Flash fiction is, like speed chess, something I’ve never been really interested in trying although I’ve come across several good ones among the blogs I read. I recently submitted a short story to an online competition and on the organisers’ website found an additional category for flash fiction, with a length limit of 250 words. Here’s a first attempt.
The Sad Demise of George Gorgonzola
He awoke with a start and quickly shrugged into a dressing gown. Knotting the belt tight, he padded to the living room. Someone was picking his front door lock. It was a Snead and Baker burglar-proof model, so he knew he had three minutes to get away. He slipped on a pair of loafers, grabbed a shoulder bag kept packed and ready beside the bed and retreated to the back door of his third floor flat.
He stood on the narrow fire escape landing and locked the door, another minute gained, and scurried down the metal ladder as fast as his stubby legs would take him. He ran down the street, keeping to the shadows. He ran a long time, heading for the garconniere registered under his mother’s maiden name. They would never find him there. He shook off two staggering drunks, entered a nondescript building, and ran swiftly up three flights of stairs. He stopped at the door in dismay. The lock was broken. No safety here! He scurried down the stairs again and ran into the night.
The picture appeared on the front page of the tabloids next morning. George Gorgonzola, a thief and extortionist with a long criminal record, was found dead in a London alleyway early today. His green and white striped silk dressing gown was torn and bloody. He had been shot twice in the head at close range. Mr. Gorgonzola was a well-known underworld figure and went by the nickname of Wee Willie Winkie.