Tuesday, April 6, 2010

DSD Flash Challenge

By Jay Stringer

The Weddle already did a good job of introducing the challenge, and kicked it off with a great story. Click back to yesterday and read it, right now, okay?

Done?

Okay. Here's my story, and check back later in the day for others and for a round-up that gives links to other people taking part. If you've got one up on your blog, leave a link in the comments and we'll point people your way.

I think I'll return to this story over the next couple of weeks for a little 'behind the scenes' feature, showing the genesis, the original ending and the thought process behind the editing decisions. Might be fun.


The Perfect Crime

The thing about committing the perfect crime?

You need perfect criminals. And Dave just didn’t know any. Sure, he knew the guys who would try and sell him DVD’s and leather jackets down the pub on a Friday, but that didn’t seem to work.

Though, if you believed the ads at the cinema, those guys were funding terrorism.

But Dave had the perfect crime, or as close as he’d ever get, and he knew he wasn’t a criminal. Not really. He just needed some help, that’s all. Did that sound convincing? It should do, he’d practiced it enough.

It had come to him slowly. The idea itself was simple enough, but admitting that he wanted to do it was the hard part. He worked in the cashing office in the bookstore; it had been a cushy job, thirty-five hours a week, until people stopped buying books. Now he was lucky to get fifteen hours, with some really stupid shift patterns, and something needed to be done.

Just a break, one little moment when the world looked the other way. Not a lot to ask, right?

It went like this; Dave counted all the daily takings and noted it down on the spreadsheet. One of the managers or supervisors double counted it and then it was sealed in the Securitas bag for collection.

The Securitas guard would pick up twice a week and do a cash drop at the same time. Once on a Tuesday, once on a Friday. Here it got interesting. The guard would scan a barcode on the moneybag and place it in a sealed box. He didn’t count it- it wasn’t his job.

So, the way Dave saw it, who was to know if the contents of the bag changed in between the manager sealing it and the guard picking it up?

The bag would go into the central counting place, the bank, wherever, and at some point it would be opened and they’d know the money was gone. Everyone would still have done their job, nobody would get in trouble. What would happen?

Only one way to find out.

Again, perfect crime, perfect criminal, bloke down the pub.

There was Jelly, he seemed to know how things worked, but he was always looking for an angle. You couldn’t trust Jelly. And Bobby was fine, except when he got high. No, not bobby.

Just one answer. Like a bookshelf or a pot noodle, if in doubt do it yourself.

A simple plan. The best kind. Swap the bags out for new ones, weighted down with copper coins, twenty quid in one and two pence’s. Then head back out with the money, and head to a bar to meet up with friends and get loudly and publicly drunk. Even better, arrange to meet people from work. Best way to avoid suspicion, get drunk with the bastards. Sit there with the money, feeling good, feeling free.

Dave came up with an extra touch on the day, asking everyone at work if they’d seen his keys. Saying he couldn’t find them. That was going to be important.

So, eight PM. The store long closed. Dave sat in the cash office, in the dark, alone. The only sounds were the clock on the wall and the air conditioning above his head. These sounds, noises that he’d heard every day for years, suddenly seemed vitally important. They were the only thing to distract from the pounding of his heart or the blood in his ears.

He lifted the bags out of the safe and felt the weight.

Seven grand.

Seven grand.

Was it worth putting it all on the line for seven grand? There was a time when he’d have said it was more hassle than his job was worth. There was a time when he would have shut the safe again and walked away. But that time had gone.

Seven grand.

Fuck it.

He put the dummy bags into the safe, tucked the real ones into the pockets of his body warmer, which would be covered by his overcoat, and left the cash office. He didn’t stop and think as he locked the door. On the way out, he dropped his keys on the floor in the stockroom. Right where they’d be found, right where people would remember he must have dropped them, before saying he’d lost his keys. He didn’t offer up any prayers or apologies. He just moved. Fast.

Out into the rain that was starting, people laughing in the distance. The night starting for real, cigarette smoke on the air and the music blaring from the trendy bars. As he rounded the corner he saw two uniformed cops. They were stood either side of the alleyway he needed to walk down, within sight of his parked car.

They watched him as he approached. He smiled at them, closed his eyes and kept walking.

Breath.

Just this one break, please?

8 comments:

Rob Kitchin said...

Here's my contribution - Cutting Loose. Thanks for organizing.
http://theviewfromthebluehouse.blogspot.com/2010/04/dsd-flash-fiction-challenge-cutting.html

Steve Weddle said...

Dan's story is here --

Here's my entry. http://danielboshea.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/the-do-some-damage-recession-fiction-challenge/

Steve Weddle said...

Dorte H has left a new comment on your post "DSD Flash Challenge":

Goodmorning America, my flash is here:

http://djskrimiblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/in-flash.html

Keith Rawson said...

Nice piece, Jay. No bodies, but hey, sometimes you don't need a dead to make a great story.

Here's my contribution over at A Twist of Noir:
http://a-twist-of-noir.blogspot.com/2010/04/do-some-damage-hard-times-flash-fiction.html

Cormac Brown said...

A good note to leave it on, Jay.

Here's mine and thank you for the challenge.

http://cormacwrites.blogspot.com/2010/04/mightier-than-sword-dsd-flash-challenge.html

Dana King said...

Well done, but I can't believe you left me hanging like that. I'm a closure person. I gotta know! Now I'm going to worry about him all day.

Thanks for the challenge. My contribution, "Road Trip" is posted at http://danaking.blogspot.com/2010/04/road-trip.html.

Dorte H said...

Great atmosphere in this one, and when we get to the end, we really feel for the poor guy.

Kyle Maxwell said...

Mine is at http://technoskald.wordpress.com/2010/04/06/ready-to-work/.