Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Burner - A short story

Gary Dunning woke up to the alarm clock buzzing that annoying, drilling electronic noise. It was 7 am and Gary had to truck my ass on down to work.

Life is lived from one acid second to the next. Earlier that month, he had found a rusty car by searching the web for the cheapest piece of junk he could find. It only needed to run; it didn’t need to look pretty. The car had a strange gasoline smell coming up from the floor boards. He suspected that the exhaust was leaking and filling the cabin with the hideous stink. Gary feels sleepy sometimes when he’s cruising, as the carbon monoxide filters into his lungs. He hadn’t made the connection between the gas smell and his out-of-it mental state when he drives.

He had become addicted to pain. As he cruises the streets aimlessly drifting down random alleys, sluggish but euphoric, chasing shadows. He had the habit of putting cigarettes out on his arm, burning small, red holes.

His skin is pale and clammy, like that of a corpse. The scars turn blue from abnormal blood flow from his heart. He drifts the car to feed his adrenaline needs. He had replaced the license plate, so any witnesses couldn’t track him back to his doorstep. Trash cans led to sign posts which soon gave way to parked cars. Macabre medical photographs on the dashboard slip around and fall to the floor as the forces whip the car around.

Eventually he had hit a person and he found that that was the best feeling in the world. The screams and hilarious noises didn’t stop him from driving, sending him into a state of ecstasy which is unparalleled with any drug he had tried. He palms his penis through his unzipped jeans. He slowly masturbates—in his mind--rehearsing, rewinding a slow motion movie and hearing her torso hitting the right bumper and passenger door, making a metallic, thumping sound. His friend, a greasy auto mechanic he had met while changing the oil, rides shotgun. Gary jerks him off until the mechanic sprays cum all over the glove compartment and steamed up windshield.

He flashed back to the first person he had ever hit. She had a blue coat, white shirt, and tan skirt. He didn’t remember what her face looked like, or whether she had gloves on or not. The most salient point of the experience, the thing that burned in his memory the most, was how her umbrella had landed on the windshield and traveled with him for a few minutes before he turned on the windshield wipers and it slid off.

It’s 7 am and Gary still has to get to work. Driving all night made him drowsy. A dress shirt feels good and covers the mutilation. He puts on his slacks and business jacket, grabs his briefcase and locks the door behind him.

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