Flash Fiction: Rose Brand Curtains

Back in November 2010 a friend e-mailed me the message below.  The note struck me as being funny; it seemed random and perhaps intended for another recipient. Here’s the original e-mail and the quick response I cranked out to him. I made a couple edits to protect the innocent and make the posting blog-friendly.

—–Original Message—–

From: Brice

Sent: Monday, November 01, 2010 7:20 PM

To: Matt

Subject: Rose brand curtains?

Have you ever heard of rose brand curtains? I ended up sitting next to one of their salesmen today on the plane to Atlanta. Seemed like a good guy.

Do not believe him. He is not who he says he is. I’m surprised he had the audacity to reveal himself to you.

I met Rich three years ago on the underground race circuit. I had little cash. He fronted me a late model Civic and five hundred dollars earnest money to race Lord Suarez for pinks. Suarez had a Toyota Supra. Rich told me to race for pinks, and when I won (he was confident I would) then I would give him both vehicles and in exchange I would keep the five hundred.

I remember like it was yesterday. It was a Thursday night, about 12:15am at the commercial warehouse park sandwiched between the turnpike and Route 130.

I drove the blue Civic up to loading bay with the sign that read “Imaging Diagnostics, Inc.” There, Suarez’s pal Piper came out, registered me, and held the five bills. The instructions were simple. Three laps around the deserted warehouse complex for a total of three miles.

I was to leave immediately, to drive to the west end of the complex and wait for further instructions. It was there I was met by Lord Suarez in the silver Supra. I looked across at him; he made no eye contact. Within seconds, a race “tree” lit up in the distance. When the green hit, I popped the clutch and pressed my foot to the gas. The turbo inhaled effortlessly, the short-throw shift eased into gear as I pulled ahead from Lord Suarez. It was a tight race throughout the meandering lot of the warehouse complex, but somehow I pulled it off. I managed to beat Lord Suarez for pinks.

As we pulled back to “Imaging Diagnostics, Inc.,” the front for Suarez’s garage, Piper returned handing me my five bills he held as collateral. There, Suarez stepped out from his Supra, only to be surprised when Rich appeared from nowhere, gun in hand. Rich pointed at Suarez and fired a single shot. Suarez stood stunned for a moment, looking down at his chest clutching his shirt looking for a bullet hole.

Rich laughed.

“A blank,” he shouted at Suarez. “Now keep outta my part of town, you son of a b—!”

Suarez gasped for a breath.

“See my friend Matt here? You better not give him any trouble from here on out! He will be watching my territory as I travel to and from Atlanta for the next few years under the guise of Rose Brand Industries.”

With that, Rich walked over to the Supra, reached in and pulled out the keys.

“Have fun, kid” Rich shouted to me as he tossed the keys my way. “Keep the Supra in safe keeping until I come back for it.”

That was four years ago. I lost the Supra three years ago, but that’s a story for another day.

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I am Matt Robb, a technology and fiction writer. Continue reading →

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