FFF Love Hurts

Cormac’s FFF is on again. The first line is given on Friday, then we have our attempt done by Tuesday morning. If you haven’t tried it, get in on the next one — it keeps you going. And even if you don’t check out some of the other folks; real fine writers over there. Anyway, below is my attempt for this week.

Love Hurts

“What do you see when you close your eyes?” she asked while tracing my temple to jaw-line with her index finger. I thought about pretending to be asleep, but we had just finished making love and I was just starting to breathe normally again.

We had met at a diner set up by a mutual friend of ours, Ernie. He was a light-skinned Indian with an Elliot Smith look on life. For some fucking reason we hit it off in the pen. Funny guy, that Ernie, when he wasn’t completely stoned out of his gourd; it was too bad the dudes he ripped apart in the cage didn’t get quite the giggle I did over his antics.

I stopped having beers with him when he stopped being funny. Cheap vodka and pills I never knew the name to were Ernie’s breakfast while dinner consisted of even cheaper whiskey. Some kind of blackness took hold of him and never let go. When he called about Tally, I almost didn’t answer. Guess fate works that way, since my hands seemed to work on their own accord.

Louie’s Diner made the best damn Huervos Ranchos this side of Mexico. They splashed homemade spices on the plate hash browns that was so big it needed its own plate. It was a wide-open place so a person could watch the boys cook and talk and laugh trying new tricks with spatulas, spins, twists, tapping out beats. The cooks all knew me, so it seemed the logical place to meet someone for the first time.

Tally had me with the wave of her hand.

She was one of those natural red heads with striking blue eyes. Not what I expected. Ernie said I know a dog by its mange – funny guy was losing his punch.

In bed I could feel her eyes on me, waiting for an answer I wasn’t prepared to give. I turned on my side to face her. I moved my fingers along her hip, up to her the lattice of rib-bone, and back down. I felt her breath on my lips, my cheek.

At the diner we talked over dinner. We talked over Key Lime pie and coffee. We talked till it was almost breakfast. The way she laughed made me think of sunshine peeking through clouds and I’m sure as hell not a romantic kind of guy.

Over the next couple of weeks I followed her husband. She said he was abusive. She said he was screwing his secretary. She said the cops wouldn’t do anything because of his daddy, which was probably true since his daddy just happened to be Senator Garbeneaux who played a defining role the finest circus on earth or as otherwise known as the Louisiana legislature. The kind of guy who always knows what’s going on.

Over those two weeks I knew she wasn’t lying. I’d watch the stupid bastard take “meetings” during all hours of the day. One night as I rinsed the soap off Tally’s back, I gently touched the new bruises appearing there. The Friday I was going to fulfill my end of the bargain, I had to hold myself up off of Tally’s body because of her broken rib.

Ok, I admit it, I was incensed. My number one rule is not to get emotionally attached, but this was more than a man could handle.

That Friday I followed him from that upscale place just past Spanish Town. It was a warm evening and Baton Rough seemed simple and wonderful even though I knew dark things were happening and would happen again.

After it was over, she begged to meet me. I told her it was an awful idea, but she was insistent. She said she needed my arms wrapped around her; and to tell the truth, my body was aching for her too. We met at a motel and showered together, as was our ritual, and then we lay together, like married people finding lovers, or young lovers desperate to be married.

For about a month we would sit at opposite ends of Louie’s Diner and stare at each other while drinking coffee. We might steal a kiss outside the bathrooms, but nothing else. And then we started “seeing” each other. It was off and on at first trying to make it seem like we had just started dating. After about 6 months, we didn’t try to hide it.

And here, now, she stroked my forehead and whispered, “Tell me. Tell me what you see when you close your eyes?”

I rolled on top of her and wrapped my fingers around her throat. I squeezed as she cried out. I felt my muscles shaking as her nails dug into my skin. Her legs thrashed. Whimpering, her body slowed, sinking into the dark sheets. I never opened my eyes but let the tears fall from my cheeks without blinking. “I see myself a shell of a shell of a shell.”

The next day I met the Senator, took his money.

That night Ernie joined me at the local dive where stupid college kids and wannabe middle-aged men got on stage to make fools of themselves in the amateur comedy night.

Neither one of us laughed.

Flash 1/25

So as you all know, Cormac set Friday Flash up for a community of writers to keep the creative juices flowing. We vote on the first sentence and then write a story, poem, whatever. We have from Friday to Tuesday to get something in.
As the sixth shot of whisky burnt its way down, I suddenly remembered what I left the house for.
The first shot was 2 fingers in a Gravity Hill shot glass. Gravity Hill in Pennsylvania was one of those places my ex took me to on a regular basis. She’d see this on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and had been on me for weeks to bring her up here.
When we got to the bottom of the hill she was bouncing up and down, smiling like a school girl about to ride a roller coaster, not that she could fit in one of those now. “Let’s see, let’s see, take your foot off the gas,” she says. And I think she’s nuts and give her a sideways glance to let her know as much.
“Now, Gordan G. Bisson,” she scolded, “this ain’t the time to be getting’ smart with me. We drove all the way up here fer a reason and if you ain’t got the sense to enjoy the moment, step on out the car and I’ll fetch you when I’m through.”
I gritted my teeth and nodded. The dentist told me I have ta stop grittin’ my teeth for the simple fact they were about flat as Northern Ohio and I wouldn’t be able to eat soon.
So I brought my right knee towards my chin in a grand show and, honest to heaven, the car kept going uphill. It was the damndest thing I ever saw.
“Ain’t this somethin’, Gordan? My the world is a wondrous and mysterious thing.”
“How’s it work?”
“What work?”
“The hill? How’s it work?”
“Cain’t you just accept that there are things in the world that are unexplainable?”
I couldn’t and that drove her crazy. She popped the can of Mountain Dew, unrolled the window, and stuck her fat arm out the can gripped in her chubby fingers.
“Watch this.”
And she dumped the can. I was about to yell at her since we just bought it up the road a piece at the Seven 11, but then I watched the yellow liquid go uphill. “You see that?”
She damn well knew I’d seen it. I opened my mouth, shut it, then opened it again letting only air escape. She giggled, her Gerbil eyes looking at me with a gleam and sparkle.
After the second shot I got caught up watching some crazy mother fuckers on TV. A woman just shit on the floor. I shit you not. And everyone was walking around, pointing and cursing, blaming one another, and I was thinking they ain’t nothing but untrained animals shitting on the floor and fucking like they do.
Then Sheila came in with a grilled ham and cheese, chips, and pickle in one hand and a glass of Mountain Dew in the other. I hadn’t eaten since lunch and it smelled mighty fine.
“What the hell you watchin’, Gordan?” she growled lowering herself into her lazyboy.
Then she leaned over her plate of food, her breasts practically smashing her sandwich, and she asks, “Gordan, is that shit on the floor?”
“Human shit?”
“What’s the hell’s wrong with you?”
I was in my truck when I did my third shot. I just needed a little peace. I looked at the trailer, well kept considering, and listened to the wind. The windows down, my head leaned back on the headrest, my right arm along the seat like I was pulling in some woman real close like.
Of course I weren’t out there for two damn minutes before I saw Sheila open up the front door, the blue TV glow behind her, with one hand on her rolling hip, the other in some weird salute as if it would help her see me in my truck.
“Whatcha’ doin’ out there, Gordan? We gots things to do.”
This was code for she has chores for me.
The fourth and fifth shots were done in the bathroom sitting on the shitter. I had been under the sink fixing a small leak that had started to stain the cabinet and who know what it doin’ to the subfloor. I could barely fit in the cabinet and considered ripping the whole cheap thing out and chucking it right through the window, but then I’d have to hear Sheila nag me for weeks.
A little thread, putty, and cursing got the leak fixed in no time, but I wasn’t in no hurry to go back out to the living room where I could hear her guffawing through some sitcom rerun. When she called me to tell me I was missing all the good parts, I couldn’t help but agree.
So I snuck out the house as quiet as I could considerin’ I was drunk as shit. I got in my Ford, fumbled my keys into the ignition, and pulled out. I think I saw her wave to me as I drove out of the driveway, he mouth jawing something of course.
It weren’t but a mile down the road that I figured my lights needed to be on, and another before I could find the bottle to get another swig of Jack. As the sixth shot of whisky burnt its way down, I suddenly remembered what I left the house for: the old Jackson Bridge.
When the old rusted thing came into view, I didn’t feel like jumping anymore. Probably just screw it up. I’d get halfway there and pass out, or fall the wrong way and wake up with a hell of a hangover and a bump on my noggin’.
Naw, I decided to just run my ole Ford right off the embankment. I swear, as I went down the world rushed right up past me like some great miracle.