Furious Fiction – April 2020
The brief of the AWC Furious Fiction—April 2020 short story competition was as follows:
- Each story had to begin on the side of a road.
- Each story must include the words APRON, PIGMENT, RIBBON, ICON, LEMON (notice A-P-R-I-L anyone?).
- Each story had to include a splash.
Junk Drawer Mission
My day started on the side of the road in a deserted street with a public phone ringing.
The male voice at the other end of the line, who didn’t give his name but I knew who he was anyway, didn’t greet me but immediately relayed his demands.
“I need you to buy an apron, ribbon and lemon. Bring them to my house in a brown paper bag at 3pm, sharp!”
He hung up as quickly as the phone began ringing.
He was the richest man in town, the town icon, and liked to play a game with everyone – he’d ring a public phone and the person who answered was obliged to do whatever he wanted…because everyone was afraid to stand up to him, due to his wealth and influence.
Not me, at least not entirely.
I’ll do what he wants, but I won’t buy it. I’ll give him the old apron with residual paint pigments from my painting class on it, and faded ribbons from the junk drawer in my kitchen, and a lemon from my fruit bowl that is just about off. Although I would put them in a new, undamaged paper bag from the supermarket…perfect!
I drove up to his unnecessarily large house on the hill, a little nervous but mostly excited. He was sitting in a deck chair by his pool at the back of the house, other brown paper bags nearby with what looked like his groceries.
“Put it there!” He demanded.
“Now jump off the deck into the ocean below and go!”
From what I heard, he always asked people to do this, why I don’t know, but then again, no-one knows why he gives people the specific tasks he does in the first place. His deck, adjacent to the pool, is on the edge of a cliff. If he really wanted people to be wet and inconvenienced, he could just ask people to jump in the pool. Everyone else has jumped off, swam to the nearby shore and climbed up a set of stairs to get back to their cars.
Apparently he hadn’t looked in the bag yet, so I quickly jumped off. I could hear him yell “what the hell!” as my body made its splash into the water.
This story was partly inspired by Michael McIntyre’s “man drawer” joke: