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By Tyler Wilkinson

Kyle sat motionless inside his beat up Chevy pickup, silently prepping himself for the mission ahead. He was in the parking lot of an aged Exxon station. Other than himself the parking lot was empty, and he could see that the road was barren for miles.

He opened the car door, and slid out. He walked, stone-faced towards the doors, gently cradling the gun he had tucked away, hidden inside his jacket pocket. The door to the Exxon opened with a cheerful jingling of three or four bells secured to the handle on the opposite side. He hated those things, especially when he was trying to pull a job, made too much noise.

"Somethin' I can do ya fer?" the old man behind the counter asked politely. He had to be at least in his sixties, his hair, what remained of it, was snowy white, with just a tinge of grey on the sides. The man's face was pale and saggy, his cheeks were like those of a chipmunk, drooping and large. "You out kinda late, ain't cha? Must be goin' on, what, damn near midnight ain't it?"

"Look old man, shut the hell up, or I'll blow your freaking head off!" Kyle screamed harshly, his voice going a bit hoarse toward the end.

The old man, Ted, according to the name tag pinned to his shirt, tossed his hands absent mindedly into the air. "Now look young feller, why don't you put down the gun, before you do something you gonna regret."

"Why don't you reach into that cash register, and hand over whatever you got," he paused, thinking carefully over his words, he immediately turned his voice into a cheerful, friendly sounding tone, "Look, I don't want to kill you, please don't make me, just give me the money and I'll leave. Then you'll have a nice story to tell your grandkids, how Pappie foiled the mean old robber."

"Ain't got no grandchildren, son, my only boy died a cancer, probly six, seven years ago," Ted said, as if he and Kyle were old friends catching up over brunch.

"Look, old timer, please don't make me.Please don't.Don't make me."

"I ain't gonna make you do anything young feller, you got to make the call yeself."

Kyle pulled the trigger, and he pulled it again, and he pulled it again. Ted hopped backwards, and fell to the floor, fell like a large chunk of raw hamburger, hitting the ground with a nauseating thump.

Kyle hopped the counter, and stepped over Ted's body, not even daring to look down, not daring out of the shear terror that Ted was still looking at him, his dead eyes locked on him.

As he began to pull the stacks of bills from the register he took notice for the first time of a tiny television sitting on the left side of the counter. A fat man was on it, he was obviously a news anchor, but what was the news doing on well past midnight? The fat man was sweating heavily, his tie was loose, and just barely dangling from his rolling neck.

"Please remain calm, do not attempt to reach previously cited rescue stations, they may no longer be in operation," he paused for a second as a hand reached in from off-screen, the hand holding a piece of paper. The fat man looked at it for a moment, inhaled deeply, and began to read, "We have received word that this station, and its nationwide counterparts will being going off the air, the government has initiated the Emergency Broadcast System. Please stay tuned and up-to-date information will be brought to you."

The fat man looked into the camera, his eyes locked on Kyle's, and a wave of pity passed over them, and the transmission ended. The screen snowed out and became fuzzy. The fuzz lasted for only five or six seconds, and then it was replaced by a blank screen, and white writing began to scroll over it. Whatever the government had to say, it could wait, Kyle had to get out of here, and quick.

Kyle turned to leave. He turned, and he saw Ted standing there, blood still running from the three bullet holes in his chest. Ted's mouth flexed hungrily.

-- END --

You can e-mail Tyler Wilkinson at

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Kyle, Ted, and the Exxon Station


It's Just No Good Anymore

Case One: Peter Morris