Monday, March 27, 2006

The day I lost it

Scratch fiction tag courtesy of monkey0: chastity.

"I remember everything," Raye said, running one hand through her hair, ashing her cigarette before bringing it to her lips, "It was in my Vocational Ed class. Yeah, it was bad enough that we went to the public schools. This was before homeschooling was all the rage. It was easy then to get too much attention from the Feds, so, you know, we did what we had to.

"So, Voc Ed. They'd have people from the community come and give little presentations to the class, you know, This is what it's like to run a dry cleaner, or an auto shop, or punch the keys on a cash register, and this day, they had a hairdresser.

"It was weird anyway, they brought in a guy hairdresser, and he was Puerto Rican, how many of those do you see around here, huh? His name was Alfredo or Alberto, something like that, little guy. I was in the back of the class, like usual, you know, the only people I hung out with at school were my sisters, we were all freaks together in our long sleeves and skirts down to our ankles. Our hair in long braids down our backs."

Raye peeled away a piece of tobacco that had stuck to her lower lip, cig in her first two fingers, she pulled it away delicately with thumb and third finger.

"He said he was going to demonstrate a haircut, and he wanted a model.

"Mother said I'd heard the Devil speaking in my ear, old Satan himself, perched on my shoulder, his long tongue reaching into my ear, hot breath against my cheek, Satan seduced me, velvety voice purring, 'Raise your hand, Rachel,' she screamed I was the Devil's whore now, the last words she ever said to me, and my father pushed me out onto the dirt, not even a change of underwear or a piece of bread, he shut the door blank in my face - but I never heard a voice.

"I felt a heat, rather, starting right between my legs, and running all the way up inside me. My face must have been as red as a stop sign, but I couldn't stop my hand going up.

"I sat down in the chair, in front of the whole class, and I felt his hands slide in under my hair, I heard him coo over it, purring like he was a cat, his fingers deep in my hair, pulling through it. I'd never been touched by a man not my father before. My mother or one of the sister wives braided my hair every morning, and the touch of his hands sent shocks all the way to the center of me.

"'Put your head down, Sweetie,' his voice poured into my ear like maple syrup, if I ever heard the Devil's voice, it was Alberto's, soft and smooth as anything. I felt the cold metal of the scissors against my neck, felt them bite down, my hair sliding heavy to the floor.

"What's that? -No," Raye shook her head, stabbing out her cig. She rattled the ice in her glass at the waitress passing by, "No, of course not. He was gay, obviously. No, he cut my hair, that's all.

"But don't you understand? That was all it took."

Saturday, March 25, 2006

...and as fast as possible

The other morning I was walking to work. It was earlier than usual; the street was quiet, nearly empty. I saw a bus roaring up the street toward me, and I watched it, curious. Buses don't usually run on this street.

The driver must have had it floored.

As it came closer, I could read the destination on the front marquis:

"Nowhere in particular"

It blew past me at top speed.

Billy's back

Hey, I dried up for a while, didn't seem to have anything to say. But I'm back, children, and I don't think I'm going to stop talking any time soon.

I missed you all.


Ned's feet carried him down the steps into the station. A long corridor, white tile walls. A man tilted toward the wall, white vomit hanging from his chin, mouth grinning open, cackling as his urine arced out, splashing the white tile.

Ned paid with cash. Saturday night, the station was crowded. He pushed through the crowd, standing quietly to wait, his eyes moving over the posters across the tracks, none of the words making it all the way to his brain. He could hear people breathing around him, talking, laughing.

The train stopped and the doors opened in front of him. Ned stepped on board, moved down the train to the center and stood against the railing. He looked up at the people pressing in around him. A full car.

A young girl sat at the window, her face reflected clearly against the black of the tunnel. She was looking down, her face serene. She was beautiful. Ned's heart grew to take her in. Shining black hair hanging to her shoulders, a round face. She might have been Chinese. She glanced up, right into Ned's reflected eyes, her face softening into an almost-smile before looking back down.

Ned was in love.

Ned loved everyone on this train. The couple to his right, the girl sitting, her boyfriend standing, holding her hand. They were talking about a movie they wanted to see. The punk kid with spiked hair and an old leather jacket and a sweet flush on his cheeks. The brother with a glorious 'fro and shining suit. A man speaking Russian with his wife. A skinny blond girl hiding inside enormous sunglasses. They were all part of Ned tonight, not one of them knew how much.

Ned held out his hands to look at them, back and front. They were still. He was ready.

He reached into his coat, running a hand over the explosives against his body. Everything was there. He found the button, under his left arm, and tickled it with his thumb.

Ned looked around the car once more. They were all so beautiful, every one of them. He looked again at the Chinese girl, and her reflected eyes were on his again. She smiled for real this time. Ned smiled back, gratefully, and pressed his thumb down on the button.