Flash fiction by Tina Konstant
“I have nothing to say.” Phillip crosses his arms and forces one chubby leg over the other then gives up. His leg won’t cooperate. Too short. Too fat. Sitting like that makes him feel like he’s going to roll off the chair which, he’s sure, will detract from the statement he’s trying to make: He has nothing to say. Nothing.
“There were witnesses.”
Phillip shakes his head and presses his lips together.
“You were caught on camera.”
Phillip doesn’t move.
Angus walks around him, dips a fingertip into the sweat on Phillip’s neck and draws a small, tight circle. “I don’t want a confession. I just want my property back.”
Phillip shakes his head again. He’s tired. He’s hungry. But no way – NO WAY – is he going to cave. Phillip Suzemire doesn’t squeal. Phillip Suzemire doesn’t quit. Phillip Suzmire….
“Saying nothing isn’t going to help.” Angus reaches into a metal cupboard and drags a wooden bat across the concrete floor. “You know how this is going to go.”
Phillip doesn’t move. Doesn’t blink. Doesn’t say a word. He stares at the bat. They won’t they use it. It’ll leave bruises. It’ll leave broken bones. There’ll be proof. Their crime would be bigger than his. They can threaten, but that’s it.
“You don’t have the guts,” Phillips whispers. “How will you explain…?” He glances at the bat.
“I’ll say you were hit by a bus.” Angus swings the bat backward and forward then lets it slap against his leg. It makes a dull thud. “I’ll say we did everything we could to save you.”
Phillip presses his knees together. “I’ve got nothing to say.”
“What about your buddy, Bob?” Angus sniffs and runs his sleeve under his nose leaving a silver streak behind. “Buddy Bob. Bob the Buddy. Phillip’s only friend in the world. Maybe he has something to say.”
Phillip frowns. Bobby got away. Phillip saw him scale the fence. No way did they catch him. No chance. Bobby’s got speed. He’s tall and thin. Runs like a demon.
“Moron ran straight home.” Angus taps the bat on the floor at Phillip’s feet. “Idiot ran right to his back door where my buddies were waiting. Had a nice little chat.” Angus swings his bat like he’s thinking about juggling it.
“No you didn’t.”
“You sure about that?”
Phillips isn’t but he’ll still bet on it. There’s no way Angus and his buddies would get to Bobby’s back door. Bobby’s got dogs. Two of the buggers. Trained to kill. Phillip’s seen them. Not pretty. Not even slightly pretty. Phillip stares at Angus, then the bat, then back at Angus. “I’ve got nothing to say.” Phillip’s heart beats. Fast. Fast and unnatural.
Angus raises the bat.
Phillip squeezes his eyes shut. “No,” he whispers. He can’t help it. It just slips out.
A door creaks. Phillips opens his eyes.
“Mummy!” he squeals and flies off the chair. “Angus was going to hit me.”
Angus glares at his stinking, stupid, thieving, little brother. “He’s been in my room taking my stuff.”
Miriam glances between her two boys. “What did he take?”
Phillip grins. The bigger crime. Who’s committed the bigger crime? What was Angus going to say? He took my stash? A stash of stuff I’m not supposed to have. No. Not going to happen. He doesn’t have the guts.
Angus shakes his head and tosses the bat on the floor. “Not important.” He turns to Phillip. “Stay out of my room.”
Phillips smiles. Oh, he’ll stay out of his brother’s room. Those magazines are going to keep him and Bobby happy for at least a month.