Another challenge from Wendig’s terribleminds.com:
Well, really, all I ask is that you write a piece of crime fiction that features — and c’mon, this is so easy — guns as a feature. That’s like a present to you, from me. Mmmm. Guns.
You have 1000 words.
Short flash fiction. Not a vignette but a complete story.
Due by Friday, August 19th.
I’ll pick a favorite in the week after.
Post at your online space. Link back here. Direct us to your tale in the comments of this post.
Crime + Guns = Awesome.
Get to work.
He hated this more than anything, but after a year of making this bullshit trek to the Eastvale, Tom had to admit that maybe it worked. Still, he took the last deep breath to calm himself before he entered the doors of the psychologist’s office.
Doctor Carter seemed bored at the start of the session. Idly brushing lint off of his pants. Tom sat in the corner of the couch.
“So, Tom…last week we spoke about some…uh…anxiety you were having about your granddaughter…”
“Yes,” Tom swallowed hard, anxiety was an understatement. Soul crippling, piss your pants fear would be closer to the mark. “Yes, my granddaughter made me anxious.”
“Made? As in past tense? Are you feeling better about the speech?” Brush, brush, brush.
“I actually did it on Thursday.”
“Really?” Carter stopped fidgeting and looked at Tom. “Let me first say that I am very proud of your progress. I truly did not see that coming. How did it go? How long did you speak? What did you talk about?” Carter leaned closer to the couch, his eyes wide with eagerness.
“Uh…I guess it was about an hour and I mainly talked about Cu Chi. I suppose it went well enough they asked me back.”
“Tell me all the details about Thursday.”
The lecture hall at West Desert University was nearly empty. About thirty college aged kids sat randomly throughout the four hundred seat room. Tom’s granddaughter was sitting behind a small table next to the lectern with an older woman. Tom was not impressed by her looks at all. No tits to speak of and eyes that made her look like the word “man” was as filthy as the word “cunt.”
Tom’s granddaughter rose and went to the lectern, “Thank you everyone who showed up for tonight’s WDU History Alive Club special event. For those of you attending from Helen Maynor’s class please stay until after so that I can sign your attendance slips.” Tom sees several rolling eyes.
“ Viet Nam. One of the most controversial conflicts in this nation’s history. A proxy war deemed unnecessary by the younger generation, and the only salvation from Sino-Russian conquest by the older generations. Communism was an evil that infected most of the United States policies at the time.
“Today, Viet Nam is considered a mistake. A black eye on the military, the White House, and the surviving soldiers. Tonight, my grandfather, Sergeant Tomas Black of the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, survivor of what is called “the Devil’s Half Acre.” The applause was sparse.
To the kids Tom felt he must look like a joke. When he was their age he was five foot six and chubby. Now at sixty-three he had lost the baby fat and three inches of height. He lost those things because of old age. The three missing fingers, left ear, and glass eye came from the war.
Tom started out slow. Tiny drips of information, high school, the draft, boot camp, all the boring bullshit that most movies cut out because it is agonizing. Tom felt it was important though. He was blind in a sense, a butterball fuck thrown into Tigerland, by the time he arrived in the Shit his body was hardened but his man still dripping with the fat of youth.
It wasn’t until he joined the Tunnel Rats when he felt he became a soldier. “They built the Cu Chi HQ out there because it was the only clear spot to get supplies in an out during monsoon, but soon after they built it they got attacked inside the perimeters. Turns out the Cu Chi land was honeycombed with over 200 miles of tunnels. The commanders couldn’t send most troops down in the tunnel because the Viet Cong were short bastards. So they came to me and some other guys all under 5’6”. They gave us a pistol and a flashlight and the orders to clear.
“I did maybe sixty drops into that hell. The tunnels were bent back every 100 meters or so. Every step forward was another step into ambush alley. Most of us died. But we were all short Napoleons that lived for the next dive.
“My last mission was simple, find the radio console. The VC dropped land mines around the shaft that killed five of us and took my ear. I rounded the corner and took shrapnel near my eye. I laid under the bodies of my squad for three days before more Rats came down and pulled me out.”
Tom continued with details, stark, real. His granddaughter beamed with pride. This is what her organization was about. Seeing the survivors of history speak truth. Tom’s hands were shaking nonstop.
“So how did that make you feel?” Brush, brush, brush.
“Like a fucking kid.” Tom wiped away tears.
“Interesting, speaking to a room of people is frightening, when jumping down into a Viet Cong tunnel is…” A soft digital beep sounded through the room. “I’m sorry Tom, that’s our time this week.”
“I have to go to work anyway.”
Tom stood in the corner of the bank, smiling at the pretty girls and sizing up any man that walked in. That’s what you do when you are barely five foot and carry a pistol. The gun the security agency gave him was shit. A snub nose revolver barely long enough to get the muzzle flash away from your knuckles. He longed for Romana, that sleek cobalt 9mm that was his only true companion while he crawled around in VC tunnels. All for freedom.
Movies, Tom felt were bullshit; he could tell within an instant if an actor had ever held a gun before. You can tell someone told them how to place their hands and how to duck walk, but they always lacked the familiarity one has with their weapon. When Tom had Romana, his entire fucking body swaggered. His dick was in his hand and all the pretty bitches were getting some.
The four guys who busted through the bank door were holding their dicks. They filed in fast which each covering an angle through the door. Short guy first, gun straight ahead, second guy over the left shoulder of the lead, third guy over the right shoulder of the guy in front of him, and the fourth covering the rear.
They all had military issue M4’s, Desert Eagles strapped to their legs, and bullet proof vests.
As Tom fumbled for his shit gun, a bullshit Asian dick, he had a smile on his face. At least it wasn’t some horseshit gangbang amateur.
The third soldier spotted him and shot Tom four times, once in the thigh, moving up and putting two in his chest, one in the face.