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Livin' Easy

 
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Ketch Creeley
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 03 Jun 2014
Posts: 207
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2015 10:03 pm    Post subject: Livin' Easy Reply with quote

(This post is in response to the Wish I May, Wish I Might playable and was originally posted May 22, 2015. I've simply moved the body into this folder.)

“...and the livin’s easy, fish are jumpin’, cotton’s high....”

It’s not yet summer, there are no fish, and the only cotton in sight is the tricot-blend tee gathering damp half moons around his armpits and sticking to his back. What there is is a stop light. Which he is idling at. The machine between his legs lacks only a lipstick finish, but he’s too restless to wait for the parts before taking it out; what are appearances to a guy whose primary accessories are grease stains and bleach spatters anyway?

This evening jaunt is meant as their first long conversation. Man and machine. He’s interested in the language it speaks: in the way the gears catch, in the way it exhales in faint gray, how it balances. Firstly, this one’s not a growler, not really, but boasts an aggressive purr that hums a suggestive current through his legs. A little understated but very present. A cruiser. Wants some open road rather than hair-pin turns and breakneck speed. Fingers feather the throttle and he gives it a little kick when the light turns green, winks quickly through the gears, and then downshifts before cornering onto a sidestreet. Another kick earns a little gravel spray before he rights and sails the asphalt sea smoothly. This one’s a lady, maybe, but her skirts hide dirty feet.

Another stoplight; perpendicular antcrawl of traffic.

“Your daddy’s rich, your ma’s good lookin’....” comes the tune again, a backroom strain inside his head. The voice isn’t his, Ella’s, or anyone’s he’s familiar with. It happens on occasion: someone’s stolen memory has gotten loose. He tries to keep his own mind well-contained, imagines it like a shoebox with the lid on tight, but sometimes all those other voices crawl in on spider legs of crossed wiring and start spinning a cobweb or two.

Right before Mimi vanished, she sang often. Just opened her mouth and let out skeins of verse in voices that weren’t hers for hours at a time.

“It’s pretty anyway,” she said between the bars of an Italian lullaby, but he could tell the slippage scared her.

Go away. Mentally he wrestles the lid of his mind tighter, looks for something else to fixate upon.

Next to him is a convertible filled with New Haven-lites, the ones that feed the entirety of their paychecks into the address and starve themselves Vogue skinny. Blonde, blonde, brunette. Their lips are coral, pink, and red. He decides they probably share an apartment filled with Friday-night photographs in rustic frames with pithy little sayings about friendship. Most likely culprit: the coral blonde. There’s something tragically hopeful in the catlike way she’s lined her eyes. But they look like they’re having a good time, passing a hot pink flask between them, dusting off the winter and flavoring their grins with a little Spring coy. Coral blonde waves, he waves back. Hi, hello. The smile tucked between his black helmet is tight where hers is open and bright and has a blast radius of warmth that stops just shy of widening his own. She doesn’t have enough catastrophe written in her features yet to keep his attention there for long.

“Hush, little baby, don’t you cry....” Man on a porch; sunset in Denver; Tanqueray, up. Orville Masters likes Ella but not Nina. Birthday: 1-15-65. Five-feet ten, but claims 6 feet. International financier, frequent flyer, afraid of open water. Polishes his own shoes every Sunday.

Well, polished.

The barrier is thinning. Ketch spits a curse that he grinds into the pavement with the toe of his boot, wishes he had his flask of whiskey. He meant to drive in the country for awhile, but home’s not far, just a mile or two.

Green light, go.

Two blocks ahead a white flash in the sky mixes with the red-aura omen of brakelights. Bad sign. In that slow-motion way that occurs before disaster, Ketch swears he can see the “Oh ***,” form on the mouth of the other driver when he looks up from his phone. Tires smear tread across the asphalt as Ketch swerves and pulls a hard stop. The soles of his boots burn with friction. The final verse in his head gives way to an orchestra of crashing metal that spells dark relief while a lane over, three brightly-painted o’s add an instrumental of discordant shrieking as planks and splinters of aged oak hurtle outward from the blown-off tarp of the T-boned truck. He ducks one. Another clips him on the shin. The girls will probably not be framing any of the photos from tonight: their faces are caricatures of horror as they stare at the remains of their windshield, and he’s so caught up in the way aghast restructures the symmetry of their features that he doesn’t notice it at first: that fine, fine amber mist drizzling down from above. Ketch swipes at the wet fringe collecting along his jaw and touches his knuckle to his mouth. Tastes like a home brew, but goddamn if it isn’t whiskey.

Shrieks give way to silence, then nervous laughter. The driver of the SUV stumbles out from underneath his airbag and sways drunkenly beneath his light coating of white powder. Ketch nudges the kickstand, tips his head to the sky and opens his mouth. Decides to hang tight for a minute or ten, at least until the brown rain stops. After all, it would seem oddly ungrateful to do anything otherwise.

Song lyrics from "Summertime" by George Gershwin.
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