Saturday, September 17, 2016

Vignettes by Me, on Themes Picked Randomly: Day 17

Theme 126: Gold

“Why don’t we just kill them all and loot their corpses?” yelled the bandit in the weathered red balaclava, waving the barrel of his Zastava assault rifle at the group of passengers lined up along the side of their motorcoach. By rolling the flaming husk of a pickup from behind a boulder into the motorcoach’s path, the three biker-bandits had easily ambushed this motorcoach on a particularly rugged section of the interstate as it reached the bottom of a hill pinched between two outcrops. Mr. Bentley, a fantods-prone man with a greasy comb-over, stood near the rear engine vent at the end of the line, sweating abundantly. His mouth was tightly closed.

“Naw, if we did that, people might get too scared and stop trying to cross the Badlands by the busload, with all their goodies,” the lead bandit replied. She moved from passenger to passenger, holding out an oil pan for the passengers to deposit their valuables into, thus forming a growing pile of wallets, chains, rings, and watches. She gave each passenger a grin, revealing her chisel-sharpened front teeth. In fact, because there were only three bandits and twelve passengers, plus the driver, the lead bandit feared that the passengers would try to overpower the bandits if they started shooting or molesting one of the women.  

The lead bandit reached Mr. Bentley and held out the bounteous oil pan. Mr. Bentley placed his thin wallet atop the pile. Beads of sweat rolled down onto his sealed lips. The lead bandit thrust her face forward and bore her serrated upper jaw at him with a wheeze. The smell of methyl alcohol and rotten meat caused Mr. Bentley to cough, which allowed the lead bandit to glimpse a flash of gold in his mouth.

“Hey, look at this! Gold teeth! You, hold him. You, find some pliers,” the lead bandit ordered while probing Mr. Bentley’s mouth with her grease-blackened fingers.

“No, no! Please!” Mr. Bentley begged. As soon as he saw the tall bandit to the rear pull a pair of pliers from the side case of one of the parked bikes, he panicked and broke into a wild dash back up the hill. The bandit in the balaclava reflexively unloaded four rounds into Mr. Bentley’s back. Mr. Bentley collapsed in a rut in the roads shoulder and shortly thereafter stopped breathing. The lead bandit frowned and motioned for the tall bandit to get to work on Mr. Bentley’s mouth with the pliers. She then set the oil pan of loot aside and herded the remaining passengers back onto the motorcoach.

Three minutes later, the motorcoach was underway down the interstate through the Badlands again, and seven bloody teeth capped with gold had been added to the bandits’ oil pan. Mr. Bentley’s body was left in a cloud of dust by the bandit’s motorcycles, left for the gnashing beaks of crows to start cutting into.

Explanatory Postscript: When I say “picked randomly,” I mean picked from a Master List that I’ve compiled of 999 themes intended to serve as creative writing prompts (from the following sources: 501 Writing Prompts; 25 Creative Writing Prompts; Examples of Themes; List of Themes; 365 Creative Writing Prompts; 100 Themes Challenge Writing Prompts; List of Journal Ideas; and Top 10 Types of Story Themes). To pick a theme at random, I roll three ten-sided dice (the first for the hundreds place digit, the second for the tens, and the third for the singles) and find the theme under the number I have rolled. If I hit a theme I have already written on, I roll again. If I ever roll 000, I make up a theme. The Master List is a secret, so don’t ask for it.

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