Playing With Fire

Flash Fiction Friday Challenge from Chuck Wendig is here again! This time we rolled the d20 dice of destiny and received two well known pop-culture movie/TV-show titles.* Mine ended up being somewhat of a parody, due to the two options I received. I enjoyed writing it, even though this challenge was so open-ended that it was a slow start.

         Brennan winced as the thick curtains of his room were unceremoniously thrown back.
         “What time is it?” he asked, words muffled by the pillow he pulled over his head.
         “It’s time for you to get out of bed, Master Brennan,” Albert said.
        With a groan, Brennan dug himself more deeply into his covers. Albert would go away eventually if he refused to move. He opened one eye when he did not hear retreating footsteps. Albert stood by the windows, immaculate in his butler’s uniform. His lined face was visible in the bright sunlight that streamed through the windows and Brennan knew from the set of Albert’s jaw that he wasn’t going anywhere.
         “What, Albert? Go away.” Seizing upon the first excuse that came to mind he said, “I’m feeling really sick. I can’t possibly get up. You should leave before you catch it, too.”
        He tried to make his voice convincingly raspy, closing his eyes as though they were too heavy to hold open. Albert grunted. Damn the man. What was the point in having a butler if he never listened? Brennan pulled the covers up higher and rolled over. A moment later, the sheets were rudely yanked from his grip.
         “Master Brennan, it is simply ridiculous for you to lounge about in this manner. You’ve been home three weeks and no one has seen you,” Albert said.
         “I don’t want anyone to see me, Albert,” Brennan finally abandoned his charade of illness and sat up. “I thought I made that pretty obvious when I said: ‘Albert, don’t answer the door or the phone and if anyone asks, I’m not here.'”
         “It’s not healthy, Master Brennan,” Albert turned to get the tray of breakfast. “I know it must be hard coming back to Winston Manor after so many years, but your parents—”
         “I don’t want to talk about my parents, Albert,” Brennan said, getting out of bed and slamming the bathroom door behind him.
        When he came out wrapped in his robe, his breakfast was waiting on the table. Grudgingly, he sat down to eat it. Halfway through the plate of toast and scrambled eggs, he saw a yellow legal pad covered in Albert’s neat writing. Messages from every day since his return. He shoved the plate of food away with a groan. He flipped through the legal pad, practically tearing the pages off as he skimmed them. Parties, galas, fundraisers, premiers, restaurant openings. Then there were the other messages: robberies, escaped criminals, organized crime bosses causing trouble, the usual.
         “Vultures, all of ’em,” he muttered, throwing the yellow pad on the ground.
        These people couldn’t let him have a few weeks of vacation could they? If you could call being locked up in the monstrous Winston Manor that was filled with nothing but bad memories and ghosts from his past a “vacation.” The police force had handled everything just fine those years he’d been away, there was no reason for them to come clamoring at his door like a bunch of groupies now that he was back. Brennan actually enjoyed waking up in the morning without bruises and cuts and broken bones. Maybe they thought he was an adrenaline junkie, that he liked hunting down the scum of Rothsham City. Well they were dead wrong. Suddenly seized with an idea, he changed out of his bathrobe and hurried down the stairs.
         “Albert!” he called, his voice clanging against the suits of armor on the landing.
        He rolled his eyes–the suits of armor, the secret passage in the wine cellar, it was all a bit much.
         “Albert!” he yelled again, just before colliding with the man himself.
         His bushy white eyebrows raised in exasperated curiosity, Albert smoothed his tie and cleared his throat.
         “Master Brennan, this is your house and I am your humble butler, but there’s no need to go dashing about like some sort of—”
         “Never mind that,” Brennan interrupted. “Where are my keys?”
         “Which keys, sir? The Ferarri, the Porsche, the Aston Martin…” Albert ticked them off on his fingers.
         “No, no, no, THE keys, THE keys, Albert!” Brennan practically bounded down the last few stairs, searching through the pile of unopened letters on the table in the hall.
         “Oh. Those keys .”
         Brennan looked up at Albert’s tone, “Just give me the keys, Albert.”
         “Of course, Master Brennan, but I don’t just keep them where anyone can find them. They’re in the wine cellar with…everything else,” Albert barely finished speaking before Brennan was racing down the wood-paneled halls.
         Brennan burst into the dusty room and twisted the bottle of 1785 Chateau Margaux to the left. One of the wine racks slid to the side to reveal a gaping hole. He hurried down the hallway, ignoring the weapons and high tech gear that lined the wall. Of course it was down here, how could he forget? He found the keys where he always left them in the past, opening the case with a fingerprint and retinal scan. Jingling the keys as he strode down another hallway, he began to whistle. He reached the vehicle and stared for a moment, grinning. It was sleek and shining and as vibrantly colored as ever. Just the way he left it. Brennan opened the gleaming red butterfly door and slid in. He sighed as he sank into the custom leather seats, perfectly contoured to his body. He put the key into the ignition and turned it, feeling the purr of the engine run like a lover’s fingers across his spine.
        Brennan pushed a button and a giant door slid open with the faintest whisper of cables and pulleys. He put the vehicle in gear, released the clutch and shot out of the underground cavern. Glancing at the passenger seat, he saw his his old Ray-Bans sitting there, as if no time had gone by. He slipped on the sunglasses as he drove out the secret gravel drive, past the ancient trees, and into the sunlight.
        Hell, even the Firebird needed a day off.

*Batman and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

3 thoughts on “Playing With Fire

  1. Pingback: A Transcendent Breakfast at Denny’s | Primal Night's

  2. The Batman half was handled superbly, darling, but as I wrote my doctorate thesis on the films of John Hughes, and dedicated an entire third of the paper to the greatest character every written, one Mr. Ferris Bueller, he of the leopard skin vest and devilish grin, I have to say that you may have fallen a little short in this regard. I was going to try to create a euphemism there, but then, I don’t believe in -isms. -Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.” Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus. I’d still have to bum rides off people.
    That aside, had I not known that my dear friend Ferris was involved, I thought this was a great spoof of Batman.

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