This story was written for Jeffrey Ricker’s Flash Fiction Challenge–the genre was comedy, the setting in a trunk of a car, and the object to include was a vacuum cleaner. Enjoy!
I opened up my eyes and instantly started to panic. The ceiling was collapsing on me, and my wrists were bound with a bright pink zip tie.
I struggled to breathe for a moment, and when I finally did catch my breath, I caught the unmistakable scent of new car smell blended with synthetic fibers and gasoline.
I’m inside the trunk of a car?! I thought, incredulous.
For a moment, being in this position seemed oxymoronic—I couldn’t drive myself anywhere to save my life, and now, my life was in danger just by being stuck in a car.
The car was a newer model sedan, by how compressed I was in the trunk space. Well, I thought, maybe this is all a weird fever dream, and this car will become a Transformer or something, and I will wake up.
The car bounced over a curb and the driver swore.
The engine stopped, and my stomach turned violently as the driver slammed the car door shut and stomped over to check on the driver’s side rear tire, which was now propped up on the red curb.
The driver opened the trunk, and unceremoniously heaved me out onto the asphalt. They lugged a large, old cardboard box over to it, and started to wedge it in.
Clearly, this is a brilliant individual, I thought sarcastically, ignoring my scuffed arms and legs while watching him shove the box into the trunk.
The driver turned to me, anger in their eyes, as if they heard me through telepathy. They tore off the duct tape covering my mouth, and I let out a feeble cry. Tears filled my eyes. I mumbled, “You’re…you’re stealing…a Kirby? A vacuum cleaner?”
I recognized the old vacuum cleaner from my youth, a large red demonic device that pulled hard at the carpet fibers, making a horrendous whooshing noise, getting hot as it went. I hated it. Given the circumstances, I hated it even more now.
“Shuddup!” the driver hissed, and pointed to the box. “Help me put this thing in the trunk, if you wanna live!”
The driver foolishly brandished a large pocketknife in a threatening gesture. I rolled my eyes and turned away from them. You call that a knife? the Crocodile Dundee line echoed in my mind. The driver cut the ties, setting me free.
“I don’t suppose you’re going to use this for anything?” I asked, rotating my wrists. The heat from the sun was starting to get to me. I might be in the middle of the desert…the hell does a thief need a vacuum for all the way out here? Sucking up sand and gravel?
“The hell do you care!” the driver snapped. They pushed and shoved, and as I joined them, I noticed that the rear tire started to lift off of the curb.
“I need you to push toward me,” I grunted. I backed away as the driver took over, and shoved even harder, realizing that they had left the keys in the ignition. The car had bounced back onto the road.
“Pull forward!” the driver snarled.
“But I–!” I began.
“Do it!” the driver roared. I skittered to the driver’s side as fast as I could, and turned the key in the ignition. I gently pressed the gas pedal and then accidentally put the car in reverse—or so the driver assumed. In the meantime, I managed to find my smartphone in the glove compartment, and messaged someone as fast as I could, given the lack of Wifi.
A yelp was heard from the driver as the car bumped into them, making the box jolt. I kept my foot on the gas, and put the car into 2nd gear. I found a large rock in the passenger’s seat—seriously?—and I set it on the pedal. I then leaped out of the driver’s seat with the door open, and the car revved forward at full speed!
The driver cursed, holding onto the box as long as they could. Eventually, I watched them fall to the road in the distance, their car pulling away with the vacuum wedged partially into the open trunk.
A Jeep pulled up behind me, and a group of paleontologists helped me inside, making sure I was alright. We drove past the driver in the road, and found the wreck of the car against a curved road sign, the Kirby vacuum cleaner box upright in the street. The whole thing seemed like a bizarre roadside installation gone awry.
“That guy really sucked at a clean getaway.”