Thursday, February 5, 2015

Friday Flash Fiction: Utopian/Heist mashup

It's Friday (or nearly), and time for another Chuck Wendig Challenge. This week was a favorite, the subgenre mashup, and the roll of the dice got me "Utopian Heist/Caper" which was good, since I more or less know what they are (though I totally would like to try a cryptozoological bodice ripper). I decided to be very literal with this one. Wendig gave us 2000 words, but I was pressed for time and maybe too tired to have enough imagination, because I ended up well short of 1000.

Burglars in Paradise

“Look at this, Julia! The place isn’t even locked.”

“Let me see, Melvin.” The shapely blonde tested the doorknob. Sure enough, it turned and the door swung open a little. Like Melvin, Julia pulled it shut again very quietly and looked around for the catch. No one was in sight. No surveillance cameras recorded their every move. Nothing moved but the two of them, and no sound but a light breeze disturbed the perfection of the night.

“Those guys in the bar were right. This place is perfect,” Melvin enthused. "It really is utopian, just like they said."

So why does it make me so nervous? Julia wondered. A job shouldn’t be this easy. Rather, it shouldn't look this easy, because her experience with Melvin said that as soon as things looked good, something would go wrong. She'd have felt more comfortable if they'd already had to flee the cops a half a dozen times. They’d probably go through that door and get torn to shreds by pit bulls or something. Still. They needed a good heist, and soonest. This might be their last chance.

Melvin enthused, but Julia noticed that he was just as reluctant as she was to open the door and go in. She stepped a few paces down the clean, attractive street to the next door.

It was also unlocked.

“What’s with this place? Doesn’t anybody lock their doors? I mean, banks and pharmacies without locks?”

“Maybe that’s what the guys meant. It’s perfect. Shoot, the place is even named ‘Utopia.’ Don’t that mean perfect?”

Julia frowned. It was in the back of her mind that “Utopia” didn’t exactly mean perfect, though she couldn't recalle ever hearing it used in any other way. “Maybe,” she said doubtfully. “Perfectly clean streets, perfect unlocked doors. Maybe it’s even perfectly lacking in guard dogs. And loaded with perfect money.”

The burglars looked up and down the street and frowned. This was a place with money. You could tell. Shoot, they’d even had to walk a few miles from the train station, because places with this kind of money didn’t like trains running through. In Julia’s experience, rich people had burglar alarms and guard dogs. And there never was a bank without all that and security guards too.  But, then, rich people also locked their doors, even in the kinds of “safe” towns where lots of people mightn’t. This place was really different.

“Only one way to find out.” Melvin was back at the first door, easing it open. No dog attacked, no guns fired, no alarms sounded. With a mental shrug, Julia followed him inside. Nightlights illuminated the back hallway where they stood, and led them toward more interesting parts of the building.

The bank. Julia reminded herself it was a bank, and they were there to remove as much of its money as they could carry away. They hadn't really planned this one, but they had their MO down pat. Enter the bank, disable the alarms, crack the vault, get the hell out of Dodge. It wasn't a fancy plan, but it worked for them. Usually. It made her uneasy, changing the routine. She hadn't gone to disable the alarm, because there wasn't one. Already she was off their rhythm.

The duo padded down the long hall, past closed offices. They were dark. No alarms sounded, no dogs barked, no security guard accosted them.

No security guard? This really was utopian, and it made Julia very, very nervous.

She grew a great deal more nervous when they reached the vault. Melvin thought it was amazing good luck. Julia wasn't so sure.

The vault had no lock. It was really just a closet. A closet full of money.

"Look at this!" Melvin didn't even remember to keep his voice down. By now, Julia was pretty sure it didn't matter. "It's like it was designed for us!"

Julia knew what he meant. They weren't very good at the vaults. The last three banks they had hit, they'd been unable to get into the vault, and had to make do with the loose change in the desks and the coins from the soda machine in the break room. Still cautious, she pushed open the door of the money room--you couldn't call it a vault, with no locks--and peered in. Melvin couldn't wait, and in his hurry to get past her and find the money, pushed them both into the room.

And into nothingness. As the world vanished from around them, Julia remembered, at last, the exact meaning of utopia.

©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2015


  1. Very clever! Now I have to go and look up the exact meaning of utopia....

  2. Excellent! I really enjoyed your story and thank you for sharing!

    1. Thank you! I don't think this was one of my better efforts, but I hope it was fun.


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