(Author’s note: After a month of preparing, moving, and finally getting ensconced in my location, I’ve now moved out of the big city and I’m now out in a small town. It already feels good, even if it’s unusual for how I’ve been living. Anyhow, here’s some new Fictioneers with a song that I first heard in a coffee shop in Seoul back in 2016.)
by Miles H. Rost
Pierre thumped forward as the brakes took hold.
He did not see the stop sign until just about late. Had he ran the sign, he would have run into Renault that turned from the side street.
It had been the case all week where he would see the bloom and become transfixed. He nearly wiped out an Uber driver, two semis, and a Polizei cruiser with his inattentiveness.
He pulled over and got out, sitting on the hood of the car and gazing lost at the blooms. He sighed, alternating between the blooms and a picture of his deceased child.
(Author’s Note: Merry Christmas. When I find out more info, I could have updates. To make it simple: I may be moving to public school teaching. Otherwise, here’s today’s Fictioneers! Merry Christmas, yet again!)
(Author’s note: It’s been a busy week here at Music and Fiction. 3 different stories have been posted for your perusal, and I hope you can read them all. You can read the mini-fictions The Lament of the Scribe and 5 Steps, plus the longer fiction Walking On Ice (my current personal favorite of mine.) Make sure to comment on them, as a few of these were actually created as a result of class exercises for my university courses. Besides that, please enjoy today’s creation.)
We had just pulled up to the drive thru on Route 7. I was reaching for my wallet when Caroline shrieked.
“Honey! What’s wrong?”
“I can’t stand bugs! And there are two right under the drive-thru window!”
Being a valiant man, I reached over the seat to get them. In my haste to shoo the beasts away, I miscalculated my reach. I let out a “whoa!” just before my face landed in her lap. I heard a gasp, then a breath.
“My darling, if you wanted pie, you should have just said so…”
I looked up at her, and she cracked up. I can’t help but crack up now whenever she, my beautiful wife, asks if I want pie.
Here’s this week’s offering. Other stories are on the way, just dealing with a lot more stress and recover from said stress than I wish to divulge…
copyright Claire Fuller
by Miles Rost
After 35 years at the gas works, I never thought that I would still be working.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what I wanted to do after I got done with my career. The first year was the hardest. I had no clue, especially after Millie died.
I was driving down the A34 and was stopped to get petrol. I saw the building, the shabbiness of it, and the garage. I inquired with the proprietor whether he was interested in having another worker. He grumbled, but agreed.
My first job with him was to retread older tires, or to cut them up.
So, in short, I guess I can truly say that even though I’m working, I’m…retired.
The sun beat down on the green earth of west central Oregon. The smell of grass in the air, the sounds of tractors and traffic in the background punctuated the desperate feeling of the folks in transit.
“So, where are we going?”
“Haven’t decided that yet. It’s summer, the weather is warm, and we have a couple months before we have to be back at college. Where do you want to go?”
Sherry Michaels and Harlan Bossier were perched on the railings of a white house just a short jump away from the interstate. Two unlikely people talking about where to go.
“I think we should just ride until we feel like we have gone where we need to go.”
“I agree, but I do feel we need to have some sort of a destination.”
Sherry swung her legs up and landed them behind her, while straightening the blue t-shirt she wore.
“Are you sure you just want to go? I mean, do you think we have enough money to get things fixed if we break down somewhere?”
“There’s a reason I have a separate savings account from my parents. They don’t know about it, and it was made for stuff like this in mind.”
Harlan stood up and walked down the stairs.
“Then I guess we should go. Let’s do this!”
The seemingly mismatched couple walked down the path from the house to the garage. They entered the garage, and after a moment, a couple of loud rumblings were heard. Both of them slowly pulled out of the garage, and into the sunlight as they rode their Harley Davidsons up to the main road. They headed towards the interstate, and paused at the stoplight. The choice was now theirs.
Harlan put his hand in the air and felt around for a half a minute. After feeling what the wind had said, he revved the bike and turned. Sherry followed him, her leather jacket reflecting a bit of the sun.
As they peeled down the interstate, they passed a sign on the road.
The Santa Monica Freeway was known for traffic. And especially going into Santa Monica proper, it was always going to have some congestion. For some reason, this Saturday evening had very little traffic. And as Dennis drove down the freeway in his BMW z3 Roadster, he smiled happily at this development.
He passed under La Cienega Boulevard as the sun started to dip in the horizon, and turned on his radio. As per typical, his keen sense of musical timing allowed him the pleasure of listening to one of his songs from his time in college. As the opening strains of America’s 1984 hit, “Can’t Fall Asleep To A Lullaby” started wafting from the four speakers, he looked at the horizon in front of him. It wasn’t totally clear, but he saw the bright orange skyline, an indication that the sun was in the process of setting.
The winds that blasted past the vehicle whipped his hair as he traveled down the freeway.
He thought about the road ahead, and about how much he loved to drive. This was the way that he decompressed from the daily stresses of his job and from his past. He recounted the things that happened over the past week, and mused about how much they were going to change his life.
As the chorus of the old song played through, he passed under the 405. By this time, his thoughts moved back to the beautiful orange sky and the sparse number of taillights in front of him. It seemed even this night would not have the cops bothering him on this road. The picture in front of him was exactly like a dream he had in college, and he was going to relish it as much as he could.
His thoughts were interrupted by a thought about his charge, the one who he was helping at this time. He knew that she was going to have a rough road ahead of her, and she had so much to work through. He only hoped that he would be able to help her properly, and give her the freedom to do great things for the people of Los Angeles and the Basin.
The second run of the chorus started to play as he blasted under Cloverfield Boulevard. His favorite part was coming up, and he looked again at the horizon in front of him. The wind in his hair, the beauty of the landscape, all of it brought a grin to his face again. It was, for all he knew, the most awesome experience he had up to this point in time. And he loved it.
The saxophone solo sounded out from the speakers, and he kicked down the accelerator as he approached 14th Street in Santa Monica. He drove his engine as hard as he could until the solo ended. By the time he ended, he was right at the curve where the Santa Monica Freeway became Pacific Coast Highway.
He slowed down as the roadway became a four-way with very few stoplights. He prayed and hoped that he would be able to continue without stopping. As he progressed up the road, he looked out at the ocean and the beach. The sun was just starting to disappear under the horizon. About 3/4 of it was still above, and he was entranced by it, as he drove. With luck, he was able to keep going as the stoplights all appeared to be green and happy.It seems that his drive was, in fact, a blessed event for him.
As the last chorus blasted through, he punched the accelerator again and blazed his way up the PCH through Santa Monica. The chorus ended as he streaked a turn onto Chautauqua Boulevard. He went up the hill a little slower this time, and made a turn towards the ocean onto Corona Del Mar. The song just ended as he pulled into his house, and turned off the key. He was home, and the night was absolutely awesome. This was a blessed night, and he would spend the rest of it listening to America’s Greatest Hits, and watching the sky darken from his patio overlooking the ocean.
The van that carried Brad Pershing and his fellow bandmates screamed down the 101, heading for the western side of Santa Barbara. Mackie “attempted” to drive carefully, with Brad hoping to arrive at the Seawalk Grill along the channel on time and alive. Blazing past the exit for Cabrillo Boulevard, the van started to accelerate to the point where it started to shake slightly. Brad, looking straight ahead and white knuckled, was incredibly worried at the sight of the lampposts moving quickly by, and looked over at the speedometer.
It registered a reading of 95 miles per hour.
“Mackie! Slow down!” he said, looking at Mackie with panic.
“Do you want to get there in time, or do you want to lose the money we’d be making?” Mackie retorted, with a wild laugh.
“I want to get there…” Brad started to say, before a pungent odor wafted into his nostrils. The overpowering smell of burnt sage, all too familiar to him in dealing with his pot-smoking sister, caused him to start coughing and gagging.
“My God, Mackie, how much weed did you smoke?”
Mackie laughed and groaned dazily as he drove, now starting to move across the white lines of the 6 lane highway.
“I only had a few joints.”
Seth sat up and tapped Brad on the shoulder, giving him a stern look indicating displeasure at the questions. Brad made a sideways chopping motion, silently informing Seth to stay out of it.
“What’s the problem? I can drive!” Mackie laughed, as he turned the wheel from one side to another rapidly, making the vehicle weave.
Brad was about to say something more, until he noticed a red, then a blue flash. He looked in the side view mirror and saw a police cruiser with its lights fully on, close on their tail.
Mackie floored the accelerator and started speeding around slower moving cars. They were halfway through Santa Barbara, approaching State Street, when they noticed a second set of lights joining the pursuing cruiser. This had officially become a high speed chase. Brad sat to the side, making sure his seat belt was on tight.
“Oh God, it’s OJ Simpson all over again…” He moaned, as he looked straight ahead, his face already white as a ghost.
The police cruisers behind the van stayed back behind as drivers started moving to the side of the road. Within a few moments, a third cruiser moved from behind the first two and started to gain on the rapidly moving van, already clocking over 105 miles per hour. They quickly passed the State Street exit and headed straight towards the exit for the Santa Barbara airport.
“Our exit is coming up!” Mackie exclaimed, “No mercy for SWINE!”
He passed a big rig after passing the Turnpike Road interchange, and quickly moved over 2 lanes of traffic, causing 1 car to run into the ditch. He finally reached the right hand lane to take the exit. Just as he was about to go under the underpass, the right tire of the van hit a board in the road. The nail hit the sidewall of the tire, causing the tire to violently explode and cause the van to start skidding to the side.
“Oh, hellfire!” Mackie exclaimed, “Look ou-“
The van tipped to the side and rolled over multiple times. Inside the van, screams of pain eminated as the members of the van started to be thrown in the vehicle. Their keyboardist was thrown out the window and crushed as the van rolled through the underpass.
Seth continued to be tossed around the van as it continued rolling past the embankment under the bridge and into a stand of trees. The van finally stopped as the driver’s side door slammed into a thick scrub tree with a sickening thud.
Seconds felt like hours as the van rested. Brad, still sitting in his seat and buckled up, had his eyes covered with his arms and his head in his lap. The sound of his breathing filled his ears as the sounds of the van quieted to silence. Brad pulled his head up and tried to move his right arm up to his neck. A sharp twinge of pain shot through his arm and he cried out. He tried to lift his left arm, and was able to rub his neck. He looked towards the driver’s seat, slowly.
His eyes filled with the vision of his lead singer, Mackie, with blood gushing down the right side of his head, and upside down. Brad was filled with horror at seeing his friend, dead, and he screamed. Muffled sounds coming from outside and the flashing of red and blue lights filled his vision as his door was opened and he was extricated from the vehicle by a member of the California Highway Patrol.
“Son, are you okay?”
Brad, upon hearing words, started to sob openly. The vision of Mackie, one eye open and blood streaming down his face, continued to be all that he saw as he bawled into the shoulder of the officer.
“Sanchez!” the officer called to his partner, who was peering into the van with his flashlight, “Are there any others in there?”
“I’ve got two, Benny. Both gone.”
Brad overheard this, and screamed out a scream of terror. His friends, his bandmates were dead. He was alive. His system shut down as he went limp.
Brad Pershing was the only survivor of a car accident that should not have had any.