So I wanted to do something to get me writing right away in the new year. Flash fiction story, under 1k. Simple enough, right? Well, here’s my story. Although it’s not really a story, rather the opening to a longer work that mixes scripting and prose, and it’s 1032 words long, not under. Enjoy.
Long Shot of an idyllic Midwestern university town on a football Saturday. The frame is occupied mostly by the enormous stadium in the school’s colors. The rest of the town is painted in cool fall colors. Everything is beautiful and perfect except a small text box in the bottom right corner:
The end of The Quarterback’s charmed existence began with a blonde and two black defensive ends.
A collage of family and newspaper photos scattered across the page tell The Quarterback’s story—
Raised to be the perfect quarterback by a father with more ambition than talent or common sense, our boy was subjected to a strict upbringing that began as far back as the timing and positioning of his conception. The methods may have been crass and questionable, but the results were hard to ignore. Starting in junior high and exploding in high school, The Quarterback was stronger, faster, smarter, and just plain better than most people his age and older.
He was highly recruited by the top schools in multiple sports before settling on the top University in his home state of Michigan. His dad wanted Florida or Texas, The Quarterback wanted to be close to Detroit. Because, you see, the one thing that was never calculated into the complex formula for The Quarterback’s creation was his complete lack of passion for football.
The Detroit Skyline. Dark. Ominous. Huge.
Reading for pleasure was encouraged by The Quarterback’s father as part of a broad liberal arts curriculum that he thought would breed the independent thought and problem solving skills an elite quarterback needed for tough decisions. The only disagreement came when he discovered comic books. The Punisher. Preacher. Batman. These were the ones The Quarterback was drawn too. Men with exceptional skills using them for good, not for the public’s entertainment or for money. His father didn’t like them because he said it would ruin The Quarterback’s vision. He was right, and that pissed off The Quarterback. So he embraced the new vision. He liked thinking in splash pages and text boxes and thought bubbles. Everything around him turned to the smeared primary color world he loved so much.
The better he became as a quarterback, the more bored he became with the game. He needed something to stave off the boredom and keep him in his comic book world a little longer each day and found the perfect opportunity on a weekend trip to Detroit a Lions game.
The Quarterback went drinking with some teammates and a few girlfriends. They got drunk, The Quarterback didn’t. It made him sleepy and depressed. They wandered off into an alley near one of the bars and they were attacked by a pair of street thugs. Instinct kicked in and The Quarterback was in his two minute offense. He read their rushes perfectly and disabled them permanently. The bodied were hidden in an abandoned blood bank which The Quarterback burned to the ground a day later. His companions didn’t remember any of it, the police never came asking, and The Quarterback was hooked.
He started patrolling the streets of Detroit at night protecting white people from black teenagers and homeless folks. Nobody ever complained, the bodies were never found, and The Quarterback reveled in his new life. By his junior year he was excelling on the field and in the alleys. His father was pressuring him to enter the NFL draft, but The Quarterback was looking to go pro as a vigilante. He wanted to play on the same field as the big guys. He wanted to go up against the best villains.
NEW YORK CITY, 2001
He was in town for the NFL Draft telecast. Every year a few of the top prospects are invited to the ceremony so they can immediately become the new faces of struggling and embarrassing franchises. New York City was far from struggling and embarrassing, but The Quarterback wanted to be the new face of their safety. What he didn’t count on was something he forgot, something he never even considered in Detroit.
Black people visited New York City to do more than attack white people.
The Quarterback was also operating at less than peak capacity. He still didn’t drink alcohol, but he found cocaine and ecstasy helped him work through the boredom of his everyday life while giving him plenty of energy to balance football with his nighttime activities.
It also fucked his brain like a prison bitch.
So when he saw the two black guys molesting the blonde in the alley he missed two key clues that could have prevented his demise.
- The blonde was enjoying it
- The guys were fast off the edges when The Quarterback tried to break them up. Very fast. Like top college prospect, NFL draft caliber fast.
The guys kicked his ass, then called the cops. The blonde claimed The Quarterback raped her. Nobody bought The Quarterback’s version. That was a very bad time to be claiming to beat up on anybody other than Arabs and plenty of real people in uniform had stepped up to be heroes without violence.
What about his coach? His mentor? His surrogate father? He’d surely come to The Quarterback’s rescue. Except…
He was the newly minted defensive coordinator for an embarrassing NFL franchise looking to draft a top defensive end.
And his daughter was the blonde.
So The Quarterback got his ass sent up to federal prison for where being faster, stronger, and smarter than everybody else just made him a target. A pretty, athletic, prestigious, target.
Back to the present, we’re in a Denny’s someplace warm. Probably LA because The Quarterback did some stunt work during a brief recovery from his downward spiral. The Coach and The Quarterback are older now, sitting across from each other.
“My daughter’s missing,” The Coach says.
“She’s in Detroit, I think. With one of those guys who, you know, back then.”
“I want to go there,” The Coach says. “And kill him.”
“I want you to come with me. To help.”
Several frames pass. The Quarterback has the same look on his face but says nothing.
Others I dragged into this mess (updated as the day progresses)