Thursday, September 13, 2007

Chapter 4b: Bolvar the Lucky

Bolvar sat on the edge of a dock with his feet hanging over the side when the drizzle started. He squinted at the dark sky, letting the tiny drops fall onto his stubble covered face.

"Awwww shit!" he grumbled, taking another swig of cheap wine. The sorry crap was bitter and sour, but Bolvar drank it all day long, so he took whatever he could get, and the cheapest of liquor was almost more than his panhandling could afford.

It was time to relocate to somewhere drier. As he lifted his legs to go someone ran by and yelled, "Better get your ass under something, Bolvar. You stupid drunk!"

Bolvar staggered to his feet with his arm outstretched in front of him for balance and hollered "Oh go t'hell ya sorry bastard!" but the tormentor had passed out of sight in the hazy drizzle. He knew he drank too much, but so did a lot of the other guys. He didn't have a home like everyone else, nor a wife and family. He didn't have shit, but that was okay with him. Who the hell needed all that responsibility dragging you down anyway. All he needed in his life was himself!

Hell no he didn't need any of that other shit. Bolvar was a visionary. He had ideas. Sure, he was hung up at the moment, but that wasn't a damned problem. No, not a damned problem at all.

Moments before the rain started coming down hard he stumbled to a group of dilapidated buildings and found a dry spot underneath the eaves. "See there, I'm luckier that anyone gives me credit for. I'm one lucky sumbitch." He rewarded himself with another swallow of wine.

Oh yeah, he was a lucky all right.

Bolvar sat for a short while, contemplating his good fortune and watching the rain fall. Listening to the individual drops join together in a cacophony of sound. His bare feet were getting soaked, but there wasn't enough room to pull them in now without having to sit on them or stand. He wasn't about to stand and the last thing he needed was a wet ass. Oh well, his feet needed a good washing anyway.

Something tickled his chin, crawling through his scraggly beard. He dug into the bird’s nest of hair and pulled the culprit out to give the pesky critter a good examination before snuffing its life out. The little black bug wiggled its legs and clawed the air as he brought it to eye level. In the distance behind the struggling creature, a gray form walked toward him in the downpour. He took a swig of wine and watched as the fellow got closer. It was a young man, maybe sixteen or seventeen. Sheets of rain buffeted him, plastering his long hair to his head and soaking his clothing as he splashed through the water logged alley. He staggered as he walked toward Bolvar. Hey, maybe a kindred spirit. Bolvar smiled to himself.

The young man tottered underneath the eave and placed both hands on the wall, bent over and breathing hard, ass hanging out in the rain.

Being the gracious host, Bolvar held up his bottle of wine and smiled, offering the young man a sip. The fellow looked at Bolvar then at the wine. He shook his head and turned away.

If the kid was too godsdamned good to have a drink with old Bolvar then to the abyss with him! He didn't want to share his wine with the little bastard anyhow.

The sound of retching broke the rhythm of the drumming rain. Bolvar turned to the kid. The boy had doubled over, shaking and puking chunks of half-digested food.

"Hey, kid. You okay?" Bolvar wasn't that concerned about the boy. He only wished the kid had picked another spot to make such an ungodly mess, but it was a polite question to ask. The rain would wash the vomit away in no time, anyway.

The kid turned to Bolvar. The poor bastard looked like a fish caught out of water, eyes bulging and mouth open wide. It almost looked like the fellow was trying to say something.

Not wanting to seem rude, Bolvar leaned closer to the boy and yelled over the rain, "What? Whacha tryin' t'say? I can't hear ya!"

The boy gasped for breath one last time before spewing blood and gore all over Bolvar's face and neck.

He fell back as the kid's dead weight fell forward. "Ya godsdamned stupid boy. Ya gots me all filthy." He pushed the limp boy out into the rain, where the kid lay with his eyes staring into the gray sky as water pelted his face.

Realizing something was wrong; Bolvar stuck his head into the rain and gazed into the boy's blood-shot eyes. The blood washed off them both, dilluted in the rainwater puddling around them. "Ay, kid. Kid. You okay?"

The boy stared at the heavens while the rain splattered into his eyes. He should have been blinking or something. Bolvar looked at the boy's chest. It wasn't moving. "Awww shit. Awwww shit!"

Bolvar stood over the boy and screamed as the cold rain soaked through his ratty clothes. "Somebody help me! Somebody help this kid!"

He continued to yell and plead for help, but nobody came. When his voice became too horse to be heard over the driving rain, he backed up under the eave and plopped down next to his bottle of wine. He coughed to clear his throat then grabbed the bottle and took several generous swallows while looking at the dead kid.

Maybe he wasn't so lucky after all.

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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Chapter 4a: Martha's Bakery

"Mind your folk all your days
If you don't there are ways
To make you suffer and make you pay
When the monsters come you cannot slay."

~Children's rhyme

The sky darkened and drizzle dampened the streets as Martha looked out the little bakery's front windows. Her stomach rumbled as she watched the people in the street run, seeking shelter. This is no time to get sick, she said to herself, placing a hand over her belly and handing
Olga Roth a loaf of freshly baked bread. The store wasn't nearly as busy as she had thought it would be. Aside from Olga, the shop was bare of customers. Must be the weather.

She put two muffins into Olga's basket and thanked the elderly lady as she accepted two small coins.

Olga turned and mumbled, "Bit o'nasty weather out there, it is." Then pulled the hood over her graying hair and stepped through the door and out into the wet streets. The tiny bell over teh door tinkled as it opened. Martha watched Olga scurry across the road, wondering if she should start delivering bread to the elderly woman on her way home from the shop. Malach wouldn't like that. He enjoyed walking her home at the end of the day, when they finished cleaning the kneading table, wiping the ovens and washing the dishes.

Malach and Martha's little bakery had been open for almost three hours. Usually the day started out busy, with people purchasing something to eat on their way to work. The sweet breads were everyone's favorite in the early morning snacks category. As the lunch hour approached customers would come in wanting more wholesome breads, wheat, rye, or just plain white. After lunch business would usually slack off a bit until around clossing time. At the end of the day mothers would send their children by to pick up a loaf of bread for dinner.

Business was slow. Other than Olga there had only been three or four other customers. That just wouldn't do.

Martha's stomach growled again, making an audible gurgle. The rumbling relieved some of the pressure building behind her naval, but the embarrassing noise had already caused one customer to comment on her health, and another client seemed to be suffering from the same malady and would look up in embarrassment when the noisy growl of shifting gasses reverberated through the small shop.

Placing the back of her hand to her forehead she frowned. Her skin flet like a loaf of fresh baked bread, warm to the touch - too warm.

She turned from the counter and walked toward the swinging door that led to the back of the building, where bread rose in Malach's ovens. The room spun before her eyes and she grabbed the counter to steady herself. The walls tilted and shifted, putting a surreal twist on everything around her. Her grip tightened and she focused on the solid wood beneath her palm, the stable wood. Her eyes closed tight, and her knuckles whitened as she willed the room to stop spinning. Sweat rolled down her cheeks like tears as everything tilted once more then stabilized. Releasing the counter, she stood upright, a quiver in her legs telling her that something was still wrong. Martha would have to tell Malach she wasn't feeling well, not well at all. He wouldn't like it, but she didn't have a choice in the matter.

"Malach," she called as she pushed through the swinging door. Her legs froze as she saw him.

He leaned over the edge of the dough-covered kneading table. His eyes bulged as muscles strained to push his breakfast back up his throat. Red faced and groaning, he stared at her with scared, pleading eyes. Martha forgot about her illness as her husband fought for breath. The terrified look in his eyes driving every other thought from her mind. Malach convulsed, his head dropping to face the ground and with a terrible roar he spewed the contents of his stomach from his mouth and nose. The floor became covered in a wet soup of eggs, soggy pieces of toast and slimy stomach acids.

Martha ran the short distance to him, but she swooned and fell against the table. The room spun, reminding her of when she was a child and her brother swung her around by her arms. The dizzy spell kept her from getting her bearings and before she could prevent it, her own stomach heaved, sending her breakfast splattering wetly on Malach's back. He didn't notice. He had problems of his own.

She started to straighten, to help Malach, but her stomach wouldn't allow it. Like a punch to the gut, her stomach clenched again. More eggs, toast and bile rose to splash across the already filthy floor. She could hear Malach echoing her actions nearby.

When the spasm ended, she straightened and grabbed a rag from the counter to help clean Malach up. She felt terrible about soiling his clothes; he was so careful about looking clean for the customers. Martha managed to grab the towel before the next eruption hit. This time there was nothing left to come up and she strained against the force of her own body. Her breath wouldn't come and she feared that she would suffocate. Panic overcame her when something gave way with a painful ripping and her mouth flooded with a burning copper taste.

What splashed onto the floor wasn't eggs and toast. The syrup-thick liquid painted the floor dark red and pooled into the cracks at a snails pace.

She had just enough time to look at Malach before another spasm clenched her belly. He looked at her, hand outstretched as if pleading for help, blood covering his mouth and white apron. His terror-stricken gaze was the last thing she ever saw as she bent over and sprayed blood over Malach's shoes.

The couple collapsed to the floor, hidden from the rest of the world. The rain began to fall hard, drowning the sound of blood dripping from the kneading table.

Labels: real player clasic real player clasic