Better the Devil You Know

Flash Fiction Month 2017, Day 8

Challenge #4*: Write a story featuring a Chaotic Evil protagonist with superpowers, for whom the ending is tragic.

General Public squinted at the number the girl had scribbled on her coffee cup, wishing she’d spent a little more effort on her penmanship and a lot less on decorating the thing with cutesy little love hearts. Going with his best guess, he punched it into his phone.

It started ringing. Fantastic.

“Hello?” came the answer.

“Hi, Sarah, it’s Phil,” he began. “I’m afraid there’s been a bit of a hiccup with the rota: we won’t actually need you to come in today after all.”

“Oh. That’s a shame… I could really use the hours.”

“No worries. I’ve got you in on Thursday instead.”

“I’m down for Thursday already.”

General Public cursed under his breath.

“Pardon?” asked Sarah.

“Sorry,” he said. “Just thinking out loud. Listen, this rota is a real mess. Let me sort it out and I’ll get back to you.”

General Public hung up. The plan was in motion.

“Honey,” he shouted as he rushed downstairs, “hold lunch back a bit. I’ve just been called into the office.”

General Public caught the bus downtown using the bus pass of his neighbour, Mrs. Wilson. And also her face. He changed identity once more on the journey.

“Thanks, handsome,” he said as be stepped off, giving the driver Sarah’s sexiest wink. She’d given it to him back when he was Barista Brad.

The bus stop wasn’t far from the bank. General Public strolled causally inside.

“Sarah!” snapped Phil, the manager. “You were supposed to be here half an hour ago!”

“Sorry! Would you believe it, I locked my keys inside again.” The only interesting anecdote Sarah had had to share. If you could call it interesting.

Phil massaged his eyeballs with his fingertips. “Okay. I’ll overlook it, but this is the last time. If you weren’t new I’d have fired you already.” He offered the spare set of keys.

General Public took them. “Thank you, Phil. You have no idea how much this job means to me.”

General Public walked over to the vault, unlocked the door and stuffed as much loot as he could into his backpack before walking out again.

“Screw you, Phil. You can take this job and shove it. I only came here to take a dump on your desk.” He flipped the bird at the gawping manager for good measure.

General Public exited the bank and entered a phone box. When he stepped outside again, he was the spitting image of Mrs. Wilson. Not only that, there was a bus just pulling up to the stop. Bonus! He hadn’t been counting on one for another forty minutes.

When the bus turned down his street, the real Mrs. Wilson was out on the porch. He stepped off as his other neighbour, Darren, and began to walk back up the road.

“I hate you, Mrs. Wilson, you old bag!” he shouted as he passed.

Poor Darren. He never could work out why she had such a grudge against him.

He reached his own driveway, practically skipping round the corner, and, right as he was about to assume his own identity once more, came face to face with his wife.

If she ever found out he had superpowers, there would be problems. Chief amongst them, she’d want him to use them to do stuff for her.

“Uh…hi,” he said, still looking like Darren. “I just popped over because—”

“Because you saw my husband leave the house? It’s okay, we’ve got time.” She grabbed him by Darren’s unfashionable necktie and pulled him close. “Let’s do it on the stairs this time!” she whispered in his ear.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

You might also be interested in my sci-fi murder mystery novella, Ten Little Astronauts, which is currently crowdfunding at Unbound. Most pledge levels include all the books shown above, and all will include your name in the back of Ten Little Astronauts itself as a patron of my work.

Support it here!


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