One More Time (Sentence to Story #6)

He always wondered what the initials ‘XAQI’ stood for that were tattooed on his father’s arm, and today he would find out.

“Sampson, do you have the money?” Marco asked.   Alone, unarmed, and staring down a low life and his minion in a run down alley was not how Sampson wanted to spend his Thursday morning.

But all roads had led here, and he was sick of traveling.

“Yeah, I got the money,” Sampson said, opening his jacket up to flash some of the cash.

Marco grinned and motioned for his henchman to open the trunk of the car.  Sampson looked around, to see if they were alone.  It seemed like it.

“You know how long it took me to find this for you?” Marco said as his partner lifted the trunk.  “I had to use every connection I had in town.  But,” he said, motioning for Sampson to come closer, “your sob story intrigued me and the money was right.  What’s not to like, eh?”

Sampson ignored him and reached in to the trunk to lift the cover.

A steel box.  Ordinary in size, but on one side was a row of buttons, one for each letter of the alphabet.  Was this really it?  He looked at Marco concerned.

“Hey, believe me; I tried to open the stupid thing.  I can be trusted to a point,” Marco said with a wicked grin.  “But if you got the combination to that then you are smarter than me.  I ain’t never seen anything like it.”

“I am smarter than you,”  Sampson said, quickly drawing his gun.  There were two quick, loud pops that echoed off the alley.

He picked up the case.  It was lighter than he expected.  Forgetting everything around him, he took a deep breath and moved his fingers over the letters.  He hovered over the ‘X’ and then, holding his breath, pushed it.

Nothing happened.  He pushed it again.  Again, nothing.  Flustered, he threw the case back into the trunk.

He turned away from the car, hands in the air.

“For the love of…how many times are we going to do this take?  Can somebody from props please get the stupid case to work.”

“Cut!” came a loud call from down the alley, where a film crew was sitting.  The director got up from his chair, rubbing his eyes, exhausted.  “Tammy, seriously, didn’t you just change out the cases.”

“Sorry,” Tammy replied, running on the set, past ‘Marco’ and ‘the henchman’, swapping out the old case for the new one.

“I don’t know why I agreed to this stupid movie anyway,” ‘Sampson’ said, continuing his agitated monologue.  “The whole plot revolves around that stupid tattoo and we’re going to string the audience along for…” he stopped to check his script, “eighty-eight pages before it’s even revealed.  And then to have such a let down.  The audience is going to be so livid when they find out what the letters stand for.  What a waste.”

“Are you done yet?” the director asked, motioning back to the set.

‘Sampson’ took another deep breath.  “Fine, let’s go.”

“Alright, everybody ready?  Places everyone and quiet on the set.”  The actors were in position to start the scene again.

“And…action!”



First sentence of this story submitted by Justin Y. It received the third most votes for sentences submitted the week of September 17, 2012.  

Please leave comments below on if you liked the direction I took the story, or if you would have personally went a different way.  I would love to know!

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