Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Do The Same continued...

Jake walked into the bedroom after toweling himself off in the bathroom. He threw the wet towel on top of the clothes overflowing from the hamper. He grabbed a pair of cutoff jean shorts and a black Harley t-shirt from the pile of clothes that he had folded, but left on the top of his dresser instead of placing them in the drawers. After pulling the shirt over his head, he turned with the thought in his head to put the clothes away. He grabbed a few pairs of socks from the top of the pile, opened the top dresser drawer and stuffed them down in the mound of socks threatening to spill out onto the floor. He shoved that drawer in, pulled it back a small amount and then holding the multicolored hill of socks down, got the drawer to fully close. He continued putting the rest of the laundry away mindlessly.

After finishing, he walked out to the kitchen and poured himself more cola into his plastic cup from earlier. He turned automatically, grabbing the bottle of Jim Beam from the counter, twisted the top off and tilted the bottle over the cup. Just as the brown tinted liquid was about to cascade over the lip of the bottle and into the waiting cola, he stopped himself. How about taking a break from stuff today, Jake? He thought that taking a break was likely a very good idea, so he put the bottle down on the counter and screwed the cap back into place. He opened the freezer, broke off a piece of the built up frost and dropped it in his cup with a plunk.

He took his drink to the living room, turning on the television as he passed and made himself comfortable by laying down on the sofa. Grabbing the remote, he started surfing through the 60 some channels that the local cable company offered. As he scrolled through the channels, a familiar scene crossed the screen. He released the pressure that his right thumb had on the remote button, re-applied it to the button directly below the first button and then stopped when the t.v. went back two channels. "Stand by Me" was playing on one of the movie channels. As he was watching Vern and Gordie run for their lives on the train trestle, his eye grew heavy. He opened them wide for a second, trying to focus on the movie, but less than a minute later, his breathing had slowed to a soft snore.


As Jake looked into the mirrored wall around the tan leather upholstered booth where he was seated, he saw that the smoky haze that was filling the night club distorted his reflection into an otherworldly image. The smoke formed a wispy mesh that reflected the lights that were pulsing red, yellow, white and blue in time with the loud, crashing music. He saw his face awash in colors, but his features were blurred and muddled. He grabbed a glass with his outstretched hand and brought it to his lips to drink. Just before his lips touched the rim, he looked at the glass in wonder. In his hand, the heft of the glass was considerable, but to the eyes, it was an impossibly thin crystal, with a cunningly etched design of knives, spears and swords that connected and wrapped around each other. He turned the glass in his hands, his eyes following the line of serpent-like weapons as they wound their way completely around the glass. After spinning the glass around in his hand numerous times, he brought it closer to his face, trying to closely examine some of the details of the carvings. Passing the glass under his nose, he caught the scent of the scarlet liquid that filled the glass, but seemed to barely move, even with the twisting and turning of the chalice that it was in. It's smell reminded Jake perfume of the sweet pears laying on the ground after they fell from the tree in the summer sundrenched backyard of his family home. The smell was very sweet, but a person could also vaguely detect the very slight taste of the rot that was already breaking down the grainy flesh of the pears. Feeling his mouth start to moisten with saliva, he brought the glass to his lips. Opening his lips and tilting his head back, glare an overhead light caused his eyes to narrow as he felt the drink wash over his teeth. As it toughed his tongue, a heat began to spread through his mouth and down his throat. The taste began so sweet that it made his teeth begin to ache, but it quickly turned as bitter as gall. His throat contracted and jerking his head down, was barely able to keep from spewing the foul mouthful across the table where he was seated. He tilted his head down and parting his lips, allowed the fluid to drain back into the glass. As he was spitting the last bit of drool from his mouth, he spied a icon on the glass that he didn't notice before. Not believing that he could have missed it during his close inspection of the designs in the glass, he stared in wonder at the skull and crossbones that appeared in the midst of the snaking line just below the rim. Giving up all appearances of politness, he filled his mouth with saliva and spit forcefully onto the blue-grey carpet next to his seat. Looking to his left and front, he glanced about to see if anyone was paying him any interest. The club seemed nearly empty, with only a few people sitting at the bar which had every surface covered entirely with small broken bits of mirrored glass. It also had a brass pipe that ran along the entire edge. Sliding out of his seat, he walked to the closest corner of the bar. Leaning on the brass rail, he saw a women behind the bar at the far end. Raising his hand, he called to her over the music. "Excuse me, miss...please, down here!" She turned and began walking the length of the bar towards the end where Jake stood. As she approached, Jake could see that the lights and smoke haze were having the same effect on her face. He could make out the shapes of her lips, nose and eyes, but they were blurred as is he was looking at her through a veil of water. She stepped in front of Jake, but to Jake's amazement, he still couldn't see the details of her face, even with her being only a couple of feet from him. Jake rubbed his eyes and looked again. Her visage was no clearer. Nervously licking his lips and pointing back towards the booth he had just left, Jake asked the women (girl?) if she had made his drink. Saying nothing, she turned her head in the direction indicated by Jake's hand, turned slowly back towards him and then suddenly bent down to reach under the bar. After a few moments during which Jake could hear objects falling to the floor behind the bar where she stood, she stood back up just as quickly and handed Jake a scarlet filled glass that looked exactly like the one he had left at his table. Jake looked down at the glass in his hand and this time could readily make out the skull and crossbones symbol etched into it. Dropping the glass as if it burned his hand, it fell, hitting the brass rail before it struck the floor and shattered with a loud explosion. Sidestepping quickly to avoid getting the splashed contents on his legs and feet, Jake nearly fell over a high backed, black leather stool that was next to him against the bar. As he caught his balance, he looked back to the bartender. Again in her hand was another glass, again filled with the scarlet liquid. Jake backed away and turned, looking for an Doorter spinning in a complete revolution, he saw the dim red letters that spelled exit at the oppsite end of the bar. Walking rapidly, trying not to break into a sprint, he headed towards the promised point of escape. As he walked past the back of the people seated at the bar, they one by one turned towards him. Feeling a shiver, he gasped as he saw that they too had not distinct facial features. Forgetting any idea of a calm journey to the door, he began to run. Before he had taken any more than 2 of his long legged running bounds, the music stopped so abruptly that it seemed to slam through his ears and into his brain with the resulting silence. Every light in the place appeared to turn and focus on him. Rounding the corner of the bar at a dead run, Jake flung himself at the door. Though it looked to be made of solid oak, the door splintered as Jake's shoulder struck it. As his feet touched the concrete just on the other side of the opening, Jake felt a sickening lurch in his gut as he saw that the ground broke away less than 2 yards from where his foot touched down. Falling sideways in an attempt to keep from going over the edge, Jake felt his right elbow crunch onto the hard surface which was followed by a brilliant flash of pain traveling through his arm, up through his shoulder and into his brain. Bright lights traveled across Jakes closed eyelids as he gathered his right arm to his torso. Squeezing them tighter, the light slowed it's motion on his eyelids.

Jake opened his eyes to find that the blinding light was still there. He lifted his head slightly and was able to get his face out of the beam of light. After a few seconds, he was able to see the television on the other side of his living room. As he sat up he saw that the ray of light was the from late afternoon sun shining in through the window behind the sofa, covering the throw pillow where his head had just been resting in bright, hot light. Shaking off the quickly fading images of his dream, Jake wiped his sweating brow. As he reached out to the catch-all basket on the coffee table, he felt a sharp pain in his right elbow. Drawing his arm back quickly to his side, the pain disappeared. Gingerly touching the elbow with his left hand, he searched for the point form where the pain emminated. Feeling not even a small amount of tenderness, he worked the joint in his elbow. Although he could still feel a ghost of pain when he first did that, it had become no more than a memeory by the third time he moved his hand up and down. Reaching back to the basket on the table, he extracted a month old pack of Marlboros from under the 2 dozen pens , 10 or so lighters and a large stack of mail that the basket held. He lit one, coughing slightly as he exhaled, then drew a deeper drag, letting the acrid smoke burn in his throat and lungs. Exhaling, he felt the last little scraps of the dream drift away on the breeze of his conscious thoughts.

To be continued....
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