Monday, April 21, 2014

April A-Z: Nulling the Void

Flash fiction using the above as a prompt. It'll be short and sweet...

A lime-green Honda Civic careened around a street corner, four passengers canting to one side.

“Was that a stop sign?” said Tyna from the rear seat.

“Who cares?” said young Carey as he stomped on the gas pedal. “We’re on a mission from God, aren’t we?”

“God has nothing to do with this.”

“What about St. Bernards?” said old Walter. He sat in the passenger seat in pajama drawers, slippers and mauve velvety smoking jacket. “Or angel hair pasta. Dancing to the mission bells, right? – the way noodles dance. You know.” He popped his stubby unlit cigar back into his mouth and chewed at its frayed soggy end.

“What’s he talking about now?” said DeSchayne.  He hadn’t righted himself since the sharp corner and now pressed his lips to Tyna’s available neck.

“It’s probably the demon talking.” Tyna shoved him back upright. “Best you just ignore it.”

“Like Betty Boop for the most part,” said Walter.

“Why?” said DeSchayne.

“Why what?”

“Why ignore it?”

“I don’t know. Just to be safe. Communicating with a Devil is probably dangerous business. He might be looking to trick you into something.”

“Wait a minute. Are we talking about a devil or a demon?”

“I don’t know. An evil spirit. It is what it is – however you label it.”

“Well I think you ought to choose one and stick with it. Just sayin’.” He leaned into her neck again.

“Not now!” She pushed him away. “This is life-and-death business here!” The car lurched as a sheet of water hit the driver’s side windows.

“Damn, kid!” said DeSchayne. “Keep my ride out o’ them pot holes!”

“Sorry bro!” Carey tipped his grey fedora. “It’s dark and it’s still raining a little. I couldn’t see it.”

“Well slow down then. And I’m not your bro you weird-ass old-time gangster wannabe.”
Tyna slapped his thigh. “Be nice!”

“What? I’m just sayin’ he’s a weird kid. That’s all.”

“Well don’t.” She leaned forward and palmed Walter’s shoulder. “Mr. Prudence, pass me the bag. I just want to check on the Sonambule.”

“The sonata?” said Walter, frowning.

“The Sonambule, Walter. Just pass me the gym bag.”

“Jim who?”

Carey grabbed the small duffel bag off his grandfather’s lap and tossed it over his shoulder. DeSchayne caught it deftly. “Are you kidding me!” Tyna yelped. “It’s not a toy!”

“Sorry, doll!” said Carey. DeSchayne glared at the kid through the rear-view mirror as he placed the bag on Tyna’s lap.

Tyna unzipped it and withdrew a thin hardcover book. “What is this!” she cried.

“The Snowmobile,” said Walter.

Tyna read the title. “Everybody Poops! Everybody poops? Walter, what have you done? “

“Everybody!” said Walter. “Even the Pope!”

“This is not the book! What happened to Alice in Wonderland?”

“She went through the looking glass, doll,” said Carey. He had slowed at a red light and looked both ways as he slipped through the intersection.

“Stop calling her that!” DeSchayne snapped.

“Sorry, bro!”

“Walter!” Tyna barked. “Where is Alice in Wonderland?”

“Jane Street?”

“I don’t believe this. Carey, what is he talking about?”

“That’s where the ‘ho’s trick, doll.” A fist slammed into the back of Carey’s seat. The boy lurched; his hat slipping down over his eyes. He raised his chin and looked down his nose to see the road.

“Turn around Carey,” said Tyna. “We have to go back for the Sonambule!” Carey slowed the car and made a tight, skidding U-turn on the wet street.

“I’m this tall,” said Walter, raising his hand horizontally to his forehead.

Carey looked at him and laughed. “Hey, what’s that?” He reached out and tapped the hard surface which bulged behind the breast of his grandfather's smoking jacket. Walter cackled silently and drew out another book. Alice in Wonderland. He put a vertical finger to his lips and winked.

“Grab your hats, gang,” said Carey. “We’re going downtown.” With that he slowed briefly and performed another dizzying U-turn. The back-seaters issued loud protests. “He’s got the Snorembewl,” said Carey. 
“We’re back in business.”

“Oh, thank God,” said Tyna.

“God has nothing to do with this,” DeSchayne muttered in her ear, then dived for her neck again.
Tyna giggled shrilly. “Stop it!” DeSchayne didn’t. The night suddenly came alive in flashes of red and blue.

“Shit!” Carey blurted. A siren burped behind them.

“Oh perfect,” DeSchayne moaned.

“Is that Allah?” said Walter.

“Worse,” said Carey. “Should I pull over?”

“Kid, are you spun?” said DeSchayne. “Of course!”

“I’ll handle it,” said Tyna. “Let me do the talking.”

“You’re not gonna…” said DeSchayne.


“Flash… anything?”

Tyna glared coolly. “You really are an ass hat sometimes.” The car came to a halt. “Sweetie, you got a driver’s license, right?”

“Yeah,” said Carey.


“My beginner’s anyway.” 

The mirrors offered glimpses of the cop approaching on foot. Carey fingered a button and his window descended. The officer was female. She flashed a light over each passenger before addressing the driver: “What the hell was that?”

“Uh, the U-turn, you mean?” said Carey.

“Is that what you call it?”

“Officer,” said Tyna, “I think I can explain.”

“Or you can keep quiet,” said the officer.

“Or I can keep quiet,” Tyna mumbled.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Nothing. Sorry.”

“License please.” Carey surrendered it to the cop’s examination. “Beginner’s eh? I assume you're aware you’re prohibited from driving after midnight with a learner’s permit.” Carey grimaced. She addressed Walter. “Sir, your license please?”

“Who, me?”

“You’re the driver of account if you’re in the passenger seat with a beginner behind the wheel. Walter fussed about with his wallet and surrendered a slip of paper. Carey intercepted it. “Gramps, this is a grocery receipt. She needs your driver’s license.”

“Confectionary?” said Walter.

“I beg your pardon,” said the officer.

“Thrills gum,” said Walter. “Ask her if she has any Thrills gum.”

“Okay, Grampa. But I’ll need your wallet.”

“Oh, of course.” Walter then addressed the officer. “Thrills please!” She made no reply. Carey fished out a license.

“Thank you,” said the cop. She took one look at it. “Sir, do you have a more current version?”

“Huh?” said Walter. “You mean like disco?”

“This card expired in 1987.” Carey delved back into the wallet. “Dare we try our luck with an insurance slip?”

“Blackjack!” Walter cheered, smacking the dashboard with his palm. He laughed delightedly.

“Sir, I need you to calm down.”

“Ma’am,” said DeSchayne, proffering a pink slip.

She took it. “Where are you all off to tonight? Bit late for a driving lesson.”

“We’re delivering a demon spirit to the hydro sub-station on Coventry Hill,” said Walter, “So we can dispatch it to the void.” He made a fluttering sweep with his hand. Silence followed this. The cop cleared her throat. “We captured him in a tea bag, you see, which we then pressed between the pages of a book, as per ancient practice. It’s called a Snowmobile.”

The officer nodded slowly. “I see.”

“Do you poop?”

“I’m gonna run your licenses through the computer and then we’ll talk.” She said this to Carey and then retreated to the cruiser.

“I bet she does,” said Walter.

To be concluded in just a couple days…

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