Saturday, January 23, 2010

One bourbon, one scotch, one flash



One bourbon, one scotch, one flash
Well I ain't seen my fiction since I don't know when
I've been drinking language, clauses, verb and noun
Gonna get typed man I'm gonna get loose
Need me a written shot of that juice
Gonna get drunk don't you have no crash
I want one bourbon, one scotch and one flash
One bourbon, one scotch, one flash

As the sixth shot of whisky burnt its way down, I suddenly remembered what I left the house for. The frigid, windy troposphere, an ineffectual balm for the post-cataract wasteland that was my throat, was kind enough to keep me upright as long as I continued to fall forward. The incessant throb in my head provided a steady backbeat for the sweet, angular measures she had managed to wrest from my out-of-tune Fender last night -- no, Thursday -- which was when? -- their seductive souvenirs stringing down my spinal column to the ground beneath my shuffling feet. It was a wonder I didn't end up face first in a roadside snow -- 'drift' really didn't do the scene justice. Imagine a lush, fertile valley and replace green with white, lots of white. Oh, and the arctic blasting, can't forget that.

The whitewash of the town was unyielding in its ferocity, this century's storm of the century, copyrighted Doppler whatever. The nearly month-long directive to stay inside for safety's sake was laughable as no authority figure would dare venture out into this to make an arrest. The authorities stopped pulling bodies over a week ago. No point in clearing out seven feet of snow when eight would come down in an instant. A pale rider, indeed.

The grinding hum of plows bisecting the city via its main road was the only discernible noise within the wash of the howl from the north. But I had to go, only because it had taken so long to remember why.

How I managed to not end up one of those bodies left buried until the snows ceased, especially in my inebriated state, only the indifferent cosmos can answer and she never picks up her phone. But I know he will.

Fate's toothy grin cast a welcome Klieg upon a workable path. Wiping my eyes, I carefully trudged through the snow. The warm, comforting glow of the whisky was fading; I now began to understand just how frigid and death-haunted the world had become. As the last knock rung into silence, plow-driven powder and opaque blades of ice circumscribed my frozen, tingling soles. I looked back, their replacements falling from the sky with prodigious speed. The tumbler moved, and the door opened.

"Yes?"

The shoulder-to-shoulder collision keeping me upright just enough to track slushy gunk over the poorly-aged, pancaked carpet, I sloughed in the nearest chair I could find.

"What the hell? Who are you? Get out of my house or I'm calling the cops."

My boots, disembarking upon the edge of a dark brown futon, began pooling their melt in the buttoned depressions as I whipped out my cell and dialed.

"Look, Mac, no mumbrusfuckng copsagonna comminthiswether."

"I, I've got a gun."

"Noyadont."

It wasn't a game of who would blink first. My lids were still frozen open.

"I'm gonna get --"

"Yeahshme. Hestilalive."

The soft, velvety crumple of a blundering, sock-footed sprint up the stairs only added to the gloom of the poorly-lit chamber. A loud report broke it.

I guess he did have a gun.

38 comments:

Sherry Peyton said...

I'm speechless. I'm a scribbler and you my friend are a WRITER. I'm simply in awe...

Übermilf said...

You just can't resist showing off, can you?

Randal Graves said...

sherry, thanks, I'm just glad you have low standards.

übermilf, hey, at least I kept my clothes on this time.

Distributorcap said...

do you keep your clothes on with vodka or gin?

Tom Harper said...

Nice description of a winter storm. I wish we'd get one. The Pacific Northwest must be the only part of North America that's not freezing or neck-deep in snow. It's been going up to the 50s every day here. And I like winter, damn it.

"this century's storm of the century" -- I'm glad it's not just me that's sick to death of all the weather hyperbole. That and the wind chill factor. "38 degrees, and the wind chill factor brings it down to 900 below."

sunshine said...

Did he kill himself or the intruder???
Must have been himself if the intruder could write the story.. right???

Hmmmm.....

Great story! I loved it. :)

((Hugs))
Laura

Mary Ellen said...

Oh wow...here I come and see a video and I left a special video for you on my blog today...in the comment section. ;-)

Liberality said...

Clapping, cheering, and wolf whistles from the audience :~)

Randal Graves said...

dcap, that depends on how fresh vodka and gin get.

tom, dude, that stuff is horrible. Every winter it's another bout of FRIGID ARCTIC BLAST OF SATANIC DEATH TEMPS IN THE TWENTIES! Yeah, it snows and gets cold in Cleveland in January. Fucking corporate hyperbole and the morons who lap it up.

sunshine, unless he was a ghost. I'll leave that up to the reader. ;-)

nunly, it isn't a video about Jesus, is it?
"All things are about Jesus, Randal. Except this."

liberality, I also accept greenbacks. ;-)

Beach Bum said...

...only the indifferent cosmos can answer and she never picks up her phone.

I like that one. That was classy.

Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

I got the first part, up until the flash, anyway. After that, well, I returned to the bourbon and scotch. I think you mastered the hootch portion.

Regards,

Tengrain

Cormac Brown said...

Oh no, I can't write noir, not me.

Bullocks, Graves!

Good writin'!

S.W. Anderson said...

You well describe the preceding two winters in my corner of the country, and we had a couple of incidents of inebriated or otherwise out-of-it people making themselves at home where they were not known and did not actually reside.

As if the beneficiaries of some sort of cosmic justice, we're now having one of the mildest, least snowy winters I can recall. Which is good, because had we been forced to deal with another winter like the past two, I'd be the besotted wretch in your story.

susan said...

I've always been most fond of George Thorogood and the Destroyers too. Bad to the Bone, a perfect description of you and your excellent prose this weekend. It kind of inclined me to ask what they'd be be saying at the beginning of a new ice age when there are no hyperboles left in their corporate thesori.

Doc said...

"...copyrighted Doppler whatever."

"...only the indifferent cosmos can answer and she never picks up her phone."

"Graves, you swine!" (Not your line, but worth repeating.)

For material such as this, you will long be remembered as a disturbed artist who wasn't recognized in his own time, but will later have Senior-only college classes dedicated to your art. Dewey's system will have to be revised to accomodate your own section in the library. Critics who want to sound edgey and chic will drop your name at parties in the hope of getting laid.

In short, kick ass.

So the hero slugs down whisky and braves the frozen tundra just to find out if the well armed dickhead down the street is still alive? Did he owe a favor to dickhead's mother in return for the forgiveness of several large gambling debts? I'm willing to bet that the hero was a Browns fan. Poor sucker, every year is a rebuilding year.

Your fellow Ohioian,
Doc

Hill said...

Woof!

:)

Übermilf said...

Write something new. I'm bored and my fruit/yogurt cup tastes like potpourri, or perhaps a scented candle.

Randal Graves said...

BB, classy? I'll need to rectify that for next time.

tengrain, as long as I convinced someone to get plastered, I've emerged victorious.

cormac, thanks, but a single lucky shot doesn't exactly compare to what guys like you and Paul do on a daily basis.

SWA, I dig the winter, but thinking of places in the midwest who, after getting over an ice storm, are dealing with more funky blizzardry, there's such a thing as too much.

susan, oh, I'd never doubt the ability of the corporates to come up with a new hyperbolic language. It's what they're paid to do as they hawk cheap wares and empty promises.

doc, I'm wondering how long it'll be before the next rebuilding project. PLEASE save us, LeBron. PLEASE.

And I have to give credit to you and David and Cormac and MRMacrum and others for the injection of some booze-chooglin' earthy grit into this tale. 'tis not my usual gig, but I figured why the hell not.

hill, woof shares a sound with reef. What madness!

übermilf, that's because you're high and are eating a scented candle.

No words today, just tunes. My brain is broken.

WellesFan said...

Excellent story, man. You sure captured the bleakness of winter. Very noir, too.

Lewis said...

So real I put me wellies and woolly hat on while reading. Great use of language.

David Barber said...

Randal, you're playing with our heads talking about football and politics 'n' stuff. That was a great piece of noir writing mate. Top man!

Regards bud, David.

Rum said...

Inspired. Narrative poem, noir fiction, black comedy with a hint surrealist screed -- who cares? Nicely done.

rum

Alan Griffiths said...

Great stuff Randal, noir with a capital N.

Randal Graves said...

Thanks all, and coming from you guys who actually ply in such a trade, a high compliment.

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