It’s Christmastime in New York, and with a fresh stash of watches and fine jewelry in his athletic bag, Artie is riding the bus home. A red-headed woman across the aisle catches his attention, particularly since she seems so sad and so familiar. When the bus has engine trouble and the cops arrive, Artie and the woman both have urgent reasons to get away as fast as they can, Artie with his stash and Gina from her father, an old friend of Artie’s. All is not what it seems with Gina, and the Christmas season brings more surprises wrapped up in the beautiful red-headed woman than Artie ever expected.
This is the second installment in The Artie Crimes short story series.
Excerpt from Artie and the Red-Headed Woman
The bus bucked and came to a stop in the middle of the street. The woman driver cursed softly, then spoke into the radio attached to her shoulder. From his curbside bench seat along the front, Artie glanced around at the other passengers. His feet tightened against the athletic bag between his legs. It held his stash of watches and fine jewelry, and his first impulse was to dash from the bus and catch a taxi home.
He forced himself to sit still, to relax.
As he looked around, he noticed a young woman a few seats away. She was the only one who wasn’t sharing space with another passenger. Her eyes welled with tears as she stared out the window. Not a great time of year to be crying, Artie thought. The Saturday after Thanksgiving and already Christmas lights twinkled from the stores along the street. Santa stood on the corner, breathing out a white plume of cold air, ringing a bell Artie couldn’t hear. All he wanted to do was get home to Josie, but he forced himself to sit still as he watched the red-headed woman take a tissue from her shoulder bag and dab at her eyes.
When she looked up, their eyes met. Oh, no. He recognized her. Wondered if she realized who he was. He couldn’t get involved in her problems. He pulled his eyes away and tried to catch what the driver was saying to dispatch. Car horns yelped behind them.
I wonder how many short stories Artie can star in? Thus far, in the two I have read, he does a pretty spectacular job of making you love him. He has a heart of gold and a very large soft spot for women. He also appears to run into a lot of “old friends”. Let whoever the gods may be never allow Artie to run out of these friends for they make excellent stories.
Artie bumps into an old friend’s little girl. Only she’s grown up now. And crying on a bus. He takes her under his wing hoping he can finally talk some sense into her father. Unfortunately, the last laugh is actually on Artie.
I learned a wee bit more about Artie in this one. He truly is a sucker for the gals. He would even risk his own arrest to ensure the well-being of someone from the female persuasion. He’s such a charmer! I’m still in love with Artie as much as I was in the first short story. Maybe even a bit more. His wife, Josie, is a lucky lady. But even she tends to make me love her (especially after rescuing a kitten!) and I find I am not jealous of her at all. Okay, I lied. Maybe a little bit jealous. But just a tad.
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