The Best Laid Plans: Mystery Short Story

Sep 26, 2015 | 2015 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Terrific Tales

by Guy Belleranti

The Best Laid Plans was originally first published by Woman’s World magazine in their November 20, 2001 issue.

Frank Lacey slowed his pace as he turned the corner of the rundown neighborhood. There, just ahead, was a likely target. A short man, closing the trunk of his car, moving around to the driver’s side door.

No one else in sight. Perfect. Not that Frank feared being recognized. There were few streetlights and his brown wig and fake wire-rimmed glasses changed his appearance considerably. Even Laurie wouldn’t recognize him.apartment

Frank swept the neighboring buildings with one final glance then made his move, striking the man with a karate chop, grabbing the car keys from him as he fell to the pavement.

Frank jerked open the car door, started the engine and pulled away. He’d done it! Step one in his plan of revenge was complete.

As for step two…only two miles to the hospital. Laurie would be finishing up her nursing shift soon and then have to walk three blocks to her apartment. That meant three streets to cross. It was at one of those streets that he’d run her down. Then he’d ditch the car and his disguise, hop a bus, and be in bed before midnight. He’d sleep well tonight – the night he paid Laurie back for dumping him.


Frank found an unoccupied space in the hospital parking lot and settled back to wait.

The door he was watching opened. There she was, right on schedule, her white nurse’s uniform a bright contrast to the black coat. He’d bought her that coat when things were going good, before he’d lost his job, before he’d gone back to drinking.

He stiffened. She wasn’t alone. A dark-haired man had held the door for her, and now they were walking together. Frank cracked the car window and Laurie’s voice wafted in, teasing him. “Why yes, Carl, I’d love that. Thank you for asking.”

The two passed right by him, and Frank balled his hands into fists. He watched them for a moment in the rearview mirror, before craning his head around. He saw Carl open the passenger door of a red sports car and saw Laurie slide in.

It wasn’t fair. He’d planned everything so carefully. This Carl jerk wasn’t going to ruin things. He wasn’t!

The car pulled out of its space, and Frank followed. They weren’t headed to Laurie’s. Probably going to Carl’s place. street

He pulled up alongside the sports car at a stop light and glanced over. She had her hand on his arm and was smiling.

Frank looked away, swearing.

The light changed, and he let them pull several car lengths ahead. The right moment would come. Until then he’d better stay back and –

Carl was signaling a right turn. They were pulling into the lot of an all night diner.

Frank drove past, turned at the corner, and then swung back to the diner, watching as Laurie and the man entered. Should he sit out here and wait or – an unkempt looking man peered in his car window and yelled, “You got any spare change?”

Frank threw open the car door and tossed him a wrinkled dollar bill. “Now buzz off.” dollar bill

He started toward the restaurant before the bum made himself more of a nuisance. He’d get a fast cup of coffee. After all, he was in disguise and – oh, oh. Laurie and Carl had gotten a window seat and she was out staring at him.

Frank quickly changed directions, away from the door and toward the newspaper rack. He jammed a couple coins into the pay slot and yanked a paper out.


Frank pretended to study these and other headlines, and saw out of the corner of his eye that Laurie was still looking his way. No way she could’ve recognized him. Still… newspaper

He returned to the car. Might be better to park out of sight of the window. He shifted into reverse and heard a loud crunch. He’d backed into another car!

“You nuts or something?” shouted a voice.

Frank jumped from the car. “You’re the one who’s nuts!” He blanched as the two men bore down on him. He took in their vehicle. Cops!

“Let’s see your license,” the taller cop said.

“Uh, okay, but it’s kind of an old picture.” Frank reached for his wallet.

“Freeze!” The other cop suddenly had his gun out.

“W-what –”

“Your trunk popped open when you hit us and…” The policeman pointed at the open box in the trunk’s lit interior, at the bags of white powder. “That’s quite a stash.”

“Drugs?” Frank thought back to the man he’d stolen the car from, to the newspaper headline he’d seen just minutes before. He struggled fruitlessly as the tall cop cuffed him, and the other read him his rights.

“It’s not my car … not my drugs!”

“Is that so?” The tall cop yanked the wig from Frank’s head. “Well, it looks like this ain’t your hair either. I think you’re in a ton of trouble, bud. A real ton of trouble.”

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Guy Belleranti lives in Tucson, Arizona. He writes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, puzzles and humor for both adults and children. He’s been published in over 200 different publications including Woman’s World, Bards and Sages Quarterly, Liquid Imagination, Big Pulp, The Saturday Evening Post, Scifaikuest, Highlights for Children, Jack and Jill Magazine, MysteryNet, Crimestalker Casebook. Two of his flash mysteries were nominated for Derringer awards and he has won cash awards in many writing contests. When he’s not writing he works in a school library & volunteers as a docent educator at the local zoo. His author’s website is


  1. Great story, Guy. I didn’t see the ending coming at all.

    • Hi Jan. Thanks for the note. I happy you liked the story.


  2. Hi Jan. Thanks for the note. I’m happy you liked the story.


  3. Great story, Guy. It just wasn’t Frank’s night, was it?

  4. Hi Kaye, Gail and Earl! Good to hear from all of you. I’m happy you liked the story. And you’re right, Earl – Frank had a lousy night. Best of luck to all of you with your own writing.


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