Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Flash Fiction Contest: "The Souvenir" by Colleen Tompkins

"Help!" Martha screamed.

Hector reeled from the impact, a one-two sucker punch to his gut.

Threats in German, but robbery needed no translation.

"Martha, shut up!" Hysterics only made things worse. He felt the knife tip scrape his ribs, catching on his cotton shirt.

What a disaster: the turburlent flight over, the train to Munich and now this. Stupid glockenspiel. They had wandered away from the oversized cuckoo clock and its jousting knights looking for something cheaper than the overpriced cafe on the Marienplatz. He wished he'd stayed home to prune his fruit trees instead.

"Hector, do what he says!" Martha clutched her waist, drawing attention to the money belt tucked under her overpriced, wrinkle-free travel blouse.

Hector wasn't listening. He was back at Lansky's eastside gym, Sid hanging off his left shoulder and whispering advice he hadn't heard for forty years.

Watch his eyes - he's telegraphing where he's going to hit.

No way was this jackass getting his money.

He craned his neck upwards. Even through cataracts he saw the guy aiming for his temple. Maybe - big guys always moved slower.

Hector raised his left forearm, blocked and finished with a roundhouse kick. He felt his pants ripping as he followed through.

The knife clattered to the ground as the kid gasped, a purple welt already forming on his cheek.

Martha sucked in her breath like she did whenever he did something wrong.

But something happened: his opponent turned and ran.

Hector picked up the knife, ignorning the arthritis spiking through each vertebrae as he straightened.

"Souvenir?" It hadn't cost him a dime.

Martha's eyes glistened and the corners of her mouth curled ever so slightly. Hector took her hand and squeezed it as they walked back to the Glockenspiel cafe. Europe wasn't so bad after all.



Colleen Tompkins lives and writes in Vancouver. She is currently working on a thriller novel, Exit Strategy.

1 comment:

Brian said...

That was a really good story. I am amazed you packed so much into 300 words. Well done