So I felt like actually posting something writerly today, so here’s a Flash Fiction challenge I undertook from Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds website. The prompt was to use 5 random words in a story that was less than 1000 words. The words were ‘figure’, ‘dusk’, ‘flirt’, ‘mobile phone’ and ‘wig’.
Here’s my little exercise, complete with all 5 words (and in order too, just for the fuck of it). If you feel inclined to give it a try, you have until next Friday to go for it, just click the link above.
Of All the Gin Joints
The figure in the shadows in unimpressed. I can tell by the way he or she has remained seated and kept his eyes fixed on the ashtray in front of him while the rest of the bar is at attention, eyes locked on the girl standing in the door way.
She’s tall, near inhuman in height, her blonde head brushing the ceiling of the low tavern room. Her face is shadowed, much like the darkened sky behind her through the open door, dusk having just fallen. A hint of a smile plays at her full lips as she scans the room with dark eyes, eyes that would smoulder if one were interested in dipping into clichés.
Another femme fatale. Just what I needed.
I return to rinsing glasses behind the bar as the woman moves slowly, high heels clicking with militant thumps across the wooden floor. The eyes of two dozen men follow her path, and more than one of them gets a well-deserved thump on the head from a jealous wife or girlfriend seated beside them. Rolling my eyes, I notice that the figure in the corner, still shadowed and silent, has put out his cigarette and is finally paying attention.
The woman leans over the bar, seductive and exposing a cleavage line in a dress that would make Jessica Rabbit jealous.
“Hey there handsome,” her voice is smooth, chocolatey, and it melts the hearts of the men around her. “What can a girl get to drink in this place?”
Her eyes and posture indicate that she’s attempting to flirt with me. I keep my eyes neutral and out of contact with hers and gesture behind me. “We have a full bar ma’am,” I say. “I’ll make whatever strikes your fancy.”
She ponders for a second, pouting slightly. She’s gotten the hint, and isn’t happy about it. “Dirty martini,” she says, still sultry despite my disappointing her.
I turn to gather my tools and concoct her beverage, ignoring the clamors of the men along the bartop, throwing themselves and their dollars in her direction.
A phone rings behind me, and I glance around to see the shadowed figure has answered his cell. I can’t hear his voice, but I recognize his posture and know what is about to transpire.
I place the woman’s drink in front of her and rapidly duck down behind the bar. The sharp crack of gunfire echoes through the bar, punctuated by yells and one high-pitched shriek. There’s a thump above me and I hear shattered glass. I release the breath I’ve been holding and then watch as something blonde and shapeless tumbles to the floor in front of me.
I can’t help but laugh. The dame went for a wig.
I stand up and survey the damage. The menfolk are shellshocked, the women trying not to be pleased. The dark figure vanished into the night, door of the tavern swinging from his departure. The woman is strewn across the bar, drink broken in her hand next to her, wig on the floor and natural hair color exposed and distinctly brunette.
I pick up the glass and sigh. Another night, another mess to clean up. At least this one was predictable.
I head for the back room to get the broom, and as I leave I address the room at large:
“Somebody’d better call 9-1-1. I’ve gotta start mopping the blood up or it’s gonna leave a stain.”