It had been a long time since Eddie played tourist, especially in San Francisco. He’d lived here a long time ago when you didn’t have to be a wealthy tech worker to afford a place in the City. Eddie got off the Number Four cable car at the Market-Powell turnaround intending to take BART back to the East Bay where his sister still lived.
As he stepped down to the street, over a dozen kids, probably gangbangers, surrounded the car and started pushing people around. “Wallets, jewelry, the usual stuff and right now.”
Eddie was astonished at how docile everyone was, including the car operator.
“Drop dead,” Eddie growled at the nearest punk. The kid pulled a knife but twenty years in the Marines made it impossible for one person to take the older man down.
“Get lost or I’ll slice him.” Everyone turned to see the middle-aged man holding the kid’s knife at his throat. The gangsters fled and several would be victims called 911 asking the cops to arrest Eddie for assault.
I wrote this in response to the FFfAW Challenge-Week of May 30, 2017 hosted by Priceless Joy. The idea is to use the photo above as a prompt to write a piece of flash fiction between 100 and 175 words long, with 150 being the ideal. My word count is 173.
My story was inspired by a couple of news items I’d read recently: Mob of teens drag woman off Muni bus, rob her in San Francisco and Teens Commandeer BART Train in Violent Takeover Robbery of Passengers.
I lived in the Bay Area for seven years, including in San Francisco (late 1970s, early ’80s) and am astonished that crime there has gotten this bad. I used the photo plus these news reports as my inspiration. No, maybe one person resisting might not have stopped these crimes, but people could at least try. Of course, as in the case of the BART crime, if 50 or 60 criminals are involved, they’d be hard to stop.
I did add a spin making the witnesses more afraid of Eddie than the robbers because he was the most threatening figure. Sometimes in our modern western world, people confuse heroes for villains and vice versa.
To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.