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Writing Challenge 14: Fire

By williamkterry

Fire. That’s the taste. You don’t really think about the fact that fire has a taste. You usually associate the sensory reaction with a burnt flavor. But what causes food to be burnt? Fire. All burnt food taste the same and that’s what I’m tasting right now. How the hell do I taste fire in an ice cream truck? And how do I know I’m in an ice cream truck I’m blindfolded? Smell you idiot, you smell the freon and the sugar. That and the sound, every bump you hear a bell. Think straight Lex there’s no time to ponder the wonder of the five senses. You have to come up with a plan. Someone has kidnapped you and is driving you somewhere in an Ice Cream truck.


Think. Think through the grogginess think through the pain in your jaw. Think through the damn fire taste.


What do you last remember?


Fo. That’s it. I was hungry and didn’t want the lunch I brought so I went to that Fo place or Fa or however they pronounce it. Hot soup. It was good. I poured a gallon of that hot sauce in it to make it even spicier. But it wasn’t burnt. It didn’t taste like fire. Next. Next. What happened next? I left the soup spot, I checked my timepiece, and realized I need to get work. At the same moment I noticed I’d spilled soup all over the front of my button up. No time to head home so I did the old under shirt is my main shirt trick. One good thing Jake taught me.




Jake you simple bastard, you’re the reason I’m here aren’t you? My memories rush back to me like a beagle who smells dinner.


After work Jake called me. Lets dress up real nice and go play cards like big shots he said. I told him my good shirt’s got soup all over it and he told me we’ll skip the dressing up nice part. Against my better judgment I agreed to go. As we walked into the joint I spot a discarded Christmas tree by the front door. To a normal person this would have just looked strange, especially since we’re in March. To me and anyone who spends time on the wrong side of the law in this town that tree meant one thing, this was Claus’ card house. Jake you simple bastard, you took us to play cards at a Claus joint. Well I must be simple too because I went in with him. Things were going good until I heard the mook at the other side of the table complain about his feet hurting. I guess his shoes weren’t comfortable, so he said. Next thing I know Jake catches that same mook pulling cards out of those uncomfortable shoes. Simple bastard, he knew that son of a bitch was one of Claus’ guys. Two a.m. on a Wednesday and I’m breaking up a fight between my best friend and a low level gangster. Freaking Jake, why’d you blow your top?


Next thing I know there’s a man ape throwing us out of the club.

I slapped Jake around good for being such a fool. Outside the club was a vendor selling Turkey legs. He laughed at us and offered us a free leg each. I took one look at them and saw they were burnt to a crisp and said “No thanks.” Next thing I know I get clocked across the jaw with a turkey leg.


Fire. That’s where the taste came from. And that metallic smell coming through is either my blood or “JAKE! Jake you in here.” “I’m here.” He replies sounding like he took a few on the jaw as well. “What the hell Lex?” I hear him try to move. “My guess is Claus’ guys got us.” As if in an answer to my statement old Uncomfortable Shoes shouts at us. “Shut Up back there! I knew we should have plugged em.” Another voice tells Shoes that the boss wanted an example made of us. Then he snickers and says “Ho Ho Ho.” At this Jake begins to freak. Thrashing and kicking like a mad man. My animal instincts make me want to do the same thing. Everyone in town knows what “Ho Ho Ho” means. It’s the code for the punishment Claus deals to his enemies. He stuffs you alive in a chimney over on the east side. Then pours hungry rats on you and seals the chimney. The rest, we wont talk about the rest. If I didn’t know that keeping my head was the best chance of us getting out I’d be flipping like Jake. But I don’t have that luxury. THINK. FEEL. My hands are tied with zip ties but they’re loose, it must have been done quickly. When I get nervous I sweat and right now I’m a greasy sucker. I get my left hand free and slowly remove my blindfold. An Ice Cream truck, hooray I win imminent death. Once I’m sure Claus’ guys cant see me I quietly get my other hand out. I take Jake’s blindfold off shushing him as I look for something sharp to cut him loose. I find a dull box cutter. It barely cuts but it combined with Jake’s strength gets the job done.


We’re mobile but far from out of the woods. Jake keeps apologizing. I tell him to save it till we’re free. Silently we search for anything we can use as a weapon. Nothing, just frozen desserts and Ice, the drug, not H2O in its solid state. CRAP. Jake hangs his head down. “We’ve got no weapons. When that door opens and those two come at us we’re screwed.” I look down at my undershirt, now overshirt. The cold has made my nipples hard a fact that I’m sure Jake would have cracked up at had this been different circumstances. Then I remember what my buddy Jake said the first time I met him and I realize we do have a weapon. Thank goodness I had my epiphany because the truck is pulling over. I lean to Jake “We get one shot at this, don’t waste the moment.” I take off my shirt and hold it behind my back and stand ready. Jake and I have been friends for years and though I call him simple daily he’s got smarts when it matters. He takes his shirt off too and wraps it around his hands. We stand waiting, me directly in front of the door and Jake off to the side. The cabin’s cold should be biting, but I stand shirtless in an ice cream truck, still tasting fire. But this fire comes from inside, it’s a primal force. It’s the flame of survival.


The door begins to open and I adjust my stance. I see Uncomfortable Shoes and his shorter, uglier sidekick before they see me. They bicker about whether to carry us or make us walk while they slowly open the door. The sidekick notices me first. “Holy Crap!” Shoes turns his head to see what his buddy is talking about. He sees me standing topless , my arms behind my back, double D breasts and hourglass firgure free for the world to see. His jaw drops. I’ve done it I’ve utilized the best weapon available to me, SHOCK. Jake and I don’t waist the moment, we ATTACK! Jake tackles Uncomfortable Shoes wrapping his shirt around the cheats neck. I toss the dull box cutter at the sidekick to stop him from grabbing his piece. In a blink I’m out of the cabin, kneeing him in the face on my way down. We make short work of them and tie them up in the truck.


What we should do is off them. They don’t know our real names but we’re pretty distinctive looking and they’ll want us dead. But killing, that’s not us. We call Terry our boy from another town and tell him he can have a free Ice Cream truck if he dumps the two idiots in the back at a police station three towns over. He of course agrees and we make sure they have enough Ice in their pockets to put them away for a long time. As Terry drives off Jake wraps me in a bear hug mumbling “I thought we were dead for sure.” My best friend is an idiot but I love him, so I hug back just as hard. He asks me how I knew my plan would work. I laugh and say “I didn’t. But when we couldn’t find any weapons I remembered the day we met.” He looks confused and asks “The beach in Long Town? We were kids, twelve maybe. How did that help you?” I get my best friend in a headlock. “Yeah we were twelve and my boobs had already grown in. So when I took off my clothes and was in my suit, you said to me.” “Damn who knew you had a body like that under there, you should warn a guy.” Jake recalled laughing. I let him out and laugh too. “You boys so easily stunned by a pair of tits.” Jake makes a honking motion, “Well you do have a great pair.” I slap his hands laughing and say “Perve. Come on let’s get out of here. I’m hungry and everything still tastes like fire.”

Writing Challenge 14: Fire

Created: Jan 17, 2015

Tags: noir, fire, fiction, story, short

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