Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Forties Club Finalist #5

Killing Time
by Kelley Lortz


“Where to, Miss?”

“The Galleria.”

“The Galleria, alright.”

“That’s an interesting picture.” The young woman nods toward the faded and dog-eared photograph taped to the meter.

“Miss?” The worn cabbie glances in the rearview mirror.

“Sorry, I just noticed your picture. It’s kind of an unusual photo for a cab?” It showed a dark haired beauty tangled in sheets, arms open wide, an inviting smile.

“I like to remember her just like that.”

“Oh, your wife? She’s wearing a beautiful necklace.”

“No, not my wife. Yes, the necklace, diamonds and rubies. She wore it well, don’t you think?”

“Gorgeous.”

“I smuggled it out of Germany in my camera case. I was a photo journalist during World War II. I met Simone in France. She was something to see, something indeed.”

“What happened to her?”

“We spent three beautiful months together. One day, I returned to our apartment, the door was kicked in, she’s gone, so was the necklace."

“The Germans?”

The cabbie shrugs, “I was never able to find out if she had been captured or escaped.”

“Here you are. That’ll be twenty-three fifty.”

“That’s so sad.” Her eyes welling up.

“Yes, my heart breaks still when I look at the photograph, but I like having her close.”

“Keep the change.”

“Thanks Miss, have a nice day.”

****

“Where to?”

“Airport”

“Airport, alright”

“Hey, nice picture.” The young man grins.

“Huh? Oh, I found it in the backseat last night, thought she was pretty, so I stuck it up.”

34 comments:

Laurel said...

Awesome! I love the dialogue and the way he plays his customers. Smart fellow, reading people fast enough to sell the story they want to hear.

Great job!

Beth Harar said...

Clever! I like how you show one human two completely different ways.

J.C. Montgomery said...

The setting, dialog, and characters are well done and so real. Especially the creativity and insightfulness of the cabbie.

Aerin said...

I do so love humor!

maybe genius said...

Hahahaha! That's great. Totally sounds like something that could happen, too.

JR's Thumbprints said...

I used to chauffeur limousines and knew that game all too well. Give them what they want to hear. Crisp dialogue.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Hah! Well done.

Oddyoddyo13 said...

LoL! I'm not sure whether I should call her a sucker or be mad at the cabbie...

Aimee Laine said...

He'd make a good bar tender too. ;)

Peter Dudley said...

When she went on her way, I was all like, "Oh, that's kind of a lame ending." Then I read the last few lines. Ha ha ha! Nicely done.

My mom was a cab driver in Vegas for 20 years. I will have to ask if she used this kind of tactic. I don't believe she did, though she has some pretty good stories.

Craig said...

Absolutely classic, very skilled use of dialogue and great ending.

Aniket said...

Someone would have to do the extraordinary to prevent this one from getting the readers choice. Fun piece with a neat ending. :)

Michael Morse said...

Great story. I like to think the cabbie just didn't connect with his second passenger so he made up an easy story about the picture, while sharing the truth with only those he felt would understand.

Jade L Blackwater said...

Really nice composition. I like how this one turns out.

Precie said...

I wonder if the driver has told the truth yet or if both are fictions (like The Joker's explanations of his face in The Dark Knight).

Clever take on the prompt!

Rohan said...

Kelly, this is my favorite till now. Right choice of words for the dialog and what an end. But I feel the title deserved a little more thought. Maybe its just me :)

Rohan said...

@Kelley : I am bad with my Es and Ys. :)

pegjet said...

A definite contender. Snappy dialogue, and realistic cabby (or bartender, as another comment offered).

Deb Smythe said...

Ha! Love the cabbie. A memorable character for sure. Great job with the dialogue too.

September said...

I really really liked this. In this case the photo is not worth a thousand words, but a thousand stories. Wonderfully done. As a journalist, I stick to facts. As a story teller, I'm like the cabbie, I can change the story again and again and give my audience what they want or need to hear. :)
Very nicely done. Simple dialouge, flowed so smooth and made me smile. Very nicely done.

Hadley said...

Oh, no (I say with a grin)...I wanted more of Simone and the Germans! I sure didn't see that one coming. Nicely done..

MRMacrum said...

Great dialog. And I could definitely relate with my 17 years behind the wheel of a truck. Killing Time is all a driver has to do most days. What he hauls matters little.

Lee said...

That cabbie should have entered a story in this contest.

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Kelley!

LOLOL I love this cabby humor and his use of the picture!

Nicely done!

Dottie :)

fairyhedgehog said...

I really liked this although I didn't at first get that the worn cabbie and the young man were the same person.

McKoala said...

Ha! Smart!

ollwen said...

Time to make a killing, or extra time to kill. Nice title, great dialog, and also hilarious. Excellent work.

Joni said...

A clever piece. I enjoyed the natural flow.

Lewis J Peters said...

Worked for me. Great writing.

Vincent Kale said...

Very clever, great use of dialogue and a perfect "a ha!" moment!

Sneaky, sneaky cabbies.

JaneyV said...

Kelley, I liked this very much. Your Cabbie character is such a perfect conman - able to read the character of his marks in an instant and give them exactly what they want to hear.

As McK said - smart!

Grey Johnson said...

Love a great twist at the end of a short piece of fiction. Fine work.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

I LOVE this one!!! This is perfectly done. I love the dialogue and moving descriptions and the last section brings it all to a place I didn't expect at all. Just what I like!