Tuesday, 26 July 2011

F3 - Cycle 41 - "Fall Guy"

This week the F3 crew are honoured to have Paul D. Brazill, eminent writer, interviewer (and prolific tweeter of tweets on Twitter!) as guest 'whip-cracker' for our weekly writing challenge.

To spur us on to literary creation he provided an opening sentence as a prompt, with the added option of the above picture for further inspiration! (with artistic licence, I'm determining the gender of the prone individual as male, late 30's and well built!)

So, with his opening words in italics and the rest my own invention - read on (and hopefully enjoy!) and please leave whatever comment you think appropriate! :-)


I slowly peeled back my eyelids and immediately wished I was still out for the count. The last thing I wanted to see was three earnestly worried faces staring back at me.

“Lay still! Don’t move!” said a voice from somewhere above me. It was presumably connected to the hands that held my head in a vice-like grip. Now that my eyes were beginning to refocus I could see the guy’s lips moving but they weren’t synched to the words he was yelling. Man, if that didn’t engender panic I don’t know what would. Then again, maybe it was just the affects of concussion.

I tried to turn my head to the side but Vice-man held firm.

“I need to….”

“I said don’t move!”


“Look, I’m a Med. student and I’m telling you not to move!”

Oh great! Some ER wannabee with a little knowledge and a lot of attitude. Well this could go one of two ways, I’d either vomit and aspirate the contents of my stomach, or else I’d make a really nasty mess of that expensive-looking leather jacket he was wearing but either way this thing had to play out!

“Oh, man! Shit! What a mess….” Med.Student released his grip momentarily in disgust and I managed a half turn of my head to spit out the remains of regurgitated food and stomach acid into a foetid pool way too near my own nose.

The squeal and shuffle that this, in turn, created from Earnest Face #2 attracted my attention momentarily. In her puffer jacket I took her for a student too, but judging from her reaction I didn’t think she was involved in anything remotely to do with health care.

“Man, that’s gross!”

Thank you for your concern, Ma’am, I thought. Here I was, recovering from whatever just happened and her reaction is to scream at me.

That, too, is an interesting point – what had just happened? I remembered walking across the road towards my car and hearing a sound like a faraway thunderclap, then these three amigos appeared.

When I managed to swivel my eyes a little left I saw the third in this trio of interested individuals taking just a little too much interest, if you ask me. And a little too much video footage on her cell-phone as well; I’d probably be a hit on YouTube within the hour.

“No…” I held my hand up across my face. Curiously this felt like one of those actors who scream ‘No photos! No comment!’ to the adoring paparazzi and then ask their entourage to check they got their best side.

Apart from the indignity of the situation there were several very good reasons I didn’t want my picture taken and none of them to do with the clarity of the close-ups.

I rolled free from the Med. Student, who was clearly more interested in limiting the damage to his clothing than in limiting possible damage to my spinal column, and wearily dragged myself to my feet. Raising a hand to the back of my head I felt the warm stickiness in my hair and the raw, open graze in my scalp.

Curiously, the pain I felt seemed to come more from the front of my face and looking down at my stained shirt I saw crimson trails that I tracked back up towards my nose. I staggered slightly as if drunk and reached out to the car to steady myself. That’s when I noticed the bloody stain on the wing mirror and the slight dent in the wing. I put two and two together and came up with a reasonable ‘four’ as an answer. A second glance in the mirror confirmed my broken nose and what was rapidly becoming a russet-shaded hue around my right eye.

Aware that I was still of interest to those around me, I had to do some quick thinking. The two girls I could easily cope with – Doc Kildare might take a little extra, he looked like he did weights; I guessed that beefcake image kinda helped with the bedside manner. Looking carefully around it seemed my three Good Samaritans were the only ones passing by at the time. Lucky break, I guessed; I could get this wrapped up quickly and be on my way.

I pocketed the cell-phone and rolled the bodies over into the undergrowth. I was right, the girls were no problem, a few deft swipes and they were looking at the sky with their heads in unnatural angles. Doc at least put up a bit of a fight but like a lot of gym-jockeys the muscle was just for show.

Now, the sting on the back of my head makes we wince as every bump in the road throws me back into the headrest but one thing still bothers me as I reverse back out onto the highway.

Who the hell just tried to shoot me?


  1. Wow, unexpected. First I'm imagining she's dying then she gets up and takes out everyone. Super exciting.

  2. ...? She?

    See the note of 'artistic license' with regard to the pic!

    But thanks for the comment, anyway, Clarissa! ;-)

  3. I also thought 'She' just like clarissa.

    Loved the youtube mention!

  4. Thanks for the comment, Vinod - but again, can't think why you assume the narrator is female -

  5. Pretty good. A little too long for my liking - some of these "flash" fictions I see are ridiculously long, this one's not too bad.

    I think if it were shorter it would be punchier. IMHO.



  6. Simon - I don't often write this long ! The word limit was extended this week but I'm still well under.

    If you like 'short' check out my 'Thursday@3' series, here on my blog - all at 300 max. words (this week's were 3 stories of 100 or less each!)

  7. OMG!! I did not see that ending... WOW!!

    Smashing read, Sue... you had me from "Lay still! Don't move!" Well crafted and the pacing was perfect. Plenty of "punch" for me!

    I began to wonder... when the man realized that he was being photographed... ".... there were several very good reasons I didn’t want my picture taken..." okay, what's up with that? Hmmm...

    And then, things started happening very quickly... that last line like a gut punch...

    "Who the hell just tried to shoot me?"

    As always... your stories delight and amaze me... take my breath away... make me cry...

  8. Sometimes 1500 words is not enough. The story as you wrote it needs no back story but it would be nice. Who did shoot him? Excellent as always Sue.

  9. Love your use of viewpoint here. And, of course, it helps when the viewpoint character is as interesting as this one.

    I found myself reading the main character as a woman, too, though, in looking back through the story, I see no reason at all why I would. The story plays well with a male main character, too, though I like the thought of a hard-ass female criminal dispatching the jock-ish med student without difficulty.

    Well done. Like some others have said, I could easily see this as a chapter in a crime or mystery thriller. I want to read more :-).

  10. great work and a quality ending. Jason Bourne meets Sooty.

    Nice one :-)

  11. Just headed over from FF... That's brilliant Sue... Punchy... Just the way I like it..xx