Week 5 of the 100-words-per-week Serial Novel (which is technically Flash Fiction) exercise at the Writing Forum has come and gone. Over a month ago, I’m afraid .
Still, I owe you the conclusion to my wee story . So, without further ado, the end of What Price, Charlie? (Working Title)
Amber hooch was the hardest to fake.
That’s what Edna the waitress had told Charlie the night the raid evacuated them to the alley.
He called her Daisy. She was beautiful and a little helpless, like the flower.
And, tonight, he needed one-hundred proof courage to ask her out. One perk of working in a gin joint was the gin, amber colored or otherwise. He didn’t care that it was made in someone’s bathtub.
He downed his drink. But before he could utter a word, the muscled brute they called The Doctor walked in, marched right up to Daisy and grabbed the back of her hair, holding her captive.
“Are you a common tramp, now Edna? Are you? I’ve seen you with that piano boy.”
The man wrenched her across the counter toward him. “We made a deal, doll. Remember? As long as you’re my gal, your family don’t go down in flames. That’s what we call in the business an In—” slap “—fie—” slap “—night—” slap “—Agreement. You got that, Edna? Constant. Forever.” He shoved her backward, the movement causing her to stumble.
“Now, bring me some brown. I’ll be in my office.”
In a weird show of forced diplomacy, Charlie had waited behind the club as Daisy asked instead of bashing in the Doctor’s face with his elbow. Now, he watched in amazement as his gritty blonde walked toward him, head high.
“Run away with me Daisy. We can have a happy life somewhere that maniac will never find us.”
“And leave my family here to suffer? I can’t do that, Charlie. I’m sorry. The Doctor has documents falsely implicating my father in a bank heist and I’m the only thing between him and jail.”
“Then we have to get those documents!”
They chose the evening of Frank Capone’s funeral–a lavish, invitation-only affair for the city’s most twisted and greedy, the Doctor among them—for the caper.
Charlie slid the key Daisy handed him into the lock, grateful they’d brought the lantern despite its grainy radiance.
“It’s just over here, in the office,” she whispered.
A match sizzled from within the dark room. “That you, Doll? I’ve been waiting for you.”
Daisy shoved Charlie toward to door. “Go! I’ll be alright. He loves me, remember.”
She raised the lamp. “I wanted to surpri—”
Gunfire erupted and Charlie watched her fall.
Charlie was alone in the cemetery. Her funeral was yesterday.
Hours after her death, he had formulated a plan, knowing the police would not deliver justice. Even now, the project to sabotage the Doctor’s organization was underway, cryptic pieces of the puzzle falling into place.
He plucked a petal from the daisy he clutched in his hand, let it flutter to her grave, then plucked another. “Kill the bastard. Kill him not,” he intoned, mocking the rhyme. “Kill the bastard. Kill him not.”
A gust blew the blooms off the mounded dirt as the last petal fell. “Kill the bastard.”