The Party

(Continued from Chelsea – 9)

They sat in a charged silence with the turn signal blinking to allow a silver Volvo station wagon to enter then followed it down the drive. “We’re just arriving”, he said glancing into the rear view to catch Gennie’s eye. “We don’t know what happened…let anyone who wants to tell, tell.”

“Duke and Beth?” Gennie asked from the back.

“No. They know. Everyone else though…”

Gennie sighed loudly-a tad too loudly.

“Jesus Christ Geneva!”, Chelsea hissed turning in her seat. “Would you drop the fucking ‘tude!” The magic word to bust Gennie’s attitude always is her proper name spoken in anger. She puddled against the door.

“I’m sorry”, she said. “Sorry. I was just so…I’m just so…scared…”

“Scared”, sniffed Chelsea. “Scared…” She turned in the seat and without warning, slithered over the back rest. He had no desire to interfere but looking over in time to get a glimpse of Chelsea’s butt peeking out of the large tear in the seat of her jeans awakened desires he did have.

Gennie could barely get out a weak “Hey!” and throw up her arms before Chelsea was on her. “Do not be afraid and do not be a baby!” Chelsea said sternly grabbing her wrists and pushing them down to her sides. This lanky blonde was surprising strong. “Do you think we’re going to let anything happen to you?”

“But…”

“Shut up!” Chelsea whispered. In the rear view he could mostly on see the back of Chelsea’s head but saw Gennie’s eyes roll back and close as Chelsea closed her mouth over hers. Gennie had no choice then but to shut up, there being two tongues in her mouth and all. She did relax, at least for the moment, as Chelsea released her arms and wrapped her in a hug. He pulled his eyes back to the road. Whatever the women did together back at the house, they did it out of his sight. Being a witness to this small coupling further scattered his concentration.

One would have thought that gunplay, an explosion, a cavalry charge of ATV’s and SUV’s scattering and subsequently rounding up a band of armed brigands might have put a damper on the party. In truth, some of the more timid souls had left at the first chance, but not too many timid souls come to this party anyway. The stream of vehicles coming down the driveway far and away outnumbered those going up.

After all that had happened it might have seemed easy to forget the plans for their entrance, but Chelsea was still on point. Once parked, she went to the trunk and pulled out the two staffs she had fashioned with the nooses on the ends. “Are we still going to do this?” Gennie asked.

In answer Chelsea looped the noose over her head and pulled it tight.

“GAK!”

“Yes, we’re still going to do this.”

They entered the bonfire’s circle of light opposite the smoking hulk of the motorcycle which had become a prop. The girls lurched, twitched and growled at the menagerie of beasts and ghouls that turned at their entrance.

“Walkers in the house!” croaked a three-eyed raven; “Ah Zombies!” cried a vampire with improbably large breasts spilling over her red corset. Gennie was happy she hadn’t done the vampire thing. There were cops, soldiers, Captain America made it as did Bat Girl-who might have been Bat Man in drag. Some costumes were less elaborate than others, and others wore no costumes at all-it was a good mix.

While he was scanning the crowd, a five-foot kitten hopped their way and sniffed at his feet.  He paused to allow for the act and when she turned from his feet to Gennie he saw the fur chaps she wore were backless and her furry tail protruded directly out of her bottom, no doubt plugged firmly in place. She rose on her haunches to sniff Gennie’s butt.

“Scat!” he said pantomiming a kick that gently poked at the kitten’s dimpled white bum. She hissed and scampered off.

(Continuing…)

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Mark

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A December warm front had filled the valley with a thick drizzling fog that turned midday to dusk. I had just left the Vet’s club heading for Tony’s Wild Irish Rose on the corner because I had a thing for the daytime bartender. Too early to tell if she was open or interested, but it seemed promising.  Had to put in the time to find out but things had started to look up over the past couple of weeks.

I stopped short noticing a distinctive shadow down the block in the fog.

“Mark?”

He was less a person from here than a dark smudge on a dirty gray sheet.

“Mark! What the fuck are you doin?”

Mark was below me through a gap where a church had burned, across the alley on the railroad track. From what I could tell, he was more than half way through Master Chen’s 60 movement tai chi form. I knew the form well enough; he’d been trying, with varying degrees of success, to teach it to me over the last two years. But that was in his dojo, two blocks up next to the bodega. Not down on the tracks.

He would do this kind of stuff when it struck him. And it was much easier to deal with him when he was drinking. Then he knew, on some level, at some lizard brain level, that what he was doing might be stupid and would allow himself to be talked out of it. He lived with the hard-wired assumption that he might be wrong because he was a drunk.

Now, four months sober, there was no reasoning with him. He could not be dissuaded from ANYTHING! Today he was frighteningly sober. The kind of aggressive-sober only drunks could get. And he was doing tai chi on the railroad tracks.

“I smell the booze coming off you”, he growled when I got close enough.

Better a shot of CC than getting hit by a train, I thought. But said nothing. His movements were crisp but flowing. Hundreds of years of meditative body mechanics brought to bear on the rocky ballast in the down side of town.

“Put me on the list”, he said.

“Which one?”

“Your pallbearer list.“

Shit, I thought. I had forgotten I’d told him about that. It wasn’t like I’d written it down or anything. And it wasn’t final. There were ten or twelve possibles that moved in and out as the mood struck. Unless they died, then obviously, off for good.

“I said I didn’t want to do it”, he went on. “But that will be fine. I’d like to speak too. Say something about you being weak and a drunk who shoulda died years ago and saved the air for the rest of us.”

“I don’t know if that will go over. I’m sure I’ll have family there.”

“Betcha I won’t get an argument”, he said, still never looking my way.

There was a growing rumble in the tracks. The afternoon CSX, filled with coal, was winding its way down river but was slowed by the big curve and the bridge on the other side of the switching yard. Still-by the sound of the whistle-it was no more than a half mile away.

“Train’s comin’”, I said.

He ignored me and kept to his pace. He’d probably finish in time. Nothing to be done.

I walked up to The Rose and sat at the end of the bar where I could still see him through the window. Treena, following my eyes, placed a beer in front of me and poured a shot. “He was in here earlier looking for you.”

“I was at the Vet’s earlier. What time did you start?”

“Trying to get an extra couple hours”, she explained. “Hadda take tomorrow off. Headin’ down to West Virginia. My old man’s gettin’ outta jail.”

“Your father?”

“No dipshit. My husband. Did eighteen months. Early release.”

“Didn’t know you were married.”

“Who wants to talk about their husband in prison? Went in with the meth-hope he’s coming out clean. Said they fixed his teeth.”

She smiled. Her teeth were good, except for the cracked one in front.

I pounded the shot and chased it with the beer as the train blew by a little too fast; it’s whistle, loud and bawling, rattling glasses behind the bar. Couldn’t see Mark anywhere.

I signaled for another round.

 

Someone once told me that Jerry Garcia died getting straight. If he had stayed an addict, he’d still be alive. I don’t know about that but Mark Krajack never woulda faced down a train drunk. He woulda joined me someplace outta the fog for a beer and tried to converse over the roar of the whistle. That’s what he woulda done.

Merry Christmas

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(It’s isn’t “A Charlie Brown Christmas” or “A Wonderful Life” but after posting, then reposting, this the last two Decembers, I beg your indulgence again… )

On his knees, head cocked against the smoke from the cigarette in the corner of his mouth, he spun the tree slowly.

“How’s this?” he asked knowing it was not so good. It had looked OK in the lot.

“It’s fine”, she said. “Better than fine. Beautiful.”

“Just like this then?”

“Yep.”

He tightened the screws in the stand and sat back on the floor. It had been two years since she’d been cancer-free and half that since he’d had a drink. They had decided that drought would end tonight though-an exact year from when it started. One year in the desert was enough.

He’d bought a bottle for the occasion. Later though. First he had to turn two boxes of too many parts into Tony’s spaceship and Tammy’s dollhouse.

“I can see the twins have been good this year”, he nodded at the toys. “What about you?”

“Me? I’ve been good…I’m always good…” she said with a slight-almost shy- smile. “Mostly…”

“Mostly? Do you have something you want to tell me?”

“Nothing specific…just general…things…”

“Well”, he drawled, “I might have to take care of that.”

She reached for his pack and tapped one out. She held it between her fingers but made no move for the lighter.

“It’s been awhile.”

“Like you said, you’ve been mostly good…”

A light blush dusted her cheekbones. “You won’t break me, you know.”

He ground the cigarette out in the ashtray beside him and exhaled into the silence.

“What will we drink to?” he asked.

“To?”

“Yeah, like what will we toast?”

She looked up at the spruce that was really too big for their living room.

“How about ‘being’.”

“Being?” he asked.

“Yeah.” She said. “Being. Sometimes that’s enough.”

He followed her eyes to the bare tree top.

“Sometimes that’s plenty.”

Wishing you Peace and All Good Things…

Chelsea – 9

(Continued from Chelsea – 8)

Slipping back over the hill, they left the yelling and the glow of the scene behind and retraced their steps quickly but surely in the deepening gloom. At least he and Chelsea did; Geneva hung back. Without the excitement of knowing what she was doing back there-or of having any part in the proceedings-she was left confused and, truth be told, more than a little frightened. Not wanting to reveal herself as a scaredy-cat, she instead donned the cloak of pique, moodily dragging herself along doing everything but kicking at the ground.

Chelsea was still on-mission; moving precisely and with purpose. She was the first to reach the gun cache and popped it back open with the digging tool. Comfortable with Chelsea’s execution he stepped back to read and answer texts that were coming pretty regularly right now.

“A little help here”, she asked Gennie, nodding to the other end of the lid. Moving precisely, she wiped each gun and put them back carefully, sealed and covered the top. “Just fill and smooth the dirt back over that edge”, she said. “Make it look natural.”

“Don’t worry, Wonder Woman. I know what to do.”

Chelsea was quick to come out of her crouch and snag Gennie by the belt buckle. “Hey! Don’t be a brat,” she ordered pulling her close. Gennie seemed to be resisting and Chelsea stepped into her and slipped the back of her hand down her pants keeping her grip. The feel of her nails roughly scraping her lower belly then settling in the top strands of her pubic hair froze Gennie. Her belt dug into her back as Chelsea leveraged her hand deeper into her pants. Was Chelsea suddenly taller?  Were her shoulders wider? She gasped lightly as the longest of Chelsea’s fingers plunged to the bottom of her patch and flicked back and forth at the top of her suddenly moist opening.

“I warn you, you don’t want to be a brat right now”, Chelsea growled, the menace in her voice undercut by the dancing light in her eyes.

“No…” she said, her voice a hoarse whisper. “No, I don’t.”

Gennie’s eyes fell closed and she allowed her mouth to sag open expecting a kiss from the lips that were so close she could smell Chelsea’s lipstick. Instead, Chelsea opened her mouth, slipped her head to the side and bit Gennie’s nose. Softly at first, then just hard enough to get her to open her eyes.

“Some zombies eat other zombies, you know”, she said pulling back.

He watched from the deep shadows of a large sycamore. Evidently it wasn’t only his blood that was running hot.

(Continuing…)

Chelsea – 8

(Continued from Beth)

They had a clear view of what was happening from a copse of locusts and maples on a rise above the house. He gripped the rifle firmly at his waist and slid a shell into the chamber.

“Hundred fifty”, he said guessing the yardage.

“One seventy-five or eighty”, Chelsea answered; not second guessing him exactly. Just saying what she saw. After scanning the field, she looked at the gun, then at him. Then back to the gun.

“How good are you?” she asked.

“I can hit him.” He winced, hearing another swat strike Beth.

“Can you disarm him? Without killing him?”

He knew the rifle could make the shot.

“What’s the load?” she asked.

“180. Loaded them myself.”

“What the fuck are you people talking about?” Gennie asked in a stage whisper from behind them. She wasn’t sure which pissed her off more; not understanding their language, being told to “shush” or being completely ignored.

“Can you make the shot?” she asked again as calmly as if she had asked him for another cup of coffee.  But this time, when she asked, her hands closed on the rifle next to his. For the second time his eyes searched hers, looking for something she wasn’t about to give up. But what he did see was enough for him to release his hold on the gun. She took it and smoothly wrapped the sling around her arm for stability and leaned against a tree. She was erect, her lines firm and unmoving.

“Careful-the trigger’s light.”

He watched her inhale and let it out. The paddle struck Beth again, with a brutal force.

“Don’t let him hit her again,” he hissed through clenched teeth.

She gave no indication of hearing him. Again, a breath. Then one more. She seemed to grow with the final deep inhalation then settle, as everything around her went silent. She heard her heartbeat, low and slow and felt him beside her seeing what she was seeing. She fluidly slipped her finger from the outside of the guard and watched through the scope until he raised the paddle to deliver another swat. She feathered the trigger.

Nothing changes reality faster or more finally than a gunshot. Below, Beth Barton’s reality was strong hands holding her over the table and the ground below swimming in a hazy veil of tears. She accepted the punishing torture of her captor stoically tasting the blood where she bit her lip to avoid crying out. Her torturer’s reality was the paddle and using it to get what he wanted. “TELL ME! TELL ME!” he cried becoming more and more desperate and swinging harder and faster. The party goers, trussed up on the ground helplessly looked away from Beth’s purple bottom; some fearing they’d be next, others embarrassed to look.

This shooter feels the shot more than hears it. For her, the “CRACK!” of the rifle pulls the momentary blanket of silence over the scene. But, only momentary, before mayhem, and all its attendant noise erupts.   The rifle’s sharp report is joined with the yells from the patio as the paddle, shattered at its handle flies in pieces into the air. From the red mist she sees through the scope, Chelsea is pretty sure she’s taken a finger or two. Him jumping around screaming, grabbing his hand is proof.

Then the metallic “PLINK” as the bullet, barely deterred, finds its way into the gas tank of one of the motorcycles parked a little too close to the fire. The shiny splashes of gasoline showed clearly in his binoculars-suspended prettily- just before “WHUMP!” the bike exploded in a fireball and a breathless “JESUS FUCK!” from Gennie behind.

Gennie’s voice pulled him out of the scene through his binoculars and back to their little stand of trees. He knew Chelsea was watching the same tableau through the scope that he was seeing. What he hadn’t noticed was that she had calmly chambered another round and was choosing a target. It wasn’t hard to find one, the party guests, trussed up on the ground were easy to keep track of. Beth, released, had slipped down below the table she had been held over.

He lay his hand coolly on her forearm. At his touch, without looking, she pulled her finger from the trigger just as the hillside opposite them burst to life as six ATV’s with headlights and spotlights glaring came roaring down toward the patio and, from the right, line of SUV’s came down the driveway. One of those still standing below jumped on his motorcycle and kicked it to life. Wasn’t sure where he was going, but was going.

“Stop him”, was all he said. Chelsea’s tracked for a moment as the bike gained speed, then squeezed. Her shot was true, blowing the rear tire and laying them both-bike and rider-down, in a spinning skid back toward the barn.

He put his hand back on her arm and leaned close. “So, you are absolutely sure I can’t fuck you right?” his dick said through his mouth. She didn’t pull her eye from the scope, but he could see her smile.

(Continuing…)