In my very first post (way back in February) I mentioned that I would be using this blog as a way to document some stuff, opine about some stuff and try out some stuff I've written. Well, don't say you weren't warned.
As my long suffering family knows only too well, I am a scribbler. That is, I like to write down my ideas and thoughts. Hence this blog. Occasionally those thoughts and ideas manifest themselves as stories. Well, alledged stories at any rate. In that vein I present part 1 of A Very Dry System.
It's a short story I wrote a while back. It's not exactly finished yet so really, I guess you could say I'm still writing it. If you wanted to be petty. Jen and Lu have both chastised me to finish the damn thing already. So. I'm taking a page from Gene and Fatty. I'm going to publicly challenge myself and risk ridicule. I'm going to post it here in the hope that my muse will wake up from her Mt. Dew induced coma and you know, help a brother out. If later on you find this blog has been taken down and see a news article about the cop who joined a monastery in Lhasa you'll know she smacked me a good one, rolled over and went back to sleep. Parts 1 through 3 are done. Really, I just need the ending. That's all. Just a way to wrap things up in a humorous way that reads like I'm not in fact missing a lobe of my brain. Is that too much to ask?
Comments are solicitated and appreciated.
Without further ado.
A Very Dry System Part 1
Luster was feeling low. Even for a man who was habitually unemployed, drunk and divorced this was a new feeling of low. The problem wasn’t the lack of gainful employment. No, that was his preferred state. Luster hated work and work hated Luster, which suited him just fine. It wasn’t even the high pitched nagging about the lack of spousal support from the latest former missus Luster that was bringing him down. No, this was far, far worse.
Luster was out of beer. Absolutely and totally out of beer. Not completely sober just yet but he’d had his last cold one at Goobs up in Henrietta more than an hour ago and Luster was feeling the need. “That damn stuck up, no good Bobby McAlester” Luster muttered as he drove. “Throw me out. And for what? Just ‘cause I run outta money. Cheapskate bastard. Shoulda kicked his ass.” Luster conveniently forgot that Bobby McAlester was the size of a semi and Luster himself was an alcohol ravaged, pot bellied middle aged man but then, Luster forgot a lot.
Luster pointed his battered pickup down Highway 75 and headed south. No beer, no money and no prospects for either. Luster was a desperate man and sometimes desperate men do desperate things. Luster rubbed a dirty hand across a scalp dotted with a few stray wisps of greasy hair and contemplated doing the unthinkable, asking Lottie for money. For a second, just a second, Luster had a lucid thought. “Has it really come to this? Have I sunk so low? Nob’s hiring down to the Lube and Go. Maybe I should go straight. Get a job, quit drinking and mebbe see my kids.” But Luster was nothing if not proudly self delusional and the coherence disappeared like his welfare money down the g-string of the strippers at Cooties. “Screw that. If Lottie won’t give up the drinkin’ money she’s still got some of her granny’s jewelry left and the hock shop’s open til midnight.” Safely past his moment of introspection, Luster gunned the ailing pickups’ smoke belching engine, the radio blaring out the latest smash hit from The Gobbeldy Boys, ‘Oil Field Hoe Down’. He could just taste that beer.
Starth slapped Firth on a bony grey shoulder and whooped with delight. “We got us a winner Firth. This guy’s carrying for sure.” He started punching controls and turning dials.
Firth suppressed a groan. He felt the craft lurch and noticed they were losing altitude at a fairly alarming rate. Starth was really starting to get on his nerves. “That’s what you said about that fat woman in Arkansas yesterday. And what about the trucker in Omaha? The deputy in Alabama ringing any bells? You haven’t been right since we got here. Let’s just forget this and go find some UFO conspiracy theorist. Crath said that’s what he did and he scored.”
Starth belched a reply. “Crath! Crath’s a damn cheat and a liar. He never even made it to Earth. Got to Andromeda and wussed out. Hung out for a couple of fleebs and came home all wild with stories of how he scored off the Earthmen. What a load of crap.” Starth thought talking in the local patois made him cool.
Even though he himself also did it, Firth thought it made Starth sound like an idiot, but one with a ride that had inter-galactic endurance. It was no small thing even in the rich crowd they ran in so Firth was willing to humor him. “I saw the recordings. Crath scored.” The ship sped up, hurtling toward a small vehicle on an empty stretch of highway. “Hey, you wanna take it easy there cowboy? If you crash us your parents will be royally pissed and the Earthers will probably do another Alien Autopsy.”
Starth waved a spindly fingered hand as if to dismiss any concerns. “Relax. I got this. Gonna zoom this guy, light him up, beam him in and then we’ll see who scores.”
Firth stifled a sigh. Starth really was an idiot.
Luster had an empty feeling deep down in his guts and was starting to shake. Sober was no way for a man to live. He tried coaxing a little more speed out of the dilapidated truck but backed off when the vehicles’ shuddering got so bad it penetrated even his pickled brain. He finally spotted the turn off to Lotties place, Okie Boulevard, and started to slow. As he did he saw a fairly odd thing, odd even for a man who, when deep in the throes of a really good drunk, regularly conversed with Elvis. At least Luster thought it was Elvis. The night suddenly turned into day. Light so bright it hurt his eyes was all around him. Luster was momentarily blinded but his sense of self preservation was as strong as his sense of taste was poor and he reacted fairly quickly, considering. “Whut the hail?” He slammed on the brakes and eventually came to a tire smoking stop. A single smoking tire, the pickup hadn’t been seen the inside of a garage since 1967. The light was getting brighter and now Luster could hear a weird humming sound, like a million bees were trapped in a bottle and were real anxious to get out; and exact revenge on the one who had put them there.
Starth whooped. “Got him! Quick, check if anyone else is around.”
Firth stifled another sigh. “Fine time to be thinking about that. We’ve probably been picked up by every radar on the planet by now.” A wave of Starth’s bony arm showed his level of concern. Firth did a quick check of the crafts sensor block and confirmed they were alone. For now. “It’s clear. No one within sight but let’s not screw around.”
Starth snorted his response. “You worry too much. I know what I’m doing. Flinth did this 2 semesters ago and he taught me everything he knows.”
This information failed to give Firth confidence. Flinth was an even bigger idiot than Starth. If that was possible and Firth was beginning to doubt it was. Starth was currently in a suicidal dive on a lone vehicle on a deserted country road in pursuit of a score that Firth seriously doubted was worth the risk. “Your brother knew munch and you know even less. If you crash and kill us I’m kicking your ass when we get back home. Being killed hurts and bodies cost money. Money my parents will take out of my allowance and I’ve got a date.”
“Relax. I told you, I got this wired. Get ready with the lights on my say so. I got this monkey hooked.” Starth pulled back on the wheel and the craft started leveling off as they neared the incredibly dirty, smoke belching vehicle. “Get ready. Ready. Now! Hit the lights.”
Firth flipped the switch for the Axon Shield Micro Pulse driving lights, guaranteed by the manufacturer to ‘Penetrate The Darkest Interstellar Void Or Your Money Back.’ The road and the small truck were bathed in their intense green glow. Firth remained unimpressed. “Look at that piece of crap. You think we’re gonna score off that? You gotta be insane.”
Starth laughed. “Shows what you know. We’ll score, just you wait and see.”