Rough Drift

"Small" writing challenges for my small writing talent. Hotel note pads are the only space allowed. Let's see if I can strip it down and tighten it up to learn something. Improving my skill of weird fiction.

69.) Digging for Dollars.



“Dig mother-fucker! You know the cops are on watch.”

Allen lay prone next to a pit and shone a red lens flashlight over the edge, looking everywhere for pretty much anything else moving. His neck hairs stood on end with a bail out button armed. He was that keyed up tonight; they were taking an unusual risk.

“I’m doing what I can, your holiness. Get down here and help.”

“Someone’s gotta watch out, tonight,” Allen said, whose nervous movements fell all over his friend in the red light, infecting his space with the same feeling. They never cleaned out corner lots in the clear. Tonight held a very heavy feeling of wrong.

“I know. No choice if we want the only fresh one this week.”

Allen remained silent knowing Will was right. At such premium prices lately, how could they not risk it? Headlights. Red light off. Allen lay flat on the ground. Allen whispered, “car,” and Will silently stood in the pit’s humid darkness.

Two oval headlights drove up to the street corner on the other side of the wrought iron fence, stopped with a blinker on, then turned and drove away. Silence followed it for half a minute then the red light flipped on. They both had learned how to preserve night vision with red light; how to work with an out at all times, ready to jet at any moment without a clue left behind. Military training put to work. Will’s shovel chunked below.

“Got it.” He said, grabbing the hand trowel to clear exposed edges.

Allen checked the time, “Switch. I’m fresh; we’ll be out in no time.”

Will knows exactly who is good at what and just like a well-rehearsed team, he pulled himself up to swing his legs out of the pit as Allen slipped down with crowbar and saw in a bag, quickly pulling up the exposed corners. A metallic twang sounded above.

“Quiet, Will,” said Allen as he bent over his work, unaware of the shovel.

The flat back bounced off the side of Allen’s skull, crushing ear cartilage. Caked mud and oxidized metal scraped his jawbone raw. Force and balance pitched Allen against the cool dirt wall where he fell into a curled up heap at the feet of the now exposed Dwayne Stephens; b:1966 – d:2021, beloved husband and father of two – or so said the obituary a few days ago.

Allen’s stared up the grave wall with fogging vision and saw Jackson, well-known asshole, holding Will’s shovel. Will’s legs hung over the edge. He never made it completely out of the grave.

“You thought you’d be the only ones after this guy tonight?” said Jackson.

Allen’s vision glazed over as he saw the shadows of Jackson’s two weakling toadies bagging up the late mister Stephens for later sale, “You were always . . . a fat snake . . .” slurred Allen as he slipped into slumber

Jackson thickly grumbled, “No honor in this, Doc. This fat snake’s payin’ his rent tonight.”

(Author’s notes) August 2016. Dallas, TX. 502 words.

Something for the approaching Halloween season! This was something I threw down during my crazy hiatus. My crazy August of new-hire training. I found myself with one day of nothing so I came up with this. Our studies were intense, all of us had to find answers in quite a bit of material given to us. We had to dig for it, and that gave me the first line and a theme developed. One guy telling another to dig. I didn’t know they were friends until I began to write. Initially, they were going to be enemies at gunpoint but it turned out fun to work with in the end. I wanted to try a twist on something as well. As far as story composition given intro, conflict, resolution, I think I checked boxes there. A resolution doesn’t have to be a win for who I introduce. The subject will come along later in a larger work that’s developing in my mind.


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