Last February, Patti Abbott, Gerald So and Mystery Dawg hosted a Flash Fiction Blog Challenge with a Love/Crime theme. About twenty writers participated with some good results.
They’re doing it again and this time I’m chipping in.
The theme is “Shifting Gears” and all of the stories have to incorporate the following sentence into a flash story of around 750 words:
“With gas prices rising, their plans had to change.”
All of the stories will be posted on June 15.
To see a list of all the stories, you can go here:
Here’s what I came up with.
Friday Night at Cluck and Jive
Billy Weston and Waylon Preston spent their days watching TV and skimming the internet for free porn. When the opportunity to earn an easy five-thousand dollars came along, they jumped at it.
All they had to do was come up with a plan.
“We need an accelerant,” Billy said, as he scrolled down a Wikipedia page. They were in Billy’s trailer, which stood next to Waylon’s trailer, which both stood in Gentle Rest, the nicest trailer park in Currie Valley.
“’A catalyst which alters a chemical bond, speeds up the chemical process, or brings organisms back to homeostasis.’”
“It’ll make the fire burn faster.”
“You’re talking ‘bout gas,” Waylon said, “We need gas to make the building burn. I knew that.”
So, the first part of their plan was to get some gas.
The problem was, with gas prices rising, their plan had to change.
“Two dollars and forty cents worth of petrol isn’t going to get it done,” Billy said, looking at their combined wealth.
“We should’ve asked for some money up front.”
“I did,” Billy said. “Carl isn’t going to have any money until he collects the insurance. When he gets his money, we get our money.”
“So we need an alternative accelerant.”
“A cost-effective alternative accelerant.”
Billy and Waylon thought on it, both of them lowering their brows and staring at the floor to help make their thoughts come faster. They’d become friends in grade school because their last names sounded alike. Their friendship endured the next fifteen years because their ways of thinking were similar.
After a moment, Waylon raised his head. “When I worked at Cluck and Jive, we had a grease fire every day.”
“You sure you know what you’re talking about? Didn’t Big Dan fire you ‘cause you didn’t know what you were doin’?”
“He fired me ‘cause he thought he was better than I was,” Waylon said. “Besides, I hated that place! I wouldn’t work there again if they paid me.”
“They did pay you.”
“You know what I mean.”
Billy considered the option. “Okay,” he said. “We’ll use grease.”
They grabbed four plastic buckets from under Billy’s trailer and walked to Cluck and Jive.
Cluck and Jive was the place in Currie Valley for fried chicken. The poultry was good and greasy, the lattice-cut fries were good and greasy, even the coleslaw and biscuits were good and greasy.
The best part, for Billy and Waylon, was that Cluck and Jive dumped all of their used fry grease into an eco-friendly, black steel, dumpster-shaped vat that sat next to the trash bins behind the restaurant. After a couple of weeks, it was carted off to a grease-rendering plant.
Billy helped Waylon climb onto the top of the grease vat where Waylon opened the trap door that lead to their treasure. The aroma that came out of the hole was both disgusting and delicious. At first, the scent reminded Billy of every wonderful meal he’d ever had at a fast food restaurant. Then, after a few whiffs, it reminded him of a pound of ground beef he’d forgotten to put in the freezer a couple of summers ago.
Waylon reached down and Billy handed him up the first bucket. Waylon dipped the bucket into the grease and then handed the full, slippery pail back to Billy. Billy handed up the next empty.
“You fellas know how much that grease is worth?”
Billy and Waylon froze, then slowly turned their heads toward the back door of Cluck and Jive. Big Dan Deeley, the manager, stood there, pointing a shotgun at them.
Billy and Waylon both shook their heads.
“Well,” Big Dan said, “It’s worth more than the two of you. Know how long you could end up in jail for stealing it?”
Billy and Waylon both shook their heads.
“Could be a year or more,” Big Dan thought for a moment. “Of course, I don’t have to call the cops. You can cut that sentence in half if you’ll do the time with me.”
The chicken suit was hot and itchy and Billy hated it. Waylon didn’t seem any happier in his similar outfit. Cars driving by honked when they saw the two fine-feathered spokesmodels.
“I’m Cluck,” Waylon said into his megaphone.
“And I’m Jive,” Billy said into his.
“And we’re the chicken you love to love,” they announced together.
“You and your damn alternative accelerant,” Billy said so that only his best friend could hear.