Meeting in the Desert

The following is a short story about a character I’ve been working on for years. The story itself was written in the span of about two hours, with me just writing stuff out as it popped into my head.

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It sure as hell is hot out here, thought the arms dealer wearing a business suit in the middle of a warm desert. Why did I agree to this again? He stood there in a nice suit, black jacket and pants, with a red tie and dark, designer sunglasses, watching the horizon. He flexed his hands, protected from the heat in biker’s gloves. He also flexed his toes, which were suffering from an unfortunate case of sand in the formal, designer shoes he was wearing.

What he had agreed to was a meeting with a rival arms dealer, one whom he was currently in the midst of a territorial dispute, and who had asked for a truce. “Meet me at this location and we’ll divide the territory between us,” he had said. “This nasty conflict between our organizations can finally be over.”

Sure, the guy standing in the desert alone thought. It’ll be over all right. He squinted through the sunglasses at the black sedan driving down the long, winding road toward him. Strangely, there was a whole lot of dust and sand being kicked up for such a small car. He frowned as he realized that what was supposed to be one car was actually two. Awesome! he thought. Intrigue! Scandal!

“We’ll meet, just you and I, to discuss the terms of the ceasefire,” the rival had said over the phone. “None of your men, and none of mine. We’ll do this like civilized men.”

Civilized men apparently bring reinforcements to clean up their messes, the trapped arms dealer thought. He sighed, knowing the end of the conflict really was here.

The two sedans pulled up in front of the arms dealer, and the first to step out was the rival, grinning. Caught like a rat in a trap, the lonely guy thought. Welp, it’s been fun, I guess. The rival’s hair was black, slicked back like a used car salesman, and dressed in a collared shirt with khakis and tennis shoes. Shortly afterward, out of the rival’s car stepped a rather large man – not fat, just tall and muscular – and from the other sedan stepped two men of identical build. Maybe they’re brothers? Or this is just the ideal henchmen these days. Creativity is dead.

“Dante,” the rival called out, stepping toward his prey with arms wide as though to hug him. “Glad to see you. I hope you’re doing well.”

“As well as anyone could be when the circumstances of a truce have suddenly changed,” Dante replied. “Now I can’t be certain, Vamp, but I think you lied to me.”

“Vamp,” as the rival was called, continued to walk forward and hugged Dante, kissing him on either cheek, like they were family. He took a step back and looked to each henchman, nodding.

“Now hold on a second,” Dante put his hands up as each of the three big men pulled out handguns, all three comically small compared to their large, beefy hands. “I don’t see why this has to end in violence.”

The rival, Vamp, laughed. “Don’t you? Two of us can’t share South City. I’ll have you killed here, take over your properties and warehouses, and clean up nicely there before expanding to bigger and better things.”

Dante, hands still raised, folded his fingers back and, making little finger guns as he responded to Vamp. “This is all a little unnecessary. I didn’t even start this war. I just wanted to end it before it got too messy.”

“You outsiders, coming in to my city, make me sick,” Vamp sneered. “You don’t respect how things were before you started butting in.”

Dante pointed his “guns” at two of the big men’s foreheads, and said “Bang! Bang!” The two men’s heads snapped back as though they really were shot, and they fell to the ground. Dante aimed his fingers at the third man before he could react and said “Bang!” again, causing him to crumple to the ground.

It took the second and a half Dante had “shot” the men in for the crack of the sniper rifles to hit Vamp’s ears. In a split second, he realized what had happened.

Dante had not come alone either.

Adjusting his tie, Dante strolled over to Vamp, brushed off the terrified man’s shoulders, and put his arm around him.

“Vamp, old buddy, it’s time to talk terms.”

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