A Story by Barry Simiana

it's about a guy who shows up in a longer dramatic piece. but i needed him to come from somewhere so i created this as some back story


          “ Listen to that wind.”

          It was hypnotic. A moaning, keening sound but low on the decibel levels, almost subliminal, more akin to a digital effect than a natural sound.

          Half a dozen faces pressed up to the glass of the window, their breath fogging the glass slightly, obscuring their already dim view of the outside world. The faces changed in shifts, each being replaced by another in no real order when boredom or frustration took over in the mind of the watcher. What they were hoping to see was debatable. Ever since the lights went out is was darkness, darkness and more darkness, punctuated by occasional bursts of lightning from somewhere way over to the east.

          It had been at least five hours since the power went out. At least five hours. No-one seemed to wear a watch anymore, mobiles didn’t work in the worst of the storms and with no power, the till clock and the wall mounted were dead. So no real way to track time. Eternity in an hour, a lifetime in a day.

          The clocks weren’t the only things to stop working with the loss of electricity. The doors locked automatically, trapping the sixteen people inside. The logic could be seen if one cared to look. If the doors can’t open then the looters can’t get in. Hellooo… the doors are glass? And when the doors locked, so did the little cubicle that held the cash register, the cigarettes and the sales assistant. At first he’d been okay with it, telling everyone to ‘remain calm, it’s only for a couple of minutes’. That ended after about ten or so. His accent got worse, as did his already surly attitude.

          The only light inside the shop came from the freezers at the back of the


 store, generators feeding the display lights and the freezers until the fuel ran out. The sales guy said that he didn’t know how long they lasted. Nothing like this had ever happened in the entire four months of his tenure. He started to swear in some Middle Eastern dialect when – from down near the back near the beer fridges – the sound of the hippy couple strangling yet another Dylan song moaned through the store.

          “ Baby we can find a little shelter from the storm.”

          They’d been at it off and on since the power went out.

          Colly Hansen straightened his cap for probably the thousandth time. Everytime the hippies started up his head started to itch. He used to like Dylan, the flow of words, the text and the subtext, even during that weird religious period during the late seventies and early eighties. If Colly wasn’t out of here soon he knew he was going home to stick each and every one of his box-set collection in the microwave, one at a time.

          “ Song doesn’t go like that. I don’t know why it doesn’t, but it doesn’t.”

          He thought he’d said it quietly, maybe in his mind but a couple of others around him mumbled in agreement. It wasn’t that the hippies were bad – oh Lord they were bad – but they made up the words as they went along, using the well known bits to string the songs ogether.

          “ I wish they would shut up. It’s disgusting.”

          Colly had to agree with the sales guy stuck behind the counter. It was disgusting. To butcher a great mans songs was a crime against art. The guy behind the counter spat at the corner, then lashed out at his polycarbonate prison. Colly shook his head. He knew from bitter experience that here was going to be a hell of a lot more than a punch needed to bust out of there. The same stuff was used to make prisoner enclosures in prisons and transfer vehicles. It was going to take several shots from a large bore pistol. Feet and hands weren’t going to do it.

          “ It’s starting to rain again.”

          The chick in the power business suit with the painfully pulled back hair stepped back from the window. Another body moved into her place. Clly remembered her name. Janice – pronounced Shah-neece. She both said and spelt it to make sure there was no confusion as they’d introduced themselves at the beginning of the little drama.

          “ How do you know?”

          This from someone further down the back, possibly one of the two teenagers who’d come in to pay for fuel.

          “ Wind’s blowing it up against the glass,” one of the other watchers said, not taking his eyes from the outside.

          The mood dropped another notch as the hippies launched into “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall”.

          “ Ah, s**t.”

          Colly yet again readjusted his hat as he mentally adjusted his musical preferences. He was tough, he could hold out. But may their heathen gods protect them if they touched “ Subterrainean Homesick Blues”.

          “ I’m hungry.”

          This from down the snack aisle. Sounded like the little cutie in the short skirt and shorter top. Mia, Pia, Gia? One of those short ..ia names. Yeah, Tia.

          “ Anything you eat you pay for.”

          Sales guy. Seriously not happy.”

          “ What are you going to do, Abdullah? Take it out of my hide?” said the cutie, showing her warm side. A nice piece of work, Colly thought. He slipped a twenty from his shirt pocket and slid it through the small slot to the store guy, who pulled it through and rolled it up into his hand.

          “ May as well get youself something to drink as well. It’s on the big guy.”

          Colly heard the rip of a bag and the munching of chips. Then another, and another. The store guy was looking at him.

“ You paying for all of them, mate?”

Colly shook his head and turned away, back toward the window. He could hear the rain tapping at the pane above the moan of the wind. His nasty side whispered in his brain. What an experiment. Lock up a dozen or so different people in a confined space and see how long it takes for civilization to fall apart. The answer seemed obvious. About five hours. What would happen in a real catastrophe? Colly shook his head again. Mankind was screwed.

“ Why didn’t I get caught in a bar?”

Colly turned back to see Big Tony come from down the back. He’d been sniffing around the cutie for about an hour, idle chitchat, pointed questions. Colly caught bad vibes from him, for no real reason he could pinpoint. The guy was trouble, that much he knew. But Big Tony spoke truth. A beer would be damn good, and a cigarette or two. But the beer fridge had an electronic lock on it, too. That was the first one that had been checked when it became apparent they weren’t getting out in a hurry. The store guy had a smug look on his head for maybe fifteen minutes when that had been reported.

“ Might find me something hard and take to the fridge door,” Big Tony said to no-one in particular.

“ Kid would have a fit,” Colly said, nodding at the store guy.

“ Tough,” Big Tony said, shrugging his shoulders. “ What’s he gunna do? Yell at me to pay first?”

“ Until the power comes back up, nothing I guess. But the security cameras are still on.”

He pointed at the blinking red light up near the roof.

“ Security will have it’s own generator. That’s why the doors and the cash got locked down.”

Big Tony looked up and across to the other two cameras.

“ I’ll pay for them. Insurance’ll cover the door.”

“ Not if they got you on tape busting it up. Better to wait until the power comes on again. I’ll shout you a drink down the road.”

Big Tony looked at Colly, surprised.

“ Yeah?”

Colly shrugged and looked away. The place fell silent except for the rustling of chip packets and the quiet munching. Colly heard a fridge door open and the pop of a soft drink can. He saw the sales guys eyes snap in that direction, his mouth open ready to yell.

“ Be cool, man. It’s a can of f*****g drink. Aren’t you getting hungry?”

The sales guy turned away and spat into the corner again.

“ That’s a really filthy habit, mate, and you’re the one stuck in there.”

The kid turned back and sneered at Colly. Colly shook his head. All sorts of balls when he was behind three quarters of an inch of bullet proof plastic. Colly thought of himself as a fairly tolerant person, especially since his release from prison and the psych examinations that had gone with it, but jeez, he was starting to dislike the little towel-head real fast. God, to just get out of here and back on the road.


© 2008 Barry Simiana

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Barry Simiana
again... go your hardest. we only improve through critique

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Colly makes me think of a dog.

Posted 9 Years Ago

Barry Simiana

9 Years Ago

That's okay. TLK makes me think of a keyless shaft locking device

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Added on February 6, 2008


Barry Simiana
Barry Simiana

South Grafton NSW AUSTRALIA, Non US or Canadian State/Province, Australia

Writer, creator. First published in Next Stop Hollywood: Short Stories Bound for the Screen, 2007 with the short story "Gone to Mum's." Still chasing that one around to get a movie made. 2011 saw the .. more..