Friday, April 15, 2016

[writing] The Worst That Men Do

Posted as part of a writing contest over on the Google + community Writers' Discussion Group. Six hundreds words or less, inspired by the image and "try to make us feel strongly about (like/hate) your character in the first paragraph." I ended up at just shy of 600 words. It is difficult to tell a compelling story in such a short amount of text!

Please note this is not a continuation of the story I posted earlier today.

The Worst That Men Do
Franco punched the dark skinned man in the face. The man’s head flopped back and then righted itself. The eyes came back unfocused, he was done. I heard Franco utter a chuckle. For good measure, Franco nailed him with a solid right hook, square in the nose.

The man reeled and fell onto his rear with a thump. The plastic jug, half filled with water, slipped out of his hands and landed hard on the sand. I watched in horror as a third of the water splashed out of the jug and coated the dry sand. Before I could react the hot sand absorbed the life giving liquid and emitted a thin whiff of smoke. You would not even know it had been there.

“Dammit Franco, you lost half the water,” I complained and grabbed the container carefully. I lifted it to my nose and inhaled. I turned to Franco and smiled. “Clean.”

The late afternoon sun blazed just above the horizon as we stood on the ridge just outside the wall of ancient automobiles. Franco stood over the man, casting a long shadow over him that. The man blinked, struggling to refocus his eyesight. “Why?” He asked, barely able to form sounds.

“What do you think Mikey? Ice this guy?” He pulled his sawed off shotgun from the leg holster to emphasize his words. The man could focus now and his eyes zeroed in on the dangerous weapon.

I did not answer, I could not. The jug was up to my mouth and guzzling the sweet, fresh water. Franco noticed.

“Jesus Mikey, you know we have to turn that in,” he moved to me and pulled it away. I did not release my grip and water spilled as we tussled the jug back and forth. “Let go.”

“Bugger off, Franco,” I pulled it back towards me and gave him a quick smile. I was joking. “I am thirsty...just having a quick sip.”

“I am not kidding, back off, this has to go into the well,” his grip tightened on the jug, knuckles turning red. His eyes grew hard and shrunk to slits. “Mikey, back off.”

I felt the metal in my chest. I looked down with shocked eyes. The dual barrel poked me in the sternum. “Jesus Franco, what the hell?”

“Back off, I mean it,” he gritted through his teeth.

My .45 slipped out of the holster, I did not think he could see it but Franco is good, he probably expected this. A glint of sunlight from behind him caught my eye. I stopped struggling with Franco.

The dark skinned man had pulled a pistol from his belt and now pointed it at Franco’s back. “The water, give it to me and drop your weapons.”

Franco was just inches from me and looked me dead in the eye. I could see the ideas spinning and twisting within him. I gave a barely noticeable shake of my head, to ward him away from the idea.

He winked in reply. I mouthed no but it was too late.

The next minute happened in a blur. The man fired his pistol as I raised mine and squeezed off a round. The roar of the shots echoed off the sand dunes almost in unison. Franco jerked and fired his shotgun into my gut.

We three lay in the hot sand, blood slowly draining from our bodies. The jug landed between us, again spilling about a third of the liquid.


  1. Man, that is bleak... Well done!

    1. Thanks! The picture I felt was pretty depressing, so it fueled the story idea.