Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"That's not what happened last time..."

I grew up in the 80's and loved everything about it; plastic apron Halloween costumes, big hair, metal, and especially bad 80's cartoons. I've been watching Jem with my wife on Netflix and have been reminded of all the things I loved about those cartoons, especially the campy Public Service Announcements at the end of the show. I'd have never learned to avoid drugs, strangers, peer pressure or downed power lines without them!

500 Word Flashfic- "The Club"
Aaron M. Smith - June 6th, 2012

“Come on Randy, do it!”

Randy looked at the three other guys standing around. Billy, the big guy with the blonde Mohawk and aviator sunglasses, was passing him a can of spraypaint.

“Do it!” Carlos said.

The others were staring at Randy. He brushed his stringy black hair out of his eyes and took the spray can. It was cold. He looked up at the huge concrete legs of the bridge. The constant roar of traffic overhead was distracting. He wiped his face on his bright pink tank-top.

“You have to!” Ramon said, adjusting his green baseball cap. “Otherwise you can’t be in our club!”

 Randy didn’t want to do it. But he didn’t want to look silly in front of his friends. They’d all done it, after all. He shook the can of paint and picked out a blank spot on the huge concrete abutment.

“Hold it!” a deep, husky voice shouted. Randy cried out and spun around, the paint can clattering to the ground at his feet.

Behind his three friends was a huge grizzly bear, the biggest bear that Randy had ever seen. On its hind legs it was more than nine feet tall. Also, its jeans and park ranger hat really made this bear stand out among the other bears Randy had seen.

“You kids better not be starting fires!” The huge bear growled. “Only you can prevent fires!”

“We-we weren’t starting fires!” Billy said, his voice shaking. His aviators were hanging off of one ear. “We were tagging!”

“Oh,” the bear said, sounding disappointed. Its little ears drooped.

“Hey, you kids better quit talking to strangers!” Someone suddenly shouted, and Randy dropped the spray can again. He turned to see a huge, muscular guy wearing a black tank-top and camouflage pants step out from behind one of the concrete bridge supports. A pair of military dog tags jangled around his neck as he walked around the bear.

“Bu-but, we all know each other!” Carlos said.

“Oh,” the military guy said. “Do you know the bear?”

“Only sort of,” Ramon said.

“Oh. Well, don’t give in to peer pressure!” Though the military guy was pointing right at Randy and looking him straight in the eye, Randy had the strange feeling he wasn’t talking to him.

“Let’s get out of here,” said the bear. “There’s a pool hall not far from here.”

“Far out,” said the military guy. They turned and walked away. Randy watched them go.

“…is that what you guys wanted to show me?” Randy said.

“Not exactly,” Billy said. “Last time it was this huge dog wearing a trench coat.”

“But we’ve never seen the army dude before,” Carlos said. “So that’s good enough, I guess. You can be in our club.”

“Tubular!” Randy said. “Let’s get out of here. This bridge creeps me out, and the arcade just got Galaga II.”

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