Yes, it takes me that long to write a full novel. I'll never be able to pump one out faster than a rabbit breeding.
Anyhoo, enjoy! And don;t forget to check out the other great stories being offered this week!
The overwhelming stench of rotting alcohol and comatose bodies filled the room as I stirred to life in the early morning sun rays. Groaning, I flung an arm over my eyes and rolled to my side.
“Psst,” whispered a voice nearby.
I didn’t want to drag my eyes open just yet, only to be faced with the pathetic reality my life had become.
Booze and drugs, and liquor and repeat. But the stranger wouldn’t be ignored.
“Hey,” he whispered, louder this time. “You. I saw you move. Look here.”
“What?” I mumbled without opening my eyes. He didn’t answer. “I said, what the hell do you want?”
“Smells like pine needles in here, don’t it?”
His proclamation forced my screwed shut eyes to open just a sliver. “Smells like what?”
“Pine needles, mama. Pine needles.” He stopped and sniffed the air, his hands twitching and body rocking ever so slightly. “Or maybe cat piss. I can’t ever tell the difference.”
I shook my head and rolled over on the dirty mattress, attempting to squeeze the image of a thousand bed bugs crawling over me out of my head. The idiot next to me scooted closer. “Do you mind?” I glanced over my shoulder. “I’m trying to get some sleep.”
“You should listen to me, baby. I got some things going on. Some big things.” He smiled manically and began to rock again.
With an extensive sigh, I rolled to my back and propped up on my elbows. “The hell are you talking about, you crack fiend?”
“Ain’t no crack fiend. No crack. No drugs, no booze. I’m using this as my cover. Just another bum here, cops.” A trickle of laughter flowed from his chest.
My eyebrows shot up. “Right. Cover for what?”
“For the big bang.” His fingers flexed and he leaned closer so that all I could smell was his rancid breath. “I got plans. Plans for this city and the country.”
“You’re awfully ambitious.” I tried to scoot back but he advanced again.
“I have friends. They’re everywhere. In seven days, we launch the bang and the whole world gonna feel this shake.”
The way his eyes changed from fun bum to intense truth made me shiver. Every instinct in my body told me to run, far and fast, maybe to Canada. “You’re freaking me out.” I stood in a smooth movement, or as smooth as my hungover body would allow, and dusted myself off. “I’m out.”
“Stay away from downtown, mama. I don’t want to see you hurt.”
I just gave a sharp nod and left. The shanty staircase felt like it might collapse under my malnourished weight, but I made my way to the street outside and pulled a cigarette from my pocket. The lighter shook in my hand as I tried to get the first inhale.
As I walked away from downtown, I thought about the bum in the building. How long had I known him? Six, seven months? And never once had I seen him drink or take a hit of anything.
What if he was telling the truth?
Maybe I thought my next move was a good idea because I had a little alcohol still running through me. Didn’t take much to keep me drunk the next morning when my liver was already on its last breath. The police station loomed in front of me, intimidating and busy. People flowed in and out in a steady stream past me as I walked in. The woman at the front desk looked me over once.
“How may I direct you?” Her nasally voice filled with pretention, and I wanted to slap her. I wasn’t always an alcoholic. I used to be pretty, like her.
“I need to report a, ah…threat to the city, I guess.”
“Have a seat down the hall in the waiting area and an officer will be with you shortly.”
The waiting room was crowded with women and men and children. They were all waiting on mom/dad/husband/wife to get out of the slammer so they could go home and repeat the cycle endlessly. When an officer stepped up to the door and beckoned me, I hopped up without hesitation.
Anything to get away from that doe eyed toddler looking at me around her mommy’s bruised face.
“Adelaide,” I supplied.
“Adelaide. I’m Officer Johnston. Pease, have a seat in here and we’ll discuss your issue.”
“Well, it’s not a personal issue,” I said as I sat down on the hard chair. Johnston sat across the steel table after the door was shut and looked at me.
“So what sort of issue is it?”
“All right, look. I was down at this friend’s house and this guy was talking to me like we’re friends or something. I’ve seen him around here and there, you know…” Oh, god. I’m rambling. “Anyway, he tells me he’s got something big planned for this city and he has friends in the rest of the country waiting. And they’re going to show this place the big boom or something like that.”
“Do you find him credible?”
“Here’s the thing.” I leaned forward, wringing my hands. “I’ve never seen him drink or take a drug. And he warned me not to go downtown.” I paused. “Seven days, he said.”
“I see. Well, thanks for your time and the notice. We’ll be on alert.” He held the door open for me.
I blinked, a little shocked at the blow off I was receiving. But I stood and walked by, pausing when I was just out of the door. “You don’t believe me, do you?”
“To be honest, Adelaide, why should I put any stock into something someone like you says?”
I lit another cigarette outside and took a long drag.
Someone like me, he said. I snorted. He’ll be praying he’d listened when the whole fucking city blows up.
The magnificent flashing squad: