A FLASH FICTION blast from the past…

Early in the beginning of the covid apocalypse when the world was just beginning to come apart, VisionCon had a flash fiction writing contest. I participated. The limit was 1000 words, and I had to respond to their prompt: “You don’t know what you do for a living. You get in the car on Monday and black out until you wake up in your driveway on Friday with $10,000”.

Here’s my story…

For Hire

Starr backed out of her driveway in her dirty blue, beater Honda in the gloomy hours of a winter Monday. Her dark web business card said, “Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap”. That covered a lot of ground. She never knew when a job would blink into her inbox, what it would be, or where it would lead her. Today was no different.

Details were sketch. As in none. She was to drive west until she got a text and follow the directions from there. Nothing was off the table. Except hurting kids and animals. That was a hard no. Otherwise, her morals were malleable. Money talked. This job tauntingly whispered $10,000 for a business week’s work. Half paid in advance? The answer was yes. The answer was always yes.

Two hours and eighteen minutes later, somewhere in Oklahoma, her phone chimed with her first text.

Turn south.

She did. Her second text arrived two hours later. McGee State Park. The plot thickened. Was she digging up a body? Burying one? Taking a hike? Having a picnic? Experience told her the first two options were more likely than the latter. Interested parties typically didn’t pay $10K for picnics. But then… the world held all kinds of crazy. Present company included.

In the five years since high school graduation, she’d seen things. Done things. She was a Jill-of-All-Trades. A girl could learn anything on the internet.

She neared the park and pulled into an empty lot. No winter campers. No volunteer in the check-in hut. Her phone chimed.

White panel van. Keys and instructions inside.

Starr scanned the dark lot. No movement. No vehicles. She pulled up and parked on the driver side of the van. The van rocked slightly with movement from inside. Her palm rested on the holstered Glock on her hip as she waited and watched to see what might come out.

When nothing or no one did come out, she sighed. Mystery was one thing. Stupidity was another. And blindly getting into a clearly occupied, windowless creeper van was the epitome of stupid. She went anyway. But around to the back doors first. Her left hand rested on the back latch, tentatively applying pressure. When the latch gave way, she flung open the door, aiming the Glock inside.

“Ahhhh,” the passenger squeaked, turning so quickly he rocked the entire van, threatening to flip it over onto its side.

Starr’s mouth fell open. Uncharacteristic but justified. She knew better than let herself be taken by surprise despite her career choice. Sitting on his haunches, eyes big as black saucers and mouth agape as well was what could only be described as Bigfoot.

They stared at one another in an eye-popping standoff until he spoke.

“Starr?” the creature asked.

Starr blinked, her mouth so dry she couldn’t seem to form a reply. She nodded.

“Oh, thank God. Well, get in. We need to be going. I’ll fill you in on the way.”

Starr’s heart thumped so hard it pulsed in her ears and temples. She took three steps back from the door, gun still focused on the creature. A red dot danced along the beast’s chest. He bent his shaggy head to look down at it.

“Listen. I’m a lot. I know. I get it.” His smooth, dark palms—like dog pads—extended toward her and turned up in supplication. “But time is of the essence. It’s a thirty-four hour drive to the Lummi Reservation. Upstate Washington. Soooo… if you could maybe hop in?”

Starr lowered her weapon, hesitated, then holstered it.

“Great!” The beast leaned forward slowly, reaching for the door and pulled it closed. She would swear to anyone who asked that he smiled as he did it. Not that anyone would ever ask.

Her number one rule of Dirty Deeds was Say Yes to the Job. Rule number two was Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

She really wished she could amend Rule #2 right now.

Starr chirped the locks on her Honda. She climbed into the van, adjusted the rearview mirror to keep an eye on her charge, and punched Lummi Reservation into Google Maps on her phone. Yep. Thirty-four hours. She hoped he didn’t need to stop for pee breaks.

Shifting the van into reverse, she glanced into the mirror again. All she saw was dark fur and two bright, shining eyes. And then he did smile. A broad toothy grin spread across his face.

“I’m Carl, by the way. On my way to meet up with my soon-to-be bride!” His excitement was palpable. “I’m sure you have so many questions.”

Starr cut her eyes to the mirror again, that goofy smile plastered across Carl’s face. Oh, she had questions, but referred to Rule #2. Of course, she couldn’t help if Carl was a Chatty Cathy for the next three days.

And boy, was he.

They pulled onto the reservation under the cover of night. She’d only stopped for the occasional gas, bathroom and snacks. Carl took care of his business in the back of the van somehow. Again, Rule #2.

When the back doors opened again, the van was backed down a gravel road that deadened against a lush Pacific Northwest forest. Carl leaned forward between the front seats. She’d gotten used to his musky smell in their time together, but this close his odor was weirdly pleasant. Like a well-loved and cared for dog. That talked.

Carl extended a plate-sized hand covered in brown shag-like hair. She took it into hers, and they shook hands, concluding their transaction. “I can’t thank you enough, Starr. I appreciate your discretion. Head back to the airport in Seattle. You’ll have a ticket back to Oklahoma waiting for you.”

Carl bailed out the back, the doors clicked shut, and she pulled out toward home.

Later, as she pulled into her driveway at home, her phone chimed. A new deposit for $5k in her bank account.

Another job well done.

If you’d like to read another great sasquatch story… check out my novel Shifted in Seattle (99 ¢) where all your bigfoot questions will be answered. https://www.amazon.com/Shifted-Seattle-Lisa-Medley-ebook/dp/B01KH7LBP8

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