September 8, 2006

I am declaring today Fiction Friday here at sundrymourning.com, for no particular reason other than it’s been a long time since I tried to write a story. So, here we go, rusty fingers and all:

:::

DOG DAYS

It’s surprisingly cool in your hands, even on this hot, end-of-summer day. Indian summer was what you called this weather as a kid. It’s probably not okay to say that now. Dog days, that’s better. It’s a fuckin dog day for sure.

Cool, yeah, not cold. Cool like the other side of your pillow. It feels pretty good, really. You shift in your seat, turn it over on its side, hear the small clicks of the objects in the chambers as they move, slightly.

Alloy frame. Stainless steel. Satin finish. Rosewood grips, shining just as pretty as a new-polished floor.

Whatever. The important thing is that it’s loaded.

Somewhere in the house a phone starts ringing. It’s a jangling, painful sound; one of those old phones that still has the holes you stick your fingers in to dial. You can picture it: dull scuffed plastic that was once clear, the edges rimmed with dirt from a thousand finger-insertions. That buzz when you let go each hole, short or long depending on whichever number. Zero, man, that one took forever.

The man you’ve tied up in the corner is yelling again. Well, trying to, anyway. It’s kind of hard to yell through a dishtowel, although he’s giving it the old college try. “What,” you say to him. “You expecting a call?” And you laugh a little. Jesus, it’s hot.

The phone stops, which is nice, because it was starting to get on your nerves.

He’s looking at you now, all pleading wet eyes, like some kind of cartoon character. Like fuckin Bambi, except not nearly as cute. He pissed himself about five minutes after you yanked the last zip tie tight, maybe around the time he first saw the gun, and the kitchen has filled up with that acrid piss-smell. Ammonia. Fear. It’s as familiar to you as the cicadas humming outside, that smell.

“Hmmmmm,” he’s saying behind that towel. “Hrrrrmm! Hrrrrrrm!” He’s straining at those ties but they don’t have one bit of give. Keep the raccoons out of your trash, keep a grown man from moving his arms and legs.

“Go ahead,” you tell him. “Bark all you want.”

That bad old sun isn’t giving this day any kind of break. You turn your face into your upper arm, rub off a long runner of sweat, grinning as you do so because the fact that your gun hand is kind of waving around is freaking his shit.

Outside the insects drone, the afternoon throbs. Inside the kitchen the air doesn’t seem to move. Okay. Okay.

“Listen,” you say. “Listen up.”

You start talking. You had this planned, sort of, but once you get going it’s like some big heavy truck rolling down a steep hill: you can’t stop. Your voice gets louder and louder, until you can’t hear those bugs no more. He’s staring back and moaning and that piss smell is everywhere and your guts feel like they’re turning inside out.

And then there’s nothing left. No more words. Your face feels gross: tears, sweat, snot. You sit back in the ugly white chair with chipped paint that you could sketch with your eyes closed. Your breath comes in hiccuping gasps.

He’s on the floor, an old man with a piss-stain on his work pants. Pitiful, really. He don’t look like he could hurt anyone. One of your hands is in your lap. The other is raising, almost all by itself. Your thumb is moving, pulling back that hammer.

Now he’s crying, his eyes are pinched shut and he’s making little choking sounds.

“Open your eyes,” you tell him. You put your index finger on the trigger and feel the ridges in the metal.

It’s getting late. The buzzing is so loud, it’s everywhere. The sun is a giant ball of fire dipping slowly behind the horizon. Maybe what you hear isn’t cicadas after all, but the hot static sound of the sun burning everything alive.

“Open your eyes,” you say.

The Bible says to forgive but the Bible also says an eye for an eye and what happens when someone takes something more important than an eye?

“Look at me,” you say gently.

It’s the tiniest of movements. Just a squeeze. That’s all you have to do.

Comments

34 Responses to “Storytime”

  1. Libby on September 8th, 2006 11:45 am

    That’s the end?!? Darn! But then again, I was getting a feeling of dread when I was reading, because your descriptions are so good at drawing a picture in my mind, and this was heading in a direction that would have drawn a pretty graphic picture, and I was having such a lovely afternoon. Stop reading? No fucking way.

  2. Meg on September 8th, 2006 11:46 am

    Dude, that’s awesome! Write a book!

  3. Stephanie (alwaysworried) on September 8th, 2006 12:11 pm

    next chapter please, thanks :)

  4. Lisa-Marie on September 8th, 2006 12:24 pm

    Fiction Friday? Awesome idea! And, great first story; very vivid and intense!

  5. fifi on September 8th, 2006 12:31 pm

    Nicely written, I was gripped. If everybody has a book in them, how about a Sundry short story collection?

  6. Junniper on September 8th, 2006 1:14 pm

    That was pretty damn good. Will there be another chapter?

  7. breckgirl on September 8th, 2006 1:25 pm

    But was that truly fiction? Seemed awfully real to me – perhaps not the actual gun to the head drama, but the feelings of a girl who had something taken from her are pretty apparent. Keep writing, Linda – I wish I was brave enough. Thank you.

  8. sundry on September 8th, 2006 1:31 pm

    Yes, it was fiction, and no, no more chapters. Did she shoot him? Hell, I don’t know.

  9. K on September 8th, 2006 1:44 pm

    Kickass fiction, Sundry! Strong voice and awesome use of second person point of view. Not many stories are written in 2nd person, and it makes it that much juicier! Love it!

  10. Junniper on September 8th, 2006 2:12 pm

    Well since there’s no more chapters, I guess I’ll just have to wait for Fiction Friday next week! Keep it up!

  11. Sherri R on September 8th, 2006 2:33 pm

    Man I REALLY hate cliffhangers. Remember “The Lady and the Tiger”? We had to read it at school. It was the first cliffhanger I ever read, and I still think about it sometimes, wondering what was behind the door he opened.

    Awesome story though, very vivid. Can’t wait for the next story.

  12. Sherri R on September 8th, 2006 2:36 pm

    Sorry, that’s “the Lady OR the Tiger”

  13. erica on September 8th, 2006 2:43 pm

    wow.

  14. Anais on September 8th, 2006 2:46 pm

    Bravo!!! Write a book already, woman! =)

  15. Leah on September 8th, 2006 2:50 pm

    Phew – for a minute I thought JB left the seat up one too many times!

  16. Pete on September 8th, 2006 3:12 pm

    Walk away from the gun and no one will get hurt.
    Good Post.

  17. Kristen on September 8th, 2006 5:05 pm

    Jesus.

  18. kelly on September 8th, 2006 5:17 pm

    gosh, i sure do love your short stories. :) thanks!

  19. mom on a wire on September 8th, 2006 5:51 pm

    Very powerful. Yikes.

  20. LIsa on September 8th, 2006 5:53 pm

    yikes!

  21. LLL on September 8th, 2006 6:09 pm

    WRITE A BOOK!!! Good grief, you have a gift woman.

    Plus, I am sure this woman would buy it: http://www.katu.com/stories/88966.html

  22. cris on September 8th, 2006 8:55 pm

    intense!

  23. Julie on September 8th, 2006 11:55 pm

    Reminds me of Stephen King – great detail, walking us through. You have a story? You should write it. Easy for me to say, I know. But you have it. You really do. You’re on your way.

  24. MademoiselleCaroline on September 9th, 2006 6:58 am

    Yyyes!

  25. jac on September 9th, 2006 7:54 am

    I liked it. I also liked your comment that it was a ‘she’, because I had to go back and check: and I was right, it’s very well written in that it never specifies this. I read it as two men, which also works.

  26. TB on September 9th, 2006 8:25 am

    Sort of reminds me of early Stephen King. I hope you take that as a compliment because while he hasn’t written anything worthwhile in more than a decade, his early short stories were pretty damn awesome.

  27. Sara on September 9th, 2006 12:16 pm

    You know you want to keep writing! And we want to continue reading! What a tease. :P

  28. Lisa B on September 9th, 2006 12:45 pm

    Damn. Good scene setting, and I felt the heat of the day, but one of the comments jarred me out of the story – “until you can’t hear those bugs no more” – the “no more” rang false, for some reason. But it’s a minor quibble, as the rest of the scene setting was dead on. May we have some more, please, ma’am? :)

  29. Josh on September 9th, 2006 2:08 pm

    I’m sure someone has said this before, but you,Sundry, are one fucked up lady. In a good way. Great story, fiction friday brightened up my didn’t-check-on-shit-friday-so-now-I’m-lounging-around-the-house saturday.

  30. Sabine on September 9th, 2006 3:35 pm

    I know you’ve heard it before (and I know I’ve commented it sometime in the years that I’ve been reading you), but you really should think about writing books, Sundry. You have a gift with words and a brilliant imagination. I for one would buy every copy and look forward to the next. What is it about Seattle and brilliant writers? (Tom Robbins is my absolute favorite.)

  31. Lesley on September 9th, 2006 7:40 pm

    Reading that, I was reminded of the short story by Flannery O’Conner called A Good Man is Hard to Find.

  32. katie d on September 10th, 2006 10:58 am

    Damn, you nailed the voice, big time. Good job.

  33. Kristin on September 10th, 2006 3:11 pm

    I think she shot him. And for the love of all things holy, write that book. The world needs more Sundry, and gritty or sweet, you are always compelling.

  34. omuchacha on September 10th, 2006 7:37 pm

    You know, walking out after letting him squirm like that would be the better revenge in my book. Because after all, if he goes to the cops, she’ll let everyone know what he did to deserve it.

    Sometimes walking away and keeping hold of the trump card to use later is for the best.

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