Sunday, February 14, 2010

Flash Fiction Extra: Toward a Philosophy of Ethics

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This Sunday Scribblings story features Vince Mott. You can read more about Vince by following the tag at the bottom of the post. You can read my other Sunday Scribblings flash, Demon Ethics, at my Maelstrom site.

“You lying piece of shit.” Vince slammed the young man against the warehouse wall and shoved a knife against his throat. “Where is it? Tell me fast, and I won’t have to hurt you too much.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Marco stammered. “You got paid.”

“Shorted.” Vince dug the point of his knife into Marco’s skin, just enough to make him cringe. “We had a deal.”

“But I got shorted, too,” he squeaked.

Vince was tempted to shove the blade right through the little bastard’s throat. Dumb kid, new to the scene. Vince had hesitated to take the job, but everyone had to start somewhere. “Your incompetence at closing your own deal doesn’t mean you get to screw the people you brought into it. You can pay up with cash, goods, or blood. Your choice.”

Marco was sweating now and his breath came in trembling gasps. “I don’t have it. But I’ll get it and I’ll pay you before the end of the week, I swear.”

Ballsy kid. Vince gave him that much. He dug in with his blade and opened up a gash that bled into the boy's collar. “Try again. Or do you want to feel how deep this knife can go?”

By now Marco was shaking so hard he threatened to impale himself on the knife and finish Vince’s job for him. “Desk drawer. Bottom right. Under the book.”

“Get it for me.” Vince grabbed him by the arm and dragged him to the desk. He watched as Marco fumbled in the drawer, removing papers, rags, and a tattered copy of The Elements of Moral Philosophy, uncovering a small cache of whiskey bottles and coins.

“You can have it all. Just let me go.”

“No,” Vince said. “Give me what you owe me, and that’s enough.”

Marco's hands shook as he counted out the gold and silver coins. When Vince instructed him to switch out a bottle of whiskey for some of the silver, he nearly dropped the bottle, but finally Vince was satisfied. He put his knife away and drew his Glock, just to make sure the boy didn’t try anything stupid. “Nice doing business with you,” he said as he watched Marco put the items into a bag. “But we won’t be partnering again.”

Marco nodded.

“And by the way….”


Vince gestured with his gun toward the book. “Since you aren’t bright enough to figure it out for yourself, read that before you try to make a deal with anyone else.”

“I don't understand.”

Suppressing a sigh, Vince took the bag and made to leave. Poor kid. There would probably be a funeral for him soon. “I thought not.”


Nita Jo said...

I love your interpretation of the prompt. Great story. It kept me interested, and wanting to read more.

Thomma Lyn said...

Multi-layered, and compellingly written exploration of ethics in a world in which ethics becomes more and more of a remote abstraction for so many.

Dee Martin said...

I'm enjoying going back and reading about Vince. Interesting to note that every person has some sort of code of ethics. You have shown that here.

Americanising Desi said...

great story and great read!

Ha Ethical?

Bernita said...

Excellent, as usual.

Alice Audrey said...

It's kind of ironic that the kid has it in the first place.