We can finally see spring between the clouds! Well, every once in a while, we can. In the meantime, Mini Sledgehammerers continue to convene for wine and writing once a month, turning out a winning story like clockwork. Congratulations to Summer on her repeat win!
Character: A Doppelganger
Action: A sneeze
Setting: A marina
Prop: Roll of 2009 minted quarters
by Summer Olsson
She sat in the bar at Gino’s, her third greyhound sweating rings onto the mahogany. Through the glass she could see the whole marina, all the drooping sailboats and staunch yachts blotting out most of the blue.
The bartender had already come by twice more and she had gently rebuffed him. Normally she would have told a guy like that to fuck off and leave her alone, but her instructions were to not draw attention to herself. She sipped her drink with her sticky red lips, and peeled her thighs off of the vinyl barstool to uncross and re-cross her legs. She fished her phone out of her bag. She only had ten more minutes to wait before the time was up and she could leave. In the beginning she thought this was kind of sexy and interesting, but it had turned out to be really boring. She’d been here for almost two hours. She decided she could take a quick bathroom break.
As she rounded the corner under the metal finger pointing the way to the “W.C.”, she was hit from behind. What cracked against her skull was a roll of quarters, freshly minted in 2009, that had been picked up at a credit union that morning, and would be dismantled and pumped into various pinball machines later that night. She did not know or care about this as her attacker dragged her unconscious body through a service door and into an alley. Blood trickled from the back of her head, but her long red hair caught it, mixed it into a sticky clot that never touched the floor. Luckily for her she didn’t regain consciousness when her assailant dropped her behind a dumpster. Certainly he did her a favor when he shot her twice, once in the head and once in the chest, before he removed the ring finger on her right hand, which he pocketed to send to his employer later.
“Did it work? Is it over?” Eddie asked, and then immediately sneezed. His allergies were really bad today. Dana knew she should feel sorry for him, but mostly she was annoyed. She was trying to concentrate. Looking through binoculars made her feel cross-eyed and gave her a headache. She pushed some red hair behind her ear.
“Yes. It’s over.”
“Thank god!” Eddie said, and came up behind her. He put his long arms around her, pinning her arms and forcing her to lower the binoculars. Dana relaxed against him. She breathed deeply a few times. Her shoulders lowered. For the first time in two hours, she was aware of the subtle rocking of the boat. Through the window in the hull she could see gulls swooping to nip something off of the pier.
“I’ll make some drinks,” Eddie said. He went around behind the bar and took down two highballs.
She thought about how she and Eddie could watch birds now. They could sit on a beach somewhere without a constant buzz of tension. They could walk down the street in public somewhere- somewhere else at least- without being terrified. Eddie handed her a drink. The first sip made her eyes tear up.
Dana wasn’t going to say anything to Eddie about the near miss, but it was bugging her and she knew it would get worse. “I’m glad he sent someone else. I thought he would. But we really lucked out.”
He raised an eyebrow. “But she looked exactly like you. From a foot away he would have been fooled.” She raised her glass toward him.
“Yes, but she ordered the wrong drink. I only drink Manhattans.”
© 2016 Summer Olsson
Summer Olsson is a writer, director, actor, puppeteer and costume designer. She grew up in the magical high desert of Albuquerque. She did a turn as a music writer, and later the arts editor, for the Weekly Alibi. She holds a BFA in theater from the University of New Mexico and is a graduate of Dell’ Arte International School of Physical Theatre. She lives in Portland.
Filed under: Mini Sledgehammers, Uncategorized | Tagged: 2009 minted quarters, Blackbird Wine, doppelganger, free, Indigo Editing, Mini Sledgehammer, Portland, prizes, short story, Sledgehammer, Summer Olsson, writing contest |