When Driving in a Lemon

“One posthumous measure of a person’s life is how often you imagine his impossible return to deal with some event he never lived to encounter. You picture his reactions, his advice, his sage commentary and humorous asides. For instance, I think about Mark Twain’s hypothetical take on current events several times a week.” – Paul Di Filippo It seemed as though, the further we drove along, Norm hit ever pothole imaginable. Every hole that he hit, made the inside of my head feel as though it was finally going to give and cave in. I don’t know how long we have been driving, but I know it has been hours. It was the early afternoon and the sun was still high in the sky. I haven’t properly slept in the past day and the hunger and sleep and pain and nausea and annoyance were really getting to me. I looked over through my squinted eyes at Norm. He was calmly driving along the highway. He was wearing black Ray Ban sunglasses and this was the quietest I have heard him since he had taken me. I looked back over the road. The flat land of Illinois and Indiana was becoming hillier as we were being swallowed by Michigan. The rhythmic hum of the tires hugging the road, blended with the constant ringing that was in my left ear. My left ear that only hours before had pieces of Matt on it. My left ear that only hours before had a bullet shot right past it. I had blacked out and Norm must have gotten his way, because now we...

Mourning Skye: Chapter 3 (part 2)

The pallet of mourners was offset by the floral arrangements ranging from white to pink to red to yellow to blue. The carpet was musty. It’s base color was a deep maroon and it had gold, flower-patterned insets covering the span of the carpet from wall to wall. It was unevenly padded. Some steps seemed to be brand new and others seemed to have been neglected from years of saddened human beings. There was a coat rod to the right of the main door. It had a few light jackets hanging from it. Mostly from the elderly mourners. The female elderly mourners. To the left of the door was an area for sitting. An area for reflection. Reflecting on the departed. There were four identical chairs. Each one was oversized and  near the shade of gold that was in the musty, uneven carpet. In front of that was a coffee table. At each end of the coffee table was a box of tissues. In the center of the table was the Holy Bible. It was closed and slightly off kilter. On the other side of the coffee table, facing the four, identical, nearly gold chairs was a maroonish couch. Behind the couch was a table. On the table were two more boxes of tissues and a bowl of mints. Burke and Miles slowly made their way through the threshold, avoiding eye-contact with no real destination in mind. As they brushed past the table that was behind the maroonish couch, one of the inhabitants of the nearly gold chairs looked up and saw them. “Oh shit, Burke?” the inhabitant said....

Mourning Skye: Chapter 3 (part 1)

Burke ran his fingers through his hair to clear the strands from his eyes. His heavy eyes looked over the parking lot of Flannery’s Funeral Parlor. Miles was to his right and breathing heavily from the few minutes of walking that they had endured. In front of the parlor were your average set of mourners. Many middle-aged to elderly men and women, dressed in black, slowly getting out of cars and touching each other on the shoulder. A shoulder touch here and a shoulder touch there, followed by a nod answered with another nod. The younger mourners, mostly dressed in black were gathered around the white benches that surrounded the semi-circled entrance. Clouds of smoke escaped their lungs as they were more boisterous and awkward in their greetings to one another. Rather than grabbing each other’s shoulders, they would grab their own elbows and hold their cigarettes high in the air and smile. They would join the middle-aged and elderly in the ritual of the head nods. Burke looked at Miles. Miles looked at Burke. Burke lit a cigarette. Miles lit a cigarette. “Are you ready?” asked Burke. “No,” replied Miles. “Me neither,” said Burke. “Let’s get the hell out of here,” Miles said. “We can’t just go now.” “Why can’t we?” Miles asked. “I have no idea.” “This shit is kind of creeping me out,” Miles said. “Why?” asked Burke. “What do you mean why?” he said. “What I just said why. Why?” said Burke. “What do you mean?” asked Miles. “Seriously?” asked Miles. “Yes, seriously,” said Burke. “I don’t know.” “How don’t you know?” “I don’t know.”...

Mourning Skye: Chapter 2 (part 3)

“Then why the back story?” Angeline asked. “Did you listen to any of it?” “Great point.” “I know it’s a great point, that’s why I told it. It pretty much has soggy as hell thinking about it.” “You’re a lovely woman, have I ever told you that?” Angeline pulled Sammy into her tightly as they walked, hugging and stumbling along. “You have. But I never get tired of it.” Sammy smiled back. Angeline stopped suddenly and brought her purse back up to her face. Sammy whipped to a stop. She rustled about and brought a cigarette to her lips and reached back into the bag blindly looking for the lighter. As she pulled it out it fell to the ground and bounced three times and came to a rest at Sammy’s feet. Sammy bent down and picked it up for her and in one motion lit Angeline’s cigarette. Angeline held Sammy’s wrist as she lit the cigarette. “Thank you, love. I don’t know what I would do without you,” Angeline exhaled. Sammy softly smiled. “You would find another foul-mouthed whore to light your cigarettes for you.” “That’s probably true. That’s probably true,” she repeated. “Speaking of being such a whore, finish the story.” “Where was I?” “Jason’s dick was in your mouth,” Angeline sneered. “Yes, that glorious dick. So, I totally went down on him in the car after knowing him for like two hours. He did his thing, I wasn’t expecting it and totally spit it all over his pants.” “That shit comes out fast.” “No, duh. People really need to tell you that before the first time...

Mourning Skye: Chapter 2 (part 2)

“No, you slut! I just asked if you remembered him.” “Of course I remember him. Everybody used to make fun of that poor guy.” Angeline said. “They probably still do, unfortunately. But he had this caretaker. Like a manny.” “That fucking Josh Hartnett looking guy who was fresh out of college?” Angeline interrupted. Sammy slowly nodded her head and stuck her tongue through her teeth as she smiled. Angeline hit her with her elbow again. “How the hell did you do that? And how the hell did I not know about it?” “I told you can’t tell anyone.” “Why the hell not? That dude is hot as hell!” “Because, bitch. I was only 16 at the time.” “Scandalous.” “Told you I wasn’t so innocent.” “Apparently not.” Angeline stumbled on her own feet and Sammy steadied her as they continued forward. “I need some details. All of them.” She put her hand up to her mouth motioning back and forth sticking her tongue into the side of her cheek. “Are you 16 now?” Sammy asked. Angeline shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t even know where to start.” “From the beginning of course.” “Well, in the summer after sophomore year my mom set me up to help tutor Mikey in math. I’ve always been a math whiz.” “You’re kind of rain manny.” “I’m an excellent driver. I drive slow on the driveway when my dad came to Walbrook.” Angeline laughed at Sammy’s bad impression. “So, there I was. Sitting in Mikey Magoo’s kitchen, with these giant tits when I was 16 and what do I see walk in the back door, shirtless?”...

Mourning Skye: Chapter 2 (part 1)

Angeline sloppily pulled a cigarette from her purse and nearly broke the cigarette as she put it to her lips. She took a few steps and then reached back into her large black, leather purse for her lighter. She continued walking forward as she foraged for the lighter. She brought the purse up closer to her face and looked in as she moved the items inside her purse. Angeline had all of Skye’s characteristics except that she dyed her hair a deep shade of blue. She was tall and slender and had freckles speckling her face. Her eyes were a deep shade of blue to match her hair. Her eyes weren’t listless, rather enthusiastic dampened by the drunkenness of draft beer. Her face was beautiful and her skin was soft with youth. She accentuated her eyes with liner and let the rest of her beauty shine naturally. She found the lighter and as she was bringing the yellow Bic lighter out of the purse her foot hit a curb and she stumbled forward and the lighter crashed to the sidewalk with three bounces and rested near Sammy’s feet. Sammy bent over and picked up the lighter and gave it to Angeline who was nervously laughing. Sammy was Angeline’s best friend since the fourth grade. Sammy was a few inches shorter than Angeline and weighed the same. Her weight was carried in her bra which would normally make her the object of many men’s affections, but she did not have a face that carried the same attraction. It wasn’t ugly by most standards, it was just something that, with Sammy’s...