Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Win Some, Lose Some

Her mind was seized with a sense of elation so intense she screamed silently.


It had begun as just another morning, indistinguishable from most of the others since she had run away.

Her growling stomach had woken her. Millie had squirmed out from under the dumpster and tripped over the holdall, measuring her length on the heedless asphalt.

She cursed her skinned knees and the world in general before balefully regarding the cause of her fall.

Black leather, scuffed like welfare’s salvaged shoes, sadly soaking up the driving dawn rain, it mocked her. The street light caught the glint of the brass zipper and her anger was washed away in a stream mixed of curiosity and avarice.

Millie grabbed the worn handles, the wet leather slimy in her grasping fingers, and trudged and splashed towards the bus station, praying just once she would find a discarded umbrella that had not already blown inside out.

An early morning sheen of diesel fumes hung heavy in the air as the first buses coughed asthmatically into life, prodded awake by their sullen drivers.

Millie’s arm muscles shook by the time she could finally drop the bag.

She pulled open the zip. Wraps of green paper fell from the bag, some crinkled from the night’s soaking, and swirled around her feet like a pack of damp eager puppies.

Millie fell to her knees, ignoring the scrapes, scrabbling to round up all the one hundred dollar bills, stuffing them back into the holdall.


“Hi Millie? You want breakfast?”

Wayne, the night manager, called across the forecourt.

 “Oh, hi Wayne. No thanks... just got back from a night at the Waldorf – couldn’t eat another thing!” she waved him away.

One hundred dollar bills... thousands of them in a bag that size!

She felt faint.

She had to to get somewhere to think this through. A hotel room. No they’d never let her in looking like this, after all the doormen had moved her on months ago, before her wardrobe became so... street chic.

 Should she buy some clothes? No. Nowhere open yet.

With that kind of cash she could get them to open. Hell Once she was fixed up she would get a guy to pay a call on Jeff and return with interest all he had given her in the...

No. Why bother with that low life?

From now on her life was different. From here on it was all gravy Baby...

“You want to give me my bag back sweetheart?”

Rain slick hair, sharp suit, and sharp eyes - but the stiletto looked sharper.

Millie backed away, leaving the predator the kill for himself.

He zipped the bag and strutted off, heading uptown.

Millie’s tears were indistinguishable from the rain running down her face.

The she noticed a green corner peeking out from beneath the sole of her tennis shoe.

“Hey Wayne! Maybe I’ll have that breakfast after all – it’s on me this time!”

Carefully peeling off the sodden bill, Millie began to whistle.

500 words


This story was written for Alissa Leonard's Finish That Thought’ Flash fiction challenge

It was judged the WINNER (!) of the challenge by judge Jeff Hollar (@kligorengi) who said:-
"Grand Champion: Nick Johns for his story Win Some, Lose Some. This was such a gritty, brutal nasty look at what it’s like to be down and out with no prospects. Having spent a bit of time, as George Thorogood put it “livin’ outdoors”, I could appreciate the descriptive phrasing and imagery nick wove in. I rather suspected when Millie found the bag that things seemed to good to be true that…well…they probably were. Kudos to Nick for ending things on a high(?) note by letting Millie get just a little bit of the pot of gold at the end of the nightmare."

Check out Jeff's awesome flash fiction writing HERE

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