Linx & Bogie

Who are Linx & Bogie?

Well, I’m so glad you asked.

linx

Linx Maxwell’s life is on the verge of greatness. She’s finally graduated from street fairs and hopping chain link to making art that pays the bills. Her family life is… not dull. And it looks like her van might just be able to exist on hope and duct tape.

If only she could get rid of the ghost who’s plagued her since the eighth grade.

Frank Bogle is a detective who lost his life in the line of duty. Everyone on the other side knows that the Maxwell women are the best mediums in the business, but did he have to get attached to the one whose hair had been attacked by a weed wacker?

Frank doesn’t like his afterlife any more than Linx does. He just doesn’t know how to leave.

The short answer is Linx & Bogie are my new imaginary people. The longer answer is this idea came to me and it just cracked me up so I needed to write it. BUT this author isn’t crazy enough to start FOUR paranormal series, so for right now, Linx and Bogie stories will be available exclusively for my newsletter subscribers. That’s right, you’ll get brand new fiction in your box every month. Sometimes, it’ll be a short. Sometimes it might be a chapter in a longer story with these two. But you’ll get brand new fiction every month.

Will I ever publish a full novel with them? Maybe, but for now I’m playing around with the short story format and enjoying myself. I’ll probably put together an anthology of all the stories next year for readers who want to add it to their collection. But until then, enjoy this first look at how Linx and Bogie met in my short story “Morning, Cupcake. And if you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, what are you waiting for???



“Morning, Cupcake.”
a Linx and Bogie short

2002

It was the smell of cigarette smoke that woke me that morning. I twitched my nose and stretched out my legs before I rolled over and into the beam of morning sun that came through my window. I could feel the sheets covering my legs ripple in the breeze my window caught. The scent of Venice Beach in the morning drifted through my window. Salt and coffee. A little trash.

And cigarette smoke.

That smell hadn’t been in my nan’s house since my grandfather had died when I was ten. Three years later, it still reminded me of him.

“Morning, cupcake,” a gravelly voice said.

I rolled over with wide eyes.

And I screamed.

I screamed bloody murder.

“Oh for…” The ghost winced. “Will you quiet down, kid? If I wasn’t dead, you’d have ruptured my eardrums.” He pinched the bridge of his nose.

“MO-OOM!” I scrambled to the corner of my bed, my head resting against the giant orange star I’d painted on the wall. “NANA!” I pulled the sheets up to my chin.

I heard frantic steps pounding up the stairs.

“Lins?”

“Lindsay?”

Both my grandmother and mother were shouting my name, but I was frozen, staring at the ghost. I don’t know why I was so shocked. I was thirteen. I’d hit puberty the year before and, to be completely honest, a ghostly visit was overdue. (Kind of like my boobs. I was still waiting for those.) But the ghost thing… My mom and nan had begun glancing at me with concern when they thought I wasn’t looking.

Surely, Lindsay wouldn’t be the first Maxwell woman in four hundred years—

“Who is it?” The door burst open. My mom came right to me, no doubt suspecting the reason for my panic. “Lindsay, baby, calm down.”

I was shaking my head back and forth, my mouth shut and my eyes like saucers.

Nan stood in the doorway. “Well, it’s about time. I’m sorry you’ve had a shock, luv, but there you go. First visit all over and I’m sure you’ll be able to—”

“He’s still here!” I pointed at the corner where the strangely corporeal spirit was. I knew he was a ghost. Why? He had that tiny bit of halo around him. Not the kind of halo you’re thinking of. Trust me, this ghost didn’t look like an angel, but that little glow around the apparition did let me know the creepy old guy sitting in the corner of my room wasn’t human, which meant he couldn’t hurt me.

“Oh?” Nan was surprised. “Well, that’s considerate.”

“Why?” I shouted. “How is that considerate?”

“He could have just flitted in the room and out again,” Nan said.

“Or done the weird peripheral vision thing,” Mom added.

Nan shuddered. “I hate that. My first spirit played around for weeks. I thought I’d go mad.”

I groaned and hid my face. Why me? Why did I have to be born into a family of freaks?

My mom stroked my hair. “Lins, calm down. We’re Maxwells. We are not afraid of ghosts.”

The old guy was just sitting in the corner, his legs stretched out, his thumb tapping on the edge of the purple painted armchair he was sitting in. He looked like he belonged in a black and white movie, complete with slicked-back hair, suit and tie. He was even wearing one of those old-fashioned hats. Not a top-hat. I think they called it a fedora or something.

The ghost sighed and looked around my room. “Trust me, kid, I’m not any happier about this than you are.”

His clear disapproval of my obviously awesome living quarters made me sneer. It also calmed me down, which was good, I guess.

“Are you okay?” my mom asked.

“Yes.” And kind of annoyed with Judgey, the Not-Friendly Ghost over in the corner.

“Good.” My mom took a deep breath. “Now, have you greeted the spirit?”

I shook my head.

“Lindsay, that’s not acceptable. Just because someone is dead doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the same level of courtesy—”

“Hey!” I pointed at the corner. “He called me ‘cupcake,’ so why don’t you give him the lecture? Is that polite?”

My mom and nan’s eyes both swung toward the corner, and even though I knew they couldn’t see the ghost, they narrowed their eyes.

“Besides, Mom, if you woke up with a weird guy in your room—”

“Cut that out, will ya? I’m not some perv.” The ghost scowled. “You think I got any control over this mess?”

I glared. “Why are you even here?”

“Lindsay Evelyn Maxwell,” my nan warned.

“Manners, Lins.”

I ignored them both, which was… not unusual.

“And don’t call me ‘cupcake’ again.” I pointed my finger. “Do I look like a cupcake?”

He scoffed. “You look like a twelve-year-old boy. Who cut your hair? The lawnmower?”

I scrambled toward him and off my bed with a raised fist only to collide with the purple chair in the corner. I whirled around and he was leaning against the door to my bathroom.

“Listen, kid—”

“Shut up! You are a big, giant… jerk! And I want you out of my room. Now!” I crossed my arms over my nonexistent boobs, still self conscious about being in my pjs in front of a strange man, even if he was a ghost.

To other people, I may have seemed like the quiet artsy girl who hovered on the edge, but in my family, I knew how to make my voice heard. I had to. Respect for personal space was not a Maxwell Family Value.

Everyone waited, but the spirit made no move to leave or… disappear. Dissolve. Whatever he did. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect.

“Is he… still here?” Mom asked.

“Yes.” I glared at him. “I don’t want a creepy old man in my room right now. Or ever.”

“Hey!” He put his hands on his fists. “Don’t call me creepy. And I’m not that old. It’s not like I knew my medium was going to be a pipsqueak kid.”

“I am thirteen, dude, and you are so old. I think my grandpa had a suit like that. Plus you smell like cigarette smoke, which is just gross. I’m not the one with bad manners here. Get out of my room. You don’t have permission to wake me up like that. Ever. If you need to tell me something, find me when I’m in the kitchen or something. Being in my room is so not cool.”

I saw him sneer and mouth the words ‘so not cool,’ but I didn’t budge. I could feel my nan and mom behind me, listening to my one-sided conversation. They didn’t speak, and I was relieved. This may have been my first ghost, but I knew I needed to deal with him.

“I mean it,” I said. “You want me to shut the door on you?”

His eyes narrowed. “You can’t do that.”

“Not yet,” I admitted. “But she can.” I pointed to my mom. “And she can too.” I pointed to my nan. “You want my first lesson of the day to be how to banish a ghost? Because I’m sure they’d be happy to teach me.”

Old Guy just glared at me some more. The scent of tobacco grew stronger, and I knew he was mad.

“I’m a Maxwell,” I said calmly. “I know how this works, and I know I may be the only chance you get. So what’s it going to be, dude?”

Boundaries. If I’d heard the lecture once, I’d heard it a thousand times. You had to have strict boundaries with spirits. Maxwell women were powerful mediums, but give a ghost an inch and they would take a mile. They’d take over your life if you weren’t strong enough. Haunt your days and nights. Never let you have the semblance of a normal life. Even drive you crazy.

There were plenty of stories about that.

Boundaries.

Old Guy and I glared at each other for what felt like ages. He finally let out a frustrated breath and said, “Fine. But please, stop calling me dude. I hate that word.”

“Okay.” Massive relief I tried not to show. “So who are you?”

“The name’s Frank Bogle.” He started to put his hand out, then drew it back and stuck both hands in his pockets like he didn’t know what to do with them. “Detective, LAPD.”

I tried to think of any titles I had. Lindsay Maxwell, Art Achievement Award, Mark Twain Middle School?

“Nice to meet you, Frank. I’m Linx.”

“Your mom and grandmother called you Lindsay.”

“Yes, but my friends call me Linx, and I prefer that.”

“Cupcake—” he started to fade away in front of me. “—let’s make one thing clear: I may talk to you, but I am not your friend.”

***

2016

I woke smelling cigarette smoke. It could have been my neighbors, but the new couple living next door were tech people playing at the bohemian, artistic life in newly revitalized Venice Beach, which meant there was usually some weed mixed in with the tobacco when it was my neighbors.

Which could only mean—

“Morning, Cupcake.”

I groaned and rolled over, flipping Frank the bird over my shoulder while I tried to hide under the covers.

It didn’t matter. After fourteen years with the stubborn jackass, I knew he wouldn’t go away.

“Let’s go, kid. We got a job.”

~

Copyright 2016, Elizabeth Hunter

All rights reserved.

 

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