Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lucky Streaks


Harry B. Sanderford


Roger blinked. This was it he supposed; soon his entire life would reel before him like a fast-forwarding video tape. Funny though, the things that go through a person’s head once it's been severed from his body. Roger thought of his wife Carla's perfect ears and the scent of her powdered neck when he kissed them. Then he wondered if he could still flare his nostrils or wiggle his own ears. Mostly he thought about how he'd wound up in this position, he'd only gone out for a pack of smokes. This fact would no doubt delight his many friends and co-workers who insisted smoking was going to be the death of him. A technical win at best but he knew they'd take it.

He'd hiked his usual route up Barber street to Cecil and over a block to Zip's package store. He bought a pack of Luckys, a Yoohoo and a racing form and was reversing his route when this zombie started having a cow about him dropping the cellophane from his Luckys. "Ok, ok sooooorry." he spat in exaggerated apology. The zombie shook his head and sneered self-righteously. Zombies were having cows right and left in this neighborhood anymore. He plucked up and pocketed the wrapper and continued on his way, stopping to very demonstrably dispose of the Yoohoo bottle in the bin on the corner of Barber and Cecil. Not a zombie in sight of course then.

He unfolded the racing form and noticed the date, October 31, 2010. Halloween. Roger was near panic realizing his blunder, none of the living ventured out on Halloween anymore. Kids didn't even Trick or Treat, it had just become too risky. He tossed the form in the bin and ran. A dozen houses, maybe only eleven and he'd be home. Safe.

With five houses to go and his lungs exploding Roger heard first the shrieks and cries, then the clattery scrabbling of hooves and claws on asphalt. He stepped it up angling through Mrs. Proctor's periwinkles and hopped her hedge right into Mr. Miller's damn cactus garden. He twisted mid-flight narrowly avoiding a nasty encounter with a century plant's pointy parts before thudding shoulder first in the gravel and rag-dolling his way through agave and aloe and every other assorted prickly and pokey thing. Rolling to his feet, his house now in sight, Roger scrambled to recover but a shadow of evil covered him like fog and he knew he would not make it. He turned to see a dark wave containing every vile and hideous nightmare creature spilling down Barber Street. Vampires and monsters with gargoyles and ghouls, ghosts and skeletons marauded the street in search of anyone foolish enough to be out. Roger's quick census of available fools revealed to his dismay that he was quite alone.

Leading the procession of the slimy, slithery, boney and fanged was the barnacle encrusted pirate Blackbeard. He swung from the unseen yard arm of a night sky ghost ship landing lightly in Roger's path. Roger's weary mind could no longer perform the calculations necessary for registering his fright; he tapped a Lucky from the pack. Rats entangling his beard and his breath like rotting fish, Blackbeard gave a hearty belly laugh, drew back his saber and with a single hack put an end to all of Roger's fear. Roger, simultaneously quit smoking.

Roger looked sideways at his body. He looked sideways at everything now. He noticed there was a hole in the sole of his right shoe and he was pretty sure he was wearing the underwear with the elastic half unraveled. Clearly he'd not prepared very well for his decapitation. His shirt was streaked with blood, still he might have tucked it in, he thought. He wished he'd gotten around to taking off that 10 pounds and with what felt like a grin on his face and his final synapses firing Roger thought, well in a way he supposed he had

14 comments:

Jared said...

This is a terrific Halloween story! I found myself pushing through more quickly than I usually read (I'm quite a slow reader for whatever reason). It was very engaging, clever, and while it fits the season perfectly, it would be good any time.

John Wiswell said...

You'll be looking sideways too if you're pound a Yoohoo along with a Lucky's. Quirky story, Harry.

Mike Handley said...

Bravo, Harry. I could just imagine that dark cloud, spilling forth like a twisted version of the mural in the Sistine Chapel.

eb said...

Headless Smoker, huh? Love it! Great Halloween theme and so glad that the zombies are anti-littering! Great stuff!

ABSOLUTELY*KATE ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ said...

As perennial as aloe and agave, this be one of the first faves that drew me into your yarnspin swell Mr Sanderford. Liked the sexy Carla memories, but outrageously You was ~ "Blackbeard gave a hearty belly laugh, drew back his sabre and with a single hack put an end to all of Roger's fear. Roger, simultaneously quit smoking." ... rivaled only by ~ "Roger looked sideways at his body. He looked sideways at everything now."

Zombie cows, tossed YooHoos, every evil vile imaginable ... and all at the corner of Barber and Cecil. You slay me Har. Roger that!

~ Absolutely*Kate, wonderin' if you ever noticed that "vile" and "evil" are the same letters just all rattled up a little?

Steve Green said...

Totally brilliant Harry, there are so many good lines in there, "Roger, simultaneously quit smoking..." and "He looked sideways at everything now" to name but two of many. Thanks. :)

placebythefire said...

Strange story... very well written, some really excellent lines in there!
Kari @ The Best Place By The Fire

Harry said...

Thanks alot everyone! I hope you all have some fine trick or treating this weekend. Happy Halloween!

ABSOLUTELY*KATE ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ said...

But Harry?

What kind of costume will you be hiding under so we know who to hold out ALL THE GOOD CANDY for? Huh? That Foghorn Leghorn get'up still around?

~ Absolutely*Kate, going as *sexy* <It's no costume baby ... I'm BACK!

Crybbe666 said...

Harry...now that's one trip to the shop I don't think I ever want to make!!!
Love your descriptions and phrases all the way through, and the final paragraph just cracks me up!

Pamila Payne said...

Hey we were on the same severed head wavelength. How cool is that? I love this. Judgemental zombies and all.

Harry said...

Very cool Pamila! Loved yours and the zombie Gumby idea too!

Bukowski's Basement said...

Great post!! Frikkin' creepy...

~Tim said...

I've often wondered how much a severed head can think [yeah, I know how weird that sounds] so I like this a lot.