Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Powder Burn Flash # 40 - Cormac Brown

"Hot Ice And Cold Blood"

Who was that idiot who said “the meek shall inherit the Earth?” And really, who would want the moldy crumbs that would be left over, after everyone else had taken their fill?

Charlotte took enough crap off her parents to last three lifetimes, and she wasn’t meek. She was the good daughter, the patient daughter, the respectful daughter, and for what? The reading of the will was a slaughter.

Her widowed mother gave the entire estate to Krista, an older cousin she saw only at family reunions. Charlotte was so taken aback that her heart actually stopped for two beats. Her chest felt like a mule kicked it, and adding insult to injury, Charlotte swooned like some third-rate soap opera actress.

As far as Charlotte was concerned, that was it. This was to be the last public display of weakness on her part, because this near-stranger inheriting everything was the last straw. Even before she returned to full consciousness, Charlotte surveyed the room and she figured out half of her plan. As the executor of the will informed her that her mother wanted Charlotte to make her own way in life, Charlotte had her scheme all figured out.

How can you make your way in life when your parents never let you get a job and forced you to take care of them? How could they leave everything to an outsider who had already retired and had a house that’s paid for?

So Charlotte made the electrician that was working on the house believe that she would finally give into his advances, after turning this cretin down for several weeks. Then Charlotte had to look up her abusive ex-boyfriend, Elwood. Because he was the only man she knew who could steal, get a gun, or even kill if he had to.

But it turned out that all of Elwood’s bragging was just that, and Charlotte had seen water pistols that were scarier than the gun he scored. So the electrician altered the wiring like Charlotte asked, and half the house “accidentally” burned down before the firemen could save it.

As anticipated, Krista took the jewelry out of the safe and she was going to take them to the bank for safekeeping. But not as anticipated, the old woman hired two bodyguards.

Fuck it, time to make your own way in life, Charlotte. The old harpy screamed and both bodyguards whirled their heads around to her. Charlotte had a ski mask on and Elwood’s .25 pointed at Krista’s head, using her as a shield. The bodyguards couldn't get a clean shot.

“Put the guns down, or you'll both be unemployed in a split second with a big red blemish on your resumes!”

This part was easy enough, Charlotte found out that these idiots exercised every muscle except the one between their ears. They could’ve taken her, but they let drag her hostage all the way to the gardener’s 4X4 truck. They also pointed the cops in the wrong direction, as Charlotte made Krista detour the truck down a dirt back road.

Charlotte didn’t want to kill Krista, but she didn’t want her tipping the cops off as to which way she was going. Elwood’s gun wouldn’t fire, so Charlotte pushed Krista down a steep knoll.

“Give my regards to Jack and Jill, bitch.”

She got in the truck and finally took the stupid mask off, like no one would’ve guessed it was her. What the hell. She hated that town and there was now no home to go back to, anyway.

Elwood had recommended a fence named Joss in the city. Joss told her that he would give her only $20,000 for $780,000 worth of jewelry. What could she do, go to a pawn shop?

When she put them on the table, Joss didn’t even bother with the loupe that you see in the movies. He looked down and muttered, “you are screwed like an asthmatic with a two-pack-a-day habit.”


“These are fake. They’re completely worthless.”

“But they were appraised a month ago at nearly $800,000.”

Joss grabbed a rubber hammer and hit the jewels. They crumbled into powder and he shrugged with a scowl.

Charlotte made it 1,130 miles before she was captured.

A week later, Krista had two visitors at the hospital. The two bodyguards from the robbery were keeping her company. One of the bodyguards seized the visitors before they could give Krista a bouquet of roses and a box of candy.

“That’s okay, Junior, let them by. Elwood? Joss? My hospital bill is coming out of your cut of the insurance money.”

Bio: "Cormac Brown" is my pen name. I'm an up-and-slumming writer in the city of Saint Francis, and I'm following in the footsteps of Hammett...minus the TB and working for the Pinkerton Agency. A couple of stories that I've stapled and stitched together can be found at http://cormacwrites.blogspot.com


Anonymous said...

"...Who was that idiot who said “the meek shall inherit the Earth?”..."

I think it was the christian god.

I always cried when I read Charlotte's Web

Comment moderation AND word verification? Rather redundant is it not?

Writeprocrastinator said...


I cried the few times I've seen "Charlotte's" too...that's probably why I haven't seen it in years.

Madam Z said...

Life isn't fair, Charlotte.