Another weekly blog challenge up. http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/06/07/flash-fiction-challenge-its-abc-meets-xyz/. I’m really glad I started doing them. They are crazy fun, and really force me to try out new concepts for writing. This weeks challenge was to A Meets B. Mine partial one was The Stand meets the Godfather. I’m not sure I got the themes well enough, but I tried.
In a Day’s Work
I hated my shitty job and my shitty pay. I’d excuse my language, but it was so accurate I’d rather not. I pulled back my filthy hair, washed my face, and stepped out into the searing light. The earth had gone crispy. Little water remained, and little food, and every day I performed my thug duties. I’d come back to my shack and get paid in a gallon of water, and a plate of food. Before the Collapse hit I’d been a kick boxing trainer. I had nice dresses, and a skin care routine. Those things seemed like day dreams.
I headed out to the Wastes I passed more mud brick shacks. The huge, air conditioned tower loomed in the distance. My boss lived there. They processed the air to make water to feed a garden, and livestock to feed his slaves, or I mean employees. Because, I knew no one got up this early to greet the sun, I flipped the tower off. A petty mobster, and now the richest, cruelest man in the what was left of Arizona.
The high barbed wire fence gleamed causing me to block my eyes. Part of the complex was from a former state prison. A lot of the prison had been disassembled to build the tower. The guard sat in shaded hut. He was tense as he scanned the area carefully. The entrance was sealed magnetically, electricity wasn’t in short supply, and with a two door exit. Very little risk, but the boss made sure the fear of failure was impressed heavily on his staff.
“Wolsey, my gun, staff, and hat please.”
The intense former military man eyed me. As if the he hadn’t seen every day for a year. He turned his back and pulled out the three requested items.
The gun had only one bullet left. The boss wouldn’t renew my bullet permit cause the last three bullets I shot didn’t hit anyone. I’d been trying intimidation, I didn’t like hurting anyone, but I needed to eat. The hat looked like something my grandmother would have worn a big, rimmed hat with a cheery floral pattern all over it. A bit dirty, but it kept the sun off my eyes. I kept the staff at my side. “You gonna let me out?”
Wolsey narrowed his dark eyes at me. “Maybe Nack. Why’d the boss penalize you on bullets?”
“’Cause I’m not as ruthless as he’d like, you already knew that.” Wolsey and I didn’t like working for the bastard, but we didn’t want to go hungry either. Hard choices in the post apocalyptic wonderland we lived in.
The door opened. I stepped thorough waiting for it close the other to open. Then, I was free the watching eyes. On the flip side I had to scoot over a local community and beat some people down for money and power. The walk took a few hours across desert. I could see a few mud huts ahead. I picked up my pace.
The leader already stood outside waiting for me. “We haven’t got the water.”
“The Boss wants it, Mic.” I didn’t need to say, Mic knew the shake down.
In the rough hewn windows I could see eyes peering out at me. Mic was the only standing outside. Damn, I hated this
Mic nodded. “I know, Nack. I don’t blame you. You are doing your job. Still, do you really want to beat me in front of my friends, and family.”
I’ll let you in on a secret, I didn’t. But, you know what else I didn’t want was to starve or for the Boss to shoot me in the fucking head. “Mic, personally I like you. Your a great guy. Your family has always been good for the community.” I tightened my grip on the staff. “I don’t want to die either.”
Mic spat on the ground. He was a big dude, broad as a barn, and tough as rebar. “And you rather stick with a petty drug lord who pays you in nothing, and asks you to do what you don’t believe in. You could live out here with us at the farm, and live by your morals.”
He was right. He mentioned it before. Always he failed to mention he lived at the whim of the Boss. Any time he could ride in here and wipe this place off the map. It’d be done. One time I had been there. And, I’d have to defend the community. Someone like me was always going to be used. I could fight like nobodies business. I was also a pretty good shot, and I knew how to maintain weapons. They didn’t get if you’re going to be somebodies pawn you might as well be with guys who had the most power.
I smiled stepped forward my stance loose. I could see the light of triumph in his eyes. In a flash I twisted my staff up bashing him in the head hard knocking him off balance. I shifted down swinging out taking out his legs. He landed in a cloud of dust. Before he could recover I put my foot on his neck and my staff above his crotch. “Mic, I can either kill you, or beat you. If you keep fighting, I will shoot your god damned ass, you hear me?”
“Do whatever you want bitch.” The hate started to fill his eyes. I knew I burned a bridge here. Over the years I’d burned plenty. Little communities would pop up, we’d get along, and they expect me to side with them.
I brought down the stick hard as he hollered. I moved it up and down his ribs with a thundering cracks eight of them in precise blows. My foot stayed in place until he stopped struggling so much. A whimpering groans emanated from him. “Sorry, Mic just in a day’s work.”
Walking backwards long enough to be out of range of any weapons before turning back toward the base. I’d get home drink my stale water, eat my plate of food, and hit my cot to wake up to another’s days work.