Saturday, October 17, 2020

"Out Back" - A Slice of Hard-Boiled Flash Fiction by Yours Truely

 A while back I wrote a short story and submitted to a website devoted to crime "flash fiction," a tale in under 750 words. It took a while to get back to me and it got rejected. That's the way it goes. I've long since stopped taking rejection that seriously; there's so much of it going around, it's not worth the energy. You move forward and keep your nose to the grindstone and take criticism from trusted sources. Being a filmmaker you get used to rejection and grow to figure out that the taste of the gatekeepers varies wildly. One short film may go gang-busters and win awards in some festivals and get quickly rejected at other. So, taking it personal is just something you stick on yourself. Film-making, like writing is a acquired skill culled from producing work and there's enough nay-sayers outside, keep your interior self pure of heart and high of hopes.

But as the gatekeeper to this blog I HOLD THE POWER. MUHAHAHA! ANd I think it fits nicely in this blogs purview.

Plus I was going to give it away for free to them, might as well just post it here instead of sitting on my hard-drive. So here's a little homage to Gold Medal books, just imagine a cover with a sultry babe on it, a hot car and the foreshadowing of dread.

Out Back - 

I put the bead at the end of the shotgun’s barrel on the dude and squeezed the trigger back. Without looking I hustled on past him. My ears rang, my heart broke, and my feet hurt in my shoes on the hard pavement. 

The back door of the joint came open with a slick shoed foot, and I put the bead on the open-door frame. I didn’t have to squeeze; someone shot the man wearing the slick shoes, and he fell on out.  

Damned it was hot, my palms were sweating and pooling in the gloves at tips of my fingers. I kept the pump-gun aimlessly at the back door. 

Bap. Bap. Bap. Gunshots from inside came at me. I closed the gap between me and the interior of the nightclub. The night air went silent for a long second. A shadow slid into the mass of light at the back door, and I fired again.  

It was a cocktail waitress in a short skirt. I got her good, but she wasn’t quite dead. I pumped the gun and tried to remember how many shells I had left. Where the hell was he?  

The cocktail waitress looked at me through eyes with too much blood in them. She breathed once, twice, three times then coughed up nearly black blood and died. I kept one eye on the door and the other on the alley. No one else came into the web I had spun yet, but I was ready. 

The fire escape whined above me under the weight of a fat man in a florid suit. I swept the shotgun up at him. He saw me through the grates of the escape and fat feet. Men with money standing over me. The story of my life. I was rewriting things as I went. I triggered it and sparks flew when the lead hit the metal. Enough hit his foot for him to yowl and lose his balance. Then he tumbled over the edge of the fire escape and crash though a squat trashcan with a wet groan and a nasty snap.  

Guns went off inside again, I saw our partner Don through the kitchen window. He had his mask on and the cooks lined up against the wall. He turned his head to look at the sound of guns; one of the cooks spun and got him high in the neck with a carving knife and then got his carbine. I almost fired through the window, but instead I slunk back into the shadows of the alley. Getting killed by a fry cook would help Don none.  

Now he was the only one left inside. I told him we needed more guys, but his head was hard and he wouldn’t listen. The result was a damned blood bath.  

Tires squealed in front of the place. More guys. More guns. And sirens in the distance. The roadhouse wasn’t far enough from town for someone to miss all these guns blasting. My gun was nearly empty, and someone was moving fast through the backdoor.  

I saw his smile and knew we were home free. He had a bowling ball bag that I knew was full of cash and his .45 in his hand. He spun and fired at the fry cook behind him and when he turned back there was a bang and the back of his head popped with a lucky shot. He fell flat, and I rushed toward him. My last shell got quick revenge. I had to break his fingers with the butt of the shotgun to get the bag free from his dead hand.  

The car was still running, and I got to it fast and the nightclub was in the distance before I knew it.  

Down the road I pulled over, stashed the shotgun and the bag in the trunk. I got back in the car, adjusted the girls, and checked my lipstick in the mirror. Primo. I popped a shirt button to be sure, toed off my heels, and worked the pedals barefoot. Then I grinned on down the road.  

Yeah, if I got stopped, I could wiggle my way out of it. 

No comments:

Post a Comment