Author’s note: This is my flash fiction for May’s entry of the 2020 Flash Fiction Challenge. Each month of 2020, on the first Monday, I’ll draw cards to determine the genre, setting, and an object that has to appear in the short story. Participants will have until the following Monday to link their stories to the blog post I put out each month. Then I’ll do a follow-up post and share the stories that have come in (before the deadline). It’s only for fun and non-competitive.
May’s draw results: (Genre) action-adventure, (setting) an fandom gathering, and (object) a silk garment. It takes place in Ottawa, Ontario (Canada), and I might have added a tongue-in-cheek observation about my own suburb. Here’s my entry: Ripping Through
Corning the curb like it was on rails, the gleaming red Chevrolet Corvette tore through the downtown core, which was no easy feat on a Saturday. The driver had to come up with some creative manoeuvres while avoiding cars and startled pedestrians. But so far, the ’vette managed to stay out of the clutches of their pursuers.
“We’re so boned,” said Ben, the passenger, gripping onto the seat with his left hand and pressing his other hand against the window.
“We’re not boned! This beauty has a 455-hp, 6.2-litre V-8. I’m getting hard just thinking about it. Always wanted to tear up the asphalt with one of these babes.”
“Hank, our gateway car is a HEY, LOOKIT US sign, careening throughout the National Capital Region. Inconspicuous, remember? We were supposed to be inconspicuous!”
“Just a sec—” Hank saw the unmarked police car that had been chasing them for the past half-hour. “Slippery devil. I thought I lost them on the Parkway. Hold onto your package!”
The Corvette ripped down Albert and veered into the underground parking of a major hotel. Finding an empty spot, Hank squealed into it, parked, and turned off the engine.
“Quick. Grab it and let’s go.”
Ben reached for the garment bag and took his shaking legs out of the sports car.
“What’ll we do now?”
Hank noticed an event poster on a cement column, and a wicked glint illuminated his eyes. He slammed an arm around Ben’s shoulder and said, “First, we steal another car. Then, we blend in, all inconspicuous-like.”
“I’m not happy!” cried Ben, resuming the same hold-on-for-dear-life pose as their blue pearl Acura jumped the median, landed safely on the wrong side of the road, then took a sharp right to fly down a side street.
“How was I supposed to know the entire wedding party would be entering the parking lot at the same time?”
“Now we have three cars following us!”
“Least it’s not the cop car!”
“And why, why, why do you have to pick the brightest frigging colours? You promised me inconspicuous!”
“Well, an Acura is more common than a ’vette.”
“It’s equivalent to a blue LED light, Hank!”
“You’re exaggerating. Blue LED lights irritate my eyes. This paint job is sexy AF.”
Ben held his face. “Why did I pick a partner with a sports car fetish? A simple silver family sedan would have done nicely. Maybe even a minivan.”
“Ugh. And have people think I live in Kanata?”
“We want people to think we live in Kanata! That’s what blending in means!”
“Fine. Here’s an empty private driveway. We’ll leave the car and see if any suburbanites have parked around here.”
They exited the vehicle and hid in the shadows until the three cars that sought them zipped by.
“What the heck? Why are we at Dressup City?”
Hank pulled the silver Toyota Matrix into the lot, beside three other cars of the same make. He sighed. At least it wasn’t a minivan.
“We’re going to the EY Centre.”
“To be inconspicuous-like.”
The crowds were teeming with people of all ages, some dressed in elaborate costumes, others wearing t-shirts of their favourite characters from comics, series, or movies. Once again, they parked their Matrix among a herd of its own kind, and got out of the vehicle.
“I feel like this is karmic justice for making fun of these kids at school,” said Ben.
“You look…great.” Hank paused again, then doubled-up with laughter.
“What is even an Anime?” asked Ben.
“Japanese animation thing. All I know is this one character had great robes. This is why you’ll fit right in.”
“Won’t I get called out for dressing like another culture?”
Hank rolled his eyes. “We stole a priceless robe that’ll bring us enough reward to keep us living in style for the rest of our lives, and you’re worried about that?”
Ben wrung his hands. “I just don’t want to be seen as a jerk.”
“What part about ‘we stole a priceless robe’ isn’t being a jerk?”
Hank exhaled. “Look, we didn’t alter anything else about you. If asked, just tell people you really admire the character.”
“What if I also get a million questions about this Anime person?”
“Cough a lot and say you need a drink. Can we go now?”
“I guess. But uh, what are you supposed to be? Some sort of rainbow Pegasus?”
“Rainbow Dash. She’s from My Little Pony.”
“What?” said Hank. “I’m a Bronie. Sue me!”
Ben chuckled, shaking his head. Hank glared.
They made it through the throngs of fandom humans and entered the conference centre. It was difficult to move around because of the crowd, but so many fans were in costume, Hank felt comfortable enough that he and Ben were safe for the afternoon.
When Hank excused himself to use the toilet, Ben stood in the hall, feeling awkward. Someone spotted him and said, “Ooo, I love your cosplay! May I take your photo?”
Naturally being a friendly sort, Ben replied, “Sure!”
“Thanks so much!”
After Hank met up with Ben again, they decided to take in the vendor room. Again, it was nearly impossible to navigate through the packed rows.
“Well, this is tedious,” said Hank.
“Yeah, but at least we’re inconspicuous.”
As they got closer to a massive tower of bobble-head figures, the overhead speakers blared:
“Attention: The Ottawa Police have received a tip through social media that there is a man wearing a silk robe that was stolen from the featured display at the National Art Gallery. If you have seen this man, remain calm, and please report to the Infodesk immediately. The police are on their way.”
“Uh, what the fu—”
“I guess I got caught up in being admired.”
The uniformed officers appeared at the entrance to the vendor hall.
“We’re boned,” said Ben.
“Shut up and run!” cried Hank.
Ripping Through © 2020 Cait Gordon. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without permission except in the case of brief quotations in critical articles and reviews. For more information, contact Cait Gordon.
Cait Gordon is a disability advocate who wants everyone to pummel that curve!
She’s also the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. When Cait’s not writing, she’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also teamed up with Kohenet Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the Nothing Without Us anthology (now a 2020 Prix Aurora Award nominee) in an attempt to take over the world.