Short Story Of the Day – Security System (flash fiction) by Bill Chance

“Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.”
Erica Jong, Fear of Flying

(click to enlarge)
Invasion car show
Deep Ellum
Dallas, Texas

I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#51) More than half way there! What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.


Security System

Dr. Worthy paid fifteen hundred dollars extra for the security package on the silver Lexus SUV. The salesman had assured him that,”Nobody, but nobody, will ever be able to get into this thing without the keys, no matter how hard they try.”

Now Dr. Worthy was standing in the sweltering parking lot with his wife, Samantha, his son James – looking as bored and angry as ever, Samantha’s sister Amy and her new boyfriend, What’s-his-name, and the giant double baby stroller with Amy’s two year old daughter and her infant son… and all Worthy could do was check all his pockets, the usual four plus the big deep cargo caves on his thighs with their nylon snaps, and the secret hidden money pouch built into the waistband of his tailored two hundred dollar shorts – and there, like the other dozen times he checked, there were no keys.

His wife never carried keys to his Lexus and his son would sure like to, but Dr. Worthy would no more allow that… how could he trust… and there they were, in the parking lot.

“Call the dealership,”His wife said.

“They’re not open on Sunday.”

“Shit! Dad.”

“Don’t use that language with me.”

“I’ll go find a brick,” said What’s-his-name.

“God no, and that won’t help start it.”

“Oh yeah,” Dr. Worthy swore that What’s-his-name looked disappointed – like smashing a window on that Lexus – worth what that loser must make in a year – would be the high point of his day.

“Y’all locked out?” Dr. Worthy looked up from going through his pockets again to see two skateboarders standing beside the group. They both wore torn denim cutoffs, t-shirts, and had long scraggly hair. One was darker than the other, but otherwise they might be twins.

“I can pick the lock for you,” said one of the skateboarders.

“Oh no you can’t, I paid for an extra security package,” said Dr. Worthy. “Beside, I’d have to start it.”

“I can hot wire it for you,” said the skateboarder.

“I doubt it… but if you could, how much do I have to pay you?”

The two kids laughed. One said, “Naw, we don’t want any money. We’re not poor. We look like this because we want to.”

The other one spoke up, “Tell you what… there is something.”

“What?”

“Let me kiss your wife.”

Dr. Worthy felt his blood starting to boil, “You asshole! Where do you….”

Samantha spoke up, “It’s OK. It’s getting really hot. The baby is getting flushed.”

“Well,” Dr Worthy said, “You’re not going to be able to do it anyway.”

Without a word the skateboarder started looking around on the ground.

“Ah,” he said, lifting up a stray piece of rusty wire, “This will work fine.”

He went to the keyhole in the door and started fishing around.

Dr. Worthy said, “Be careful! If you damage…”

And there was a soft “pop” and the door swung open.

With a wry smile the skateboarder leaned over and started yanking at wires under the steering column.

“Hey, mister come here, I’ll show you,” he said over his shoulder after a few minutes of fiddling.

“These two wires, yellow and green, put them together,” the engine roared into life. “To start the car. Then these two, white and black, pull them apart to kill it.” He tugged them away from each other and the engine died. “Yellow and green together to start, black and white apart to kill. Easy peasy! Got it?”

“Yes, I do,” said Dr. Worthy. He didn’t sound grateful. “Upgraded security my ass! That damn dealer sold me a grand and a half of crap. OK, everyone pile in except Samantha. I don’t want anyone else to see this.”

“HaHa, don’t worry,” said the skateboarder. “I’m not going to smooch your wife. I was just yanking your chain.” The two were still laughing as they dropped their boards and scooted off down the sidewalk.

“Well, at least we can go home now,” said What’s-his-name once they were all settled in the SUV. Dr. Worthy bent over, and pressed the wires together and the car started right up.

“Yeah, we can go home now,” he said. He looked over at his wife in the seat next to him. “What’s your problem,” he said to her.

She looked disappointed.

Skateboarding at night in the French Quarter

“Louisiana in September was like an obscene phone call from nature. The air–moist, sultry, secretive, and far from fresh–felt as if it were being exhaled into one’s face. Sometimes it even sounded like heavy breathing. Honeysuckle, swamp flowers, magnolia, and the mystery smell of the river scented the atmosphere, amplifying the intrusion of organic sleaze. It was aphrodisiac and repressive, soft and violent at the same time. In New Orleans, in the French Quarter, miles from the barking lungs of alligators, the air maintained this quality of breath, although here it acquired a tinge of metallic halitosis, due to fumes expelled by tourist buses, trucks delivering Dixie beer, and, on Decatur Street, a mass-transit motor coach named Desire.”

― Tom Robbins,

A cute couple.

On the way home from the store with a bag of Miller High Life.

Even a tattooed hipster wearing crazy clothes on a skateboard in one of the coolest spots on earth can have bad taste in beer.

Deep Ellum – Filipino Fest

Went down to Deep Ellum for a while today to check out Filipino Fest. It was terribly hot, so I was only able to hang around for awhile. I took a few photos and then bailed – there was a recording studio that had a pop-up bar set up inside. The sign said, “A/C, Full Bar, Bathrooms,” which was hard to resist. Inside I found an old couch,  some good music, comedians doing short sets, and Deep Ellum Wheat Beer on tap. This truly is the best of all possible worlds.

June Marieezy doing a set on the street

It was really hot, which makes some folks sleepy

Mass Transit – On the Red Line

Dallas has never been seen as a city that is amenable to mass transit. Unlike an east coast megalopolis it was created in the age of the automobile – vast suburban tracts vomited out across the endless cotton fields along the pulsing arteries of constantly rebuilt freeways. But, for fifteen years now, we have had the DART rail. Always controversial, overly expensive, oft-reviled – the colored lines – Red, Blue, Green, Orange – crawled out inexorably across the map like vines on a brick wall.

Two tattooed guys – one skinny, one not – the skinny guy stands holding his skateboard, the other one sits hunched over a single speed bicycle – like a low slung bike for a kid a third his size. I am used to bicycles used as transport – this would be useless for that. It’s a bike used as a lifestyle statement. He rocks and stares at the chain like he’s afraid it will leap off the cogs if he lets it. Tired middle aged men slumped in seats, a guy playing a game on a smartphone, and a young couple standing in the door holding hands.

These are the people I live a lot of my life with. They are the same people you live a lot of your life with. Perfect strangers. Strangers on a train. I want to know these people and I want their stories.

The two guys, the skateboard and the inefficient but cool bicycle – they may be gutterpunks but they look like they are having fun. The guy on the bike moves back and forth at each stop to let folks get to the door or their seats. When their stop comes (one before mine) he shouts, “Off to another adventure” and shoots out the open door.

Looking at the young couple makes me ache. They may be poor and doomed… but together, today, right now, they are a thing of beauty. Beauty is so rare and so fleeting.

The others… all forgettable. But I know that the forgotten folks all have stories that will raise the hairs on the back of your necks. But we all sit and sway, look around, adjust our headphones, and get off at our stops.