12 March 2010

"Trade" #Fridayflash




Photo credit: cohdra from morguefile.com

I count the till we'd turned over. Jimmy sits and watches tv. Sweat rolls thick and uninvited from my temple down my cheek like tears. Jimmy laughs at something said on tv. He has a funny laugh. I start over. I could take my ten-grand and make a clean break from him. My eyes cut to the back of his head. The blued steel tempts my fingers. Jimmy takes a drink. I count another bill.

“Louder,” he says and lights a cigarette.

“Ten thousand, like we agreed,” I say.

“Good boy.”

Ever since Mom died, Jimmy's been taking care of me. Teaching me a trade, but it's obvious I don't have the guts to stick it out in a life of crime. Maybe I'd get caught, maybe not. I could get taken in somewhere, anywhere but with him, because after dark, those scary ladies come. They growl and moan like weird cats. They have red nails and mouths and pretend to like Jimmy.

He's snoring. Finally. I don't think he ever put his cigarette out.

I slip the neat stack of bills he'd promised me into my backpack. Then I take his too.

For once, I don't let the screen door slam as I leave.

42 comments:

Tony Noland said...

This really puts the flash in flash fiction. So much is left unsaid, unknown. What happened to the parents? Where did he money come from? How old are they?

*flash*

You get one quick look at them, and that's it. Enough to see complexity, not enough to get it all.

Great piece, Carrie.

Laura Eno said...

Love the word choices and the setting you painted.
"The blued steel tempts my fingers." Awesome!

mazzz_in_Leeds said...

What Tony said :-)
I love being left wondering like this, so many possibilities

There's a couple of past tenses that slipped in there ("I started over.", "I said")

Marisa Birns said...

Don't know if he will be safe on his own... The sentence that tells us Jimmy is taking care of him since their mom died indicates that he can't.

Really liked the beat of sentences here. And the description of the "scary" ladies.

Very good flash...the story says everything it needs to within its economy of sentences!

Laurita said...

I like the unanswered questions. Complexity in a neat little package. Nice.

Jim_Wisneski said...

This is a true piece of flash and it works.

There is nothing like a good heist story and you managed to pull it off without talking about the damn heist!

I'm totally having an internet crush on you and your writings - haha! :)

Well done.

Jim

theothersideofdeanna.wordpress.com said...

Well, for a change, I have to disagree with Melissa - I believe he not only can take care of himself, but will do a much better job of it than Jimmy was doing. He's been watching, learning what Not To Do, so he's ready.
Great piece Carrie!

Draco Torre said...

Doesn't need taking care of by Jimmy anymore.

Weezel said...

Short & Sweet! Nuff said!

Bukowski's Basement said...

Love it... Reads like a cross between "The Getaway" and some Tarantinoesque hotel room outtake. really enjoyed it.

M said...

Wonderful. I'm left wanting more and *really* wanting to know everything about this kid. Great job.

Harry said...

Short & sweet but so complete. Excellent piece Carrie!

jakobscarnival said...

So much intrigue in such a brief moment. He can take care of himself. No worries.

Scott King said...

You obviously do a nice job setting the scene and characters. You also do a great job of leaving the reader wanting more, but still manage to answer anything important.

I guess for me what stands out the most is the overall tone. The word choice and sentence flow is strong and completely complements the mood of the scene.

stina8753 said...

Really great work, as usual. I love how much you leave untold. Brilliant writing, as always. :)

Skycycler said...

Yes! Intriguing little piece here Carrie. Was it in the drink? Jimmy is so yesterday! Fantastic.
Simon.

David Masters said...

I loved the innocence and naivety coupled with an understanding of some of the darker sides of adult life. The narrator knows enough about the criminal world to know it's not for him, is mature enough to leave, cunning enough to take all the money he can, but beautifully innocent in the face of the scary growling ladies.

shannon said...

Poor kid, Jimmy is going to beat the pulp out of him. He seems too young to understand that. Or maybe the cigarette will start a fire and he'll be free. :-) Great piece of flash!

Jen Brubacher said...

Ha! I like this kid.

Cathy Olliffe said...

He should have shot him.
Big Bro will be after Little Bro with his own pistol packed, I'm sure of it.
But he did the right thing, Little Bro did. I'm sure when Big Bro catches up with him he will take that into consideration.
Like all the others said, great story, as per!

PJ said...

This leaves a lot to the imagination - maybe a bit too much - but there is a lot packed into a small space, too. I like your protagonist and hope he makes it!

Anne Tyler Lord said...

Very intriguing - I agree with the others about this being the quintessential example of great flash! So well paced, and so much left to ponder, imagine and create in my own mind.

Great pieces of character for Jimmy!

Kim Batchelor said...

My favorite is in the opening paragraph: "Sweat rolls thick and uninvited from my temple down my cheek like tears." Nice image. And what not letting the door slam conveys.

Good work, Carrie.

Michelle said...

Great neat flash.
I reckon he'll need someone else to take care of him... is he capable??

Sulci Collective said...

A pivotal moment in two lives that you cannot help but imagine will change both of them forever. How will it work out, will he come after her? Is blood thicker than water, or will it just flow?

Intriguing stuff

marc nash

antisocialbutterflie said...

I loved it. I wondered about the kid's choice to take his brother's money too. It felt like he could have made the clean break if had only taken his share. It seems like he is ensuring that his brother will follow him.

I may be reading too much into it.

Lovely job.

antisocialbutterflie said...

I love it. It made me wonder though, it seems like the kid could have made a clean break if he had only taken his cut. He was ensuring that his brother would come after him.

Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but that is what good writing does right?

Lovely piece.

Leah said...

Wow! Another flash story where the characters are vivid and jump off the screen for me. (I'm impressed.) I sure hope Jimmy doesn't come after him though.

Eric J. Krause said...

The last line proves he'll be okay on his own. Thought I'm guessing Jimmy won't be content letting him take off in the night like that. Not with both shares...

Great story!

Randilin said...

Nice story, I'd love to learn what happens next. Best line was "The blued steel tempts my fingers." the visual was great.

Jared said...

I like that name. Jimmy. Very Italian, works well for this type of story. Whatamatta you. You think Jimmy's a chump? Jimmy don't take no chump ass change from no chump like you.

~Tim said...

Very well-constructed and I like the variety of viewpoints I see in your comments. I also like the description of the scary ladies.

Amy J Taylor said...

I love to get just enough to make up my own mind on a story! This is great!

Pamila Payne said...

Others have said this, but it's really true, you put so much story in between the lines with this one. Also, I had empathy for both of the characters, and not just because I'm a sucker for damaged goods. Very nice flash.

estrella05azul said...

Hope he'll be able to take care of himself :)
I liked the scary ladies description, you've nailed it. Great flash as always! :)

ganymeder said...

Nice work. I was a little confused by the tense at the beginning, but the story had great pace. Short sentences really did the trick. I liked this.

pegjet said...

Concise and quick. Great story.

a.m.harte said...

I quite liked this but I can't help but wonder how Jimmy will react when he wakes up!

ERIN COLE said...

Actually, I think he can stick it out in a life of crime...he's just afraid to admit it - great flash writing.

windspiritgirl said...

Great flash. Love that it's a glimpse--and just a glimpse--into a very complex situation in the lives of two people. I didn't have a clue he was a kid in the first paragraph or so--the realization (and switch in frame of reference) was a "wow!"

Cascade Lily said...

Great voice in this one Carrie. Blued steel hit the right note too.

Christian Bell said...

Full of intrigue and with just the right set of details. Well told, and well done!