Thursday, April 2, 2015

A to Z Blog Challenge - B, The Basement

**  Today is Day  2 - Letter B - of the 2015  A to Z  Blogging Challenge  **

I am using the "Writing Prompts that Don't Suck" as my short fiction inspiration.  Today's Offering:

Prompt #624 - use all these things in your story – a snarky introvert, the basement of a pizza place, a mysterious piece of metal. (I used one.)

The Basement

Meet me at five, basement, come alone, the note said.
   Hank stared at the scrawled letters. That’s all it said, but he didn’t need much more to tell him the who, where, and why. He knew.
   Johnny. The Basement, a dive restaurant that served the best pizza, was really a front for the mob. You only got summoned there when there was a problem, like him owing the wise guys five big ones.
   Hank gulped and tried to figure out a way he could escape. He scanned the dingy sleeping room in the day motel he roomed at. Nothing here he could hawk that would give him enough for a train ticket. He’d already pawned his good watch for that last hundred bucks. He sold his mother’s wedding ring and the few valuables he’d had a long time ago for gambling money.
   He couldn’t run, he couldn’t hide. Time to face the piper.

The tangy smell of tomato sauce and pepperoni hit him as he walked into the dingy basement turned pizza parlor. Red and white checked plastic tablecloths gave the place a little bit of color.
   Hank loved pizza, but not even the thought of a fresh pie made him happy. Not this time. He looked around, noticing that the joint was empty. Not unusual since the place did mostly carry-out, but it made him uneasy, especially when big John came out of the kitchen. Hank cringed as the goon went and locked the door, then turned off the open sign.
   “The boss told me to show you around.”
   Hank gulped and tried to not act as scared as he felt. “Ugh, sure.”
   “Youse know we got a respecktible bizness here. The boss says he lets one guy like youse be late, then the others think they don’t have to pay either. Let’s go in the kitchen.”
   Hank breathed in the pizza scents, trying to fix his mind on something other than Johnny’s threats. He didn’t want to think what the big guy had in store for him.
   “You see all the stuff we got cookin’? The boss does a good bizness here, thanks to guys like you.”
   “Me?” Hank squeaked. “Whadda ya mean?”
   Big John grabbed Hank’s arm and pulled him into a room in the back filled with giant covered bins. A giant freezer took up most of the space. “The boss does okay on the pies, but it’s his special orders where he makes the real money. Take a look in that pot. Go ahead.”
   Hands shaking, Hank lifted the lid and then dropped it when he saw the bulging eyes of one of his old bookies staring back at him.
   “Yeah, that joker there thought nobody saw him skimming off the top.” He motioned at Hank to open the freezer door.
   Hank did, his screams muffled by the bodies hanging in the frigid freezer like pieces of meat.
   Big John shoved him inside with an evil laugh. “You sit tight. The boss got a special order for kidneys and a liver. Enough to cover what you owe. Don’t worry, you won’t feel nothin’ once your body temperature drops. Good doin’ business with you.”

© C. Verstraete  528 words


  1. OK, I'm officially freaked out to think that might be the last words I'd hear before being locked in a freezer. Hope there's a happy ending for Hank somewhere in the story. BTW, I gave a shout out to your blog on this morning. :)

  2. I like the flash fiction idea and this little story is pretty spiffy. Looking forward to more. Happy Blogging.