Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: The Sheriff #48 (11.6)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

The time has almost come, but will everything work out all right? Will they catch Jordan and put him away where he can't harm anyone ever again? Find out in this week's chapter of The Sheriff. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

The Sheriff #48 (11.6)

The evening threatened to last forever, at least from Roy’s point of view. For the past few hours, customers had come and gone in decent, not overwhelming, numbers. From his vantage point, Roy could see them all. He had a bird’s eye view of both the front and back lots. He’d almost gone barreling into the store when he saw Jordan appear out of nowhere and swagger cockily toward the front door. He clenched his fists and forced himself to take a breath. Too soon. If he went in now, he’d most likely ruin everything. The bastard was just probably trying to rattle Dustin’s cage. If Roy found out that was the case, he’d make the little asshole pay for his behavior.

Why hadn’t he thought to get Dustin’s phone number? He could kick himself for his oversight. As soon as he could, though, he’d rectify his mistake. After only a few minutes, he watched as Jordan stormed out of the store, looking less than pleased. Dustin must have said or done something to piss him off. Good for Dustin. Roy relaxed a little when he saw Jordan get into his car and peel angrily off the lot and out of sight.

He wondered what time Denver got off. What if he worked until closing too? Would that change anything? He hadn’t thought to ask Dustin about possible co-workers, and now it was a moot point. Roy shifted in the truck seat. He knew Harlan was somewhere in the vicinity, lying low and out of sight until Roy gave him the signal. He’d have a deputy with him, too. Between the three of them, they should be more than able to handle a punk like Jordan.

Closing time was fast approaching, and still no sign that Denver intended to leave. He watched as Dustin drew the sign on the front door around to read Closed. A few minutes later, a car drew up. A tall thin man got out, approached the door and began to pound on it. Roy tensed automatically.

What the fuck? This wasn’t Jordan, and this wasn’t the back door. What was going on? Roy set his hand on the gun at his hip, growling deep in his throat as Dustin opened the door and stuck his head out. The two men exchanged a few words that Roy couldn’t hear, before Dustin closed the door once more and the stranger returned to his vehicle. But he didn’t leave. Instead, he drove around to the back of the building.

This must be it.

He watched the car as it parked near the back door and two men got out, the skinny one from earlier, and a heavier guy. Neither of them was Jordan, though. Where was he?

Denver opened the back door. Something flashed in the skinny man’s hand, just before he pushed Denver back and muscled his way inside, followed by his cohort. The door closed behind them with a bang.

Why the gun? They had a guy on the inside, so why bother with a weapon? Was that to make it look good in case someone else was with Dustin? Make the robbery appear legitimate? Roy didn’t think Jordan would be that considerate.

He wasn’t going to wait and find out, either. He eased quietly out of the truck and pulled out his phone, even as he cautiously approached the back of the store, crossing the darkened back lot. 

“Harlan, it’s me,” he said. “Two men just went inside the store from the back, and one has a gun. We need to get in there. Now.

“Copy that,” Harlan said. “On my way. Hang tight until I get there.”

Keeping to the shadows, Roy skirted the robbers’ car and drew his weapon, waiting against the silent building. As soon as they started hefting the merchandise out the door, he’d take them unawares. Harland would be there by then.

A shot rang out, breaking the stillness of the night. Without hesitation, Roy reached for the door, but it was locked. He shot into the lock and kicked it open before he burst inside.

to be continued

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: The Sheriff #47 (11.5)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Dustin is nervous about what's going to happen, and anxious to get it over with. He has to make sure his cousin isn't around, so he can't get hurt.  Jordan showing up unexpectedly has thrown him for a loop. Find out what's going on in this week's episode of The Sheriff. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!

The Sheriff #47 (11.5)

Dustin wished he’d thought to get Roy’s phone number. Then he could at least text him. That would be some measure of comfort. Once they got through this, he’d ask for the number. Assuming Roy still wanted to see him, of course. First things first. Get rid of Jordan. Put him where he couldn’t hurt anyone ever again. Then think about the future.

He thought midnight would never arrive, but of course it did. He gratefully turned the key in the lock and turned the sign to Closed. Now to make sure Denver was gone before Jordan and his trained monkeys arrived.

“You got plans?” he asked his cousin as he strolled as casually back to the counter as he could.

“Yeah. I have a date. With my bed.” Denver laughed. “I was thinking about going to Partners, but I’m too tired, I think.” He yawned widely.

“There’s always tomorrow.”

“That there is,” Denver agreed. “You got anything going on? Or are you coming back to the apartment and get some sleep for a change?”

“I dunno,” Dustin said vaguely. He hated to lie to his cousin, but he couldn’t exactly tell him the truth, for obvious reasons. “I’m supposed to see someone. We’ll see how that works out.”

“Oh yeah. The sexy guy.” Denver grinned. “Guess he couldn’t wait to see you, the way he was acting.”

“You could say that,” Dustin replied vaguely.

“Maybe next time you can introduce us.” Denver yawned again. He pushed a few keys on the cash register. When it opened, he removed most of the cash.

Dustin glanced nervously at the clock. “Why don’t you go on and get some sleep? I can finish up here and lock up. Not much to do tonight, is there?” Dustin didn’t work until close very often, but he figured there wasn’t much involved.

“I would, but I still gotta do the night deposit, so I can drop that off on the way home. You don’t have to wait, if you have plans.”

Shit, how long would that take? “No, I’m good.” Dustin followed Denver into the back room. “I’ll hang out with you until you’re ready.”

“Thanks, man. I appreciate the company.”

Denver flopped into a swivel chair behind the desk, and Dustin grabbed a chair on the other side. He decided not to engage in conversation that might distract his cousin. And he didn’t want to think about what was going to happen. His thoughts turned to Roy, instead, of their own volition. Remembering the feel of Roy’s hands along his body, his lips on Dustin’s...

Bam, bam, bam!

Dustin was shocked out of his reverie by the sound of someone banging on the front door.

“We’re closed, man,” Denver muttered, never looking up from counting cash.

Shit, just what he’d feared. Jordan was getting impatient because Dustin was taking longer than expected. He started to rise, throwing an apprehensive glance toward his cousin.

“They’ll go away soon, don’t worry about it,” Denver said.

“I’ll just make sure,” Dustin said. Not waiting for a response, he left the office, heading for the front door. He spied a dark silhouette which seemed to be peering into the store. As he drew closer, Dustin realized it wasn’t Jordan, as he’d expected.

He unlocked the door and poked his head out, to make sure he couldn’t be heard inside, even though he knew Denver was back in the office, far out of earshot. “Quit banging on the door, Rusty!” he snapped. “Whaddya want?”

“I want to know what the hold-up is,” Rusty snarled. “You’re supposed to let us in that back door. Remember, buddy boy? I want to make sure you’re not double crossing us or anything.”

“Denver’s almost ready to leave. Hold your horses,” Dustin retorted. “Get your ass away from here, and try not to lose what little mind you have.” Dustin closed the door between them, cutting off whatever scathing remark Rusty had been about to make. Without thinking, he flipped the other man off. Let him chew on that awhile. He hurried back to the office. Denver was zipping up a bag emblazoned with the store’s logo.

“That is?” Dustin asked.

“Yep. We had a decent night,” Denver said. “I noticed your friend didn’t buy anything. Didn’t find what he wanted?”

“Guess not,” Dustin said, adding in a burst of honesty, “He’s not really my friend. I broke up with him ‘cause he’s an asshole.”

“Really?” Denver gave him an enigmatic look. “I’m not sure he got the memo, dude.”

“He’s like that,” Dustin muttered. “He’ll get over it. You all ready to go?” He was racking his brain, trying to think of an excuse to stay behind so he could let numbnuts in, so Roy could catch him and arrest him. So far, he hadn’t thought of a thing.

“Yeah, all ready.” Denver stood, even as Dustin began to breathe again. Almost over… almost over…

At the sound of more pounding, his heart skipped a beat in surprise. This was not coming from the front door.

“What the hell? Who’s trying to get in the back door at this time of night?” Denver sounded angry.

“I’ll take care of it, you don’t have to…” Dustin might have saved his breath. Denver was already striding toward the back door and was throwing it up before Dustin could stop him.

Through the open door, Dustin saw Rusty and Lenny. They hadn’t bothered to wear masks, a fact which at first Dustin found annoying. But as the implications began to sink into his brain, he realized the only reason why they weren’t afraid of being seen.

In Rusty’s hand, a big black pistol gleamed. “Evening, guys. Sorry to interrupt your night but this here’s a stick up. Now don’t do anything stupid or I’ll shoot you both.”

Dustin’s worst nightmare had just come true.

to be continued

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: :Run Through the Jungle

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

As you may have noticed from the title of this week's tale, I have taken a brief break from my usual story because I was inspired to write something else based on one of our weekly prompts. The prompt in question was "Where you going, nature boy?" I've been watching Lost lately, inspired by my daughter Sarah, and this is the result. I hope you like it. The Sheriff will be back next week, never fear. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they've been up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Run Through the Jungle

The billboard was one of the largest Hurley had ever seen, dominating the California landscape, eclipsing even the huge letters that spelled out Hollywood.

Wait, what was going on here? And who was the woman whose face loomed larger than life? Did he know her?

The suspicious-looking sign with the glandular condition began to shimmer, the woman’s face going in and out of focus, disappearing just as recognition began to wash over Hurley. He knew he’d seen her before, and he had a feeling he liked her. But now her image had been replaced. By numbers. Very familiar numbers.

4. 8. 15. 16. 23. 42

The numbers danced across the screen with maniacal intensity, fluorescing in psychedelic hues that hurt his eyes. It wasn’t until Hurley turned to the person beside him that he realized he was seated on an airplane, not in a fast car speeding down the Pacific Coast Highway, and he knew what was going to happen… and he was powerless to stop it.

We’re going to crash, we’re going to crash, we’re going to…

Hurley sat up with a start. The sun was already a flaming orange above the horizon. Another day in paradise. And another day without Libby, the ache in his heart where she’d been reminded him.

As if he could ever forget the one woman who had actually looked at him like a man, not a fat freak. And what had he done but gone and got her killed, him and his bad luck. He should have known better.

He wasn’t sure what to do with himself. Nothing felt right. Nothing felt good. Not even the food he’d stashed in the jungle, his secret supply for when things got bad. Now eating that just made him feel guilty. Like Libby was judging him or something. Although she never would.

Reaching for the bottle of water he kept beside his bed, he took a drink, rising heavily to his feet. The jungle beckoned to him. He decided to heed its siren call.

It wasn’t until he woke for a second time that he realized one dream had become another, and he wasn’t on the beach, in his makeshift hut. He was in the jungle, where he’d spent the night, on his way back to let the others know what had happened.

Oh God, they had them. The Others. And that Henry guy, the one they’d kept down in the Hatch, was their leader. They had Jack and Kate and Sawyer, and Hurley had no clue what was going to happen to them. They’d warned him not to ever step foot on that side of the island ever again, and Hurley believed they meant to hurt him if he did.

Gotta get back, get back… warm them.

Particularly Locke. Locke would know what to do, he always did. Hurley doubted that man knew the meaning of insecure, had never felt less than confident. He wished he could be more like Locke.

What was that?

A horrible sound, like something crashing through the jungle. Hurley’s mind instantly thought polar bear, and he felt his stomach clench in horror. God, don’t let him lose it, not here or now.

Hurley cast desperate eyes about him, searching for a place to hide. But before he could make a move in any direction, a strange figure burst into view. Too much view, to be honest. The man was buck naked.

Hurley quickly averted his eyes, even as he recognized Desmond. The previous inhabitant of the hatch. “Where you going, Nature Boy?” he quipped.

“Well, brother, I’m not sure, to be honest,” Desmond responded.

Hurley dared a glance and just as quickly looked away. “Dude, where are your… clothes?”

“Burned off,” Desmond responded. Did that man ever sound anything less than chipper?

“What happened?” Hurley asked in spite of himself.

“The hatch, it imploded.” Desmond made a sound that was undoubtedly meant to represent an explosion, and when Hurley turned his startled gaze toward the naked man, Desmond’s hands were outflung, then quickly drew inward.

Right. Implosion. Not explosion.

“Glad you’re back, brother,” Desmond continued. “Things going on. Happening. Jack behind you?”

Jack. That brought Hurley back to the seriousness of the situation.

“No, dude. They have him. Him and Kate and Sawyer.” The words tumbled out in a rush. “I have to tell the rest. The Others have them. And they said never go to that side of the island again. Or else.”

“You have to tell everyone, brother. I’ll come with you. Can you spare me some clothing?”

Anything just to keep from having to look at all that… nakedness.

“Sure, if you don’t mind tye-dye,” Hurley muttered. He quickly shed his shirt and tossed it to Desmond, who pulled it on. It reached almost to his knees, but at least his bits were covered.

“Let’s go,” Hurley said, already moving in the direction of camp. No time to waste, no time to lose. Even now, they could be… He didn’t dare complete the thought.

Someday, he swore to himself, those numbers would be the death of them all.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: The Sheriff #46 (11.4)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

The evening of the big event has arrived, and Roy has dropped Dustin off at work. If all goes well, they should be able to catch Jordan in the act and put him away for a long time. The question is - will all go well? See what's happening in this week's chapter of The Sheriff. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale!  Enjoy!

The Sheriff #46 (11.4)

The evening both crawled and passed too quickly, although Dustin had no idea how that worked. Probably just his nerves acting up, skewing everything. He was grateful for Denver’s company. Apparently Kenny had called in sick at the last minute and told Denver to take his place. He’d rather face this ordeal with his cousin by his side than Kenny any day.
Business was relatively slow, which didn’t help with the passage of time. Dustin volunteered to restock the shelves, and Denver said he’d watch the register.  Heading into the backroom, he thought it seemed fuller than before. “Did we get a delivery today?” he asked, poking his head out.

“Yeah, looks like it. Still feel like stocking?”

“Sure, no problem.” Dustin couldn’t help thinking the extra supplies would make Jordan pleased. Except, of course, he wasn’t going to get his hands on any of it. Not with Roy Landry on the case. Just thinking about the sheriff brought a smile to his lips, and he was humming to himself as he carried boxes onto the show room floor.

“Someone’s pretty happy,” Denver commented. No one was in the store at the moment, other than them, making conversation easier.

“Maybe,” Dustin said mysteriously, raising his voice to be heard from the aisle he stood in. “Anything wrong with a guy being happy?”

“Course not, glad to see it,” Denver replied. “And I think I have a good idea why.”

Dustin tried not to snort. Denver couldn’t possibly know about him and Roy. No way. Let him think what he wanted. “Why’s that, then?”

“Cause I see him walking across the parking lot now,” came the surprise answer.

Really? Uneasiness crawled along Dustin’s spine. Why would Roy be coming into the store? That wasn’t part of the plan. Had something gone wrong?

He finished racking packages of cables, then walked to the end of the aisle, trying to appear nonchalant, his heart hammering in his chest as he glanced toward the door. The bell chimed as the man walked in, and Dustin had to work not to let his jaw drop to the floor. That was not Roy Landry entering the building, it was fucking Jordan. What the hell?

Jordan glanced quickly around, spotted Dustin, and made a beeline toward him, plastering one of his winning smiles on his face. “Hello, sexy. I was hoping you were working tonight.”

Dustin fought against the bile that threatened to rise at the sound of Jordan’s voice.  Don’t fuck this up, just go along with what he says. Knowing Roy was somewhere close at hand and probably seeing everything helped calm his nerves. He could do this. He would do whatever it took to get rid of Jordan and prove himself worth of being with Roy.

“I’m right here,” he said, an equally false smile flitting across his face. “Were you looking for something special?”

“Other than you?” Jordan laughed. “Yeah, I wanted to see if you had a copy of a new video game. I’ve been hearing a lot about it, you know, gotta put it to the test and see if it lives up to the hype.”

“I think I know which one you mean, I just put some out.” Dustin walked ahead of Jordan to the aisle where the video games were located, out of sight of the front register. He gestured toward the shelves. Jordan ignored his motion.

“Whatever. I’ll just help myself to a copy later,” he said dropping his voice. “Just checking up on you. Not that I don’t trust you, but I don’t trust you, after last time I was in here.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about and I don’t care,” Dustin said.

“You just better make sure there are no complications,” Jordan fairly snarled. “Or you’ll be sorry?”

“What kind of complications?” Dustin struggled to keep his voice level. He didn’t want Jordan to think he’d upset him.

“Like your cousin hanging around or something. You make sure he’s out of here before I come back. Got it?”

Dustin nodded. Hopefully, Denver was headed to Partners after work and wouldn’t stick around. He wanted to keep his cousin out of this as much as possible. He glanced up from where he’d been staring at the floor to find Jordan regarding him with narrowed eyes.   “What?” Dustin asked, putting as much innocence into his voice as he could.

“I dunno. Something feels off,” Jordan murmured.

“You mean because I’m not falling at your feet anymore?” Dustin retorted.

Jordan fairly smirked. “That I don’t care about. Guys like you are easy to find. A cheap piece of ass, nothing more. If I still wanted you, I’d make you want me too, trust me.”

Dustin didn’t trust him, not as far as he could throw him, which wasn’t far. But he didn’t want to get into a pissing contest with the asshole either.

“After tonight, I don’t want to ever see you again. Find yourself another playmate.” Dustin was surprised at his own nerve.

“We’re through when I say we are.” Jordan grabbed Dustin by the arms and pulled him close, then pressed their lips together.

Dustin’s first instinct was to push Jordan away, but that would mean calling unwanted attention to themselves. He was relieved when Jordan pulled back. Without thinking, Dustin wiped his lips with the back of his hand.

“Bitch!” Jordan hissed. “Be ready when I come back.” He spun on his heel and fairly stomped his way out of the store. Dustin thought if he could have slammed the front door, he probably would have.

He leaned back against the nearest shelf shakily. Jordan was no one to fuck with, and Dustin didn’t intend to underestimate him.

Please don’t let Roy get hurt,” he breathed a silent prayer. I think I love him.

to be continued

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Wednesday Briefs: The Sheriff #45 (11.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Things are heating up between Roy and Dustin. Looks like they're out in the open now with Lee and Marshall. See what's going on in this week's episode of The Sheriff. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what they're up to! Their links follow my tale!

The Sheriff #45 (11.3)

Roy released Dustin with a contented sigh. “Been wanting to do that for a while,” he admitted.

“Me too,” Dustin agreed.

“So, how you doing?” Roy asked. He opened up the fridge and pulled out two bottles of beer which he handed to Dustin before taking out two more and closing the door. “You feeling okay about tonight? I don’t want you to have any second thoughts about what we’re doing.”

“I don’t,” Dustin insisted. “I just want it to be over, that’s all.”

“I can understand that.” Still holding the beers, Roy circled his arm around Dustin so they could kiss once more, careful not to press the cold bottles against him. “I want that too, believe you me. Just so you know, Lee figured out about us already, hope you don’t mind.”

“It’s cool with me if it’s cool with you.” Dustin gave him a somewhat anxious look which Roy quickly quelled with another kiss.

“They would never judge us, trust me,” he said.

“I do,” Dustin said simply, in a voice that went straight to Roy’s heart. “I don’t know what I’d do without you, Roy. I’d be in over my head with no way out.”

“Things happen, don’t beat yourself up over it,” Roy said. “C’mon, let’s deliver these beers.”
* * * *
The trip back to Tucker Falls went by far too quickly for Dustin’s taste. He wished they could have hung out with Marshall and Lee a lot longer. Or, even better, gone back to Roy’s place and spent the rest of the day in bed. But that wasn’t happening, of course. He had to go in to work, had to face the music and get through what might just prove to be the longest night of his life.

He shifted in Roy’s front seat, pressing his leg against Roy’s in the process.  Roy laid his hand across Dustin’s leg and he relaxed into the sheriff’s warmth.

“Lunch was good,” he said, trying to not think too much about what was coming. “I thought everything went well.”

“Everything went very well,” Roy agreed. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of them. They’re my two best friends, you know?”

“I know,” Dustin said. He couldn’t help but warm at the way Roy said we. Made him almost have hope that just maybe they could… He pushed the thought aside, afraid to jinx whatever it was he was thinking.  “So, what’s the plan? You going to wait in the store ‘til close or what?”

“I can’t afford to have anyone see me,” Roy said with what sounded like regret. “Don’t want to take a chance on spooking him, you know? Let him think everything’s going as planned, and when he starts taking stuff out of the storeroom, I’ll be there and I’ll nab him. I’ll radio the sheriff and they can take him in.”

Then what? Then we’ll be done?

Dustin bit back the words that threatened to spill from his lips. If Roy and him were going to be over after he got Jordan locked up, then he didn’t want to know now.

As they approached the parking lot of the computer store, Dustin noticed Denver’s truck was there, but no sign of Kenny’s car. Wonder what that meant.  Oh well, at least he’d have his cousin to talk to. He started to scoot across the seat, but Roy’s hand on his arm held him back. He turned and found himself with a mouth full of sheriff, and for a full minute no words were exchanged. Finally, Roy released him and straightened up behind the wheel.

“I’ll be watching out for you, count on that,” he said, and Dustin thrilled at his words.

“See you later,” he managed to choke out, then hurried out of the truck and into the store.

 to be continued

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