Flash Fiction Sunday: Pizza at Christmas

First in a series of short works designed to keep my creative brain honest. For the purposes of this exercise “flash fiction” is considered anything shorter than 500 words.

I hate my girlfriend. I don’t actually hate her, of course. But when you’re trudging through four inches of snow toward an ATM because someone ordered pizza without checking to see if we had any cash in the house, you have to at least try and hate them.

There’s a line at the ATM. Its eleven P.M. on Christmas Eve and there’s a line at the damn ATM. Makes you hate cosmopolitan society. No cosmopolitan society means no ATM. It also means nowhere delivering pizza at midnight on Christmas. Either way, in that parallel universe, I’m still at home. Lucky bastard. I take my place in the freezing queue. Stamp my feet, clap my hands. The usual. A bum comes up to me.

He looks at me and tells me I took his wallet.
I didn’t take his wallet.

He crosses his mismatched eyes and shuffles his shoe-less feet and tells me, again, I took his wallet. I re-explain my counter-point. I tell him I am not into petty larceny. And taking this guys wallet would be extremely petty larceny. He doesn’t look the kind of person to understand the long words. I cut my syllable ration, explain again. He looks at my wallet. Says it’s his. I tell him it definitely isn’t.

Something hits me in the chest. It doesn’t feel very hard, yet i seem to be falling. I didn’t hear a sound, and yet my ears are ringing. I didn’t see the gun, but I’m still bleeding.

The world is spinning. Someone is screaming. The line at the ATM has dispersed into dots that spread to the horizon. The bum stands over me, I tell him to wait. I tell him the pizza guy is coming. I tell him my girlfriend will be so embarrassed if he arrives and she can’t pay.

Then he shoots me again.
I’m dying in the gutter on Christmas Eve.
And he took my wallet.

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