Daily Flash Fiction Challenge 70: Bait and Switch

This is the 70th in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing. You can find out more about the challenge here.

Bait and Switch, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 10th February 2013

Word count: 625

The story:

“Hell, boy, you ain’t got nothing to show for it,” the masked gunman said in a Southern US accent.

“Had to try,” the middle aged man in a business suit said.

“Guess you did,” the gun man chambered a round in his shot gun. “So where’d you want it, head or the chest?”

The middle aged man took a deep breath, “I don’t suppose neither is an option?”

“Sure it’s an option, then I’ll pop you in the balls and stomach, that your choice?” the good old boy said.

“Well, I guess I’ll have option four. Drop your weapon, get on your knees, and lace your fingers behind your head,” the business suit getting up.

“What?” the gunman asked confused.

“You ask a lot of question Mister Strong,” the business suited gentleman brushed himself off, “But you haven’t asked the right one yet.”

“Who are you?” the gunman said, gripping firmly to his shotgun, but somehow held in thrall.

“Now that’s a question worth asking,” the businessman said, “I’m a private in the US Army.”

“Bull,” the gun man said, “Your British.”

“The name’s Robert Randolph Routledge the second. So, are you going to surrender or do I have to call my friends in?”

“I think you’re bullshitting,” he thrust the gun forward, “Say goodbye.”

The door exploded, “Drop the weapon,” a uniformed soldier shouted, “Freeze, freeze, freeze!”

The gunman dropped his gun.

Robert swung with his left, sending the gunman reeling. “On the ground, arsehole.”

As soldiers cuffed the businessman and dragged him away. An officer approached, “Good work, again.”

“It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it,” Robert said.

“Well I’ve got your transfer, they want you over at Hawthorne Army Depot in Nevada, apparently someone’s targeting officers.”

“What happened to my time off?” Robert asked.

“You’re a victim of your own success, getting these people that are targeting the troops is important work,” the officer said. “Listen, I’ll make sure you get some leave soon. Meanwhile, you need to get to Nevada and get to work tracking down this guy.”

“Fine, at least sort me out a jet. it’s two thousand miles, and we’ll need to act fast,” Robert said.

“Already dealt with, the airforce is going to transport you,” the officer said.

“Finally, some fun,” Robert said.

Robert left the house. Outside the pimp that had been kidnapping and robbing his girl’s clients, which had included four soldiers, one of which was killed, was struggling against his bonds. Robert suspected he wasn’t all there, might be his only way to avoid the death penalty, but that was someone else’s problem.

He climbed into the humvee that had been requisitioned for his trip to the nearby airbase. He sat back for the hour the drive last, recording details on his PDA ready for his report.

At the airbase he was met by his pilot.

“You’re going up in a T-38, we’ll have you there in a few hours,” the pilot informed him. Robert looked past him to the plane that was sitting waiting. “No room for laptop in there?”

“Afraid not sir,” the pilot said.

“I’m a private, no need to call me sir,”

Robert strapped himself in, and listed out on a paper pad all the things he needed to do to be ready for his next assignment. He’d already ready through the investigation on his PDA on the way to the airport. If he got this done quick enough, he might score some leave finally to go back home to the UK. He’d promised to go see his mum before Christmas. He’d spend Christmas itself with his dad US Army General Robert Strong. He needed to focus though, as the pilot pushed the little jet to its limits.

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