Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chapter 12: A Little Too Much to Bear


I surprised myself the other night on Saw Mill Road, but in a good way.

I still feel guilty about killing the possum, but deeper inside me, beneath the guilt, there is something far stronger. As I drove away into the dark that night, my heart racing, the adrenaline rocketing through my veins, I promised myself I would never be a victim again. Not to Todd, not to Doug, not even to Emily. It felt good to assert myself. It felt... right.

* * *

"It's John Doyle from Carrano Construction," the voice on the other end of the phone says.

I already know who it is. I know what he wants, too: He wants some more workers, or "associates", as he calls them. The problem is, he owes Todd about $6,000 in invoices, and Todd lacks the balls to demand it. "He's good for it," Todd always says. "What, is he going to Florida with my $6,000?" But what the hell good is the business if we're not getting paid for it?

"I can't send you any more laborers until you get your account current, John," I say firmly.


"Eric, I- I-can't pay you if I don't have any money."

He's breaking. I can feel it. This is easier than I thought!

"Well, we've got a problem then, because I can't send you more workers if you haven't paid for the ones you already had."

"Since when?"

"Since now," I say, and the confidence floods into me, just like the other night.

John agrees to send me a check for half his balance, and to pay the rest next week. Todd is going to be thrilled!

Fifteen minutes later, Todd calls me into his office. "I just hung up with John Doyle," he says, looking over his wire-rimmed glasses at me. "He's canceling his contract with us."


"Todd, all I told him was that he had to pay his bills. Is that so wrong?"

"Did you know he was our first customer, Eric? Our very first one?"


"And did you know that John lent me money to pay the rent for this office when we first opened up? That's how good he was to us. And now he wants to know why we're spitting in his face, Eric!"

"Todd, I didn't know! I didn't know any of that! I'm sorry!"

"Go home, Eric."

* * *

RedFoxx85: did u give him his welcome home present

SugarKookie: kinda

RedFoxx85: ?

SugarKookie: gave him a big kiss

RedFoxx85: aw how cute

SugarKookie: below the belt ;-)

RedFoxx85: you gave him a bj?!

SugarKookie: o yea

SugarKookie: trust me he wasnt disappointed

RedFoxx85: im sure

RedFoxx85: what was it like?

SugarKookie: salty :-D

RedFoxx85: no what was "it" like

SugarKookie: mmmmmm

RedFoxx85: nice huh

SugarKookie: hes not circumsized

RedFoxx85: nfs!

SugarKookie: ive never seen an uncircumsized one before. i kept playing with his, um

RedFoxx85: foreskin?

SugarKookie: i guess so ya, sliding it back and forth over the head

RedFoxx85: with your mouth?

SugarKookie: mm-hmm

RedFoxx85: nice!

SugarKookie: loved me playing with his foreskin - kept telling me to do it more

SugarKookie: and shoving my head down on him

SugarKookie: hes very bossy in bed :-)

RedFoxx85: so im guessing you two did the deed

RedFoxx85: after you warmed him up

SugarKookie: the red tide was in :-(

RedFoxx85: so??

SugarKookie: ew, not the first time!

SugarKookie: he did want to tho

RedFoxx85: i bet

SugarKookie: so i swallowed for him ;-)

Next... Chapter 13: Christmas in February

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Chapter 11: The Saw Mill Road


I slam Emily's door behind me and stomp angrily to my car. I start the engine and hurtle from the parking lot, tires squealing.

Saw Mill Road is a 15 mile stretch of highway which cuts a narrow path through an endless ocean of trees. There are three farms that I have counted, set so far back from the road that you can barely see the lights as you pass by.

At the beginning of the road, the street lights are about 300 yards apart, and by mile three, they stop altogether.

I call Saw Mill Road a "shortcut" between Emily's house and mine, but it actually takes longer to go that way. Mostly, I do it because I love a peaceful car ride.

My dress shirt is ruined, soaked with blood. I wrap an old t-shirt around my wrist to slow the bleeding, but it continues to ooze from my hand and onto my slacks; it feels like I spilled a half-hour old cup of coffee into my lap.

The cut hurts so much that I can barely touch the steering wheel. Hot jolts of pain shoot from deep inside the wound, coursing up my arm like electricity. I try to focus on the road, on the sound of the engine, on the thought of Emily--but the agony is too intense. It's as if someone drove an ice pick into my hand with a sledge hammer.

Pulling over would be a waste of time. There's nothing more I can do until I get home, so I push harder on the gas pedal and stare at the road as I pass under the last streetlamp and into the dark.

Fifty miles an hour. Sixty. Seventy. The whine of the engine grows insistently louder, like a 747, and somehow I can barely hear it above the screaming pain.

My headlights cut neatly into the darkness; if I look anywhere but straight ahead, all I see is pure black. I am focused on the rear view mirror when something jumps in front of the car.

It's a possum, I think, and it is as surprised as I am. It freezes in place, staring at me. I slam on the brakes, but I know it's too late.

The car hits the possum with a heavy thunk. I can feel its body bounce underneath the floorboard; the sounds are clunky and hard, as if I am running over a pile of firewood.

The shriek of the tires eventually stops, and I sit for a long time, wondering what to do. I've never hit anything with my car before. Do I just... leave?

I feel weird. I killed something. It was nothing more than a rodent, but it woke up today alive, and now...

I want to see it.

I turn the car around and flip on my high beams. The possum lays lifeless in the middle of the road, its body horizontal across the double yellow line. I watch myself get out of the car and close the door.

It's bigger than I thought, maybe the size of a poodle. With its gray fur and spiny tail, it looks like a giant rat.

Its neck is broken. The top of its head has been pushed back so far that it's almost separated, leaving the mouth wide open, like a snake with an unhinged jaw. I shiver at the sight of its pointed teeth and thick, pink tongue, and though I want to turn away, I can't.

This just proves what I learned earlier tonight: I have the power to change things. You might think I used that power unwisely just now, but I had it just the same, didn't I? Just like I had it with the vase--

The pain again, sharper now, burning my hand like battery acid.

I really should get home.

Next... Chapter 12: A Little Too Much to Bear