#FridayFlash: Night driving, alone

"Five bodies... where the hell am I going to dump five bodies?"

The night had no answers. In fact, the night didn't give a shit about him any more than God or people or the rest of the universe. All he wanted was to be left alone. Was that so much to ask? Now he had five bodies to get rid of.

At least he had plenty of gas. He'd filled up the tank before coming into the city.

When he drove out of the city, everything was blurry. All that saved him was the fact that he could have taken 95 to 76 to 476 in his sleep, driven it with his eyes closed. After a while, when the frantic slamming in his chest slowed into individual pounding heartbeats, the floodlights overhead had come into focus, but were pulsing redly, the highway in front of him telescoping in and out to the rhythm of his heart as though he were looking down a dim, shifting tunnel.

He knew this was no illusion. He knew that it was a result of spiking blood pressure, pressing on his eyeballs, deforming them with backpressure on every beat. His panic, if that's what he was feeling, was literally reshaping the lenses through which he saw the world. He knew his eyes were bulging in and out, in and out, in and out, just like in the cartoons. He knew that his eyes, his pale skin, his trembling, his sweat, his smell... all of these would damn him before a Philly cop or MontCo Sheriff or PA State Trooper shone a light into the backseat.

He had plenty of gas. He had E-Z-Pass for the tolls. He didn't need to stop for anything. He drove north at eighty miles per hour, staying in with the traffic on the northeast extension of the PA turnpike. He was another car. He was nobody. He was nothing special.

He had five bodies to dump. He had three bodies in the trunk (the bleeders) and two in the backseat (the broken necks). The broken necks smelled like beer and sweat and piss and hair gel. They didn't smell like blood, though. The other smells he could handle, deal with somehow at a self-serve car wash. Drive through, wash and wax the outside, then hose out the inside. It would soak the upholstery and the floormats, but heat lamps and fans would dry everything. Let the water flood it all away, let the light and heat restore his car to cleanliness again.

But where to dump them?

If he'd gone into center city looking for a fight, looking for a bad fight, one where people ended up dead, he might have made some plans. But all he wanted was a movie and some drinks. Was that so much to ask? A quiet night out on the town by himself? He was tired of going to the movies at the multiplexes, tired of eating at the chain places, the quirky places, the here-today-gone-tomorrow upscale places. He wanted to see a movie and eat some decent food for a change and have a couple of drinks. Didn't he deserve that much? Didn't he deserve a couple of quiet hours of watching the people around him live their stupid fucking lives and having their stupid fucking fun?

The road began to telescope again, in and out, in and out. He made himself not think about the world around him, the world that didn't give a shit about him and the stupid fucking piece of shit bastards that populated that bleak, horrible world.

His heart slowed again and the road settled down.

See a movie, have a few drinks, go to your car, get jumped, kill the five guys that jumped you. It was like clockwork, wasn't it? Same old shit, the same goddamned shit that always happened when he just wanted a quiet night out.

But it had never been five before. Three was the most. Before tonight, that is. He had every right to park his Audi in a dark alley, didn't he? Was it his fault that a car like his in a place like that attracted guys like the bleeders and the broken necks? Was it his fault? No it was not. It was not his fault they'd come around. They did that on their own.

Knife flash, duck and dive, spin-kick down and elbow up, crush this one's larynx, stab that one in the eye, twist this one's head around and use it to crush that one's face in... the close combat training never left you, burned into your brain and nerves forever, became the lenses through which you see the world.

The alley was so blurry when he loaded the bodies, he had to pull the tarps over by touch. He could barely see anything, drove out along the familiar streets by memory and by instinct.

Five bodies... where? Where?

He got off the northeast extension onto 80 and headed west.

There were lakes up here. Deep lakes, mountain lakes. State game lands, state parks, private land... places nobody gave a shit about. Deep lakes with deep water.

He looked over at the passenger seat, at the rolls of plastic fencing, nylon rope, plastic buckets filled with quick-set cement. Bodies rot into little pieces. Metal, even the galvanized wire and fencing, eventually rusts into little pieces. Down in the cold, the world eats away at everything. Metal, flesh, wood, everything.

Everything except plastic. Plastic is forever. Plastic is untouchable. He remade his heart and brain out of plastic After She Left. The world sneered and laughed and spit on him After She Left, but who the fuck cares about the world, anyway? He just wanted to be left alone.

He cracked the window and let the night air, let it roar in his left ear in as he drove.

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  1. Wow. That time post-violence is depicted very well here. Makes me wonder how old he is, though, for the adrenaline to have that kind of effect on him.

    Tip for the character: left in the sun long enough, plastic deteriorates. It doesn't rot, but it crumbles. He needs to keep to dark alleys and nighttime excursions.

    1. In the sun, yes. But down at the bottom of a deep mountain lake, way down below the thermocline, where it's cold and dark and airless, plastic lasts forever.

      Glad you liked the immediacy of it, Larry. ;-)

  2. Huh, I was wondering why he'd killed them. I kind-of feel like he should have been able to incapacitate without killing, given the training.

    Loved the description of the panic's effects on the body, love the voice with the repetitions making the panic more real and loved the anger which was most potent of all. Nicely done!

  3. Good one! Loved both where you started this one and ended it. Let a quick flashback tell why he's in this predicament, and a few lines of hope about where he's going to end up finish it. Great storytelling in this one.

  4. You really pulled me along with this one. I love the feelings he experiences as the adrenaline wears off.

  5. I often wondered why it is that the people who try to steal cars etc. never encounter people who can handle themselves, and you've answered why!


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