Monday, 20 November 2017

The Story That Won First Prize

This is the story which won me that Amazon gift card. The one I'm using to buy anyone who wants one, a copy of any book you want (of mine - see google form at the bottom.) What I like about winning a prize with this story is that it's one of my crazy wacko concepts and frankly I was expecting it to be thrown out without ceremony. If you know me at all you know I like to avoid the beaten path when it comes to storytelling. I'd rather beat on the poison ivy with a machete than take the pig path. Only in my head of course. Real nature has chameleons and snakes...I'm gonna take the road. 
So here it is. 
Comments are love.

Copyright © 2017 by Annemarie Musawale All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Clyde and His Bonnie

Iman wiped his shoes on the rug outside of the bar. Sure, this was some Podunk town in Texas and the way the wind was blowing dust everywhere…his gesture was probably pointless. But that wasn’t the point of wiping his shoes anyway. He wanted these small town hicks to know he was a civilized gentleman with manners. With his dusky skin and curly hair, it was necessary.
The bartender looked up as he walked in, an assessing look in his eye. He looked down again and continued dusting the counter so Iman guessed he’d passed the test. He ambled slowly up to the counter, taking in every aspect of the room.
This was a dying town, a relic of happier days before the assembly plant was outsourced overseas. Iman was probably the first stranger they’d seen in a while.

“Hey. I’ll have whatever’s on tap,” he told the bartender. The man nodded, picking up a relatively clean glass and filling it up. He placed it on the counter and then picked up his rag. He didn’t move away so Iman took it as his cue.
“I hear there’s a poker game here every Wednesday night. Any chance I can get a buy-in?”
The man raised his blue eyes narrowing them at Iman, “whose askin’?”
Iman stuck out his hand, “Name’s Cole Sprouse, looking to make some money to buy me some fuel. Got me a job in Dallas waitin’...”
The bartender looked down at his hand with suspicion before reaching out slowly to shake it. Iman had found on his travels that if a man shook your hand, he was less likely to stab you in the back.
At least, not right away.
“Game’s in the back,” he said.
“Thank you, kind sir. And you are…?” Iman held on to the bartender’s hand, widening his whiskey eyes at him.
“Dan Shumpert,” he said.
“Nice to meet you, Dan,” Iman said with one last vigorous shake. He had some money to make and no time to lose. Deadlines were looming.
Iman was winning steadily and his opponents were getting steadily more upset. He figured it was time to bail and pushed his chair back to stand up.
“Uh, well fellas it’s been-” he began to say.
“One more game,” interrupted the sweaty guy on his right with five o’clock shadow and a dirty wifebeater. Iman had been keeping an eye on him because he seemed like the kind to keep a gun under his chair.
“Uh, you don’t have any collat-” he began to say.
 Wifebeater guy looked up at the beefcake looming in the doorway and said, “Bring her.” he cut in.
Iman sat up straighter. What was going on?
Before he could catch his breath, a young woman was pushed into the room. She had zip ties on her wrists, tying her hands together. Her long silky black hair hung halfway down her back in a greasy curtain and her white dress could have done with a wash. Her black eyes were wide with fear as she stared at Wifebeater guy.
“What’s-” Iman began to ask.
“Your entire stake for the girl,” Wifebeater guy said.
Iman stared at him in shock, “You want to wager…a person?”
Wifebeater guy shrugged, “She’s mine to do with whatever I please. Bet or no bet?”
There was no way he could stand up and walk away. Not when these people were…wagering humans.
“Bet,” he said.
Wifebeater nodded at the dealer who immediately began to shuffle cards. Iman could not stop staring at the girl as she stood shivering behind Wifebeater’s chair. She was tall, maybe five eight, voluptuous with her heavy breasts and ample hips, tiny waist in between. But it was the look in her eyes that drew him again and again. She looked like a trapped tiger, looking for an opening to escape. Iman resolved there and then, that he was going to help her. He looked down at his cards, knowing with even more certainty than before, that losing was not an option.
Iman grabbed the girl’s hand, pulling her out of the Saloon at a run. Wifebeater guy had not been expecting to lose and it had been tricky getting out of there without a fight. He skidded to a halt in front of his Camaro, pushing her in before getting in after her before gunning the engine. He raised a lot of dust himself as put the pedal to the metal. They careened out of town, one eye on the rearview watching for a tail. Iman didn’t stop until he’d put two hundred miles between him and the Podunk town. Too tired to drive anymore, he stopped at a no-tell motel on the side of the road. Parking in the driveway, he turned to the girl.
“So…what’s your name?” he asked.
She looked at him as if she was thinking about pretending not to understand what he said. But at last she sighed and turned to face him.
“Will you untie me if I tell you?” she asked.
Iman jumped. He’d completely forgotten about the zip ties, “Of course I will damn.” He said fishing for the knife he kept in his stocking. He pulled it out holding it toward her. She held out her hands, too trustingly he thought, and let him cut through her restraints.
“So, you going to tell me your name?” he asked.
“It’s Honey,” she said.
Iman smiled at her, looking into her eyes, “It suits you,” he said looking down at her arm, “that’s the exact color of your skin.”
Honey smiled, “And what is your name? Prince Charming?”
Iman smiled, holding out his hand to be shaken, “My name is Iman Bridges. And I am here to rescue you.”
Honey shook his hand with a laugh, “Yeah right. Are you getting us a room or what?”
“Your wish is my command,” Iman said suddenly feeling like he had indeed won the lottery.

Fill in the form with a book of your choice and Merry Christmas. First come, first served.

No comments: