Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cleaning Up

By Bryan

NOTE: I don't know if this is a beginning, a middle, or an end. I write stories like that sometimes, and rarely do I go back to them. I guess I'm satisfied in letting people guess what it is, and let them draw their own conclusions. Here, you'll find yourself asking who, what, and where, and the only real question answered is why, but it's only partially answered.
ALSO: I begin my new job as editor of the Lexington Minuteman tomorrow. I'll let y'all know of the Web site once I get me some stories posted.

“Sorry,” he said as he picked his three remaining teeth. “Ain’t goin’.”
This makes it easy. As a last resort I’d planned to knock those last three chompers clean off his gums. He had his chance. And when I say join us or die, men usually listen. Usually.
This summer makes me sweat at bad times, like when you got to keep it all in and not show anything. The wrong soggy spot or wet forehead can give the impression you got something to hide. Maybe that’s what he’s thinking. Jesus it’s hot.
He’s gone back to his beer, and the two goons with me just keep staring at him. They don’t know what else to do. The bar’s dark but I know he sees them, even as he stares at the busted TV on the wall leaking a basketball game through the static. He probably thinks I’m going to make the last move. He’s right.
“Hawk isn’t takin’ no for an answer, Smokey. You and I both know the Demons are on their way out anyway. Heard just last week they split from the house on Route 30. Got no money, no prospects, and the last three robberies put most of you in jail.”
He’s listening still. Didn’t know I found out about that house, did you? In their heyday the Demons had some 50 or 60 of ‘em across the Midwest. Three were always kept top secret, where their treasuries were. But even those dried up like dust, and I’m the wind blowin’.
He’s looking at me again. Neither of those glassy eyes look like they got much smarts behind them. But even a dumbass like this one knows when he’s beat.
I remember when a guy like this – arms thick as trees, tattoos all over, and leather to match them – could shake down a liquor store owner just by lookin’ at him. The backing he had could open the floods of Hell on you if he wanted. He scared kids like me. But you get older, you start seeing things the way they really are. They operate like a machine, these guys. But you loosen enough of the screws and the whole damn thing falls apart. Maybe that’ll happen to us Angels one day. I’ll be long gone before then.
“Nope,” he says. “Ain’t goin’.”
That’s too bad. You’re already gone.


Brihack said...

Wow! Great voice. This is a genre where you have some real power. Nice take on the Angels/Devils motif. I really like the misleading sweat - sticks in my memory.

Marcy L. Dewey said...

Yeah - your narrator is so well defined! And I like the different twist you took too. The imagery was great - it reminded me of the scene at the biker bar in "Ghost Rider." Works well on its own but could be expanded upon if you like - I'd be curious to know more about these Hellians.