To Disappear In A Puff Of Smoke #flashfrenzy microfiction

Flash Frenzy has a weekly prompt here, using this image. Give it a go, why don’t you?


Four more minutes. God, how had it come to this? A stooge. The Great Disappeareo, a young’un’s stooge. And a woman’s stooge at that.

Walter glanced up at ladders, webbing across the back of the stained bricks of the Union Theatre. What about the time he shinned up there while still handcuffed because Prescott forget the key? That was a disastrous tour, that one, them sacked and then arrested for locking that charlatan, Rogers, in his office. They got away with it though, didn’t they?

He sucked on the cigarette, savouring every woody part; his last ciggie, too. If she didn’t pay him tonight he didn’t know how he’d cope. She was nice enough, Wendy, aka Mademoiselle Mysterio, but her escapes were pretty tame. Not like him at his best, before the Big C took his guts in more ways than one. Lucky to be alive, they said, but what did they know? He always escaped, didn’t he? It was what he did. Boxes, padlocks, women, debt, death, he’d cheated them all, even if he now had to rely on bloody charity.

‘Hey, Wally, you need to get back in the box.’

Walter eyed the youngster rheumily. Cheeky scrap. No one called him Wally. He was no wally.

Taking one final drag on his cigarette, Walter dropped the butt. It slipped through the grating and down into the basement. By the time Walter was back inside the locked crate, the oily rags were smouldering. As the drums rolled, the first flames licked the dark spillage.  While Wendy played on the audience’s anticipation – not a bad turn out for a freezing matinee – and Walter adjusted his position to minimize the incipient cramp, the fire filled the basement with an acrid and deadly smoke.

Walter’s last thoughts before he lapsed into unconsciousness were of that last cigarette and how, one way or another, he would blag enough money to buy another packet. After all, he told himself, if there was one thing he’d not give up on in a hurry, whatever else happened to him, it was his smokes.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published four books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars, Salisbury Square and Buster & Moo. In addition I have published two anthologies of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand and Life in a Flash. More will appear soon, including a memoir of my mother's last years. I will try and continue to blog regularly at about whatever takes my fancy. I hope it does yours too. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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32 Responses to To Disappear In A Puff Of Smoke #flashfrenzy microfiction

  1. Erika Kind says:

    So, he died as he lived and probably peacefully…. lol!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I looked at that photo, and disregarded the grate, at first. Your head went to a strange place with this one. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    Geoff the master of the twisted thought!! I just love this!! 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

  4. davidprosser says:

    Nope, I won’t give up smoking but I will stay away from grates and basements.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ritu says:

    He went happy then!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I didn’t even notice the grate! Maybe he didn’t either. Gives new meaning to ‘smoked himself to death’ 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Holy smoke! Need I say more? This is awesome, Geoff. 😀 😛

    Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s a very interesting story from that photo. You have an interesting way of thinking. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice work. Out of the box thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. No, never saw the grate either. Just goes to show that I should take more attention before launching into your fiction. Sad ending for Walter, but I’m guessing he died happy after the wonderful eventful life he lived.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. jan says:

    No escape this time! I never see your endings coming – which is the sign of a master of the twist.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Huh. I know some people like this. 😉 Funny, I saw the grate immediately. And I thought you might use it. Have I read too much of your flash?

    Liked by 1 person

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