Latest Flash

Time Bomb

I'm happy to kick things off with June's guest writer, Dana C. Kabel. If you hang around the popular noir and hardboiled spots, you've certainly seen the name; he's been in a slew of top-notch e-zines and magazines, and we're proud to feature him here.

Now for your reading enjoyment...

Time Bomb by Dana C. Kabel

Fiction between 300 and 1,000 words
Guidelines and Submission Form
So this is how it ends: stuffed in the trunk of a rust bucket with a couple of tires and my boyfriend dousing me with gasoline. Best part is I can’t move a muscle because I’m paralyzed.

I know that I am breathing because I can feel the air moving in and out of my lungs, which are stinging from the gas fumes.

Hooray, I can still feel! Jimmy sticks a penknife in my leg and it burns like the devil and he says, “You feel that, don’t you? Dirty bitch.”

Yes, I am a dirty bitch, and I know that I am going to die. Jimmy told me repeatedly that if I ever cheated on him, he would kill me.

Of course, I hadn’t realized that Jimmy equated stealing money from his personal safe with cheating on him. That is what he accused me of. I did the other kind of cheating too, but never got caught at that.

That kind of cheating, the sexual kind, is what I did with Jimmy’s best friend, Teddy Woo. Teddy is a skilled acupuncturist, and Jimmy fronted his clinic with dirty money. On account of Teddy isn’t exactly legal in the American citizen way and couldn't get a bank loan.

The irony of my situation is that Teddy, whose cock I have had in my mouth numerous times, is the bastard who put the needle in my spine and caused me to be in the current state I am in.

I was on Teddy’s acupuncture table for one of my regular sessions that Jimmy insisted I take advantage of.

“I set that chink asshole up with two hundred K, it’s the least he can do,” Jimmy said. Yeah, he talks like that about his best friend. I can only imagine how he talks about me.

Anyway, Teddy was giving me my regular treatment, which usually ended up with us fucking. I was face down on the table and he was working my back with his steely little fingers.
When he moved around to the head of the table I reached out to unzip his pants and he pushed my hands away.

“Not now. Jimmy’s in the building.”

I pushed up on my elbows, giving him a fantastic view of my bare tits. “Serious?” I asked.

“He called me right before I came in the room. Wanted to know if you were here, and he sounded pissed.”

“Shit! Do you think he knows?”

“About us? Nah. You must have done something at home.”

A door slammed in the other room. Jimmy was shouting at the help.

“Lie down,” Teddy said. “I tell him you are sleeping, see if I can find out what wrong.”

I put my head back down and felt Teddy’s gentle taps. You never even knew the needles were there until he told you.

The feeling was strange. I felt so relaxed at first that I didn’t know I couldn’t move because I didn’t even try.

Jimmy’s voice grew louder until the door shot open and banged against the wall.

“You cunt,” he shouted. “You took twenty thousand dollars from me!”

I tried to deny it.

“Don’t try to deny it,” Jimmy said.

“She can’t,” Teddy said.

A crooked smile curled up in the corner of Jimmy’s mouth.

“You…did the thing?”

Teddy nodded.

“Oh, snap. She really can’t move and shit?”

“Complete paralysis while all senses still working. She can see, hear…and feel.”

But she couldn’t talk, otherwise I would have shouted at Teddy and told him what a fucking traitor he was. Then I would have told Jimmy how many times his best friend had fucked me behind his back.

Now Jimmy steps back from the trunk and sets the gas can down. He pulls a book of matches out of his jacket, tears one out and freezes. The expression on his face withers as his jaw goes slack.

Jimmy is frozen like a statue except for his eyes, which are darting all around. Teddy steps up and pries the matchbook from his fingers.

“You like?” Teddy says. “I put tiny needle in and out quick right here,” he touches a spot on Jimmy back, “little while ago. It called Time Bomb.”

“Gaack,” says Jimmy. He stands in place, trembling like a junkie hurting for a fix.

Teddy reaches behind me and pulls the needle out of my neck. My legs instantly extend until my feet hit the insides of the trunk.

“Holy fuck, Teddy.”

He helps me up and out of the trunk. I feel like the ground might drop out from under my feet. Teddy holds me while I get my legs back.

Jimmy is looking at both of us like a fucking zombie. “Gaack,” he says again.

His bulging eyes fill up with blood. There is a wet popping sound and blood squirts out of Jimmy’s nose and ears and he cries blood tears.

“Guuuuh,” Jimmy says, and it is the last sound to come out of him.

I put my hand in the middle of his chest and push. Jimmy topples over.

“Is he dead?”

“As a doornail,” Teddy says.

I turn my head and rub the back of my neck where the needle had been.

“Jesus, Teddy, why the fuck did you do that to me?”

“Because Jimmy probably would have just shot you if I hadn’t. Where’s the money?”

“I lost it. Twenty thousand dollars on a fight that Jimmy was supposed to have rigged.”

“Shit. Well at least you know how to get to the rest of the money. We have to blow out of town pretty quick.”

“There isn’t any. Jimmy was a degenerate gambler, and he was in a real bad lull. That’s why I took the twenty he left for security and bet it. I was going to bag the profit for my own nest egg and put the twenty G’s back before he found out.”

Teddy’s face changes like the shadow of a ghost passed over it, and then it is gone. He smiles and puts an arm around me.

“Never mind,” he says. “We’ll be all right.”

I think I feel something. Like a small needle in and out of my spine in a microsecond.

I see a quick glint in the palm of Teddy’s hand as he walks away from me. The Time Bomb. And I wonder how much time I have left to kill him.

Dana C. Kabel has had several stories published online and in print at such publications as The Flash Fiction Offensive, Out of the Gutter, Muzzleflash, Yellow Mama, A Twist of Noir, Powder Burn Flash, Darkest before the Dawn, Near to the Knuckle, and a forthcoming tale in Shotgun Honey. Dana has flown airplanes, jumped out of them, and holds a 5th degree black belt in Okinawan Karate. He currently lives in the mountains of North Carolina with his beautiful, encouraging wife, Lisa, and has three children.