Scraping By: Part 6 (Serial Flash Fiction)

Will stared at the blinking canister strapped to the assassin’s forearm. Four seconds left before the bomb was set to go off – not even enough time to wet his pants in fear.

silver lunch bagAngie pulled what looked like a sliver lunch bag out of her utility belt, cut the straps of the bomb canister with her knife, and dropped the bomb into the bag. She rolled the top down and stretched an oversized rubber band around it. She tossed it under the display table and a moment later Will heard a pop, like a giant kernel of corn becoming popcorn. The silver bag remained intact.

“You okay?”

Will nodded. He dragged his attention from the slightly smoking lunch bag to the assassin’s face.

“You recognize him?”

Will nodded again. “He’s the copper I talked with this morning.”

Angie looked thoughtful as she tied the assassin’s hands and feet with plastic chords. “Why would he come after you? I mean, no offense, but we already knew they were in Gloucester. What does it matter that you know?”

“Who’s they?”

“A Pakistani chapter of al-Qaeda. Not large, but we’re holding some of their top men and they want them back.” She tore a piece of duct tape off of a roll from her belt and covered the man’s mouth.

Will stood on shaky legs. “Why Gloucester?”

“That’s what we don’t know. Double Oh Seven overheard them talk about “leverage” that they have here, or will have here. I’ve been working the town for a week and have no leads.”

Will climbed out of the boat where he’d been hiding and Angie stood up. “We’ll leave him here for the moment. I put a tracker on him, so my people will be by shortly to collect him.” They walked down the hall to the staircase and started down the steps.

stairsWill ran his hand along the railing. It was a lot to take in.

“I told that copper about a car chase that happened this morning on Bentin Street. Two SUVs were shooting at a black LaFerrari. One of the SUVs hit my car and I gave the copper the SUV’s license plate number.” Angie was adjusting what looked to be ninja throwing stars on her utility belt and didn’t respond, so Will kept talking. “I don’t remember all of the license plate.” He rattled off the first few letters and numbers; the only part he could remember.

Angie’s eyes grew wide. “That explains why they didn’t want you sharing that information.”

“What does it mean?”

“It means it was an inside job.”

The staircase turned at a landing, giving them a partial view of the museum’s first floor’s open exhibit areas. “What do you mean ‘an inside job’?”

“Those letters indicate that the vehicle belongs to MI5. They shouldn’t be shooting at an MI6 agent.”

The Ferrari’s license plate had read “007”. Not a novelty plate then. Will’s pulse beat a little faster. “Didn’t he notice who was following him?”

Angie shook her head. “The first SUV didn’t have MI5 plates and they were the only plates he could see.” They reached the bottom of the stairs and crossed the open floor.

“How do you know…” Will stopped himself mid sentence. “You showed him the pulley display. James. That’s when you two talked.”

Will stopped next to a replica front half of a house boat in the center of the room. It was about six feet long and four feet wide with a bench seat and an interior complete with tiny kitchen, table, and bed. “Is he really going to date Tish?” He knew it was stupid, but he couldn’t help it. A man didn’t drool over a co-worker for months only to give up on the dream at the first sign of trouble.

Angie arched an eyebrow. “Yes, I suppose he will.”

mi5Will rubbed his sweaty palms on his pants to dry them. “When you say leverage, you’re talking about blackmail, right?” He ran his hand along the smooth painted letters on the side of the boat. House boats were always colorful. Families had lived on them, raising children and trading goods up and down the canals. “If we don’t give them back the prisoners, they’ll blow something up or steal something?”

“Or someone, yes.”

Will climbed the two steps up to the house boat’s bow and sat on a bench there. Angie stepped onto the boat’s decking and stood looking down into the kitchen. “It’s small, but it’s still bigger than my first flat in London after graduation.”

Steal someone; small boats. Bits of the morning were gathering in his brain, arranging themselves like puzzle pieces. An image of the Indian tourist popped to the forefront of his mind. Hadn’t Angie said that this particular al-Qaeda group hailed from Pakistan? And he’d ducked to tie his loafer when Double Oh Seven came out of the museum. Will’s palms began to sweat again.

“Angie, there was a guy here earlier and he disappeared-”

Will heard a muffled pop and Angie crumpled to the deck.


Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

Images courtesy of: (lunch bag), (stairs), (map)


Scraping By: Part 1 (Serial Flash Fiction)

I’m going to try something new: serial flash fiction. Basically, I have an idea that won’t fit into 1000 words, so I’m going to cheat and use as many words as I want in short increments. Here’s Part One.

imagesWill started the coffee pots brewing and sat down at a table by the café’s front window to make a shopping list for the manager. He wrote FILTERS in bold letters; the manager never bought enough filters.

The rain had stopped and the street lamp outside made the water drops glisten on the Jaguar XF parked out front. It wasn’t new, but it was a nice car.

My car, thought Will with a smile. Thanks to his part time hours at the Gloucester Brew coffee shop, he’d finally climbed far enough out of debt to be trusted with a monthly car payment by the used car dealership.

The very early morning shift was perfect for him. He brewed the coffee, stocked the counter, his coworkers walked in as the sun rose, and before the morning rush was over, he was on his way to his day job. In his Jaguar. That was another perk of the job; the parking spot in front of the shop was always open when he clocked in.

A squeal of brakes down the block startled him from the adoration of his new wheels. A black LaFerrari peeled around the corner and gunned its motor. Will had just enough time to glimpse the novelty 007 license plate on the front of the car before it sped by the shop. He didn’t see where it went because his attention was drawn to the matching black SUVs following fifty feet behind the Ferrari.

A man in a black mask was leaning out of the passenger window of the first SUV, and a moment later he had a gun in hand and was shooting at the Ferrari. Will ducked down under the table, his heart racing. He heard the shattering of car glass.

2010_jaguar_xf-pic-2222341826812627942-1024x768The Jaguar!

He popped his head up to look. The Jaguar’s windows were intact. He knew he should duck again, but he couldn’t look away. The first SUV was just past the shop, and the second SUV was swerving wildly behind it. The Ferrari was returning fire. With a heart wrenching grind of metal on metal, the second SUV slammed into the row of parked cars and slid along it before straightening out in a lane.

Will felt the crunch of metal in his gut. The damage was on the other side, out of sight, but the SUV had swerved into his car. His car. Will pressed his cheek against the window and focused on the license plate of the second SUV. It disappeared around the corner after the first two vehicles and he grabbed his paper and pen and wrote the jumble of letters and numbers.

The silence felt oppressive after the popping of bullets and crunching of cars. His Jaguar. Slowly Will made his way to the door of the coffee shop and forced his feet across the sidewalk and into the street.

It was worse that he’d feared. The driver’s side door was bashed in and a long scrape led from the crater to the headlight.

He hadn’t bought insurance yet and if he fixed the dent, he wouldn’t have enough for rent. His glorious new beginning was slipping away. Will looked down at the paper clutched in his hand. He knew someone who could make them pay.


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