Friday, May 14, 2010

Flash Fiction Friday: The Skull

The skull stared at Dennis Nelson like it had something else to say.  As if a two hour dissertation about the mechanics of a proper bank robbery wasn’t enough.
    “What?” he asked, not the least bit ashamed of his outburst.  The dumb thing ought to know when to shut its mouth.
    The skull coughed.  “You know, Dennis,” it continued, “you really ought to work on that temper.  What if you lost it one day?”
    “What you mean, Andy?  I don’t have a temper!  I’m just mad at you, always treating me like I’m a big baby or something.  Like I dunno how to think on my own.”
    Andy tsked.  “Really?  Is that how you feel?  I’m sorry.”
    Dennis couldn’t decide whether or not his friend was condescending or serious, but he didn’t think his Andy would intentionally upset him.  “No,” he said, forcing the lie up and out like a fizzy belch, spurting out into the open air for all the world to hear.  Or, in this case, just Andy.  “You’re my best friend, and we know each other better than that.”
    “Good,” replied the skull.  “But you really should work on that temper.  An important element in good thievery is the ability to keep ones cool.  Like I always say, plan for the best, prepare for the worst, and pray you don’t get caught.”
    The two chuckled.  They were sitting in a dark and cool cellar basement.  The HQ, as Dennis liked to say.  Papers of all sizes lined the table in various piles of disarray.  A large blueprint map hung neatly on the far wall, red scribbles covering it.  The skull was resting on a large mound of dollar bills.  Just for fun, Andy had put two stolen rings in its sockets.  They glinted softly in the chilled room.
    “Well,” Dennis said, yawning.  “I guess that’s about it then.  I’ll get the rest of the stuff we need tomorrow.  You go through the fine details one last time, and we’ll be all set.”
    “Sounds good to me,” the skull answered.
    They talked late into the night, dreaming their wildest dreams, daring to outdo the other.  Dennis was telling Andy about how good it would be after the job was over.  “And we’ll never have to worry about anything ever again.  We’ll get outta this town and head some place warm.  Maybe the Keys.  Maybe even outta the country, I dunno.  But we’ll definitely live the rest of our lives in ease.”
    Andy smiled wide.  “Let’s go to an island somewhere.  Exotic women and warm sand.  Just me and you.”
    “That,” said Dennis, standing up and stretching, “sounds like a wonderful idea, but I don’t think Katie’ll go for it.”  He looked at his watch.  She’d be getting home from work soon, and he needed to be heading out.
    “You can leave her behind,” Andy said, a little sadness in his voice.
    Dennis half-smiled and considered the option.  He loved her, sure, but she didn’t understand him like Andy did.  He could open up to Andy without reservation, but with Katie he had to keep himself back.  He shook his head.
    “I’ll think about it,” he replied, lying, but toying with the idea nonetheless.  “But I gotta go.  See ya later, dude.”
    “Take it easy.  Don’t forget to get the supplies!”
    “I know.  I know.  Jeez.”
    He went upstairs and locked the cellar door behind him.  Two locks, one keyed, one combination.  Katie thought he kept junk and old, forgotten things down there; what a dolt.  He walked across the dewy, morning lawn and opened the back door.  He put the coffee pot on and poured himself a bowl of cereal.  In a few minutes, Kate would be home and a new day would begin.  In forty-eight hours, he imagined, he’d be millions of dollars richer.

Word Count: 637

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