Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Crate - part 1


           Fidget and Cramp had packed up their belongings and swept out their huts before making sure that the small mountain ledge that they had called home since the terrible crash was as neat and clean for the next disaster victims as it had been for them.
"Are we ready?" asked Fidget.
"I believe so," replied Cramp.
The early morning wind was up. Cramp eyed the solid, grey expanse of sky above them.
             "Gale up. Maybe worse."
            "Got everything?"
             "Enough."
            "I'll need a hand with something."
            Fidget ducked into his hut. A moment later Cramp heard Fidget laboring and the sound of something heavy hitting the packed earth within the hut. Fidget came backside-first out of the hut, dragging what looked like a small metal trunk into the clearing.
             "What's that?" asked Cramp, rubbing one elbow like an alarm.
            "Nothing," responded Fidget.
The two of them stood silently with stares stuck on the dull metal box.
            "That's some hunk of nothing..."
            "Yeah it is."
             "And you need a hand with this?"
            "Yes, would you mind?"
            "We're heading over Skull Pass."
            "I know."
            "And if we make it, Blind Drop."
            Fidget toed the box, gave it a test kick. It didn't budge.
            "Okay," said Cramp.
            "Thanks," said Fidget.
            The wind troubled the small space between them and then died down. It was Fidget’s turn to scan the perfect opacity above them.
            “Did you ..?” He threw his chin up over the huts.
            Cramp said, “Yes, she’ll be fine. They’ll all be fine. If we make it down, maybe, we can bury them properly.”
            Fidget shuffled his feet, blew air out his bottom lip, said nothing with a lot of noise.
            “And this,” said Cramp plainly, “you going to tell me what this is that we are about to carry over the mountain?”
            Fidget pushed his palm through his hair and looked up into the sky for some sign of diversion. There was nothing aside from what was in front of them.
            “No,” said Fidget. “Not just now.”
            Cramp blinked at Fidget, and then the two men silently started the last check of the makeshift camp that had been the center of their survival efforts after the plane went down.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lights Out

A story originally created as a submission to "The Big Ugly Review", for which I never received a receipt notification. It seems my little story might have simply been the last ugly straw for a seven-issue flash.
Here it is so I don't feel like I totally wasted a handful of small words.


“We were robbed.” 
She pushed the words forward against the carpet as she crawled.
“We what?”
“Robbed.”
Rusty wiggled around on hands and knees, nicked his chin on the edge of a side table and hissed, “This is what I’m talking about, Mare. This kind of thing, it’ll ruin us!”
He pulled the black mask up to his nose, felt the damage and eyed his wife angrily. 
In the unfamiliar room, soft moonlight crisscrossed with sharp shadows over her black bodysuit. Her full, pouting lips struck through the hole in her mask – those bright blue eyes - Mary filled the image of everything he loved about her in that very moment: the daring, the sexy innocence, the romantic thrill-seeker. She’s killing me, he thought, but…
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I just feel like we’ve been robbed here.”
And the moment was over.
Rusty yanked his mask down and hissed through the mouth-hole, “You and me, we’re robbing this house and you say, ‘We were robbed.’ He trembled. “That’s what’s costing us! That’s why we’re in therapy! That’s why we’re robbing this house to pay for that therapy!
Mary rolled gently onto her back in the plush carpet, held up the empty black sack and waved it theatrically. “Does this look familiar, Rusty? It’s our take tonight. Empty! Looks like most other nights!” 
Saying it brought tears of regret to her eyes, a mad torrent of haphazard regrets.
“Mare! Mare! Hang on now! Shhhh!” he ‘shushed’ her, didn’t want to. Her crying was so important - he’d learned in therapy without really understanding why – but he had to ‘shush’ her because of the headlights arcing, bouncing, filling the whole room, accompanied by the sound of an engine cutting off and…
“Mare! Mare! You can cry later, I promise you – I know it’s important to you, I swear it! but we gotta go! Now!
Rusty tried cool for Mary but instead stumbled over the hardwood floor off the living room and skinned his forehead on the dining room breakfront. 
Mary kept one eye on her husband’s enthusiasm and another on the front door as she effortlessly rolled through the darkened house.
They’d made it to the rear door of the house, stood on its threshold when they heard the keys, the lock, and the nauseating sound of light-hearted conversation. Lights went on in adjacent rooms.
Mary held Rusty tightly against the back door in the half-lighted kitchen. “Did you mean it?”
“Mean what? Let me go! C’mon Mare, let’s get out of here!”
“Mean what you said about letting me cry?” She felt Rusty’s fear building.
“Whatever it takes Mare! I’ll do whatever it takes!”
That could have meant many things, but Mary put it where she wanted it and that was enough for her.
A husband walked into his kitchen, turned on the light. The back door was open and an empty black sack draped the threshold.
He turned to his wife and said, “We were robbed.”

Monday, August 22, 2011

that guy - part 14 - The End!


That guy, crooked with simple hatred and half blind with a new found passion for life (in the shape of Babe), raged behind the gimpy pair on the stairs, tangled himself in the procession and was stunned when the bloody body of Gus smashed headlong into the cheap pine box.
    When Crawly squealed it was Crimp who let go of his end of the crushed pine box first. Swine let go when the weight if the load snapped his index finger.
Crimp tumbled onto Gus and Swine skid into the heap and the busted box gave way and caught hat poor guy Right in the forehead .
He stuttered and burbled as the world spun. A word came out of him and Babe leaned into the coffin at the top of the stairs to get a better angle on the sound. The pressure it put on Crawly there, still bleeding beneath that filled box, was enough to crush the last few intact ribs on the little fellow.
"What was it?" asked Babe over Crawly's wails.
    "Babe," said that guy. A trickle of blood ran down his forehead, went zigzagging as the swine and Crimp tried to use him like a rope.
Crawly groaned.
    "Shut up," said Babe, “I can't hear him."
Babe leaned harder against the edge of the coffin. It pressed into Crawly's throat and cut off the little air getting through. Babe smiled. That guy, with one finger making to wipe his split forehead, went for a smile himself. It didn't work.
    Crawly gave one last heave, and babe was leaning just a bit too forward on the coffin when he did that. Her weight gave the push enough leverage so that the coffin tipped forward, crushing Crawly's jaw, and toppled down the stairs, Babe, stiff, and box at once.
    That guy. That poor guy. With his head split wide open and all that blood running down his face, Babe looked to him like an angel of he lord coming to bring him to paradise.
    He was right!
    When the cops got there they found Creepy dead, Crawly dead, the dead guy in the coffin even deader than before, and that guy, that poor guy, a dead guy too. They found two crushed coffins and blood and guts and brains all over the place.
    What they didn't find was Babe, or Crimp, or Swine. The three of them knew better. After Babe gave a gentle kiss to what she believed was a piece of that guys forehead, she took her valuables from her apartment while he two narrow guys rifled any dough they could find from the apartments upstairs and downstairs. 
Then all three of them went to the twenty-four hour Skeeter-Bowl over on Third.
    Try watching Babe bowl a round.
   It didn't take long for Crimp and Swine and every other hooligan and dumbbell in the dim place to scratch up dreams of a new lives, happy
with Babe at their side. Babe saw it it all in their eyes, what she looked like for each of them. She felt it, and knew she could do it, be everything for each of them and everyone else in the world without the slightest effort. She knew it and it made her sick. 
“I’m gonna go get a soda,” she said. And Babe left the alley, passed the soda jerk, passed the elevators and took stairs down and out into the new day and never looked back.

The end

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

That guy - lucky 13

     It was crawly screaming as the door came off the hinges, battered down by the weighted coffin but buffered slightly by the wedge of the scrawny boy stuck half beneath it.
"Gettim off me! Gettim! Off!" he squeezed it out, flailing, eyes bulging, blood seeping from a gap in his teeth, through one shredded lip, spattering the filthy landing.
Gus staggered over the coffin and into the hallway. 
"My own son! Hell! How's about that!" Old Gus, he looked both pleased and sickened as he climbed up on he coffin to get real close to his boy, sweetly riddled as drew the long, bloody, stainless steel blade from a sliced organ deep inside of him, just to the belly-roll side. His spleen he thought, maybe a kidney.
"I was going to show you," he slurred, "show you some magic!"
     Gus hiccuped blood, smiled into his palm and wondered what he was looking for, but before he had an idea Babe gave him a shove from behind and fell over the pile of creepy, crawly, and the coffin.
     That's about when that guy got into the hallway, about twenty seconds after crawly had pushed the buzzer to let his two pals, Swine and Crimp, into the building with the new and empty coffin. That's about forty seconds after Crawly gave Gus a swordfish hug and sixty seconds after Babe shouted, "the only reason I had sex with that guy downstairs is cause your old man told me it was your idea in the first place!"
     And so, you see, when Gus smiled admiringly at that bold tactic, Crawly simply saw complicity in his father's brutal face, and a few groping seconds later - Swordfish-hug-surprise!
     Swine and Crimp had the empty coffin half way up the landing when Babe shoved her way out onto the gathering pile of dead and dying there on the second floor landing. That guy was right behind them too, with timing that allowed him first to see Babe stumble out the door, and then Gus as he leaned over to kiss his son goodbye. Crawly got one fist out and gave his dear old dad a pop on the kisser, lending the dying man enough additional momentum to tumble head first down the stairs, dead on the first bounce!