Wednesday, February 15, 2012

"If It Wasn't For bad Luck" - flash fiction

 I love flash fiction. It's short and sweet. Get to the point and get out. I especially love it when I am given a direction on what to write. Here's the theme, now how do I interpret this? It's a great way to get those creative juices all juicy and flowing, making a delicious mess all over the carpet.

For two weeks now I've entered a contest run by Tin House. The rules are simple. Each week on Wednesday they give a writing prompt taken from "PLOTTO: The Master Book of All Plots" by William Wallace Cook. You then have until Monday at noon to write 500 words or less.

This week's (week 2) prompt was:  {B} finds that the knob and lock on the door of a hotel bedroom are in disrepair; the lock apparently locks itself, and the knob will not turn. 

And now for your reading enjoyment, what follows is my entry.

If It Wasn't For Bad Luck

The key slides into the lock of the hotel room door. It fits easily.

I step back. A wave of water runs from the holes in my shoes, mixing with the blood dripping from my hand.

Glad I don't have to clean that up. After tonight I don't have to clean nothing, no more. Sheila and me, we'll have all the money we need. It's all just on the other side of this door, waiting for me.

Thunder cracks like a shot in the dark. I move the gun to my pocket and turn the key with my good hand. Click. Was there ever a sound so sweet?

Tommy was supposed to meet me to divvy up the loot from the job we pulled. Only Tommy didn't bring the money. Things was too hot now, he says to me. We have to wait, keep quiet a little longer, he says.

But I showed him. No one cheats me. It may be a day or two before I can hold anything in this hand but he ain't gonna cheat no one no more.

The door knob slips in my hand. Too much blood. I wipe it off and try again. The knob doesn't move. The door doesn't open.

I pound the door. But no one is there. Tommy lies dead in the alley below. Lowering my shoulder I hit the door hard. Nothing. Again.

Across the hall a door opens. Some old geezer with a young doll on his arm. They see me, dripping rain and blood, the gun in my pocket.

"What the hell you lookin' at?" I yell.

The door slams shut.

Have to hurry. The geezer's probably calling the desk or the cops.

The third time's the charm and door swings open. One light on the night stand drives the shadows to the furthest corners of the room. The suitcase, my chance for a better life, waits on the bed.

I move to it. The door clicks behind me.

Sirens. The rain beats hard on the window but I can see out enough to see the squad cars pull up to the hotel's front entrance.

I grab the suitcase forgetting my bad hand. The pain is amazing. It drops to the floor. I kick the suitcase toward the door and grab the door knob. It doesn't move. I shake it, hit it, kick it. It doesn't move.

More sirens. Cops are probably moving to the back door. Only minutes before they come up here.

The window. Three stories up. How bad could it be? The way my luck is going today, pretty bad.

I grab a chair, maybe try to break down the door, but I hear the elevator doors open. The corridor is filled with footsteps.

I reach into my pocket and grip my gun. It burns my fingers, still hot from Tommy. More footsteps.

I throw the gun on the bed and grab the chair. I throw it at the window.

Wish me luck.


So I didn't win. But it's only week 2. On to week 3. Besides, it's great practice.
Care to join me? You can check out the winning entry (which is pretty damn good, dammit) and find out more about the contest here: 

The Week’s Prompt:
{A’s} profession is a hazardous one—aviator, automobile racing driver, steeple jack, “human fly”—and {B} considers this fact an obstacle to their marriage.

No comments:

Post a Comment