Written as part of a daily flash fiction competition.
|The worst thing about the backshift, though John as he stared down the barrel of the gun, was that it brought out the crazies. The man brandishing the pistol stank of booze, John could smell it off of his breath even here. It would be one thing if the man was here to rob him, that would still be fairly terrifying but John had been through that a few times, you didn't work this late at a shop in this part of town and not have that occur on occasion but this one wasn't here for money, he was here for John
It had been little more than an hour before whn the man first entered, well drunkenly stumbled into, the shop. He had been slurring his speech, and stumbled into the magazine rack. He knocked it over before heading over to the hot dog machine, where the heated metal rollers slowly and gently turned day-old hotdogs slowly throughout the day. The man had tried to reach around the glass, burning his fingers in the process of picking up a hotdog, which having no bun to hold it in, was quickly dropped to the floor.
The man had turned to John, as indignant as he was inebeiated, "Hey, I wan't a refund. These dogs are too hot."
Brushing it off John replied " Your not getting a refund, you didnt pay. Also you just threw that hot dog on the floor and while you probably did whoever was going ro actually buy it a favor, I have to ask you to leave."
John sighed, why me he thought " I asked you to leave, come back when you sober up and are willing to pay for hot dogs instead of play with them." He had liked that bit, he'd thought it clever.
The man had felt different "Punk kid," he said as he shuffled towards the door, " You haven't heard the last of this!" he shouted as he left.
John had assumed he had gone home to sober up and fall asleep. Apparently he'd gone home to get what he needed to "settle the score".
"Not so mouthy now are you?" the man said, shaking the pistol at John accusingly. He suddenly looked irritated, raised his free hand to his mouth, breathed hard on the palm and then sniffed. He scrunched his face in displeasure and asked, "Do you guys carry breath mints here?"
The surrealness of the situation caused John to hesitate for a moment. Pointing slowly he said "Yeah, totally, down that aisle there top left."
The gunman turned and, still fairly drunk, failed to negotiate the turn. About a half dozen energy drinks hit the floor, one of which opened slightly, expelling its contents with a thin pressurized spray. The drunk tried to make his way down the aisle again, this time stepping on one of the now moisture slick cans. His feet went out from under him and the gun went off, shooting into the ceiling tiles as his head and back struck the floor hard. John ducked behind the counter.
A few minutes later, after the gunman showed no signs of moving and even began to snore, John carefully made his way across the counter and picked up the gun by the barrel. As he picked up the phone to call the police, John resolved to begin printing off copies of his resume as soon as he got home