Poll

Which is your favourite?

BAD TEACHER
5 (27.8%)
TROPHIES
12 (66.7%)
The Dark White
1 (5.6%)

Total Members Voted: 15

Voting closed: August 23, 2015, 07:53:31 PM

Author Topic: Vote: Flash Fiction Contest #107  (Read 1445 times)

Offline Plain Helvetica

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Vote: Flash Fiction Contest #107
« on: August 13, 2015, 07:53:31 PM »
Three stories for you. All had to be on the topic of good people doing bad things or vice versa.

BAD TEACHER

Jane Stanton had grown up surrounded by children. Parents knew they could trust her to babysit. No drinking. No boyfriends likely to gatecrash a study night.

In college she let her hair down. Temporarily. Smoked a little pot. Got drunk on tequila. Hunter Gardner popped her cherry in the back of his Honda. But once she got that nonsense out of her system she focused on gaining her Diploma. By the time she was half way through her Teaching Practice she knew she'd found her vocation.

"You have to love kids to be a good teacher," everyone told her. That was easy.

But then the rules changed. Newly-qualified teachers were required to carry a hand-gun. Something to do with campus security following a spate of shooting sprees targeting schools. Pop had a hunting rifle he kept in a locked cupboard down in the basement but the Stanton children had been warned time and time again that guns in the wrong hands were lethal.

Jane found herself at the shooting range two Saturday afternoons a month with a dozen or so other trainees but hating every minute of it. Some ex-Army jock took them through the drill. Safety catch. Stance. Squeeze the trigger. Even with ear protection the noise was disconcerting. The smell of burnt powder and the haze of smoke. The recoil.

Most of the guys seemed to get off on the macho thrill of it all and by the time certification day arrived murmurs circulated that Greg Hollis was the one to beat. He'd been practising on his uncle's ranch. But as far as Jane was concerned it was just another fancy piece of paper along with her First Aid and Fire Fighting and Swimming certificates.

The scent of oil and cordite and the nervous sweat curdling on her skin added to the tension.

92/100

A wild round of applause and one or two hollers from a bunch of rednecks acknowledged Hollis's score.

Jane had brought no one with her to witness her humiliation. Mouth dry, hands slippery, eyes blurred with panic even before they called her name, she could barely see the target let alone the tiny dot of red at the centre of each circle.

17/100

No applause. Not even a groan of sympathy.

When the letter arrived all Jane saw was the word 'regrettable' burnt into the page like a witch's brand. She could stay on as a classroom assistant if she so wished. But Jane couldn't bring herself to admit her failure to anyone. Not her parents. Not even her best friend Laura who worked at the Mall and was already expecting her second child.

"You have to love kids to be a good teacher," everyone had told her. What the hell did they know?

Pop kept the key to the basement in a cigar box on the window sill. Everybody in the Stanton household knew that. He stored the ammunition underneath his workbench.

Seventeen percent didn't seem such a low score after all.

TROPHIES

“We’re celebrating tonight,” Linda said to Barry and drove up to Neptune Diner. Its blue circular booths, shimmering aquariums, and swoops of shiny metal befit the occasion.

Barry cradled the trophy in his arms as they walked in. He posed it on the table, fixed his eyes on its silver swimmer floating on ocean wave, and ate his grilled cheese. Linda sipped her coffee. They discussed Barry’s Christmas wish list—one item in particular.

“But, Mom, all the other kids have one.”

“I know, sweetheart. We can’t afford it.”

Disappointment washed over Barry’s face.

Her own heart sank in the undertow. So she tapped her finger to his nose. “We’ll see.”

He giggled.

Good. “Now, finish your sandwich, Mr. Man.”

She clasped her hands and rubbed the finger where her engagement ring and wedding band had been. Their absence still felt strange. Yet, when Jim’s child support stopped coming last year, she had no choice but to hock them. The money paid the rent, kept food on the table, clothes on Barry’s back. But it was all gone now: nothing left for next month’s rent, let alone for the iPad Barry wanted this Christmas.

While they dined, a young couple walked up the aisle toward them. The woman was pregnant. Her eyes puffy, red; they pleaded with Linda’s as she approached.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” the man said. “We ate here earlier today. In this booth.” He presented the woman’s hand to Linda. “You see? My fiancée’s engagement ring—the diamond—it’s missing.”

Linda touched the empty prongs. “Oh, you poor thing.”

The woman swelled with tears.

He continued, “We’re retracing our footsteps. Could we look ‘round your booth? See if it fell out here?”

“Of course.” Linda motioned to Barry. “Be a good boy, now. Let these people in.”

Standing in the aisle, Barry clung to his mother. The couple climbed into the booth, one on each side, reaching their hands into crevices, looking under the table, searching like hounds yet finding nothing.

The man stepped out. “Sorry to have disturbed you, ma’am.” He embraced his fiancée. She leaned in, sobbed on his shoulder. He consoled her, ushering her away, down the aisle and toward the door.

I wish I could help them, thought Linda.

But when she sat back in the booth, a tiny glint on the floor caught her eye. Her stomach tingled. She shifted. It glistened again near a chair leg, across the aisle, clear as day. The diamond. Their diamond.

Linda drew breath to call out to the couple, beckon them back. But instead she held it, pressing her lips together, squelching her voice inside. She watched the couple turn, then walk out the door.

Linda’s face warmed. Wait. She scanned Neptune’s sea of tables. No one was watching.

”Barry?”

“Yes, Mom?” His eyes still fixed on the trophy.

Linda’s hands quivered. Forgive me. She slid her dinner fork toward the edge of the table. “How ‘bout writing your letter to Santa tonight?”

The Dark White

John was fundamentally good who did things that were fundamentally bad. John is a lawyer and in their world, good is bad and bad is good. So he took the home of a 90 year old woman away because the Bank claimed she was in default on her mortgage. The truth is, when the old lady made her payment at the Bank, the teller, who was vastly underpaid, thought that she was entitled to pocket the money and to forget about making payment on the old lady's mortgage. When the old lady complained, the Bank manager sided with the young teller who had stolen the money and she was consequently robbed twice -once by the teller and once by the Bank.

Evicted, the old lady died on the street and the Bank did not even have to worry about the need to remove her belongings.  They merely sold everything and pocketed the profit because that is the only language Banks understand. They use people to make a profit, they do not protect their interests or their needs and even though it is the people who are responsible for making Banks wealthy, they always turn on them when they want to blame somebody else for their own mistakes.

Unfortunately, corporations are fictitious entities that think good is bad and bad is good, and good people who are taken advantage of are a dime a dozen. The old lady is not the only one, she is the only one who has made it very clear that Bankers who steal money need to be treated like common crooks and hunted down and shot dead, just like common crooks are.

In the meantime, they don't call this bad, they call it good because all the lawyers, the court staff and even the judges who facilitate these miscarriages of justice, make salaries out of all this abuse, and those of us who know better call them welfare payments -or more appropriately, welfare cheats, because the state does not have the right to treat the poor like they have no rights.

The most tragic part of this bad is good story is that it is mostly true, and these people who think they have the authority to adjust any truth may be legends in their own minds, but it is the little old lady who is the only good person in this story and everybody else is a pathetic, deluded fool.

Now this ought to be the best bad story you have ever read because it happens every day.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 06:36:08 PM by Alice, a Country Gal »