Sting the Scorpion


(Well, not necessarily this Scorpion…)

As the four of you who follow my Twitter account know, I have something of a man crush on Chuck Wendig. Dude can write his ass off and can advise said ass off on the ins and outs of the writing game as well. He has a weekly flash fiction challenge at his website Terrible Minds and I haven’t done one in a while. HERE is his latest challenge and HERE is my trope.

Here goes.


Bob was getting twitchy.

The dumbass was late. Bob hated late. Late meant sloppy. Late meant the possibility of no longer being above ground.

Bob was also two weeks into a new diet. After his doctor told him he was diabetic, his wife went on a rampage. Angela was a good woman, but she was a ballbuster, especially when she had a mission. Bob now ate so much fiber, his guts were liquified and shooting out of his ass. He was cranky and convinced he’d shoot his own mother for a half-eaten chocolate bar left in a truck stop bathroom.

So yes, Bob had other things on his mind, but that didn’t change the fact the dipshit was late.

Bob sat on a bench in front of a hotel in a sketchy part of town. He was awaiting an informant bringing him evidence proving the guy who caught the game-winning touchdown in last year’s college football championship game was part of a drug-running operation that included using girls as young as ten as mules. Bob’s stomach gurgled, but this time, it wasn’t his diet; it was thinking about kids forced to put bags of heroin in their–

Bob stopped thinking. Everything about this disgusted him. He made detective three weeks ago and this was his first case. He could’ve been given an easy murder case. But no, he gets a case that will be on every channel. Bob hated the limelight. He preferred being in the background. No more of that.

Bob also had to deal with the informant, a pissant who had been in and out of jail since he was 14. David wasn’t a troubled man looking for redemption. David was a felonious shit trying to keep his ass out of jail again and for good reason. David was pretty and, Bob had heard, looked even prettier wearing red lipstick and a wife beater cut just so.

David also liked to start fires. One was a no-kill animal shelter resulting in the deaths of dozens of dogs and cats looking for good homes. Bob couldn’t stand people, but loved animals. He had seen the worst humanity had to offer and never blinked, but was on the verge of tears seeing that goddamned Sarah McLachlan commercial.

An old Buick of indeterminable color pulled up in the parking spot closest to Bob. He saw David behind the wheel as he waved at Bob. Bob nodded curtly. The future Miss Protective Custody got out of the car, cellphone in his hand.

“Hey, man.”

Bob looked up at him.

“You’re late.”

“Couldn’t be helped. My girl–”

“I don’t give a fuck about your girl,” Bob said, cutting him off abruptly. “I don’t give a fuck if the last five Blowjob of the Year winners were lined up in front of you. The only reason you’re not on the wrong end of a cock right now is because you said you could provide pics and audio. Now. Do you have pics and audio?”

“Fuck, man,” David said, looking like someone had just teabagged his birthday cake. “I’m sorry. Yeah. I got the stuff.”

David handed Bob the cellphone that had been given to him two days earlier. It was to be used specifically for the purpose of taking pictures of the Heismann Trophy runner-up paying off a known drug dealer named Big Dean while recording the tight end talking about the drug operation.

There they were. The pictures showed not only the financial transaction, but bags of what looked like smack on the table next to him. Another featured the baller smoking a joint with Dean.

He played the audio. Clear as day, the soon-to-be former football player talked about the little girls. Jesus wept, one of them was his own fucking daughter.

Bob heard a click. He looked up and saw David had a snubbed-nose .38 to his head.

“The fuck you doing?” Bob asked, his voice calm. He cursed himself for not being more careful. Ten years on the force and this dickhole got the drop on him.

“He’s doin’ what he was told to do,” said a voice behind him.

Bob turned around and saw Big Dean. He looked pleased with himself. Bob looked back at David, who still held the gun steady but looked terrified. Bob looked back at the dealer.

“Pretty ballsy doing this in broad daylight,” Bob said. “If I arrest you, you’ll get ten to fifteen years. You kill me? A cop? You’re getting the chair.”

“First, they ain’t got no chair no more. It’s all lethal injection. Think they still do hangins in Utah or somethin’. Second, my cousin works the desk here and he’s on break. Look around you, man.”

Bob took a look. The parking lot was deserted.

“My boy would like that phone,” said Dean.

“Fuck your boy,” Bob said. “He’s gonna go down for this.”

“Suit yourself,” said Dean, chuckling.

“Hey boy,” he said to David. “Shoot him.”

Bob looked at David, saw his finger tighten on the trigger and closed his eyes. He heard the shot, felt his eardrum explode as the smell of gunpowder washed over him.

He realized after a second he wasn’t dead. He quickly looked at David who still had the gun pointed at where Bob had been. Bob spun around to see blood pouring out of a hole that was Dean’s eye. The other was wide open, a look of shock within it as he fell backward.

Bob looked back at David and David looked at Bob. “I’m not a bad guy,” David said. “I’ve done bad things but I’m not a bad guy. And I didn’t set that dog pound on fire. I love dogs. Got a puppy…”

David burst into tears. Bob could barely hear the boy, a high-pitched whine screaming in his head. But he was alive. And this kid saved him.

I don’t give a fuck what Angela says, Bob thought. I’m getting a goddamned candy bar.

4 thoughts on “Sting the Scorpion

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