I wrote the following story for The Iron Writer Challenge in March 2013. The terms of the challenge were to write an exactly 500 word flash story using these four elements: A failed superhero, a piano, a boat propeller and a Chechem/Chaka tree. My story won against two other Iron Writer participants, though their stories were quite good too.
E. Chris Garrison
When Towering Rage walked into my bar, I knew there’d be trouble. I poured drinks at T.G.I. Heroes! for the regulars: Wire Hanger, Sticky Fingers and of course the Amazing Pieman. Fingers tickled the ivories, coaxing out “Stand By Me”. Only if you know Fingers, nobody’d do that on purpose.
Rage ducked under the motorboat hanging from the ceiling, swept back his cape, and plunked down his old-school red-tights-wearing butt on a barstool. One eye on the door.
“What’s your poison?” I purred, giving him a wink. He looked like he could use one.
He looked me up and down and sighed “Scotch. Rocks. Double.” I may not be Foxy Lightning, but I’m not chopped liver, either. Rage needed more than a wink, so I slid some scotch his way.
Just then, his blue ox of a brother Thunderbull burst in and shouted, “Thought I told you to get outta town, loser!”
My bouncer, Mistress Beast, tried to stop him. Brute that she is, he flicked her aside.
I was right. Trouble.
Rage stared into the glass I’d placed before him. His lips moved as he counted to ten.
“Get out of my bar!” I shouted, trying to avoid another insurance claim. “You know the rules. No fighting.”
Thunderbull grinned and pushed forward. He knocked the Pieman into Hanger, and both of them fell into a heap with Doctor Whiplash.
Towering Rage pushed his scotch away. Veins stuck out on his neck. His face matched his tights. His barstool hit the floor as he stood. “Leave me be. I gotta right to be here.”
Thunderbull lifted the piano and hurled it at Rage, knocking him back into my reinforced bar. Heroes and sidekicks scattered, fleeing the cacophony and debris. “I whupped you good, you failure. Get out!”
Towering Rage rose from the wreckage, piano wire twanging as he grew in size and fury. He knocked the motorboat from its hooks, snapped the propeller off the outboard motor and threw it spinning at his brother.
Mistress Beast stood up behind him.
The propeller cut her beautiful head from her apelike body. She fell to the floor, dead.
Thunderbull roared with laughter, stepped over the body, and left.
Towering Rage wilted, broken once again.
“Don’t let him win,” I said, coming around the bar, near him.
“Everything I do is like poison from the Chechen tree,” he said, eyes on Mistress Beast’s bloody head.
“Then let me be your Chaca balm,” I said, touching him on the forearm, which was about as high as I could reach.
At my touch, time rewound to when Thunderbull entered.
Before the ox could get out a single word, Rage ignored the boat, calmly crossed the room, and punched his brother out the door, into orbit.
Mistress Beast, alive again, looked at me, confused. I shrugged and smiled.
Towering Rage gaped at me. “How… who are you?”
“My name’s Tap Back. Want that scotch now?”
He grinned. “You bet. Thanks!”
I winked. “Any time.”