Friday, 18 May 2012

THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT by Jeanette Cheezum

Great friend of TKnC, Jeanette returns with high stakes in a casino classic... bet you like it... 

The Stroke of Midnight 

Sophia was no Cinderella; her life wouldn’t turn around before midnight, because she couldn’t behave. There was always another sucker to take the place of the last one as she slipped away. 

The roulette tables were full and the slot machines sung just enough to keep the customers interested; after all that’s what casino life was all about. The size 44 B’s across the table projected nicely under cashmere and sequins. Not realising how much she would help Sophia. Not too many men tonight would concentrate only on the table without drooling over her and that’s when the ritual would begin. 

With great deliberation, Sophia planted herself on the other side of any man that sat next to or stood behind the perky 44’s. Actually when they got as close as possible without rubbing against the blonde that’s when Sophia pinched their billfolds, and money clips. 

The drunks were the marks of choice or the homely guys praying for someone to sleep with tonight, fixated on a possible invitation of the 44’s, always the 44’s. 
Tonight’s take would finally get the hospital bills paid in full for Jamie. Maybe Sophia could breathe a little. She had only taken a few nights off in the past six months between working or sitting and sleeping by her son’s side. She was exhausted. God, she wished the echoes 

of the police that night would go away. “Mrs. Davis, I’m sorry, but your husband and son have been in an accident. The car was totalled and your husband didn’t survive. We’ve taken your son to Mercy General where I understand you work.” 

Sophia leaned in one more time and lifted a small leather clip. She’d leave now before her collection spilled out of her Frauda soft top bag that stayed snug to her right side. No one at the tables paid attention to her. She bet small, said nothing and dressed matronly with the wig of the night always covering her forehead. 

Knowing cameras were everywhere Sophia made her way to the parking lot never stopping on the way. Not even taking the time to remove the cash once she was safely in her old van. The traffic on Las Vegas Blvd. was light and she couldn’t wait to get back to her home. 

The smell of stale cigarettes clung to her wig and sweater. However, she kept imagining the smell of booze. The kind that seemed to seep through the pores of some of the drunks that came to the hospital. Her stomach felt queasy as the van stopped in her driveway. 

Suddenly, from nowhere an arm slipped around her neck. “Don’t scream!” The grip became tighter. 

“I won’t, what do you want?” 

“You!” He eased off a little. “Come around the seat and get back here next to me. Don’t do anything stupid. I have a blade that would cut you into pieces in seconds.” 

“My husband is inside; he’ll come out to check on me.” 

“You better hope not. Besides, where is his car?” 

“He rides a motorcycle, it’s in the garage.” 

“Then we better hurry.” He laid the knife down beside him and reached for her bag. “What do we have here?” He opened the bag and ran his hand through its contents keeping her in his view at all times. “Whew-wee, jackpot.” 

No not the final payment to Mercy. “Please don’t, I have to have that money.” 

“Me too!” He shoved her. “Take off your clothes. It’s my lucky night.” 

She shuddered and tried to think fast. Looking how far she would have to leap to open the door and jump out. Damn, she had locked the door. 

His large smelly hands grabbed both sides of her face. “I could snap your neck.” 

Her brain swam with ideas, but none of them would work. 
He reached for her slacks and snatched her closer, “lie down and take your pants off before I cut them off with you in them.” 

Slowly, she obeyed; waiting her chance, constantly hoping for the perfect solution. “Do you have a rubber?” 

“No!” He reached out again. 

“Okay, okay.” Sophia tugged at her pants leaving her shoes on so she could stall. 

“You’re trying my patience.” 

“Let me sit up! So I can do this properly. I don’t want to be hurt. I’ll undress and you can get the full picture and I will make you harder.” 

He sat back to wait for whatever came next. 

She removed her wig slowly, then threw it close to him; slipped off her shoes and slacks each time getting them in a neat pile. The Bobbie pins in her hair were removed one at a time and she softly hummed a lullaby. Hoping he would pass out or become hypnotised. 

He unzipped his pants and began breathing heavily. 

Good. She played with the sides of her thong running them back and forth in small strokes. 

“Take them off,” He whispered. 

She got on all fours and moved closer to him. He was mesmerised and that’s exactly what she wanted. She touched his shoulder and gently pushed him down. “I like it on top.” 

He smiled. 

Sophia remembered how she had used this technique years a go while putting her self through nursing school.  

She threw one leg over his hips and just as it landed she scooped the knife up and plunged it into his neck repeatedly. 

Awarded The Helium Network’s Premium Writer’s Badge and a Marketplace Writers award. 
Jeanette’s work has been published on several online writing sites and in print. She’s published in twelve Anthology books and four books of poetry. Three of these books have made the New York Times Best Sellers list. Recently she’s published seven eBooks for Barnes and Noble Nook and six for Amazon Kindle for children and general adult audiences. 
You may see where some of her work is published on the about me page at Or on the member’s page at her personal email is 


  1. Jeanette,

    Those "44's" certainly had me mesmerised! Sophia's a well drawn character, who's easy to sympathise with. The stakes were high and the end brutally simplistic.

    Good job.


  2. Replies
    1. Paul, I aim to get the job done.

  3. @ Col, Sophia danced in my head until I had to let her out.


  4. Gosh, Jeanette. I might never again look at your little square photo the same! You had me hating the guy, and I didn't even know his name.

    1. And when I grow up, I'm really going to be wicked.

  5. I like happy endings. Good work!

    1. Thanks, Robert. He thought he had her right where he wanted her.

  6. I'm a big fan of capital punishment, especially when it's delivered without the expense and wasted time of a trial. I'm also a big fan of yours, Jeanette. Good job, as always.

    1. Thanks "Z" He went after the wrong gal. He didn't deserve a trial that's for sure.

  7. Awesome, Jeanette! Sophia's quite the badass. :)

    1. Thanks for stopping by, no ones going to mess with her now.

  8. Great story with a rare happy ending.
    Nice one Jeanette.

    1. Thanks Graham.i'm glad you liked it.

  9. The little ball drops. She bet on the 44s. He bet the black. The blade makes it a double zero run. All on the wheel, it's all on the wheel and Karma is a funny old raccoon, aint she? Lots of action, mood and story. all in a real small place. Cool.

    1. I think you summed that up rather nicely. Thanks, AJ.

  10. You do what you gotta do... Thanks! That was a fun ride!

    1. Exactly! I'm glad you came along for it. (ride)

  11. Outstanding story Jay C!

    Sophie is a great character and one I hope you'll keep around. and the, "44’s, always the 44’s." :)

  12. Thanks for having me!