Friday, August 19, 2011

Dusk: Closing Time

Charlie stepped outside as a ship’s captain meets a coming storm. He wrapped his knuckles around the metal pizza peel, and scanned the dark places of the parking lot. There were two lights in the parking lot. One was flickering, threatening to go out. It smelled wet outside; it had not yet begun to rain but it would. “Charlie? Is it safe to come out?” Called a meek voice from the pizzerias glass door. Karen. “No, uh – I don’t think it’s safe, not yet. Shut the door and don’t answer it for anyone.” The little brass bell on the door jangled as she shut the door. “Wait – which car is yours?” Charlie asked, realizing she had given him her keys, but he had no idea which car was hers. Karen shook her head, confused, as if she couldn’t understand what he was saying. “Which car is yours?” He said again, a little louder. She said something but her voice was dull and unclear. “Open the door, Karen,” Charlie made to move back to the door. Karen seemed hesitant. “Goddamnit, Karen – I mean don’t open for anyone but me.” Charlie heard a sound – like leaves crunching, footsteps over asphalt – someone was coming.

Opposite the pizzeria was a long boulevard which ran through town. Charlie paused, and Karen’s muffled talking was still; a man in a green shirt wearing boxers ran down the street screaming bloody murder. Even though he was at a dead sprint, it was if he was running in slow motion. He looked at Charlie, and let out a short and urgent scream. Charlie screamed back. Karen screamed. Charlie screamed. The running man screamed.  “Karen, open the door.” Charlie turned, and she was gone – hidden or hiding somewhere inside of the pizzeria. ”Don’t be a bitch Karen! Open the door! There is some shit that’s going down and I’m pretty sure that guy was running from something.” No response. Nothing. Charlie turned around, toward the running man, only to see him just escaping his field of view. What the hell is going on? Charlie asked himself. As if being eclipsed by silence, four shadows emerged from the direction the man was running from. Three of them were running, or attempting to – it was more of a shuffling hop. They walked with their noses up in the air as if being led less by sight than by smell. The fourth figure was walking – trailing behind the others – Charlie didn’t like that. Charlie felt his stomach tighten and the hair on his arms began to stand on end. The other three figures he knew would keep after the running man, and he could hear intermittent fits of screaming from somewhere down the road; he wasn’t scared of them - they reminded him of Goombahs. The other one was different; it was taking its time. Charlie suddenly realized what was happening. This was a gang war, and Charlie was a witness. As if picking up on his thoughts, the lone figure turned toward Charlie – not the pizzeria, now dim, but to Charlie – standing in the shadow of the awning in front. It changed direction, now coming toward Charlie. “Hey, we’re closed… sorry, no more pizza tonight,” Charlie said, his voice breaking.

The figure didn’t say anything but kept moving. “Hey dude, I’m a black belt and I don’t feel like busting any heads tonight. My dad’s a cop, and he’s picking me up here in like – well, he should have been here like 10 minutes ago, so you might just want to not come any closer.” Nothing. Nothing but terror ran through Charlie’s veins – this guy was going to shoot him, then rape him. “Listen bud! I will royally fuck you up.” Charlie’s voice was trembling. The figure crossed beneath one of the street lights. His skin was pale, almost blue. This guy didn’t just have bags under his eyes, it looked like his eyes had been engulfed in black coal. He was also wearing some kind of mouth guard – even from where Charlie was standing he could see how his lips were pursed - like his mouth was full of cotton balls. And then the smell hit him – like death and vinegar, yet somehow slightly sickly sweet. The calm returned to Charlie’s voice. “Are you okay, dude?” He asked, somehow unaffected now, realizing this wasn’t merely a bad situation, but that something was now terribly wrong. The figure smiled, revealing a giant maw of crooked needle like teeth.

“Oh,” Charlie said softly. “That’s not fucked up at all.”


  1. Nicely written as always, keep it up!

  2. You had me wondering what was going on right to the end!

  3. Can I un-follow you so I can follow you again?

    This is good, but the editor in me wants to break out the red pen and crucify you with it. Namely in this whole all-one-paragraph structure...

    Is this raw copy with no editing at all?

  4. No editing, just posting as I write. If I spend too much time with destructive editing, I never get anything else done! None of my posts have been edited much aside from spellcheck. By all means, if you want to do some editing go for it!

    This is also a bit of a flash forward from the rest of the Dusk stuff, just a scene I really enjoyed writing.

  5. Also, I broke it up a bit. Thanks for following along :)

  6. I never like to edit my stuff. I like to jsut write one time and that is it. I am very critical of my writing so i would re-write everything over and over again.

  7. Wonderful. Loved the excuses he made haha. i wish i could describe things like you do. it sounds nice and gives me a good image but not over the top!