Thursday, January 29, 2009

Short Story - Sign of Life (Part 1/3)

Just a little three part story coming here. Enjoy if you can, comments welcome...

(Reader discretion advised - some coarse language / violence.)

Part 1

They were everywhere.

It was getting really, really tiring too.  It didn’t matter where he went, he’d bump into one.  Assholes at work, idiots in the checkout line, arrogant brain-deads on the other end of the phone line, and plain old stupid-meets-dangerous in the car next to him on the freeway.  The list could go on forever and he wouldn’t run out of examples for a millennia or two.

So, what happened?  Where did it all go wrong?  When did humanity decide that brains and civility were no longer requirements of a proper existence?  Did the sea of unwashed two legged pollutants not realize that this mess wasn’t necessary?  That a little honor and common sense could make life a lot better for more than a few?  These were the questions that wouldn’t quit going round his head every day, and with each passing cycle of the sun he got a little further removed from finding any answers.  His faith in humanity was long since gone, and his faith in something better was on a slippery foothold.

It was in this mental fog that he rolled into the Short Stop on the edge of town to get some fuel for both himself and his truck.  He got out and started pumping gas into the four wheel wallet drainer.  One more thing to swear at as he watched the tally roll higher on the pump.  Somebody somewhere was getting rich off him at this very moment, and if there was any justice in the world the bastard wouldn’t get a chance to spend it.  But there was none of that left in the world either.

Some other voices broke into his thoughts and out of habit he registered other people walking into the store.  Years ago a bad luck streak had taught him the knack of keeping track of his surroundings mentally; a habit that was hard to break even now.  Sometimes he wondered if it was a blessing or a curse.

He finished filling up and was putting the gas cap back on when, out of habit, he glanced into the store to see where the clerk was.  He stopped short at what he saw - the clerk was behind the register, backed up to the cigarette wall and was staring at the business end of a pistol in the hand of yet another asshole.  Just what I need, he thought, taking a step back behind the cab of his truck.  He pulled out his cellphone and quickly dialed 911, switching to speaker mode so he could keep the phone out of any possible line of sight.  The operator answered and he spoke tersely, “Listen close - the Short Stop gas station at the Lincoln street highway ramp, send cops fast.  The store is being held up.  One assailant, gun sighted.  At least four people in the store by my count.  Got that?” He got a yes response, then hung up as the operator continued talking and glanced back into the store.  The robber appeared animated and agitated.  The clerk was trying to melt into the wall while reaching to open the register.  She was clearly scared.  And he could see the tops of two heads back by the coolers as well.  Eyes back to the gunman, and something in his gut told him this wasn’t going to last long enough for the cops to get there.  He had to make a decision.

Honor was telling him to do something.  Common sense was telling him he already had and to drive away before a bullet wound up with his name on it.  But then if he did that, he’d be just another one of the assholes he’d grown to hate so much, and he’d be damned if he’d allow that to happen.  So be it, he thought, damned it is.  He pulled his ball cap a little lower as he walked towards the store pretending he was oblivious to what was going on inside.  He took a deep breath and reached for the door handle, wondering if his number had finally come up and might he be headed for that last ride...

To be continued...

Comments on "Short Story - Sign of Life (Part 1/3)"


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (January 30, 2009 4:40 AM) : 

Nice little cliffhanger there. I'm looking forward to seeing how this unfolds. :-)



Blogger The Texican said ... (January 30, 2009 10:23 AM) : 

All right. Something besides pictures and recipes. Keep up the good work. Pappy


Blogger KEANAN BRAND said ... (January 31, 2009 5:39 PM) : 

Great Start!


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