My prompt for the flash fiction challenge was this: The story starts when your protagonist swears to remain single. Another character is an unscrupulous sort who was forced to commit a crime.
A shard of sunlight bore through a crack in the dusty, crooked blinds and pierced my sleep encrusted eyes. I fumbled out from under the covers and swung my feet onto the floor. Was the razor sharp sunbeam a sign from God to get my miserable, hung over ass out of this putrid room, filled with dirty clothes and crushed beer cans? Glancing over my shoulder, I checked out the sleeping mound next to me. Tangled brown hair, high forehead, cheeks slackened by slumber and lips parted slightly blowing out small pockets of rancid breath at regular intervals. Good old, Tony. I kept trying to stay out of this guy’s bed, but somehow after a few Bud Light’s I followed him home like a stray dog every time. It’s not that he was a bad guy, or anything like that. I just hated the idea of being stuck with one person. It made me shudder and yet, here I was again. What a hot mess I could be when I really put my mind to it.
Trying to ignore the brain numbing banging going on in my head, I reached around on the floor for my jeans and tank top, both of which were inside out in a heap. Inside out. Super classy, Rose. My mother would never speak to me again if she could see this scene of her little girl heaving herself up from the brawny construction worker’s bed that had sheets on it that hadn’t been changed in so long they had a crusty feel. I tip toed on the balls of my feet to the bathroom, dodging the land mine sized piles of clothing. I could feel the grit from the floor ingraining itself into my flesh, causing me to wince when I stepped just right. Flicking the switch on in the bathroom, I sighed. Why are men so damn nasty when they live alone? Tony’s sink was full of grime and hair and big blobs of old toothpaste. A lone sour smelling towel hung on a hook next to the mirror. Vowing not to look in the shower, I snatched at the towel and flipped open the clothes hamper and then...froze. Laying at the bottom of the hamper were rows and rows of stacks of money. I knew I was what I was looking at, but all I could feel was confusion, maybe due to all the beer I’d consumed the night before, or the bowls we’d smoked when we came home, or the hours of, well you know, hot, sweaty sex. This can’t be real money. Where would Tony get this kind of cash? Why would Tony have this kind of money laying at the bottom of his dingy clothes hamper. On impulse, I grabbed a stack of the money and marched on with loud, angry footsteps back to the bedroom.
“Tony,” I said in a soft voice next to his ear. “You need to wake up.”
He mumbled and rolled over allowing his bare backside to be exposed from under the covers. I saw my opportunity and slapped his beautiful, round butt cheeks with a crisp open handed smack.
“Whaddtha faahhh...” he yelled as he jumped a clear foot off the bed, landing with a fine mist of dust particles shrouding him as they settled.
I held up the cash and glared at him. “You really need to change these sheets, Tony. They’re disgusting, and where did you get all of this money?” I yelled.
“That isn’t really mine, technically, but...well, I’m holding it for a friend,” he stammered.
“Who do you know who has access to that kind of cash? Certainly not Norman, the foreman. Or Gary, the dump truck driver. Could it be Keith, the crane operator? Maybe Susie, the secretary with the bad teeth and peroxide hair? I know, it’s Walt, the alcoholic welder!” I was on a roll.
Narrowing his eyes, he got a pinched look on his face and decided to play the tough guy act.
“Just put it back, okay. It doesn’t concern you and why were you snooping in my shit anyway?” he spat.
“I was attempting to de-funk your revolting bathroom by sequestering that board stiff, stinky towel to a smaller space, known as the hamper that in theory has dirty clothes in it that are meant to be WASHED!” My voice had escalated in volume as I went so the end came out kind of crazy, but he got the point.
“Okay, okay, baby. I get it,” he said softening his tone and rubbed his face. “Just put it back, okay? I’m not doing anything shady, I swear.”
He said that last part with his eyes cast down, therefore convincing me that he was lying. Well, what did I care anyway. We weren’t any serious item, just casual friends that slept together now and then. He could do whatever he wanted, shady, or otherwise. Chewing my lower lip to keep my mouth shut, I returned the money to the hamper, splashed some water on my face and fluffed up my hair with both hands. I looked like a fright, with puffy, bloodshot eyes accented by dark circles. Sunglasses would help a little, but I still had “girl who made a lot of bad decisions last night” written all over me.
“Alright, Tony I’m leaving now. Good luck with that pile of money and don’t spend it all in one place,” I called over my shoulder as I headed toward the front door. The door opened, seemingly all by itself, but then a large figure holding a gun appeared in the doorway. The man was one of those freakishly giant people. He looked at me with beady eyes that were so cold, I froze in my tracks, my mouth open in an O.
“Where is that slimy, little dirtbag,” the beast bellowed at me.
I made a vague sweeping motion toward the bedroom with my arm and the beast stomped past me.
“Tony!!!!!!” I yelled.