Another Saturday Night

Another Saturday Night

A Story by Chopstix
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On a night Ruby just wanted to go home, taunts transform her. From a Show Don't Tell contest. All plot points were provided by Max Griffon for the contest.

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WDC Word Count: 1496

It’s another Saturday night, and I wanna go party.”  Sam Cooke’s song played on Southland Corp’s dedicated music channel, but Clovis’s made-up lyrics filled Ruby’s ear.  Pressure emerged behind her nose’s bridge during her store clerk’s previous game of Not Touching You.  His singing, mere inches from her ear, exacerbated this force, pressing sparks through her visual cortex.

I’ve been bored here since a quarter past four

“I’ve been here just a long as you, and I’ve done some actual work.”  She pressed her hand against her forehead.  Normal she confirmed, though inside, it felt like her forehead was flattening.  

How I wish you would just-a let me go. ”  Clovis’s off-key singing usually annoyed Ruby, but tonight, his sugar-rotted-tooth halitosis pierced her nostrils.

I just can’t take no more. Oh, I can’t take no more. 

“What makes you think I can take any more? What makes you think I like restocking shelves in an empty store while you goof-off behind the counter? Why don’t you sweep floors while I go home early?”

“Because,” a fresh wave of Clovis’s breath nauseated Ruby, “you have to sign the turnover log and …”

… And I need all the money I can get.  I just wish I’ll get home before another incident. They're so hard to explain.  By the time Sam Cook sang something about a cat named Frankenstein, Ruby relented.

“Don’t take it out on Tyrone,” Clovis admonished.  He grabbed his hoodie and headed out.

“Huh?”

“You get bitchy every twenty-nine and a half days, like clockwork.”

“You chart it?”

“Sorta.  The moon’s up, and it’s your time of the month.  Tyrone texted me from a really cool party, so don’t take it out on him when he gets here.  Whenever he gets here. OK?”

“Go!”  Ruby fetched a broom and swept aisles starting near beer filled coolers in the back.  She paused to trace her nose’s outline with her fingers.  Flat and broad like her ancestors.  Near the front, another scent caught her attention.  Dried canine urine?  She knelt for closer examination.  Tyrone’s letting that stray in again. 

Light travels faster than sound.  Zeon headlights flooded the store’s front window forcing Ruby’s eyes shut.  Sound travels faster than smell.  Ruby’s fingers pressed against the window. Strains of Toby Keith’s Red Solo Cup vibrated through the glass.  Four white teenage boys stumbled out of one of their daddy’s, black as midnight, Cadillac Escalade.  They were decked out in blue jeans, embroidered shirts, suede vests and obligatory Stetsons. Gaudy turquoise and silver adorned their vests and hatbands.  Two redheads staggered toward the front door followed by a blond.  The last one’s hair remained unseen.  Shaved eyebrows concealed its color. Smells alert the brain.  Alcohol, sweat and adrenaline invaded her nostrils.  Sudden cranial elongations slammed her eye lids shut, but she forced them open.  Ruby scurried behind the counter.  

The redheads could be twin brothers or retarded cousins.  Squinted eyes make such distinctions difficult.  One of them slammed two six-packs of Lone Star on the counter; the other threw a box of Snickers which Ruby caught before they found floor.

“You awake there?”

“Yeah.”  Ruby’s fingers flew over cash register’s keys.  “That’s $22.84.”

“Sounds high.  Why don’t we pay twenty?”

“I don’t set prices. You can wait till morning to talk with my manager.”

“Is he white, or like you?  That’s right, your pointy nose don’t fool me.”

“He’s in charge of prices.”  Ruby stroked her nose.  Damn, not again.  “If you don’t have the money, I’ll take your hat band in exchange.”

“You want a memento of me?  Hell, we could go in the back room, and I could leave you with something! A lot of it!”

“$22.84.  That’s all I want from you.”

The other redhead fished three ones from his pockets and slapped them on the counter.  Ruby scooped up the cash and held out the change.

“On the counter!  I don’t want your type touching me.”

Ruby shook off the contradiction.  Blondie placed a Coors twelve pack and a box of condoms on the counter.

Don’t worry b***h! They’re not for you.

“Don’t call me ‘b***h.’  You don’t even know me.”

“I didn’t say a thing, but you sorta look like a Labrador.”

Ruby realized she never saw Blondie’s lips move.  She scanned the room.  Baldy’s eyes bore, laser-like, into her head.  He never blinked.

“With nappy hair,” a redhead interjected, “she looks more like a Labradoodle.”

“$9.52.”

Baldy stepped forward slapping a sawbuck on the counter.  A silver chain, wrapped around his wrist with large rings at each end, rattled and unraveled before he pulled it tight.

I have other plans for you.

Ruby’s ears pulled back.  Sparks flew from the silver chain igniting fireworks in her distending crown. They coalesced into fuzzy images. Baldy’s holding his chain lasso-like over a sista’.  Ruby blinks her eye lids shut, focusing.  She sees a pointy nosed woman in a blue denim skirt and yellow blouse, like her.  Ruby’s breath shortens to shallow, quick, short pants; her tongue presses past her teeth.  A salty, ferrous taste alerted her tongue which probed sensitive gums surrounding enlarged incisors.

Baldy’s gaze remained fixed until his laughing hyena cohorts jostled him out the doors.  At 6’8” 280 pounds, Tyrone’s physique commanded respect.  Blondie and the redheads navigated around him.  Baldy stood his ground, fixated on Tyrone.  A few seconds later, he attempted a shoulder bump pass.  Tyrone lowered his shoulder and spun Baldy around.  Baldy recovered and stared at Ruby through the store's glass window.

         12:27 Turnover to Tyrone Briggs.  Store clean and stocked save one box of Snickers.

“What’s all that about?”

“East Texas hooligans making trouble in Natchitoches Parish, just like their kind done for centuries.”

“The Xolo one could be problematic.  I’d keep away from him.”

“You?”

“Nah!  But you.”

Her oversized incisors demanded flesh to tear, yet her arm muscles relaxed; normal breathing returned.

“I’ll take this, okay?”  Ruby waved a large hunk of beef jerky.

“I’ll take it out of your pay.”

“And I’ll report your actual arrival time.” Ruby tossed Tyrone her last dollar bill to pay for her three dollar slab of jerky. “And don’t let the stray in here no more, okay?”

“Okay, but Ruby answer me this?”

“Yeah?”

“If this place is called ‘7-11,’ why we open 24/7?”

“’Cause some states don’t sell alcohol after 11:00.”

“Could be a good idea for here.”

Ruby followed her short cuts home by smell.  Small business’s place their trash cans out Saturday nights for Monday morning pickup.  Golden Dragon’s sesame seed oil drew her steps down Asheville Alley then a right down Hampton Lane’s deli.  Wino’s, spooked by the full moon, left no reeking vomit, but Saint Charles’ pet store's discarded animal droppings guided her to St. Charles’ Way.

A familiar scent enticed Ruby’s nose around a nearby trashcan.  Warm brown eyes glinted from matted black fur.  Ruby held out jerky remains.  Tyrone’s stray wagged her tail and inched forward.

“Stop marking my store, okay?”

The stray snatched Ruby’s offering, an acceptance of her deal.  Ruby propped herself on St. Charles’ Pet’s trashcan swiveling her hips in unison with the stray's wagging tail while watching the stry eat.

Light travels faster than sound.  Zeon headlights flooded the narrow way. Sound travels faster than smell. Screeching tires heralded the Escalade’s charge over strains of Bruce Hornsby's Night on the Town blaring from open windows.  Black fur brushed past Ruby’s bare legs as untrimmed claws gained purchase from hard pavement.  Primal instinct overwhelms.  Ruby muscles tensed bulged and erupted.  Falling to all fours, she dislodged the trashcan. Metal, rotted food and animal waste rolled into the SUV’s path.  Ruby’s blouse ripped apart, her bra straps snapped away, shredded denim scraps flew from her waist and thighs and Ruby’s torn baby blue panties hung on by stretched out elastic and forlorn threads.  I hope I don’t end up naked in the Kindergarten’s playground again.  It’s so hard to explain, Ruby thought.

One headlight illuminated the hardware store’s brick wall where the other headlight was buried.  The two redheads slumped unconscious in the SUV’s backseat.  Blondie’s trapped leg kept him pinned in the front passenger seat.  He winced every time he tried to free it.  Baldy leapt from the driver’s seat, removed the silver chain from his wrist, slipped its links trough one of the large rings, slipped his arm in the loop and jerked it tight, choking off blood flow for an instant before he released it.

Alarms reverberating through Ruby’s skull subsided.  Instincts overruled reason; focus conquered pain.  She watched for any sudden movement, drew quick short breaths sniffing for adrenaline and she listened for the slightest scrape or rustle.  Her legs bent, coiled to launch; arms splayed ready to guide her muscular mass in any direction.

“The scientists want wolves, but a Labradoodle'll do.”  Blondie said.

Oh, Xolo boy, it’s on like Donkey Kong, Ruby thought, but even her ears registered a low, guttural growl.

Original scenario: 

1. Ruby is impatient for her 4PM-midnight shift at the Seven-Eleven to end. She's tired, has a headache, and she wants to go home.  

2. Her assistant asks if he can leave early. She's annoyed, but also tired of his attitude bringing her down. Besides, it's a slow night, so she lets him clock out, leaving her alone in the store waiting for her relief.

3. She starts to clean the store when a late-model, expensive SUV pulls into the parking lot. The car's stereo is playing loud Country-Western music.

4. Four young men from the SUV enter her store. They seem to be spoiled, rich kids who are loud, obnoxious, and drunk. They gather up purchases of beer, candy bars and snack food while making demeaning comments about Ruby.

5. One of the young men glances at Ruby and her headache pulses. He seems to speak inside her brain, uttering a violent threat. No one else notices, and Ruby decides she probably imagined it. 

6. It's past time for Ruby's relief to show up, and she's worried about being alone in the store with these customers.

7. The group checks out. The young man who glanced at her earlier is rude while he pays for his beer. 

8. Her headache pulses again, and she sees a dream-like image of him standing over a bloody female body--her body. The image vanishes, but now she's scared.

9. The threatening young man stares at her and she knows he wants to hurt her. But his friends are impatient to leave, and he departs with them.

10. Ruby's relief manager arrives. She pays for some beef jerky before walking home. 

11. The street on the way home is dark and empty except for trash cans and a friendly stray dog who approaches Ruby. She feeds him some of the jerky, and he's appreciative.

12. The black SUV from earlier turns a corner and drives down the street. The loud music and bright headlights scare the dog, who runs away down the middle of the street.

13. The SUV speeds up and aims toward the dog.

14. Ruby's angry and fearful for the dog; she knows it's up to her to save the animal. She rolls a large trash can into the street, in the way of the SUV. The SUV brakes and swerves; it strikes the trash can instead of the dog. The collision breaks a headlight.

15. The threatening young man jumps out of the SUV. He's really angry. Ruby's head pulses again, and a compelling and scary image forms in her mind of the man strangling her. She knows it's time to use her special talent.


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© 2017 Chopstix



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Chopstix
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Added on February 5, 2017
Last Updated on February 5, 2017
Tags: Werewolf, Show Don't Tell, East Texas

Author

Chopstix
Chopstix

Los Angeles, CA



About
In high school, I wrote lyrics. I started college writing poems and switched to short stories. After college, I discovered I could write computer programs, but I could not finish a novel (kept editi.. more..

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