Wednesday March 2nd, 2016

The exercise:

Write about: retaliation.

The two guys Kat's parents hired to put in the deer fence that will surround the farm were working in our front yard this morning. They were using a machine to put a few more posts in before starting to put up the actual fencing. It was very noisy, and even shook the house a little bit when the posts were going in.

Max loved it.

He was watching from the deck at one point and I could hear him giggling as they were putting one of the posts in. Pretty sure he wanted to grab one of his toolboxes and go help them.

I do not know where he gets this from.


"When he shuts off his truck," I say, forcing myself to speak slowly, "that's when I make my move. Just keep the car running and be ready to hit the gas when I come back."

"I don't think... actually, that's not true. I know this isn't a good idea." Tyrone looks nervous. I suppose I can understand why he'd feel that way.

Not me though, not right now. I just feel eager.

"What, you don't think that prick deserves this?"

"I'm not saying he should go unpunished," Tyrone says, holding his hands up, palms facing me. "I'm just questioning who should be doing the punishing."

"There's no question there," I say as I turn my attention back to the street. "It's me."

"An eye for an eye creates blindness, my friend."

"Who said anything about going for his eyes? That ain't, generally speaking, my target area."

"I know he hurt you, bro. I understand where you're coming from."

I turn to look at him but don't say a word. I don't have to. My eyes tell him I don't think that you do.

"This will not end well. Mark my words. No good will come of this."

"That's where you're wrong, my friend." I watch as his truck comes around the corner, then eases into its usual parking spot. "Something very, very good is about to come of this. I'm going to cherish what's about to happen for the rest of my life."

"Cherish?" Tyrone's laugh is harsh. "More like regret."

"Whatever, bro."

The truck's engine goes silent. I open the car's passenger door.

"Just keep it running, all right? Be back in a few."


Greg said...

Are we getting any photos of the deer fence? And maybe the deer picking the lock on the gate with their antlers, so that they can come and go as they please? ;-)
I think you're probably right by the way, I'm sure Max would have loved to go and help :)
Well, the ominous presence of this piece suggests that things are not going to go well for the protagonist though it would be nice to find out what happened to him in the end. Retaliation requires planning in my experience, not just an opportunity! Still, the back-and-forth is well done, and the two voices are very clear, and I think I already mentioned the everpresent sense of forebodeing!

I might not have done much more than burn the clothes afterwards, and maybe instruct the urchins to take the body away, but I was an accomplice. The law was deliberately harsh about these things; there were too many other ways to die to tolerate a person killing another person. Scientists wrote intelligent, academic papers on how the death-rate was too high compared to the birth-rate and how it could only mean depopulation in the not-too-distant future. I'd looked in vain for papers on why this was so while I was in London and still had access to the Universities though.
Cecily was mad. I had to accept that, though I was intellectualising it, just as I'd intellectualised the decline in the birth-rates and chosen to ignore the evidence. To push it aside, just like everyone else. Why be an iconoclast when you can be a –
Cecily was a murderer. A murderess. I was only an accomplice.
I hate that word: only.

I stared out of the bedroom window. Cecily was downstairs somewhere, sniffing out the sources of phlogiston. The window couldn't have been cleaned in months, and the dirt was visible as a grey-brown speckling. I wanted to rub it away but it seemed like too much effort. And it might let the sunlight in to illuminate my life, which was clearly a bloodied, stained mess.
Retaliation. This was all about retaliation, and she'd gone too far, just as she always did. The bar had been crowded, she'd been drunk. Again. He'd pushed past her, and she'd pushed back. He'd started to speak, and I wonder still if he was going to apologise, but she'd thrown her drink at him. And so he'd his at her. And he had been drinking phlogiston-wine.
It missed. I can still – still – see the scene in slow-motion if I close my eyes. The liquid missed her by several inches and caught a pretty, young blonde girl on the side of the face. She started screaming, clawing at her face as the liquid etched her skin, and Cecily's face twisted into a ugly, shrieking harpy's face. Her fingers, bony and pale, jabbed out as though she were a Shakespearean witch uttering a curse, and he just smirked and turned away.
Cecily hauled me out of the bar, still shrieking, her bitter, twisted soul written clearly in the lines of her face and I was too stupid to turn away and go back and try and help.
Retaliation. Here I am in the middle of godforsaken nowhere because Cecily wants enough phlogiston-wine to drown a man she picked a fight with in a bar a hundred miles away.

Dear God.

Marc said...

Greg - oh yeah, the deer fence. Uh... maybe?

So pleased that you've been continuing with this story. I've been reading and finally am now commenting, but I just wanted to let you know that it's been a pleasure to see you develop this world and story.

And it was good to see the origins of this tale here. You've done a fine job of fleshing this one out.