This writing might stretch the concept of Write..Edit..Publish.. flash fiction prompt, IN TOO DEEP. Whew! I got the concept from reading DEADLY MESSENGERS, by Susan May. I wrote this as sort of a prologue for a short story - one of three horror/thriller stories on my resolutions/goal list for 2018. Although February is the month of romance, and by common assumption the story should involve Venus, Eros, Cupid, Aphrodite, Min, Bastet, Nuwa, Kamadeva, Freya; it does not.
Full critique acceptable as I am hoping to expand this into a thriller type short story. Click here to visit the Write..Edit..Publish web site and check out the other participants for this month's theme IN TOO DEEP, and to hank the WEP administrators Denise Covey and Yolanda Renee for inspiring my story start and structure. Regardless of whether it fits the WEP concept, I hope it captivates you as a reader.
Ok, here we go .. . . . . .
Title: LUNATIC WALKS INTO A BAR
Word Count: 960
“LUNATIC WALKS INTO A BAR” the headline read, and James tapped onto the link to bring up the video report.
He pushed the up- volume button on the back of his LG then set it on the bar to listen as he sipped an early afternoon beer.
“It was a usual Tuesday night,” the bartender told the microphone. The teletype identified the brown haired, Caucasian, lack-luster man as Ian Kirkland, owner/manager of Kirk’s Quirks, a bar and grille on South 100th Street West.
The camera panned back to show a corner street establishment, parking in the rear sign the most distinguished logo looming above a reddish neon that was nearly washed out in the blue backdrop of a stormy sky. James grunted his opinion of the air time the bar shooting would garner in the public eye given its seedy locale.
“How so,” the pretty, Barbie Doll type asked Kirkland as she flashed a smile towards the viewing audience.
James did not recognize her, so assumed she was a hungry intern the station had promoted when the other reporters refused to venture into this part of town.
Kirkland rolled his eyes skyward as the camera zoomed in, then looked directly into the camera. The average, busy viewer might have mistaken the gleam in Kirkland’s eyes as tears, but James knew it as the excitement of notoriety; even if only for this 15 minutes of fame. He'd witnessed it often.
“He was a regular,” Kirkland admitted. “Shy guy, not so good looking the Gals flocked to him. But, everyone who met him – including me – liked him. Paid cash for his beers, occasionally bought a round for the house, kept the Juke rockin’. Never went out with a Lady, but bought their drinks, treated them with respect. Sherman – ah that’s the shooter’s name,” and here the gleam dimmed and Kirkland looked nearly embarrassed to know the perp’s name. “Uhm, Sherman Hahn, yep, a regular. Well, he ordered his usual Bud Light, knocks his name on the pool line up, though its just a formality, ya know, there’s never a waiting line on a Tuesday – we only have tournaments on Thursdays and its three weeks to the first match of the season . . .”
Kirkland was silent a moment, as if pondering when the first match would happen, who the teams were. Barbie smiled her rehearsed smile, then prodded Kirkland with: “A typical Tuesday, nothing unusual . . .”
“Right,” Kirkland quipped, back on the media trac. “Around ten this Yuppie type comes in –“
“Yuppie?” The Barbie asks.
Kirkland looks a bit confused. Then he seems to recall the age he is currently living in as he strokes his politically correct chin hair. “Ya know, investor/lawyer type. All arrogance and flashing cash. Musta got lost, GPS in the Prius out of whack.” He laughs nervously.
Yuppie wasn’t a modern word, and few people outside a select 80’s culture would even recognize the term. Techies and Geeks described today's young, ambitious, techno-hybrid entrepreneurs; but James knew that whatever they called themselves now, his brother’s associates – and possibly murderers- were highly sophisticated, well informed, cautious to the point of paranoid, intelligent, influential, and financially secure. Not to mention bold, unconscionable, and connected.
“Hmm,” the Barbie prompted.
“Well,” Kirkland said as the camera zoomed in on his neon lighted face. “Dude did not belong, though we all tried to ignore the fact. Cash is King, blah blah blah. But, there was just something off about the guy, and not just his clothing or speech. And he seemed to target Sherman with every . . . comment. I don’t know how to explain it. There just seemed to be a connection between the two, though they did not seem to be in the same worlds. Hard ta explain, ‘less you was there to witness.”
James exited the feed and took a shallow drink of his beer. He would have lit a cigarette, if it was still legal to smoke in the bar, and if he had not quit years ago. He knew the rest of the story: four dead, including the Yuppie, and the shooter disappeared. Same MO as his brother's shooting.
Robin Walton, several years younger and seemingly more than a generation's difference in world philosophy, had consistently impressed James with his exhaustive connections. James loved Robin, and never missed an opportunity for a casual meeting. Days before Robin's death, he texted and invited James to a luncheon at a downtown Bistro. James eagerly accepted- the two rarely met outside of family gatherings – but they barely had opportunity to catch up as several well dressed patrons stopped by their table to say “hello” and “thanks.”
When James asked who his co-horts were, Robin shrugged and said “people I’ve upgraded security systems.”
Then Robin was killed in an upscale bar by a regular patron. The investigators labeled the shooting random; Robin a victim of stranger psychosis. James’ investigation turned up two previous such shootings in a six month period. This made four. No one would listen to him: the Yuppie/Techie was the key to all these murders. Lunatic walks into a bar, and for no discernible reason kills a random number of usual patrons, and one unknown stranger that happens to be a Silicon Valley Yuppie.
Robin’s cell phone bleeped with a text. “Dude; thought you was dead.”
James stared at the message, unsure how to respond. He never really understood his brother, couldn't pretend to speak the same language. How was he to fit in Robin's world? But who else would solve Robin's murder? Not the police obviously. KCVN was turning deaf ear, had even fired James for asking too many questions. The text on his brother's phone had to lead somewhere.
He just needed a way in. One final step off the deep end.
Captivating? Engaging? Boring? Meet the IN TOO DEEP criteria? Toss it or write on?
Your feedback matters in the comments. Oh and Yes, I did accidentally publish a version of this two weeks ago.