Monthly Archives: August 2016

Adjacent Topic: Campfire Interlude

The man’s rifle leaned against the side of the china cabinet.  It was a family heirloom (not his family, but that of the homeowners) that survived two world wars, an ideological dictatorship and incompetent shipping methods. After all these years, wrapped and unwrapped, hoisted and positioned, it began to smell like every family member who housed it and took on the countenance of an old woman.  Creased door frames, drooping circular knobs, and lavender-hued streaks appeared in the wood.

The man had put his rifle not in a closet or underneath a bed, rather he placed it against the cabinet because it belonged next to something as old as he was starting to feel.  He’d partially died several years ago, and it took a curious girl with an untamed spirit to help him fully die, so that he wouldn’t have to be trapped in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.  The rifle was an icon of that old world, the one he’d left after submerging into the vastness of death.

In his new incarnation, he didn’t need a rifle for the pen was his tool of choice now.  He discovered he could bring things to life and into being with the written word.  He’d made a football team win in the final minutes of the fourth quarter because he had scribbled on a bar napkin, “just get another touchdown and keep your defense in the game.”  They got another touchdown.  He wondered what he could do with more time, paper, and pens.  Did different color inks bring about different results?  What if he used erasable ink?

What would happen if he drew and wrote?  Could he make the curious girl with an appetite for flesh appear if he drew her?  It’d been two years since he last saw her in his previous life…or half-life.  As each day passed, his memories of her shifted into dreams.  He found himself sketching argyle patterns whenever he wasn’t experimenting with conjuring exotic animals, food dishes, or sports scores.

The man thought he saw the girl one day when he was gazing at the window display of a furniture store.  He was looking for a new hammock for his back porch, something he could erect between two pillars for a more comfortable view of the night sky.  Standing grew tiring too quickly.  The man noticed the reflection of a girl with dark brown hair and wild eyes.  She was watching him too, but before he could turn to speak to her, she had gone.

The man left the furniture store in search of an art supplies shop.  He also needed a six pack of root beer.

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This entry is inspired by characters from The Campfire Tales and the preseason game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Cleveland Browns.  Falcons won 24 to 13.  Good times.

Two-Minute Dimness

Timmie had the ball secure between the crook of his arm and his side.  Lennie passed the ball to him at the thirty yard line.  Timmie was fewer than ten yards away from the end zone and dodged quite remarkably four defensive linebackers before he was tackled by a fifth.  He was three yards from the end zone.  Though he didn’t remember the moment of impact, Timmie saw it before it happened.  He had cleared number 93 and was about to hop over one of his own teammates when number 97 barreled into his peripheral vision.

Timmie was down and had lost possession of the ball.  He couldn’t feel his knees or his toes.  He could smell the quarterback above his head (cloves and nutmeg, a distinct aroma) and hear one of the assistant coaches shouting towards the sidelines.  Timmie opened his eyes, expecting to see officials, players from his team and the opposing team, and, of course, the multitude of stadiums lights shining down upon him.

But, when Timmie opened his eyes, he saw none of those things.  Instead of sweaty men and bright lights, he saw a chino-uniformed female and dim, red lights.  He was still down, lying down, but rather than astroturf, he was on a table.  Timmie tried to turn his head from side to side but a mere inch in either direction sent waves of pain through his neck and the base of his skull.  Even breathing deeply was uncomfortable.  At least he could feel his knees and toes.

The woman walked over to the table and approached Timmie’s feet.  She took her hands out from her coat pockets and placed them on his ankles.  Timmie let out a yelp.

“Sorry,” the woman said.  “I know my hands are cold.”

Timmie tried to sit up; he could not.  Two wide straps, one near his thighs and the other around his elbows, kept him from doing much more than a half-assed crunch.  Timmie shut his eyes tight and concentrated on the football field.  He must’ve suffered a concussion and any minute he’d be back on the turf.

He opened his eyes after counting to 50.  He was still in the dim, red-lit room, still strapped to a table.  Timmie’s breathing quickened as he watched her come closer to his head.  She looked like she hadn’t eaten in days.

“I’m sorry,” the woman said.  “I can’t let you leave.”

The woman pressed a black button on a column just behind the table.  Moments later, a door beyond Timmie’s line of sight clanked open and three hooded figures entered.  The tallest one was holding an ax.  The one with the broadest shoulders was holding a pail.  The one with glow-in-the-dark glasses was holding a length of rope.

Timmie clenched his fists, shut his eyes again, and tried to remember exactly when 97 tackled him.  But all he could see in his mind was a woman towering above him, dim, red light, and hands tying rope around his ankles.
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The above story is loosely inspired on real events as related to me.