Flash Fiction: The Storm of the Century

Taken from Chuck Wendig‘s weekly flash fiction prompt with a September 6 deadline.

My RNG spit out #16 for the setting:  In a police department during an epic blizzard.

Comes in at 967 words.  I’m not fond of the ending, but that’s what rewrites are for.  Right?

 

The Storm of the Century

 

The door banged open, a heavily wrapped figure stumbling in on a howl of snow-driven wind.

“Storm’s kickin’ up out there, Cap!”

Captain Troy looked up from her desk with a grin. “This ain’t a storm, kid. Not where I’m from.” She reached out her hand, taking one of the coffees the man held toward her. “Pretty freakish weather for here though, right?”

The sergeant grunted, unwrapping the thick wool scarf from around his face before shaking droplets of water and snow from the tips of his hair. “Honestly? I’ve never seen a day of weather anything like this, and I’ve lived here all my life.” He grinned wryly. “Bet the phones are off the hook back there.”

The captain nodded, looking through the thick window that separated the main building from the small call center attached. Three harried-looking operators sat hunched over terminals, talking urgently into headsets as their fingers flew over keyboards, sending out dispatches and logging calls. “You’d think people had never seen snow before.”

A bark of a laugh split the air as the sergeant sipped his coffee. “Sheltered, the lot of ’em.” He shook his head, glancing over his shoulder to watch the fat flakes dumping to the ground as though someone upended a bucket. He took another sip, opening his mouth to say something, but was cut off by the shrill ring of the desk phone.

“You want it, Cap’n, or should I take it?”

Captain Troy eyed the phone, then the operators. “Eh. I will. You may need to go handle it.” She set her coffee down, then lifted the receiver, cutting off the ring mid-trill. “Intake desk, Captain Troy speaking.”

The woman’s voice on the other end was frantic. “It’s snowing!”

The Captain sighed. “Yes, ma’am. It’s snowing. Do you have an emer-” She was cut off by a howl of outrage.

“How could you let it snow? When will it stop?” The voice grew more shrill with every syllable. “I had plans for the day!”

Captain Troy rubbed the space between her eyes. This wasn’t the first call like this she’d fielded this morning. She had a sinking feeling it wouldn’t be the last. “Ma’am, I don’t control the weather. Unless you have an emergency, I’m going to have to end the call.”

The woman shrieked. “This is an outrage! I’ll report you to the police!”

“I am the police, ma’am.”

“I know you’re doing something! I know my rights! I pay your salary, and I want my beachside wedding, you stupid b-”

*click*

The captain resisted the impulse to look up the woman’s address by the number displayed on the readout screen, turning back toward the sergeant with a flat grin. “Another satisfied customer.” He chuckled, nodding. “So I heard.”

The phone rang again. Captain Troy groaned, reaching for the receiver, but stopped as the sergeant lifted the phone up, waving her off. “Intake desk, Sergeant Martin speaking.”

The captain watched the man as he listened, nodding quietly to the unseen caller, breaking the silence with the occasional “Uh-huh” or “Got it.” When the sergeant finally set the phone down, Captain Troy leaned back in her chair, arms folded across her chest and eyebrow raised.

“Well?”

The sergeant just shook his head, grinning.

“You miserable bastard,” the captain laughed. “I’m stuck here all day and you want to take off early, don’t you.”

“It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, Cap’n,” Sergeant Martin grinned, looking out the window at the storm. “I really doubt this’ll ever happen again.”

The captain groaned, throwing the mostly-empty coffee across the office and hitting the man square in the chest. “Fine. Go. Get outta here. Two hours, no more. And run the patrol up the coast to the county road on your way there and back to at least pretend you’re working today.”

With a grin and a salute, the sergeant turned to the utility closet, pulling it open and catching a crumpled bundle of fabric as it fell out. He tucked the bundle under his arm and waved as the door banged open behind him, blowing another flurry of snow into the small office.

Captain Troy rubbed the space between her eyes, shaking her head and laughing. “It’s like they’ve never seen snow before.” She glanced out the window, rolling her eyes at the sergeant’s empty parking spot. “He’ll be in for a treat when he learns the air stays cold when it snows. This is not ideal weather to stay in the water.”

With a sigh, she sank back into her chair, looking out the window again before flicking on the small tv on her desk, the local news blaring out a report. Captain Troy snorted derisively as she listened, staring out the window once more.

Standing in the middle of what can only be called the storm of the century, we go now to our reporter on the scene, Michael Nelson. Mike?

Thanks, Ken, and yes! Here we are, the storm of the century. I can’t remember the last time I saw snowfall like this in this area!

The tv blinked off, Captain Troy’s face in her hands as her shoulders shook with laughter. “It’s not even sticking!” She looked up to the map hanging on the wall with a sigh, then glanced out the window in time to see the sun peek through thick clouds, turning the still-falling snow into rain with its rays.

The phone rang, startling her out of her thoughts. “Intake desk, Captain Troy speaking.”

She took a breath, then another, listening to the voice on the line with a flat smile.

“You’re welcome ma’am, I’m glad I you could keep your wedding plans. Enjoy your time in California.”

*click*

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