FLASH FICTION CHALLENGE: TEN TITLES FROM YOU
Last week three-word titles were submitted. Ten were randomly chosen. I wrote a story using the title 'Guppy Must Die'.
Target Length: ~1000 words
Guppy Must Die
Guppy went out on another delivery with high hopes. He had a teddy bear imposing figure, tall, chunky, but bumbling. He arrived at the Riverside Apartment complex and knocked at the door of apartment 17.
"Pizza," said Guppy, holding out the box to the man that opened the door. He handed Guppy a coupon.
Guppy looked over the coupon and looked up. "Uh sorry."
"What's the problem?"
"This is a coupon for Pizza Hat, but I'm from Pizza Dan. We have our own coupons, but I can't take this coupon. Sorry." Guppy looked down.
"Yeah, I ordered from Pizza Hat," said the man, leaning out the door.
Then another guy showed up behind Guppy.
"Pizza?" He was wearing a hat with the Pizza Hat logo.
Handing over the pizza, the driver took the coupon, and Guppy walked away.
Guppy looked at his printed order again, noticing that the address was for apartment 37, not 17.
He walked over to the other building and two guys come to the door.
"Yeah," said Guppy, "I know, but I was just over there and..."
Guppy's phone shook and he looked down at the message.
'You're late again. Give them the pizza and come back.' It was Guppy's manager.
They took the box from Guppy.
Guppy sat down in Stan's office. Stan, the night manager, walked in. "Guppy this is the fifth free pizza this week. We can't continue like this. You gotta be on the ball."
"Yeah Stan, but this time it was different, I was right there, I..."
"Guppy I don't care. You were late. That's not good. I'm giving you one more chance. Make me proud man!"
A call came in for a new pizza delivery. Stan gave the order to Guppy.
Guppy drove into the neighborhood. There were several parked cars with broken windows on the street, covered in leaves. Guppy analyzed the order, making sure he had the right address. He looked up, seeing a dark house. He took a deep breath, and starting mumbling a mantra to himself. "I can do this. I can do this." He marched up to the front door of the house. There was no porchlight on, and he didn't hear anyone inside. Guppy lifted his hand up and knocked on the door. There was no answer.
From the side, Guppy was jumped on and knocked to the ground.
"Take his money!" One guy said.
"Get the pizza" Another guy yelled.
Guppy squirmed on the ground, and tried to shield his face.
One guy held up a baseball bat.
"What's your name?"
"Guppy?! What the hell kind of name is that? Guppy must die!" He swung the bat down, beating Guppy all over his body.
Guppy yelled and passed out.
Waking up in a hospital room, Guppy noticed that all was quiet. A single machine hummed next to his bed.
His arm was bandaged up.
An intern making rounds, came into his room.
"It says here you were in surgery for 7 hours. 47 stitches. You've suffered a lot of bruising and an injury to your right eye. The nerve inside is broken," the intern said, looking over a chart, "You're up for another surgery sometime tomorrow. They're trying to save your eye."
"Will I be able to see?"
“Hare do tell. It’s gonna be a long road to recovery,” she said. “You'll need extensive physiotherapy."
"At least I've got a good health plan." Guppy tried to break out a smile, but it hurt too much.
A nurse poked her head in, "Sir, you have some visitors."
Guppy perked up, looking toward the door.
Stan walked in. Guppy nodded his head. Stan's jaw dropped, seeing the full extent of Guppy's injuries, taking in a man covered in gauze and bandages.
"Guppy, uh, this is Ray from legal in Pizza Dan corporate, he wanted to talk to you."
A man wearing a dark suit walked into the room.
"Hello Glenn," said Ray.
Guppy looks surprised.
"Your name is Glenn Hampton, correct?"
Guppy nodded. "They call me Guppy."
"Ok," said the man in the dark suit, "I'd like to ask you about the attack."
"How much money did you have on you?"
"I don't know," said Guppy, "maybe $20."
"According to a news report your attackers made off with $30, you also reported this in the police report."
"Yeah, Ok, $30."
"Are you aware of our company's policy, a policy that you signed and agreed to when you started working for our organization."
"Uh, not really."
"Ok, Glenn, well I'll remind you. Driver's are not to be driving around with more than $20 on them and should return to the store to empty the money on them. However, Glenn, you continued to drive around for your delivery."
"Yeah I thought I would get back after this one."
"Glenn, drivers are also required to conduct security calls before delivering to homes that they haven't delivered to before or customers that order online. Did you make any call?"
"No, uh, no I didn't, but I..."
"Glenn I'm sorry but I'm gonna have to recommend dismissal. You clearly violated corporate policy. Your health benefits are to be immediately terminated. Now, Glenn, if you'll just sign here."
Guppy looked up at the man, barely able to move his arm.
"I'm sorry Guppy," said Stan, "there's nothing I can do. This is up to corporate. You've got some pretty heavy medical expenses. They reviewed this pretty well already."
The man in the dark suit held out the form to Guppy. "Glenn this is just a standard form confirming you heard and understood everything I explained. There's nothing more to discuss."
He put a pen into Guppy's heavily bandaged arm, and Guppy scribbled. The man took the form and filed it away into his briefcase.
Stan looked at him, shaking his head. "Sorry Guppy."
The man in the dark suit turned to go to the door. Stan backed out and departed as well.
Guppy, unable to move, looked up and started screaming.