Scenes in a Target

He stands motionless, one arm lagging at his side like a piece of unspooled yarn while the other one is thumbing through a boutique novelette. He reads with the kind of urgency you’d expect from someone taking the bar, or fine tooth combing a life insurance policy for loopholes.

When he lifts his head to glare at a pain in the ass kid who isn’t getting his way, I’m staring at Charles Manson, as if the devil had a clearance sale. His eyes are onyx colored rivets of blankness that scream silently at every single thing they trespass upon. He’s wearing a faded blue LA Dodgers cap that hides the top of his shaved dome. The years have carved up his face to where it appears as granite, with ridged grooves whose spirals tell stories, unspeakably horrible ones. His lips are colorless reptilian slits. His chin is a violent heave of bone with the two ample points buttoned down by a dimple whose charm seems woefully out of place, like Charles Dickens at a death metal concert.

He buries himself inside the pages of the dandelion colored romance novel once again and it feels like a macabre illusion; as if I’m watching Mephistopheles share spongecake with a miniature poodle inside a Volkswagen Beetle.

There is the slightest tell in his body language, as if he senses my probing interest and his brain is getting high on it. It soon becomes obvious that he knows I’m onto him, the same as everybody else is onto him. He’s plenty used to being that fatal wreck everyone slows down to examine. And he doesn’t given a blessed Virgin Mary, because he never suffered a fall from grace since he was already there.

He returns the book to its shelf as if the Hope Diamond, and then he chooses another selection as he begins to hum. I get close enough to listen, and his voice is a throaty, inconvenient furnace of menthol and hard liquor. He’s stealing Donizetti’s Quanto e’ bella to his demon sound in much the same way he once stole dollhouses and running away from home.

He shakes his head as if he just read a passage that stinks of sour milk and he closes the book in a flourish. A smile curls his reptile lips as he releases a clumsy sigh.

Fuck this. 

He starts moving down the aisle and his crumpled frame is quickly getting lost inside a feast of shopping carts and chiming phones and lipstick covered lattes and crying babies. And then he’s gone like smoke, to the pursuits of a mysterious wherever.

Because the days are evil, and he’s just another guy.

 

35 thoughts on “Scenes in a Target”

  1. B,
    “Like” is too mild a button for this exceptional writing. I don’t even know where to start! I wanna copy/paste every phrase that made me stop and re-read it. Thrice. Which would be about 2/3 of this text… So I shall spare you. No, fuck that.
    This: His eyes are onyx colored rivets of blankness that scream silently at every single thing they trespass upon.
    And this: The years have carved up his face to where it appears as granite, with ridged grooves whose spirals tell stories, unspeakably horrible ones.
    And this: …as if I’m watching Mephistopheles share spongecake with a miniature poodle inside a Volkswagen Beetle.
    K. I’ll stop now. But know this. There is not a single thing about this that is not fabulous.
    I LOVE your writing…
    Q

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Q,
      Lemme tell you . . the struggle was real with this one. Condensed yes, but still a struggle and still a real one.
      It’s because I had a million and one pop culture references that I wanted to tuck into this puppy and then I ended up trashing them over and over again.
      Sound familiar to something else I’m writing? lol.
      I love that you love these passages, because I love them as a result. I get to see them, again, brand new. It’s quite an effective remedy for all my bitching and moaning, tell ya what.
      I LOVE that you love it so!
      B

      Liked by 1 person

      1. B,
        I have come to the conclusion that the more you struggle with a piece, the better it is. So this one? Wow.
        There were more passages but I figured I’d leave them for your other readers 😉 Don’t wanna be greedy, and all that 😉
        K… gonna stop gushing now… before others think I’m some kind of fawning groupie (I am… but no one needs to know that).
        Lotsa love
        Q

        Like

    1. Frank!
      I’m not being mean in saying that I’m glad it gave you chills. You get where I’m coming from, and I’m glad you read it in the AM.
      The idea that Manson is old news, it was eerie to contemplate such a thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Okay, Marc. Just when you couldn’t put me over the edge you took a giant shovel full of Earth and moved the edge twelve feet behind me. Yeah, I screamed every foot of the free fall and when I hit the pavement I said to myself, “Self. Don’t get up.” That guy could write you to St Louis with a one key keyboard. To describe this as good is like describing ice cream as cold. Man alive your writing chops are huge.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. John,
      Oh, you are so good for me John. Me and a certain blogger were talking about how you always make us smile, laugh and think.
      So humbled and grateful for your wonderful comment. Thank you Boss man!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dude. How do you do that?! How does the awesomeness flow out of you in such genius form. You are freakin’ awesome. I was there with you, can’t wait to hear what you do when you go people watching at a restaurant (or worse the mall) and tell me what you think the conversations are like. Duuuuuude. But I was sad about the Dodgers attire, why couldn’t it have been someone with a Diamondbacks or Rockies hat 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cali,
      You are always da bomb diggety with the good vibrations you share with all of us. Hmmm . . at a restaurant huh? That would be interesting. Especially at happy hour!
      No offense to the Dodgers, but Manson was synonymous with LA, so it had to be that cap. And besides, it wasn’t a slight against the Dodgers, but rather, an application of two diametrically opposed things- the classic beauty of that Dodgers cap and the ugly hopelessness of a monster.
      And I’m sorry but there’s ZERO chance I give those two expansion clubs the time of day . . . no way sistah! I am old school all the way, LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha! Yeah I was like maaaaaaan Dodgers. But I get it. 🙂 perhaps arch nemesis Giants 🙂 dude yes on Happy Hour that would be a good one! I’ll be on the waitlist for that one 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. With all apologies to the Angels- whose classic uniforms I dig very much and who have Mike Trout and Shohei Otani- West Coast baseball is all about the Dodgers and Giants to this east coast boy. The Sawx and Yanks get all the pub, but the Dodgers and Giants rivalry is good as it gets.

        Liked by 1 person

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