John W Partington
suspend disbelief - have an adventure

Evolution: Stories from the Dawn of Creativity

It was a miserable, wet night in Industrial City. The city had suffered harshly in the winter. Piles of slush and grime buried the sidewalks and street corners. Being a manufacturing economy, Industrial City relied heavily upon its steel mills and factories. Mass production resulted in a blanket of smog that coated the city, which created a localized greenhouse effect.

It rarely snowed in Industrial City. Snow was the result of low temperature, which rarely happened. The city also required a strong prevailing wind to remove the smog from above. With the pollution in the air, the temperature hardly ever dropped low enough to allow snow but, on the rare occasion when there was a wind and a chill, real snow could occur. Most of the time it slushed in the city. Snow would drift gently down, hit the dense atmosphere of the city, and begin melting. Before the snow could fully melt it would hit the ground as slush.

So, it was slushing as Vincent left the movie theatre. Vincent was dressed like most other winter inhabitants. He wore a pair of heavy boots and a thick coat that had been liberally sprayed with silicone.

"I should write another play," Vincent muttered under his breath. "Bloody fools don't know how to write. When I cranked out Hamlet and King Lear people bitched but still went to see them. They have replaced story-telling with special effects."

"Hey mister, can you spare a buck?" came a voice from a passing alley. Maybe Vincent thought he recognized the man or perhaps the voice stirred a long-lost memory. Regardless, Vincent paused at the mouth of the alley.

"Excuse me?" Vincent asked. A large hand sprang out of the darkness and latched onto Vincent's shoulder. The assailant yanked Vincent into the alley and pinned him against one of the walls.

"I said, give us your fucking money!" a hoodlum yelled. Vincent surveyed the situation. Five street punks stood in a semi-circle around Vincent, who was pushed against the wall. Each of the attackers wore a dark leather jacket decorated with metal studs and chains. Two held knives, and two held clubs, while the leader stood shouting at Vincent.

"No," Vincent replied.


"No,” Vincent said with a smile. “Are you deaf as well as stupid?"

"Give us the money, or I'll blow your fucking head off," the leader said as he pulled a small revolver out of his jacket.

"Is that a real gun?" Vincent asked, the smile never leaving his face.

"Of course, it's a real gun," the punk yelled.

"This is getting creepy," one of the other gang members said.

"Yeah, get his wallet, and let's get out of here," a third member added.

"Fine," Vincent said as he reached into his jacket. "I just didn't think it was much of a gun." Vincent removed his hand but, instead of a wallet, he held a Browning nine-millimeter, high-power pistol. A round went into the belly of the gang leader. The man was thrown across the alley and landed against the wall.

"Now, this is a gun," Vincent said as he turned and fired on the two thugs closest to the mouth of the alley. A lead pipe came down on Vincent's wrist and knocked the pistol from his hand. At the same time a jagged knife was thrust into Vincent's belly.

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