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Drama Fiction Thriller

 Ty Flynn is the latest Hollywood action movie star. He is making money hand over fist by starring in a plethora of action films. He grew up on the streets of LA and has never had this much money in his entire life. Ty has been enjoying his fame by spending vast amounts on homes, cars, and motorcycles. There are also many rumors of the wild parties taking place on his private yacht.

Ty is no stranger to the courts, where he is accused of misconduct and sexual harassment by young women, mainly set extras.  Ty has never been found guilty of any of these claims because he has been able to get the women to drop the charges by giving them large sums of money.

However, the last incident was a little more damaging. It seems an underage girl was found dead in Ty’s bed from an overdose of heroin. His team of highly paid defense lawyers had to work some clever legal double talk to get him out of that one, but they managed it somehow. After that, Hollywood producers decided to cool it on Ty, whose reputation had become scandalous.

After a few years, a lesser-known movie studio is making a movie in the Louisiana bayou about a band of smugglers using voodoo zombies to transport the contraband. They want Ty to play the part of the FBI agent that will break the case. Ty Flynn says he isn’t interested, but his agent tells him that if he doesn’t make a movie soon, any type of movie, his audience will surely forget who he is. Plus, Ty’s bank account is getting increasingly thin. Duly persuaded, Ty packs his bags, gets in his Bentley Mulliner Bechler, and heads south to the set following the studio’s directions. It will take about twenty-eight hours before he arrives.

Ty cruises along I-40 at a comfortable sixty miles an hour. He plans to stop only for bathroom breaks and something to eat.  Around one-thirty, he pulls into Love’s Travel Stop, a combination diner, truckstop, and convenience store.  When he enters the restaurant, he is recognized immediately by a group of middle-aged ladies who buzz about him excitedly. Autographs are signed, and pictures taken. Ty then orders a cup of coffee and a piece of apple pie. The young waitress asks Ty if she can take a photo of her kissing him on the cheek. Ty agrees and uses her cell phone to take the selfie. As she kisses his cheek, Ty helps himself to feel her ample behind.  Before she can object, Ty waves to all his fans and tells them to be on the lookout for his next big movie, “Bayou Zombies.”  After tanking up his Bently, Ty resumes his trip for he still has a long way to go. Ty has also called ahead and made a reservation at the Marriott downtown Oklahoma City for about eleven pm.


The following day, Ty takes the I-310 south heading to Batton Rouge. After a few hours of driving, his directions tell him to take exit 7 to Hahnville and Luling.  A short way down this road, Ty comes across a detour. There seems to be an accident between a semi-truck and a travel van. Ty travels along the detour until he arrives at a fork in the road. The curious thing is that there are no detour signs on which way to go and no street signs indicating what’s up ahead. Ty takes out his cell phone only to discover it hasn’t a signal.  Making his best guess, Ty takes the right, hoping for the best. The road turns from a double lane to a single lane, from a paved road to a gravel one, and finally to a plain dirt road. The road has become so rocky that he has to slow down. The vegetation on both sides of the road has turned dense and lush. So thick Ty can’t see anything past them at all. The Spanish moss is hanging from the trees so low that it drags over the roof. When the growth does give way, Ty can see open fields with several rundown, deserted shacks.

However, one shack has wood smoke drifting up from the stove pipe. As he continues, he doesn’t notice any power lines. His stomach starts to tighten into an uneasy knot.   Eventually, the road widens and the surface is hard-packed clay. Ty quickly kicks up his speed and takes a smoke from his gold cigarette case. While trying to navigate a sharp turn and lighting his cigarette, Ty takes his eyes off the road for a second. He slams his brakes as he feels a big bump and a dog yelp.

A man runs out of an unpainted, rundown shack, waving his fist in the air.

“What in God’s name have ya done? Ya run over my dog, Sooner!” The man is dressed in raggedy clothes and carrying a shotgun. He has a thick Cajon accent that Ty finds hard to understand.

Ty steps out of his car and sees the dog lying dead on the ground. “I’m so sorry!” Ty apologizes while he automatically reaches for his wallet.

“Sorry!?! You done killed a purebred bluetick huntin’ dog, and all you can say is you’re sorry! That’s what I hate bout ya’ll city folk. Ya, come down here ta gawk and laugh at us poor folk not carin’ a thing about nobody else!”  

Ty takes a hundred-dollar bill from his wallet and offers it to the man. 

“Look, I’m real sorry about the dog. Maybe this can help make up for it. It really was just an accident after all.”  The swamp dweller stares hard at Ty like he thinks Ty is scum. It makes Ty’s skin crawl. When the man speaks again, it is in a low, harsh voice.

“Maybe it was just an accident, or maybe it was ya bein’ careless. But the result’s the same, Sooner is dead! He was more than just some ol’ dog. He was my family’s meal ticket! Ya see he helped me get raccoons by chasin’ em up trees and keepin’ em there til I caught up to shoot em. So how am I s’pose to get raccoons now?” Turning to the shack, the swamp man yells, “You kids get out here. Now!”

Ty sees two filthy children step out onto the porch. They’re a boy and a girl, and both look like they’ve never seen a bar of soap in their young lives. In the background, Ty can barely make out the figure of a woman who, when she notices Ty looking at her, sinks deeper into the shadows. Swamp man turns to Ty, “Now how am I gonna feed them children? With that money you’re givin’ me? LOOK AROUND YA BOY!’ he screams. “Ain’t nothin’ out here but us, jiggers and gators. There ain’t no stores in which to buy food for miles around! I ain’t got no big fancy car like that one there to drive to a store with. All’s I got’s a flat bottom boat fer fishin’ and gator huntin’. And what the hell is that thing anyhow?”

Ty answers sheepishly, “A Bentley Mulliner Bechler.”

Pushing his cheek out with his tongue, Swamp man replies, “That so? Well, I’ll tell ya what.” He then swings his shotgun up to his shoulder and pumps three blasts into the side of the car. “Now it’s a piece of shit.” He gives a little chuckle at that.

In disbelief and shock, Ty screams, “Are you out of your freakin’ mind!?! I’m getting into my car, turning around like I should have done a while long ago and getting out of here!” Swamp man smiles, “I don’t think so.” The next thing Ty experiences is a blinding white light flashing through his head and severe pain.before blacking out.

When Ty comes too, he is gagged and hogtied in the trunk of the Bentley. He is faintly aware of the motor revving at high speed. Panicking, he struggles against the ropes only to look up with terrified eyes because Swamp man is looking down at him. Swamp man spits into the trunk, saying, “I truly do hate city folk,” and slams the lid. Ty hears him call out, “Let er rip, Teddy!”

A rock is pressing down on the accelerator, and a rope is tied around the stick shift handle. Teddy yanks the rope setting the shift from neutral to drive. The Bentley’s wheels scream as the car speeds down the wooden dock. Sailing off the end, the car travels about ten yards through the air before splashing down in the middle of the swamp and sinks.

“Wahoo!” screams Teddy waving his shovel in the air, the same shovel he used to strike Ty with.

“Did ya see that, Matt? Them ol’ gators just flew outta the bayou! They didn’t knowd what hit em!” Walking back to the shack, Matt stops to pick up the hundred-dollar bill and Ty’s billfold. Removing the rest of the money, he splits it with Teddy and throws the billfold deep into the swamp.

“Say, Teddy, does ol’ Cottonmouth Wilson still have them bluetick pups?”

“I do believe so. Why?”

“I was thinkin’ we should go over there and buy one. I think I’ll name it Later. Get it? Sooner or Later!”

Both men laugh as they set off down the dusty bayou road.


August 17, 2022 18:33

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2 comments

T. S. Memory
07:18 Aug 26, 2022

Hello! I liked the pacing when things took a turn for the worse, and how unexpected and extreme the "swamp man's" reaction was! I agree with Ela Mikh, a show not tell approach would help illustrate the atmosphere and mood. Keep writing, Ralph!

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Ela Mikh
02:35 Aug 25, 2022

Interesting approach. I think I would have loved it even more if the story was more "shown" then "told" but still a good twist. Thank you

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