accident, bus driver, cheesy puffs, cigarettes, flash fiction, GJ Hart, mark, road, short stories, VIP
by GJ Hart
Thanton and Duffor had many colourful concerns. There was “Hang um Dry,” the dungeon they ran from a room hot as hell beneath a laundrette in Pimlico. There was “Unscrewed2u,” a steal-to-order car spares delivery service, staffed entirely by ex lags. And then there was “Pound4Pound,” the real till ringer: an accident management company they operated from a dingy flat on the Croydon Road.
As the promotional literature proclaimed, they would help “YOU receive the compensation YOU deserve.” Uniquely, however, they offered another service: the VIP package; for the right price they would also arrange the accident.
Yesterday should have proved lucrative for the firm. Sixteen injury payments plus extras. Thanton calculated they should be twenty grand up by close of play.
At 10:30 he’d pulled into the car park and checked his messages. The witnesses and tow truck, the minibus and passengers were all braced and placed to go.
Duffor got out and walked the short distance to the junction. It was his job to identify the mark. When he had, he would radio the bus.
The bus would approach the junction and, seeing the mark indicate, flash its lights. It would slow, just enough. But instead of stopping, the driver would then hit the gas and slam straight into the turning car. Very simple. Very neat.
Thanton relaxed into his seat, waiting for the show to begin. Duffor spotted his mark and gave the signal. The bus trundled forward, the mark indicated, the bus flashed, the mark turned and Thanton roared with delight as the bus hit hard.
Inside, all sixteen passengers hit the floor at once, writhing in agony as if gripped by some spectacular virus.
Thanton clapped his hands and reached for his cigarettes. His delight lasted as long as it took to light one. When he turned back things had changed. The bus driver was out and tearing at the mark’s door. The door gave and the mark fell sideways into the road.
The bus driver pressed his hand to his mouth and stumbled backwards.
Thanton knew immediately the mark was dead, knew immediately he needed to be gone; there was no profit in death, only questions and more questions. Duffor dived into the rear seat. Thanton bumped up and span away.
“What the fuck was that?” snarled Thanton.
“Accidents happen,” said Duffor, climbing over into the front seat.
“Not funny,” said Thanton. “You know the rules. They have to be fit. I saw the guy. He was practically dead already.”
“The sun. Straight in my eyes,” replied Duffor, wobbling his head and fingering an invisible tie.
“It’s fucking raining.”
Duffor ignored him.
“Cheesy puff?” said Duffor, pulling a bag from his pocket.
“As I’ve told you a thousand times,” said Thanton, fishing for his phone, “I don’t eat that shit.”
“Sorry?” said Thanton, turning angrily.
Duffor was inches from his face, staring at him over imaginary spectacles.
“Cheesy puff?” he repeated and smashed his fist into the sunroof.
GJ Hart currently lives in Brixton, London, and is published or queued in The Legendary, Schlock Webzine, Horror Within Magazine, Three Minute Plastic, Literally Stories, Fiction on the Web, Shirley Magazine, The HFC Journal, Under the Fable, The Unbroken Journal, Yellow Mama, The Pygmy Giant, Flash Fiction Magazine, Spelk Fiction, The Drabble, The Squawk Back and 521 Magazine.
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