“Come on, Ben, any port in a storm.”
Ben watched his best friend, Owen, rummage around in the box as he kept watch. “Cut to the chase, Owen, turf it all out it out so we can make a break for it.”
“I’m going as fast as I can. Don’t get your panties in a wad,” Owen said. He pushed aside a rug and tossed a bag of clothes out onto the street.
“Take it from me, my panties are not in a wad,” said Ben. “Get rid of that junk and lets beat it. Time waits for no man.”
“Call yourself a man?” asked Owen.
“Boy. Whatever. Hurry up.”
“Sheesh, you’re dumb as a post, Ben, know that?” Owen “This ain’t easy y’know.”
“Surprised you’re out here at all,” said Ben. A couple of shopkeepers stood on their steps and watched them. “Your scared of your own shadow, so right now I’m just enjoying the show. But get a wiggle on ‘kay?”
“The show must go on,” said Owen with a grunt.
“You boys need a hand over there?” asked one shopkeeper, a barber dressed in a white bib.
“We’re fine and dandy, sir,” said Ben.
“Looks heavy,” said the other shopkeeper, a grocer with a white and green striped bib.
“It ain’t heavy,” said Ben. “Will you hurry up!”
“Who you shootin’ the shit with?”
“No one. Let’s go already.”
Owen lobbed random bits of junk into the street until the box was empty. They flipped it upside down and crawled inside. Owen used his penknife to cut a slot into the side of the box. Working together they walked the box along the street, Owen steering and Ben holding the box above their heads.
“What happens if we come to stairs?” asked Ben.
“Well cross that bridge when we come to it,” replied Owen. “Trash cans, left a bit.”
They successfully manoeuvred the box around the trash cans and across a side street. The plan was to get the box back to their alleyway under the bridge before they got caught. They were only young but they both knew it only took one nosey-parker to upset their best laid plans and they’d end up in the orphanage again.
At a junction they stopped to wait for traffic. A lady in a black hat and neat shoes bent down and looked through Owen’s spy hole.
“What’s up!” said Owen with a smile. “Ain’t ya never seen two lads from the wrong side of the tracks trying to make it in this crazy world?”
“Well I never!” said the woman. She straightened up and strode away.
“Who was that?”
“None of your beeswax,” said Owen. “Oh. Lights have changed. Onward and upward.”
“You think this will keep the rain off?” asked Ben after a while.
“You’re such a worry wart,” replied Owen. “It can rain cats and dogs and we’ll be snug as a bug in here.”
Ben felt drops of water on his face. “I don’t want to rain on your parade but we’re shit out of luck.”
“Don’t pee on my leg and tell me it’s raining!”
“Hold up!” said Ben. They stopped to listen to the rain drumming on the box.
“Shit on a shingle!”
“Told you,” said Ben. “This really throws a spanner into the works. I don’t wanna toot my own horn but I did say cardboard boxes get soggy when they’re wet. But you wouldn’t listen. Giving it all that about boxes makin’ good houses, give it a whirl you said, no pain no gain.”
“Can it! You’re startin’ to rub me up the wrong way!”
Ben gave Owen a push. “There ain’t enough room to swing a cat in here, that’s why.”
“Don’t go there, we just need to get under the bridge,” said Owen. “Let’s peg it!”
“Dollars to doughnuts this thing’ll be as soggy as an old ladies handkerchief at a wedding by the time we get there.”
“I’ll be the judge of that,” said Owen. “We just gotta get it out of the rain. It’ll dry off anyway, it ain’t rocket science.”
“No shit Sherlock!” said Ben. “But it’s turnin’ into a real gully washer out here!”
They ran, holding the box above their heads as they trundled down the street. By the time they reached the bridge the box was leaking and both boys were wet. Under the bridge it was relatively dry and they hauled the box up and over their heads and dropped it on the ground. It lay in a sodden heap.
“Nothin’ personal but you’re out to lunch if you think we can do anything with it now,” said Ben.
Owen pulled a face. “You love to piss on my chips don’t ya?”
“Just sayin’ is all. Anyone sharper than a marble could’ve seen that coming.”
“Call it quits then?”
Owen sighed. “Yeah. I hear that. When push comes to shove a cardboard box ain’t a fan of the rain.”
“There’s always tomorrow,” said Ben. He glanced at his watch. “Crap on a cracker! I gotta go, my Mum’ll be hoppin’ mad if I’m late”
“See ya then,” said Owen. He turned and trudged away.
“Not if I see you first!”
This short story was inspired by Indigo Spider’s Sunday Picture Press – a challenge to write a 1500 word piece of fiction using one of 4 photos as a prompt.
This weeks challenge was to break the rules of writing and pen a totally clichéd story, or write a story based on a cliché or saying. I figured I’d go full tilt and add as many cliché’s as I could before I couldn’t stand it any longer! Nothing huge this week, thought I’d keep it short and sweet, a quick burst of writing is often just as much fun to write as my longer pieces.
I found an excellent website called ClichéSite.com which had huge lists of them. The trick was slotting them into dialogue as naturally as possible, though I think some of them stuck out like a sore thumb (oh no, another one!) but then that kinda was the point I guess! It was great fun though!
Excellent picture prompts from Indigo. If you want to join in and write a short piece of fiction clicky-click Indigo Spider’s link above and wrap your imagination around one of the pictures.