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.
While researching his roots, Char is annoyed at Tyrone's unexpected appearance at the library. But not as annoyed as when he sees a policeman who is heading right toward them! See what's going on in this week's chapter of An Unholy Alliance. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!An Unholy Alliance #13 (4.1)
Stay calm, stay calm.
I forced myself to quell the rapid beating of my heart. Such wild fluctuations would do me no good and could, in fact, be quite detrimental to my well-being. I kept telling myself I had no real reason to panic. Just because Tyrone said it, didn’t make it so. This could be a mere coincidence. A coincidence of the highest order, I had to admit, but nonetheless a possibility. Still, I had to be prepared for the worst.
“Just a county mounty,” Tyrone continued in a voice barely above a whisper, probably assuming that I could easily hear him while the approaching officer of the law could not. “Probably nothing to do with us. Don’t worry, it’ll be all right.”
What reason did I have to believe him? And what did he mean by us? There was no us.
I stiffened in my seat, my fingers quietly digging into the flimsy material of the chair, threatening its integrity. A fight or flight instinct was rapidly gaining ground within me. Fighting was entirely out of the question since I knew, fully blooded as I was, I could do some serious damage. My concern was for Casey. Also for the library and my access to it. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do something like that to her. They’d been nothing but nice to me and didn’t deserve to have their hard work destroyed so cavalierly just to save myself.
On the other hand, I had no intention of submitting to this newcomer’s so-called authority either.
As the man drew closer, I took the opportunity to observe him more carefully. In particular, the weapon in its holster at his hip, which his hand seemed to hover over like an overprotective parent. While I didn’t fear being shot, I didn’t relish it either, and I had no desire to shed any of my hard-earned blood, not for the likes of him. He appeared to be maybe about forty, had a slight paunch and a thinning hairline. Nothing that overtly labeled him as racist. Yet I could see the suspicious look in his eyes when he glanced at me, and not for a moment did I believe my skin color had nothing to do with the unease I saw there. Was he afraid of me, as a black man in a redneck community, or was he afraid of becoming entangled in a racial issue he wasn’t sure how to deal with. Either way, I had no intention of making the situation easy for him.
Perhaps we could take this fight outside…
“Hey there!” Tyrone interrupted my internal reverie. He’d risen from his seat, usual grin affixed to his face. But I sensed a deeper purpose behind the façade. Something I’d never felt from him before in our heretofore short acquaintance. Whatever it was, his tactic seemed to have worked, as the policeman shifted his attention from me to Tyrone.
“Afternoon, sir,” he returned Tyrone’s greeting, then a few heartbeats later made a minimal nod in my direction.
“Everything all right with the library?” Tyrone continued. “No problem, is there?”
“No, sir. No problem with the library.” The man paused just short of Tyrone, feet planted apart in a way that screamed he was ready to spring into action at any moment before he blurted out what he’d intended to ask from the moment he set eyes on us. Or me, actually.
“Do you know anything about that 1986 blue Chrysler LeBaron settin’ out in the parking lot?”
“Do I know anything about the LeBaron?” Tyrone parroted the question before he turned to me, faux excitement dripping from every orifice, if you can imagine that. At the same time, he surreptitiously motioned to me to stand as well, so I reluctantly acquiesced. “Didn’t I tell you there was something wrong with that car? I told you, I did. I mean the way those kids lit out of here, like they was headin’ to a fire ‘cause they had some wienies they needed to roast.”
What did that even mean? I couldn’t help but notice that the more he spoke, the thicker his accent grew.
“I heard one of them say something like this here thing’s a piece of shit, and they could do better. You remember that, don’t you, Gordon?”
It took a moment for me to assimilate the fact that Tyrone was indeed addressing me by the fictitious name of Gordon (why Gordon?). I had to hand it to him—that was some pretty quick thinking. He’d just earned a bit of my grudging admiration for that.
The policeman eyed me somewhat suspiciously. Probably because I hadn’t spoken yet. Time to remedy that. “You did, you did, Earl (two could play that name game). I was wrong, I guess. You did say they looked a mite suspicious.” I added a hoosier drawl to my words for added authenticity. I could feel Tyrone stifle a giggle. “Looks like you was right.”
“Looks like you owe me lunch, sugar,” Tyrone added with a wink.
The policeman’s expression instantly changed from mild irritation to repugnance. No mind reader was required to know what he’d inferred from Tyrone’s words, coupled with that saucy wink. I couldn’t care less what he thought, to be honest. My own family could never decide if I was gay or straight, and I had no intention of enlightening them that I was actually ace. First, I considered it none of their business. Secondly, I was still figuring out things in that arena myself.
“How many kids?” He barely listened to Tyrone’s reply—“Two or three. Fast ‘uns, too”—before he lit out as though he was headed to the same fire.
And didn’t Tyrone seem inordinately pleased with himself? That grin just kept getting wider and wider as he turned to me, one hand held up high. What choice did I have? I reluctantly returned his high five. To give the devil his due, he had defused the situation rather handily.
to be continued
Now visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them!Julie Lynn Hayes