Speakeasy #146: Words Last

“My perspicacious perspective apprises me of your disapprobation at my dialectical preferences, Lacey.”

I sigh and glare at Shane. He looks exactly like you’d expect someone who said the previous sentence would: bowl-cut brown hair, thick rubber glasses complete with tape around the bridge, and a pocket protector with enough pens to outfit the proverbial infinite monkeys with enough writing implements to create Shakespeare.

“Huh?” I reply. They say brevity is the soul of wit.

They suck ’cause I don’t feel witty at all.

The stereotype displays the shit-eating grin that makes me wonder why I don’t let the wind from a soft whistle blow his ass down the block. “Are you cognizant of the intelligence that ‘huh’ prevails within virtually all the terrene vocabularies?”

“If you don’t want a girl to beat you up then I suggest you talk like a normal person.” I’m counting the blocks until we reach our street. We’re neighbors, and our moms are besties for life. I’ve let my mom know in no uncertain terms that she’ll disappear if certain photos of me and Shane taking a bath together as toddlers should ever surface.

“Pugilistic inclinations aside, shall you and the matriarch of your clan deign to grace us with your effervescent quintessence?”

Five, four, three, two, aaaannnd here comes the inhaler. Thorn Street, three blocks from school and two blocks until home. He’s like clockwork. A sad, wheezing clock that sounds like it’s on its last legs, but still he manages to sound cuckoo. “I have too much homework to come over tonight. Or any other night.”

Shane studies his shoes. He mutters something I think sounds like, “Don’t be like that, Lace.” For all I know it could have been, “Shut your stupid face.”

I honestly hope it’s the second one, but history leans toward the first. I remember him being more fun when we were younger. We’d play soccer, baseball, hide and seek, and bake mud-pies in pretend ovens.

Then his dickhead sperm-donor took off when we were in second grade, and Shane changed. I’d come over and he’d be buried in books. Comic, paperback, old, new, thesauruses, it didn’t matter. I should feel bad for him, but it’s been years.

He really needs to move on.

“Don’t pout, Shane. It demeans us both.” A red Camaro cruises past, and I wave at the driver, Allen Tomas. He glances at me. He glances at Shane. Then he bursts out laughing and zooms off.

My face burns with embarrassment.

My pace quickens, and Shane scurries after me. I can feel him pushing those ridiculous glasses up as sweat starts to slick his nose.

I break into a run, tired of his pathetic hanging around my neck. His gasps follow me, and he manages to make it to the front of my house without collapsing. “Well, that invigorating constitutional-“

“Shut-UP! God! Do you even know what you sound like? Why do you have to talk like that?” The words tumble out, and I try to grab them. The bastards slip through my fingers. “Do you know why nobody likes you? It’s because you sound like an asshole who thinks big words make him a big person.”

“No wonder your dad left.”

Oh, Jesus. Did I really just say that? I couldn’t get the hurt in his eyes from that one statement if I slapped him a thousand times while burning his books.

“Remember when he left?” His voice, empty of anything Shane, lashes me.

“I’m so sorry-” His lips press so hard they turn white. “When we got our mid-term report cards.”

“I was failing English.” His fists ball. “My…Dad saw my grade, and I saw the disappointment in his eyes. He muttered something about wishing I was smarter.”

“He left that night.”

God, please…make this stop. Send me to Hell, and I’ll go with a smile if you just make him forget my stupidity.

He keeps looking at me with those betrayed eyes. “I thought he left because I wasn’t smart enough.” He trudges past me and I can only watch. “I always hoped if I became smart enough, he might come back. Stupid, I know. But still…”

I manage to break free of my idiot’s paralysis. “I’m sorry, Shane! Listen, come over. We’ll do whatever you want. Please!”

He doesn’t say a word as he goes inside. “Goddamn his dad…”

I slump down on my steps. “…and Goddamn me too.”

I sat there and waited, but he never came back.

Word Count: 750

Speakeasy #146. The prompts: “I sat there and waited, but he never came back.” To be used as the last line. There is also a video prompt:

The rules:

  • Your post must be dated January 26, 2013, or later.
  • Submissions must be 750 words or fewer.
  • Submissions must be fiction or poetry.
  • Your piece must include the following sentence as the LAST line: “I sat there and waited, but he never came back.
  • The Speakeasy is for submissions written specifically for the grid. Please don’t submit an entry if you intend to showcase it to another blog link-up. Such posts are deleted without notice, there’s no refund for your ticket.
  • Please don’t post long explanations before your post. We want your writing to be the star of the show. If you need to clarify anything, feel free to do so at the end.
  • The badge for your speakeasy #146 post is found in the sidebar. Add the code to the html view of your post before publishing.

Speakeasy #141: Wishes and Promises

Tracy revved the engine of her Softail, weaving around cars to shake the double cherries chasing her. “Wheeeee!” came from the small passenger holding her waist.

Lips peeled back in a grim smile. Surprised faces whipped past, traffic not so heavy she couldn’t maneuver, but heavy enough to slow the cops.

Not far ahead, a Lexus swerved, cutting off a semi hauling a large tank. Brakes squealed as the rig cut sharply across the lanes. Her eyes widened. “Hang on!”

She threw the bike in a skid, ducking her head to squeeze under the tanker truck. She hit the throttle, and the world went wobbly before finally straightening. “Holy…I thought that only worked in movies!”

“Can we do it again?”

“NO!”

“Awww!”

Tracy chuckled as she pulled off the interstate to get lost among the myriad routes to their destination.

***

“Here.” Tracy handed Cynthia a bowl of stew. “You need to eat.”

Cynthia pouted, but took the bowl. “Do you think we’ll make it?”

Tracy groaned as she spooned a mouthful of meat. “We’ll make it, kid. I promised, didn’t I?” She sighed as Cynthia just picked at her food. “If you’re not going to eat, then get some sleep; you need your strength.” She unrolled a sleeping bag and lay it close to the fire.

Cynthia crawled in and closed her eyes. Tracy took two more bites of stew before, “Mommy and Daddy will be there, won’t they?”

Tracy smiled. “I’ll make sure of it. Sleep.”

***

A rumble of motorcycle engines to put Sturgis to shame woke her. She bolted up, and shook Cynthia awake, holding a finger to her lips. They padded over to her Softail, and she pushed it out of their hiding spot.

“Hey!” A large, bearded man with arms sleeved in tattoos sitting astride a Road King, roared up next to them. “You the ones on the news?”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about.” Tracy glanced down at the helmet on the back of the bike, ready to use it as a weapon.

Pearly whites flashed through the chin-foliage. “Don’t worry! Me and the boys heard about what you’re doing. We called a few friends, who called a few friends…you know how it goes.” He stuck out a meaty paw. “Name’s Dan The Dentist, cause that’s what I do for a living. We’re here to help.”

Tracy looked at Cynthia, who smiled and said, “God bless us, every one.”

She rolled her eyes, but met Dan’s hand with her own.

***

With the camouflage of hundreds of bikes, the trip moved along at a good clip. Cynthia took turns riding among the various sidecars, ducking down when the police neared. If any patrols decided to follow, a group of bikers, some with their own daughters riding side, broke off and lured them away.

Within hours the group caught sight of their destination: the Mendocino Cliffs overlooking the Pacific. Tracy pulled out her cell and made a call. A cloud of dust rose as the ride grumbled to an end.

Tracy strode over to the bike holding Cynthia. The little girl looked pale, her breath coming in gasps. “We’re here?”

“Yeah, baby. We’re here.” Tracy gathered the frail girl in her arms and carried her to the edge of the cliff, assorted bikers standing back in a respectful wall of leather and jeans.

She sat tailor-style, Cynthia cradled in her lap. She only had to wait an hour before she heard the helicopter land, spotlighted by the bright purples, reds, and oranges of the setting sun.

Police cars, sirens blaring, raced up. A distraught man and woman, grief etched on their faces, ran to their daughter. The bikers parted to let them pass, closing ranks to hold the officers back.

Tracy stood, holding the rapidly fading Cynthia out for her mother to hold. “She doesn’t have much time left. Her last wish was for the three of you to be here at the end.” She leaned in and whispered to the mother. “I don’t care if you stay together or not, but you lie to this little girl, if you have to.”

Tracy stood back a few feet, giving them privacy. When the mother’s head bowed and her tears fell on unfeeling cheeks, she turned and nodded to the awaiting bikers and police. Sirens shut off and the rumble of hundreds of bikes starting paid homage to one little girl with a dream.

There was nothing left for her to do but walk away.

Word Count : 750

             

For Speakeasy #141. The prompts: Reference the above clip in some way. Use “There was nothing left for her to do but walk away” as your last line. The challenge: Use 750 words or less to tell your story or poem.

My sincerest hopes that all my readers have a very happy Holiday season. Thank you for reading my works and your wonderful feedback! Fair winds and following seas.

Head over to Speakeasy and read some terrific writers. I am never disappointed when I make my through the entries every week.

Hope you enjoy.

And I hope you find Peace.

J. Milburn