This story is a part of the Alphabet Superset Challenge.
The challenge is the creation of Cam Walker (Struthless - YouTube). He realised that creative people often don't put their work out for public viewing and he wanted to change that.
Alphabet Superset challenges creatives of all kinds to produce and publish work every week for 26 weeks. Creatives choose their own topics, mediums, etc, but each week is dedicated to a letter of the alphabet.
Each week I will be writing and posting a piece of flash fiction of approximately 1,000 words. Each story will be available for a week and then it will be replaced with the next story. At the end of the challenge I will put all the stories into one anthology. I am using Roget's Thesaurus as my inspiration. The first word of each section will dictate the idea for the story.
You can find out more about the Alphabet Superset HERE.
B - Babble
Copyright Alison Clifford 2023
‘babble- n. dribble, gabble, jabbering, twaddle, cackle, chatter, prattle, chitchat.’ Roget’s Thesaurus, 1990, Ottenheimer Publishers Inc.
A gun shoved in my face was the first clue that not all was right.
“Give me all your money!”
“Shut up and hand it over,” the woman with the gun snarled from behind her mask.
“I don’t have any money.”
The gun pressed against the side of my nose. “Bullshit. I just saw you at the ATM. Hand it over.”
“I don’t. I mean, it's not mine. The money’s not for me, so I can’t give it to you.” All true, and I was more scared of the owner of the cash than the woman with the gun.
The woman didn’t know that, and she grabbed for my bag.
“No!” I hung on and pulled back, ripping it out of the woman’s grip. One point for me. Zero for her. But she had a gun. And her eyes scowled at me.
“Last chance. Give it to me.”
“I can’t. It belongs to my boss and he’s more scary than you and I have to get it to him fast or he’ll hurt me real bad and I really don’t want that. He’s done it before and I lost a tooth. See?” I opened my mouth for a second to display the gap. “And if I get him his money, he’s says he’s going to release me from the debt I owe him and I REALLY want that to happen because he scares the shit out of me. And he might go after my family, and they don’t know about him, and then I’ll get in trouble with them and…”
The gun no longer pressed against my nose. I breathed a little easier.
“Then we have a problem,” the woman said. “Because if I don’t get MY boss some money in the next hour, I’m dead.”
She nodded. “So my need is greater than yours.”
“Who is your boss?”
“Who is yours?”
The woman’s eyes widened. “Mine too.”
“Did he send you after me?”
She shook her head. “I just saw you coming away from the ATM and I saw the cash in your hand.”
“Are you sure?”
She frowned and the gun lowered. “Yeah.”
“He didn’t say ‘rob a woman coming from an ATM’ or anything? Because it would be like him to do that, don’t you know? He’s such a treacherous bastard and I don’t trust him…”
“But you said he would release you from your debt.”
“That’s hope, not trust. A whole different thing. I hope he’ll keep his word and release the debt. I mean, I could trust him, but he’s not always kept his word for other people, so that’s why I said it was hope, even though he…”
The gun came up again. “Shut. Up.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” I raised my hands slightly. “No need for that. I mean, we’re both losers here, and both winners. We could work this out so neither of us gets in further trouble and nothing bad happens. It’s too nice a day for bad things to happen or to be doing bad things. Though I guess giving money to a…” I glanced around and lowered my voice, “criminal, isn’t nice. We have to be honest and call Danny a criminal.” My gaze rested on the gun. “And sure, you’re holding a gun and trying to rob me, but you haven’t yet, so we can both walk away from this and…”
“Will you keep your mouth shut?”
I pressed my lips together and nodded as the gun waved in my face.
“Good. Now give me the money.”
The gun was back against my nose. I shook my head and squeezed my eyes closed. The woman ripped the bag out of my hands and I heard her run off. I opened one eye a slit and then opened both fully. The woman was gone, along with the money I owed Danny. And I had no more. How was I going to get it back? Go to Danny?
I clenched my teeth, started off down the alley and back onto the street. There was no sign of the woman. People were walking past, intent on where they were going. “Excuse me?”
The man spared me a glance and then kept on walking.
A lady did the same thing. Why did no one want to help anymore? I took a deep breath and walked to the end of the block and then ducked back behind the corner. Cops. I peered around the corner again and my eyes widened. Time for some acting. I ruffled up my hair, took some rapid breaths, and then ran around the corner.
“Oh! Help! Police, help!” I stumbled up to them. “Oh! Thank goodness you got her!”
“Ma’am?” The officer pointed to where his partner was cuffing a woman. A mask hung around her neck and my handbag sat on the ground beside her. “Do you know this lady?”
I nodded and then shook my head. “She just stole my handbag.” I pointed to it. “I’d just been to the ATM,” I waved my hand in the general direction I’d come from, “and she pulled out a gun and grabbed my bag.”
“Liar!” the woman snarled.
“You did! You ripped my bag from my arms.”
The woman glared at me as the first police officer retrieved my bag and opened it. “Do you have any ID on you?”
“No, it’s all in the bag. I’d just gone to the ATM to get some cash to give to my old mum and that woman,” I glared back at her, “took my bag. All my ID is in it, along with the money for my mum. My name is Stephanie Wallace,” I recited my address. “Can I please have my bag back as mum needs the money to pay for her medicines and she only likes cash, you know how some of the older generation is, so I had to get the cash and mum is waiting for it, and I need to get home before the pharmacy closes and she can’t get more medicine.” I lowered my voice. “She’s a bit silly, my mum. She leaves everything to the last minute.”
The police officer pushed my driver’s licence back into the bag and handed it to me. “I’ll need a statement from you.”
“Of course. I’ll just take this money to mum and then I’ll come down to the station.”
I gave the officer a smile, smirked at the woman, and walked away.