The Ride Noir Flash Fiction By Ernest Sadashige

The Ride: Noir Flash Fiction By Ernest Sadashige

Ernie Sadashige, author of “The Ride”, is a Philadelphia-based writer. He was a Gemini Magazine flash fiction honorable mention. Find his work there and at The Write Launch, The Yard: Crime Blog and End of the Bench Sports among others.

*****

Do you think about dying, friend? What if a pistol touched your ear?

I had just caught the last train, rushing into the end car, the doors scraping my backpack. They boarded a stop later—four figures filling our empty space. Insignificant until they were not.

You barely notice us—speaking softly on your phone, your mind already home. Easy prey.

Their voices grew louder on that long stretch between stations. My neck twitched, ready to fix a hard stare. It’s the quiet car. Suddenly I’m surrounded.

“Where da rest of yo’ money?”

“I gave you everything. You emptied my pockets, searched my backpack.” I told the same lie across the next three stops while touching my wedding band hidden beneath my left thigh.

You wonder why we linger. You’re hiding something. We know. We’ve done this before. My bro dangles your driver’s license like the fish we caught when we were eight. We watched it wither and die, the eyes expressionless until the end.

My photo looked neither happy nor sad, a placeholder within a blank frame. “Bro” flipped through my wallet. I saw Cassie’s picture. Our wedding day.

Your phone chirps. It belongs to us now. “Git bread and eggs.” We laugh, reading your text. “Cassie luv you.” We make kissy lips. “Maybe we’ll visit.”

My robbers hooted, making gang signs, switching seats in a macabre dance choreographed to confuse and control. They wore big ballcaps and lifted their t-shirts to hide their faces whenever they approached. Comet trails of color flashed before my eyes and faded whenever they changed places. Purple and yellow jackets. Red and orange sweatpants. Gold chains. Images overwhelmed my brain until the only memories left were of white shirts stained brown by dirty hands.

Your eyes drop. Your head bows. Are you still scared? Fear fades when fate is stolen.

I always thought I’d be terrified if someone pointed a gun at me. I wasn’t. I felt trapped, shuttled along a wall-less queue, boxed in by choices that once seemed important. Why did I volunteer for overtime? Why did I slow down to check email?

Your heart quickens whenever we stop. You look up, hopeful, stealing a glance. Will we leave? Would anyone board? What would happen?

Another station rolled into view. Not the end of the line, but close. Two transit cops paced the platform, a routine patrol. Insignificant until they were not.

 Time to finish our story. Click. We slide a bullet into the chamber. Then you surprise me.

“I’m leaving.” I stood, wanting an end, not knowing if my door would open wide or close with a bullet.

Your wedding band lies on the seat, forgotten in the heat of the moment. Your pockets are empty. There is no money for bread and eggs.

How will I be remembered, a grain of sand on an ever-changing beach?

We’ve already forgotten you. We have your ring.

*****

If you’ve enjoyed “The Ride”, you can visit our free digital archive of flash fiction here. Additionally, premium short fiction published by Mystery Tribune on a quarterly basis is available digitally here.

For online archive of short fiction (longer pieces) on Mystery Tribune website, you can visit here.

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