Another bit of flash fiction from Mr Wendig at Terribleminds
This time round I got:
- Subgenre – Wuxia
- Conflict – Heist gone wrong
- Must Feature – Suitcase full of money
Shen sat in a darkened room, the only light source came from the neon sign perched on a ten foot pole outside, it read; “Lux-Ray Motel” the irony was not lost on Shen, despite his meagre grasp of the language. The owner’s name was Ray, who was rather pleased of his play on words, at least that’s what he told Shen when he handed him the key
‘Consider yourself lucky’ he said with the whistle of false teeth
‘I don’t usually let no immigrants stay in my establishment, brings the tone of the place down’
Shen gave him a hundred-dollar bill
‘This hear is a luxury establishment’ he said turning to the key board behind him. Returning, he slid the key and a twenty-dollar bill across the counter ‘named it after myself’
Shen bowed; he stopped himself, then held his hand up in midair.
Ray frowned at him until eventually Shen picked up the key and the twenty, and made his way to room number seven.
The chair he sat on had an uneven leg, because all chairs in questionable establishments have uneven legs. He sat forward, his elbows resting on his knees and his chin resting on his hands, deep in thought as he stared at the bed; starring back was a suitcase. It lay open, with hundred-dollar bills threatening to cascade down the sides. He was still trying to get his head round what had happened, but he still felt in a daze, he thought back to the beginning.
A hand grabbed his shoulder and Shen span round
‘You not hear me calling you!’
Shen was staring into the face of a rotund Chinese man; his thin black hair was combed over, but fooling no one
‘Sorry, Mr Po’ Shen said with a bow
‘I was calling you!’ he said ‘I say, Shaun!’ he cupped his hands around his mouth ‘but you no listen, you just carry on washing pot’
‘Sorry, Mr Po, but my name is Shen’ he bowed again
‘No!’ he yelled ‘Your name is Shaun now, you American now, no American is called Shen!’ Shen looked at him, offended, but he was taught to respects his elders and his boss, and Mr Po was both. So he bowed and said
‘Yes, Mr Po’
‘If immigration come in and say “you Shaun?”’ he poked him in the chest with his pointed finger and said ‘You say yes!’
Shen looked down at the finger, while Mr Po continued to rant
‘You say you Shen, they shut me down’ he squinted at Shen and wagged his finger ‘Everybody going back to China!’
The hustle and bustle of the kitchen, which Shen had believed was drowning out his dressing down, had vanished. He looked round at the sudden silence, all eyes were on him and Mr Po; who turned and looked at them, before roaring ‘No body’s going back to china!’ and with his words the kitchen erupted into sound, as if they had never stopped. Mr Po turned back to Shen and said ‘You understand me?’
Shen bowed and said ‘Yes, Mr Po’
‘Good’ he said ‘and stop bowing, you American now, you shake hands or high-five’
Shen stared blankly at him, not sure what to say, until Mr Po filled the gap
‘Take out the trash!’ before he stormed back through the kitchen like a bull in a china shop.
Shen put the trash in the dumpster in the alleyway out the back of the restaurant, the cool night air felt good, a contrast to the hellish heat of the kitchen, and the demonic mad man who ran it. He gazed up at the stars and was enjoying the silence, when it was broken by a faint whine, he looked down, and a small cat looked back up at him. Shen bent down to stroke it; he was scratching it behind the ear when he heard the sound of voices
‘You have the money?’ the voice was gruff
‘Right here’ a smoother voice replied ‘you have the girl?’
Shen remained behind the dumpster, continuing to listen
‘When I see the money, you can – ’
the door to the kitchen burst open, blinding Shen with light
‘Shaun!’ Mr Po looked down on Shen who was still stroking the cat ‘What the Phuck –’ gun shots were fired at them, hitting the dumpster like raindrops on a tin roof. Shen covered his head with his hands; he could make out shouting through the gun shots, which had stopped hitting the bin; seconds later they ceased altogether. Shen removed his hands from his ears, just in time to hear the approach of footsteps. He got to his feet as the man rounded the corner; Shen grabbed the barrel with his right hand, it went off as he pointed it away, with his left he smacked the man in the chin with his palm, followed by a thrusting kick from his left leg. The man had hit the floor around the same time his cartridge round did. Shen dropped the gun and turned to Mr Po. He wouldn’t be sending anyone back to China.
Shen was about three blocks away when he heard the sirens heading toward the restaurant. He had no idea what he would do, where he was going, and why he found himself carrying a large suitcase, which was the only thing left standing in the alley. In his other hand he held a manila envelope, which had peeked out the inside pocket of the man he rendered unconscious. He did not know why he took it, but he had. His instincts had taken them both and carried him two blocks before he was even aware.
In the dingy light of room number seven of the Lux-Ray Motel, Shen had opened the manila envelope; it contained directions, and a picture. Shen stared at the picture, and a girl stared back; underneath were written the words “Tiger Lilly”