Updated: Mar 25, 2021
It was a crisp Autumnal Saturday morning when he first noticed. The travel agent’s light was on at 6:30 am as he walked the leaf-strewn pavement on his way to work. He was sure he’d never seen the light on before at this time. Travel was an important business, make no mistake, but 6:30 am seemed a bit excessive. Maybe they had painters in or were doing the accounts.
Sunday, same again lights on at 6:30 am. It was a bank holiday weekend he realised. He was only working the weekend because he had a big pitch due Tuesday. As he was pondering this, an older guy, with scarf and hat wrapped against the cold and one of those hi-vis waistcoats almost knocked him over, coming out backwards from a van parked in the street. He was wheeling a bin and concentrating on the curb, hadn’t seen him.
“Www Woh there! Sorry guv, didn’t see ya!” Said the older man.
“You guys are working early,” Said our walker.
“Like my old mum used to say sir, the early bird catches the worm! The early bird, Sir. Can’t be no slouch, gotta get shifting. The day ain’t going to sort itself.”
As he bundled past with a little tip of the cap, he reversed direction and pushed backwards into the apparently unlocked doors of the travel agents and was gone. The sound of drilling and banging emerging from the shop.
A lot of businesses try to get their repairs done over a bank holiday. Saves closing on normal business days and disappointing customers.
Bank Holiday Monday morning, lights on and another guy standing just a couple of doors down, covered head to toe in dust and smoking a fag. Goggles upon his head and dust everywhere except where his goggles had been, eyes peering out. He looked like he’s wearing a white balaclava.
Our walker chuckles to himself and asks. “You guys be finished by tonight?”
In a strong Welsh accent our powdery smoker says “Gotta be mate, if we’re not we’ll be for the high jump, see. Our boss is on us hard boyo. Stands there with a bloody stopwatch. You think I’m joking! Bloody_ stands_ there_ with_ a_ stopwatch!”
Tuesday Morning, a bright and sunny morning. A great day for the walk to work. He whistles as he walks nods good morning to the newsagent as he passes. Strolls past the Bank all shut up. Turns the corners and stops.
Blue police tape, blue flashing lights, more policemen than he’s seen all year.
“What’s going on here?” He asks the younger copper on the tape.
“Banks been robbed. Apparently, they came in over the weekend and drilled through into the vault from the travel agents. We’ve got three of them, but we’re looking for the fourth, seen talking outside with them each morning at 6:30 am regular as clockwork. We think he’s ‘Mr Big’, the brains of the operation...”
Word Count: 499
Submitted for Writers' Forum - Flash Comp Nov 2020. 500 words. 'Tell a story which develops over the course of several daily walks to the same place (such as a dog walk or walk to work). Start with the walker spotting a mystery and give a satisfying conclusion at the end. You can choose either first- or third-person viewpoint, present tense or past tense. A diary format may work, but make it easy to read not choppy.'
Awarded Highly Commended in the Writers' Forum National Flash Fiction Awards Nov 2020.