A blog where Stephanie M. Belser test-drives her fictional stories.
Expect the occasional
"stall, spin, crash & burn".

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


(Flash fiction challenge)

Frank sat in the car in a parking lot that was on the opposite side of the street and a hundred feet or so down the street from the target. The car was a nondescript silver Chevy sedan. Frank would have preferred a darker colored car, but even he had to admit that with every third car on the street being painted silver, the reasoning behind choosing this car was sound.

“Why we hitting this place?” The question came from Evan, the wheelman.

“It does a good business. And they don’t have an armored slot where they make deposits as the night goes on. So the cash register is full until the shift change, when the new clerk shows up with his cash drawer and the clerk that is going off puts a cover over her drawer and drops it into a safe. Shift change is at 3AM. New clerk doesn’t usually show up until ten of, so as long as we hit it before then, we're fucking golden.”

“They got cameras?”

“No. Owner’s some cheap bastard, I guess. No visible cameras, no domes or hidden ones. He put in some cheap-ass imitation camera with a blinking light. Good, cause I won’t need a mask. The mullet wig, trucker hat and fake mustache will be enough.”

Evan grunted. Frank didn’t give a shit.

“Tell me again what we’re gonna do, Evan.”

“C’mon, we’ve been through this a jillion times.”


Evan rolled his eyes. “You go across the street. Ninety seconds after you go in the door, I start the car. Thirty seconds after that, I pull up in front. You jump in. I peel out as loudly as I can. We drive two blocks down, take a right, then another right. If we aren’t being chased, I pull into the alley, ditch the plates, you ditch the wig, ballcap and `stache and we drive off like citizens.”

Frank nodded. He reached under the seat and pulled out a shiny chrome handgun. Evan thought it was the biggest gun he’d ever seen. “Jeez, what the hell is that cannon,” he asked.

“Long slide .45. Looks huge, don’t it?”


“Clerk’ll think so, too. That chick’ll lock eyes on the gun and pee her pants. She won’t give me no trouble and all she’ll remember is the gun. Or the mullet. Toss the wig, change clothes and I could walk in there tomorrow and she’d never know me.” Frank looked at the dashboard clock. “OK, let’s do this.” He got out of the car and tucked the .45 under his jacket, behind his hip. “Ninety seconds.”

Evan nodded. “Ninety seconds.”

Frank crossed the street and walked towards the convenience store. One car was parked in the back of the lot, that’d be the clerk’s ride. Silver two seater of some kind. Two other cars were out front. Probably a few people, not many. No cops in sight.

He walked into the store. If he didn’t know that the clerks were on a slightly raised platform, he’d have thought that the cashier was a Greek goddess. Still, she had to be close to six feet tall. Long auburn hair, just a few pounds too heavy to be slender, and she had on a maroon uniform smock with the name of the store and her nametag. Frank quickly walked to the rear of the store and got a sixpack of some beer from the cooler.

Frank checked out the customers as he went for the beer. There was a short and chubby young woman looking at baby food; she had milk in her hand. A guy was making a selection of beer. He looked kind of weird, for he was dressed like a gentleman from one of the old Sherlock Holmes movies. Frank had seen more and more weirdos dressing up like they had just landed from the 1890s, but it didn't matter.

He didn't think either of them would be a problem. He'd be gone before they got their wits about them.

Frank walked up to the counter, put the beer on it, and pulled his handgun. “I’m robbing this place,” he yelled. “Gimmie all of the bills in your drawer and nobody gets hurt.”

From behind him, Frank heard a loud crash. He spun around to check it out; the young mother buying food for her baby had dropped four jars of Gerbers on the floor. As he turned back towards the clerk, he heard four rapid clicks. The clerk was pointing what looked to be an old Western revolver at him, he could see the brass of the trigger guard. It registered on him that she was holding the gun with one hand. For some odd reason, he noted that her nametag read "Ekaterina".

Frank could have dropped his gun and surrendered, or just walked out the door and hoped that he could get away.

What he did try to do was tighten his turn.

The forensic boys later estimated that Frank was less than three feet away from the revolver’s muzzle when Ekaterina shot him. The heavy .44 slug blew a hole though Frank’s torso, cutting the side of an artery and clipping his spine. Frank dropped like a sack of feed; the shiny .45 fell away, clattering on the linoleum tiles.

The last thing Frank heard as he bled out on the filthy tile floor was the squeal of tires as Evan executed his getaway.

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