"Being a good writer is 3% talent, 97% not being distracted by the internet." Cyrus Farivar

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Broken Limbs Part II

            It was like any other Wednesday. The sound of cards being shuffled and distributed while glasses clinked reminded me of the good ol’ days. Wisps of smoke from lit cigarettes and cigars spiraled to the ceiling where they slowly started to gather into a hazy cloud. Glancing around the table I looked at our motley crew of assembled beings. Each of us came from such a diverse background and yet somehow we always ended up playing cards before the bell tolled and we were on the clock.
            “Can’t we play something more interesting than poker?” A small voice piped up, looking over her cards at the figures around the table. Reaching up she adjusted her tiara and shifted positions. “If we could play something where I could stretch my wings, that’d be even better,” she said, not happy with the arrangements of our tight quarters.
            “Where’re we supposed to find someplace bigger? It’s easy to find this place, especially every week,” quipped the large bunny adjacent to her.
            “Now, Frank, be reasonable. Daisy is uncomfortable with where we play because it’s small. She has large wings, you have large ears,” said Gordon, leaning back in his seat. I wasn’t at all interested in this conversation. We were just playing a game of poker using fake money.
            “I don’t like the smoke,” Daisy said, looking at Frank.
            “Would you two knock it off?! I have three days to think of how I’m going to make sure everyone is happy on Valentine’s Day,” said the other female of our gang.
            “Want any help with that love spreading, Eddie?” Gordon smirked, quirking an eyebrow at her.
            “No, thank you, Gordon. I can handle that on my own,” she snapped, glaring at him over her cards. Smirking, he turned and took a drag on his cigarette, leaving the smoking stick between his lips.
            “Dreams are a good way, Eddie,” a voice said quietly. She smiled at him, nodding.
            “I’ll remember that. Thank you, Melvin,” she answered, shuffling through the few cards in her hand. I watched as he turned his eyes back to his cards, waiting for the game to actually begin. This kind of conversation and entertainment went one for several hours, until the sun’s rays began to stretch our shadows along the wall.
            Tossing my cards to the center, I slid on my jacket, straightening it and my tie. Frank looked up at me as he reached up and scratched one of his elongated ears. “You leavin’?”
            “Well, we do have work,” I said, glancing at the group. “Most of us work at night. We’d best be going.” Moving around the chair I made my way towards the door, carefully moving in the small space—an abandoned tree house—we chose to use. Having bid them farewell I headed off in the direction of where I had chosen to be tonight.

* * * * *

            Sighing, I watched as another street racer sped past. I shook my head. At the moment, I was in no mood to send them spiraling to their doom just so they could get a visit from Gordon. Not tonight.
            Moving forwards, I turned up a winding hill, wanting to clear my head. This road was treacherous, one I had come to know quite well as it was a place I often times caused accidents on when my other roads were empty. Taking one of the sharper turns uphill, I blinked noticing the guardrail broken in half. I frowned, thinking back and knowing I wasn’t here to cause this in the past few weeks. These markings were fresh.
            Stepping carefully to the edge, I peered into the dark depths below the hill. After a few moments, my eyes finished adjusting as shapes started to form out of the mist. Past the guardrail and a good two-thirds down the steep drop I could barely see the outline of a car. It was bent and almost ready to slide further down the hill if not for a small sapling.
            “It’s a shame she won’t make it,” a voice said next to me, appearing out of nowhere.
            “You aren’t here to take her, are you Gordon?” It was easy to tell who had come. He always came to visit those that had brought about their own end after I’d spoken to them. Casually leaning on his scythe, he glanced at me, gauging my expression.
            “Well, she doesn’t have an appointment with me until next week. I just came to see how this whole thing turned out. Nice work,” he said, reaching to pat me on the back. I flinched, moving out of his range.
            “This wasn’t me. Tonight was the first time I had been here in almost a month,” I whispered, my eyes not leaving the car.
            “Hmm… I didn’t think people crashed without your hand being in the mess,” he said, shrugging slightly. “But, that’s beside the point. I’ll be back here within the week if the weather takes a turn for the worse.”
            “No…I’ll make a deal with you,” I said, watching the car before finally dragging my eyes away from the wreckage. “If I can save her, you can’t take her at all,” I offered.
            “What’ll I get in return?” He raised an eyebrow, hand on his chin in thought.
            “I’ll raise my quota so that yours can gain more based on my numbers,” I answered, arms crossed. Sticking out his hand I shook it briefly before turning and heading down the road.
            “Where ya goin’?”
            “I have appointments,” I lied, picking up my pace. I had a lot of persuading to do.

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