#FridayFlash: Lightning Fast

"I am confused, Sergeant Vitonne. Why is it that I am being held?" The old man's accent, which had been barely noticeable at first, seemed to be deepening as the evening wore on. Vitonne heard vvyy iss eet dat I em beink helt, and thought of the evil spies in the old, cold war James Bond movies.

"It's just that we need to understand some things, Mr. Janowiscz."

Behind his thick glasses, the old man's eyes blinked several times. Vitonne thought the action made him look a nocturnal primate, the kind that eats bugs and hides a lot.

"What things?" Janowiscz said. "Please, I am very tired. The mugging was nothing. I was not harmed, only bothered a bit. I do not wish to press charges. I would like to go home."

"I know, I know, and we'll get you out of here just as soon as we can. It's just that we've had a... communication from someone in our State Department."

"What does the State of New York want with me? I'm retired. I don't even own my shop anymore."

Vitonne shook his head to clear it. Vaat doss dee Shtaaat off Noo Hyorrk vaant viss mee? Being in the interrogation room with Janowiscz was starting to get to him, but he couldn't figure out why. The old man seemed harmless enough, and he was far from the only immigrant to lose his ESL polish sitting in that chair.

"Not the State of New York, Mr. Janowiscz. The U.S. State Department. When we entered the preliminary report of the incident into the computer, a flag came up. They asked us to hold you until one of their people got here." Vitonne paused, not really wanting to ask the next question. He had plenty of illegal aliens in his family, but they were three or four generations back. His personal feeling was that if somebody snuck into the U.S. so they could work hard and try to make an honest pile, why not? In his experience, aliens were less likely to get involved in trouble, not more.

Still, he thought, duty is duty.

"Mr. Janowiscz... can you think of a reason why the U.S. State Department might be interested in you? Something having to do with your residency status, maybe?"

"My status, young man, is that I am a citizen of the United States. I was sworn in as a citizen at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan on May 8, 1997. You may go look that up if you wish. I would appreciate you not making accusations. I am an honest man, and I am retired."

Hi vass svaarn een ass a zitizen...

"Calm down, sir, please. It was just a simple question."

"It was NOT a simple question. It was an accusation and I do not need to sit here while you insult me. I would like to go home now, please."

Vitonne fought off a powerful urge to go to the door and push the buzz-button. Janowiscz's eyes were huge behind the glasses, wide and unblinking. Vitonne felt his own eyes start to water. A hot pressure was building in his head, like the start of those migraines he used to get.

"I would like to go home. Now. Open the door, Sergeant. You will open the door and let me go."

His head was really pounding now, the feeling in the back of his neck like a razor sharp vice, gripping hard. Vitonne bobbed his head around, seeking some relief. The pain and pressure eased up only as he moved toward the door. Shooting pains down his arm made him gasp, fearing a heart attack or stroke, but these pains, too, were eased by moving his arm upward, outward toward the button.

"You will let me go."

Vitonne's world was pain, nothing but pain. The door out of the room was like an island he was swimming toward. If he could reach it, he could escape the agony that now tore at every part of his body. The old man's voice rang in his mind - HYU VILL LETT MEE KOH...   HYU VILL LETT MEE KOH...   HYU VILL LETT MEE KOH...


When the team of special agents from ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and the OIAPI (Office of the Intergovernmental Attaché for Persons of Interest) showed up, both men were gone. Witnesses said that they'd seen Sergeant Vitonne escorting Janowiscz down to the garage, but hadn't thought anything of it. After all, Vitonne looked preoccupied, and Janowiscz? He looked like such a harmless old duffer, didn't he?

===== Feel free to comment on this or any other post.


  1. First of all, I must say that I appreciate you not writing the entire dialogue with the accent. It made the story flow well and I loved the internal thoughts of the cop. A great flash, especially considering you wrote it lightning fast. ;)

    1. Pieces done all in dialogue get old, fast.

    2. um would you say that of stage plays then?

      marc nash

    3. Sorry, I meant pieces written all in dialect, not dialogue.

  2. Super dialogue. Hye haas zuppur poverz.

  3. I love how his powers snuck up on you. And yes, not writing the entire dialogue phonetically was definitely a plus! Nicely done!

  4. I too liked how his powers crept up on you, the accent was fun, with just the right amount of the phonetic speech - well done for this story seeing's as it was a flash piece of writing ^_^

  5. I think if someone spoke to me in such a thick MittelEuropa accent, my head would pulse with blood & eventually burst ;-)

    Wanted to know a bit more about the man's past

    1. Yeah, I couldn't really see doing the entire thing in patois.

  6. Great piece, really enjoyed it

  7. Nice buildup. I can see vie ze Shtaat Deeportment vants heem.

    Still trying to figure out how "Lightning Fast" figures into this. Seems to me like it took some time to work the cop over.

    1. I named it "Lightning Fast" because I wrote it in a tearing hurry Friday afternoon, between calls, deadlines and other demands/distractions.

      Aside from a quick pass to make sure I spelled "Janowiscz" the same each time, this is basically an unedited, unrevised first draft, just as it came out of my fingertips.

  8. This was a fun read Tony, great build up and suspense.

  9. Wonderful build up to an ending I dug. Mostly because the piece took me someplace I wasn't expecting at the start. You've gotta love those tales that just seem to spurt out of a busy schedule!

  10. Great read! This was like a classic X-Files episode. I'm impressed Janowiscz bothered to get a proper citizenship. Makes for less grief overall, I suppose.

  11. Really well done, especially for a quick write.

  12. So, you pull of great flash in record time without editing it? You could have at least made a few typos, you know for the little people.

    I also liked the slow creep of the power.


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