14 March 2011

A Convenient Funeral

Imaginary Landscape
"Imaginary Landscape" by Emily Yonker
He'd been playing with her waistband for years now, this boy, only fifteen-- but today was different. Today was perfect. He'd hung out with the intelligentsia, so of course they'd all played with the idea. They'd talked about it in the modern day salons of unfinished basements, where ideas soar through smoke and sex. It was fun: Who could pull the trigger?

The mountains looked like a normal size as he turned the radio's knob to the left. Silent except the engine and soggy pavement, he thought of watching Jeopardy with his grandmother before she passed. Landscapes for $400. He was going to slide her right out of those panties like the casanova he was meant to be.

There were certain hang-ups.

He didn't like his name all that much. It rhymed with "yawn," and this disturbed the boy, the fact that those are contagious in particular. He never would want to make anyone sleepy. "Sean" would be in sentences. He told himself it was only par for course, and after a bit of time passed-- it is a lot like a one hit wonder. Not on the radio, but in mouths that lived nearby.

Oh how they'd yak! He guessed it'd be a solid two or three months that they wouldn't shutup about it. Then, years from now, they'd hoot and holler about not listening, communication, love-- but really it was about him. Would they break beer bottles across the wall, over him? Sean sure hoped so. He liked love.

He kept driving. Flickering sunlight shot into the windows like seizures of the trees. The light hurried into his mind as if there were no time to waste. His thoughts were filling up, the paper was waiting, and here was good a place as any. He pulled over on the deep shoulder of a curve. There was a trashcan up ahead filled with snow. His car had some poetry in it that he couldn't remember but thought should be around for effect.

There was a big upside with his brother being in town for Thanksgiving and all. He wouldn't have to make two trips. He did, after all, live all the way out in Creede. Gas was getting up there. He thought of Tammy and how he cried at her funeral having only met her twice. All over plastic, steel, paper? Sean didn't understand, but he knew it was real. He liked that it showed how the world can play tricks on certain folks, how the world could be a real wiseguy. His would be better.

There was an orange flash of a cat fleeing from behind the trashcan. It was so fast, though, that really, it could've been anything. There was a train whistling far away. It couldn't have been anything but a train. It was a sound of encouragement, like affirmations at his freshman retreat. "Not too much further now, boys." The engine was the driver; the black coal cars were his dedicated slaves. Sean grabbed his father's deer rifle from the backseat. Today, Sean could pull the trigger, because Sean figured it all out. He'd recently read books about the real outer space, and knew what would happen next.

Ultimately there wasn't much to worry about.

What the heck should I think about these last couple minutes? He thought about the girl in the lunch cafeteria and the girlish things she said. She came from money: "You know J.P. Morgan, like, the financial company? And you know J.P. Licks, that ice cream place we always go to in Boston?? I always freaking get them confused!"

The tracks of Sean's laughter were stopped by the white filth that covered his car's windshield, fueled by the icy road, the lack of heat, and natural causes. He wanted to have told Tammy not to be so scared. Unfortunately, from what Sean gathered from books, he wouldn't ever be able to. 
Sean looked funny, smiling with the barrel to his teeth, but the scene was still awfully pretty. Snow still fell.
And the thought that repeated itself twice before the gunshot, that hid from the flashing lights of police cars, that stayed in the speedometer and emergency brake for all time's sake, was satisfied.

"It's too exciting not to."

No comments: