Victory in Defeat

Written in response to: Start your story with someone receiving a one-star review.... view prompt

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Coming of Age Fiction Funny

“No more one stars Casey-”

               “I got it,” I said walking out of the kitchen. I messed up once and my boss was already on me like white on rice. My keys were twirling around my finger as I whistled my way confidently toward the front door.

               “No more one stars Casey,” a coworker said mockingly.

               “I can get two more and still be better than you are at your job Jessie.” Strutting toward the car I got in and fired her up.  “…Crud.”

               “Forgot again?”

               “I don’t need it Jessie,” I said walking back out to my car again. Forgetting the pizzas on my first drive of the day has become my religion at this point. Now I have everything and I hit the road.

               Thank God I worked with Jessie. Joking with her is the only thing that distracts me from the awfulness of this job. Or maybe I have too much time to think about her. All these hours driving…I’m getting sick of music at this point.

               The destination is only 10 miles away. I have 30 minutes until expected delivery time so I may be able to redeem myself and get the boss off my back. Four stop lights in and I’m golden. One more to go plus a left turn and your boy-

               I woke up on my side. Not in my car, but in the backseat of an unknown SUV.

               “Oh shit. He’s awake,” the driver said making eye contact in the rear view mirror.

               “Hey listen, don’t panic alright. If you start screaming we gon’ have a problem,” said the man in the passenger seat capturing my attention. He was in his early 20’s with blue eyes and curly brown hair. His friend was Hispanic and never once looked back at me or took his eyes off the road. My boss would love this square.

               “Why did you rob me just for pizza?” I asked noticing the box in the passenger seats lap.

               “We didn’t rob you. We hit you. On accident. But we’ll be taking this pizza,” He answered.

               “Why’d you have to take me?”

               “Because we can’t be seen in this area. Period.”

               “You’re fugitives?”

               “Oh I ain’t worried about the cops.”

               “…So you’re making sure I don’t talk?”

               “I’m sure you’ll cooperate. But you were unconscious so we had to move fast.”

               “Where are we going?”

               “To drop you and your car off outside of town.”

               “Why?”

               “So if you lie and still report this wreck, we at least have you out of this jurisdiction.”

               “How terrified do you have to be of someone to worry about them going through police traffic reports?”

               “I don’t wanna become buddies. I’m gonna drop you off and you’re gonna find another way into town. I’ll give you $3000 to reimburse the car.”

               “Only $3,000?”

               “It’s still in drivable shape.” I sat up and turned around to see someone else driving my car behind us. The whole left side of the car was dented and the side view mirror along with the left headlight was missing. The driver could see the disbelief on my face and spoke up.

               “The alternative is we dump you in the lake with the car,” He said. I took a deep breath and shook my head in agreement.

               We arrived at Lake Fort Worth. They untied me on the side of the highway and parked the car in the grass.

               “That’s it?” I asked.

               “As long as you keep your mouth shut.” The driver handed me $3,000 in cash.

               “Could you guys actually dump this car for me? I’d rather just take the money and forget the car.”

               “What are we, free labor?”

               “I think it’s the least you guys could do.”

               “…Oh so I didn’t just hand you $3,000?”

               “Please? Fixing this is gonna be such a hassle and probably cost more than that. I’ll just get another drivable car with this and move on.” The three men looked each other and the passenger seat rider shrugged his shoulders. They helped me toss my car into the lake. I beginning to wonder how I was gonna explain this to insurance or whoever else asked but I made up a believable story about selling it to a crackhead. Yeah, my parents would be mad I gave a meth dealer a ‘car to work with,’ but I would ignore their judgment being that I was lying.

               “Sorry about this alright. From person to person, this isn’t your fault. Just roll with the punches and everything will be okay. Trust me,” the passenger seat rider proclaimed right before they drove away.

               “So how did you end up in this predicament?” Asked the grandpa who was nice enough to give me a ride back to my job.

               “I sold a druggie my car for $3,000.” Now that I’m saying it out loud, I’m definitely going to have to make up another story for the people who actually matter.

               “Wow. Just like that?”

               “Yup.”

               “…So you were just hanging around this druggie and he asked for it?”

               “Well he wrecked into me and liked it or something. I figured the money was better so I didn’t have to repair it.”

               “Why didn’t you claim it on your insurance?”

               “He threatened to hurt me if I told anyone.”

               “So why didn’t you just tell your insurance that it was a hit and run and you don’t know who did it?”

               “…”

               “…”

               “Yeah I…I guess that would’ve been best for everybody.”

               “Yeah.”

               “Hey but thanks for not being a pervert or a murderer or anything.”

               “Sure thing.”

               After riding with the old man who basically taught me that I know nothing about dealing with risky situations, I arrived back at work. My wrists were red from the rope and my face was sunk with defeat. I opened the door and the entry bell rang, alerting my manager that I was back.

               “What…did I say…right before you left Casey?” My manager questioned through his gritting teeth. I could see Jessie’s wide eyed facial expressions in the corner of my eye. I peeked over trying to hold in any laughter.

               “Not to get another 1 star,” I responded.

               “Well let’s see…’I didn’t even get my pizza. Another 1 star for Bunnies. I’m never eating here again.’ That just came in from your latest delivery.” Roll with the punches huh? Alright strange guy in trouble with a lot of bad people. I choose to follow your advice.

               “Oops.”

               “You’re fired Casey.” He stomped away angrily and I finally smirked at Jessie. She nearly cried in the form of giggles.

               “Jessie?”

               “Casey you better leave.”

               “Yeah but…wanna go out?”

               “Like now?”

               “No after you get off. Or another day I don’t care.”

               “Yeah. Yeah sure. You got my number?”

               “Give it to me real quick.” She looked to the back chuckling then looked directly into my eyes smiling as she pulled out her phone. Her dimples and teeth were working together to display a picture in front of me that can only be described as beauty. I guess I won the day. 

April 13, 2022 18:36

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