Trifecta 97 – A Matter of Priorities

gas station

Another stupid argument with the old lady had me reaching out for a smoke. I’d somehow resisted the craving – a fresh supply of gum would have to suffice. I hated the stuff, made my teeth ache, but the lungs were already on their final warning. The drive to the gas station was calming. On the horizon the snow tipped summit of Mt. Pechakeek reflected the late November sun; the winter air was icy fresh. I loved this time of year.

Filling up I’d resolved to make my peace with Vicky. I’d grovel if needed. We’d head up to the cabin at the weekend: a second honeymoon, or would it be the third? Jeesh, I’d lost count. It was a miracle she was still with me. Entering the shop the cashier stared straight at me. More like through me. She seemed to be sweating profusely which was weird considering it was a good 10 below.

The cold mouth of a gun snuggled up tight to the back of my neck.

‘On your knees,’ came a croaky, almost adolescent voice.

Slowly I crouched down. My knees creaked.

There was two of them – both with automatics; both kids. One was Jack Darby – his father was a good friend of mine.

‘This will be over quick as long as nobody does anything stupid,’ shouted the kid I didn’t recognise.

I don’t know why I then said it, but I did.

‘Jack, what are you doing son? This is crazy!’

As Jack glanced my way he bit his lower lip. He was sweating almost as much as the cashier.

‘Shut it, Mister. Don’t need no dumb-ass hero here. Just let them take the frickin’ money!’ said a man cowering in the corner, next to the Diet Coke machine.

The pleading, desperate look in  Jack’s eyes told me today would a bad day to be a hero. I lay back down, face first on the floor. Suddenly I was frightened. All I wanted was to get home to Vicky.


These 333 words, based on the third definition of the word ass , form my entry into the Trifecta 97 writing challenge.

24 thoughts on “Trifecta 97 – A Matter of Priorities

  1. trifectawriting

    Yikes!! Marriage to Vicky is looking better and better all the time! Some concrit, if you’re open to it. Shut it Mr. would read much better as Shut it, Mister. The capital D next to Mr. had me reading Mr. D. for the first few times.

    Thanks for linking up!!

    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks as always for taking the time to comment on my work. Crits are always welcome and I’ve changed the section you highlighted. Does look and read better with ‘Mister’. Cheers!

  2. seablackwithink

    PC this is so affecting….I wondered if it was autobiographical…sheer genius in storytelling.
    Also, wondered about the UK gun laws….

    1. paulmclem Post author

      Thanks Kymm. Just to add the conversation at the end was between our man, Jack and another customer who was cowering in the corner i.e. not the cashier. Doesn’t make a lot of difference but felt I had to come clean!

      1. KymmInBarcelona

        My bad! You know why, though? Because the other man cowering in the corner had been a cashier most of his life, until he was robbed at gunpoint and… Oh, never mind. Just accept my apologies now, please.

    1. paulmclem Post author

      Sorry! Really just wanted to capture the moment when our man realised his life was more important than being a hero. The first person narrative tells you he survives I suppose, either that or he’s a ghost 🙂


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