Thursday, 19 May 2011
Thursday @ 3 - 'Fat Lady Singing'
A few days ago I woke up with the number '3' on my mind. I began noticing things to do with the same number - 3 canisters (tea, coffee, sugar); 3 things hanging on the wall (towel, teatowel and ovengloves) - even looking outside: 3 birds on the patio....and that was all before I'd got as far as putting the kettle on for the first cuppa of the day!
So, following on from David Barber's recent numerically-inspired post, I decided to set myself a challenge - every Thursday, at 3pm (UK time), I'll post something which features the number three. It could be three sentences or paragraphs; or something with a three-word title; or '3' in the title itself - who knows?
I also plan to keep it short - so there'll be a maximum word count of 300.
However, to get the ball rolling I decided the opening story of 'Thursday @ 3' should be special - so, in 333 words, here it is!
FAT LADY SINGING
As he hit the stairs to the seventh floor Dan Hiskie leaned back against the wall letting gravity take control and slumped to his haunches. Running up the last flight had winded him yet he knew this was but a brief respite.
Peering up the stairwell, he guessed he was nearing his quarry; Maguire had a penchant for Jimmy Cagney films and this was the tallest building on the block. He should just wait and let the man have his ‘Top of the world, Ma!’ moment of misguided glory but that wasn’t the way this would play out. Maguire had to pay. Pay for shooting the pretty bank teller, leaving her with a third eye in the middle of her forehead. Pay for the school kids his getaway car mowed down with unstopping indifference. Most of all, pay for gunning down his partner, Eric Casey, in a hail of bullets when one would have got the job done.
Hiskie could hear the sirens growing closer. Too late. Too late to save Casey or the call all police officer’s wives dreaded.
He looked down at the dark vermilion smear on his jacket and red hot agony flashed through his arm again as he forced himself into a stance. It spread into his chest and he realised the bullet had cut clear through his arm and lodged in his side.
Music suddenly flooded the stairwell, accompanied by raised voices and a single gunshot. He stumbled onwards, ignoring the pain, gripping the banister until he reached the half-open door of the apartment where Maguire stood over the prone body of the elderly occupant.
Without hesitation, Hiskie raised his weapon. Too late for reasoning; too late for Mirandizing. He let off a triple staccato report and watched as Maguire swayed drunkenly before staggering to the window and pitching into his own black eternity.
No, not quite, thought Hiskie.
He fell to his knees and the sound of Maria Callas from the radio filled his dulling mind.