For Doug

A passer-by found Kate slumped, tongue thick, clumsy, hands turning, turning the wheel, eyes flying apart in small, bright pieces. Your shell lay broken over the hood of her Camaro. The parking garage’s concrete blocks were splashed with drying blood that painted the unfinished portrait of a young man.

Dangerous men had forced Kate behind the windshield now dotted with carnage, told her to confess if she valued her breath. They placed her on point after they broke you, leaned you over the chrome bumper, and pressed her foot to the pedal.

You’d heard too much. The final lesson of this life was taught by men who laughed as they ended yours. You’d turned the corner in the wrong room in a moment perfect for dying, ignorant that the clock was ticking this last hour.

Had it only been someone else, a deaf man, one who walked with a white cane tipped red, a drunk splayed on the sidewalk cadging strangers for change…. If only, my friend, you had not overheard their plans. Your jokes would still welcome me over long-distance calls, your redhead’s skin still sunburn on trips to Michigan’s dunes, your mother not weep for her lost only child, your son grow up without a parent.

Only mute Kate knew their faces as she collected despair in small, speechless increments, her mother sipping Chianti and laughing her smoker’s laugh with those who had killed you. Your first girl could have won tardy justice for you. Instead, Kate fashioned prison sheets as a noose, fixed them to the bars, and purpled her face in shame.

*********This story made the top fifteen stories in the International Flash Fiction Day Flashmob Competition. Thanks to Michelle Elvy, Linda Simoni-Wastila, and Christopher Allen for organizing such a fun competition and including the world. http://flashmob2013.wordpress.com/winners/

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5 thoughts on “For Doug

  1. Chris says:

    Horrible and brilliantly crafted.

  2. susan says:

    Great story, Joani!

  3. Nicely done, Joanie. There’s much about this piece that I admire. Great seeing you in the mob!

  4. A funeral song for a friend…

  5. ganymeder says:

    So stark and sinister.

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