Friday, January 27, 2006

Home for our Meteors- Part 2 chapter 1

Part 2
Chapter 1
We drove for four hours that afternoon, heading towards the east coast, without a road map or a specific location we couldn’t take a wrong turn. We picked our motorway exits and drove around whatever town we found ourselves in before heading out of there. Each town tour we took, was pointless and unnecessary. I suppose we told ourselves we were looking for a sign, something to say this should be our first port of call. We were just passing time, just travelling, towards nothing in particular. Most of the time we travelled silently with only the music from the cassette player to fill the air. Catherine drove, I changed the tapes as they ended, and Daniel lay in the back smoking and drinking vodka from a paper cup.

It was beginning to get dark around seven, when Catherine pulled up outside a Little Chef on a minor road that could take us to Great Yarmouth. She parked the car in-between a large SUV and greengrocers van, “I’m hungry,” she said as she turned the ignition off and got out the car. I sat staring out the front window, listening to Stephen empty his cup. I needed a shower, but knew one wouldn’t be around for a while. So I focused on Stephens breathing, waiting for him to speak, waiting for him to get out the car, waiting for him to do anything, just so I knew how drunk he’d been getting back there. Catherine slammed her door shut and banged on the roof, “I think she wants us to get out,” Stephen slurred a little but not enough to make me worry he’d cause any trouble in the restaurant.

“Go inside, I’ll be there in a few minutes.” I reached into the glove compartment for my tobacco as I spoke, “Just give me a few minutes.”

“Sure, sure, do you want us to order something for you?” he asked as he opened up his door.

“Anything whatever you guys are having,” I tapped some baccy out onto a paper and rolled. “Just going to have a smoke,” I must have spoken slowly because he yelled sure and slammed the door.

I got out the car and looked around, the little chef was situated on a round about, and with the early evening traffic could not in anyway be described as the perfect place for a quiet dinner. It would do us fine though, and looked inside as a waitress showed my friends to a table. Stephen laughing and probably flirting with the waitress led the way, whilst Catherine smiled and followed behind, she glanced out the window, and gave me a little worried wave. I gestured to my roll up and she gave a nod. What did the nod mean, well it meant okay finish you’re smoke but get in here quick as you can because I’m about to stick a knife in Stephen’s eye. It also meant she was cool, that everything was going to be okay, that just because nobody had managed to speak in the car didn’t mean we were doing anything wrong. Of course she might not have been able to see me through the filthy windows, and been nodding because she had a stiff neck. In the end, she nodded and I could take it to mean whatever I wanted. Just like a pool of blood, just like long swig from a bottle, just like a darkened street, a nod of the head could mean nothing or it could mean everything. I dropped the roll up on the floor and went inside the Little Chef.

When I got inside they were both seated side by side in a window booth, nibbling at bread from a basket that sat between them and then nibbling at one another, I slide along the bench opposite and helped my self to a small piece of bread. I hadn’t eaten today, and hadn’t really felt hungry, but once I began to chew my stomach growled and I devoured the bread quickly. The waitress who was called Eileen came over with a tray of beers, and put down in front of us. She was in her early forties with short blond hair and a dragon tattoo under her left ear, who knows how long she’d been working as a waitress, who knew how long she was going to continue. Catherine thanked her for the beers, as I stared at Eileen I realised who she looked like.

“Fucking creepy isn’t it?” Stephen said before taking a swig of his beer, “How much she looks like her.”

I could only nod in agreement.

“What’s creepy is your need to flirt with her,” Catherine poked him in the stomach with her bottle, “Even a woman who looks like your Mum, you can’t help yourself.”

“I didn’t realise, I mean I didn’t see the similarities to begin with,” he was almost stuttering as he spoke, when I glanced over at him I could see he was blushing, “I didn’t say anything to her when I noticed, Fuck I’m not some pervert.”

“You were still giving her the eye.” Catherine couldn’t help herself, she saw a small crack in her boyfriend, and she was going to have a little fun, “It’s okay honey, we all want to fuck our parents on some level, I mean I look at the photo of my dad, and I think yeah maybe, he’s kinda hot,”

“That’s because you’re fucked in the head,” he gave me a look asking for support “Danny? Come on help me out here,”

“I would certainly fuck both your fathers, not sure about my own.” I put some more bread in my mouth, god I was hungry, I didn’t realise how long it had been. My stomach was still full of vodka and juice, and I could feel the bread being slowly digested by my fucked up insides.

Catherine laughed, “You’d fuck everyone’s father, most people’s brothers, and no doubt one or two grandfathers.” There wasn’t much I could say to that, as my mouth was full, and it had some truth to it. AS far as I could remember I’d slept with three grandfathers, although I don’t think there grandkids were my age. I assumed they were younger, but they’d been nice old men, and all three had treated me nicely and paid a little more then I asked.

Eileen, put two large and soggy plain pizzas in front of us, “I’ll be back with the chips.” She muttered as she hurried away.

“I think you’ve upset her.” Stephen said to Catherine, she grinned and told him she’d apologise to his mother once he’d fucked hers.

The conversation deteriorated from there, Catherine kept ordering beers, and we all drank them too fast, we finished the pizzas, and asked for two more. The chips were burnt but they were thrown down our throats. Families came and went as we got louder and louder. Until about three hours after our arrival Eileen came to the table with the manager who asked us to settle out bill and leave. We did as we asked; we didn’t want to make things hard for the woman who looked like Stephen’s mum. We were just relieved that we were able to relax once more. Staggering out of the Little Chef, Stephen yelled he was going to drive, before collapsing onto the floor. As we helped him up, Catherine said to me that she was too drunk to drive, “I don’t want to get in an accident.” She sounded ridiculous, but handed over the keys.

“You know I don’t have a licence, and that I’m as drunk as you are,” I replied as Stephen threw up on my shoe.

“Nah, you seem pretty sober, and you know how to drive, just get us further down the road, see if I can spot somewhere safe to park for the night.” She let her boyfriend lean into her, and eased him slowly towards the car. I made another roll up, leaning on the dustbin, and reminded myself, mirror, brake, signal, and manoeuvre. “Come on Danny!”

I lit the roll up and walked over to the car. It was nearly eleven, the round quiet, the air was cold but felt good on my skin, my mouth tasted of smoke, grease and Heineken. I watched as Stephen tried to slip his hand into Catherine’s jeans, she pushed him away laughing and I unlocked the driver side door, I got in opened up the back doors and as my friends clambered in on top of each other I started the engine. Checked the mirror, shifted into reverse and pulled out with a jerk. A minute later I was driving a beat up red ford sierra up the road.

I kept a steady forty mile an hour for a couple of hours, we came to a junction or two and I just kept going straight on. Whilst Catherine rode Stephen in the back seat. Occasionally, I’d look in the rear view mirror to check for on coming traffic only to see Stephen sliding his fingers in and out of Catherine’s ass. If a lorry had been about to plough us down I wouldn’t have noticed. When they’d finished Stephen fell asleep, and Catherine clambered into the passenger seat, with a bottle of vodka. She stayed quiet for a while, listening to the mix tape that was playing on the car stereo, she smoked the occasional roll up, making me one each time. Mostly she just stared out the window, thinking about who knows what, maybe making plans for the three of us, but more likely she was so drunk and tired that she just wanted to sleep. I want to tell her something about myself, something that will make her love me more, something that will bring us closer, make our friendship stronger. I look ahead at the dark road, and realise I have nothing to say. At least there is nothing I can say, nothing that’s explainable. I can’t explain it to myself, the thing that I am, and the things I have done are a mystery to me. Maybe all I need to do is have her hold me, like she held Stephen after his mother died, they became closer then, we all did, but their bond was stronger and not just because it included sex. Although that must have leant it extra intimacy, they became creatures of the same mould, for sure I was entwined with everything they did, and am part of their love. I am like the sex they share, something wonderful, something terrible, and something they share. I belong to them, but they do not belong to me. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the distance I see is all in my head, they’d die for me, they’d kill for me, they’d do all the things in between.

“You should pull up here,” Catherine spoke snapping me out of my melodrama, “Just pull up here,” she pointed to a dirt road we were about to go past. I slowed down and forgetting to indicate turned down left down the path, after about 20 yards I pulled up, brake on.

“Here, you want to sleep here?” I asked as she got out the car.

“Come on Danny, lets go for a walk.” She closed the door quietly so not to wake Stephen I suppose, and she walked round to the front of the car and into its headlights. Behind her the path wrapped itself around field after field. There was no moonlight, so when I turned the keys and silenced the engine we were in darkness. I opened my car door, and felt my way around to the front, I could barely make Catherine’s outline, I felt her breathing, I felt her near, and when she reached out and rested her hand on my face I felt her skin against mine.

She dropped her left hand by my side and took my right, twisted our fingers in a puzzle and pulled me down the dirt path.

“Where are we going?”
“What makes you think I know?”

We only made it fifty steps or so, before we turned back to the car. Where we sat on the bonnet, passing a fresh bottle of vodka back and forth. Smoking our roll ups and staring into the dark, every so often we’d hear Stephen screaming out in his sleep, but we knew well enough to ignore him. The screaming in his sleep had been going on as long as we knew him, not every night, not even that often but whenever something was going on in his life, something he was unable or unwilling to express in his waking ours, then he’d let loose in his slumber. Sometimes, like tonight the noises he would make would be violent, a throat punch, short emphatic and repeated enough to let you know he wasn’t kidding. In the earlier days, when Catherine and myself first began to share a room with him, we’d hear him and rush to wake him, and he’d be annoyed and frustrated that we’d woken him from what he thought had been a peaceful sleep. I suppose we tolerated the screams, at least we learnt to read them, the higher they’d be the sadder he was and if they were low and muffled then we could guess that they were born from anger. This wasn’t purely speculation; his behaviour before and after those nights would fit with our readings. A few years ago, just after his sixteenth birthday he had walked in on two guys undressing a nearly unconscious Catherine. He’d managed to chase them both off but only after they’d beaten him badly. That night his screaming had been a dull hollow moan, like the mourning of an orphaned beast.

Tonight, his scream came in short, sharp, high, pinched bursts, and were followed by his body contorting in various shapes. We listened and spoke occasionally to one another, about nothing, about whatever other noises we heard. Birds chirping, dogs weeping in the distance, the clang of discarded tin cans being beaten against an empty strip of road. When the bottle was empty it was in my hands, and I tossed it into the dark with as much force as I could. Catherine turned to me as we waited for the smash of glass to add an exclamation mark to Stephen’s next scream, The scream didn’t come, and neither did the shattering of glass.

“A spliff then we should sleep,” I said.
“When we hear the glass smash, I’ll go to sleep,” Catherine replied “and I didn’t bring any weed,”
“Well that’s why you won’t be sleeping,” I pulled my tobacco packet out my pocket, “Nothing to do with the sound of glass breaking,”
“True enough” she lit herself a Dorchester Blue and leaned down against the front window. Using Stephen’s coat as a pillow.
“Catherine can I ask you what the hell you have in mind for us?” I rolled as I spoke “for the three of us, I mean. You don’t have to have a more detailed plan then the one you’ve shared, and if you do you don’t have to tell me, I’m asking if I’m allowed to ask about it.”
Catherine giggled and rolled onto her side, “You’re so strange Daniel, so so strange, I mean I’m a little quirky, I’m the first to admit, but you, fuck. There are times when I don’t know you at all.” She blew a thick cloud of smoke towards me, “Of course there are others when I know you oh so very well. Maybe a little too well.”

“You can know someone too well?” I asked laying myself down beside her. “I thought you could only be known too well. Didn’t realise it worked the other way around. Figured all the information you can get is useful.”

Her smile turned crooked, and she looked past me into the dark. I had the urge to grab her by the face and force her to look at me; nothing empties me much as my friends looking past him. She knew this; she was doing it out of some desire to hurt me, or at the very least as a way to take back this morning’s kiss. Her eyes came back to mine, they weren’t drawn by my inner light; they were came back because her point had been made. I blew some smoke in her direction and she blew some in mine, we both smiled, realising despite the games we played, and the game that was about to be played we did have love between us. What that love meant was unimportant it was there, and it was separate from Stephen, this was important. This was hope for both of us. I knew if I left my friends one morning they’d be okay. She knew that if she left one morning me and Stephen would be okay. Now, in this touching of smoke to signal the end of a game, we knew if Stephen left one morning that her and me. We would be okay.

“Yeah you can know someone too well, you can know them so well that you hurt when they do. Which is one thing. An unpleasant thing,” she spoke slowly and with her cigarette rolling along her bottom lip “but what’s worse is when you are in pain and you feel their joy. When their simple and pure joy at the colors of the sky bleeds into you and takes away your pain.”
I knew what she meant, “I don’t know what you mean” she closed her eyes, let the cigarette fall from her mouth and onto Stephens’s coat. It burnt through the thin cotton fibres. “Maybe I do know what you mean. A little.” I added. Her eyes stayed closed, she smiled a little broader, she waited for me to continue, “I don’t feel the same way about it, I like too feel other people pain, I like to feel other peoples joy,” it was one truth that I didn’t know what I was saying, it was another truth that just because it was the first time I’d said it, didn’t mean I hadn’t thought about more soberly before.

“It gives me energy..No that’s not right, it gives me focus. It clears my head. As if everything I think and feel, every thought that hasn’t been filtered through another head, well it’s as if those are dangerous, cancerous, I have no control over them. When I take other peoples thoughts from them, or they let me share in them. Well things become clear. I’m not explaining myself very well.” I paused, well I stopped hoping Catherine would fill in the blanks, or take over with her thoughts. This was more muddled then I wanted it to be. I didn’t want it to be anything. I didn’t want to be talking about these things. The damn drinking, the lack of sex was making me restless or talkative, both in fact. Catherine’s silence which I could normally ignore, sometimes even enjoy was needling me. Stirring my blood. Her eyes opened up, and her smile disappeared, she pulled her self up and sat facing in the direction the car lights once shone.

Another cigarette was lit, whilst I remained lying down, my eyes wandering along the back of her denim coat. I realised my rollup had burnt down to my fingers, and I tossed it to the floor. Looking into the car, I saw Stephen sleeping, and realised he’d not screamed out for a while. Since before the bottle had been tossed. How long ago had that been? My body felt sore and stiff as if I’d been sleeping off a drunk for a couple of days, a sharp bit of cramp hit my right thigh, I touched it briefly with the tips of my finger and the pain left my body.

“Do you remember my 10th birthday?” Catherine says not turning to meet my fierce gaze. “You remember the party we had?”

“Of course, we dressed up as ninjas with party hats on,” I reply, reaching over to the packet of cigs she’s left by her side and helping myself to one.

“You remember my 9th birthday? What did we do?”

I light the cig; I don’t like cigarettes with filters it so hard to get a good smoke, “Sure, bike ride with your brother through Sherwood forest.”

“How about my 4th birthday? Do you remember that?” she asks this time turning a little around, but only to take her packet and get another cig.

“Yeah your mum took you and your friends swimming.”

“What else?”

“She made you cake shaped like a clown, and brought a kids typewriter, and some cowboy pyjama’s”

“I never told you that.”

I see the lighter flash in front of her face, “No you didn’t”

“And you certainly weren’t there,”

“Nope.”

“But you remember it all the same,”

“I do. Like it was yesterday,”

“Because you know me too well. Right, that’s it you know me so well you can just I dunno sense these things,”

I shuffle myself so I’m alongside her once more, I watch the side of her face as she takes a short drag, and blows smoke away from us both, and towards the blackened air.

“Yeah, it’s because I know you so well, not too well. Just so well. It’s a good thing; I think it’s a good thing. It helps me, and it helps me help you.” I speak softly and clearly I know she’s scared, because I am to.

“So you know I see your thoughts to. Not all of them, but I’ve seen some as if I was there, some of your thoughts, not just memories. Thoughts things that haven’t happened,” she can’t look at me, but continues to speak, “Things that might happen maybe, fuck I don’t know, but you’ve got so much in your head. It scared the shit out of me.”

“Scares me to Catherine, it does, it scares me to.” I lie, “It really does, but they’re just thoughts, like you say they never ever happened, and they never ever will.”

“You know what I’m talking about.” She takes another drag. “I mean which ones I mean in particular.”

“Oh god yeah, I do sweetie, I really do.” I reach out to the back of her hair and begin to stroke it; she tilts her head back towards the palm of my hand and rests it there. I hold her up; her whole weight is pushing down. It doesn’t feel like anything at all.

“And you know, that I’ve been seeing new things, that whatever is in you has come into me,” her voice is less then a whisper now, and there are tears in her eyes.

“Yeah, I thought so.” Holding her head with the palm of my hand, I lift her upwards to the sky. I raise myself slowly. I’ve never done this before. Never been off the ground, never held someone with tenderness. Never blown cigarette smoke into the blackened air in the middle of a field, which sits by the side of the road that is heading to Great Yarmouth.

As long as you know now she says, as I gently settle us both back down on the back off the car.

3 Comments:

Blogger sb said...

This is my favorite part of all your chapters and sections. I did get a sense of, "he's bringin' them on the road" but you were writing normal stuff for a while before they started breaking into sex again, with the characters thinking of fucking their parents and so forth. But THERE wasn't as much sexual horror ! I must say you've not went right for the throat each time. I like when Stephen says he isn't a pervert. HE MOST CERTAINLY IS.

I hate them less!

The prose here is probably your most startling, because it's much leaner without some of the sudden turns in sentences you make. In the past it has sometimes read that you'd been halfway in a sentence, changed your mind, and then sort of went RIGHT for the gullet! In the middle of the sentence like LOOK BITCH, and BLAMMO.

I'm leaving but I'll read this again when I return and give a better critique. I definitely feel like they might be going somewhere here, not just IN each other's orifices...

11:24 AM  
Blogger sb said...

Wally, you're a talented writer. I don't know who your influences are. Who are they?

What do you want this story/novella to become in its final incarnation? Who are you writing to? I sometimes think you're writing to figure out what you want to write, like this is sort of you writing a schematic of where you want to go with your fiction. Let me know if I'm wrong.

8:12 AM  
Blogger wally said...

Glad you liked it Milly. They weren't supposed to be wanting to fuck their own parents, they were accusing each other of wanting to sleep with their own parents. Something teenagers do. Perhaps because of the previous chapters you now believe they'd be into fucking mummy and daddy. I don't think they are. I might be wrong though.

YAY! you hate them less that's great news. Might make it easier for you to follow them through the remainder of the story. I'm not clear on why your hatered has decreased but I'm pleased it has.

Influences? I don't know, I mean their are writers I like and admire, but more for what they are saying then how they say it, Genet, Carver, Henry Miller, Anais Nin, Iris Murdoch. Whether I'm taking in their styles and mimicking them in some way I don't really know.

Perhaps I've taken in more from playwrites then I have prose writers.

As for this being written as way of defining what kind of writing I'd like to do in future, I really doubt it. Despite your urging the chances of me focusing on the horror/fantasy parts is pretty slim. I'll probably turn to more domestic stuff in future. Although who can be sure?

9:37 PM  

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