NO PICNIC FOR RAFE – flash fiction

05 Apr

No Picnic for Rafe

They had been together on the blanket for three hours. The sun was dropping behind the hilltop and the lake below was dark in the shadow. Rafe looked at Ellie and tried hard to smile. There was no smile in his eyes. Anyone close by would have been struck by the strained smile on his lips and the hardness of his eyes.

Ellie clearly was not carefree either. She had a smile painted on her face but the strain showed around her green eyes. She kept smoothing down her long granny dress as vagrant breezes off the lake plucked at it and lifted it. She seemed very modest indeed about her legs.

The spot Rafe had picked for their picnic was high on the hill, overlooking the area of meadow and shrubbery where, during the long afternoon, a few other couples had enjoyed themselves and each other. Usually, on a fine Saturday like this, there were dozens of couples picnicking here. They had a commanding view. Just behind them, the dense tree line blocked off the hilltop itself.

Rafe poured another glass of Chardonnay from the half empty bottle and handed it to Ellie. “Drink up!” he said. It sounded more like an order than a toast. Ellie took the glass, twirled it by the long stem, and looked at a reddening cloud in the eastern sky through it. She did not drink.

Rafe thought about how their relationship had not turned out at all as he had hoped. He was very disappointed in Ellie. She had become a problem. Today needed to turn out right. He needed to get her out of his way.

Rafe caught a flicker of movement in the corner of his right eye. He felt only a moment of exploding pain in his head. Darkness fell suddenly.

When Rafe came to, there was Ellie with no smile on her face but shining eyes. Her granny dress had a small hole in it and was spattered with blood. A body bag was being zipped up and loaded into the police department van. A number of police were milling about, some picking up bits and pieces, another taking photographs. Ellie looked at Rafe and finally she smiled, seeing him awake. “We got him, partner!” she said and abruptly pulled up the stained dress to reveal her holstered service revolver on her naked thigh. “He never saw it coming.”

Rafe was relieved, of course, to have the stakeout over and successful. The “Picnic Murderer” had not only been caught but killed and both he and Sergeant Eleanore Swift were alive and well. But Sergeant Rafael Somorra was not happy, not one little bit. She had done it again; had shown him up and brought the rape and murder rampage to a sure end. There was no way they could keep working together. No way.

— Denis M. Garrison

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit
First published in an online collection, How to Operate a Mirror, at on June 22, 2005.



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