This week’s flash fiction challenge from Terribleminds.com was about anti-hero’s or ‘unlikable protagonists’.
“You’ve got up to 1000 words to write a tale featuring an unlikable protagonist that still remains readable and compelling.”
This was a lot harder than I thought it would be.Writing a hero is relatively easy, a unlikable one not that easy at all and trying to make it compelling even for a 1000 words was well into ‘tricky’. Nevertheless, I wrote something and the hero is certainly unlikable but is he compelling? Well you’ll have to be the judge on that. Oh, this one includes a fair old smattering of naughty words so don’t read it if you’re easily offended.
Judge and comment…
The Last Straw
‘Oh come on, seriously? How long does it take to get your goddamn money.’ Sam tapped his foot and played with the cheque in his hands. Sam just wanted to go home, he didn’t want to be in a queue wasting those last few years of his life at the bank watching some old biddy talk the teller to death.
He looked down the queue towards the old woman talking to the teller. The teller nodded and smiled back at the woman with false cheeriness. Sam looked at his watch; fifteen minutes had already passed. There was only one other person in front of him, but this old woman just wasn’t shutting up.
Sam wanted to scream a tirade of insults at her ‘What the hell are you playing at? Just shut the fuck up already’ he thought.
Eventually the old woman popped something into a small leather handbag and left the counter, smiling at the teller as the young man in front of Sam stepped up to take her place. The man mumbled something to the cashier and reached into a canvas bag hanging over his shoulder and brought out a small book. He passed it to the teller who stamped it and handed it back to him. After which he walked out the bank. Sam breathed a sigh of relief and walked up to the counter, ready to hand over the cheque.
‘Can I pay this cheque in?’ Sam said holding it out to the teller.
‘Everybody on the floor. Now!’ Came a voice from behind him.
A look of fear crossed the teller’s face. Sam looked behind him. He saw people lying down on the floor; mother’s held their children and people held their loved ones. In the midst of it all a man wearing black, pointed a handgun around the room. An elderly security guard stood up to face him, drawing his weapon.
‘Don’t be a hero Granddad.’ The robber said pointing his gun towards the guard. ‘Drop your gun and slide it over here.’ The guard seemed hesitant ‘Either drop your gun or I start shooting people. Nobody has to die here today.’
The old guard dropped his gun, slid it over to the robber and then got down on the floor with the rest of the customers.
‘For fuck’s sake’ Sam thought as he stood and watched the guard cowering. ‘He’s supposed to protect us from shit like this. If he’s too old to do the fucking job they should get someone younger.’
‘You! On the floor.’ The robber said pointing his gun at Sam.
‘I just want this cheque paid.’ Sam said, his heart thumping and his pride stopping him from backing down.
‘Did you not hear me? Get on the ground or I start shooting.’
‘I said, I just want to pay this cheque in.’ Sam repeated in a low calm voice.
‘Do as I say or I will shoot you.’
Sam turned around and for the first time saw the robber. Through the dark balaclava, Sam saw the robber’s eyes. His fear disappeared and was replaced by anger, more anger than he had ever felt.
‘What? What did you say? You’re going to shoot me?’
The robber’s gun-hand wavered. ‘Yeah, you heard me. Down on the ground or I’ll shoot you.’
‘Just who the fuck do you think you are? You come in here waving a gun around, threatening people. Well I know your type and I know you. You’re special. You don’t have to work. Oh no, you can just take what ever you need, it doesn’t matter who you hurt. After all everyone else is just here to kiss your ass and call you king. People like you wander through their uncaring, greedy self-important lives not giving a shit about anyone but themselves, and you know what? No-ones ever gonna give a shit about them either and no-ones ever going to give a shit about you.’
‘Shut up, you don’t know me.’ The robber’s youth was now clear in his voice.
‘I don’t know you? Let me tell you something. The world has not been made just for you. One of these days you’re going to have to work for a living; give something back to this shit world instead of just taking everything you want.’
‘Please, just get on the floor.’ The robber said pleading.
‘Shut the fuck up, and listen to me.’ Sam roared at the robber, the robber’s hand shook uncontrollably. ‘Out of everything I have to deal with in this terrible fucking world, you know what I hate the most? Cowards. You’re a fucking coward. Now why don’t you go? In fact do the world a favour and fucking kill yourself before anyone makes the mistake of loving you. ’
‘I just wanted…’
‘Wanted what? Daddies love? People to not think you’re a complete waste of space? Maybe you’re just compensating for your tiny dick, I don’t care why you’re doing this if you think that this is going to impress me, then I want nothing more to do with you.’ Sam knocked the gun out of the robber’s hand with one swipe. ‘Just get the fuck out of here!’
‘I’m… I’m sorry, Dad.’ The robber said before running out of the bank sobbing.
Sam turned back round to the counter and slammed the cheque down in front of the teller. ‘I’ll deal with him later. Now can I please just pay this fucking cheque in?’