|(Junkyard Scene by Reginald Marsh, |
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts)
Patti Abbott has created a flash fiction challenge for a good cause. She asked readers to create stories inspired by the American painter Reginald Marsh, and she promises to donate five dollars to Union Settlement for each entry. (Union Settlement is where her daughter Megan works. Yep, that Megan Abbott.) Here's my story.
"Smithers Should Have Listened"
by Peter Rozovsky
“Like fuck, I will,” Cappy said. "I’m—“
Smithers put his mug down hard. “You’ll drive, or you’ll stay the fuck home. Now, here’s what we’ll do…"
The job went off without a hitch. Cappy pulled up to the bank's side entrance. Smithers and Ben slipped in the front and mingled with the customers. Ben queued up to see the business manager, his hat in hand, with a story about the men's haberdashery he could open with just a $2,000 loan.
At 10:06 two guards accompanied the bank president to the vault, and Smithers nodded to Ben. The president clicked the dial, the guards turned a massive steel wheel, and Smithers pulled a shotgun from his long coat. Ben brought his hand down on the business manager's wrist and said, "Don't."
Smithers stepped into the vault and raked up the cash — $175,000, the papers said. Gus stood by the front door, keeping the way clear, while Ben covered the business manager and the tellers with a revolver, making sure no one went for an alarm. In the meantime, Cappy pulled the car around the front and collected Smithers, Ben, and Gus as smoothly as if they'd been heading out for a drive in the countryside.
At least, that's what I read in the papers the next day. I sat out the job because of a hunting accident. Me, the shooter in the gang, and laid up with a keister full of buckshot!
It seemed that the boys had made it clear to the last traffic light in town, a big brewery truck bearing down from the right, Cappy laughing like a madman behind the wheel, Ben and Smithers going crazy in the back seat, the truck bearing down, Gus throwing himself from the car just as the truck hit.
None of the boys made it out alive, of course, and there wasn't much left of that fine black sedan of theirs, either. Gus's body was torn clean in half at the waist, and the traffic signal, knocked from its post but still blinking from red to green every thirty seconds, lay in a pool of gasoline, brain tissue and beer next to what was left of Cappy.
Poor kid. I knew him better than I'd known the others, known him since he was a boy, in fact. That's how I knew what he'd been trying to say when Smithers ordered him to drive: "Like fuck, I will. I'm color blind!"
Smithers should have listened.
==============(This is the second story I've written for a flash-fiction challenge. Read the first one, "Down the Shore," here.)
© Peter Rozovsky 2011
Labels: flash fiction, Patti Abbott, Reginald Marsh