Welcome to the fifty-first in the series: 5pm Fiction.
Late April 2011 I discovered http://StoryADay.org and the project that is to write 31 stories in 31 days. Anyone who knows me or follows this blog, knows how passionate I am about short stories so my clichéd eyes lit up at this new marvel. And just a few days later there I was, breathing life into new characters. This went on to become (with some editing of course) my 31-story collection eBook Story A Day May 2011.
I was nearing completion of the 2012 project when I decided that I didn’t want to stop at the end of May so 5PM Fiction was born. I put a load of prompts on the 5PM Fiction page and today’s was to write a story from the prompt word ‘stagger’, so here is my 398-worder.
No threat to customers
They had a plan: stagger their arrival so it wouldn’t look suspicious. Trev would go in first – pretend to open a new account while Sam queued up with a bag of change so it looked as if he was paying money in. Barry to burst in like a lone gunman who could be overpowered by the customers, given the chance.
They’d all be wearing black – nothing strange about that – baggy tops with pockets to conceal their guns.
Trev would already be seated, ready to tell the employee that he had a gun under the table, nudge him or her with it to drive home the point.
Sam would grab the nearest customer and, arm round neck as swimmers do when pretending to save a life, growl in her ear… a woman, easier target.
Trev was the quiet one, the negotiator who had got them out or more than one sticky situation.
Barry was the newest but liked the drama. He’d sit in the van with Robbie, who kept the engine running just in case, then wait ’til half past and pretend to be a character from The Sweeney that he’d watched his dad all those years before.
Norman Talbot, Greenslade Bank’s Manager for over thirty years, didn’t like change but when Greenslade Bank’s head office appointed a new Chairman, Nick Daniels, he nodded at the letter and filed it away.
When the letter came through talking about new uniforms, he nodded at that too, and put it with its predecessor. He mentioned both at the weekly staff meeting and nodded at the rumbles amongst his colleagues.
Informed of the fire drill, he and his deputy led out everyone out of the building when the alarm went off.
The latest letter told of a simulated bank robbery, the nod was accompanied with a tut but again Norman passed on the information to his colleagues. ‘No threat to customers’ the letter had read and it was again filed away.
Even that it was raining when they got there didn’t matter, they’d coped with rain and everything was going to plan until the woman Sam grabbed decided to put up a fight. Sam flung her to the ground in an instant but not before Barry had fired a shot into the bank’s ceiling.
“Hey!” Norman shouted, “Mr Daniels didn’t say anything about this.”
“Who?” Barry said, before lowering his shotgun.
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Unfortunately, as I post an interview a day (amongst other things) I can’t review books but I have a feature called ‘Short Story Saturdays’ where I review stories of up to 2,500 words. Alternatively if you have a short story or self-contained novel extract / short chapter (ideally up to 1000 words) that you’d like critiqued and don’t mind me reading it / talking about and critiquing it (I send you the transcription afterwards so you can use the comments or ignore them) on my ‘Bailey’s Writing Tips’ podcast, then do email me. They are weekly episodes, usually released Monday mornings UK time, interweaving the recordings between the red pen sessions with the hints & tips episodes. I am now also looking for flash fiction (<1000 words) for Flash Fiction Fridays and poetry for Post-weekend Poetry.