Tomorrow Tonight

“Brangelina broke up again.” Nate adjusted himself on the barstool, but there wasn’t a comfortable position.

“When?” Charles, the bartender made a great show of drawing up a beer.

“It’ll break Wednesday.”

“Right.”

Charles moved away without ever meeting his patron’s eyes. This was important. It was his role as the front to take the magic knowledge to the bookies. All the bookies knew Charlie had a source. But nobody suspected drunk old Nate in the corner. Which was just exactly how both Charles and Nate wanted things to remain. Nate drank at this bar every night, and he made sure to leave sloppy drunk at least twice a week , or at least to look like it.

Tonight, he sidled home before he would have to act like he’d guzzled a whole keg. As he left, he heard one man muttering, “I’ll bet you fifty bucks Brad Pitt and his girlfriend don’t make it another week.” The words made him smile.

Nate let himself into his apartment. It was a nice place, in a section of town remote from the bar. He changed cabs twice along the way and even walked into the lobby of another building and took off his coat. If anybody found out about him, the job would be over. Charles’ fat commissions from the bookies would end, and Nate’s half of the commission would dwindle to fifty percent of nothing.

He mixed himself a drink, something he would actually imbibe, unlike the bar swill, which he poured into a zipper pouch that he drained into the toilet. Then, he sat down in front of the television and got out his notes.

He flipped the remote through the Tuesday and Wednesday channels and settled in to listen to next Thursday’s news. He often wondered if, knowing these things in advance, he might have the power to change them. So he was careful not to listen to local broadcasts. He focused entirely on national trivia. Sporting titles, celebrity gossip, and new music. He didn’t want to be the guy who knew about the plane crash and failed to prevent it. Because he was pretty sure he was helpless against something once it hit his tube.

His theory was that the future became fixed by actions taken in the present, but that the certain future only solidified a few days, a week at the most, before it took place. So that was where he concentrated his viewing. He paid attention to what events the announcers were responding to, and took the juicy ones to Charles to release to the betting rings.

It was a strange job, and somewhat of a lonely one. But Nate had never been a social animal. He preferred the isolation of his own company. Now, he settled in with his martini and remote, looking to see how Brangelina settled their custody dispute. He thought it would be worth several thousand dollars.
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This was another flash fiction month prompt. The prompt was something about an old TV that gave out celebrity gossip.

About jesterqueen:
Jessie Powell is the Jester Queen. She likes to tell you about her dog, her kids, her fiction, and her blog, but not necessarily in that order.

Comments

Tomorrow Tonight — 6 Comments

  1. I like that your character stayed away from hard news. Still, having that kind of knowledge would have to get to be a heavy burden.
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  2. An old TV that gives out celebrity gossip … whew! The very idea of using that as a prompt almost gives me a headache. (Of course, that could be more about the bad day I just had.)

    I agree that your take on the prompt would be a good premise for a book or at least a longer story. It feels like this is just the beginning.

  3. An old TV that gives out celebrity gossip … whew! The very idea of using that as a prompt almost gives me a headache. (Of course, that could be more about the bad day I just had.)

    I agree that your take on the prompt would be a good premise for a book or at least a longer story. It feels like this is just the beginning.

    PS: I’m lucky my comment was still here after I hit the back button. 🙂 Your site doesn’t recognize me anymore and I have fill out a form before I hit post. It’s always something. Right?