100 Word Song – Criminal

The heavy doors of the freight elevator slid open with a bang loud enough that everyone in Ralphie’s apartment stopped talking and turned, almost as one, glancing expectantly in the direction of his front door. Footsteps echoed in the hallway as they approached. There was a firm knock. Once, twice. Then silence.

Max stood closest to the door but hesitated to open it. He turned his head, seeking Ralphie and some sign of direction, maybe a nod or even a word but Ralphie, wide-eyed, simply shrugged. Max sighed. The knock came again, more earnestly.

“Chicago PD,” said a clipped voice.

This weeks 100 Word Song is Fiona Apple’s “Criminal.” Be sure to head over to Lance’s blog to read all the submissions and check out the inspiration for this week’s selection. 

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Rainy Day Weirdness

This passage was inspired by this week’s Red Writing Hood Prompt – Rain.

The pouring, driving rain continued to come down in sheets, obscuring the gunman’s departure and pretty much everything else at the intersection. Dozens of passersby bolted for the relative dryness provided by various awnings and storefronts nearby. Max crouched behind the news stand, getting drenched, his heart beating like a freight train in his chest. He’d come this close to getting a gaping hole punched through it and he was still juiced up from adrenaline.

No one said a word to him as the downpour subsided and the deluge dried up, as if someone had turned off a faucet in the sky. Foot traffic resumed and various sneakers, boots, and high heels trod along the sidewalk where Max had fallen, trampling the mess of sandwiches and wrappers into the concrete. It was almost as if the episode hadn’t happened at all. Or maybe he’d hallucinated it?

Max stood, peeled off his sodden jacket and attempted vainly to smooth the wrinkles of his shirt. He tried to look casual. He fought the urge to shake himself like a dog as water dripped from his wet hair down his forehead and into his eyes and down the back of his neck.  He checked his phone to see how late he was and did a double take. The clock on his phone read 3:04. He distinctly remembered checking the clock on the wall inside Lucky’s when he picked up the sandwiches and seeing 3:00 exactly.

Four minutes? Was that even possible? He stuck his head back in the door of the delicatessen to check their clock again. 3:05. Max was dumbfounded. He remembered the feeling of time slowing down when he’d looked up from his seat on the ground and seen the barrel-chested man. Dropping his bag and diving behind the news stand, the shotgun blast, the sudden storm, all of those things seemed to have happened in a blink, but c’mon, there was no way they actually did. Was there?

Punching a few buttons, Max re-dialed Ralphie’s number. It barely rang once.

“Dude, what? Just get here!”

“Um, Ralphie?”

“What?! It’s been like two minutes, you said you were running late, I get it. Is it raining there? Don’t let the sandwiches get soaked.”

“I know, but…”

Ralphie hung up. Max was confused and still unsure what had happened. Shaking his head he went back inside Lucky’s. He couldn’t go to Ralphie’s without those sandwiches.

100 Word Song – Faded

This weeks 100 Word Song is “Faded” by Ben Harper. It inspired the following passage. Some of you may be familiar with the setting, which you can read about in Watch Where You’re Going! As always, be sure to stop by My Blog Can Beat Up Your Blog for more 100 Word goodness and all of Lance’s wonderful writing.

Without further warning, several things happened at once:

Max dove painfully to his left, seeking the shelter of a derelict newspaper stand.

Passersby yelled out, “Oh my God, he’s got a gun!” and began fleeing from Lucky’s storefront.

A shotgun muzzle flared, its blast ringing out. The tall, barrel chested man firing it grimaced at the recoil.

Where Max had fallen, the bag of sandwiches exploded in a mist of salami, bread and mustard.

Rain erupted from the sky, falling instantly in sheets, dropping visibility to almost zero,

and the barrel chested man stalked away, fading into the stormy afternoon.

Meanwhile, at Ralphie’s…

Ralphie had known better than to rely on Max showing up on time, that just didn’t happen. Ever. It was about 10 minutes to kickoff and the gang was milling about in the living room, mostly, chatting, drinking, some standing, some sitting. Mumford & Son’s played quietly in the background from the stereo in the corner. Increasingly, folks were drifting towards the kitchen. The bar splitting the two spaces was covered with chips and dips, and those awesomely soft pretzels from the hawker down on the corner. There was food to eat, but he had promised the crowd Lucky’s amazing sandwiches, and while nobody was grumbling too loudly, yet, he knew it was only a matter of time. And time was running out.

“I’ve got to come up with something to stall them,” Ralphie said to himself, almost out loud.

“Everyone, hey, listen up!” Ralphie stood up on a chair, his hands up in the air. “I forgot to bust out the scoring bracket! A dollar a square, who’s in? Somebody come over here and help me with this whiteboard.’

As two of the fellas moved to help, there was a smattering of mutters from the living room.

“Hey man, Ralphie, you said there’d be Lucky’s man, I didn’t eat before I came over ’cause of that, what’s the deal?

“Where the Hell is Max? I thought you said he was right down the street?”

“When’s he gettin’ here with Lucky’s? Hope that chump didn’t stop to eat ’em on the way!”

Their friends laughed, if a bit uncomfortably. This was a big deal with this crew, and the idea of there being no sandwiches was not a pleasant thought.

“Uh, yeah, he said he was… I mean, I’m sure he’s right around… Max is totally almost here, I just got a text from him, yeah. He said, “b rt thr, half blk.”

With the white board set up and a trio of his pals busying themselves drawing up the grid for the scoring bracket, Ralphie went over and pulled the blinds aside from the huge window in the dining room. Had the sky been so grey and threatening earlier? A sudden, fixture rattling, rumble of thunder growled, seemingly from the very foundations of the building. Ralphie groaned, “Oh no…”

In a short, quick motion Ralphie yanked the shade up, revealing the entire floor to ceiling window.

The whole party had stopped in the tracks and turned as one to look out.

The sky erupted in a downpour.

 

This was written in response to the Weekly Writing Prompt over at Studio30+