United We Stand

Submitted for Contest #45 in response to: Write a story about community.... view prompt


Jun 07, 2020


           Fawnville is a quiet place; a desolate place except for a handful of residents who refuse to give up their roots and move on. Currently, there are fifty-three people left in town and nobody new has joined the community in more than ten years. Even though everyone here has spent their whole lives in this town, socializing is virtually non-existent. The closest they come to intermingling is when they buy groceries at the local food market. Even the mayor, Jasper Willoby spends his days remaining introverted within the confines of his office.

           One day, as old man Harwood sat upon his front porch swinging away to the sound of Perry Como on his radio, an uncommon occurrence had gotten his attention. A large black pick-up truck came racing down Main Street at a high rate of speed, and since the town eliminated its police force a few years back, there was nobody to deal with lawbreakers anymore. A man and woman in their mid-20s sat in the cab of the truck, while another man closer to 35-years-old rode in the back. The one in the back held a beer bottle in his hand and sang loudly and off-key to the song Highway To Hell as it blared on the truck’s stereo. Old man Harwood, now disgusted at the display, stood up and walked back inside his home. The truck pulled up to the curb near Ed’s General Store and the three exited the vehicle and went inside.

Ed Peterson stood behind the counter and watched carefully as the strangers stalked around his store suspiciously. The couple in their 20s started gathering up snacks, while the man in his 30s went to the cooler where the beer was kept. As the couple approached the counter, the young man spoke up and asked, “Hey Pops! What do you folks do for fun around here? I mean, is there like a dance club or something?” Ed replied sarcastically, “Perhaps you kids would like to go bowling. The bowling alley is just up yonder. You can’t miss it. Now, that’ll be $6.58 for your purchase.”

           As the couple distracted Ed, the other stranger hid three bottles of beer under his jacket and walked out of the store. Ed saw him walk out of the store, but didn’t want to cause any trouble, so he ignored him. As the couple walked away, Ed noticed the grip of a handgun sticking out from the back of the man’s jeans and he realized that he made the right decision.

           The couple decided that they would take the storekeeper’s suggestion and check out the bowling alley. Fawnville Fun & Bowl was located at the edge of town and as the truck pulled into the parking lot, they noticed that only one other car was parked there. “Happening place, isn’t it?” the girl stated sardonically. As they went inside, all of the alleys were empty and a young girl stood behind the shoe counter. “Welcome to Fawnville Fun & Bowl. Would you like to rent shoes, or did you bring your own?” she said. The three looked at each other and chuckled before the younger man said, “We will rent shoes today. I forgot to bring my bowling shoes from home. I take a size 11.” The other two gave their sizes and the girl directed them towards Lane 3.

           “I’m sorry, but the concession stand won’t be open until later this evening,” the girl added before leaving them to start their game. On the digital scoreboard, the younger man began to enter their names. First player…Bob, second player…Christy, and third player…Dusty. Bob got up to play, and with deep concentration, he lined up his shot and threw the bowling ball underhanded down the lane, and before it reached half-way, the ball coasted into the gutter which was followed with two more gutter balls. Christy and Dusty both busted out laughing. Bob, now slightly embarrassed, shouted out, “And I suppose you can do better?” Christy just grinned as she stood up for her turn. As she walked past Bob, she slapped him on the ass and kept on walking. The pins reset and Christy approached the line at the edge of the lane. She spread her legs, bent over, and before throwing the ball, she had looked behind at the two men who were now gawking at her pose. With a flirtatious smile, she wiggled her butt and with two hands, she swung the ball between her legs and down the lane. It traveled slow but steady straight down the middle and knocked all of the pins down. The word “STRIKE” flashed on the scoreboard as Christy waited for her ball to return. The next ball knocked over three pins, and then the final ball knocked over the remaining pins giving her a spare. With a smug look on her face, she returned to her seat without saying a word. As Dusty went up to take his turn, an elderly couple entered the bowling alley and they were placed on Lane 8. Dusty managed to knock down a total of six pins for his first frame. The competitiveness continued to increase and the patience grew thin as Christy’s score kept going up while the boys struggled to catch up. Eventually, Bob had reached the end of his rope and began to shout, “I’m done with this stupid game! What’s the sense of it anyway? Give me an animal to shoot at. I’ll bet you anything that I would beat you at that!” Christy cooly replied, “Chill out loverboy. It’s just a game. I know what you are good at, and you can prove it to me later, alright?” Christy’s remark seemed to calm Bob down and they returned the shoes and left the alley.

           Word of the strangers being in town started to circulate, and people who hadn’t talked in years were now in deep discussion with one thing in mind; they needed to figure out how to get these hoodlums out of town before they caused any serious trouble. Martha Jones, Editor of the local paper, The Fawnville Gazette, was also the main source of gossip in town, so once she found out about the strangers, she started contacting everyone in town. Ed down at the General Store told her about the one man stealing beer and the other concealing a gun. Lisa at the bowling alley mentioned to Martha about the violent behavior and sexual comments that were made. Karen Beaglesworth, proprietor of the Fawnville Inn informed Martha that the strangers had just booked a room for the rest of the week until their friends arrive. Old man Harwood told her about the loud music and speeding as they came into town, and Martha decided that it was time to hold a town meeting.

More than two-thirds of the town had shown up at the Town Hall including Mayor Willoby to discuss what actions or preparations needed to be made. The Mayor began by saying, “Thank you all for coming here today. We may not have associated much with one another in the past, but it is time for us to join together in unity to rid our town of the vermin that have scurried in and are infesting Fawnville with violence and rude behavior. We are good people here and do not need the likes of unwanted pests such as this.” Cheers filled the room in agreement.

Pastor Lovejoy spoke out next and quoted the Bible, “In Ezekiel Chapter 5: Verse 17, it is said I will send famine and wild beasts against you, and they will rob you of your children. Pestilence and blood shall pass through you, and I will bring the sword upon you. I am the Lord. I have spoken. These strangers are the beasts that walk among us, my good people. We must keep our children safe and free our town of this evil.” The crowd unanimously shouted out “Amen!”

As Ed Peterson got up to speak, he asked for the room to be silent, then spoke. “My neighbors and friends, I have known you all of my life and I would give my life for any of you. This matter we are facing is quite serious, and it could be worse when more strangers arrive as this Bob fellow had mentioned to Karen at the inn. As you know, we no longer have any local law enforcement, so we need to be ready to defend ourselves by any means necessary. Do you agree?” Most were in agreement, and Ed continued, “How many people here own firearms of any kind?” Only six people raised their hands. “Well, we need to dust off our guns and clean them up so they are ready in case we need them. I will ask Karen to see if she can find out more information about the friends of these strangers, like how many there are or if they plan to stick around for a while.” The meeting ended with a mix of emotions. Many of the residents hadn’t fired a gun since World War II, and except for Jack Nolan, the martial arts instructor, nobody over the age of 18-years-old had any self-defense training.

Karen was able to find out that the strangers had been expecting five more of their friends, and that they were expected in on Friday evening. That didn’t give the townspeople much time to prepare. Roadblocks were set up at the edge of town with a detour sign pointing towards an alternate route that would take them around the town, and from there, they would need to backtrack. This should buy the townspeople an extra two hours at least. Suddenly, around 6 pm on Friday, the sound of motorcycles, trucks, and muscle cars approached from the other side of town. They tore down Main Street as if they owned it, and they parked hap-hazard near the entrance to the Fawnville Inn. Karen trembled inside at the sight of this gang that was now invading their town. She only hoped that Ed’s plan works. Beastly-looking characters shoved their way through the doors and into the inn. One man standing 6 foot, 5 inches tall approached the desk. He had long black hair with a beard, and tattoos down the length of both arms. The man demanded to know what room Bob was staying in and Karen told him. She then asked if the rest of them would be checking in, to which the man replied, “I ain’t signing my name to nothin’ lady.” Then he turned and walked down the hall towards the room where Bob, Christy, and Dusty were staying.

           Meanwhile, at the Town Hall, Mayor Willoby along with Ed Peterson organized a strategy to defend the town if need be. Ed and five other residents were to find locations along Main Street that gave them each a good vantage point of the whole street and allowed them the advantage if guns were necessary. Mayor Willoby contacted the mayor in the next town over and requested for the Sherrif and his deputies to wait on the outskirts of town just in case things got out of hand. Jack Nolan decided to visit Karen at the inn and offer to sit with her. That way, if she needed protection, he could help. Besides that, Jack had a crush on Karen since they were teenagers, but he was just too shy to ask her out on a date.

Bob’s room at the inn was now filled with eight people who were being loud and obnoxious. Karen had called the room requesting that they keep the noise down and told Bob that if his friends planned on staying the night, then they would need to pay for more rooms. Bob rudely hung up the phone and Karen’s anxiety caused her whole body to shake uncontrollably, so Jack held her tight until she calmed down. Karen called Ed to let him know about the trouble that this gang of thugs was causing and Ed prepared the others for what was to happen next.

Jack decided to go knock on the door to Bob’s room, and a few seconds later, a bald biker in a black leather vest answered the door saying, “Ya, what do you want?” Jack told him that management would like them to keep things quiet, or else they would be asked to leave. The man retorted with, “And who’s going to make us, you?” The man went to shut the door, but Jack stopped it with his foot, so the biker pulled his arm back in preparation to punch Jack, however, Jack had already predicted his move and countered with a quick punch to the man’s throat. He grabbed at his throat and was gasping for breath, so Jack turned and ran towards the lobby demanding Karen to follow him quickly. They left the inn, but with seven angry men and a crazy woman in tow. Jack knew of the townspeople who were perched up in the buildings, so he headed towards them.

           Leading the gang was Bob and he had his .44 caliber handgun in his right hand prepared to fire. It looked like two other men carried firearms as well. A deafening explosion was followed up with the windshield of a nearby car shattering just ahead of Jack and Karen. Ed and the other five townspeople saw the approach and began to fire back. The first shot completely missed any of them, but the second shot hit Bob in his left leg, sending him hard to the ground. Bob’s handgun slid out of his hand and out of reach. One of the other strangers spotted where one of the shooters was held up, and he took a shot. The office window on the upper floor of the First National Bank shattered. A scream of agony emanated from inside. Ed retaliated with a shot from his rifle and hit the assailant square in the chest, killing him instantly.

The Sherrif and his deputies could hear the gunfire and drove quickly into town with sirens blaring. When they arrived, they saw two men laying on the ground. One was motionless and the other had been inching his way towards a gun that lay a few feet away. The other six perpetrators ran ahead. Not wanting the townspeople to get caught in the crossfire, the Sherrif got on the loudspeaker in his car instead and ordered the gang to stop. One of them turned and began firing at the officers, so the Sherriff and his deputies returned fire, eliminating another one of the strangers. They were now down to Five and nobody else appeared to have guns, so the Sherrif closed in on them, eventually trapping them as they ducked down a dead-end alley in hopes of escape. An ambulance was called in for Bob and another for James Goody who only received superficial wounds as the glass from the bank window shattered in his face. The coroner arranged to have the other two bodies removed and the remaining strangers were arrested.

The day after the ordeal, All of the townspeople gathered in Willow Park to celebrate their victory. This was the first time in several years that they had done anything as a community, and it felt amazing. Even the dogs that were brought along to the festivities seemed to enjoy socializing with one another. It was decided that day, that the town would elect a new Sherrif and the first nomination was from Karen Beaglesworth. She nominated Jack Nolan because of his bravery when facing the thugs at her inn.

           The people of Fawnville believed that life would be good for them if they had accepted a life without change. They believed that keeping to themselves would be the best way to avoid confrontations, and they also thought that the need for protection within their community was unnecessary. It took a single incident to escalate into something they could not turn back from before they could realize that being united makes them stronger. If one community can make a difference by accepting change, just think what would happen if an entire country, or even if the whole world were equal-minded and worked together to resolve their differences. Social acceptance and unity can make miracles happen if they are properly executed.

The End.

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02:59 Jun 21, 2020

This reminded me of an old Western, but set in modern times! I especially liked the first paragraph, a small community that's still (in a sense) isolated from itself. As a technical note, double-checking for typos would make it more readable, and perhaps more paragraph breaks


Greg Gillis
11:54 Jun 21, 2020

Thank you for your input. I truly appreciate it.


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