#9 - Gumdrop Mountain

      The year is 2078. Yard sales as we know them, have been outlawed for over 40 years. The sale of masking tape and sharpie markers to minors is prohibited. Folding tables are government controlled and flagged on rental. Humanity is in ruins, while a few noble men struggle to hold it all together.

      * * *

      The black Lincoln continental rested by the curb. Inside, behind windows as black as the car itself, a man's face was almost completely hidden by a set of high powered binoculars.

      He opened a cell phone, dialed a number, it rang once, twice,

      "Captain, this a secure line?"
      "Of course it's a secure line Jack; just tell me what you're looking at for chrisakes."
      "The tip was good Captain. We're looking at 3, 4 tables. 5 if you count the one for the cash box. Suspect is female, caucasian, somewhere in the age range of 8 to 11."
      "Is her mother with her?"
      "Negative Captain, suspect is unsupervised."
      "Alright Jack, what's our poison?"
      "Dolly's mostly, looks like there's a neon green skip it, a Grover t-shirt and a Dora the explorer themed lunch box.."

      The captain sat in his office back at the station with the receiver to his ear. His desk was a cluttered mess, dominated mostly by styrofoam coffee cups and anonymous tips. He rubbed his balding head, thinking.

      "Jesus Jack," he finally said "We haven't seen action like this in over 40 yea.."
      "Captain, wait. I think I see something behind table 3, on the ground."

      There was a pause.

      "Captain... It's a pretend play Kitchenette."

      The captain swore loudly. He threw his receiver at his desk, sending the phone and a stack of papers across the room. He stood with his hands on his desk, looking out the office door at his startled coworkers.

      "GOD DAMN IT, PEOPLE. How did we miss this? This shit is happening in our own goddamn back yard."

      He paused. He rubbed his head.

      He slammed his index finger into his desk, driving home his next sentence, "I want that yard sale TAKEN DOWN and I want that PRICE TAGGING TERRORIST erased from my town square, TODAY!"

      * * *

      The captain sat in his office drinking scotch and smoking. He'd been doing this for almost 2 hours.

      His intercom buzzed, interrupting his silence. His secretary's voice came on, "Sir, there's a Malcolm Freeborn here to see you, says it's urgent."

      The captain stood.

      "Janine, do not let that man in here, call security, and have him escorted out of the building immediately."
      "Right away Sir."

      The captain sat back down. Almost immediately, Janine buzzed again.

      "SIR HE RAN PAST ME, I think he's heading for your office."

      The door smashed in, Malcolm leapt across the table, scattering papers and scotch. He grabbed the captain's shirt.

      "You STUPID SON OF A BITCH, How did this happen? How the fuck did you let this happen in our town AGAIN!? I should kill you right now where you sit."

      Two security guards stormed in through the door, grabbing Malcolm's shoulders and pulling him off.

      "She sellin' lemonade too, you piece of shit? Hunh? IS SHE? SHE SELLING IT BY THE CUP?!"

      The guards pulled Malcolm out of the office and down the hall.


      The screaming continued, but got quieter as Malcolm was lead down the hallway. The captain sat in his chair, stunned, rubbing his head. Jack walked in, picked up a knocked over chair, sat down.

      "What the hell was that all about?"

      The captain cleared his throat, pulled his chair back to his desk; put his head in his hands.

      "Malcolm Freeborn," the captain said "Lost his wife and daughter in a yard sale raid about 15 years ago. This little one table job on the east side, nothing special, not like this new case. His wife and daughter were out for an evening walk, getting some air. The wife stopped, saw this little girl selling lemonade, keep in mind lemonade stands weren't illegal back then. Anyway, wife starts getting change for the lemonade when she sees a few items on the table, saw the girl was selling Candyland for like 50 cents..."
      "Damn, good deal."
      "It was a good deal Jack, even had all the pieces."

      Jack whistled.

      "Anyway, swat team's been on its way this whole time, ya know? Van pulls up, opens fire. Wife, kid, and little scumbag yardsaler are dead before they hit the pavement. There's gingerbread people strewn all over the sidewalk. Malcolm took it hard, blamed the cops of course."

      He poured himself another scotch

      "Still does I guess."

      * * *

      A man in black, bullet proof armour set the metal briefcase on the wet grass of the hill. He opened it, and began putting the rifle together.

      One shot, then disappear, the cleanup crew will be on standby, waiting for the shot.

      Those were his orders.

      He lay down on his stomach, unfolding the rifle’s legs. He pressed his right eye against the scope, and turned the dial on the top. There she was. She sat in a plastic lawn chair grinning hopefully. Most people hurried past, keeping their eyes on the path in front of them, not wanting, or willing to be involved in such an open display of illegal activity.

      The man slowed his breathing and gripped the rifle's trigger.

      * * *

      The captain's phone rang, he picked it up immediately.

      There was silence.

      "It's done."

      He hung up.

      The tables, items, and girl were all gone. Nothing left but a patch of worn grass. The black Lincoln pulled away from the curb, and turned left, merging onto the highway. The driver pulled down the visor to shield his eyes from the orange sky of the setting sun.

©2009 Broken Chair