The desert air smells like burnt tire rubber and dried mouse turds. From a hundred feet away Harold can hear the whoosh of cars on 15 heading either to Vegas or Los Angeles. The heat hasn’t dissipated by the lack of sun. It’s just dark now and he still feels wrapped in a hot oven.
He hitched a ride and got dropped off here on a dirt road in the dark. He’ll find another ride tomorrow when the sun comes up.
A coyote howls in loneliness.
“I feel ya buddy,” he answers back.
Having nothing better to do he starts walking, but shortly stops when the failed seam along the outside of his left boot, which exposed his sockless foot to the elements, picks up a sharp pebble.
He takes his book off to shake it free.
With boot in hand he is startled by the sudden intrusive vroom of a 12 piston German manufactured engine and bright halogen lights bearing down on him.
Fritz is drunk and has forgot he is even driving as he stares down at the library of music on his phone.
He wants a wicked beat to enter California with.
His foot sinks further down on accelerator and the back end of the BMW skids on the dirt as he hits play on a bass and drum piece pumping his fist.
The good news is Harold doesn’t feel the car slam into his body. Only his weak heart exploding in fear.
At sixty she got stuck with a mind that refused to function like it should. A mind that forgot more then it retained. Yet everyday she thinks of France. She fantasizes about fresh baked baguettes smeared with soft creamy brie, and rude waiters talking down to her as if being American was a disease.
“We should go.”
“Mom, you’ve been to France. We went last year.”
Then she remembers.
Her daughter is 20 and getting married.
Thirty with kids.
Forty and no longer visits.
That her life is almost done.
She forgets all this again and tomorrow longs for France anew.
A red sunset fades into the blue-grey waters of the Gulf of Mexico replaced by a wicked wind and the flash and sound of a coming storm. The flimsy brush on the small island whips wild. The tent flutters mad. The boy’s dog cowers on the small seashell covered beach illuminated by the boom and crack of a bolt of blue lightning streaking from out of a sudden hostile sky.
Rain falls hard.
Ropes of deadly electricity fall violently from the sky.
Thunder rolls loud and obscene.
The tiny dots of yellow lights from the shore, a half-mile away, disappear into the blackness of the squall.
It could be midnight in Hell.
Then the storm is gone.
Replaced by a sweet cool breeze and a star speckled night and a dog glued to a thirteen year old boy’s leg as if born there.
With maniacal laughter, George Talbert slices through another tree. His fat arms quiver exhausted and the chainsaw buzzes mad, as if on the verge of breaking down. Talbert has felled about fifty trees so far. A whole livelihood of maples in fact. The air is pungent with revenge, sweet-sweet mapley revenge.
The tall tree begins to fall with a crack. He releases his finger from the chainsaws trigger and screams a sarcastic, “Timber!”
He wipes cold sweat from his bald scalp with shaky fingers and turns.
He smiles, jaw aching, at the wide fierce eyes of farmer Brown.
Talbert stares back, black splotches forming at the corners of his vision. This man’s reaction, trussed up, ball-gagged and fuming, is his reward.
“Didn’t have to come to this,’ Talbert wheezes. “You could have dammed the river elsewhere.”
The ache in his chest grows into an inferno of pain. He collapses to one knee, mouth working around a suddenly fat useless tongue. He is desperate to gloat more, but can’t, and dies.
She’s an angel
A red dressed vixen with the limbs of a goddess
the smile of a muse
the eyes of perfection
whims that set men and women all a flutter with desire to please
She is the fire of want
the burning insatiable hunger of need.
Trouble and turmoil
A fix away from happiness
a mess in need of cleaning
because she can
He raises the old .22 and fires a bullet at the cops.
The cops shoot back.
He gets hit!
While dying he thinks, the bitch was right all this time. Everything she said. “You’ll fail!” and he did. At least he tried. Right? Attempt coupled with failure is still a success?
The place is on the water. It has little umbrellas that have frayed in the wind. The fresh salty air from the gulf can’t penetrate the smells of stale beer and greasy food that surround the plywood structure like a fugue.
Gulls circle looking for morsels of food. With protesting squawks they fly off when the big bikes roar into the parking lot. The leather-dressed men smell of piss, shit and vomit. They have long greasy hair and beards. They wear dark glasses and scowls. They step off loud machines onto sun bleached cement stained with blood and violence.
One after another they park until twenty bikes are lined up.
When the last one enters the dive bar the door closes after him and the music inside kicks off and the gulls return to search for food.