Category Archives: Mallory’s Bad Day

The collected parts of the short story “Mallory’s Bad Day”

Day 7: Short Fiction 2014 – Mallory’s Bad Day Part 3

Red emergency lights popped on along the center of the car. Outside a mild yellow light barely lit the world around them. Her hand found the smooth fabric of Smith’s suit. She tugged him back to his feet and pulled him along toward the back of the car. The people around her murmured their discontent as they regained their feet, but no one cared enough to panic. Decorum of the working masses kept them from making too much of a stir, no one could afford to be banned from the circuit. Even the gangs mostly respected the peace in the subway.

“Shouldn’t we wait here?” His voice had a bit more weight to it.

“Wait for the clown to catch us, or for your panic team to come in blazing?” Mallory hissed.

“They wouldn’t do that.”

“Today is just a day of wonders.” She let go of his collar. “Listen, if you think you’re better off on your own, then you’re more than welcome to take off. I’m going this way and hoping that Bozo didn’t get a good look at my face.”

“You could take a different train.” Smith offered.

“I have to get off the train somewhere, don’t I?” Mallory shrugged. “Follow me, or don’t. You weren’t going to pay me anyway.”

“Yes I was.” A tinge of indignation crawled into his voice.

“How? You don’t even remember my name, do you?”

“Uh.” Smith scrunched up his face in concentration.

“It doesn’t matter.” She turned back toward the far end of the car and began to wade through the milling people.

“Wait.” He rushed to follow her. “Melanie.”

“Nope.” She didn’t look back.

“It started with an ‘M’.”

“Look.” She turned around. “Mister Smith, the longer we spend together the more I begin to wonder who you are. The clowns did a smash and grab on your car. A car.” She emphasized the word.

“Yeah.” He shrugged.

“Listen, you ignorant…” Mallory took a deep breath and tried again. “You’ve got a car, a driver even, and a panic button. That means big money.” She waved a hand at him. “I don’t see big money when I look at you, so that means two things.” She held up two fingers. “One, you’re close to someone rich and they think that they can leverage you for a ransom.” She put down one finger. “Or two, and the more likely, that you’re not exactly the most clean person out there. Since you didn’t have any security beyond a driver, I’m guessing you thought that your big bad reputation would keep you safe from something like this.” She looked up at him to see the color from his face had drained. “Am I close?”

“They sure are.” He pointed over her shoulder.

She turned to see three clowns advancing from the rear of the car.

“How much?”

“What?”

“How much are you going to pay me?”

“Fifty thousand.”

She flinched. “Damn.”

Mallory took a step back and hunched a little lower. Her eyes scanned the car. Bozo hadn’t made an appearance from the other direction, but that didn’t mean he was out of the picture. What she knew for sure was that there were three clowns heading straight toward Mister Smith and the car was too crowded for a hasty retreat.

“The door.” She pointed toward the closed doors nearby. “Try to open them.”

“They’re sealed.”

“Do it.”

“What about you?”

“They aren’t looking for me.”

Mister Smiths’ eyes went wide. “You’re leaving me?”

“No, you idiot, just open the doors.” She took another step back and melded with the crowd.

Mister Smith looked at the trio of clowns as the slowly made their way to him. He looked back to where his reluctant guardian had been, but found no sign of her. Biting back a curse he rushed to the doors and began to try to pull them apart. The doors resisted the movement even though the electronic locks were disabled for an emergency stop to enable quick evacuation. His breath began to quicken, his hands slipped on the door.

“Smith,” a familiar voice hissed incredibly close. “Don’t look for me. Just calm down and open the doors.”

“I thought you left me.” His voice cracked as he spoke.

“I can’t take on all three head on, you moron.” He could hear the sigh in her voice. “Now open the door and get out there. Don’t touch the yellow rail.”

 

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Day 6: Short Fiction 2014 – Mallory’s Bad Day Part 2

**Disclaimer: There is 1 piece of foul language at the end of the piece.
Please skip the last line if you find yourself insulted, or upset by strong language. **

 

Mallory pulled the old man along. They were two cars down from where she had shocked the clown, but the next stop wasn’t for another five minutes. That was plenty of time to get caught.

“Keep moving.” She growled as her hand slipped on his collar.

“Where are we going?” He wheezed.

“This way.”

“Why?”

“Because if we stop he’ll find us.” She glared back at him. Why the hell had she helped him? Stupid old man got tangled up in the clowns, she should have just let him go. “Did he have any friends?”

“What?”

She pulled him by his shirt collar. He was about an inch taller than her, so she tugged him down to her level.

“The clown.” She hissed as her eyes darted around the car. “Was he alone?”

“I think so.”

She let him go with a sigh. “You think, or you know?”

“It all happened so fast.” He shifted from foot to foot. “I was in my car, something exploded, and then the door opened up and they pulled me out. They dragged me to the subway before I even knew what was happening.”

She took a deep cleansing breath. “You keep saying they.”

“The big guy took me on the train.” He shrugged. “I don’t know about the others.”

“Why did they take you in the first place?”

“I don’t know.” He whined.

“Break times over.” She pulled him along. “The clowns aren’t as stupid as they let on, they’ve got a plan, and it includes you.”

“Why does it matter?” He shrugged out of her grip, but kept following.

“Then I’ll know how bad they want you.” The unmistakable pop of the car door opening put an extra pip in her step. “Duck down, move slow. Hunch if you have to.  He’s looking for someone your height.”

“How do you know this?” He shook his head as he slouched over.

She pulled the overcoat off of him and draped it over a sleeping tramp.

“What are you doing?” He stared wide-eyed at her.

“That jacket is too nice. He’ll be looking for it.”

The old man pulled some things out of the pockets and stuffed them into his suit coat.

“An old man in a suit one the subway.” She growled. “Yeah, no one will notice that.”

“I’m not that old.” He huffed as the moved along in their slouched shamble.

“Suit, car, and stim treatments to fight off age.” Mallory stole a look back at the front of the car. “Were they after a ransom? Grab the rich guy and hustle him back to whoever cares.”

“You seem to know a lot about his things like that work.” The tips of his ears went pink. “What did you say your name was?”

“I didn’t.” She flashed a urchin grin. “Mallory. What about you?”

He hesitated. “Smith.”

“Fine, Mr. Smith.” She rolled her eyes. “Let’s keep you alive long enough to get you safe.”

“I have a panic button.”

She stopped. “You do?”

He held up his wrist, a little red light flashed on his wrist. “I pressed it the moment I got away from him.”

The lights on the train flickered, and then died a moment before the car lurched to a stop.

“Well shit.” She groaned.

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Day 4: Short Fiction 2014 – Other Stuff (Mallory’s Bad Day Part 1)

** A day late due to illness. Apologies. **

The rhythmic thrum of the train lulled the packed car into a few moments of silence. An unspoken rule kept the conversation to a minimum. Even people that boarded as a group rarely spoke once they found a place. Mallory didn’t have to worry about that, she didn’t ride the train with friends. They were something she lacked. She didn’t consider that a bad thing. Friends meant baggage, she didn’t do baggage.

A subtle wave on her left caught her eye. It didn’t take long to see the cause. A hunched old man desperately weaved through the crowd of passengers. He looked from one direction to the other in search of a helpful face. Mallory doubted he would find one. This wasn’t the part of town that helped those in need. Keep your head down, do your time, and move on. Those were the rules, the fourth and unspoken one was ‘die on your own time’.

Another form moved through the crowd. A tall, thick thug stalked down the car straight for the old man. The tough had bright red spiked hair and cheap grease clown makeup to mark him as one of the many gangs in the area. She had lost track of the gimmicks, but stayed up to date on the color schemes. Red meant the clowns, yellow for the goblins, and white for the suits. Mallory didn’t understand why the three fought over the right to claim this little patch of paradise. Not even the tweakers and the burnouts were desperate enough to call this stretch of city home.

“Please.” A weary voice said near her.

She looked down to see the old man had stopped next to her. His short gray hair was stained crimson along his brow and his lip had been split sometime recently.

“Keep moving, man.” She looked away. “We all got problems.”

“I can pay you.” He begged.

“Why me?”

“Sure you can.” She looked back at him. Aside from being a bit ragged for wear his clothes weren’t too shabby. “You aren’t from around here.”

“Please.”

“Hey.” Another voice, it had to be the thugs, but it was higher than she expected. “This aint’ your business, nako.”

Mallory stared at the clown for a moment. He was a good three inches taller than her and his arms were as thick as her legs. “How much is he worth to you?”

“Ain’t no worth, nako.” The clown stepped forward. “He’s mine and you hand him over to me or get a pie in the face.” He held up a fist. The word ‘pie’ was spelled along his knuckles.

“Clever.” She sighed. “Can’t blame a girl for trying.”

“Please.” The old man pleased as the clown closed in.

The clown clamped a heavy hand down on the old mans’ shoulder. A twisted grin flashed across the thugs face as he started to pull his quarry along. The old man cast a look back at her as he was pulled away.

“Damn it.” She groaned under her breath.

Mallory began to push through the crowd to catch up to the clown. Her hand closed around the tight around the plastic block in her pocket. She flicked to cap off as she closed the distance.

“Hey, Bozo.” She called.

The thug turned around. His painted face twisted in a snarl.

“Dance for me.” She stepped in close before he could speak.

Her taser snaked out of her pocket and into the clowns’ chest. He went rigid as a a few thousand volts pulsed through him. She counted to five before she disengaged the trigger.

“Come on.” Mallory grabbed the old man by the shoulder. “He’s a big guy, we don’t have much time.”

“Thank you.” The old man almost started to weep.

“Quiet.” She pulled him toward the back of the car. “Just keep moving before my brain starts working again.”

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