Microfiction 23: Persuade

For Muslims across the world, Ramadhan is a special opportunity to turn a corner and adopt desirable virtues recommended by our Prophet (p.b.u.h), among other things.

This Ramadhan am challenging myself to accurately depict at least five of these virtues, through the most expressive creative way I can think of. In my case I chose microfiction.

The singular rule of the challenge being that particular virtue to be depicted should be hidden in the subtext and left to the reader to guess which one it is, meaning neither the title nor the dialogue of the characters should explicitly reveal the virtue in question.

He tapped impatiently on the steering wheel of the rental he had parked on the side of the road.

He was afraid of coming down with something the longer he spent out here. Already there was the telltale taste of copper in his mouth preempting an incoming fever. He desired getting home to his comfortable bed and spending time alone with his thoughts once more.

He stared at the crowbar on the passenger’s seat once more, a damning manifestation of his intentions for this evening. Of course he didn’t care much for the sentiment attached to the object or the agenda it would carry out. He’d long convinced himself that he didn’t necessarily have to like his job or find satisfaction in it, he just had to be good in it, and he tried to understand his clients’ motivations for needing him too. He was an agent of persuasion, he told himself. Some of his clients could not afford obstacles barring their noble missions.

He spotted his target of the day and customarily took in her appearance, seeking for something on her that he could keep later after the deed was done. This part he treated with as much importance as the rest of the mission and he’d done it on all occasions, including the first, finding a sort of trophy to keep as a reminder, usually something simple but expressive, like a perfumed scarf, a silver-plated lighter and so on. But today something distracted from this crucial preamble, the girl herself. From the off, he could tell she was not his typical target, there was something about her that smacked of how would he put it…‘far-out’?

He fired up the car once she was a few blocks away and trailed behind her. She turned into an alley eventually and he parked once again and jumped out of the car. Again he had lost his usual confidence and now there was something of a stumble in his step, as if something the young lady was radiating was putting him off.

He rounded the corner to the alley and something inside him snapped. She sat cross-legged near an open bin, her grocery bag on the floor next to her, pushing a tin plate filled with milk to a family of cats. He froze in place as the constructs of the reality he’d built around himself crumbled into shards.

Late that night the OCS at the Central Police Station was visibly baffled when a middle-aged man strolled in going on about the world being wrong and that he was guilty to the core and that he had all the evidence the police would need to prove it.

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