This week's prompt from Flash Fiction Friday was based on a business card someone had found. Challenge says -
Former Flash Fiction Friday moderator, Darren G. Miller, posted the photo above on his Facebook page and tagged a few writerly types, like myself , commenting that this would make for a great Flash Fiction prompt, and he’s right. This card was found at a local restaurant, probably submitted for a free lunch or dinner just sitting there in a bowl hoping to be drawn for said meal. Or was it there for some other reason? Who is Boris? What kind of good can he do? What does this card mean and what does it mean for the person who found it? You’re that person, so take a moment and devise a story around this found object.
Please note this is a real card, so don’t call Boris. I’d hate to read a story finding out just how “good” Boris is, if you catch my drift.
Prompt: Write a story using the photo of the business card above as your inspiration. What does it mean? Who is Boris? What do you do?
Word Limit: 1000
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense or any turn you make of this potential tale.
Deadline: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. ET
Mine was a little over 900 words.
The Good Guy
"Stupid card," said Boris. Natasha had made the business cards for him, to convince him that he was a good guy. That's even what they said. "Good Guy. Need help? Call Boris." He'd been a good listener to her she'd said, a good friend, a big help when she was in trouble. A good guy. Not a label he'd pin on himself, but she'd said he had potential.
Boris sighed. He'd wanted to be more than a good friend. He was ready to settle down after retiring from the martial arts circuit, to buy a house, to get a safe and boring job. Unfortunately friends was as far as he'd got with her.
Now Plan B was to just retire to his cabin in the woods and get back to the hunting and fishing he loved. Hopefully nobody would find any of the cards Natasha had already scattered around the city.
His phone rang.
"Hello, Boris?" It was a woman. "Um, hi, I'm Mary. This is weird. Look, I found your card, and I need help. Are you busy right now?"
He was about to tell her she'd made a mistake when he realized that in fact he wasn't busy. And broke. Plus, she did have a nice voice.
"I can't promise anything," he said. " But I am between contracts now, so can at least listen. What's your problem?"
She needed help tracking someone down, but seemed very guarded in her talk. She said she wanted to meet face to face before committing herself.
They met downtown at a Bridgehead coffee shop. She was as pretty as her voice had promised, late twenties he thought, very tanned and fit looking too.
"I need you to help find my husband," she said.
Damn he thought, married. "When did you last see him?" he asked.
"Two weeks ago."
"Have you reported it?"
"No point," she said, " I don't think they'd be able to track him down."
"I'm no techie whiz," he said, "so I won't be able to track him if the authorities can't. Unless he ran away into the woods."
She looked at him thoughtfully. "Actually, that may be a help," she said. "Tell me more about yourself."
Eventually she seemed to decide he was who she needed, and shared more details with him. Strange details, about some sort of doorway into somewhere else, somewhen else. A doorway she'd already been through a few times, into what sounded like a simpler society, based on hunting and farming. And apparently magic. And apparently this portal was in her kitchen, disguised as a dog door, and her husband had disappeared through it.
She didn't look bat crazy, she seemed quite serious about it all. She seemed like a nice person too, a single mother, with money from an inheritance to spend on finding her husband. Not that he felt good about charging her for a fool's errand.
"I insist," she said. "This is your time, I'll pay an hourly rate, plus expenses. It could be dangerous though, and we might be gone longer than expected - are you ok with that?"
"Sure," he said. "I'm good. I'm single, no dependants, not even any pets. I have to say this all sounds pretty weird, but you do seem like a nice person. I'm sure there is a reasonable explanation for this, so let's just take it one step at a time."
"Well first step, I think, is for you to go through the portal," she said. "I do realize that it's a pretty strange story to accept - I first learned it existed when my son disappeared through the door."
"Is he missing too? " he asked.
"No, I went through and brought him back. Sparks helped- that's my terrier. Actually he's more than a terrier over there, but all that is definitely another story. Why don't you come over tomorrow and I'll show it you and then you can either walk away or sign on. I do hope you decide you can help, though." She reached out and touched his hand. "Danny needs his father back."
It was a nice little house, the middle of a row, on a quiet little street. Nothing nearby was even remotely like the untamed forest Mary had described to him. He finished his coffee and stared at the dog door. It was a generous size, more suited to a German Shepherd that her little terrier, but was still obviously a dog door. The view through the back kitchen window was of a small, bare yard, surrounded by a high plain fence. He'd been delaying the next step, because once he looked through into an empty yard he wasn't sure how he'd convince her that there was no other world out there, that her husband had likely just run off with someone else. Too bad- except for this portal fantasy she seemed like a good catch, maybe even his kind of woman.
"Ok, time," she said. "Let's get this over with."
As Boris walked over to the door, her dog barked and wagged his tail.
"No Sparks," she said. "Not hunting today." She smiled apologetically at Boris. "He's started bringing down the farmer's sheep, so I have to keep an eye on him."
Whatever, he thought. "OK, right here?"
Feeling like a fool, he got down on his hands and knees and crawled through the dog door.
His hands sunk into a forest floor, a mulch so thick he could smell it. Birds sang overhead, and the leaves rustled in a gentle breeze. The dim light, filtered though the forest canopy, was bright enough that he could see a beautiful buck - twelve points maybe - looking back at him through the trees.
He scurried back through the door, fell on his butt, and stared up at Mary's smiling face.
"Holy shit!" he said.