Friday Flash Fiction #19…Shrew Life…

It’s Friday Flash Fiction time again and here is my attempt. The starter sentence this week was given by Cormac Brown himself and it is in blue.

Hope you enjoy…

Shrew Life.

As far as Jack was concerned, even a field of four-leaf clovers couldn’t turn things around. He was convinced that because he was born in a leap year, that he was under a secret thirteenth Zodiac sign and its symbol was a giant screw.

He had it tattooed on his back: a huge screw, dripping blood onto four-leaf clover’s and the words ‘Shrew Life’ underneath it. He’d had the tattoo done fourteen months ago, because it was then that it all really started going wrong for him. But, at this moment in time, the beads of sweat on his back actually resembled mildew on the green leaves of the tattoo.

* * *

“Jack! Up here. Need to see you in the office, now!”

Jack Walker made his way over, up the metal stairs and into the portacabin that acted as the main office. The cabin below was the staff room.

“Sit down, Jack. We need to talk.”

“What’s the problem, boss?”

Mike Tindal sat behind his large desk, architect’s drawing’s scattered in front of him.

“I don’t really know how to say this kid, but, well, we’re going to have to let you go.”

“What? But, boss, I aint done anything wrong. Wh..What’s goin on?”

“Look, Jack, we have to make some cutbacks. The big bosses have seen the start of things slowing up and they don’t want to get caught with their pants down. Now, there’s two weeks money on top of this week’s wages in there,” an envelope was pushed across the desk, “Come back and see us from time to time, and if things start picking up again we can give you your job back.”

“I don’t believe this, Mike. Who else is getting shafted?”

“Well, err…at the moment, Jack, it’s just you but you’re not being “shafted” and there will be more being laid off.”

“You fu…..”

“Whoa! You see, that’s exactly why you’re first, Jack. That temper of yours has been noted a few times and the bigwigs have seen it on one too many occasions when they’ve been here. Sorry Jack, but you were an automatic choice.”

Getting up and knocking his chair over, Jack grabbed the envelope from the table and screwed it up in his fist.

“You aint seen the last of me, Tindal.”

Jack’s head throbbed as he walked out of the site, making his way down the dirt track towards his car. He pocketed the envelope and rubbed his temples.

“Fuckers, fuckers, fuckers…”

“Hey, Jack. Where you off to, mate?” A workmate shouted.

“Fuck you!”

Jack climbed into his car and started the engine. He pounded the steering wheel with his fists before putting it in gear and wheel spinning it out of the parking area.

“Glad to see the back of that crazy bastard,” Mike Tindal said to himself, standing at the top of the metal stairs outside his office.

Two weeks had passed when Jack had decided that his luck couldn’t possibly get any worse. First his job, then his “on-off” girlfriend walked out and the thing that tipped him over the edge was the fact that the tattooist he’d gone to couldn’t spell for shit and as Jack had passed out due to a mixture of pain and alcohol, he’d written shrew instead of screw. There was blood, snot and dislodged teeth left in the tattoo parlour that day, and none of them Jacks.

Alcohol had taken over Jack’s life since the loss of his job and it was in his inebriated state that he decided what he was going to do. Tindal was going to pay for these last episodes of bad luck that had pushed Jack over the edge.

Mike Tindal sat behind his desk, going over the latest drawings from the architects. There’d been so many changes since the job had started that the interiors of the building’s had totally changed. He glanced at his watch. Six fifteen pm. He hated working late. He told his wife he worked late all the time but he was usually relaxing in the massage parlour, getting rubbed down by a Latvian, Polish or even a Thai girl sometimes. And they could have been girls for all he knew, they looked that young, but he didn’t care as long as his massage had a ‘happy ending’.

A sudden bang on the door disturbed his thoughts; the bang was followed by a whoosh and a flickering orange glow outside the office window.

“What the f…”

He got up and ran to the window. The cabin below was ablaze and the flames were licking at the walls of his office. He grabbed his jacket from the hook on the back of the door and grabbed the handle. He instantly let go as the palm of his hand started blistering. Pulling his jacket sleeve down he grabbed the handle again and yanked the door inwards. It was like a furnace as the flames danced before him, flickering through the gaps in the metal stairway. The fire was devouring the fabricated structures of the cabins.

“Oh shit!”

Tindal ran back to his desk and picked up the phone, dialling the emergency services before putting the phone to his ear. The line was dead. He pulled out his mobile and dialled, waiting for a response. Outside he heard singing, drunken singing.

Alwaysss look on the shhite side of life, do do, do do do do do do…”

Tindal ran back to the window and through the flames he could see Jack staggering about with a bottle in his hand, a rag tied round the neck of it.


Jack looked up at the window and waved.

“Fuck you, Tindal. Shrew you to Hell!”

Laughing like a lunatic, Jack lit the rag on the bottle and threw it through the open office door. A huge explosion of flames engulfed the office interior, followed by Mike Tindal’s screams.

Jack Walker was still stood there laughing when the emergency services arrived.

* * *

As his hands tightened around the throat of his cell mate, Jack knew there was never going to be a field of four leaf clovers for him and, due to a gutless government, a death sentence either. The veins bulged in his neck and sweat poured from every pore as he crushed the other man’s trachea.

“SCREW LIFE, it should have been! SCREW LIFE!”

The End.

The usual applies, leave a comment if you like-it would be appreciated…if not, may you wake up and all your tattoo’s be misspelt! (Only if you have them of course…)



Filed under crime, david barber, david barber's fiction world, friday flash fiction

9 responses to “Friday Flash Fiction #19…Shrew Life…

  1. He never stood a chance and he's bound to take everyone with him as he goes down the drain.

  2. Booze, arson, and Monty Python. What's not to like?

  3. Let this be a cautionary tale to you wanker admin bean counter types. I love stories of loons pushed over the edge.

  4. Great job, David. Particularly like the opening dialogue. Politically correct screw-job!! And, of course, adding Monty Python will always get my attention!!!

  5. CJT

    Hey sometimes they just have it coming to them am I right??? Corporate pigs! You got a laugh out of me especially when he's at the tatoo parlor- made my day… that right there is why I won't have one done!

  6. Vivid and brutal! Excellent as always. I have to apologise too for not visiting as often as I should. My mother is very ill. Also I should really be getting on with that second novel. Give me a dig about it every now and then please! I always meant to ask you, do you know the lovely Ewan McGregor? He's from Crieff isn't he?

  7. Doc

    I'm with Randal, as I love stories of loons pushed over the edge too.Every week you crank out a solid piece and you make it look so easy! What is your secret? Inquiring minds want to know.Great job!Doc

  8. That was a great starter sentence that Cormac gave you all this week! I loved this story! I was giggling in some spots as I read it. By the time Tindal was going up in flames I was ready to see the end of him. (Happy ending indeed ;P )Your stories are always so easy to read and get into to. Great job! (as always)((Hugs))Laura

  9. I should have come by sooner but you know how things go in this wicked world. I did enjoy the story. Some people are always ready to blame others for their own inadequacies, aren't they? Now I'm off to find the tattoo artist who wrote MILK on my breast rather than MILF.

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