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My latest in the Angry Hourglass flash fiction contest (I haven’t participated in this one in a while) with a 360 word max and the below photo prompt. The judge gave me a “special mention” for the line, “but I could never retire,” and added:

“The scene is set with two retired guys. Golf in the desert. Wonderful details, too–iron smell and rusty golf clubs. The narrator is more than a retired Ford worker, though. And he enjoys his work. Such darkness in the desert light.”

My entry:

Blood was a pesky substance. It had a way of lingering, even after being blasted with ammonia. It was especially troublesome to get out of a carpet — it had a way of permeating deep into the fibers. No matter, I thought, Paul was oblivious and it was unlikely he’d look in the trunk.

Not that there was a body there anymore — I didn’t make it this long by being stupid — but that pesky blood. Fortunately, the ammonia was certainly good at one thing: covering up the iron smell.

“Dennis, did you hear me? I’m thinking of buying a new set of clubs. I’ve had these old, rusty things for too damn long, but of course, Joyce would bust my ass…,” Paul said, going on and on about his stupid golf activities.

See, like most men our age, Paul had retired and taken up golf. He couldn’t hit my head from where he was standing with a driver, but he had committed to it. He liked to come out here to the Sonoran desert and hit a few balls out to the cacti. And drag me along with him.

It was better than staying inside the house to watch Dianne slowly lose her mind to dementia, I guess.

I, on the other hand, could never retire. I mean, sure, I retired from the Ford factory a few years ago, but retire from what was in that trunk last night? You don’t retire from that.

“Where’s your set, Dennis? I bet you have a great set, what, with that Ford pension you’re drawing down,” Paul said, with a laugh and a slap to my left shoulder.

Paul took a step toward my trunk, so I took a step in front of him.

“Oh, come on, are you one of those guys? I won’t touch ‘em, I just wanna look,” Paul said.

I looked around.

“Let me pop the trunk, then,” I said.

I popped the trunk and reached inside the driver’s side window and grabbed the old Army knife I kept under my seat.

Of course, I could explain away the leftover blood, but this way was more fun.

car

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