It’s here! It’s here! My debut in Flash Fiction. I agonized all week over what to write and how to keep it short, and in the end, I just let my creative juices take the wheel. This story turned out differently than I thought it would, but I’m glad I let it flow where it wanted! This first attempt was to stay under 1000 words (I actually stayed under 900 – Woot!) but maybe next time I’ll try to stay under 700, as some other blogs suggest. Happy reading, friends!
RoachMan to the rescue!
Theodore Watley Higgins, if you wanted to get specific, but RoachMan on my nights on the street.
I smoothed clammy hands over my homemade costume then swished my charcoal cape that had once been a curtain in my basement. My mom still had no clue it was gone.
My friends would make fun of my crime fighter persona if I ever told them. Luckily, I haven’t. It’s a perfect fit with my tagline: Always in the shadows, faster than the blink of an eye. RoachMan will save you, when things go awry.
Yeah, it still might need work.
A muffled sound echoed behind the convenience store and I did a double take. What the heck should I do with the hot dog I just bought? Another cry, this one deeper than the first. The snack got tossed in the garbage bin and I adjusted my Dollar Tree mask over my eyes. My trusty white sneakers – now Sharpied black – carried me around the corner, gloved fists ready for action.
I rounded the building and… stopped cold.
It was a robbery! A real, honest to God robbery! Instinct told me to run.
No! I could do this! Time for RoachMan to skitter to life!
“Stop!” I yelled. My voice sounded tinny and naked as it bounced against the hard brick.
A single yellowed bulb hung above the back door of the store, the percussion of water dripped somewhere nearby. Two sets of eyes turned my way, although a third set stayed closed, a guy unconscious and slumped on the ground.
“Help me, please!” a young girl begged, probably a few years older than me.
Her back faced the dumpster, the other perp loomed above, hands clenched for attack.
“No, wait –“ the guy said, eyes wide.
But there would be none of that tonight. Perps always attempted to get the drop on the heroes. No way that would happen to me!
I ran forward, my right foot ready and extended in a roundhouse a little too soon. It missed my target altogether, but I made up for it with a solid front kick to his mid-section. The girl pressed tight against the dumpster, and her jaw hung in awe the same way her dark curls fell over her shoulders. She was totally impressed!
Before he could react, I threw a jab at his nose. He ducked… Oh crud …and his fist connected with my jaw. That would leave a mark. And, oh man, my mom would kill me! On a school night, too!
My head spun, lights danced across my vision, my chin like rubber. I threw another punch but missed him again.
“But, you don’t understand –“ the guy said.
Oh yes, I did.
With eyes squeezed shut, I hurled a side-kick as hard as I could.
Weird. Had I even connected with his body? But still, he fell right over, out cold just like his partner. The girl stood close, her chest heaved with quick breaths. She must’ve been afraid for my life as I fought valiantly for hers.
She pushed a curl from her face, an angry red cut across her knuckles, a faint mist of sweat that sprinkled her forehead. Had they hurt her? I was gonna –
“How can I ever thank you?” Her voice was gentle, captured by rosy lips.
Heat crept across my chest, and my muscles still buzzed from the adrenaline of the fight. I had a few ideas of how she could thank me. My friends would never believe I got a date!
“I-I… just doing my duty, ma’am –“
“Well, I can’t thank you enough,” she said before I could suggest a few ways of repayment. “But I’m running late.” She knelt to the guy on the ground, who moaned and twisted his head just an inch. “I’ll grab what these two took from me and be on my way.”
Wait, she was leaving? I opened my mouth but nothing came out.
“It was really kind of you, with all you did and everything.” She pulled a wallet from the guy’s pocket, slipped it in her jeans. “Maybe I’ll see you around sometime and we can grab some coffee?”
She was at the other body, the guy who was still knocked out.
“What’s your name, anyway?” she said.
“Theo – uh… RoachMan.” My hands found my hips and I attempted to puff out my chest, but something wasn’t right.
Why did she pocket his wallet, too?
“Well, I’ll be on my way. Glad to have met you, RoachMan.” She gave me a wink and disappeared into the shadows along the wall.
The second guy opened his eyes. With a growl and a wince he sat up. “Man, why’d you do that? That crazy chic just robbed us.”
Shoulders slumped, I yanked off my mask and shuffled away. Fantastic. Maybe I’d get another hot dog.
At the end of the alley, tires screeched, a scream drifted from a few blocks away. My head snapped up, a tug at the corner of my mouth as my heart pounded. Sounded like someone needed help.
RoachMan to the rescue!
© Laura L. Zimmerman 2016