Flash Fiction: Putnam Priorities (1,000 words)


This is my work for Chuck’s Last Lines First challenge. I used Squishy’s line: “That plan didn’t fly, superhero, and now we’re short a bazooka.”

and this is what I came up with.


“That plan didn’t fly, superhero, and now we’re short a bazooka,” Carolyn was on her third appletini and Charles knew that the sarcasm had only just begun.

“The photos were supposed to embarrass his people and make them call this whole thing off!” He’d growled into his neat bourbon. James had simply placed the bottle of Blue Label on the bar and walked away. It was good to be a regular.

Carolyn laughed at her husband’s stupidity, slapping the bar in her revelry. The politely dressed diners in the upscale restaurant were beginning to turn their attention toward the bar. “You had naked pictures of your own daughter leaked to every tabloid in the country. She can’t stand the look of you, yet you blame her fiancé’s family?”

Charles sneered. They’d be on Page 6 again in the morning.

“It just goes to show that they aren’t proper people. Not the kind of people we should be mixing families with. What would you have me do, Carol?”

Carolyn shrugged, “I say let the girl get married.”

Charles downed the entirety of his drink and filled it again to the brim. “Have you lost your fucking mind?”

His wife shrugged again, “Crazier things have happened. The board doesn’t approve of the match and they won’t trust the man that she’s chosen, so they won’t vote her in as CEO when the time comes. You get what you want in the long run. Your son ascends to the throne.” She took a long drag of her own drink and winked at James to signal for another. Charles watched the bartender’s head drop. If he denied her, they both knew that she’d make a scene.

“It’s not always about the money, Carol,” Charles whispered.

Carolyn rolled her eyes before she blew a kiss at James as he replaced her empty glass with a full one. “Last one, Carol,” James said smoothly. Carolyn rolled her eyes again.

“That Julian character isn’t right for her. He doesn’t know anything about honest money.”

“He knows how to make her happy,” Carolyn quipped, playing with the apple rind instead of downing the drink.

“You know he’s a drug lord. I’ve got pictures—“

“Of a boy in Harlem with baggy pants on. You had your cop friends stop and frisk him at least six times in as many weeks and they found less than nothing on him.” There was nothing more embarrassing than seeing a photo of your daughter’s fiancé being frisked against a storefront in the front section of the newspaper.

“He’s going to take Linda off to Columbia or whatever—“

“The Dominican Republic?”

“And she’s going to be part of a drug family!”

“Charles, you’re an idiot.”

“You’re just going to let that boy take her off to the Caribbean, where we’ll never see or hear from her again?”

Carolyn looked her husband dead in the eyes, sober as if she’d never taken a sip that evening. “Yes.”

She turned her body in search for James, and signaled for him to come over. James was taking care of another couple, but he acknowledged her need.

Charles stared at the back of his wife’s head with increasing rage.

“Is the kitchen still open, James?” Carolyn purred at the young bartender.

“It is, Mrs. Putnam, shall I get you a menu?”

“My husband and I will take the ahi tuna sliders and some calamari. Gotta cut this drink with some food,” she requested with a wink and the blow of a kiss.

“That’s going to be the picture on Page 6, you know,” Charles mocked.

“I’d rather that than a blurred picture of Linda’s naked body. If anyone is taking her away from us, it’s you, Charles,” his wife spat.

He slammed his fist on the bar, bringing everyone in the room to attention. The pain of it wasn’t dulled enough by the bourbon. “You should be grateful that your husband wants both the family and the family business safe!”

Carolyn pouted, cocking her head to the side and leaned into her husband’s face, “oh, thank you, husband, thank you,” she crooned.

Charles grabbed his wife’s jaw in his hand, squeezing it and looking her in the eyes, “you are the beneficiary of every single decision I’ve ever made. Don’t you dare mock me in public,” he snarled. The gasps and sounds of smartphone cameras taking pictures forced him to take his hands off his wife. James walked over.

“Mrs. Putnam, would you like—“

“My husband had a bit too much to drink. He’s not hurting me. We’re fine,” She turned to the rest of the dining room, which stared at them in suspended animation, “I’m fine everyone! Your dinner is on us!” A few claps came to this and then conversation resumed in earnest.

“$100,000 bourbon. Jesus Christ.”

“A small price to pay. You’ll never get our daughter’s dignity back.”

Charles reached for the bourbon, but James had cleared it away. Instead, the man came over with a plate of sliders and calamari. He also had a written bill with the price quote for all of the tables in the room.

“Bring me a water,” Charles contemplated how he was going to explain this charge to his accountant.

“This calamari makes me think of the club in New Haven,” Carolyn said dreamily as she dipped a ring in garlic aioli and popped it into her mouth.

“If you’re so offended by the release of those pictures, why did you have your man take them in the first place?”

“Because they were innocent, and she would have taken any amount of money for her shares without any incident. Now all of our weapons will shred apart the fiancé. Nobody is going to be happy now. His deleted tweets are disastrous.” Her smile grew with each bite.

Charles was please for the first time that evening. “What did you find?”

“The same thing I found out about you. My lawyer will be calling in the morning.”

2 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Putnam Priorities (1,000 words)

  1. Well done, dear lady. 🙂 I arrived here via terribleminds, and am glad I did. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

    • Hey! Thanks for popping by and reading and thank you so much!!! You’ve made my evening! 🙂

      I didn’t write anything for this week (the generator and I are not friends), but I hope to have something next week. I hope you’ll come back soon!

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