The Gentleman and the Damsel

My entry in Angry Hourglass’s latest flash fiction post. Aside from a 360-word max, the photo prompt above is the only guidance. 

The goo and guts of the pumpkins were scattered all over the roadside.

Charlie hit a deer. Darkness had suffocated the back roads, even the moonlight had a hard time penetrating it. Those back roads had long been the graveyard for many a deer.

She transported hay bales and pumpkins to farms throughout Idaho. It was the kinda work that made its home under your nails and in your bones.

That’s why she liked it, the grime and the grind. But ever since she’d gotten the job, men had been trying to do her work, thinking her pretty nails were more suited to typing than toiling.

The damsel in distress that all men fantasized about saving and which they pictured her as felt like a constant corset on her mind and body.

One of the hay bales had tumbled out the back end of the truck. Luckily, the rope held.

As she wrapped her hands around the rope to hoist the hay bale back into the truck, headlights played over her face.

The car stopped next to her and from the driver’s window a voice with sandpaper quality said, “Pumpkin, need a little help with that there hay?”

The sandpaper voice said pumpkin more like “punkin.”

“No, I’ve got it,” she said. She didn’t hold back the bite in her voice.

He was out of his car. The moonlight hit him just right to display a large man in dirty overalls with black boots and a crater-like face of indents and wrinkles.

“Come on, miss pumpkin, I’s only tryin’ to help,” the man said.

In one quick motion, the man grabbed Charlie around the waist and hoisted her off the ground toward his car. He drove her head against the side of it and then stuffed her in the backseat.

“You one of the cuter pumpkins I seen,” the man said.

Charlie always kept a switchblade in her back pocket.

From the backseat, groggy but gritty, she plunged the switchblade into the side of his neck causing a river of blood to gush out the open car window.

She slid out of the now-casket on wheels and vomited.

“Pumpkin alright.”

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