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Mini Sledgehammer February 2013: Blackbird Wine & Atomic Cheese

Thanks for another great Mini Sledgehammer, all. Congratulations to the February winner, Daniel Granias! We hope to see you at Mini Sledgehammer again.

Character: Hostile talking animal

Action: Going to happy hour

Setting: Underneath and underpass

Prop: Child’s toy

***

Untitled

by Daniel Granias

“I told you that wasn’t a good idea, Chuck.”

“What was I supposed to do? Let them arrest me?”

“You’re not worth the handcuffs it’d take.”

Chuck sent a heel into the underbelly of Roy, the mange-ridden Labrador, hard enough to throw the hostile hound on his side.

“Shut up, fleabag.”

The pair began to gather the damp and torn remnants of clothing and blankets that were strewn in the muddy gutter, wrapping the green camping tarp over the bundle and dragging it out of the rain beneath the convergence of Eisenhower Expressway and the Dan Ryan.

Less than a year ago, Chuck had in fact been worth more than just a pair of handcuffs—millions more. And Chuck hadn’t always been Chuck; he was formerly Charles T. Greyson, co-owner of Greyson Motor Industries Unlimited. That was before his brother Julius signed the company over to a corporate account that specialized in the electronic digitization of transmissions, a move that left Charles defending a backless, diesel-guzzling freight line, and therefore forced to withdraw all shareholding. This left him with nothing, and his insurance coverage was invalidated after his wife of six years who provided the plan revealed her intention to leave Charles for Julius since they met at the Golden Nugget happy hour two years ago.

But now Charles was Chuck, and Chuck was on the move.

“I should’ve left you with Meredith, Roy.”

“That bitch? I’d’ve rather eaten shit.”

“You already do.”

“Fuck off, you sorry excuse of a bum.”

Just as the ragged team slugged their way up to the narrowest part of the ramp, a doll tumbled out of Chuck’s tarp. It rolled down the moss and mildew scattered concrete and stuck in a mud bank at the bottom. Its eyes stared up at Chuck in the single yellow glare of the streetlight.

“Why’d you take that from Audrey?”

“She can survive. Her mom can provide her with everything now.”

“But why that? She never played with it anyway.”

“It was the first thing I bought for her. I doubt she even remembers it.”

“She remembers you.”

“I’d rather she didn’t.”

“She’s better off.”

© Daniel Granias 2013

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