Time For Some Flash Fiction

I’m overdue for some creative writing on this blog. I know that it is something that is appreciated by the readers, and it’s just been a while since I had anything that merited posting. Short-form fiction is tough: it’s got to hit the mark quickly. I’ve been working on books and audio books for the last few years and have been remiss in providing this for you.

If you are of a mind, please click on the links to the right, buy a book or two of mine, or download and listen to some of the audio books I’ve created for Mr. Michael DiMercurio. If you’re paying close attention to what I’m writing, the first five people who put a comment in asking for free downloads might just get the mother load, as I’ve got 150 free downloads to burn through this month. 

And, without further ado:

JERRY’S STORY

Two more passengers got on at the Civic Center, both presenting their passes to the bus driver and then giving Jerry a very wide berth as they walked past him to the rear of the bus. Nobody had dared to sit in the dozen seats surrounding him, so fierce were his body odor and scowl. 

Inside, Jerry was having a conversation with Mark, and occasionally it slipped past his lips. Mark had been hanging out inside Jerry’s head for the past twenty years, over half of his life. Mark was not a good influence on Jerry, but without a doubt, he was the largest factor in Jerry’s life since his father had died in 2007. 

Today the two of them were discussing the merits of “The Plan.” Having been over it several hundred times in the past week, neither was in opposition to the other’s desires, but there were always a few things to iron out. 

The primary point still in need of resolution was number and timing. Mark, who had usually advocated a more conservative approach to such things, was instead pushing for a more graphic, demonstrative effort to correct things. Jerry, usually the radical, was not sure that he could increase the number and still make his plan work as he wanted. 

From his seat near the front of the bus, Jerry made sure that he could see at least three of the camera’s that the transit commission had installed. Anything less than a complete visual record would be a failure. Mark’s only concern was that the video was streaming back to the bus garage where it would be recorded on their servers. Both of them had eyed the system when they got on board, and had confirmed that the link light on the driver’s control panel, near the window and above her seat, was a solid green with a flashing green light next to it on the 5G connection. No matter what else happened, it would survive.

The bus rolled down the  road and crossed the intersection, heading for the interstate. It was a short 12 minute drive to Minneapolis, and once the bus hit I-94, it was non-stop until they got off downtown.

Mark, who had been quietly coaching Jerry in his demeanor, now amped up his call to action. Screaming in Jerry’s brain, he demanded that they “Get this thing done, NOW!”

Jerry, who had largely enjoyed Mark’s company over the years, was angry that he was taking control of the day’s plans, and leaving Jerry as his errand-boy. Well, enough of that nonsense.

Jerry stood up and pulled the first pin before hurling the grenade to the very back of the bus. The second grenade was already in the air and landing in the articulated section that joined the two bus halves together, as he pulled the last two grenades from his pockets, pulled the pins, and dropped them to either side. Looking right in the camera near the driver, he shouted “Allahu Akhbar.” He didn’t know what it meant, but Mark had said it would make things more fun.

The express bus never even slowed down, as the driver merely heard shouting before the back area bulged out, throwing flames, dismembered passengers, and bits of glass and metal into the cars in close proximity. She registered the explosion just as the articulation point disintegrated, causing the back to slam to the left, thrusting the semi-truck beside the bus into the center median. Carrying a heavy load of pipe, the driver over-corrected and climbed up the short barrier, flipping on it’s side into oncoming traffic. 

The final two grenades fragmented the front of the bus, and it skittered to the right, smashing through two lanes of traffic before jamming the flaming wreckage under a bridge at Lexington Avenue. 

Nobody survived the incident, a total of 47 people killed on the bus, 13 on the other side of the freeway from the pipe truck, and over 80 people injured in the collisions resulting from the explosions. 

ATF agents found another 7 grenades at the apartment Jerry had shared with his father. The markings on the case indicated they’d been manufactured in 1969, and been shipped to Vietnam. Jerry’s father had been a supply sergeant in an airborne unit, and taken them home as some kind of souvenirs. 

Jerry, who was long since gone by the time the agents had traced the grenades, was still living in the first moments the grenades had torn his flesh from his body, the exquisite pain never-ending. And, in fact, it would indeed never end in the very small corner of Hell that he was sharing with his friend Mark for the rest of eternity.

Mark, however, was in charge of the place and didn’t really care about Jerry’s discomfort. He had other things to do as he moved to and fro.

Comments

Time For Some Flash Fiction — 2 Comments

  1. It gives me shivers.

    Back in 1987, I was a graduate student at UW-Milwaukee. My home was on the western edge of Milwaukee County, so I commuted to and from school by bus. This required a transfer at the downtown Milwaukee McDonald’s.

    One class ran until 9:00 PM. The buses decreased the frequency of their runs after 9:15, so if the class ran even five minutes long, which it often did, I would be waiting at the transfer point in downtown Milwaukee at 11:00 PM. Oh, yes, that bus also served the Milwaukee Count medical center which also housed the psychiatric hospital.

    So, one night, I board the bus at 11:00. It’s about 1/4 full, with all the passengers clustered up front. So, I took my seat and began to study my notes.A few blocks down a man gets on and sits behind me. Block by block, the passengers disembark until he and I are the only passengers left.

    He begins to mutter, but at first, I don’t really hear the words…”I don’t like blondes. I really don’t like fat blondes. I should stick a knife into fat blondes. It would be fun.”…over and over again.

    Just at the point where I’m about to go sit behind the driver, we pull into the Medical Center grounds, and the guy gets off the bus.

    The next mile to my stop is a peaceful ride.