Mid-Week Blues-Buster Week 2.17

Welcome to the Mid-Week Blues-Buster Flash Fiction Challenge, Year 2, Week 17.

This is a flash fiction challenge. The prompt is a song. You are not required to write about or even mention the song. It’s there only to get the ideas moving around in your brain pan. If you want to write about the song (or the video- it’s all good here) go for it but don’t feel like you have to.
The rules;
500 words, but it’s a slushy 500, meaning you can go up to 700 or as low as 300.
Post your entry right in the comments section of this post.

MAKE SURE TO PUT YOUR TWITTER HANDLE NEXT TO YOUR WORD COUNT AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR POST. IF YOU’RE NOT ON TWITTER GIVE ME AN EMAIL ADDRESS OR SOME OTHER WAY TO GET A HOLD OF YOU!

The challenge starts whenever I post this on Tuesday and ends at MIDNIGHT Pacific Time on Friday. You read that right. Pacific Time.

This week’s song prompt is an ode to shady business. It’s, “Going Southbound”, by Stan Ridgway.
Here’s the link; http://youtu.be/r3QJxgVpxgs

This week’s Judge is flash fictioneer extraordinare… back by popular demand… Nick Johns.

The challenge opens the moment you read this post and runs through MIDNIGHT PACIFIC TIME on FRIDAY JULY 11th.

Now… go write!!!!

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Posted on July 8, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. http://kingsleycw13.wordpress.com/2014/07/08/mid-week-blues-buster-2-17/

    And here’s the writing:

    Neon migraine punctured Stan’s vision; dancing colours and lights sped past his window, and the combination of the two did a fine job of compacting the slices of pain he’d been dealing with for most of the interstate journey neatly into a walnut sized lump slap bang in the middle of his skull. The driving rain didn’t help any, refracting the oncoming headlights into a thousand splinters of light that daggered right into the back of his optic nerve.
    Lucky me he murmured, popping the top off his water bottle and downing half of the luke warm refreshment in one. Ain’t I just the lucky sonova bitch that caught the cream? Such a beautiful night for a drive, not a cloud in the sky and perfect company in the trunk… Like hell!
    Cynicism had always been a friend of his, and when he was faced with any kind of stress – high school, job, home – it always crept out and coloured his world a wonderful shade of gray. Sometimes, a kneejerk reaction can stay with you all your life, and Stan’s habit of looking at the worst in everyone and everything he saw never seemed to disappear, even in the happier times of his road-weary life. He tried to turn his mind to happier thoughts, like finishing the job and then grabbing a beer in one hand and a nice fat cheque in the other. He pictured the beer, long necked and tempting, beads of cold water trickling down the side to slip down across his fingers. Come to me, my best Bud. Be mine you gorgeous beauty…
    The exercise didn’t work and he swore, tossing the water bottle into the passenger seat and the dream beer back into the cooler. Stan reached into his battered jacket and fingered out two NyQuil. Ah, my faithful friends, you’ll never leave me, will you? He snorted, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth, and then over his face in a pointless attempt to ease the headache, before popping and swallowing the medicine in one.
    He wound the window down, cursing the rain that hammered in but welcoming the fresh air that stole its way across his neck, cooling him and bringing involuntary shivers.
    Damned sweats. Always grabbing you when you least need ‘em. Bastards. Ain’t I got ‘nuff to worry about with a damned migraine and ‘flu without getting the sweats as well? It ain’t right.
    As if in answer to his question, there was a muffled squeal from the back seat. Not loud enough to attract any real attention, but just audible enough to ensure that, should anyone be listening – Stan, for example – they would hear clearly.
    He sighed, wiping a damp sheen of rain from his face and winding the window back up again. Why was it that all his trouble came home to roost at the same time like a dozen moronic chickens?
    The traffic slowed as it came to the usual toll bridge back-up. Stan powered down through the gears and turned his head slowly to the rear of the car, noting with satisfaction that the noise quietened instantly.
    Southbound and down Stan my man, Southbound and down. The car gently rolled forward, following the flow of the traffic.
    Southbound and down, and delivery’s done…
    @kingsleycw13

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  2. Jim flicked his cigarette ash out the window of the Carrera 911. He loved the car, even though he was defiling it by smoking, but he didn’t care, it wasn’t his – or ever likely to be.

    He loved doing this job, being out in the dead of night, driving empty roads from state to state. But of course he loved the wad of cash at the end more…although it never seemed to last.

    He’d tried to put some by, but it never seemed to work. Trish blamed his love of fruit machines, but really the fault lay in his location; Vegas wasn’t a city you could save money in – especially when you liked to have a flutter now and then. Trish would say it was more now than then, but he didn’t hear her complaining when he splashed out on a big meal for them both.

    As a breeze picked up across the Nevada desert, cooling the car interior, Jim thought about Trish. Did he really want to keep things going, or was it time for a fresh start? This job would pay enough for an inter-state move, and he could finally satisfy the hankering he’d had for the bright lights of LA. But was he too far in to cut and run? He didn’t think so. It wasn’t as though he was signed up to paying rent at her place. Still, a twinge of guilt crept in.

    He sighed, that was exactly what he’d wanted to avoid when they’d started fooling around together. He didn’t want to get tied to anyone, and she’d professed the same, although he knew that was what women said. But she was totally into her job as a showgirl, and he wasn’t even sure she was faithful – there were many nights she hadn’t come home, although she’d insisted it was due to work.

    He never made a fuss, what was the point? He didn’t care. As long as he was still getting plenty, what did it matter? He found it odd at the beginning when she’d refused to let him come and see her show, but now he considered it the norm. He understood the need to keep work and personal life separate. It wasn’t as though he told her much about what he got up to. He was sometimes away for days and she didn’t question it, or give him a hard time.

    He sighed again. Thinking about it like that made him wonder if really did want to quit. He shook his head. He needed to follow his dream, and living in Vegas wasn’t it. Trish wasn’t it. They only really tolerated each other. He was going to cut and run, it was best for everyone. But first he had to get this car delivered.

    A road sign warned him he was approaching the Mexican border. He found a spot to pull over and check the car. He made sure the plates were fixed properly and there were no distinguishing marks. He spent more time that normal and put it down to his love of Carrera’s, but there was something niggling him, he just didn’t know what.

    He set off again and the lights at the border control came into view. He pulled in, cool and calm. They asked him to step out as he knew they would – a car like this always drew attention. He remained collected, giving them all the false documents.

    But then another car showed up, an unmarked one, and he felt his stomach begin to churn.

    They walked him to a customs hut and left him there to greet the new arrivals. He went through the story in his mind, the one he always had as backup. Plead ignorance to stall an arrest,and play the victim of a car thief. He’d slithered out of this before, he could do it again.

    Then the door opened and two plain-clothes police officers came in. One was a woman; he smelled her perfume as she passed. He liked it, it reminded him of Trish. Then she pulled up a chair in front of him and straddled it. It was Trish.

    She smiled. “Hey Jim, fancy meeting you here?”

    699 Words
    @PurpleQueenNL

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  3. First Night on the Job

    Malcolm flicked a cigarette butt into the shadows, a brief comet joining the rest of the questionable trash just beyond the streetlights of the docks. As he anxiously shifted his feet, he tried to remember how even got this job, not that it mattered at this point. By the water’s edge, someone was fishing under the full moon, but Malcolm knew that more was going on than he was supposed to know. “Be outside this address no later than 3.” That’s all he was supposed to know. It really wasn’t any secret, though. Everyone knew that there were things dropped off here in Houston that ended up other places, and that most people pretended didn’t actually exist.

    Fast Felix pulled up in his custom truck, engine humming like a wild beast eager to run. Without a word, he hopped out and started changing the license plates. “TRKLUV” from Texas became Georgia’s 9C2 S1Y, and Felix held out the old plates. “Here, put this in your coat.” No explanation, no hesitation, just a simple handoff.

    Malcolm did as instructed, looking around the abandoned street out of habit. When he looked back, he saw Felix grab a bucket and brush from the back of the truck. With a mischievous grin and a flick of the wrist, the black vehicle began a hasty makeover to the red of an apple. The whole transformation took mere minutes, and though it was clearly a rush, it seemed like it’d fool most casual observers. For that matter, or anyone they passed at a great rate of speed.

    While the paint was settling in place, Felix reached into the cab of the truck, and pulled out a small data drive. “See this? It’s important. You don’t need to know why, heck, I don’t even know what’s on it. Just put it in your sock.”

    “My sock?” Malcolm asked. Surely this whole thing was a joke, from all the strange actions, weird transformations, and now a prank with his sock. He was seriously thinking of walking away from the whole thing, when he noticed Felix’s dead eyes looking straight at him without a hint of mirth.

    “Your sock. These guys are serious, and they don’t like people knowing their business. Last guy who tried to take a little peek at the information they sent along, they strung him up in the desert, right over an anthill. Gently, too, so that he’d feel the ants crawling and biting, starting with his toes and working all the way up.”

    Malcolm nodded and bent over to untie his shoe. In the end, he figured, he’d really rather not know, if that was the price.

    “One last thing, before we head to the warehouse. Slide that canister in the backseat over to the middle. It’s from some exotic place, and is strangely heavy for the size. Need to keep the weight balanced, now that you’re hopping in.”

    Malcolm nodded wisely, trying to seem cool while holding one shoe and his fingers tangled in the sock. He hopped over to the truck and looked in the window to see the container, not much bigger than a shoebox, but cool enough to be damp with condensation in the humid shore air. He tried to shove it across the seat with his free hand, but it wouldn’t budge. He fumbled with both hands, and finally got the canister moved into the middle of the truck, now with a big shoeprint right across the side.

    As he was finally getting himself back together, still wondering if all this was a prank on the new guy, Felix turned the engine on with a deep throaty roar that sent vibrations through the ground nearby.

    “C’mon kid, you’re way too slow. Got to be faster when we head Southbound.”

    @BryantheTinker, 631 words

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  4. “Goin’ South, Bound”

    It was a green ‘54 Chevy pick-up – what wasn’t green, was rust; what wasn’t rust, was missing – and it was missing. It sounded, as her Daddy liked to say, “all hamster and no wheel,” running on five and a half cylinders; coughing and sputtering to a death rattle stop at the side of the road – the downhill side at that. The rusted out bed – now, long gone – had been replaced by a flatbed that looked nothing more than a couple of pallets lashed together with bailing wire. The load of goods looked like they might hold it all together.

    Painted across the door in faded letters read Hawthorne Bros. Carnival and Shows, Truth or Consequences, N.M. There was a final, exhausted cough of black smoke – BOOM – before a soft and southern voice came from the cab.

    “Ya’ll need a lift, Chere?”

    It was the fourth vehicle she’d seen since being dumped/stranded by her boyfriend, Bobby – sorry, ex-boyfriend Bobby. Es-Bobby, she liked that. The first had been a carload of drunk frat boys from UTEP (No Way); second was a ‘Stuntman Mike’ lookin’ motherfucker in a supped-up Nova (Creepy); and third, was the Reverend Marshal Mooney Jr. who claimed to have a radio show on KWEP and wanted to talk about Jesus (I’d rather walk 40-days in the desert, thanks) – but not today, and not this desert.

    She opened the door, slid the greasy cardboard box labeled – Ridgway’s BBQ “It Ain’t Iquana” – away to make room for her bag and climbed up next to it. She didn’t notice the missing door handle as she slammed it closed. \

    “Thanks for stopping, I ‘ppreciate it,” she smiled. “I was afraid I was gonna be stuck out here. Always wanted to run away and join a carnival.”

    “Out here checkin’ da White Sands, were you?” he asked, coasting the truck from the side of the road.

    “Yeah, my boyfriend’s idea.”

    “Got to be careful of dose silenced mankins,” he added, popping the clutch and firing the five and a half with a boom.

    “The what?”

    “Dem manikins, de got ‘em all wrapped and blind folded in gauze, for de old bomb tests. All bound and scary.”

    “Mmmmm, sounds fun,” she said with a smile.

    He was much older than her, probably been years since he’d been in the company of someone her age.

    There was a glance. . .

    A hand fell across a thigh. . .

    A quickened breath. . .

    The click of a handcuff. . .

    The truck slowed to another stop and before the dust cleared over the flatbed, she had the driver cuffed and bound, ball gag in place. She climbed across, shoving him into the passenger seat. She feared that there was little time, they’d find Bobby’s car soon, if they hadn’t already. She had to get south, fast.

    “Mmmmmmmm,” he mumbled, as she put the truck in gear, and lurched forward.

    “Shut up, Chere. You’re okay,” she said, turning the radio on, “But don’t struggle, it only makes them tighter.” She pushed button after button, there was nothing but Mexican stations – then finally a faint signal – but she could hear it – clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am. . .

    “What were you saying about bound and scary?”

    jlockett@gmail.com

    541 Words

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  1. Pingback: Mid Week Blues Buster 2.17 | kingsley clennel-white

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