Scraping By: Part 9 (Serial Flash Fiction)

Will was still buckled. He fumbled with the latch and knelt on the center console of the Ferrari submarine to peer upwards into the hole that connected the car’s roof to the prince’s houseboat above. James’ face appeared in the opening.

“Come on up, Will.”

COAST-GUARD-1Will hauled himself awkwardly through the short shaft and into the boat. He was on the tiny kitchen floor. One wall contained a small sink, fridge, and cooking range and the opposite wall had a small bench and a fold-out table latched vertically. To his left stood James, looking cool as a cucumber, and to his right were the prince and his two friends, seated on the steps leading to the deck and looking fairly freaked out. Will waved weakly.

“Hullo, mates.”

James sprang into action. His voice was calm and soothing, but his body language was commanding. Obedience by all in the room was assumed.

“Your Highness, you’re coming with me. Climb down and strap in. Will, gentlemen, I suggest you put on life jackets. Your boat is about to sink.”

Will scrambled to his feet. “Why am I staying here?”

“Witnesses know that three young men were traveling in this boat. When it sinks, they need to see three men come out of it. I’ll take the prince directly home.”

Will nodded. What else was he supposed to do? His highness stopped to briefly shake Will’s hand before lowering himself inside the Ferrari. James dropped gracefully out of sight and Will looked down in time to see some sort of metal door slide shut over the hole in the car’s roof. There was a loud sucking sound, like a plunger pulling away from porcelain and the Ferrari submarine moved out of sight.

Water immediately rushed into the open hole and covered Will’s shoes. He sloshed over to the kitchen’s exit and followed the prince’s friends out to the deck on the bow. One of them handed him a life jacket and by the time he’d slipped it over his head and fastened the strap, the boat’s deck was level with the waterline.

The three young men jumped into the water and started swimming for the canal’s edge about twenty yards away. Will looked behind him a few minutes later, but the boat had sunk out of sight.

*

eva-trio-martini-glass-xlWill twirled a chip in the puddle of ketchup on his plate, then let it fall. It reminded him of the bloody hole in Angie’s chest. Had that only been this morning? He picked up a fresh chip and ate it plain. If his father thought Will had lost his appetite, he might ask questions and Will wasn’t ready to talk.

Frank, Will’s father, had brought his girlfriend Faythe to dinner. She was beautiful, ten years too young for him, and had an alluring Greek accent.

“So your family lives near the beach, Faythe?” Will asked.

Faythe’s perfectly painted lipstick parted in a smile. “So close that you can put water on a hot stove, take a dip in the ocean, and be home before it boils.”

Frank reached over and squeezed her hand. “Sounds beautiful.”

“I’m sure you’ll like it.”

Faythe took a petite bite of her fish and sat back in her chair. Will made a seven out of his chips, then a twelve for Angie. Agent Twelve. He wondered who they would hire to replace her. A waiter led a trio of men past their table to a booth and Frank placed his hand over Faythe’s. She smiled at him. When his eye caught Will’s, he cleared his throat and looked away.

Will lay his napkin over his half finished food and sat back.

“Did you see the news this afternoon?” Will asked. Frank raised an eyebrow. He was chewing, so Will plunged ahead. “About the shooting at the Waterways Museum?”

Faythe’s opened her eyes wide and sipped her martini. Not a news watcher, then. Frank nodded his head and swallowed his food. “Isn’t that where you work?”

When Will mentioned his job at Mom’s the funeral, Frank had paid attention. It was oddly touching.

“Yeah, it is.”

“Did you know the girl who got shot?”

Will nodded. His throat grew tight and he cleared it. He hadn’t been close with Angie, but he also hadn’t processed his near death experiences of the morning – or Angie’s – and his emotions were on edge. “I did – do, yeah. The news said she’s going to be okay.”

“They said it was her ex-boyfriend. Did you see him?”

Will hesitated. Double Oh Seven had let him go without a vow of silence. And the news had featured very clear footage of the prince safe at home, so Will’s life was no longer in danger. But he didn’t feel like sharing. “No. But I called 999.”

Frank grunted. “That’s something.”

Will nodded. “It is.”

ferrari-GTE-hdr3-1024x580Their waiter approached the table and waited for Will to return eye contact before speaking. “Excuse me, Sir, this was left for you at the front desk.”

He handed Will a small red box with a silver bow. Will glanced at his father; the curiosity was clear on his face. Faythe ordered a second martini. Will slid the bow off of the box and cracked it open. Inside was a small piece of paper with “Thank you for your help today” written with silver ink in impeccable masculine penmanship. Under the slip of paper was a set of keys to a LaFerrari.

Will laughed. His dream come true – success in his father’s eyes – had literally just been handed to him.

“What is it?”

Will closed the box and stuffed it into his pocket. “Nothing. A joke from a guy I worked with.”

Half an hour later they stepped out into the chilly night air. Both men stuffed their hands into their pockets for warmth and Faythe wrapped herself in a fur coat. A shiny black LaFerrari was parked across the street from the restaurant.

“Nice car,” said Frank.

“It sure is,” said Will.

Faythe moved to the curb and hailed a taxi. Frank glanced from Faythe to Will and cleared his throat. “Listen, I know I’ll be in Greece for a week or two, but if you need anything, give me a ring.”

Will met his father’s gaze and straightened his shoulders. “Thanks, Frank. But what I really need, I learned from Mom. I’ll be okay.”

Frank nodded. He looked like he might say more, but Faythe called him from the open door of a taxi. Frank held out his hand and Will shook it. He climbed into the taxi beside Faythe and Will waved until the taxi was out of sight.

Will pulled the red box out of his pocket and pushed the unlock button on the key. The LaFerrari across the street beeped in welcome. Will grinned. “I’ll be just fine.”

THE END

 

Thank you for reading!

Images courtesy of: subseaworldnews.com (water rescue), uncrate.com (martini), www.gopixpic.com (Ferrari)

Scraping By: Part 3 (Serial Flash Fiction)

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Will’s eyes darted to the gift shop where Tish was straightening a few hanging t-shirts. “What won’t I like?”

Stephen blew on his tea and took a few steps backwards. “I’ve got to go. A school group’s coming through in ten minutes.”

Stephen was in charge of charming teachers and introducing the school kids to the museum. They would take a short walk along the waterfront, explore the exhibits of the grand room on the first floor, visit more exhibits in a series of rooms on the second floor, and make a craft with Will and Angie. The tours always ended in a side room downstairs where the children could build a boat on computers or play with a working model of a canal with locks. Tish ran the gift shop.

Will’s phone rang as he hung his jacket on a hook in the staff room. He checked the number. Frank. He’d call him back when he had a hot date. Tish giggled in the gift shop and Will smiled. The morning was about to take a turn for the better.

Tish stood behind the register in all of her blonde perky glory. Young, voluptuous, and a smart dresser, Will’s mother would have described Tish as having champagne taste. Will had a beer budget, but if he had a week or two to save up, he could afford to give Tish a champagne evening. Will pretended to straighten the pens for sale on the counter and cleared his throat.

DSC02305“Good morning, Tish.”

“Morning.”

“Did I tell you I got a new car this week? It’s a Jaguar. Maybe I could-.”

“Nice.” Tish squinted through the shop window at the waterfront. “Did you see the LaFerrari?”

Will didn’t bother nodding; Tish’s attention was already off him. She waved a perfectly manicured hand at someone behind him and grinned. “Angie! Come here! Did you see him?”

Angie had been hired a week ago and Tish was clearly thrilled to have another woman working at the museum. Angie was thirty something and almost pretty. She had slumped shoulders and wore thick glasses and baggy sweaters, yet her black stretch pants showed well muscled legs and her dark hair was never out of place. It was like she was trying to hide her disciplined nature behind a polite, slightly sloppy facade. Angie greeted Will and leaned against the counter.

“Of course I saw him; I showed him the pulley display.”

“Saw who?” Will asked. “The guy in the suit?” He couldn’t imagine Tish getting so dreamy eyed over the middle aged tourist. It was odd, though. Owners of Ferraris didn’t make a habit of stopping by Waterway Museums to look at pulleys for ten minutes. Of course, Ferrari owners didn’t make a habit of visiting Gloucester, period.

“His name is James,” Tish giggled. “He’s stopping by after work to take me to dinner.”

“That’s great, Tish,” Angie smiled. “Will, is that you beeping?”

Will’s hand went to the trilling phone in his pocket and he excused himself. He was about to check the message when he remembered the tourist waiting for his tour. Will rushed past the pulley display and stopped when he had a clear view of the cartography exhibit across the room. It was empty. He quickly searched the first floor, but to no avail. For the second time that day, the tourist had disappeared.

 

Part 1, Part 2

Images courtesy of www.freefoto.comwww.grannybuttons.com