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Nothing Doing

by Carl Robinette

About the Author: Carl Robinette is an author of many popular short stories and a freelance journalist. His fiction has been seen in multiple publications in print and online, including Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Carl is currently writing new short fiction while working as a contributing reporter with the Los Feliz Ledger in Los Angeles.


You can’t do nothing. I mean if you’re doing, then it’s always something. And I’m pretty sure that it isn’t a double negative either because I think in this case, nothing is a positive. But I’ll leave that for the English majors to sort out. All I’m saying is, you can’t do nothing, but that morning I was doing as close to it as humanly possible. Then the phone rang.

My dad’s voice came over the airwaves through the hazy hiss of his favorite fifteen-year-old wireless earpiece. “Hey spaz. Why haven’t you called?”

I said, “Hi, Dad. Sorry.”

And Dad said something along the lines of, “I’m starting to feel like you don’t love me anymore.”

I laughed and said, “Shut up, you goof.”

“Oh gee,” he told me. “Now you’re making me feel all warm and fuzzy.” He goes, “Listen, Poopernickel, I know you’re just sitting around doing precisely nothing and I know that you could probably use some bread in your pocket.”

I told him he was making me sound like some kind of freeloader.

“Well, aren’t you?” he said.

I told him, “Yeah, but.”

“Yeah,” Dad said. “Well, as luck would have it, somebody stole something from me. Something precious.”

I said, “Oh no. What?”

And he told me his collection of skin mags had been stolen. He said, “I thought I could pay you to come down and help me get them back.”

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