Monday, May 17, 2010

NEEDLE Magazine's Needle Flash Fiction Challenge: Christopher Grant


Fucker came down the stairs in his pajama bottoms and no shirt, went right to the fridge and got himself a bottle of milk. He didn’t bother with turning the light on. I was in the shadows of the little kitchen, a Saran Wrap garrote in my hands.

Just a lesson for you kids out there planning on assassinating that special someone in your life:

Saran Wrap sucks!

At least as far as its usual uses. I should have learned this lesson back when I was a kid and Mom made me cover leftovers with the shit. It sticks to itself two seconds off the roll and becomes useless.

Unless you do what I did and turn it into a garrote. Then you’ve got yourself a weapon.

Johnny Delgado had no inkling I was there, dispatched by Cal, my boss, who said I should do this ‘quietly and discreetly.’

Delgado was our latest soldier. About the same time he came on, a large number of heroin disappeared. Cal thought it over for about two seconds, didn’t even bother to ask the kid, just said, “Tyrone, quietly and discreetly.”

It was like taking down a bull. The glass bottle dropped and broke on the floor, the milk coated the floor. Delgado fought, drove elbows into the side of my head, took me to the linoleum. It felt like I broke my hip. By sheer luck, my knee wound up in his back on the way down and that drove the air from his lungs, helping me with my garrote.

He stopped breathing. I checked his pulse. Gone.

I limped out the back door.


Across town, thirty minutes later, I limped into one of the many warehouses that Cal owns. We ship all kinds of shit from these places, from illegal to front shit. It was one of the safer ones, high-quality fashion going out in trucks.

I limped through the door and noticed Grinch and Zander playing cards on top of a crate, with their weapons not more than arm’s length away.

“What the fuck happened to you?” Grinch asked.

I regaled them with what I had just been through.

Grinch, sweaty motherfucker that he is, laughed his fat ass off, his cheap K-Mart suit threatening to split at the seams.

“That’s why I always use this,” he said, reached in his pocket and slapped a roll of bondage tape on the crate.

He bellowed with laughter. Zander joined him.

I ran for the restroom, the laugher continued.

A few dry heaves, whether from the image of Grinch’s naked, greasy body in bondage or the killing of Johnny Delgado, and I was good as new.

I walked out of the restroom, wiping my mouth with a paper towel.

Grinch, his pants down, his right hand gripping a syringe, about to plunge it into his thigh.

Zander, his shoe and sock off, his syringe about to get stuck between the big toe and the second.

Johnny Delgado, dead, on his kitchen’s cheap linoleum, totally innocent.

I reached for one of the guns on the crate and started firing.

Fuck quiet and discreet. Guns are better than Saran Wrap any day.


Paul D Brazill said...

Aaah, that guilty consience will get you every time!Good piece of hardboiled. Educational too!

Jimmy Callaway said...

Christopher Grant: putting the "Twist" into "A Twist of Noir."

Ron Earl Phillips said...

Indeed. But if I ever am in a situation where I need to kill someone and only have Saran. I'm golden.

Good stuff.

Joyce said...

This was amazing. Nice, neat, well put together tidy little package of noir. Well, not really nice, but... Loved this!

chad rohrbacher said...

Oh I hate Saran Wrap. I like what you did with it though. Tight story, Chris.

Christopher Grant said...

Thanks, everyone.

Paul, glad I could teach. Though I've never done anything like that with Saran Wrap, hence the reason I'm still writing from outside prison, I do know that once the stuff comes off the roll, it sticks to itself and you're better off just making it a garrote. Enjoyed THE SHARPEST TOOL IN THE BOX in NEEDLE's first issue.

Jimmy, twists and knots and all kinds of things.

Ron, you and Paul now know what to do when I need you to do a job for me.

Joyce, nice is so overrated, isn't it?

Chad, I hate it, too. That stuff about having to cover the leftovers is all true. Rip, stuck to itself, totally useless. Enjoyed ANOTHER QUIET NIGHT in NEEDLE's first issue.