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I recently entered a Flash Fiction contest and Katie asked to read my submission, so here it is my friend. It’s goofy, no doubt. This was my first attempt at Flash Fiction – bear with me. This contest requires writing a 1,000 word story with assigned elements and submitting it in 48 hours.

(P.S. – The contest is still happening. I miraculously received points on my first entry, but have no unrealistic expectations of making it much further. And that’s ok. I was elated to have received any points at all on my first attempt.)

My assignment: In no more than 1,000 words, write a story in the “Crime Caper” genre that is set in a bicycle shop and includes a glass eye at some point. You have 48 hours – GO!

Quick Change

     Tally estimated the alarms had been blaring for three minutes. She held her backpack up to another display case and swept the items off the shelf into her bag.

     “We’ve gotta finish this up and get out now,” she yelled at Joe.

     “I know, I know.” His backpack was bulging. “That’s enough. I’m sure it’s even more than McNally hoped for. Let’s go.”

     The couple slipped out the backdoor and into the alley. Their heavy packs bucked and bounced against their backs as they sprinted down the block.

     Out of breath, Tally burst through the backdoor of Benjamin’s Bargain Bikes and into the cluttered workshop. Joe was right behind her, urging her forward and out of his way.

     “We’ve got maybe ten minutes until the cops start scouring the area. We need to change as fast as we can and get the hell out of here,” he said. A glance back down the alleyway confirmed they hadn’t been followed, so he bolted the door. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this.”

     “It’s going to be fine. Trust me,” she said. “Benjamin, we’re here,” Tally hollered toward the show room as she shrugged off the small but heavy backpack.

     “You don’t have to yell,” Ben shouted back. “Everything you asked for is in the supply closet, Tally.”

     Dodging dismantled bike frames, Tally hurried to the closet. Joe wasn’t ready for it when she tossed a set cycling clothes at him. The garments hit him the chest and landed in a heap on the greasy floor. He grimaced.

      “I’m going to get dressed in here,” she said and shut herself inside.

      “Why? I see you naked every day.”

      “Well, Benjamin doesn’t,” she said.

      Joe took off his clothes and stashed them in a barrel of used gear lubricant. He grabbed the bike shorts off the floor and looked at them, unamused. “This is not going to happen. My ass is not going to fit in these shorts, Tally. We don’t have time for games! Shit.”

     “Make it work,” Tally said. “We need to look like recreational bicyclists. It’s the fastest way to get across town and make the delivery to McNally.”

     After wrangling herself into the cycling attire, Tally emerged from the closet in a neon-yellow outfit that clung tight in all the right places. Joe however, was going to split a seam if he took too deep a breath. Both of their shirts sported Benjamin’s triple-B logo in the largest possible font.

     “How do I look?” Tally waggled her hips at Joe and twirled.

     “Could you be any more conspicuous?” Joe blurted. “Neon is going to draw everyone’s attention and once they see you in that getup they won’t be able to take their eyes off you.” Joe turned toward the sales floor, “Benjamin, are kidding me?! These shirts have your logo on them, are you trying to implicate yourself? Shit.”

     “No, man. It’s advertisin’,” Benjamin said. “Yowza Miss Tally, you’re lookin’ fine.” His toothy grin was overshadowed by the hollowed out socket of his right eye.

     “Thanks Benny Boy,” Tally said in a falsetto, punctuated with a seductive wink.

     An involuntary shiver shot up Joe’s spine when he looked at Ben. “Jesus H. Christ,” he muttered. “Benjamin! How many times do I have to tell you that I cannot look at you when you look like that? Where the hell is your eye? Put it back in for Christ’s sake. And what’s with Tally’s clothes? She’s going to stand out like a bikini model on a giraffe hunt.”

     “That’s the idea,” Ben said. He fished a glass eye out of his jeans pocket and popped it into his mouth as if it were an oversized gumball. After sufficiently lubing it, he slipped it into his face. Tally laughed when Joe cringed. Ben massaged his eye with the heel of his hand, “Cops won’t be lookin’ for people ridin’ bikes down the street, ‘specially a sexy one that’s attractin’ attention. They’ll be lookin’ for shady hoodlums lurkin’ in the alleyways. Why’d anyone want to hunt giraffe?”

     “Because they’re idiots,” Tally said strapping on a shoe. “You do look good in those shorts, Hot Stuff. That crotch padding is really flattering on you.” She gave Joe an affectionate pat on the butt as she went to grab their packs. She slipped them into larger bags embellished with the BBB logo.

     “Yeah. Right,” said Joe. He snatched a bag from Tally and slung it over his shoulders. “Let’s get a move on.”

     The two bikes Benjamin had prepped for them were parked on the sales floor. As they fastened helmets and adjusted seat heights, the bell attached to the front door jangled. They turned their heads in unison, but did not react in the slightest as two police officers made their way toward the sales counter.

     “There’s been a robbery a few shops up. Who’s the owner of this store? We have some questions,” one of the policemen said.

     “I am sir. I’ll be right with you.” Benjamin made a production of thanking Joe and Tally for their dedicated patronage and held the front door open so they could wheel their bikes out. Tally thanked him for his stellar customer service. One of the cops whistled his approval of Tally’s outfit as the couple exited the store. Tally smirked at Joe.

     Outside, she pouted in her falsetto, “You may owe our Benny an apology.” Mischief shined in her eyes as she mounted her bike, “Our silly disguises seem to have worked after all.”    

     “You may be right,” said Joe, relieved to be out of the shop. “By the way, that cop might have been whistling at me, you know.” Joe pushed away from the curb.

     She admired his butt as he pedaled off. His shirt was riding up and his ass crack was visible just above the waistline of his bike shorts. She couldn’t help but smile. Maybe he was, Hot Stuff. Maybe he was.

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