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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Billboard/Poster/Sign (any or all) (12/02/10)

TITLE: Legal Or Illegal
By mick dawson


The enforcer calling himself Vic Simons studied the freshly printed posters, careful not to smudge the paper with the desert dust from his fingers. Although he had asked for them, he felt unsure what to do now that he held them in his hands. In this town he proved the only man able to afford the cost of printing, but then, only an enforcer could. Since the war, he had wandered the desert floor finding objects to trade, not to mention the run of any town whose laws he enforced. The towns in return for his services allowed him free use of everything.

“How much are they?”

“Two days food for my family and a dress for my wife. I know its steep, but you said you could do that didn’t you?”

“Yeah,” he said, still looking at the photograph on the poster.

“I had no trouble getting the picture. Look, you said I wouldn’t get into trouble for this. I even put a disclaimer at the bottom, like you said I could. See? The printer Wayne Foggerty prints anything he’s asked to without bias,” he said, pointing at the words.

“It’s alright,” Vic assured him.

He could tangibly feel the fear in Wayne’s voice before taking in his wide eyed expression. Vic tapped the wad of papers on the counter, on the verge of snapping them up and going. It would be prudent to leave the man alone. Tony Fleck was well guarded.

“After today, you won’t have to worry.”

He expected to see the printer’s face brighten; it paled further with the dropping of his jaw. Vic’s hand tightened around the edge of the posters in anguish, the other nudged his sawn off shotgun beneath his long coat to assure himself it was still holstered there.

Tony Fleck literally owned Fleck Town. At first, he meant it as a Haven for survivors who managed to stray across the desert. Fleck gave what he promised, food, shelter and safety, but it came at a price. He charged exorbitant prices for everything. The townspeople worked long hours to pay their debts, and he, out of the façade of benevolence would allow them to work in his service. They were little more than slaves, but then what was the alternative? If they left Fleck Town, either the desert or raiders would kill them.

“I’ll pay you double what we agreed,” Vic said, snatching up his broad brimmed hat from the counter.

This morning he could bear no more. He attended a young woman with two children who hung herself. She suffered as they all did, unable to pay back what she owed and getting deeper in debt all the time. Rumour had it that Fleck wanted her for himself.

“Mayor Fleck’s going inside today.”

Wayne’s hand pressed down on the posters, preventing Vic from taking them.

“Maybe this was a bad idea. He’ll kill you.”

“There’s only one way to prevent that,” Vic said, wrenching the posters from him.

He could see the anguish in the printer’s face. Uncertainly had toppled over into panic, forcing him to say anything to prevent the coming chain of events.

“But he hasn’t broken any laws.”

In contemplation, Vic pulled down the brim of his hat, and exhaled gradually through his nose. Wayne stared expectantly, waiting for the enforcer to speak.

“Legal and illegal, is not a direct parallel between right and wrong,” Vic whispered.

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This article has been read 446 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca12/11/10
Wow! This is suspenseful. I had to read it a couple times to take it all in. I wonder what's in the picture. Continued in the next chapter perhaps?
Noel Mitaxa 12/12/10
You have a lot building up here, and I would also to see a few extra chapters: one for the background and others to lead on from here. However, your pace and pictures add a very evocative feel to this story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/13/10
This was so suspenseful. I thought I might have missed what was on the posters so I read it again and realized it didn't really matter. How true that what is legal doesn't necessarily mean it is right. Great storytelling.
Lollie Hofer12/15/10
A powerful last line and the intriguing drama make this a great story. Well done.