A pistol pointed at the point of view, with the blurry image of the gun holder behind it.

Short Story Challenge Week 26: Chaotic Scenes

I’m officially halfway through my short story challenge! I may well be more excited about this than you are, naturally enough.

This week has… not been the easiest for me in terms of short story writing, or indeed much writing at all, thanks to a boxing class I took earlier in the week at a media event.

I’m all for getting fit, but my one new tip for writers is to avoid boxing at all costs. My wrists are still bruised and sore, which makes typing rather uncomfortable, to put it mildly.

For anyone joining me at the halfway mark, I’ve challenged myself to write a short story every week for a year. As this is week 26, I’ve done more than a few already, which you can check out here.

In itself, this is a repeat of a challenge I did a few years back which led to an entire collection of short stories, which you can buy as an eBook in the format of your choosing!


Buy Fifty Two through Amazon for your Kindle e-reader here.

Buy Fifty Two through Apple for your iPad or iOS devices/Macs here.

Buy Fifty Two through Smashwords for any other e-reader format here.


Want something notably different and considerably longer? There’s also my B-movie novel, Sharksplosion. It’s pretty much exactly what you’d think a book with that title might be like


Buy Sharksplosion for Amazon Kindle

Buy Sharksplosion for iBooks (iPhone, iPad, etc)

Buy Sharksplosion for all other e-readers through Smashwords


Enough of the eBook plugging, Kidman. On with what happens when I write out a story while swearing at my aching wrists…

Chaotic Scenes

A pistol pointed at the point of view, with the blurry image of the gun holder behind it.

“Chaotic scenes today in Central Plaza, as an audacious group of bank robbers evaded police through a high speed chase along route 95.

Our helicopter camera caught this exclusive footage of the getaway car, which was abandoned in an underpass just south of Orange Grove.

As yet, the group remains at large.

Police are advising the public to stay alert and aware, and not to approach any suspicious group under any circumstances.

They have yet to release any identifying footage of the robbers.

Eyewitnesses at the scene report a group of street performers suddenly running into the bank in full clown masks, making identification difficult.

We’ll keep you up to date with the latest as and when it happens…”

“Ach, turn it off, will you, Sam?”

“Why? wouldn’t it make more sense for us to know what we’ve got to avoid?”

“No. Don’t you remember the plan? Weren’t you listening when we ran through it?”

“Sure, I remember the plan.”

“You clearly don’t”

“Sure I do.

I do the balloon animals — we made ten bucks out of that, by the way — to establish that we’re real clowns, then follow you into the bank.

As I go in, I take the left, knock out the guard with me shotgun and then cover the escape routes. Dash back to the car within 90 seconds, and we’re away free and clear. Job done!”

“And then after? The plan after?”

“There was a plan after? I think I was watching the telly, waiting for the lottery numbers to come up…”

“You idiot. Look, we don’t need to know what they think we look like.

Nobody got a good look at any of us under those masks, and Sarah’s off burning those right now, along with the costumes in the furnace.

We’ll hole up here, all four of us for a fortnight, until the coast is a little more clear. Then we’re all out, north, south, east and west, and then… and only then… the job’s done.

That way, nobody gets nabbed by the police talking too much while the heat is on, or gets tempted to rat anyone else out, or anything. All we have to do is get through these two weeks. Got it?”

“Got it.”

“Good. Now, I’ve drawn up a roster for the cooking. The freezer’s full, so all you need to do is go heat up the package labelled ‘Monday 1’. Think you can manage that?”

“Sure thing, boss. I’m on it.”

***

“Right, so the final count is $3,150,000. Less the expenses of renting this place out and the food, that gives us a split of $600,000 for each of you.”

“Hang on…”

“What is it now Sam? Do you really want me to count it all again?”

“No, it’s just that… well.. doesn’t that not add up and all across all four of us?”

“Oh, you think that’s not fair, do you? Who’s the boss here?”

“You are, boss.

It’s just that we all went into the bank, and we all grabbed the money, and we’re all still stuck here for another ten days and all. I don’t see why we don’t just split it four ways even.”

“There’s two reasons for that, Sam.

Firstly, I am the boss.

I devised and planned this out, hired each of you and covered your costs while we sorted out the plan. So there’s that reason as to why I get more.”

“And the other reason, boss?”

“Because I’ll get Sarah to shoot you in the back of the head if you argue about this any more at all again, ever.”

“Ah. Right you are, boss. Shall I go make the coffee?”

“You do that, Sam.”

***

“What is this? What in the hell is it?”

“It’s dinner, boss. Day four, dinner.”

“Sam, what did you do to it? Day four was… an oven-ready bolognese, should have been easy. Where did all these… black bits… come from?”

“Oh, I thought I’d spice it up, because the dinner last night, those pizzas, they were really bland.

So I dug around in the cupboards, found a few spices and tins and got a bit creative.”

“The pantry cupboards back there?”

“Yeah…?”

“In the disused kitchen. The one where I only plugged in the freezer last week?”

“Yep, that’s one. There isn’t another kitchen, is there?”

“No, there is not. But the only food — the only fresh food — in this entire place is what we brought with us and dropped into the freezer.

If there’s a pantry back there too, it’s got whatever the last occupants left here when they went bust.”

“Those car parts makers do like their hot sauces, boss. Plenty of stocks back there.”

“Maybe so, but they went bust back in 1983, years before you were born.”

“Oh. They smelled OK to me.”

“Well, then you can eat it, and mine too. I’m off to bed.”

***

“No, look, for the last time, you can’t do that.”

“But I just did it.”

“No, you can’t. It’s not within the rules. You cannot do it.”

“It’s done. Just because you don’t want to lose, it’s no reason to…”

“LOOK, YOU CANNOT PUT A DRAW FOUR ONTO A DRAW FOUR.”

“Calm down, boss. It’s just a card game.”

***

“OK, look, stay quiet, and keep your head down.”

“What? Why?”

“I just saw some flashing lights go past.

Might be nothing, but as far as anyone knows, this whole place is just another abandoned factory, nothing going on here at all.

So keep down, or you’ll blow our cover.”

“Can I go back to sleep?”

“No. We might have to move very quickly if this goes tits up. Go wake up Sarah and Al, and make sure they know to stay low. And keep quiet when you do it.”

***

“Why did you unplug the freezer? WHY?”

“It was being really noisy, and that cop car was going past, and you said we had to be quiet. It was within reach from where I was lying down, so I thought it would be a good idea.”

“And then, when the cops were nowhere around?”

“Look, I’m sorry, OK? I fell asleep, and I forgot to plug it back in.”

“That’s a week’s worth of frozen meals, that is. We’re going to have to do the second week just on the muesli because of you.”

“How about if I go out shopping? I could get some fresh stuff in, make it a bit more…”

“No! For the last time… oh, somebody… Sarah, would you shoot him already?

Good.

Now, there’s at least going to be enough muesli to go around for the three of us until we can get out of here.

Now give me a hand to lug Sam down to the furnace, will you?”

About the author

Alex Kidman is a multi-award winning Australian technology writer, former editor at Gizmodo, CNET, GameSpot, ZDNet, PC Mag, APC, Finder and as a contributor to the ABC, SMH, AFR, Courier Mail, GadgetGuy, PC & Tech Authority, Atomic and many more. He's been writing professionally since 1998, and his passions include technology, social issues, education, retro gaming and professional wrestling.

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