Some Things Just Aren’t Worth It (Flash Fiction)

Here’s a piece of flash fiction about desperate people and robberies. It’s about 430 words and has an estimated reading time of about 2 minutes. Let me know what you think!

“There’s no one coming to save us, you fool,” Eric said. “No one cares about us, and we need to look out for ourselves, right?”

He was probably right, though I wished he wasn’t. I still wasn’t sure I wanted to go through with the this, though. My high was fading, and I could feel my hands shaking from nervousness. But I hadn’t eaten anything in two days, and I was desperate just like him. Eric punched me in the arm and told me to “man up.” We stood outside the 7-Eleven, draped in the shadows of the alleyway, where the cashier and no one else could see us.

“But we don’t even have a gun. How are we going to do this?”

“Pretend you have a gun,” Eric said. “It’s easy. Believe me.”

I was Eric’s sidekick. I learned early on when I became homeless that you need to run with other folks to make it. Form somewhat of a gang to look out for each other. This doesn’t always mean doing crime, but sometimes it does. We liked to think of ourselves as urban hunters and gatherers, a throwback to earlier ancient times but with a modern twist.

“Alright, enough of this shit. Follow me,” Eric commanded.

He stormed through the store’s front entrance with his hand in his jacket pocket, making it appear he had a gun. I stumbled in behind him ineptly, nearly losing my footing and falling over. “Okay, motherfucker!” Eric yelled at the teenage clerk. “Open up the fucking register and empty it out!”

What Eric wasn’t planning on, but maybe we should’ve thought of, was that the cashier was armed. Shit, it’s America; everyone has a gun, right?

The cashier looked no older than seventeen, with the acne and bad haircut to prove it, but he drew a semi-automatic handgun from underneath the register and fired quickly and proficiently.

The kid aimed for the chest and fired almost point-blank, and Eric flew backward into shelves of candy and merchandise. It’s then I think I pissed myself and fell over. I knew Eric was probably dead, or at least he’d be finished soon, and I wasn’t sure what the kid would do.

“Please,” I begged. “Don’t shoot. It wasn’t my idea.”

I could already hear the police sirens nearby. The kid didn’t say a word, just kept the gun pointed at me until the cops showed up.

I served some time, but I’m out now. Eric’s dead, obviously, or at least I think so. I’m still homeless and commit petty crimes every so often, but I’ll never try to stick up a store again. Some things just aren’t worth it.

The End

(Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash)

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