Flash Fic Challenge – They Fight Crime!
Yep, another Wendig challenge, and too good to resist, as it’s tied to the amazing They Fight Crime! site. Here’s what the site came up with for me.
Time To Kill
Caitlin wrinkled her nose in disgust. There was no fucking way Tony expected her to work on a fucking eight year old Kia. Fucking piece of shit car. She wanted to take it out behind the garage and shoot it point blank in the radiator.
“I’m taking my break,” she said, wiping her hands on a greasy rag and throwing it at the turd colored Kia She didn’t care if Tony heard her or not, she went right into the back, and grabbed her coat before retreating to the bathroom. Only there did she pull out her phone and check on her traps.
The Headhunter probably thought he was safe. He’d been stalking the city and killing with impunity for almost a year now, and the cops had only clued in about his existence about five months ago. Pathetic.
Caitlin wasn’t only a mechanic. Not only could she put together whatever rattletrap piece of shit was towed in here, but she could build small devices that would allow her to tap into DOT traffic cams across the city. Her own investigation, as well as the crucial beatings of several hostile witnesses, turned up that the Headhunter drove an old, shitty white Ford pick up, and she had personally narrowed those down to five. The Headhunter seemed to function within a ten mile corridor, and any time one of those trucks appeared, she had a computer program that would take screenshots of the times they appeared and the times they left, and would send that info to her phone. It seemed two of the trucks had been active today. Only one had already come back, though.
Hmm. This might just require a phone call.
Watching the clowns rehearse, Micah wondered what sin he had committed that had gotten him stuck in this time period.
Of course, he knew, didn’t he? It was his fault. Sure, Sir Warrington Franson had made such a delicious target, but the man’s reputation as an eccentric inventor – the twenty second century’s answer to the mad scientist – should have been enough warning. But how was he to know what appeared to be an expensive antique pocket watch was in fact some kind of unstable time travel device? Micah was just a burglar, he had no idea how the thing worked, and no amount of study had helped. It worked on its own, regardless of what he did to it, and it was just too dangerous to abandon. There was a bright side, though. As long as Micah had it, Franson couldn’t sell the technology to fascist Starcorp, which he was definitely planning to do.
But since he could drop out of time at any point, Micah needed to stay as quiet and unnoticed as possible. Which is how he’d charmed his way into a maintenance job at the Ringling Brothers circus, where people seemed to drop out all the time. He was hoping he was flung out of this time soon, because he honestly didn’t know how much longer he could take this job, or take the twenty first century as a whole. So backwards and weird.
The phone in his pocket hummed impatiently, and he pulled it out, checking the screen even though only one person had this number. It was habit. “Caitlin,” he answered, keeping his voice neutral.
“I think I’ve got the Headhunter,” she replied, all business. She was nothing if not all business. “I’ve just tracked down his truck with traffic cams, and he went off road into a swampy part of Timberworks property near Newton.”
“He does have a penchant for dumping bodies on logging company property, doesn’t he?” He had tried not to aid her with her little remote hacks too much, what with possibly tainting the timeline, blah blah, but she was a great underground figure in his time. He’d never told her, of course, because he wasn’t sure how she’d take it, or believe that he was a time traveler. How would any vigilante react to the news? “Can you get loose?”
“Yeah. I’m gonna say I have a doctor’s appointment for my cramps, all women’s stuff makes Tony squeamish, and I’ll meet you on Westover Road. Know where that is?”
“I’ll Google it. Should I bring anything?”
“Just a shovel,” she said, before cutting the connection. She was delightfully taciturn.
Micah shut off his phone and returned it to his pocket. She didn’t ask if he could get away, because he always could. If he couldn’t slink away, he didn’t deserve to call himself a cat burglar.
Would history remember him? Sometimes, he wondered. But then again, what good was having a time travel device if you couldn’t change a little history now and again?
Micah smiled as he wondered if he could somehow earn his own holiday. Sure, he was no hero, but a sidekick deserved a little love, didn’t they?
The original premise:
He’s a time-tossed guerilla cat burglar living undercover at Ringling Bros. Circus. She’s a bloodthirsty snooty mechanic on the trail of a serial killer. They fight crime!