Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Gone for good.

Congratulations. You just testified in court against the biggest crime family in all of Texas. Now, to keep your ass from being dead, the FBI is putting you and your family in the Witness Protection Program. Write about the first day of your new life as Chris Farmington in Poughkeepsie, NY.

(this was the best i could do in a day. BTW, formatting on Blogger fucking sucks!!!)

Chris Farmington was a small man. A petty man. A bitter man. He hated the world with equal bile and enthusiasm. It wasn't that the world owed him anything. That would have meant that he would have had to except something from the world as payment. He simply didn't want anything to do with anyone else and went out of his way to make sure this state of affairs didn't change.

A regular Boo Radley, Chris was never seen outdoors by any of his neighbors. He had begun to acquire the sort of reputation usually reserved for the Jeffrey Dahmers and Norman Bates of the world. There were rumors. He had killed innocent civilians in the first Gulf War and was dishonorably discharged. He had once exposed himself to a passing mail carrier from his open window. He ate cat. If you snuck up to his window, you could spy him masturbating compulsively at least eight or nine times a day. Someone had once seen him standing in his backyard, naked and staring at the sky at 3 in the morning, crying like a child that had just been slapped. He lived off a settlement check that the city paid him because he had been castrated at the age of ten in a freak accident involving an off duty Utility Company employee and a defective voltage meter.

Only one of those things was completely true.

Not that anyone cared. The world needed boogeymen, and Chris Farmington was the boogeyman of 1312 Harmony Circle, Poughkeepsie, New York. Chris wasn't aware of this reputation, but it would never have surprised him. If anything, he would have considered doing more to foster it. Except that would have meant interaction, even on a basic level, for the benefit of other people. That was literally the last thing he wanted.

The 21st century was a great time to be a suburban hermit, and Chris Farmington took full advantage of the resources available to him. His high speed Internet connection insured that anything he needed for survival was a mouse click away, with only a minimum of social interaction. Groceries and assorted basic toiletries were delivered every other week. His bills were paid online. The inheritance assured that he wouldn't have to work for at least another ten years, so there was no need to deposit any checks in a bank. Even the parts for the machine that he had spent the last two years building had come to his door, courtesy of an overseas distributor and the United Parcel Service.

The only person who still had any regular contact with him was his sister. He resented even her. She knew this. Still, she did her familial duty and made sure he was looking after himself. To her credit, she never once tried to get him to change his behavior. She didn't judge his choices. Carolyn knew why he was here and why he wouldn't leave the house. She also knew that there was nothing she could say to change his mind, so there was no point in trying. Mostly, she visited for about an hour, one Saturday afternoon a month, making the drive from Long Island in her busted Hyundai. Occasionally, she had papers that needed his signature. More often, she came because she missed him. Their parents were gone, and even though she had a husband now, Carolyn knew that Chris was the last of her "real" family. Even if he wouldn't make the effort, she would never stop visiting. She felt sorry for him. She never thought he might be mentally ill. Stubborn and ill tempered, maybe, but never crazy. If She had known about the box in the basement, she might have felt differently.

Carolyn pulled into the drive way at Harmony Circle and killed the engine of her car. She sat behind the wheel for a minute, closing her eyes and breathing deeply. She did this every time she visited. It was her cleansing ritual. The Hyundai had such lousy insulation that she had to turn the radio up high to hear the radio over the noise of the I-87 pouring in through her windows for most of the two hour drive. Her ears usually rang for a while, even after she reached the 218 Hwy, but by the time she crossed the Mid Hudson Bridge the ringing was mostly gone. She sat behind the wheel of the car with her eyes closed until she could clearly hear the sound of the street outside. That's when she knew it was time to go in.

Except this time. This time, it was the quiet that was deafening. She realized that the usual sound of shouting kids was gone. No kids. No cars. No dogs. She opened her eyes and looked out of the driver's side window. The block seemed deserted. The passenger's side view was no different. Usually, on a Saturday like this, the block would be a tableau of suburban excitement. Lawns were mowed. Cars were washed. Bikes were ridden. But today, nothing. Not a soul. As she got out of her car, Carolyn was suddenly struck with the notion that she was the last person on earth. Somehow, she'd driven through some kind of reality hole and had emerged in a world where she was the only one left. Chris would have been happy here, but she was becoming a little afraid. She just starting to wrap her head around this reality when the distant sound of traffic on Rochdale Road killed this theory. She laughed at herself, closed the car door and headed up the sidewalk toward the front door of her brother's house.

Chris watched his sister approach the front porch from his upstairs bedroom window and fought back a slight surge of nausea. He had been dreading Carolyn's visit for weeks. Her visits always made him anxious, but this one more so. This one marked the deadline.


JPM said...

really pleasurable velocity. effortlessly readable. more please. what is in the basement?

sk said...

This is GREAT!! I really, really enjoyed it. Nice flow, great details. Very well done!

Carol said...

Intrigued! I might have missed the clues but I'm wondering about the machine he's building- and the deadline...

Tera said...

Missed your writing. This is awesome!