With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm
by Mike Mayak and Darryl Thompson
NOTE: The Draws for my first month moderating the Flash Fiction Draw Challenge were a Western, set in the Tower of London involving artificial grass. Darryl helped by drawing the cards, and came up with the general idea.—–mike
“Over here!”” Chas said. “I found the door!”
“Shhhh!” Niles said. “Tourists.”
“Shhhhh!” Benny repeated.
The three boys stood by the ancient stone wall inside the Tower of London as the American tourists trouped by, a couple of them glancing at the boy’s school blazers. Niles (the tall one) watched as they turned the corner, heading to the rooms where the cool stuff was (crowns, swords and the like.)
“Coast is clear!” Niles said. “Let’s go!”
Chas quickly stuck the ancient key into the crack in the wall. In another moment, part of the wall swung open and the three boys ducked inside, shutting the door behind them.
“Turn on the light, oh hey it still works!”
The three boys stared at the small room, the unadorned wooden desk and the battered file cabinet. And the green plastic shag covering half of the floor.
“Oh, my God!” Chas said. “Dad’s old putting green!”
“Yeah.” Niles said. “Nobody else seems to know about this secret office. So, you got the stuff? The real grass?”
“Hell, yeah.” Benny said, pulling the rolled joint and a lighter out of his pocket. “Glad they let you guys use the employee entrance.”
“Glad my Dad kept this stuff here when they promoted him.” Chas said. “Don’t think a lot of people know about this private office.”
“Nobody who still has their head,” Niles said, taking a drag and passing the doobie.
“Must’ve been a dungeon cell at one time,” Benny said. “Hey, this stuff is strong”
“I know,” Chas said giggling.
Within a half-hour the sixteen-year olds were toasted. Niles was fondling the fake grass on the floor and humming while Chas started rummaging through the closet.
“I knew Dad stored some of this here,” he said. He stepped out wearing a cowboy hat.
“Hey, give that to me!” Niles said.”
“I got another one,” Chas said. “It was for some American Day they had here. Pain in the butt, he said.”
“I remember your Mum telling my Mum that there were more reasons than one they called it The Bloody Tower.” Niles said, grabbing the hat Chas tossed at him and putting it on. “Lookit us! We’re cowboys.”
“Yeah, reach for the sky hombre!” Chas said, miming a draw with an imaginary six-shooter. He almost fell over.
“This town ain’t big enough for the two of us,” Niles said.
“Hey, where’s my hat?” Benny said.
“You mean, this tower ain’t big enough,” Chas said.
“Where’s my hat?” Benny said.
“Only got two hats,” Niles said. “You can be the horse.”
Benny giggled and whinnied. The three boys laughed.
There was a clunking sound from the closet, like something thumping on the stone floor.
A white horse stepped out of the closet, ridden by a man in ancient dress with no head atop his shoulders. They were both faintly glowing like a half Moon.
“Clip-clop, clip-clop. The floor is stoned and so am I” Niles said.
“Guys, you see that?” Benny said, staring at the apparition.
“Yeah, it’s the sheriff,” Chas said. “Boy this room is tilting.”
The horse let out what would have been a whinny in the days of Tudor kings but sounded like skeletons dancing on a tin roof.
Chas, Niles and Benny ran out of the room and slammed the door shut behind them.
“Maybe that’s why your Dad doesn’t use that office anymore.” Benny said.
“Yeah,” Chas said.
“Now what do we do?” Niles asked.
“Just act natural,” Chas said.
The three of them wandered down the hall, whistling a cowboy song they’d heard in a movie.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: My apologies to anybody who knows how the staff at the Tower of London are organized.——m.