Odds & Ends: A Collection of Short Fiction (EP)

Odds & Ends: A Collection of Short Fiction

The Blue Eyes

      Hordes of people rushed in and out of the strip mall as if Black Friday had started early. 
      John-Mark gripped his trash bag tightly and squinted. “There’s too many people, Gary. We’re likely to get hurt.” 
      The blue and yellow Best Buy sign flickered off and on, and a resounding crash echoed across the parking lot. A woman screamed, “That’s mine – hands off.”
       John-Mark ducked behind a turned over cop car. Its engine sparked and shot flame across the ground in front of it. “No Gary, this isn’t the place. Look.” He pointed toward the shopping center. People rushed around carrying flat panel TVs, game systems, and expensive video cameras.  The lucky made it through the broken windows or out the doors before they were trampled, very few escaped with their loot intact.  “It’s pointless to go there; we couldn’t get out with anything.” 
       John-Mark shook his head. “No. We need to go somewhere else.”
       Gary nodded. “You’re right. We need to try somewhere else our first time.” Gary motioned up the street. “How ‘bout there. You know those stores? Got to be something good there, and there are fewer people.”
       John-Mark shrugged. “Alright.” He followed Gary. They snaked their way ducking behind abandoned cars, industrial trash bins, and shrubbery. 
      “Careful.”  Gary tugged at John-Mark’s arm pulling him behind a large box shrub. Gun shots fired as protesters marched down the street holding picket signs. Stereos blared, from the front of the line, screaming death metal at a volume that made the sounds indistinguishable in the chaos.  
       The large blue-eyed man in the center spoke through a megaphone inciting the looters. “Ain’t right, being persecuted, downtrodden all because of the color of a man’s skin!  Reject authority, my brothers. Take back the street. Make it burn ‘til those fascists maggots understand. This is our time, and that time is now!”  
      John-Mark cocked his eyebrow, “Did that make sense to you, Gary?”
     “None of this makes sense if you think about it. So, don’t.”
     John-Mark shivered. “Was this a good idea? Maybe we should go home?”
    “It’s too late. We’re committed. Come on.”  
     They watched as the crowd of blue eyes past down the street.  Brick dust swirled through the air. 
     John-Mark studied Gary’s face. “Good, your contacts are still in. Are mine?”
     Gary gave him a quick glance. “Yep.” He pulled his ski mask down covering his broad smile. “Let’s go.”
     John-Mark pulled his mask down.  “Now or never I guess.”
    The men charged across the parking lot, industrial strength trash bags in hand.
    Blue eyes swarmed in and out of the Dollar Store but didn’t give them a second look. The men rushed through the broken window oblivious to the news crew filming their every move.
    The reporter held a mike in front of her perfectly bowed lips. “Have you ever seen anyone so desperate as to loot the Dollar Store?” A smile filled her brown eyes, as she shook her head. “I’ll never understand the mind of protesters.”
     The cameraman laughed. “It’s not our job to understand, just report.”
     She nodded. “Yep.”  Sirens filled the air, and she stifled a giggle. “Looks like those Dollar Store looters are fixing to get more than they were searching for.  Get the footage.”
     The cameraman pointed his camera at the front of the store, as officers swooped in through the broken glass. Blue eyes ran from the store, but several looters, including, two dressed in black wearing black ski masks were lead out in cuffs.
     John-Mark and Gary lay on the sidewalk, nose pressed to its rough surface, arms cuffed behind their backs. 
     A dark-haired officer stood above them.
    John-Mark whispered to Gary. “News, arrest, and a record, all for a dollar’s worth of stool softener.”

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