Tired Eyes


This is my entry into Finish the Story Contest held within the @bananafish realms.

Tired Eyes
By @dirge

The Mercedes pulled up beside the bar and the couple stepped out, laughing. The man wore a gold chain and a jersey. The girl was done up fly with a full body and lips. He held her in his arms and she kissed him. Not the kind that anyone, if they lived long enough, would know as fake. Not that contrived giggle or forced smile. It was the way she touched him. The hands. That takes a whole other level to manipulate, and the kind of person it takes to do that is either crazy or manipulative or both.

Gabrielle knew it. She’d seen it, been there, and lord the world would know one day. When her friends or family came through. When her brother stopped caring about anyone but himself and decided to finally come and help his little sister, alone, an old woman, living on the streets of Chicago.

The club was a good spot to panhandle. Thursdays were the hot nights for it. Other street folk came out in droves, sure. But Gabrielle, or L as they called her, defended her territory. They didn’t expect a woman to fight the way she did. But she could stand her ground. They didn’t grow up like her and her brother. And sometimes things broke you or made your stronger and well.

“Made me stronger. I lived,” she said out loud. A couple passed by and L stared them in the eyes, holding her tin mug. They ignored her.

“I’ve seen it, the star in the sky black as night and burning flames. Carcarocalee. Carcarocaloo. Carca.”

A quarter fell into her cup and she thanked them, keeping her eyes on the new car that pulled up to the club. The men stepped out, faces covered in masks, pistols at the ready. They stepped inside and the gunfire began. Through the screaming and running, L had the strangest notion.

“I should go in there.”


L dashed to the reception counter and jumped behind it. Frank, who was always kind to her, was there in a pool of his own blood, which made her gag. She never did like the sight of blood.

She looked to where the main dance floor was and saw under the cascading of lights people on their knees with one hand covering their heads while their other hand was used to empty themselves of their valuables. The two people she had seen rushing in were walking around with trash bags in their hands and ordering the party-goers to drop any and all wallets, rings, and cellphones into the bags.

L jumped over and behind the counter of the bar where she met eyes with Kelly, who was a bartender for the last couple of months, scrambling to empty the registers. She had a bit of a soft spot for people like him. Kelly smiled. He noticed the way she looked at him over the past couple of months. He flung the shotgun from his shoulders back into his hands and pointed in at her.

"Will this be the end of the line for you?" he asked inching closer.

"Not if you take me with you." L stood up and walked seductively over to Kelly who probably hadn't had any woman in the past ten years. Kelly wasn't a good looking man by any stretch of the imagination, even if terribly drunk. "What you do turns me on. It makes me feel alive." She touched the barrel of the gun with her fingers. "I can't take living on the streets alone any longer."

Kelly felt his cheeks grow red hot. Mother figures were right up his alley.

"Kelly," one of the gunmen shouted, "stop fucking around and get what we came here for."

Biting his lip, Kelly said, "Help me with this cash and you're in."

L, who had been let in regularly by the security and the owners to use the restroom, went around the club with Kelly smashing and opening all of the registers she knew of before she led Kelly to the safe stashed away in the artist's lounge.

"This is going to take something a little extra," Kelly said. He reached into his bag, pulled out an explosive, attached into the safe, backed away and pressed the button. The safe's door fell open and clanged on the ground.

Kelly grabbed the loot in the safe and stuffed it into his bag.

"Let's get out of here," he said to L grabbing her hand, practically dragging her frail and aged body.

When they met up the rest of the crew, one masked man who had not bothered to cover up his tattooed arms, asked, "Who the hell is that, Kelly?"

"A hostage," he said flatly, jokingly, mischievously.

L felt her excitement rise.

"That was never part of the plan, Kelly." The other man with a deep voice stepped up to Kelly, bulging his chest. "Leave her and let's book it out of her."

Kelly, ignoring the masked men said, "We'll meet at the hideout."

He led L to his car and they sped off into the night.


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Ah, love (or lust) wins again! Glad L found a way to take advantage of the situation.


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