Friday, December 18, 2009

One Up

Two men lock stares across a worn table; both of their faces mottled with stubble and sweat, one wearing a green Pioneer cap. A buck knife sticks from the pocked table top. The crowd circling them, most with sewn-on name tags, grease stains, and breath to kill Satan, press closer to the cone of light offered by a single naked bulb above the table.

"What you got now, Jeb?" The man in the Pioneer hat says.

Jeb let's his left hand drop below the table. His mouth curls open. "Jus' this."

He pulls the tin snips from beneath the table and drops them with a clatter. The knife falls over, tumbles from the wooden surface, and rattles on the floor. Voices rise from the crowd. Bets are exchanged.

Pioneer hat swallows hard, opens the snips, and slides a finger through the blades. His eyes are closed when he presses down, using the table top for leverage with his free hand. He doesn't see the blood spurt across the table, but he hears the crunch as the snips break through the bone. He yanks the bloodied hand away and thrusts it in his lap, his face swollen and red as a boiled beet.

The crowd hoots and claps until Pioneer hat raises his other hand.

"My...turn," he mutters.

Jeb shifts in his chair. The wooden slats of the floor creak.

Pioneer hat points to his mouth and leans forward into the light. For the first time, the crowd gets a good look at his teeth, how sharp and crooked they are like the maw of a shark. Jeb raises a shaking finger, pushing across the table toward the other man's mouth...

12 comments:

Alan W. Davidson said...

An excellent, descriptive piece. You could almost smell the room. Loved it, Aaron.

Jamie Eyberg said...

Ouch.

K.C. Shaw said...

Yikes! Nice and gruesome! :)

Aaron Polson said...

Alan - I almost needed some air freshener after writing it.

Jamie - I hate to think where they took it next.

K.C. - Sometimes, you have to go for the gore.

Cate Gardner said...

Very gruesome. In a good, descriptive way of course.

Jeremy D Brooks said...

Is that the same beast who was in bed with Jamie's flash MC from this morning?

Hey, I just got an idea...we get as many writers with blogs as we can to write an unrelated flash story with a common character and post to their website in the same week (some protag getting beaten up at every turn, or maybe a common monster roaming between storylines, etc). One person holds the master list of who all is participating. Then we have a scavenger hunt to see if readers can find all of the blogs with that character. It would probably only work if we have at least seven or eight storytellers at least.

First three or five or whatever people to email with all participating blogs wins...something.

Heck, I'll kitty up a paperback from Amazon or my collection if anyone wants to play.

Natalie L. Sin said...

I'm never going to be able to eat finger sandwiches again : )

katey said...

Hahaha, oh nice! I hate to think where they took it next, too.

Though I will say that where I'm from, we wear Carhartt hats.

Aaron Polson said...

Cate - I was in a decidedly gruesome mood.

Jeremy - I think that's a splendid idea. Maybe after the holidays?

Natalie - Yeah, I'm cutting back on peopel, too.

Katey - Pioneer was kind of a throw-back. Carhartt is king right now.

Danielle Ferries said...

I felt that.

Aaron Polson said...

Danielle - Good. (I think?)

Danielle Ferries said...

Definitely!