stop, drop, flip

Submitted into Contest #180 in response to: Write a story that hinges on the outcome of a coin flip.... view prompt


Fantasy Adventure Fiction

The coin flipped through the air spinning as it reached its arc, Thomas watched it peak and for a moment, he felt it stop completely before changing direction and descending. He caught it in his right palm and swiftly closed his right palm over the back of his hand. He took a deep breath before unveiling his hand, the coin showed tail.

“shit” he whispered.

Time resumed from its momentary pause; Thomas leaped backward swiftly dodging the punch coming from the large man in front of him. The man stood 6 feet 4 inches, weighed 240 pounds, made of pure muscle. With hands big enough to cover the average person's face and forearms bigger than most biceps, Thomas was elated to dodge the punch beating the coins predictions. While backing up he felt the curb on his heel and lost footing, tripping, and falling unto the concrete floor. his hands instinctively moved to cover his face but weren’t fast enough as the large man towered over him hailing him with blows and knocking him unconscious.

In his state of unconsciousness, Thomas briefly recalled what was the start of all his troubles. He awoke with a shimmering coin floating above him earlier. At first, he chuckled at him being still half asleep and went back to bed. Then he awoke and it still floated untethered from its position above him, this time he was startled sitting upright immediately. Then he got up circling his bed and it to see it still floating there. He reached to grab it and the coin vanished into thin air, he laid back down astonished, and went back to bed hoping it was a dream.  

He got up an hour after to his alarm for work, he set it as a backup but wasn’t expecting to be getting up at 12:30 pm. His work shift was from 2 – 8 pm, he liked getting ready an hour before work. So, in case, he overslept he always set an alarm for 1 pm on his phone, so he snoozed his alarm till then. At best it would save him from sleeping through work, and at worst it would remind him to start getting ready. As he reached for his phone an odd message popped up on his phone. Rather than the regular snooze and shut off button. There were no buttons just two choices, one said heads, arrive late to work, and the other said tails get to work 5 minutes early. He glanced up to notice that everything around him had grayed out almost as though it had been in a state of momentary pause. Suddenly he felt a cold but light metal on his palm his head tilted slowly as though he already knew what was there. His assumptions were right, the coin he thought he dreamt of was real. He looked around and saw a bird frozen in place out of his window, he tried getting up but couldn’t move he could only rotate his head and move his hand. After being stuck in this state for a while, with the help of lots of deep breathing he came up with the conclusion that he had to flip the coin. He flicked the coin from his right hand, hoping for tails as it landed on that same hand's palm. Tails, he got his wish, but nothing had changed, then he remembered how all coin tosses work on tv. He closed the palm unto the back of his left hand, heads he thought as he let out a sigh. Everything resumed, and the eerie quietness went as sounds smell and life flooded his senses. He took a quick glance and realized he could move again. Quickly he looked back at his hands, but the coin was nowhere to be found.

“Holy shit” he muttered to himself.

He thought about the message on his phone briefly. “Late to work, or 5 minutes early, this can’t be real,” he said with more confidence in his voice.

Quickly he got up and got ready. Thomas worked at the pacific, which was an indoor pool, and he was a lifeguard. The drive was short just about 15 minutes. But due to the ominous morning, he had decided to leave as early as possible. He left 40 minutes before his shift started. Exiting his apartment, he ran into his neighbor that lives in room 703. She was returning as he was exiting. She was brunette but her long curly hair was on the darker brown side of things. Dark brown eyes and freckles placed perfectly on her face highlighting her beauty. She stood at 5 feet 9, with an athletic slim build. Thomas smiled and waved at her, and she smiled back and waved back. She opened her mouth to speak when suddenly, the color had drained out of her skin, it had drained out of everything around him. He felt something enter his pocket, widening his eyes to the message he saw on doors 703 and 702. Both doors were across from each other, and Thomas swung his head back and forth to make taking in the message that replaced the numbers on both doors. Head, embarrass yourself to the point of almost no return. Tails score a date.

“That’s pretty ominous,” Thomas said out loud, looking up at the sky.

“I mean that could be anything” he continued.

“like what the hell do you mean to almost no return” he rambled, waving his hands in the sky.

Unknowing him he had dropped the coin out of his pocket accidentally flipping it. he only realized this when he realized he could move. Then he glanced down swiftly to see the coin before it abruptly disappeared. He slowly looked up at his neighbor, that looked almost as shocked as he did this morning when he first saw the message on his phone. She had a look of worry and a little disgust like she had just seen something icky. He froze on the spot, a little furious, feeling like he had just been played for a fool.

“sorry it was a d-” he took a deep breath then continued.

“It’s been a weird morning” Thomas continued.

“It’s past 1” Sarah responded.

“Yea, weird day,” Thomas said as he itched his head. Then a thought popped up into his mind, and his eyes widened for a split second before he caught himself acting even weirder to Sarah. He had never seen the coin land, and although this exchange had been embarrassing, it doesn’t seem like almost no return embarrassing.

“I can explain later if you’re free for dinner,” Thomas asked as he smiled at her

Although the coin had given him some confidence, there’s been a spark between Thomas and Sarah since he moved in next door. He thought this would be the perfect opportunity.

“Sure, but no more weird yelling at the ceiling,” she said chuckling

He waved her goodbye as he headed for the elevators. The smile on his face quickly disappeared as he remembered his first coin toss. He quickly checked his phone, but it was only 1:28 pm. Time was frozen when he was flipping coins, so he didn’t have anything to be worried about. The elevators opened and there was a guy with a grey hoodie, his face barely visible, he had wired headphones on that ran from his hood to his right hand where his phone was. He walked in and waited for the doors to close, then he heard a crash on the floor startled he looked at the guy next to him to see that the guy had dropped his phone, and his headphones had disconnected. Apologizing the grey-hooded man next to him reached for his phone when the closing elevator door had frozen in place right before shutting.

“Darling, you got to let me know” a song erupted from the man’s phone.

As the song started, Thomas slowly tilted his head down to the phone. He saw the song playing on the man's phone but already knew from the lyrics

“Should I stay, or should I go” the phone continued.

A coin next to the phone on the floor, Thomas swung his head back and forth on the floor looking for the message. He then glanced up, rather than displaying the floor they were on the digital display displayed a message that scrolled from left to right because the message couldn’t fit on the display. Heads, get stuck on the elevator. Tails, take the stairs.  

“So, let’s say I rolled head, would I automatically not be able to open that door,” he asked to the sky.

“What if I rolled tails, would something take over my body and make me take the stairs” he continued.

He took a deep breath and grabbed the coin next to the phone, off the floor. quickly he flipped it and rather than catching it he just let it drop on the floor. the coin bounced twice before coming to a stop, landing on heads. Time resumed, as the man next to him grabbed his phone off the floor. Thomas headed for the floor, but 3 little kids ran into the elevator blocking the exit of it. they were all giggling and as soon as the elevator started moving one of the kids pushed all the floor buttons on it.

“Are you kidding me,” Thomas said frustrated.

One of the kids apologized but Thomas waved it off, his earlier comments weren’t directed at any children but more at the situation that his life was being decided by the coin. After a long elevator ride than anticipated, Jason picked up the pace toward his 2010 silver Toyota Corolla.

He checked the time on his phone as he turned his car on. 1:35 pm was what his phone read; panic started to fill his heart as he realized he could be late to work. He turned on his car and zoomed off to work driving more recklessly than he should have been. He cut the wrong guy off who followed him for a while. Thomas was quite relieved to not get the coin choice while he was driving. While distracted by this thought he didn’t notice the blacked-out 2021 ram 2500, when he finally noticed it, he was cut off. The car slammed its brakes and brake-checked Thomas. He quickly slammed on His brakes, and a large man came out of the truck. Thomas stepped out of his truck.

As they both approached, the man froze, Thomas clenched his fist as the coin appeared in them. He glanced around looking for his options. Then he glanced over to the street sign that loomed above the traffic lights in the upcoming intersection. Heads, kick his ass. Tails get your ass kicked. He awoke on the curb of the street he had been on, where two men were asking if he was okay. He quickly checked his phone. 1:51 pm, he saw, his eyes widening with hope as a small grin grew on his phone. He leaped to his feet as though he had been reborn. He rushed to his car ignoring the men and drove off. Arriving at work at 1:58 pm he took a deep breath before opening the doors to the pacific. With a big grin on his face and his chin up he walked in to punch, his co-worker had an angry expression on his face.

“You were supposed to come in earlier today, remember, I had the appointment so I had to leave earlier,” his co-worker said assertively.

His jaw drops as he realized why his alarm was set 30 minutes earlier than expected, his confidence had left his body and guilt filled his heart as his co-worker went to punch out. His co-worker froze and so did everything else, as he felt the coolness of the coin in his palm

January 14, 2023 01:32

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Wendy Kaminski
03:46 Jan 14, 2023

This was really well done, Benjamin! It was engrossing and I liked that the choices continued throughout the story. Really excellent way to wrap it up at the end, too - nice story!


Benjamin Okojie
23:16 Jan 14, 2023

thank you


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