It is time once again for another installment in my Writer’s Toolbox Flash fiction. For those not familiar with the Writer’s Toolbox exercises, I pull out three sentences at random which have to be used as my first, middle, and closing lines. Additionally I must utilize three descriptions, also pulled at random from a stack of cards. Due to the random nature, I do not know how the story will end. I apologize for the shift in point of view, but rules are rules.
Story to date: Bill, a somewhat socially awkward paleoclimatologist in our distant future, learned that his sister has gone missing. Their father, a high ranking official, living and working in the orbiting space station, has come to Earth requesting Bill’s help tracking her down. Click on this link to read the first part of the story in full.
After only two months, Helen decided to become an exotic dancer. She’d tried to make it off the random tips the male patrons threw her way as she delivered drinks to their tables, but the wad of cash in her pocket at the end of the night was nothing compared to the stacks of bills the other ladies took home. She closed her eyes and thought of the space station even now spinning like a top over head as it circled the Earth. If tossing her clothes at some drunk strangers meant being able to afford a ticket on the shuttle sooner, so be it. It wasn’t like she was going to bump into any of the club patrons again once in orbit.
As she made her way toward the back office, she saw her manager, Devin, smile knowingly. “You finally ready to get into the driver’s seat?” he smirked, offering a drink. Devin was under the impression he had a gift for comedy. Helen hid her disgust by tipping her head and letting the bitter taste of Woody Allen’s kiss wash over her tongue as was tradition. Helen was fairly certain not even Devin knew the origin of the club’s signature drink’s name, but it didn’t stop him from keeping a ready glass on hand. She wasn’t the first girl to make this walk of shame. Nor would she be the last.
After her the first shift of her new career ended, Helen made her way outside into the narrow alley behind the club. The eight inch heels Devin requested she wear during the show, had wrecked havoc on her arches and toes. She held the more sensible shoes she’d worn prior too making her decision in hand, preferring to go barefoot that force her feet to withstand another minute of agony. The wine of a lost dog, a puppy by the sound of it, startled Helen. She turned, but couldn’t locate the animal in the darkness. It must be behind the dumpster, she thought. Unable to resist an animal in need, she crouched down as she looked for the pup.
“It’s not my fault the plane was two hours late,” a male’s voice coming from a yard or so behind her almost caused Helen to jump out of her skin. “What was I supposed to do?”
“You were supposed to stick around and finish the job. That’s what you were supposed to do,” Another male replied.
“Don’t see what you are getting all upset about. Thought the whole point was to take the girl out while the captain was in his meeting. Whole plan falls apart if he’s on ground when it happens.”
Helen heard a slap of skin on skin. “Idiot. You and your big mouth are going to get us both on his list one day.”
“What was that for? It’s not like anyone’s around but a bunch of drunks and hookers.” The first man whined as Helen tried to make her body as small as possible in the shadows.
“Doesn’t mean they don’t still have ears,” the second man argued.
“Yeah, but who’d believe them? Especially not after the thing he does with the newspaper…”
Will Helen’s first day on the new job also be her last? Who is the ‘he’ the men are referencing and what is he planning with the newspaper? Will the Writer’s Toolbox ever allow me to close a story without a cliff-hanger ending?