Story of my life.
Home isn’t always where your heart is.
He is pretty sure that was ripped from him somewhere back in the Pacific anyway. Or maybe later. Who can really say?
The big guy upstairs could, but he’s sure not looking to give him the hand. He barely seems to remember his name these days.
Since being home he’s been slow to warm up; he has trouble with crowds; he no longer enjoys hunting; hugging even his mother is difficult; having a job is impossible.
His former self is a fog long dispersed.
The family doctor, good ol’ Dad, tells him that he will be able to carry on. He’s seen it before, it will pass in time. And maybe he can, and maybe he’s beginning to believe it, but there’s a lesson to be learned and civilian life is slower to teach it.
It isn’t until later that he learns just how much it has to do with that torn muscle.
I like it well enough. It’s pretty bland as it stands. And it’s an idea that’s been done before. And then more. Coming home, starting a new life, living together, etc.
This bunny is biting regardless. I’ve got to put my spin on it. You know… UST and rambling and blood and metaphors and less than perfect grammar and cursing and cliffhangers.
Plot has never been my strong suit. I like character delving, fleshing out. I also fear I repeat myself endlessly. Not in one piece, but over all of them collectively. And not in a cool, Stephen King sort of way. A forgetful, lazy sort of way. Can also just have ‘em sit and muse for a thousand words and maybe suggest at an underlying theme once. Or not. And then get bored and end it all weird, feeling regret, because I could have done better.
Shut up and write.
Writerbation ain’t so bad.
Named after the state, or maybe that girl with rocks filling her pockets to the brim and the pull of a river over head. Either way you’re Virginia, a street like any other, a road leading to a destination, a pathway to a place. For most you’re tarmac, asphalt, gravel, and concrete; you’re traffic signs and badly painted lines. To others you’re a walked beat, a dim reminder, a hard haven, a house and a bed.
You’re also a devil, Virginia.
Let’s not forget.
Screaming sirens often haze your half nights, perforating but not causing a tear. You’re learned in this, a quick study. Thank the gunshots’ echo, the fading cries, every tire squeal and peel. You’re a pro, friend. This is quickly all you know. Rubbed in deep, scrubbed on tough. These are lessons in threats of a break-in, thieving passerbyes, paranoia on high. You are many eyes put to so few actions. You are early morning bus stop transactions. You are indifference paired with familiarity. Hit-and-runs dealing death. Drive-by sorrow. A fear downright hollow.
Still you retain a sense of calm.
Crickets do chirp. Flowers, of course, grow. Traffic flows.
Come a new day your air is again chesty and strong.
And I can almost forgive your long, midnight wrongs.
He can do this the easy way or the hard way. He knows the choices, knows the options. The easy way is just another cop-out, one of those quick fixes, a meandering detour. The hard way is where it’s at. Two seconds ago he was positive, nothing like a shadow of a doubt, that he was hot shit. The hottest of the volcanic rock hot. Really friendly with the idea. Not so sure now he could hold a smile, let alone a conversation, let alone a bargain for his diminishing life now. The hard way was less and less an option and more and more of a promise.
"What do you know?"
These two imposing figures stand bordered into shade by the extreme glare of the flood light. The light that’s been baking his bare flesh and sucking up moisture. It has dried his eyes and tongue and his fibre thin resolve. He can feel the heat bleeding into his eyeballs, paper-thin lids nothing but a tease. He spits blood from his lips. The action enough to win another fist across the chin. It’s star spangled pain.
"Don’t know nothin’."
It’s poetry, isn’t it?
One of his teeth he spits to the floor. He’s not for simpering or whining or pleading. His throat is raw still from all the talk.
Friend e-mails me with an idea for a science fiction novel he wants to collaborate on (and have me do most of the work, har, har). Details included. It sounds fairly interesting. As do most of his ideas.
This is what I sent back to him in response.
I do hope it goes somewhere.
His name is Carl.
Carl T. Montgomery. With a name like Carl you’d think he’d have gone and changed it ages ago. Been a Vincent, or a John. Maybe a Tyler, or a Bryan. He could have, you know, with all the time on his hands. He could have started up a group of Carls to end all Carls. Could have advanced on the powers that be and started a revolution.
He can’t be bothered with it anymore now. Frankly, he’s too busy dying. In this very moment, hopefully his last, he’s staring down the fog lights of a super light weight, super efficient bullet train. All the faster to end his life. All the faster to smear him across the rails. It’ll carry him for miles too. Just one long red line. It’ll be his last work, his final piece, a self portrait: Carl vs Society.
history of us
3:10 to yuma - charlie prince & ben wade
In a nest of rattle snakes he was a king cobra.
By the time he was twelve he was killing and stealing. An orphan from the start was Charlie Prince. Kicking around, getting beat, biting back. He had a good bite too. Nice and strong, but abysmally young. His demeanor was of an itchy sort, always tense and ready, always wanting for some action, task, or play; hungry for chance, a risk, despair. He rarely rested, and for it he was as skinny as a broom handle. He did show patience however, and he did eat well. It was a sure thing. Saw to it every day.
In all his years and experiences Cloud has never quite had a challenge. When it comes to an example it’s just a matter of now versus then. His was a relatively normal childhood, he grew up in a small mountain town too far from anything to grow larger than a handful of families. There was an abundance of over-hashed secrets, and livestock. He recalls fire lit, starry nights, laughing, and climbing the water tower. He did well in school, got on fair enough with other kids, and never had to reach too far for a girl. He even kissed his mother good bye every morning. When he left there, he was under a veil of good wishes.
Now he lives, or currently resides (as he’s come to think of it), in the largest city on the continent. Not even a place to hang his hat here, or a bedroom, just streets and tunnels and the sewers. The nights are similar to the days in their darkness, fire light comes from barrels and wooden lean-tos. His life revolves around his work and his work is all consuming. Nine hours out of ten he’s on a job. Perfect for cultivating an introvert’s personality. The unchallenged position, the revered, feared, and otherwise overlooked position, he maintains by use of knowledge gleaned from involvement in stressful situations, odd cases, and many humanity testing events.
Geniality and good charm only go so far.
He doesn’t sleep well most nights. Certainly not like he did back home. But then there’s no comparison. At least there’s no permanent state of being there. At least he gets to wake up and do it all over again if he feels so inclined. Unlike the unlucky-in-debt business owner, or the swindling street rat, or the back-stabbing crony. They’re stuck on permanent. He meets them in his line of work. Most of then he cashes in on.
He’s a cleaner.
A sniper by preference.
A kind of new age sellsword, and been so since the end of the war. He left home and joined. That’s another story. He spent four years in a foreign land but has scars now, and a story, a history. Flashing bright lights make him irritable though, and he has severe untrusting trends, paranoia, and social anxieties. He might wake up in a cold sweat. He might scream out. For all of that business, he’s gained a sharpened wit and the taste for survival. Not to mention an excellent training pedigree, first of his class. He’s a regular shadow, a change in the air, an unfurling presence.
Not a damn thing can touch him, stalwart and steadfast.
"I think it might do you some good," she tries, noting the mounting petulance in her voice. He notes it as well, his response a scowl, a seething and a glaring. She should expect to get hit. Usually she does and no matter how feeble, but he’s far enough away. The assault comes in the form of her favourite paper weight instead. The one right there on the end table and right next to him. The one that’s six sharp inches all accounted for and shaped like a pyramid. Formed for a place so far away it might as well be make believe. It doesn’t just break as it misses her, it strikes the wall and explodes, glassy particles twisting and turning, glittering sun burst. The bits rain down on her head and shoulders. She hunches up in surprise, a handful of transparent mulch weaseling into her shirt.
Did you know that the worst thing someone can say to you is that they’ll always be there? They’ve got your back, they’ve got your side, they’ve got your number. They’ll be there. They will. Even better if they say it in the dark not even looking you in the eye, not even letting you see their eyes just the flat out, flat on words from somewhere, nowhere, and Murphy’s mouth.