The second assignment this week was:
Turn on the radio and take note of the first thing that is mentioned. Use it as the basis for a story of no more than 500 words. Imagine a character, someone who is central to what the story is about. Try to use clear, vivid language so that your reader can see the character.
When I turned on the radio, I picked up a short news piece on lending money, so here is my short story ….
Tacky, enticing lights flashed like a larger than life Christmas tree. The ‘ding, ding, ding’ of fruit machines rang through Grant Zenner’s ears, disorienting him amidst the hot sweaty bodies. The tables were heaving, ambient with the heady excitement and needy anticipation of gamblers. Sweat beads slid down his forehead – was it the closeness of the air or the sickness pooling in the pit of his stomach?
Grant wiped his pale forehead with the back of his trembling hand as more sweat dripped into his dark eyes, causing them to glisten like wells of tears. His confidence was flailing, peeks of trepidation poking their head up above the surface of his calm façade. Sleeking drenched hair back from his face, he eyed the dice and breathed a calming breath which did little for his mood.
‘All or nothing,’ the croupier shouted. His tinny voice reverberating through the recesses of Grant’s head. This was the last roll. Praying for a six, he swigged a slug of his iced whiskey and fingered the small gold crucifix around his neck. A gift from his mother before she passed, it was his good luck charm. He prayed right then that it’s luck hadn’t run out. Picking up the dice, he turned them over in his clammy hands. His eyes shut, head raised to the sky for divine intervention. A shake of his wrist and the dice clattered and bounced across the craps table. He opened his eyes in unison with the dice slowly circling to a stop. The faces landing to show a two and three on their top side.
His stomach dropped, sickness welling at the back of his throat as he stumbled away from the table. ‘Five. House wins,’ he heard the muffled, distorted voice of the croupier in the distance. I have to get out of here. His startled rabbit eyes flitted left and right, fear brimming to the surface. Where are they? He knew they would come for him. He’d lost everything and he owed them big.
The repetitive ‘ding, ding, ding’ rang through his ears, like the ticking of a clock. Counting down ….