had become more meager. Now the balloon mortgage was due and there was nothing to pay it with. Nothing in his purse, nothing in the box under the bed. How would he tell Lucy the farm was lost? Where would they go? He looked out into the river. He wanted to jump, let the water drown his soul, but then, he heard a voice. “I say, Bixby. What are you doing here on the edge of a rock?” Bixby looked up and into the face of stranger.

“Who are you? How do you know me?”

“Name is Ned. Ned Deaseet. I hear tell that you need some assistance?”

“You, you… from the bank? You may well take it….”

“Hold on, what would ya say if I told ya, I could help ya?”

“How?”

“How much is it worth to you? How much to save little Lucy from street misery? See, you got something to sell me, it’s right there he pointed to the center of Ned’s chest. We can be soul brothers, you and I. We can burn into eternity like two comets blaring through the night sky. You and I. Keep your farm, sign right here.”

Bixby blinked. What else could he do? He signed, signed with the blood of his finger draining the essence of his soul from his veins. Ned laughed. “Do you happen to do a mean Two Step?” Then he was off, humming a few bars and skipping down the dirt road.

A new moon rose over a despondent financial district where the housing market had imploded and stocks had taken a deep dive. Erik Ward stood on his balcony way atop the schematic disasters up on the 89th floor. Why had he gambled his portfolio? He had pushed every available button. He had pirated investors. He was finished! He’d have to give up the Lambo, the Italian suits, Yacht Sundays, and blonde socialites. He just couldn’t do it. He couldn’t live without money. There was no life without money. The cool, crisp gravity below beckoned.

“Mr. Erik?” He looked up started to see another man on the balcony. “That’s sure a nice suit you are wearing there, Mr. Erik.”

“Who are you? How did you get up here?”

“Name’s Ned. Call me Old Ned. I’m not a young Whippersnapper like you.”

“What do you want?”

“Well, I happen to be a finance man myself. I skipped over all that stupid frat house stuff, unlike you, and I got right down to business. That’s how I became an expert. It’s how I stayed in the green, yes sir, green’s my favorite color. But I have been a few jams before. It ain’t the end of the world you know. Not yet, anyway.” Ned winked.

“Nobody can help me…”

“Hold ya horses. I got a proposition for you. See I’ve invested in foreign stocks. Made a killing!” Ned laughed hysterically. “Come be my finance manager. I’ll give you a bonus up front, all the money you just lost plus another 20% as a special sign on offer.”

Erik blinked. He could almost taste sevruga caviar. Oh, how he loved money. It was everything. Without money, he was nothing. “Give me the contract!”

Ned smiled, gleefully. “Tango, Erik. It takes two to do it, you know. I say, let’s go out and find some hotties to tango with!”

The cycles of the moon are many, and one night as a sliver of moon peaked though the clouds, a tragic Monique prayed outside a hospital room. Her fiance had been badly injured when another car crossed the street median. The medical team was flying about fast and furious, determined to save Luke. Monique’s heart was racing inside her chest, tears spilling out upon her cheeks.

“Excuse me,” a man’s voice caused her to glance up.

“Miss Monique, is it?”

“Yes?”

“Dr. Deaseet, Dr. Ned to you. I want you to know. We are gonna save Luke. We are.”

“You, are you….sure?”

“Well, I’m gonna need a little clarification from you first. How important is Luke in your life?”

“Oh sir, he is everything to me!”

“Is that right? What would you do for him?”

“I would do anything, anything!”

“Would you call this a soul mate kinda love?”

“Yes.”

“Well, how about we do a swap of sorts. Maybe sign a bond to seal the deal?”

‘Yes, yes. Whatever it takes,” Monique answered and signed the strange colored paper that he handed to her on a hospital clip board.

Ned laughed a laugh that pulsated through the corridors and sent tingles through the spines of the nurses in the 7th floor intensive care unit.

“Tell me, darlin,” said Ned extending a bony hand to Monique. “Have you, have ya ever,… ‘danced with devil in the pale moonlight?”

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31 thoughts on “Dancing Ned

  1. Love his name–Deaseet, indeed. He shows up at precisely the right moment and sneaks into the cracks of our vulnerability, so deftly that we sign in blood and don’t even realize what we’ve done. You have a talent for character sketches, Lana. And great song to go with the story. 🙂

  2. Were you tempted to let Erik slip before Ned arrived, LT? Great story telling, even without the unscheduled tumble from 89. 🙂

    • Thanks so much, Diana. I was sympathetic to all these characters except greedy Erik…at least the others were selling their souls for someone else. The last line, I wish I could take credit for that one, but it is quoted from the Joker in a Batman episode 😀

  3. Lana, this was wickedly good..one can’t help but fall for Ned and as for his hapless signatories…just too bad! Loved it, one of those stories where you shouldn’t come away smiling but just can’t help it!😀

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