A Story Written in a FLASH!

Inspired by Flash Fiction Friday prompt words.

Just Shoot Me

The newness of Carl’s satin-lapelled tux was his only differentiating quality. He shifted his gaze from one dignitary to the next. The Governor’s ball, a black and white event, blurred the lot into a semblance of strict sameness. Indistinguishable in their conformity, the same whitened teeth and clownish smiles advertised their insincerity.

He turned to his wife. “If I ever exhibit the disingenuous attitude of these clones, just shoot me.” Carl tugged on his black bow tie, ripping it from the wing collar of his sophisticated tuxedo shirt. “Let’s get out of here.”

Heads turned at the click of Sheila’s heels as he led her past the Governor’s table, where the most polished clownlike grins faded into mumbles. Carl mimicked the grin and nodded in passing.

The parking valet’s smile radiated with envy as he climbed down from a lifted F350 King Ranch pickup truck and handed Carl the keys. “I’d trade the Gov’s Mercedes for this beauty. Of course, I’d have to buy me a cowboy hat like that one in the backseat.”

Carl flipped a twenty to the valet. “Here’s to getting that Stetson.” He offered an elbow to Sheila, and guided her to the passenger door where he placed work-weathered rancher’s hands on the narrow waist of her black sequin dress, and lifted her to the leather seat. Red manicured nails ran through his thick copper-brown hair. She pulled him close, kissed his square jaw, and reached for the felt hat.

Sheila pressed the pecan Stetson onto her husband’s head. “God didn’t make but one Carl Dean Wyatt. If you go cloning yourself, I’ll shoot one and divorce the other.”


The next morning, a tuxedo clad waiter reminiscent of the ball delivered a complimentary breakfast to their room at the Hyatt Regency. Fresh fruits, bacon, sausage, Belgian waffles, and maple syrup wafted their aromas as the waiter removed silver domes. He accepted a generous tip, bowed and left the room, leaving one shiny silver cover concealing its contents.

Carl grabbed Sheila’s wrist as she reached for the suspicious dome. “Wait! What do you suppose is under there?” He cocked an eyebrow and pulled her to his side, his thumb caressing the back of her hand.

She huffed. “I don’t know. Maybe it’s a miniature horse’s head.” With her free hand, she reached out and lifted the cover. A small scroll tied with black ribbon lay on the silver disc. Sheila laughed. “Guess not.” She replaced the dome. “Let’s eat. We can read the bill later.”

Carl slid a chair out for his wife, pulled her long blonde hair over one shoulder, kissed her on the cheek and settled across the table. He eyed the impressive gourmet offering, but the dome’s mysterious contents, like a magnet, drew his attention and squelched his appetite. “I gotta know what’s on that paper.”

Sheila plucked a strawberry from the fruit platter and leaned back. “Well, get it over with. I’m hungry.” Nectar burst from the ripe berry as she bit into it.

Carl stood up and leaned across the table. He licked the red juice that trickled down her chin. “I love ya, babe.” She lifted the silver dome, and he grabbed the scroll and sat down.

The black ribbon slid to the floor as he pushed his plate back and unfurled the paper on a gilded place mat. He read the message out loud. “Did you think this room was free? I paid for it. Just like I paid for you. You wanted my most treasured possession, and I…” Carl’s eyes skimmed over the rest of the note, and as if the paper were electrified, he jerked away, letting it curl and roll across the table. He jumped up and clamped his hands around his head. “Oh, damn!”

“What’s wrong?” Sheila snatched the scrolled paper and read the rest of the message. “You wanted my most treasured possession, and I gave her to you.” As his wife continued reading, her face paled. “I can take her back just as easy.”

Silence divided the room like a bundling board. Carl clenched his fists, wishing he could wrap his arms around the governor’s daughter and tell her he’d conceded his life just to be with her. But Sheila tugged the plush terry robe around her body and snugged the collar up under her chin like a chastity bag.

Breakfast aromas permeated the room, becoming noxious as the minutes ticked by. Carl paced the length of the view windows and Sheila curled up on the sofa, hugging her knees.

Carl stopped and knelt in front of his wife, one hand hesitantly touching her forearm. “I’ve got two choices. I can refuse to go along with the governor and risk losing you, or I can paste on a clownish grin and follow your father’s orders, becoming just another insincere clone with a beautiful wife.”

Sheila looked into Carl’s eyes. “Yah, but then I would have to shoot you and divorce you. I don’t plan to do either.”

Carl slid his hands inside her robe, breaking the chastity barrier. “Oh good, because I was leaning toward choice number three.”

She pressed a hand to his chest. “Were you planning to shoot my—” Carl stifled the words with a kiss.