Sunday 16 August 2009

ANOTHER BAD DAY - by David Price


He heard the buzz of the alarm. Already he was pissed off. He woke up angry, just like he did every day. He guessed it was because he went to bed mad. Mad and drunk.

His life had turned to shit. His wife left him a year ago. He couldn’t really blame her. He had an alcohol problem.

They were married for two years. The first six months were great. She liked a good time so the partying every night was new and fun for her. Unfortunately for him, she had a sense of boundaries which he managed to blur for a while. Finally, she figured him out. He was a depressive loser who drank to stay out of the black hole that waited to swallow him.

He gave her credit. She hung in there but nobody in their right mind would put up with his crap if they had any sense at all. She wasn’t stupid.
She moved out and took most of the furniture and even the dog. He never did like that mutt and the mutt knew it.

He got out of bed and stumbled into the shower. He let the water run over his head and face and then cascade down his body. He turned the water to cold to wake himself up. It worked. He shaved. There he felt a lot better. He put on his slacks, shirt and sport coat. Then he ran a comb through his hair and looked at himself in the mirror. He didn’t like what he saw. He guessed that was part of his problem. He stared hard in the mirror at the foreign eyes looking back at him. Then he felt it. Anger. He couldn’t shake it. It followed him like a shadow.

He went to the kitchen and pulled a few cold cans of beer out for breakfast. He sat down and drank his liquid pacifier.

He thought, today would be a bad day to piss me off.

At the door, he reached down to the end table and picked up his Sig 9mm and slipped it into his shoulder holster.

Yeah, definitely not the day to fuck with me.


Steven woke up to the usual morning bustle in the hallway outside his room. He looked at his clock. 7:00am. Med call was in thirty minutes. Breakfast would be served at 8:00am. He got up and went to the bathroom to clean up.

He dressed in the same clothes every day. He had other choices but for him there was only one choice, the black polyester athletic pants with the elastic waist band. He pulled on the Star Trek tee shirt and brushed his hair. He sat to pull on his over the calf white socks and stepped into his basketball shoes which he left unlaced. It was hard for him to take a big step. If he tried to run, he would definitely leave his shoes behind. So he had to shuffle and slide. He thought it made him look cool. He slipped on his matching black warm-up jacket and he was ready to face the day.

First stop was the dispensary where he would be given his meds to treat his paranoid delusion disorder. That was just one of his many problems. When he was not on his meds, he became excessively paranoid.

At the dispensary, he got in line with the other residents of the board and care home.

The nurses were bored and definitely not on top of their game. Usually it wouldn’t matter but in his case it did. He had been cheeking his meds for the last several days. Then he would go to the restroom and flush them.

Next stop breakfast. He looked forward to the meals. They fed the residents well. They even got a couple of choices at each meal.

After breakfast he went to the TV room which was tuned to the cartoon network in the morning.

He pulled the six inch black mag lite out of his pocket. He turned around and shined the bright light into a female resident’s eyes. She blinked and put up her hand but he persisted. Finally she yelled, “He’s doing it again. Make him stop.”

The attendant came over and placed both of his hands on Steven’s shoulders.
“Put it away or I will have to take it.”

“No, it’s my protection. I need it to keep the evil doers away.”

“Last warning.”

He turned it off and put it in his pocket. The last time they took it, they kept it for a week. He was left without protection and refused to leave his room the entire time.

He remembered that lesson. He knew he shouldn’t use the protective ray in the facility but he feared the female resident was “one of them” and he needed to confirm it. Sometimes the only way to search out the evil doers was to shine the light directly into the suspect’s eyes. If they glowed red, he knew they meant him harm. So far he hadn’t found any of the evil doers but he knew they were out there. He needed to be on the alert so he wouldn’t get caught by surprise.


He went to his assigned parking space and got into his car.

He had several predetermined sites to visit. Same old shit, different day. In a couple of hours he would stop and pick up a six pack for lunch. He looked forward to sitting in his car under the shade of a tree and throwing down the cold beers. It meant his day was half over.


After lunch in the cafeteria Steven went on a half mile walk to the nearby strip mall. It was a ritual with him. He liked to get a cup of coffee and sit outside in a chair and watch people as they passed.
If he saw someone he suspected, he would draw his flashlight and shine it in their eyes. It always paid to be careful.


He drove to a couple of predetermined addresses after lunch, with no success. He decided to stop for a cup of coffee. He barely had three hours left in his day.
As he pulled into the strip mall, he saw several people standing in different locations but they were all either staring at or pointing toward a guy dressed in a black warm-up suit. The guy was walking in a random zig-zag and as he changed direction, people moved away from him.

The guy looked strange with a weird vacant expression on his face.
He parked his car near the entrance to the coffee shop. He kept an eye on the strange man in black.

Suddenly the guy did a half turn and headed directly toward him. The guy had a funny shuffle - slide way of walking.

He stood by his car and watched.

Yeah, he’s heading straight toward me. What’s that black object in his right hand?

Instinctively, he opened his car door and lowered the window. He squatted down using the door for cover and yelled, “Stop right there. Don’t take another step.”

The man in black ignored him and proceeded to move toward him in the shuffle – slide.
He looked at the object in the man’s hand.

Is that a gun or a knife?He drew his Sig and used the door to set his aim. He yelled, “Halt, lay down on the ground.”

As the man continued forward, he could clearly see the bright beam of light emitted from the object in his hand.

The fool has a flashlight. What the hell is he thinking?

When Steven closed to within fifteen feet of the car, he shined the light into the eyes of the man hiding behind the car door.

Enough of this bullshit. I’ve got something for you, asshole.

He squeezed off two shots, center mass. The man in black fell over backwards onto the asphalt. He approached the prostrate figure and kicked the flashlight away. He checked for a pulse. None. He stood and holstered his weapon.

At that moment two police cars with sirens wailing entered the parking lot from opposite sides. They sped to his location. The squad cars screeched to a halt facing him from different angles. The doors opened and both officers jumped out drawing their weapons. Using their open doors as shields, they yelled, “Put your hands over your head. Do it now!”

He reached to his belt and removed his leather badge holder. Holding his badge in one hand, he raised them both and said, “I’m a cop, warrants detail. I’m on the job.”

The officers approached cautiously with guns pointed at him. The officer on his right took the badge from him.

“Sorry Sergeant, What happened?”

“He advanced on me pretending he had a gun. Then he pointed it at me. He refused my order to stop and get on the ground. I had no choice. It was self defense.”

“OK Sarge, why don’t you go sit in your car. The Lieutenant is on the way. Looks like a righteous shooting to me. Don’t worry.”

He went over and sat in his unmarked police car. He suddenly felt a lot better. At least for now the anger was gone.

Yeah, today was definitely not a day to mess in my shit.

David Price is an ex-college jock and retired probation officer residing in California. His writing efforts can be seen at Thuglit, A Twist of Noir, Flash Fiction Offensive, Darkest Before The Dawn, Powder Burn Flash and Crooked.


  1. Good work, David. I enjoyed this a lot. Good noir writing.

  2. Well written, David. It's always tricky switching viewpoints in a short, but you handled it well and this contributed nicely to the story's build up.
    Good stuff.