Flash Fiction Challenge: Planning for Retirement

clearwater falls oregon june 2001 Flash fiction prompt ALL RIGHTS RESERVED KS BROOKS
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

O’Malley spent eight years on the hijacking case before he retired. It was a difficult endeavor. The exact position of the plane when the hijacker ejected was not known. Thousands and thousands of acres of inaccessible wilderness could hold the secret forever. Neither the body nor the money was ever found. At least, that’s what the report read.

All those eight years ago, O’Malley had had no trouble locating the loot. That bit just didn’t make it into the report. The body was a different matter, though. Striker had been alive and well when O’Malley met up with him. But he took care of that. No loose ends. He left the money in place, biding his time until retirement – until today.

Mexico, here I come. But the money wasn’t there…

Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture and the written prompt above. Do not include the prompt in your entry. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

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8 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Planning for Retirement”

  1. O’Malley traced his steps back and forth from the corner of the cabin to the big flat rock next to the well. Try as he might, he could not find a red cent under that big slab of purple granite.

    The stream was the same, the hill was the same, and the cabin was still 28 paces from the rock. He sat down and let out a sigh. “Where did that gosh darn sack of coins go?” he wondered.

    He walked back to the cabin and looked at the moldy planks on the porch. “Old Vandenberg sure didn’t spend a lot of time keeping this place up, O’Malley chuckled. “…and everybody around here forgot about it.”

    He decided to forget about the coins for now –he had until Friday to reach the bus station in Mount Claire—and instead worry more about how to cover up the grave better. He had dug it in a big hurry near the waterfall last spring.

    He heard a car door slam, and he looked around the corner of the cabin and saw Diana Kuyper, Guy’s niece, heading to the cabin with a big heavy bag.
    She could barely carry it. “Why is she bringing the coins back?!” he asked himself.

    O’Malley stared back at the purple rock.

    Just then, he heard the “clack” of a gun being cocked right next to his right ear.

    “This place sure got popular!” he thought to himself.

    “You lose somethin’?” boomed Striker’s voice from behind him.

  2. The “winning number” — D95718589D —
    “Reckon I’ve won.” Contented, he presented the evidence…a $1 bill.
    Matched to a national database, this bill was part of the hijacking haul.
    “It’s been a long time, but, I guess I can retire now. For twenty years.”
    And change…

  3. ***FINALIST***

    Mexico was the farthest thing from his mind now. His sacred spot of eight years had been violated. The money was gone and so was O’Malley’s sanity. He tore at the dirt with bare hands, clumps of damp soil erupted around him. The river raged behind him, while demonic thoughts consumed him. Afternoon sunlight was giving way to the approaching darkness. His inner darkness was taking over.

    O’Malley stood up, his eyes were hollow crevices. Like a hound, he sniffed the dirt on his hands. The scent of deception lingered within him, catapulting him to that dark day, eight years ago. He had snuck up on Striker, limiting the hijacker’s chances of retaliation. A metal case lay open, exhibiting crisp green bills. The gunshot wound bled crimson as the river devoured the body without regret. It had been too easy.

    Laughter filled his throat, bursting from the confines of his mouth. Burying the case, covering up his tracks, everything had been too easy. His thoughts came to a standstill as a sharp pain shot through his skull. A black void engulfed him. Voices echoed in the distance, as he drifted in and out of a blur.

    O’Malley awoke to the sound of a door shutting. His wife stood staring at him, tears stained her face. He promised to find the stolen money. She said the investigation had driven him insane. He knew she deserved to die. He struggled to reach her but the straitjacket restricted his movement.

  4. All O’Malley wanted to do was to retire on an empty beach, somewhere, away from all this corruption. She had messed up royally trusting the wrong people. Yeah, she got her man and executed him, as she was supposed to do, after all she had the hunting license. However, the money was a different matter because there was just to much to carry off and return, and they had planned on this.
    Now, it wasn’t where she told them it was, and the authorities could not find it. Meaning, someone had stolen it, and she knew who. With a two hundred million dollar ransom paid out it took a highly organized syndicate to move that much money and a large crew to pull it off, but far to few resources to bring all of them to justice.
    She kicked herself for not figuring this out earlier and for leaving the money hidden; and then again for trusting her organization, which was her big mistake. She was shocked at the level of corruption with over two dozen trusted agents involved including all her superiors; but what really hurt was … they used her.
    Even though it was against all the rules she decided to get even, but more importantly, she had all the time in the world. So she set her time dial to twenty four hours before the hijacking, and headed out to bag herself a hijacker and end it all, before they ever thought to use her.

  5. ***FINALIST***

    Sergeant O’Malley was an honest man. Everyone who knew him believed that because he had dedicated his life to the preservation of that facade, but now it was time to end the charade, time to retire. His plan was to leave Tacoma in his government issue Jeep, head south to a fast flowing stream deep in the bowels of Olympic National Park, unearth Jimmy Striker’s stolen fortune and disappear into a life of blissful obscurity.

    Eight years earlier, Striker, an armored truck driver for Brinks Inc., had, employing a brilliant inside maneuver at Sea-Tac Airport, relieved his employer of seven million dollars, then managed to escape by hijacking a single engine Cessna. The remains of the Cessna were found scattered over a wide area south of the Oregon border. Striker’s body and his loot were never found. Investigators assumed that he had parachuted to safety. To this date O’Malley had publicly vowed to remain on the case until Striker was brought to justice and the money recovered.

    O’Malley dug up the cash, still sealed in its water-proof sac, hid it in his Jeep, then headed for Mexico.

    “Walk in the park,” he said to himself as he used his creds to clear customs. He parked the Jeep, then took a taxi to Estero Beach Hotel in Ensenada. He was greeted at the door to room 206.

    “It’s about time you got here,” Striker said with a gigantic smile.

    O’Malley smirked. “You made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

  6. The deep woods and rushing river brought the events of eight years ago back in vivid color for John O’Malley. He cursed the old ache in his leg left by Striker’s knife blade. Losing his balance on the slick rocks, his head landed hard on the sharp edge of a boulder. The silvery waters were briefly interrupted by his inert body. A scarlet rivulet vanished into the rapids. How ironic that his life should meet an end so near the location the hijacker had met his demise at John’s own hands.

    Following closely, I observed O’Malley struggle on the rocks and fall. Approaching his lifeless form cautiously, I knelt in search of a pulse and smiled at my good fortune.

    John spoke fondly of the location more than once. It was as if he wanted me, his partner, to know his secret. I saw the fallen tree. Over time the river had washed away the earth and left behind an artistic sculpture of twisted roots. With my shovel I began carving away at the rotting wood. The clink of metal on metal meant I’d found the cash box. From my right, I recognized my shovel, too late, as I sank into darkness.

    The shovel had been thrown conveniently aside and Striker took advantage of it. Once separated from his loot, the hijacker hiked out of the wilderness to his car, alive and well. The lock and the empty cash box lay broken on the side of the road.

  7. They bag emptied of money, had nothing but a scrap of paper left inside. An address, nothing more, just an address written on the scrap of paper.

    O’Malley staked out the old warehouse. He hadn’t seen anyone coming or going in the past day but that didn’t ease his gut. The whole thing was a set up, he was sure of it.

    The warehouse was down by the docks. The sea on one side and the main road on the other. Though the rest of the building looked pretty beat down, the door and knob had been replaced recently and it was unlocked.

    He took a deep breath and let it out slow before he turned the knob and pushed the door open. The glow of soft bulbs lit the way through a hall into the main warehouse. O’Malley pulled his .38.

    A new 50-foot yacht sat in dry dock in the main part of the warehouse. He took a step back at the sight of it and missed the shadow come up behind him.

    “Took you long enough.”

    The hijacker hobbled up behind him, his left hand on a cane and his right held sawed-off pointed at O’Malley’s chest. “You’re dead?”

    “I been waiting a long time for this,” he said. “You weren’t as thorough as you thought.” He pulled the trigger as O’Malley raised his pistol. The blast of bird shot sent O’Malley to the ground. “If you live, maybe I’ll see you in another eight years.”

  8. O’Malley found the spot just fine. That didn’t help, though. It took only one look to know getting that dough back wouldn’t be easy. It seems Smokey (the Bear, you know?) had found it before he did.

    Maybe some of Striker’s evil had infected him when he ate his liver, because this was not the bear he had been told to believe in. The hat was right, and the buckle on his belt. The old jingle came back to him. “Only you can stop forest fires.” Or was it always just propaganda – that bit about preventing forest fires?

    But this bear sat on the log beside his open loot pack, a fat cigar between his lips, smoke making a lazy grey curl as it burned. As O’Malley watched in disbelief Smokey leaned down and fished out the last of the stolen bills, rolled them deftly into another fat cigar and lit it from the previous one.

    Then he burped, lifted that familiar arm to point straight at O’Malley and said, “Only I have money to burn.” He laughed at his own joke and patted the log beside him. “Have a seat and take a puff. Dinner tonight is liver – again.”

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