#148 A Gathering Storm

by Thomas Joyce

I folded the newspaper I’d been pretending to read and cast it aside. I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel and watched the owner of the newsstand further up the street extinguish one cigarette before lighting up another. Main Street had been quiet so far, but it was still early. And with the economy the way it was, it was no surprise that shoppers were staying away.

I glimpsed at the fractured reflection of the playground in the right wing mirror and thought of my kids. They would both be in school by now but this was my weekend for seeing them. As long as my alcoholic ex-wife didn’t spring a surprise and change the plans again. But the joke would be on her this time. After this job I’d have enough money to take Neil and Gracie and start fresh somewhere else.

My thoughts were interrupted by a rare movement. The morning sun flashed on the lens of a sniper rifle and settled briefly on the mirror before the cop moved the rifle. My fingers stopped. It wasn’t the economy after all. But the drama was yet to unfold and I had two choices; stay and fight my way out with the crew and go down for armed robbery, or leave right now and try to outrun the storm.

I indicated to pull into the mostly deserted street. If I survived the storm, my kids would see me a free man, not behind bars. Or in a box.


Anonymous said...

Well done. So this new job our hero is taking is not just a regular job. And yet I want him to succeed.


Dino Parenti said...

I like the cadence of your style; simple and uncluttered. It made the revelation that much stronger.

Cheryl Manning said...

Very cinematic. Would love to read more. Well done.

Thomas said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. Paul, I enjoyed hearing you liked the character. I wouldn't have thought it possible before writing this that it was possible to make somebody likeable in such few words.
Dino, the first draft (366 words) was much more cluttered. The word limit is what really created the pace.
Cheryl, I actually pictured the story in my head as though it were a movie, so I'm glad you got to experience it too.