Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Between the devil...

Sorry guys, but this is what happens when a drunken party girl tries to run a writer's workshop. Ah, beans. Such lovely legumes. The more you eat, the more you make fumes.In the tradition of raunchy child rhymes and fairy tales about giants, write a piece (poem, song, story, whatever) with the bean as your central focus.

Maggie Bean Weasley tore through town in a candy apple red Mustang. And a devil would follow. And by Mustang, I mean Mustang. A real one. '69. Not one of those steroid excuse for a cars that pass for Detroit engineering nowadays. This one had torque, it drank lots of gasoline and it went real fast. Not fast enough to outrun Penn, aka the Devil, but any distance she could put between him and her soul was at least a good head start. And she was gonna need at least that to get some thinking time in. By the time he started after her, she'd have at least four hours on him. That gave her about ten hours total before he found her again.

As she kept her foot on the pedal and one eye on the road, she kept stealing quick glances at the box on the passenger seat. Beautiful dark Mahogany with an ornate carving on the face. A Berbalang. A type of Filipino vampire. The relief on the face showed a Berbalang feasting on the entrails of a dead child. The detail on the box was fine enough that you could make out the ghoul's cat eyes and bird wings. You could also make out the smile on it's face. As Maggie Bean contemplated the box, she could feel the warm pulse and hear the quiet hum that came from inside it. She could also make out the fetid smell that it emitted. The devil on her shoulder tried it's best to convince her to open it, but she was too aware of the other devil, the one she left behind, to give in.

Not "The" Devil. "A" Devil. There were more than one. Oh, there was the big one. The Morning Star. The one who led in the war against creation. This wasn't him. This one was one of the others. That didn't make him any less...devilish. He called himself Penn. Maggie Bean knew that much. By now, she also knew that he wasn't a writer. Or rather, he didn't write for Scenic Review. He lied about that. He lied about having a son. He lied about working the program and having one dry year under his belt. God knows where he got the chip, but Maggie Bean suspected he probably stole that along with everything else from some bastard. Probably the one that rightfully owned the name Penn as well. She tried not to think about him, but kept remembering his smell. A faint trace of mothball and body odor. His sausage fingers always yellow from eating Cheetos and mustard. A perpetual stain on his shirt or trousers. He had the leer of an alligator floating in brackish water, contemplating an antelope. He'd just as soon eat you as let you pass if the mood suited him.

As Maggie Bean drove on, she was quite unaware of her speed. She knew she was hauling ass, but she just hadn't noticed how many horses she was using to haul the ass in question. Not that that would have slowed her down. It's always best to err on the side of caution when trying to outrun and 6000 year old Nabassu demon. The important thing was to keep moving. When this started, it had been about the box. As far as Maggie Bean was concerned, it was still about the box. That was what started this and if she was lucky, that would end it. But she also knew that Penn felt otherwise. She had pissed him off. For Penn, it was now about her. He could not keep going with his plan without the box, but he could always find the box later. He'd already waited 300 years, so patience was an attribute that had honed to a needle point. The box could wait. She would be the first item on his list. And when he found her, he would put his needle point patience to work and take his time with her.

She had almost made to the end of town and was coming up on the last light before the highway opened up again. She had managed to snake her way through most of lights without running a red, but her luck was about to run out. Up ahead, waiting on a light change, there were two cars, each taking up one of the two West bound lanes. She contemplated running the light by swerving into the turn lane when she noticed that the car in the outside lane was a powder blue Crown Victoria, the tell tale sign of an unmarked police car. The light turned green, but it was too late. Maggie Bean tried to reduce speed, but she was going far too fast. As the two cars ahead started to move forward, Maggie Bean's brakes locked and her car started to pivot left. The fact that the Crown Victoria and the Bonneville had started to move forward probably saved more than one life. If either car had been at a full stop when she hit, the impact alone would have killed her. She would have killed the cop as well. The driver of the Bonneville would have been fine. Instead, they had already started to move forward.

There was an instantly familiar high pitched squeal as the Mustang fishtailed and slammed into the back of both cars on it's passenger side. The sound of the crash was tremendous and brief. The force of impact was dissipated between the two forward moving cars, but it was an impact nonetheless. Maggie Bean was driven to her right, toward a wall of steel and a mangle of broken glass, but her seat belt mostly kept her in place. She stopped her trajectory with a snap and briefly had time to wonder if Penn would still follow her if she were dead.

The cop in the Crown Victoria was either unconscious or still stunned from the collision because he was not moving. The driver of the Bonneville staggered out of the car and fell to his hands and knees in the middle of the road. He coughed a few times and looked like he was trying to catch his breath. With slight difficulty, he straightened up and got on one knee. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. Slowly, he placed his hands on his raised knee and pushed himself up on two unsteady legs. He opened his eyes and had started to shuffle toward Maggie Bean's car when he noticed that his trunk had been jarred open in the crash. He suddenly lunged forward, throwing all of his weight on the trunk and slammed it shut. He looked over at the still unmoving policeman, and then turned toward the Mustang. As he came around to the driver side door, Maggie noticed that he was quite handsome. Disarmingly so. As leaned in through the window, he smiled and Maggie Bean suddenly felt comforted in spite of the taste of blood in her mouth and the rancid smell in the air.

"You're going to be okay, Alice..." he said.

Maggie was about to correct him, to tell him that her name wasn't Alice, when she noticed something on the floorboard of the passenger side.

The Mahogany Box had broken open.

U.N.K.L.E. - Rabbit In Your Headlights

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