Monday, August 22, 2011

Magpie Tales: Wet Paint 2



The portfolio hangs at the end of his arm, a stuck metronome, no longer marking time, as he strides purposefully down the sidewalk weaving his way through the bodies of other walkers. Each skritch his shoes make on the concrete raises the tempo of his heart, drawing him ever closer to his destination. This painting is his finest work yet, and Jason knows his benefactor will be delighted.

Cars stream the streets, stop and go, even though it is mid morning and most should be at work. This is the way of the city. Pigeons gather crumbs around trash cans marking each block. Jason increases the pace of his walking, eager to arrive. He feels the eyes of others crawl along his body. They cannot help this, he knows and chooses to ignore.

"Hey buddy," a loud voice, to his left, breaking Jason's stride and confidence in one quick strike.

An older car, carrying a driver and two passengers, sidles to the curb parallel to where Jason now stands. Their eyes grab Jason, their lips moving but he hears nothing. His thoughts stumble then fall through their smiles into memories that wait beyond in the darkness.
_____

Growing up a painter's son was not the easiest of lives. Jason's father was a servant, chained to the whims of those that hired him. No doubt, he was one of the more talented painters in town and sought after by many of the wealthiest families. Most of those same families had children that went to the same school as Jason. While the parents had respect for his father, the children were merciless in reminding Jason of his station in life.

Jason's family was not poor, but seldom had enough money to purchase clothes that were in style. He was forced to wear second hand clothing or clothes that were purchased off the end of season sale rack. Jason was slow to mature, thin as a rail. His hair had a mind its own, going this way and that regardless of how he tried to paste it on his head.

Many days, Jason slunk home, heavy purple bruises sinking deep into his skin from the boys. He hid them from his father, not wanting ridicule at home, as well as school. The only notice he received from the girls was laughter and perhaps sympathetic looks and head shakes as he picked himself up from the floor.

Once in high school, he had received a note from Becky Smalls, the daughter of a family is father had recently worked for, repainting their dining room. She asked him to meet her by the door of the gymnasium after school. Her finger lingered on his palm as she slipped him the note. Her eyes were stars upon which his heart made a wish.  It skipped beats as he sweating as he waited in the afternoon sun for her to appear.

When the doors burst open behind him, he had no chance to fight as he was dragged backward into the darkness. The lacquered wood burned his hands when he was thrown to the floor, then the world was erased by pain as the hard soles of shoes pummeled every inch of his body. He curled into a ball which seemed to only encourage them more.

At the edge of consciousness, his body slackened and he felt rough hands strip his clothing down to his briefs. Their laughter echoed off the gym walls as they retreated, the heavy clang of the metal door slamming shut behind them was the last thing he heard.

Awakening in darkness, Jason thought he was blind. Straightening his fingers sent needles up his arms, but he forced them to his face, feeling the swollen mass of flesh. It took long moments to drag himself to his feet then find the door by fumbling along a wall until he found the door.

Leaning his weight into the metal press bar, the door swung open and bright exterior lights pierced his eyes, painfully assuring him that he was not blind. Cool evening air stung his exposed flesh and he realized his near nakedness. He crumpled to the ground, hot tears searing his battered face as he thought of the mile he would have to walk through neighborhoods to get home. It was too much. He could not handle it.

"Hey buddy," a loud voice, from the school parking lot, jolted Jason from his misery.

A car crouched on the curb, idling in a low growl of anticipation. Behind the wheel, sat a boy from his class. In the front passenger seat, the boy's girlfriend. In the shadows of the back seat, Becky Smalls did nothing to hide the pity that dripped from her visage, a boy grinning by her side. The drivers's lips moved, but Jason could not make out what they said, then the girlfriend tossed his clothes through the window to the side walk and the car squealed tires as it sped away.
_____

Jason stares as the people in the car, a look of confusion crumples their faces. Car horns blare and a thousand voices crash like a wave into Jason's ears. He shakes his head once, then looks them in the eyes.

"Fuck off," he snarls, then turns sharply on his heel, continuing once more toward the home of his benefactor.

Six stone stairs lead to immense wooden doors, their faces worn and pitted. Jason stands at their feet, the portfolio pulling his arm, as if it knows to flee.  Jason moves the burden from his right hand to the left, flexing the fingers previously pinched, seeking circulation. Still shaking from the sudden memories, he unconsciously brings the freed hand to his face, coarse hair of a two day beard prickling his fingers.

Her scent still lingers at their tips and he breathes against them, "I am sorry Sarah."

Placing a tentative foot on the first step, he ascends to the door.


To be concluded...

Ok, I think I can wrap this up next week, based on whatever Tess has in store for us as far as a prompt. I am as anxious as you are to find out how this one ends. Smiles. If you missed the previous part to this story, you can find it here.


written for Magpie Tales.




64 comments:

Kodjo Deynoo. said...

Happy Birthday, Thanks for your birth, for without that, I would not be writing this, a comrade in writing. Kudos to you

DJan said...

Okay, I am going to wait anxiously along with all the the rest, including the author! I hope it has a good ending, but with you, one never knows... :-)

Heaven said...

this chapter took on a different twist, deeper character of Jason's life. my insides twisted at the cruelty he suffered growing up.
is the past coming back to haunt him ?

happy best day, poet ~

i wouldn't have made it this far, without your kind words ~

adeeyoyo said...

OK Brian, another week to wait... I hope Jason learns how to break the chain of cause and effect. The tension is becoming unbearable!

Daniel said...

Looking forward to the conclusion to see how this ends up. Have a great day. Thankful for you.

Valerie said...

Another wait... this is one occasion when I hope time flies. Felt a bit sick reading about the vicious attack.

Everyday Goddess said...

an excellent series, brian. looking forward to next week!

It's your birthday?! Have a great one!!

Bossy Betty said...

Great writing as usual and intriguing. Waiting for more....

JStar said...

Waiting on the edge of my seat...

Pat Hatt said...

Now your just stringing everyone along
So I won't sing a happy birthday song
I guess that is a good thing
As your ears would hurt if the cat were to sing
Now I'll f off without a snarl or cry
Great write and that's no lie

Cinner said...

Now I have to wonder all week. egads...lol. you had me at every word. poor Jason. Have a Happy Happy Birthday to you. smiles

Help! Mama Remote... said...

Interesting story. Gonna go try to read.what i missed later today.

Manda said...

You have a way of keeping us hanging on your words... it's a gift! Celebrating YOU today... Happy Birthday!

David Allen Waters said...

Happy bday dude, I'm sure glad I can call you friend :)

Monkey Man said...

Happy Birthday, Brian. Why is it that YOU are giving US a gift on your birthday? Should be the other way around.

Myrna R. said...

I'm intrigued. Can't wait 'til next week. What a great way to respond to the Magpie prompts.

nsiyer said...

Many many happy returns of he day. Brian, you write well and keep me asking for more when I read your post. Have a bash.

AngelMay said...

Argh! I do not like mean people. And you have described them very well.

AngelMay said...

Oh! Is this your birthday???? Have a really happy one!

AmyLK said...

Happy Birthday!

ooooo! can't wait to see how you weave these two story lines together. Should be GOOD!

Magpie said...

I don't know how I missed the first installment, but I'm so glad I went back and read it. Where are you going with this? Who will answer the door? Just who is his benefactor? I can hardly wait. :)

Old Ollie said...

whoa...this prompt really got you rolling

Poetry Jam..gotta check that out.

Fred said...

Was really wondering where you would take this tale. Really good, especially without pre-planning. Admirable adhering to the prompt, look forward to see how this tale continues next week

Ed Pilolla said...

happy birthday, now that i have the day right:) hope the day is as good as the read was. off to read the previous installment...

Sue said...

Happy birthday, Brian. I am waiting with bated breath for the rest of the story.

=)

lori said...

So, you have not disappointed.I went back to read the first one again for fun before diving in. Behind every monster is a story. It's sometimes hard to pull the two together for we don't like to sympathize with our predators. I like how you hinted at his narcissism in the beginning. And, I felt both sorrow for him in the flashback and then revulsion again as he remembered Sarah by her scent. Ugh. So good, Brian.

Happy Birthday :)

Laurie Kolp said...

Brian- A sad but beautifully written story. I was out of town last week but will check out the first part. Happy Birthday!

Mystic_Mom said...

Okay...more waiting, but so worth the wait!

hedgewitch said...

I don't know why, but I hated the faces in that picture instantly, and they reminded me also of moronic taunting and cruelty--you pinned all that down here beautifully, if a bit gruesomely, and I can't wait to hear what comes next. Thanks for the reverse birthday present, my friend.

Kathe W. said...

wow- I am on needles and pins for the conclusion-

Mama Zen said...

I felt so bad for him!

Can't wait for the conclusion.

Mama Zen said...

I felt so bad for him!

Can't wait for the conclusion.

happygirl said...

I feel for Jason. I wasn't popular in school, but not despised. Just one girl sought to make my life hell. I'm over it. :)

We are who we are in high school. I've discovered.

Daydreamertoo said...

Happy Birthday Brian :)

This seems to be going somewhere dark. A lovely write so far.!

Claudia said...

ha - now you leave us hanging like a fish on the fishing-rod...smiles
i like the turn it took...still insanely curious what happens to the woman...you know..i usually stop reading after the second murder so...smiles

Fragrant Liar said...

Little bit dark! I like it.

Happy b-day, friend!

Friko said...

Do I really have to wait another week?
I want Jason to prevail.

JJ Roa Rodriguez said...

waiting for the continuation...

JJRod'z

Pat said...

Wow! Where are you heading with this dear Brian? Did he kill Sarah?Hmmm.....

Steve Isaak said...

Great storytelling, as usual. Immediately pulled this reader in.

Captain Dumbass said...

It's your birthday? Congrats. Can't wait to see how this one ends.

Pastor Sharon said...

Hey, this is great! Okay but really? Wrapping it into another week?
I'll wait and return!

Happy Birthday!

blueviolet said...

The scars of bullying never, ever leave, do they? It's awful.

PS. Happy Birthday!!!!!

haikulovesongs said...

loving both parts one and two ~ can't wait for the next. i love your prose as much as your poetry, brian!

i hope you've had some cake by now!

{smile}
d

otin said...

Hey, BV beat me here!!

Mysterious artwork...dark cars....unknown people....waiting for more.

38 is still young! LOL Happy Birthday.

ayala said...

Happy Birthday to a great guy !!!!!!!!

Sue J said...

Can't wait for next week! :)

Tumblewords: said...

Wow! I'm going to wait right here, again. :) Excellent read...

Jyoti Mishra said...

twists n turns keeps u hooked :D
and u r damn good at it.
Nice read !!

Tattered and Lost said...

Isn't funny how a car full of teenagers can bring back such memories? And there's always been something fear inducing about a group in a car. Mob mentality on wheels.

Interesting story.

Ruth said...

I hope you had a terrific birthday, Brian!

Just Be Real said...

Will have to wait like everyone else..... Brilliant Brian and belated birthday wishes.

Lorraine said...

You know how I love your writing best...when it's real, sorry i didn't read this, that's one of the reason I stopped writing, maybe because there's too much pain in reality why do it in fiction too....bad day, I'm having a bad day ;)

Dulce said...

Happy birthday, man... keep on with this amazing story... We are all expecting something nice happens in the end
smiles...

Deborah said...

Had to catch up on this and glad I did!
Can't wait for the conclusion.

Hope you had a wonderful day :o)

SueAnn said...

Ack! I have to wait?? I hate to wait!! Ha!
This is so powerful!
I too hope there is coming a good ending!! I am rooting for him
I have seen this and cried.
Hugs
SueAnn

California Ink in Motion said...

You totally captivated me with each word! Incredile writing Brian. Impressive, exciting, and spell-bounding. I am going to do some more exploring!

Ténèbres à la lumière... said...

Hi! Brian...
Just like your previous commenter I too can't wait to find out what happens next...[Note: Wow! those kids were mean...they better be happy that he didn't seek revenge on them...However, their behavior appears to be "haunting" him well into adulthood.]
What an excellent write very vivid, and descriptive too.

Thanks, for sharing!
deedee ;-D

Zuzana said...

You really know how to built the suspense, I was expecting something different, but I like the new avenue you took us on.;)
Looking forward to the conclusion.;))
Always enjoy my visits here dear Brian, sorry I am so late with my comments, life has somehow taken over blogging these days.;)) In a good way.;))
xoxo

Ann Grenier said...

You know, a story like this would make a good prompt to see how others might continue it/might have con't it from last week. Good writing...bit off my beaten path though :-)

Hope your birthday was wonderful!

Syd said...

Happy birthday, Brian. I don't think that I like Becky Smalls very much.

Goofball said...

oh damn, I hope those bullies from the past don't ruin this chance for him

Emily said...

I love the name Becky Smalls

Lydia said...

Ok, now I am caught up - having missed this installment - and my I enjoyed this meaty course so much. Am looking forward to dessert in #3.