Print Story What's Left of Me?
Staring into the oily film coating the surface of his coffee, Luke wondered just what it had all meant: the fire, the scramble. At the end of it all, would he even care?


Taking the last cup of the cafe's awful brew in one needful gulp he dropped a twenty down on the table to cover the time he'd been sitting there.

'Fuck it,' he thought. There were plenty of other towns in which he could lose himself and this was as good an excuse as any. As he slid back into his jacket, he could still smell the smoke. It reminded him of family reunions during childhood summers, his uncle Larry grilling "brats an' burgers" all afternoon.

Finally behind the wheel, he let his mind roam for the first time since that blazing eve. There were really only two things he could remember from that night: the smell and the sight of his cat, Gummo, bolting out of the hole in the screen in the back door of his apartment. Luke missed the little traitor, but did not blame him for his flight.

After all the insurance questions and the discussion at work, he was ready to be done with the whole mess. Every grueling grind of the tires on pavement brought him further and further away from the mess which his life had somehow conjured.

It wasn't the fire that had bothered him as the last few weeks had droned on, but rather, the realization which had decided to play tagalong. He didn't actually miss any of it much. No, to be honest, he didn't actually miss any of it at all.

Other than Gummo. That stupid little cat.

That's when he saw it; a black Caddy parked sideways across the two-lane highway. He cried out in surprise and skidded to a halt mere feet from the driver's side door. Panting in the heat haze of the noon desert sun, Luke slumped over the steering wheel for a moment to catch his breath.

'What sort of fuck parks like that in the middle of a goddamn highway?' he thought, his fear evolving quickly to anger. Raising his head, he started at the set of smiling, silver teeth that greeted him, blindingly shining in the sunlight.

"Well now," they said with a little hint of a chuckle beneath, "Goin' somewhere, boy?"

"J-jeezus Jack. What the hell?! You could've killed me!" Luke replied.

He raised his head to stare into a face he hadn't wished to see again for some time. It was only slightly craggy and worn, almost genial and inviting. However, beneath it all, lay something sinister Luke couldn't ever quite place. Jack pulled a lit cig from his coat pocket and took a slow drag, the smoke sliding out between his silver-capped teeth as he grinned widely.

"Coulda done that ages ago if I wanted. Now answer my question. Where are you goin'?"

"I don't know Jack, somewhere else is all."

"Good. That means ya' got no plans. Let's go for a ride."

"No. Jack... no. We're paid up. I don't owe you anything anymore!"

"We're paid up when I say we are, you little shit! That wasn't a suggestion, you get your ass in my car."

Luke looked over and considered for a moment how far he would make it before Panther Jack could get out the blade he kept on his hip. Not far enough, he figured.

He sighed, resigned, and slid from his shitty little coupe to Jack's big black caddy, even more unsure of everything than he was before.

The car jerked to a start the minute Luke climbed in, Jack pulling on the wheel to round it the way he had come. He pushed the car lighter into the socket, drumming his fingers on the dash impatiently before it popped out and he lit another cigarette.

Luke shuddered unwittingly for a moment as Jack looked over at him with his gunmetal grey eyes. "So then, there's been a few things about and we've got lots to discuss. What say we do this at a place that's made for it?"

"C'mon Jack, no. Just... just tell me what you want!"

"Quiet. You weren't goin' anywhere anyhow, said so yerself. Now, off to The Pit."

Luke sat back involuntarily as the car sped off, leaving no smoke or marks behind it. Other than Luke's crappy little car, there was no sign that anyone had been there in the stillness of the desert day.

< Shooting. | BBC White season: 'Rivers of Blood' >
What's Left of Me? | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
I swear, by grendel (4.00 / 1) #1 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 06:30:46 PM EST
I'll read this tomorrow.

Don't bother... by MisterQueue (4.00 / 1) #2 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 06:47:03 PM EST
really.


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I did invent the wheel in a previous generation.

[ Parent ]
Too late. by grendel (4.00 / 1) #20 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 01:36:01 PM EST
I read it. I like your imagery.

[ Parent ]
Well now you've gone and done it! by MisterQueue (2.00 / 0) #21 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 01:50:01 PM EST
But thank you anyway.


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I did invent the wheel in a previous generation.

[ Parent ]
The beginning of by calla (4.00 / 2) #3 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 09:17:48 PM EST
one of those crazy "buddy" flicks?

"Serpentine, Shel! Serpentine!"

"but i have a vested interest in keeping the people who see me naked interested in continuing to see me naked." 256

Hrm... by MisterQueue (2.00 / 0) #8 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 04:48:55 AM EST
while I might be tempted to put ol' PJ in the column of "crazy", I definitely wouldn't want him as a buddy.


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I did invent the wheel in a previous generation.

[ Parent ]
yeah, those buddy flicks with throbbing manhood by sasquatchan (4.00 / 1) #11 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 04:53:50 AM EST
uh huh.. We all know what "the pit" is..

[ Parent ]
I hope by MisterQueue (4.00 / 1) #13 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 04:55:19 AM EST
someday you will realize I am not for sale and stop with these childish homoerotic dreams you have.

Also, plsstopsendingpicsofyourwangthx.


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I did invent the wheel in a previous generation.

[ Parent ]
Richard Kadrey by Phage (4.00 / 1) #4 Wed Sep 20, 2006 at 10:32:32 PM EST
Meets 'The day it rained forever.'
There are definite flashes of good stuff in there.

Thanks by MisterQueue (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 04:52:11 AM EST
that makes me feel a little better about being one-step away from these people.


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I did invent the wheel in a previous generation.

[ Parent ]
Glad to see this... by superdiva (4.00 / 3) #5 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 12:58:36 AM EST
I hope I don't have to wait three years before I see the next chapter.  Nanowrimo is coming soon.

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Psych-E.org
Actually by MisterQueue (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 04:53:12 AM EST
this time I'm waiting 5 years and hoping I die in a plane crash beforehand. Over the flames they will hear me shout, "Mama always said leave em wanting more!"


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I did invent the wheel in a previous generation.

[ Parent ]
Clowns to the Left Of Me by wiredog (4.00 / 2) #6 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 02:35:38 AM EST
Jokers to the Right
Here I am.
Stuck in the Middle with You.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

Like glue! by MisterQueue (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 04:53:54 AM EST
Oh wait.. that's not glue is it? Ewww...


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I did invent the wheel in a previous generation.

[ Parent ]
WIPO- by moonvine (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 03:43:44 AM EST
I'm really not sorry... I'm glad I wrote this fine piece and contributed to wordkind and I'm going to sit right back down now and write more because moonie really wants to know what HAPPENED AT THE PIT!!!!

Oh pish tosh by MisterQueue (2.00 / 0) #14 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 04:56:00 AM EST
*I* know what's going to happen, but I haven't written it yet. Regardless, when I do, if it isn't too terrible I will at least send it to you if I don't post it. Promise.


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I did invent the wheel in a previous generation.

[ Parent ]
may I by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #15 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 05:02:07 AM EST
also subscribe to your newsletter? In return I can also send you some strings of words I have put together, or promise not to send same -- your choice.

--
Do not misuse.
[ Parent ]
Man.. by MisterQueue (2.00 / 0) #16 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 05:36:37 AM EST
don't you read other people's wordstrings as an actual, real occupation? Isn't then, this request, tantamount to insanity?

Succinctly: What the hell is wrong with you?

But, in vis a vis re: all else, yes, and yes please.


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I did invent the wheel in a previous generation.

[ Parent ]
answers by Kellnerin (4.00 / 1) #17 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 05:46:07 AM EST
Yes, yes, if you figure it out let me know.

--
Do not misuse.
[ Parent ]
WIPO: by debacle (4.00 / 1) #18 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 06:50:30 AM EST
This has never happened to me before. Do you...do you want to cuddle, or something?

IF YOU HAVE TWO FIRLES THOROWNF MONEY ART SUOCIDE GIRLS STRIPPER HPW CAN YPUS :OSE?!?!?!?(elcevisides).

This is just another sign by MisterQueue (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Sep 21, 2006 at 06:57:17 AM EST
that you don't love me anymore.


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I did invent the wheel in a previous generation.

[ Parent ]
What's Left of Me? | 21 comments (21 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback