Sinewy, Tangled

This was sort of a character background exercise I wrote in preparation for the screenplay I’m currently working on.  Evidence exists to lead some of you believe that it’s going to be a dark story, and with that assumption you are mostly correct.

“He rolls forward at a pace of immeasurable sluggishness, his eyes sagging like the bald tires he drives on, his brain thudding and shaking like the mud displaced on each and every pothole he slips into.  A destination?  No, if a ball of used newspaper, all soggy and black with the sooty rain, could float aimlessly under the rolling wave of a passing breeze, it’d be at the wheel of this worn and weathered automobile.  He felt as if the blood throbbing beneath his smooth, tanned skin was lifted from a convenience store, and each time it cycled from his heart, it pumping just a little harder at the sight of beauty, some rancid gas squirted from his nose.  There was a constant, acidic pain just below his Adam’s apple, but he learned to swallow with no visible discomfort.  Alcohol did, at times, act as an antiseptic, and for that they were good friends, though for now he was as sober as he was at his son’s bar mitzvah; accordingly, he drives over a lawn chair, fingering with it a deep scar into the earth.

Its master’s judgment bleared by reality, the old Infiniti – in violent protest to her name – conservatively slows to a crunchy stop, aluminum chair shrieking on a patch of vagrant concrete, and everyone pauses to take in the suffocating, tar-like darkness of the night.  The underpass’ cutout silhouette warns the party with a fresh cloud of sour sugar mist, but it is to no avail, and, hunched over behind a wheel of post-stress cowhide, the captain vaguely conspires his next move.  A quick glance to the rear-view mirror offers less familiarity than reassurance, but with some manipulation, wrinkles can become smiles and synthetically whitened teeth can buy a few more life seconds.

The artificiality of it all reminds him of his wife, we can assume, because he, hands flailing as violently as shattered glass, reaches straight for the glove box, emerging with a surprisingly heavy mass of steel and wood.  It balances precariously in his hand, sawing between his sanity and his intent, before its nozzle magnetically draws itself just below his temple.  All the gas in his stomach tumbles out, like bats from a cave, steaming up the windows of the contentedly ignorant automobile.  A hammer drops back like a cyanide quarterback, and with eyes fluttering closed, he thinks not of his girls, who sleep at home, woolen and milk-fed; not of his depressed leather chair in his towering glass office, whose only luxury is the anticipatory warmth of its master’s consistent presence (a quiet and desperate need that, if known to the man, might have simply saved him); not of his wife, so distant and undisturbed, who will remain so in any and every outcome; not of his parents or his dog or his favorite cufflinks, so impressively golden and not quite diamond enough.

No, right now, he only thinks of himself and the coldly circular impression beside his ear, the ominous fog quietly rocking his car to sleep, a post-coital lover blissful in bed, unaware that the house is on fire.  Something stirs inside of him, a certain giddiness that this perfect secret was known only to him and the sweat on his brow: I am going to kill myself right now, with absolutely no one as witness.  For once, a decision is mine, and mine alone, judgment be damned to hell (but not too harshly, he should add hopefully).

The smell of death hovers like a tumid, hungered halo in the air above.”

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~ by nearhelsinki on February 6, 2010.

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