Monday, November 29, 2010

A Twist Of Noir 634 - Dana King


Six hundred thirty-four days isn’t long. Less than two years. Not even two-and-a-half percent of a decent lifetime. For Frank Roberts it was 634 days of staring at the same dirty walls and pissing into the same seatless metal toilet, 634 nights listening to the pervert in the upper bunk jacking it. Less than two years gone. At least thirteen still to come, maybe twenty-eight.

Time to leave.

The sharpened toothbrush in his pocket would do as a shank. Frank killed a rat with it in the yard a week ago, skewered it like a roasting spit. It would work just as well on that redneck hack, Berry, if it came to it. He was the only one Frank thought twice about, and he’d probably fold, too, faced with someone who didn’t have to kiss his ass anymore.

He cut his arm in the shop, deep enough for stitches. Laid back when he left the infirmary, fell in with the garbage detail. Threw bags into the truck with the other cons, no Dumpster for the inside trash. Too easy to hide in. Frank worked his way to the passenger side of the truck, ready to hop in with the driver. The body provided cover from the most likely places he could be seen. He’d only be in the truck two miles-five minutes, tops-meet Rodney the other side of a hill where the road twisted. They’d be gone before the count came up wrong, or the driver could call.

Frank climbed onto the step when the driver opened his door, pressed the door button. Pulled the door open as the driver shut his and crawled quick as a monkey onto the floor.

“Start the truck and drive away.” Frank laid his forearm across the man’s thigh, tickled his crotch with the shank. “Or I’ll shove this out through your asshole.”

The driver kept his eyes forward and started the truck. Didn’t have it in gear before someone pounded on the passenger door. “Hey, Sammie! Wait up! I got something for you!”

Sammie put the truck into first. The passenger door opened. Berry was on the running board, sweating. “Where the fuck you going? I brung you some a them apple dumplings my wife makes.”

It happened too fast for Frank to turn all the way around. Sammie kept the truck rolling. Berry flipped the cover off his holster. Frank turned, shank up. Sammie shifted into second and Berry grabbed the window frame to keep his balance. Frank punched out, felt the shank sink into Berry’s flabby midsection. Berry yelled, didn’t lose his grip. The truck picked up speed. Frank pulled back and the shank came out sticky and slippery so he had to adjust his grip and Berry had time to draw. Frank stabbed again, the gun went off. Frank screamed and Berry fell away.

Commotion behind them. The driver hollered, “What do you want me to do?” and Frank yelled, “Keep driving, goddammit!” and they rumbled through the yard.

That fat bastard Berry would have to shoot him in the leg with running to do. He’d have to run, too, sirens already going off behind them as the truck slammed through the fence before it closed.

“Turn right out the gate,” he said. It surprised him how much effort it took. He wasn’t hurt that bad. Shot through the leg. Nothing vital. He shifted on the seat and his hand slipped off the wound. Blood sprayed out of his leg to splash on the window. He was wondering how a leg could bleed that much when the driver kicked him out the half-open door to bounce along the side of the road and tear open the rest of his femoral artery.

Six-thirty-four was his last day in prison. Just like he planned.

BIO: Dana King’s short story, “Green Gables,” was published in the anthology Thuglit Presents Blood, Guts, and Whiskey, edited by Todd Robinson. Online, his stories have appeared in Powder Burn Flash, Mysterical-e, and New Mystery Reader, where he has also written over one hundred reviews and interviews. Dana is also a regular contributor to flash fiction challenges on blogs, including Pattinase, Going Ballistic, and Do Some Damage.


Sean Patrick Reardon said...

The plan seemed so simple and went so wrong. I was hoping he would escape, but the ending ws just right. Liked this a lot.

pattinase (abbott) said...

A really great one, Dana. There are things worse than a cell.

R.S. Bohn said...

That's the problem with playing the numbers game -- maybe you're number's up today. Could be good. Could be pretty damn bad. Looks like Frank decided to try and beat the odds.

Shame he didn't make it, but that ending was pretty sharp. ;)

sandra seamans said...

Nice one, Dana!

Joyce said...

There's always that glitch in the best laid plans. I'm sorry too he didn't make it, but I have the feeling he wouldn't have been able to stand being behind bars any longer. Well done.

Jack Getze said...

I love those short nasty rides. Thanks, Dana.

Steve Weddle said...

And it had been going so well. Nice work.

Paul D Brazill said...

Great hardboiled writing.

Charlie Wade said...

Excellent stuff. I really liked the pacing of this.

John McFetridge said...

Good one.

AJ Hayes said...

You don't always get what you want ... but you always get what you deserve. That's a bitch, but it's true. The story rang my bell real loud. Thanks.

chad rohrbacher said...

Poor truck is gonna need a whole new interior -- nicely done

Anonymous said...

Nice twist at the end, Dana. Thought there for a minute the guy would make it after all.
No such luck.

Naomi Johnson said...

Have to hand it to you, Dana, you never cut a character any slack at all. Nicely done.