Prison seat
Merged Images from Pixabay on free licence


Unplaced entry published in Microcosms Flash Fiction competition – Microcosms 145 – on 19/10/2018.  The rules required a story in no more than 300 words in response to the following prompts. 

Character – Criminal Mastermind/ Location – Chicago/ Genre – Tragedy

The story had to be written and submitted within a one day deadline.


He Should Have Passed

‘He never listened. You know how he was.’

‘His greatest strength – ambition – was his greatest weakness. Should’ve stuck to what he knew best rather than risking everything.’

They were in an office off Michigan Avenue.  Outwardly it was just like any other business meeting. Organised crime had moved upmarket.

‘He said he was thinking big.  With so much cash coming in from the rackets he needed other ways to launder it.’

‘If he’d stuck to bars, restaurants, clubs like always he’d have been ok.  Or maybe investing in one-off film projects.  God knows but those Hollywood guys seem to get away with murder every time they finance a turkey.  Going into TV was a big mistake.’

‘Yeah. It was one thing to finance the project with dirty money that you got for nothing and then sell the series on for clean money, albeit at a loss. The clean money was always what you were after.  But it was something else again to keep losing big money on production costs every week of every year and not make the fraud guys suspicious.’

‘I ask you?  A quiz show based on the Brit’s ‘Mastermind’ but with large cash prizes? It never worked for dumbed-down American audiences.  And greedy, trying to fix it for the contestants to lose to avoid paying out the prize money. Denying some brainiac the win on a technicality after the cops set him up to enter with the specialist subject of ‘American Gangsters’? That was like setting a criminal mastermind to catch a criminal mastermind. That guy could smell a racket from a mile off.’

‘You know what the real tragedy is?  He’s sitting in Cook County now being forced to watch re-runs of those old shows as part of a rehab programme. That’s rough justice.’


©David Lewis Pogson 2018