Saturday, October 24, 2009

Burning Road

This week's Sunday Scribblings prompt is "Shame." We all experience it differently. Here we go!


And it all come back to me. Well no. Pieces of it, pictures. Like when I used to catch glimpse of Red Haney’s TV cross the water some mornings, just blue flickers in the dark and sometimes a picture I could see.

Just pictures.

I hit her. I think I hit her. I hit her.

She aint in the passenger seat and she aint in the back seat and she aint anywhere in the car, just her stuff, her plastic SuprFresh grocery bag with clothes and another with makeup and music and thats it. No her.

And some more come back. I been drinking, it aint news, I been drinking my whole drinky life, against cold in winter and bugs in summer and crab pinches and fish spines and diesel stink all damn year. ALL damn year.

So I been drinking and she was arguing again, just like Julie always used to, and I knew, I just knew maybe some drink would soften her voice a little, soften her hard words so they didn’t nettle at me so. And partways I thought it was wrong and partways I thought it was right.

And she said no, dad no! like I was some kinda killer when all I wanted was some quiet so I could think. Cause we had a long way to drive and I was going to scratch my ears off if she kept shouting like that.

I didn’t hit her. I hit her. I tried to feed her the bottle like when she were little and Julie showed me how God it was so long ago, and she pushed the bottle away.

It all come back.

She push the bottle away and I got one hand on the wheel cause we still driving, aint we? And I take the other hand and guess I push the bottle at her hard, too hard cause something happens, the car’s swerving and she aint moving. And I know I just KNOW I made things worse not better, like I always did.

So we come to a dirtbag little town and the sun aint quite down and its raining that cold rain like its never gonna stop, and theres a clinic. I bust open the door and take her in and leave her there and they’re crying at me and my head’s spinning and the world’s spinning and the car’s still running and I get in and get it right out of there.

I think that’s last night. Same night as now and its still raining and still dark and she still aint here. But at least she safe. Away from me.

I look at the bottle by the gear shift and it says, I’m your exit buddy, turn here and its the way you want to go. This way home.

I look at that thing a long time. Dashboard lights make it sparkly and there aint nothing on the radio worth hearing.

I look at the pack of Camels and they say kinda the same thing and my mouth wants something besides drink so I light one up and smoke it fast. And I light another and smoke that down till it burns my fingers.

And another, smoking my way down the road to where Julie maybe is, west of here. California, all the west you can go, where there aint no rain and shitty crab boats and diesel stink and cold water.

The butts go right out the window, one after another, I don’t even care if they’re out or if they start a fire. Cause I would deserve it, and I think I see each little bouncing spark setting the road afire, and its fast cause its burning all the dead leaves, and the fire is racing along behind me, and the road of fire chasing me in the wet night.

And I hope it catches me.


Sweetest in the Gale said...

This man's life is raw and gritty and hard to stomach, yet I was mesmerized. You caught the essence of his desolate shame and pain have a gift. Wonderful!

b said...

This is very gone to a place I find hard and wrenching. Well done.


Kenneth said...

That is REALLY good. Capturing a "voice" so different...

quin browne said...


pure poetry. strong voice. hell of a read.


Tumblewords: said...

Powerful, gritty. You've written a character here that we all hope we'll never know, but we already know we know him. Excellent write!

oldegg said...

A mesmerising piece of writing. Fantastic description and the pace was terrific. Well done.

linda may said...

I want to ditto what Tumblewords comment says. Sad so sad.

Barbara said...

You have a gift to be able to write so creatively and raw about experiences that are so totally foreign to you. Write on!

roswellgray said...

that one was really raw. It hurt to read. (not neccessarily a bad thing, just so you know)

Dee Martin said...

you captured this person so clearly - well done!

S R Wood said...

Thanks, everyone. It's a stretch to try something different, but I can SEE this man, smell the air inside the broken-down car, feel his unshaven regret and loathing and pure grief.

But yes, it's a hard place to go to, even for a short vignette like this. Thanks for the kind comments.

Gel said...

Wow, excellent write. Using another voice is hard to do and you did it so well, life became real to me. This open wound oozes smoothly across the page.

Sam said...

Incredible, well done setes :)

Americanising Desi said...

you ve shaken my existence!

Shame on me