“Trouble in Store” – Short stories my way:  Jack, the girl, and the shopkeeper

I have reworked the first part of the story with a few new elements about the characters and changed a few of the details of how the characters finish up in the shop before the policewoman makes her entrance.

This is part of the new first section is the one that involves the Jack, the girl, and the shopkeeper


Jack exchanged a look with the shopkeeper, who in return gave him a slight shrug as if to say he had no idea what this was about.

He could see the girl was not strung out on drugs; if she was it would be a good bet both would be shot or dead by now.  She was just the unfortunate partner of a boy who was on drugs and had found herself in a dangerous position.

Beth, his wife, had told him she didn’t like nor trust the shopkeeper and that her friend in the same apartment block had told her he had been seen selling drugs to youths who hung around just before he closed.  She had warned him it would not be safe, but he had ignored her.

It was a bit late to tell her she was right.

He took a half step towards the door, judging the distance and time it would take to open the door and get out.

Too far, and he would be too slow, his reward for running; a bullet in the back.

Perhaps another half step when she wasn’t looking.


The shopkeeper changed his expression to one more placatory, and said quietly to the girl, “Look, this is not this chap’s problem.”  He nodded in the direction of the customer.  “I’m sure he’d rather not be here, and you would glad of one less distraction.”

He could see she was wavering.  She was not holding the gun so steadily, and the longer this dragged on, the more nervous and unpredictable she would become.

And in the longer game, the customer would sing his praises no matter what happened if he could get him out of the shop alive and well.

This could still be a win-win situation.


The girl looked at Jack.  The shopkeeper was right.  If he wasn’t here this could be over. 

But there was another problem.  It didn’t look like Simmo was in any shape to getaway.  In fact, this was looking more like a suicide mission.

She waved the gun in his direction.  ‘Get out now, before I change my mind.’

As the gun turned to the shopkeeper, Jack wasn’t going to wait to be asked twice and started sidling towards the door.


© Charles Heath 2016-2020

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