30 April 2010

"Instant" #Fridayflash









"Repugnant is a creature who would
squander the ability to lift an eye to heaven;
conscious of his fleeting time here."

Right in Two - Tool

____



The sky flashed, illuminating thick, rolling underbellies. Veins of red and deepest black traced those surfaces like a fatty vital organ. Bilboy peered out the rain-speckled windshield up at the magnificent display of nature’s wrath. An old-time country song crooned to itself on the AM radio. The Ford sputtered, recapturing Bilboy’s attention.

“Just a few miles more,” he muttered to the rusted behemoth.

There was this reoccurring dream: It always ended before his inebriated mind could wrap its arms around the true significance. Clouds overhead. Weak headlights stabbing vainly at the gathered night. Indescribable shivers puckering the old Semper Fi tattoo on his right forearm.

The reflection in his big-faced Timex watch, then the old Ford would sputter, just like that. Bilboy’s mouth twisted downwards and he rustled a bagged beverage clinging to the driver’s side door sill in one of those plastic half-circle cup holders you could get at the Speedy-Stop outside of Wilmenco.

This night drew up viscous memories of cold fluorescence, the stench of spilled gasoline and the tight red-burn of rope-bound wrists. It wasn’t too long ago that those scars’d faded  to silver, just under the deep chestnut hairs. Spiderwebs skittered over those bones and canvassed the tops of his hands where the skin peeled back, like an old dirty sock.

Thunder announced just behind the cab making the old man jump in his seat. No seat belt—a ¾ Tonner didn’t have those kind of rules. He took a bitter swallow of piss-warm beer and fumbled in his breast pocket for a Camel, thumbing the lighter in the dash. It never worked; he never remembered that until it’d pop over and over again, only to hold it in til he could feel the heat radiate outwards from the inch-diameter hole.

The spiral of bright orange illuminated the end of his cigarette and guided the lighter back home. The Ford dipped two tires off the paved road onto the shoulder, and Bilboy corrected with a reflexive jerk of the gigantic steering wheel. The other two tires screeched in protest as the empty bed of the truck swung around to meet the front.

Bilboy growled as he attempted to hammer the brake into submission, spilling his beer down his leg and finally the floorboard as both hands clamped on the steering wheel.

Lightning flashed over the slick pavement, strobing the scene as it unfolded before his eyes, but it wasn’t this moment in time.

It was the dream. That same damn dream that jerked him awake, sheathed in chilled sweat and trembling like a newborn calf. The dream of what happened when the Ford really did leave the pavement and fall afterwards.

Snap of thunder. Blaze of fire. Gasoline.

It was his time, but he didn’t believe in that kind of thing. He didn’t believe in anything except Pearl, (who’d gone on fifteen years before) Pabst beer, Winston-Salem and that number 45 car, whose driver was a distinct asshole but he sure did get the job done.

Bilboy threw his arms up to cover his face, but the glass melted through his skin. The old 302 wormed into the cab to greet him, partially severing his right leg in a searing instant. The rain saturated his dry skin as he stared up into the face of his Maker.

34 comments:

litrock said...

Fantastic as always! Your writing always feels so gritty and well-worn and ... I don't know. It reads how I remember my father smelling when he spent a summer afternoon working on the car. And I do mean that in the best way. =D

Tony Noland said...

The realism was great, mixed with the pulsing colors that started it off.

I especially liked the juxtaposition of rain pelting onto his dry skin; great contrast.

aldersprig said...

Very intense! I was there in the moment.

Laura Eno said...

I agree - gritty. Your writing always swallows me up, parks me in a seat next to your MC, and takes me along for the ride. Awesome!

Marisa Birns said...

Impassioned description that brings strong visuals to story.

Tattoo on arm puckering in shiver, veins in the sky resembling fatty vital organs, and all the other wonderful images brought to intensity by your words.

Great last line.

Deanna said...

This is so gripping Carrie. I was on the edge of my seat, right there with him. One of your best, if not the best, yet.

Karen from Mentor said...

"viscous memories of cold fluorescence, the stench of spilled gasoline"

That line alone was worth taking the time to read this story before I had dinner. And just so you know that's saying quite a lot, because I'm really really hungry.
Great visuals. Precise word choices. Lovely pacing.
Karen :0)

shannon said...

oooo "trembling like a new born calf" is one of my faves. The most impressive thing about this piece is how you put us right there in his skin. I seriously can still smell the gasoline! Bravo, Carrie.

Lily Mulholland said...

Dream becomes reality becomes nightmare becomes death. Viscous is one of my favourite words - you used it perfectly here. Gripping yarn Carrie :)

G.P. Ching said...

Brilliant. The vivid image of the sky, the way you painted Bilboy's character, all great stuff. I loved "viscous memories of cold fluorescence, the stench of spilled gasoline and the tight red-burn of rope-bound wrists." Gorgeous writing and yes "gritty" is an apt description I would say.

ERIN COLE said...

Your writing has muscle, the kind that wears tattoos and grease but still isn't afraid to hug their mother. Excellent blend of detail and narrative.

John Wiswell said...

A lot of interestingly coarse lines in here, which are already getting quoted in the above comments. Shame he had to die, but he probably didn't have many options springing into life after that Tool quote.

Like the prompt asks, here's my latest: http://bit.ly/98VEJh

Pamila Payne said...

There's a sort of dark, effortlessness to this piece, like the whole thing spilled out of the mouth of some clairvoyant barfly in between hits off a filterless Pall Mall in a black walled highway dive bar. Like you did it spoken word all in one go. Love that.

Bukowski's Basement said...

I love your style, Carrie... I love how you use brands and items as description. I love the blue-collerness of it all. Just so effin' cool...

Diandra said...

This leaves so many questions, probably occupying my imagination for the weekend. (^v^)

Jen Brubacher said...

Wow. What description. The first paragraph is just awful (in a good way,) clouds as... well, ugh. It's terrific, dreamlike and just real enough.

Linda said...

Really super piece, scathing and full or inner turmoil. The detail of the semper fi tat just right; leaves a little 'ugh' of added despair. Peace...

Michael Solender said...

wow. this is quite some scene you have set here. this one oozes with foreboding and darkness. very nicely constructed and delivered!

Karly Kirkpatrick said...

Excellent detail. And I, too, believe in the Pabst. Excellent choice!

wiredwriter said...

So damn apocalyptic. Love it to death.

~Tim said...

The Pabst is prologue. [sorry]

Draco Torre said...

Strong. Grabs reader from the start and holds on.

Anne Tyler Lord said...

"This night drew up viscous memories of cold fluorescence, the stench of spilled gasoline and the tight red-burn of rope-bound wrists."

Also one of my favs - so many in this story. I read it slow and savored every word. I always have unusual voices enter my head when I read your stories, I let them read it to me as they want. It is a total experience for me!

All I can say is - deep, deep, intensity - Amazing!

Sam said...

Intensely gritty realism. Fantastic!

Christian Bell said...

An intense tale, with great description. Well written!

Tomara Armstrong said...

Awesome... just awesome.
~2

Eric J. Krause said...

Very cool! Great descriptions in this. I enjoyed it a TON.

J. M. Strother said...

Really vivid writing here. Good one.
~jon

J. M. Strother said...

Really vivid writing here. Good one.
~jon

Laurita said...

Intense, gritty. Excellent description. In other words, Niiiiice.

David Masters said...

You set up the dark and forboding atmosphere brilliantly, using language that reflects the later tragedy.

A piece full of reflections. Very well done.

Carrie said...

Wow, this praise is going to make me think I'm good at this foreboding stuff. I like creepy. I think this is one of the first that I didn't smirk while writing. Except for that 45 car. I have trouble writing serious dreary fiction. Bleh.

Glad all of you enjoyed. Your visit is a definite honor, each one of you.

Icy Sedgwick said...

As always, it's the details that make this piece. Very vivid description.

Michelle said...

wow. so so so intense!