Thursday, October 13, 2011

Flash Fiction: The Speech

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This Three Word Wednesday story features Vince Mott, a character from Diana's Diary, which is part of my Will and Diana series. You can read more about Vince by following the tag at the bottom of the post.

Vince pushed his way through the packed and stuffy auditorium with Ozone, Fausto and Gitana close behind. "I can't believe I let you talk me into this."

"It's going to be great," Ozone assured him, shoving a young man out of the way so he could stay close to his boss. "El Duque is one of the best speakers around."

Gitana rolled her eyes. "It's easy to be a good speaker when all you ever say is lies."

"Speech-making is an art," Ozone reminded her.

"And most art is just a bunch of make-believe," Vince said. He stopped amid the swirling mass of people. "Where's Speedball? Don't tell me we lost him already."

They tried to look around, but there were too many people. The house lights flickered and someone onstage began testing the microphone.

"We'll catch up to him later," Ozone said. He pushed past Vince and Gitana and began fighting his way toward the front rows.

"He's right," Gitana said, tugging on Vince's arm. "You know how Speedball is. He probably saw one of his connections and went to cut a deal."

"That's what I'm afraid of." Vince turned to Fausto. "Go find him." When Fausto protested, Vince repeated himself. "I don't want to see your face again until you've got him."

Vince and Gitana followed Ozone to the front where he was trying to squeeze in next to an eager young couple dressed in El Duque's colors of red and gold. From a hidden pocket in his coat sleeve, Vince produced a switchblade and El Duque's followers saw the wisdom of finding another place to enjoy the proceedings. As he sat down, Vince glanced around in annoyance. He had a pretty good idea what the speech would be about and he was in no mood to hear the local strongman's empty promises. It was only because he had nothing better to do tonight that he had allowed Ozone to talk him into coming here.

He was trying to get comfortable on the hard wooden bench when he saw something that just might make the event worthwhile. Sitting on the other side of the aisle was a young woman, her face turned toward the stage and her smooth hair flowing like melted butter down her back. As if she could feel Vince's eyes upon her, she turned and flashed him a smile.

Vince slowly returned her smile. Who was she and why was she here? Was she one of El Duque's admirers or was she here out of curiosity and boredom like he was? Did she have a boyfriend or husband? Vince could take care of that little problem.

A sharp poke in the ribs brought him back to the moment. "What are you looking at?" Gitana demanded, as if she hadn't already spotted the beauty in the other row.

"Just checking for signs of trouble," Vince said.

"You're as big a liar as El Duque."

"And you're not my girlfriend."

Gitana turned away with a huff as the lights dimmed and El Duque strode into the bright glare of a spotlight.

While Ozone clapped enthusiastically, Vince tried again to catch the blonde's attention. She mouthed some words he couldn't make out in the darkened auditorium but his mind reeled at the possibilities.

Gitana poked him again. "Quit making a fool of yourself over that dumb little hussie."

Vince waved her off. "Pay attention to the speech or something."

Sullenly, she sidled up to Ozone, but he was having none of her antics either, entranced as he was by El Duque's words about what he would do for city infrastructure.

Vince was deep in flirtation with the blonde, oblivious to Gitana's occasional kick to his ankles when a scuffle at the back of the auditorium drew his attention. He turned around his seat and muttered a curse.

The blonde waved a scrap of paper at him as he exited the row. He shoved it in his pocket with grin and a thank you, and ran up the aisle, followed closely by a furious Gitana. They arrived at the auditorium doors just in time to see Fausto being dragged outside by guards.

Vince gave chase. "It's okay, man," he told the guards. "Whatever he did, he won't cause any more trouble. Just hand him over to me and it'll all be cool."

"Who are you?" one of the guards asked.

"A friend of his."

"Well, you can bail your friend out of jail in the morning. We don't allow fighting at political functions."

Fausto looked away in embarrassment as the guards dragged him away.

"I could kill that motherfucker," Vince muttered.

"Which one?" Gitana asked.

"All of them. I should've never let Fausto out of my sight. He's been jonesing for a fight ever since that deal with the Diablos fell through." He looked around. "Where's Ozone?"

"Still listening to El Duque."

"Any sign of Speedball?"

Gitana shrugged and took his arm. "Let's go get a drink."

Vince sighed. "That's one of the best ideas I've heard all night."

As they walked the crumbling streets to the nearest bar, Vince didn't notice Gitana's fingers slip into his jacket pocket and remove a piece of paper. "So what did you think of El Duque's speech?"

"What?" He frowned and looked at her as if she were speaking a foreign language. "Oh yeah, the speech. It was nothing much."

They were at the bar now and Vince held open the door for her. Gitana met his eyes with a soulful look, crumpled the paper unobtrusively and dropped it into the muck outside the building.


oldegg said...

Vince is going to remember that piece of paper for the rest his life and never suspect Gitana. Men are such fools. Having been to political rallies you tend not to check your pockets all the time. Really enjoyed this.

Alice Audrey said...

Men are such dogs. I gotta feel for Gatina, though no way I'd give my heart to someone life Vince. Too hazardous.

jaerose said...

You are the Queen of flash fiction..and the landscapes are as good as any Gibson..Jae