Tag Archives: Princess Raspberry Universe

Writing from Prompts #19 Alley (Orig Pub 7/30/2014)

Another night, another alley. Princess Raspberry twisted her neck from side to side to relieve the pressure there. She stretched her arms and then settled down to wait. It wouldn’t be long before the usual prostitutes were walking the streets. Then, the real scum would follow. Not the men just looking for a night on the town. She didn’t give a damn about them.

No, she was waiting for the little fish of a drug dealer that would lead her up the chain. She’d been watching him carefully for almost a month now. He was going to be the thread that helped her unravel at least some of the tapestry of stupidity she saw every night. The first few prostitutes sauntered by. The oldest one, a ravaged addict gave her a wide-eyed stare, but kept walking. As long as she wasn’t horning in on anyone’s territory they were content to ignore her comings and goings.

Almost exactly twenty minutes later the wannabe gangsta with his bandana and velour jacket slunk by. He was still young, maybe twenty at the outside. He was a small fry, but he had a group of about six runners working for him now. Princess Raspberry stayed calm and waited for him to get about a block away. She knew where he was headed. She jumped up and accessed the fire escape that took her to the bank of roofs that lead toward his meeting spot. The buildings were jammed up against one another. She’d only had to set up a bridge on one of them. Hopefully, no one had taken it down overnight. She ghosted along the rooflines, out of sight of most of the security cameras and above the range of the streetlights.

The dealer, Ricky, kept his same swaggering pace. He was armed with a gun and a knife. He might even have more on him. But he wasn’t a trained fighter and he had a tendency to get too close with his weapons. She’d watched his tough-guy act with his runners. He’d be close to killing one of them and she’d nearly intervened, but she’d seen worse. Ricky had terrible gun control and never kept his grip steady. He liked the look of the turned weapon which meant his wrist was always canted when he had it out.

He swaggered his way past the townhouse she expected him to be going to. Raspberry’s attention sharpened. Her heart began to beat a bit faster. She scanned her surroundings. There were no signs of security. She stayed carefully in the shadows of the roofs as she moved from one to the next. There he was, turning into the last townhouse on the block. Shit, they owned more than one now. She only had enough equipment to properly watch one. He knocked on the door and waited, body jiggling with excitement. The door opened, there was a sharp pop, and he slumped to the ground. She focussed her binoculars on the scene and took as many shots of the men who stepped out to drag the body in as possible. Damn. Damn. and Double Damn. She had to find a new way into the organization.

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Writing from Prompts #11 Concrete (Orig Pub 4/7/2014)

Blood glistened on the concrete like garnets. Diana sighed deeply. She stepped over the blood and continued on toward her office. The office building was bland, beige stone like every other building on the block. Her office was on the second floor. The elevator was out again. She shook her head. She checked her weapon out of habit before entering the stairwell. The light was burning brightly. Good. She looked up before she mounted the stairs.

“God damn it, Melody.”

“Oh, come on. Please?”

“You’re supposed to be in school.” Diana met her little sister at the door to the second floor. She yanked the door open and stalked through it.

“School is boring.” Her sister followed her. “I didn’t want to go to college in the first place. I wanted to go to the police academy, but someone pissed off the commissioner.”

“He deserved it. Corrupt son of a bitch.” She unlocked the door to Hernandez Investigations. “What exactly are you doing here? Are you broke again?” The door was solid metal with her name on a plate next to it. The inside was plain white walls with a few filing cabinets, a closet, and a bathroom. She hadn’t bothered to get walls in place to create a waiting room yet. The filing cabinets were spray-painted aqua to hide their dents and scratches. Travel posters were taped to one wall. Some day she’d get out of this shithole of a city.

“No, I’m helping you.” Melody’s black hair was in a mohawk now with pink accents. She had three earrings in one ear. So much for the squeaky clean look she’d been rocking for most of her life.

“Helping me?” Diana hung her coat up on the coat rack behind the door. She picked the envelope that was on the floor. Her name was on the front. She sighed. “Fine, get gloves and two respirators out of the closet. Then, open the window. I’ll get the camera.” She didn’t have a down-draft table, but she was damned if she was going to open a mysterious envelope in the middle of her office without precautions.

She photographed the envelope. It was a standard manila envelope and felt faintly puffy. If the door hadn’t had a mail slot it would never have fit under the door. She met her sister at the window. She used the camera to hold the envelope in place while they gloved up and put on their masks. She carefully unpacked the envelope, taking pictures the whole way.

She frowned at the pasted letters. It was an old-fashioned way of hiding handwriting, but a computer would have been so much easier. Someone with a lot of time on their hands. Melody was quiet. She watched with avid eyes. “I can be your secretary,” she offered suddenly. “Answer the phones, that sort of thing. Every PI needs a sidekick.”

“Mama will kill me.”

“She’s fine with it.”

Liar. “I’ll think about it.”

Melody grinned in triumph. “So, which resident of the psych ward did you piss off last?”

“This isn’t an enemy,” Diana said absently. The fragments of type were in a simple code. She recognized the cypher. She translated it in her head. “Get a pen and paper if you’re going to be my secretary,” she ordered.

Melody practically danced over to the desk. Crap, she’d need a desk and a laptop. Hopefully, the investments would pay off this month and she’d have a few protection payments coming it. No, that came out wrong. A few grateful patrons that she’d patrol every night. There, that was better. It wasn’t glamorous, but it would pay the bills. And that divorce case was coming up. She could use someone to write up that report. Mama was going to kill her. Melody was supposed to be the good daughter – college, safe job, husband, and grand-children.

Diana was not a good daughter. She’d gone into the police, only did two years of college, was definitely not having a child, and was iffy on the entire idea of marriage. It seemed that she’d infected her little sister with a similar outlook on life. Sunday dinner was going to be interesting for awhile.

Melody held the pen against the notepad with an attentive expression.

“You are cordially invited to visit the home of Master Milhouse Morton. Be prepared. Saturday, April second at seven pm. No guests.” She unraveled the next layer. “Games to begin after dinner, promptly at nine. Formal dress is expected.” She unfolded the last part of the puzzle. She frowned at it for a long moment. “It’s just the address. It’s in my book.”

“Formal dress huh? How formal is that?”

“Black pantsuit with actual flats as opposed to boots. And a shiny shirt and jewelry, I hope.” She grimaced. “I’ll have to check that etiquette book that Tia Carmen got for me when she thought she’d still make a lady out of me. I might have to wear a skirt.”

“How about long culottes or something?” Melody chewed absently on the end of her pen. “Who’s Milhouse anyway?”

“The richest man in the city who isn’t a mobster.”

“Dang, girl. You aim high.”

Diana narrowed her eyes. “If that is a matchmaking glint I see in your eye, you just quit it right now.”

Melody grinned. “So, boss, when do I get a desk?”

“As soon as we find one at the Goodwill or out back in the dumpsters.”

FIN

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Writing from Prompts #9 Shadow (Orig Pub 4/3/2014)

Diana stood in the shadow of the dumpster. She wished that it was something a little more impressive, like a large gothic building, but she didn’t live in a city with that much history. No, it was all high-rises and tumbling old rowhouses. She adjusted her mask absently. The beige lace mask had defined eyes and was attached to safety glasses. She held them on with an unglamorous “frog” that was coated in more lace. The lace was broad enough to hide her cheekbones and her eyebrows. That was the point. She didn’t want the CCTV cameras to get a good look at her. Any hero or villain worth their salt was capable of hacking those.

Her pantsuit ended a little high for actual fashion, but tucked neatly into her army boots. No high-heels for her. The neat sailor billow of the legs hid the shin guards neatly. The wide belt at her waist held her tools: a taser, a baton, pepper spray, handcuffs, zip ties, a notepad with pen, and a pair of latex gloves. Her phone was protected by a hard-shelled case in an inner pocket at her back. The billowing sleeves of her shirt hid the body armor on her forearms. The over the shoulder holster that held her gun and extra clips was an odd form of corsetlet, but a much more useful one. Her hair was pulled back into a neat French braid and tucked under a watchcap that had an embroidered and bejeweled tiara on it. She was ready for her first full night of superheroing.

Vigilante was such a nasty word after all.

The dumpster smelled of vanilla and frosting. That was a lie. The dumpster smelled like rotten Chinese food and rat piss. Oh, what a glamorous life. Why was she doing this again?

Just then, she heard a scuffle and the cut off yelp of a female voice. She used a small hand mirror to assess the situation. One mugger with a knife. A nice easy way to start off.

She took a breath. Princess Raspberry to the rescue!

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Writing from Prompts #7 Raspberry (Orig Pub 4/1/2014)

“I’m looking for something a little more raspberry,” Diana said. She fingered the satin. “And maybe with a little stretch in it?”┬áThe clerk gave her a strained smile. Diana ignored her. “Oh, and a little bit of beige lace as well.”

The clerk gestured to the cutting desk. “Maybe you’ll have better luck if I get you the books.”

Diana considered. “Sounds good.” The clerk took quick steps to the desk. She hauled out three large books and set them on one side of the desk.

“I’ll just let you look through these while I get some of these cut. I’ll check back with you in a few minutes.”

Diana nodded, but didn’t bother to look up at her. She opened the first book. It thumped onto the table like an antique tome. She flipped through quickly. She knew what she wanted. It wasn’t knits or tweeds or cottons. No, she needed satin with lycra in it.

She cocked her head to the side when she found the section and squinted at the colors. There, that was raspberry. She fingered the sample and tugged on it with her thumb and forefinger. Yes, perfect. It stretched. Now to find the lace.

There was another book for trims. She flipped through the books until she found the trim. She found a four inch wide lace. She looked up to find the clerk. The clerk was working with some other customer. Wench. Diana coughed. The clerk gave her an absent smile, but continued cutting fabric for someone else.

Diana was there first. Damn it. She frowned deeply. The clerk called for back up. Two more clerks joined her at the cutting table. “Sarah, can you take care of the special order?” the original clerk asked.

“Of course. Hi, I’m Sarah. Did you find what you need?” Sarah offered a genuine smile.

“Yes, I need twelve yards of this raspberry satin with lycra and three yards of the beige lace here.” Diana was just a few days away from actually creating her superhero costume.

Sarah nodded and filled out the forms. “Okay, that’s going to be about two weeks.”

“Two weeks? I need this project started by the weekend.”

“I could call the other shop, but I don’t think we got any of this in at all.”

Diana rubbed at her forehead. Princess Raspberry couldn’t be in satin that wasn’t raspberry. “Okay. Fine. Just go with it. What about the lace?”

“I think we have some of that. I’ll get it.” She went after the lace. “Unfortunately, I only have one yard of it right now.”

“I’ll take the yard. Just get the rest of it as soon as possible.” Diana snatched the papers and headed for the front of the store. “God this is annoying,” she muttered. How was she supposed to be ready for her debut if she couldn’t get some damned fabric.

She twisted the wrist of a shoplifter as she passed by to get to the checkout. Really, what was she going to do without her dress? Maybe the mask would be enough. She paid for the lace. She tripped a purse-snatcher on the way out to her car. God damn it. There was a run in her nylon again.

The carjacker came to the window. “I am not in the mood.” She pressed her gun to his forehead. He wet himself and left her alone. “Damn special order bullshit.”

FIN

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