Laid Off

My submission for week #2 of the Writer’s Carnival over at The Four Part Land on the topic of ‘Fallen Angels.

Laid Off

The bar was gloomy and quiet for this time on a Friday night. The occasional clinking of pool balls punctuated the patrons’ murmuring. Some stared at their drinks, others up at the muted TV mounted above the rows of cheap malts and bootleg liquor.

The stranger, a woman, standing patiently at the bar, looked as if she had strolled straight off the pages of some pulp gumshoe tale. Long legs sloped out from beneath her sandy trenchcoat, hair so blonde it was almost white.

He was supposed to have a brain tumour. I took it for him. Hurt like hell

“Can I get you a drink sweetie?” asked the old boy sitting nearest her, pushing up his tatty baseball cap.

“You know I used to love you people” replied the woman, though more to herself and the wooden counter than the man sitting next to her. “I dedicated my life to looking after you all. Always tried to stop too many bad things from happening to people.”

“You a social worker or something?” asked the man.

“Something like that” she replied, amused. Then removed a pack of smokes from her tiny clutch bag, placing one in her flawless, ruby red lips and lighting it. “You see that wanna-be pimp in the corner, he was supposed to have a brain tumour. I took it for him. Hurt like hell. That greasy haired woman shaking like she needs another fix already – not nearly as old as she looks. Her brother used to touch her at night. So I threw him under an express train.”

The old boy turned back to the flickering TV screen wishing he hadn’t started this conversation. The woman didn’t seem to care, exhaling a long jet of smoke from her pursed lips and holding the little, white stick up in front of her, examining it as if she had never really seen one up close before.

“I’ve spent my entire existence cleaning up after you people, taking your pain for you. And what thanks do I get? I get laid off that’s what.” She stubbed the half-smoked cigarette out now and began unbuckling the tight belt of her trenchcoat, drawing the attention of a few pairs of eyes, hungry for a glimpse of female flesh. “Credit crunch has been affecting everywhere they said. Even up there. Cutbacks had to be made they said – for the greater good they told me.”

The coat was undone now and she let it slip carelessly from her shoulders to the floor. But the onlookers didn’t get the peep show they’d been hoping for. They started to scream. Their faces, the ones that still had their faces, were still locked in that expression of terror the next day when the team of forensic investigators arrived.

Title image courtesy edwinland

Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 8:40 PM  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. She should go take it out on Wall Street, not some poor schmoes in a bar. Pissed off angel with a fiery sword is sort of fitting at some stock exchanges. “I hear there’s a run on sulfur!”

    • Ha ha – maybe that’s where she went next!

  2. Chilling story! Well done.

    • Cheers for that Cathryn – if you thought that was chilling just wait till you read The Snigger Man.

  3. There’s some dark humor in there I really enjoyed. Hmm, I wonder if she’s found a new employer?

  4. […] boxes tied with string, which looked as if they hadn’t been opened since the end of the War Laid Off by David D Sharp The effects of the credit crunch are being felt […]

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