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Author Topic: Four Scenes (From A Sick Culture)  (Read 3365 times)

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Four Scenes (From A Sick Culture)
« on: August 16, 2009, 02:44:21 pm »

Four Scenes
(From A Sick Culture)
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I.Sidejob
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She said her name was Dawn, and that sunsets made her cry. Meaning her whole damn night was ruined till the sun rose again to cheer her up. That was a pretty depressing form of insomnia.

She said she was sixteen, so he figured she was fourteen. She had a snub nose and the kind of freckles that failed to be cute. Her hair was sort of orange, and dirty, like her clothes. She was flat chested and hipless. The short skirt and halter top she wore mainly just accentuated her lack of a body and painful looking sunburn.

His name was Ben and he found himself attracted to her despite all that. He was a moron, he figured. At sunset on this very day, 6:15pm to be precise, he would leave the land of his thirties and enter the cold, bleak wasteland of his forties. Talk about a depressing sunset.



They were sitting on a bench outside a bus station in Flat Grange, New Mexico. They were surrounded by desert and dry air and the old lady who stared from the bus station counter, beady eyes broadcasting that she had a gun in her hand and really wanted to use it.

Dawn had a filthy, tattered backpack. Ben had a fading green suitcase and a toolbox. If you carry around a toolbox, he’d discovered, people think you have a job. He figured that was why Dawn turned to him, suddenly, and offered to suck him off if he’d buy her a bus ticket.

“Nah.” He replied. “Not my thing.”

“Bummer.” Dawn said, probably dreading sunset even more.

“I don’t have a ticket either.” He admitted. “I just sat here because there was a bench. This tool box is fucking heavy.” He stared down the highway, watching a car approach. “I’m just waiting.”

“For what?” she asked.

“This.” He said, and the car pulled up to the bus station.

It was a 82 Jaguar, the gray pallor of a hung-over morning. A fat man emerged.

“One second.” Ben said, and retrieved a hammer from his box. He strolled over to the driver, who was buffing the side mirror.

“Nice car.” Ben told him, raising the hammer high.

The fat man turned. “She’s a beauty, ain’t…” he saw the hammer and cringed. “Aw fuck, man! Put the hammer down!”

So he did. Pretty hard.



Ben and Dawn were cruising west in the Jag. The sun was bloating on the horizon, ready to sink.

“Fucking sunsets.” Dawn muttered. “Hey. You sure you don’t want me to suck you off?”

“Nah.” Ben said. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings. “Maybe later, though.”

“If I start crying, just ignore me.” She said. “Hey. Will this thing go any faster?”

It came to Ben that the way to beat a sunset, or a birthday, was to race on through to the other side. To get past the day and make a sunrise chase them.

“Probably.” He said, and put the hammer down.


II.Late
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I close my eyes and I can see her standing there. Bathed in the light of the moon she is an image of the divine. She is smiling. She is touching the mystery.

We have made this pact. She is serious. I am scared.

"Right after me," she says. She is inches away from the cliff face. "Right after me, do you swear?"

I swear. Through chattering teeth I swear. I lie.

She falls backwards, still smiling, arms reaching out to find the mystery.

"I love you," she says. "I'll see you there."

And she is gone.


Thirty years later and I close my eyes and I can still see her. Moonlight bathed goddess on the mountain, ready for her reward in the halls of heaven.

They said she was still smiling when the found her broken body. Arms spread and open eyes to the sky. Broken goddess gone home. I know she was smiling all the way down.

I can still see her.

Broken god, still alive, missing a fall he was too scared to take. Broken by a memory and the weight of this world.

The gun is heavy in my hand, but feels like freedom.

I lift it to my temple, and I smile.

"I love you," I say. "I'm sorry I'm late."

And I smile, all the way down.



III. Little Red, Ridin' High
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So, one time, in this trailer park in Florida, there was this crazy little bitch named Marcia Redding, who everybody called Red. 'Cause she was a shorty they sometimes called her Lil' Red, but she was apt to knife a motherfucker, so that didn't happen often.

Now, Red liked her herbage, but she said fuck no to meth and shit like that. She wouldn't fuck around on her boyfriend, either. This made her a pretty good girl for fourteen in her neighborhood. Her mom and gramma were proud of her.

Her boyfriend was Woodie, who had a good job with the forestry service making 8 bucks an hour. He was known as a badass and kept her creepy step-dad off her ass, if you know what I mean. He was an ex-cop that everybody called Wolfie.

One day Red's mom asked her to run a bottle of Thunderbird and a twenty sack over to gramma's house, because G. was feelin' down and couldn't make it to the Triple T or the dopeman's house. Red said 'No prob', because she loved her old ass gramma and also knew she'd burn one with her. Woodie was at work and she was jonesin' a little. Her mom was shitfaced, ready to pass out. Probably been drinkin' Long Island iced teas all day and popping Xannies.

Wolfie offered to take her but she was like 'Fuck that, dude,' 'cause she knew she'd be fightin his hand off her crotch the whole way. 'I gots feet and I can walk, nigga.' So she grabbed the stuff and headed out, tossing on her favorite hoodie --a St. Louis Cards red sweat -- not cause it was cold but because it looked kickass.

Gramma lived up the road. She was amblin' along, bustin' some out some Lil' Wayne in her goofy white girl flow, sayin' hi to her niggaz and peeps as she passed. Just chillin', y'know? And she'd be damned if Wolfie didn't pull up beside her in his piece of shit Camaro.

"The hell you doin' here?"

"Your momma done passed out, Red. Hop in and lemme show you how a man can give it to ya." He eyed every inch of her body. Damn, he just wanted to eat that shit up.

"Fuck off!" Red yelled. A couple of her homies heard her and came rollin' up to walk beside her.

"Yo yo, Redhead. Whatta prob?" Big Frito said, 300 pounds of wigger threatening her step-dad, who sped off quickly.

"None now, Frito," Red assured him, watching asshole leave. She gave him half a hug. "Thanks for havin' my back, bro."

"Always, muh baby," Biggie said with a wink, sauntering away.

Ol' Wolfie was pissed. Instead of running home in defeat, he headed to gramma's house, snuck in, and knocked the already sick ol' lady out with a blackjack. He tied her up and stuffed her under the bed. He then amused himself for a while by dressing up in her clothes. Wolfie was a weird fuckin' dude.

He was prancin' around in a nightgown, bra and panties when Red showed up. "Aw shit!" he yelled, and dived under the covers.

Red burst in like always. "Yo, Grams!" she yelled. "I got yo grams!" It was their lil' joke. She strutted into the bedroom and eyed the shape under the covers.

"Damn, Gramma. You cold?"

"Freezin' my old ass off, baby!" Wolfie said in his fakest voice.

"Your voice is fuuuuuked up!" Red laughed.

"Best way to comunicate with a dumbass like you," Wolfie said.

"And that attitude is bullshit, yo."

"Just leave my shit and get the fuck out, bitch!"

Now Red wasn't no dumbass. She got suspicious. She reached out and yanked the blankets off the bed. Wolfie, knowing the jig was up, leapt out and tackled her. Might as well get a piece, he figured.

"Motherfucker!" Red scremed as they thrashed around. Wolfie 'bout had her pinned when the Louisville slugger came out of nowhere and busted his fool head wide open.

Gramma stood overtop him, pissed as fuck. Red shoved him off and they looked at him as he had a seizure. He shuddered and died.

"Good lick, grams," Red said.

"Damn straight," Gramma muttered. "Fuckin' weirdo. Can't tie a knot worth a shit, either."

Red shrugged. "Eh. Pigs."

When Woodie showed up, Red sent him to get Big Frito and set them to dumping the body.

Red rolled a fat ass blunt, and they all toked happily ever after.


IV. Butterfly Shaped Objects
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It was a gift, they said, that let her see the quiet, sun drenched field as a rolling, primal sea. An artistic world view that heralded great things and a bright future. The wild green grass and sudden bursts of flowers became breaking waves and tiny coral islands.

She was only seven when they noticed her strangeness. Charming at first, delightful almost. As she aged, it became mundane, then tiresome and finally disturbing. It began young, that separation from the normal children.

It was a curse, they decided, to see the same field as a disguised piece of mechanical trickery, a violent beach head in an invasion from some strange universe next door. The drifting pollen was a secret weapon, she swore. The swarming butterflies were clever robots, designed to charm while they spied upon the ignorant.

Special classes and tutors and doctors and tests came next. Why could the world not simply be the world, her well intentioned tormentors asked her, again and again? Why could a field not simply be a field, a butterfly a pretty sight on a pleasant spring day?

"Because that would be a lie"," was the only answer she could give. Because that was the only answer that was true.

"They're not angels or animals or insects," she informed her interviewers. "They're objects." Her voice steadily dwindled to a determined whisper. "The dead don't die," she assured them. "They just hide from the light and the sight of the judgmental. The living don't live -- they just keep moving out of habit."

It was madness, they concluded, that let her see different worlds in between each blink. That conjured ghosts hidden beneath shadows and saw the living as sour creatures of mindless habit. The only solution was The Institute.

She died young in captivity, barely a teenager, pining for the fantasia she saw in what was mere reality to the rest of the world. Died from lack of the chaos she loved and they thought she feared.

They'd never see themselves as killers. Some lies are told too well, and believed too deeply. To them, good intentions trumped all and the world was always simply the world. It was an illusion they thought worth kidnapping and killing to maintain.

They laid her to rest in a cemetery that bore more than a passing resemblance to that field of her childhood. They hid her from the sight of judgement on a lovely spring day. The service was short, and as they made their way to their cars they passed through the raging sea and all the pretty tools of invasion. A few imagined they could hear her laugh, there amidst the maybe and might have been.

And was it gift or curse or madness that let them note the passing of a cloud of butterflies, to hear the dim clockwork ticking of exquisite tiny springs and gears, and the secret soft flutter of plastic wings?



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Silver

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Re: Four Scenes (From A Sick Culture)
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2009, 08:52:31 am »

Damn, George.

I don't know what to say.  Claire nailed it when she said people were just too blown away to make a comment.

It's good to see you again.  Please sir, may I have another?

Peace,

Silver
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Re: Four Scenes (From A Sick Culture)
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2009, 10:32:33 pm »

Hey Silver,

Glad you (and Claire) liked it. These four scenes were all written seperately, for a writing forum regular contest. (1st and 4th got me second place, the 3rd wasn't eligible because I was judging that one. :) ) I was reading over them and realized that none of them would have a place in what most of us would consider a 'healthy, prosperous' society -- but none of them were at all far-fetched in the society we find ourselves inhabiting here in the brave new 21st Century.

I also wanted to do a little something to show off my range -- different POV's and tenses, styles and voices, from 1st person direct to omniscient 3rd fairy tale to limited 3rd poetic. Any writer worth his salt will admit that they are a student and should remain a student until the day they stop writing (or die, in my case. :P). A language is a vast and intricate system that can be used to create a near infinite variety of story machines. When you lose the joy that comes from playing with that system and building those machines (little literary clockwork golems, wind 'em up and watch 'em skitter around) you may as well give up.

I have to admit that I am quite partial to my Little Red Riding Hood. Something about a young gal who lives by her own code despite the fact that she's surrounded by crap. Flowers grow in crap, you know -- and sometimes they have to grow thorns.

And I think the final paragraph of Butterfly Shaped Objects may be the prettiest but saddest thing I've ever written. We're very very close to that world now, I fear -- where imagination and different viewpoints are seen as reasons to institutionalize people.

I'm putting together my second book, so I'm holding off on posting stories on the net. I'd be happy to PM you a few though. (You too Claire.)

Best,

-G.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 10:40:29 pm by Door Into Summer »
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Today's Tom Sawyer

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Re: Four Scenes (From A Sick Culture)
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2009, 11:57:50 am »

That, sir, is some heavy shit.  Here's to ya.   :occasion14:
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Claire

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Re: Four Scenes (From A Sick Culture)
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2009, 03:36:58 pm »

And I think the final paragraph of Butterfly Shaped Objects may be the prettiest but saddest thing I've ever written. We're very very close to that world now, I fear -- where imagination and different viewpoints are seen as reasons to institutionalize people.

ALL of Butterfly Shaped Objects was the prettiest and saddest. You perfectly evoked the sorrow and tragedy of simply being different.

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Just as the flattery of friends often leads us astray, so the insults of enemies often do us good. -- St. Augustine, Confessions, Book IX, Chapter 8


When faith ceases to be a challenge to the standards of polite society, it is no longer, or has not yet become, faith. -- Donald Spoto, Reluctant Saint:  The Life of Francis of Assisi


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Re: Four Scenes (From A Sick Culture)
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2009, 04:00:08 pm »

And I think the final paragraph of Butterfly Shaped Objects may be the prettiest but saddest thing I've ever written. We're very very close to that world now, I fear -- where imagination and different viewpoints are seen as reasons to institutionalize people.

ALL of Butterfly Shaped Objects was the prettiest and saddest. You perfectly evoked the sorrow and tragedy of simply being different.



Exactly Claire. Right on!

Thanks George for every word you write! I want your new book too! Tell me when.

Tahn

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