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Torrential Shortcomings (2)

by Mattyai16 

Posted: 10 April 2003
Word Count: 1892
Summary: The 2nd part of the Torrential Shortcomings story... mmm I'm not so sure about this bit... judge for yourself though. Plenty more to come if comments are made!

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* * * * *

“Do you know what we’re gonna do with you Jimmy?” screamed the thug.
I could see very little, remember even less. All I remember was slowly coming around and realising I was in a dark room, with my arms and legs tied to the chair. Then they had arrived. They had been methodical in the set-up. One of the thugs had put the light about three metres in front of me, and turned it on. The light was so bright I could barely open my eyes and when I did I saw only psychedelic flashes on my retina. The sun spots were driving me mad. From then on I had no visual acknowledgement of what they were doing. I gathered from their speech that they were anxious as to when the man in charge of them would be arriving. They seemed to fear him. Then one of them walked around to the front and walked across the light from time to time casting a much-wanted shadow across my face. He would ask me questions about why I ran. Did I know the consequences of my actions, he asked. I answered shortly, not making much sense. Then he began asking questions about why did I think “the boss” was mad at me.
“Come on, what’s wrong Jimmy? Cat got your tongue? I’ll gladly slice it off if you don’t start talking”
“My name’s not Jimmy” I replied calmly.
He strode forward in front of the light and kneed me in the side, winding me. I could hardly breathe, taking only short sharp breaths. He remained in the light. He was tall, about six-foot three inches at a guess. He was very broad shouldered. He was exactly what I had imagined except his face was far friendlier than his bark. He continued..
“You wonder why your wife was killed? It’s cos you screwed us all over. You and your firm had a deal with us. They terminated that “deal” and we found that it was you who made that decision. This “deal” was the bread and butter business for the boss and to say he wasn’t happy when he discovered the misfortune of it being cancelled is an understatement. Now he’s willing to give second chances, he’s kind like that. You don’t seem to be getting this though and you keep pushing him. He needs you, I won’t lie to you, but he’ll kill you if you overstep the mark and trust me you’re pretty fucking close. Now what d’you say wise guy, you gonna answer my questions?”

* * * * *

You think things were pretty bad for him now, don’t you? Unfortunately fate is a cruel thing, and he was on the bad side of it. The only thing which could get worse did….

* * * * *

The date was unimportant but just in case you were wondering, sometime early August. The location was less important still and what happened was not to be repeated. The getaway had begun and begun well. I was in a constant state of hiding, never sure where I would go the next day, less sure whether it would lead me towards them or towards justice. Both seemed invisible to me since that night. I tried to avoid them and had so far succeeded, but I didn’t know really what I was hiding from and as for justice, well I wasn’t sure where to start. Justice had always been a somewhat abstract aspect of life, in that it had never affected me before and I had hoped it never would. Justice was a little like death, I pretended it wasn’t there until it hit me in the face with a cold hard sting.
It had been over six months and I had moved from town to town. Watching news and staying at hotels was a reassuring normality in my now far from normal existence. However, nothing would ever get me over my loss, even revenge. With time though the pain grew stronger and I wanted so much to return to my home. To be there, where I used to spend time with her and properly grieve. But I knew I couldn’t. I knew that they, whoever they were, were still hunting me. I could sense it everywhere I went. I could feel them behind me and my paranoia had made me an excellent spy.
I was currently sitting in a café and reading the newspaper. I was searching for any articles about the murder case. I had been following it since the morning after it happened. I had waited for five days with nothing, no headline or story in the local papers. Then as I was leaving the area, feeling the ever increasing risks, I got the last paper. The headline article was about us. They found her body, drenched in blood. They automatically jumped to conclusions, putting in phrases like, “Her husband was mysteriously absent and has been missing for several days say neighbours”. I was clearly a leading suspect for the case. Now perhaps you know why I don’t trust justice. One day I will have to trust justice, or forever run. Lead my life as a big race, away from an unknown enemy, to an unknown destination and towards what? Nothing, as far as I could see. My life had revolved around her. Everything I knew had disappeared.
An officer walked through the door, with deputy behind. I lifted the newspaper a little higher, trying to look casual. They strode forth to the counter, looking from side to side. I kept my head down. They were laughing with the lady behind the counter and talked for a bit. I scoped them out - just regular cops I figured. They sat down, talking over a cup of coffee. One officer was leading the conversation, the other just nodded. Just casual chat.
I turned the page to the sports section now. I was near to running out of material. As I closed the page I heard a gruff voice,
“Do you have a light?” I peered over the top of the paper. It was one of the officers.
“No, sorry I don’t smoke.”
“You’ve nothing to be sorry about. Disgusting habit, if only I could quit.” He smiled broadly and walked off. They were just local officers; they had clearly not noticed who I was.
I closed the paper and pushed the chair out, standing up and slipped towards the door.
“Excuse me?” I ignored it.
“Excuse me sir, could I have a word with you?”

* * * * *

“How much for a dozen roses?” I glanced around the elaborately decorated back wall, behind the counter. The roses were all very beautiful. She would love these, I was confident of it. I had the evening planned out to perfection. I would run to my car from here, with the roses tucked in my jacket (it was tipping it down after all), drive home, run in the door, up the stairs. She would be in bed, or in the shower. She would be shocked because she thought I had forgotten completely about Valentines Day. She was anticipating something this morning. She woke up, waited for me to say something. I just lay there quiet. I had not forgotten. The roses were not the only gift I had for her; the ring had been in my drawer for a month or more. I had been waiting for the perfect moment to deliver it to her. I had prepared my speech, thought of everything. I would get on one knee, look into her eyes and tell her I loved her, tell her how the times I spend with her are the best of my life and I want to be with her forever. I would look deeply into her eyes, pull her near to me, kiss her and then open the case. I would ask her then; ask her to bind her life to mine through marriage. It would be perfect.
I bought the roses and strode out of the store into the dark night. The rain was striking down with some ferocity. The roads were flooded, drains overflowing on the road. I had never witnessed a night quite like this before. I was not really too concerned though, I would run through a full-blown storm to see her tonight.
I had left my car in the car park at work, about five minutes from the flower shop. I walked over the grass towards the parking lot. I was now soaked up to the ankle. The car park was on slightly lower ground than the road so the water had just flooded straight down. I carried on though, peering around, trying to remember where I had left my car. I strode across the car park from one side to the other but my car wasn’t there. I was stressed, I was wet and I would be in major trouble with the business if the car had gone missing. The car was not my own, but the company’s.
I ran for cover towards the security building. The usual guard was on duty, casually lying back on his chair. He was staring at the security monitors or more likely, sleeping. I knocked on the glass and he looked up suddenly, adjusted his position to normal, sitting, and opened the door.
“Hey James, My car’s been stolen, can I ring the police from here?”
“Stolen? Steady on mate, it hasn’t been stolen. Someone took it out from here. They had a permission slip and everything. Here look.”
He handed me a sheet of paper, these were all too familiar to me and I knew what I was looking for now. I scan read until I reached the signature section. It was meant to have the main car driver’s name, mine and the person who was borrowing it. My jaw dropped. The box was filled with my signature. It was an exact copy, it looked just like mine. I shook my head in disbelief.
“I can’t believe you!” he chuckled, “You completely forgot that you had given Johnson from the Research and Development department permission to have your car tonight. He was very happy with himself actually, said something bout going to see a lady friend. He seemed in a hurry though.”
Johnson, I didn’t recognise that name. I certainly didn’t know anyone who was called Johnson. I asked James to check through the lists of personnel for his name and find out what he does.
“Yeh sure, will do. Aren’t you meant to be spending tonight with your missus? Anyway I’ll tell you on Monday what I find. I can’t give you another car unfortunately. Sorry.”
I left the car park and headed home, constantly thinking about how my signature had got there and who Johnson was. I really don’t know why someone would bother to go to the effort of getting my signature on that slip when they could have a car from the warehouse of their own. I pushed it to the back of my mind after realising I was increasingly late.
I walked faster than I had ever before, shielding the precious roses beneath my jacket. I got several strange looks from people in cagoules as I strode onwards in the torrential rain.

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Comments by other Members

papayajellie at 21:03 on 10 April 2003  Report this post

i can tell ur goin 2 b a star


Becca at 07:09 on 14 April 2003  Report this post
I thought 'Mystery Business' to be the better piece of the two. It might just be personal choice, but in this story you're dealing with a genre that it's hard to get a new angle on, especially the scene where he's been tied up. I really liked 'a much wanted shadow', I could see him then. But, unless you are deliberately using well worn phrases such as 'cold hard sting' or 'tipping it down' I'd avoide them. 'Overflowing drains' is a really good image, though.
I'd have got a better sense of the girl if she'd had a name. It also means you have a lot of sentences following each other that start with 'She'. Would it really be in your character's nature to get 'down on one knee?'
I hope some of these observations make sense to you.

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