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BANG

by Laurel Wilczek
(Saylorsburg)

Bird song. The shrill yip of the dog across the street. A grumble of an engine as it drags a car up a hill. Music. No, not music. Rap. The autumn chill nosing my lips. A whiff of rotting leaves and dog crap.


Legs splayed, hands palm-up and weighted to the ground, I am toppled like one of those idiot gnome sculptures perched on front lawns throughout my development. The earth presses like a snail against my lower back, right above the waistband of my jeans. With one careless step, my world has shrunk to a dog pen and a tight bud of anxiety that I may have broken a bone.

"That's gotta hurt."

My neighbor, Ricky Malone, bends over me, fingers digging into his thighs above his dirt-stained knees. He stinks of sweat and lawn fertilizer. Bits of grass cling to his throat above the collar of his T-shirt. "You okay?" he asks.

Last summer, Ricky called the dog warden on me. Claimed my dogs were running free. Not my dogs, but did he call and ask me that before he summoned his pal? No. The warden showed up at ten o' clock in the morning, when most of the neighbors were at work. Hitler in khakis, he tried to bully me into paying him eighty bucks under the counter to avoid a bogus fine.

I still remember his rip-off cowboy swagger and the jut of his pelvis as he tipped his warden hat, squinted at my naked feet and licked his lips into spitty shine. His gaze crawled up my legs, snagged briefly on my hips and latched onto my breasts. Hooking his thumbs on his belt, he raised his eyes to mine. “Or you could meet me for a drink and we’ll call it even.”

My shoulders curled. I backed away. "Jerry!" I shouted, "Jerreeee!"

The clunk of my husband's boots hammered the silence as he cornered the house at a run, shovel in hand, anger raking deep lines into his face. Startled, the warden rabbited to the safety of his truck and drove off in a spurt of dusty gravel.

“I’m okay. I just got the breath knocked out of me.” Jerk. I flex my back muscles. Pain skips along my vertebrae and plunges tiny fangs into tender nerves. The stone that felled me digs into my ankle.

Ricky peers at my chest. His gaze flicks downward, skims the zipper of my jeans and cuts to the house. The dogs nap in their crates, fondled by silence.

I squirm. The pain spikes; my fingers clench with it. The back of my hand scrapes against a jagged-edged stone.

My husband used to say that rocks swim in schools through the earth, butting heads with each other and with all sorts of man-made things and that no matter how small, a rock keeps banging away at whatever is in its path until one of two things happen, either the rock shatters into pieces and is swallowed by the earth or the thing in the rock's path gives way and the victor moves on.

Jerry was a boulder of a man, in spite of the Italian genes which bestowed on him the lanky body of an intellectual. He'd fought cancer twice and won, only to be taken out by a drunken driver on a rainy night in late August. That was a rock Jerry couldn’t shatter.

Ricky's face, capped by a thatch of dander-flecked hair, hovers over me. His eyes are the color of the crap I've been scooping off the ground and pitching over the top of the fence. My nerves rattle like the change at the bottom of my purse.

Swim.

It’s Jerry’s voice, lapping at my inner ear.

Swim.

It is a command that jump starts my nervous system.

My fingers claw the ground, find a stone and pry it loose. I elate in its weight and in the coarseness of its surface. The pain in my back is nothing compared to the sting of adrenaline as it slams my heart into a long, silent pause.

Ricky drops onto his knees beside me. He rolls the palms of his hands up and down his thighs. The tiny fissures around his mouth and at the corners of his eyes deepen.


Bird song. Sunlight arrowing down through the canopy above us. A shudder of wind thrashing in dry leaves. The stench of crap.

"Guess you need someone to bang you," I whisper.



Laurel Wilczek is a graduate of Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in T-Zero Literary Magazine, The Forward Papers, Pocono Parents Magazine on Michael Solender’s “Not From Here Are You?” blog. Her story, “Fairy Tales” won the grand prize in the 2009 Editor unleashed/Smashwords Flash Fiction 40 Contest and has been published in the Editor Unleashed/Smashwords Flash Fiction 40 Anthology which is available on Amazon.

Comments for BANG

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Jan 21, 2012
Thank you for you comment.
by: Anonymous

Greetings,

I'm glad you enjoyed my story. No, this is not a real life event. Thank heavens. If I had a neighbor like this, I think I'd move. :)

Thanks for reading my story!

Laurel

Jan 20, 2012
BRAVO!!!
by: Anonymous

This story is very detailed and is very believable. Is this story based on a true event... It was very great i also liked how you wrote music was playing, but you did'nt finish at that you put the type of music that was playing. BRAVO!!!

Mar 17, 2010
Thank you for your comments!
by: Laurel

I'd like to thank you all for stopping by to read my story. I must admit, that's the first time I've ever received a salute of dog poop. lol.I'm glad my story entertained. It was fun being able to create a story out of one of the most mundane, if not downright icky, chores in life.

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

And special thanks to Pearl Luke for publishing "Bang."

Laurel

Mar 17, 2010
Love Your Story
by: Anonymous

Awesome, Laurel! I was there -- hearing, smelling, feeling, seeing. I fell into the story and lived it through the main character.

WOW!

Keep them coming!

Take care,
June

Mar 17, 2010
Swept me up
by: CaroleM

Thoroughly enjoyed the artistry you continue to paint. A master of words, I tip my hat and lift up the dogpoop in my yard to you. Cheers!

Mar 15, 2010
Always knew you could!
by: Anonymous

I was left feeling like I had been bashed in the head by a rock, in a good way. (If you can be bashed in the head by a rock in a good way.)

The writing was compact. It was clean. The imagery wasn't overused. It was the perfect recipe for pie. You made rocks and dog poop actually seem like good ingredients.

Fantastically written. You deserved this. Congrats. I'll be watching for your next project.



Mar 13, 2010
Rock on, Ravenne
by: Grumps

I'd say this one is your best yet, Ravenne---but you make it so diificult to choose because all your stories are of such a high standard.

If there's a better word than excellent (and I know you'll find it if there is) then that word applies to your writing.
Regards and respect, wishes and vibes,
Grumps. ;-)

Mar 12, 2010
Poetic and Inspiring
by: Kathy K

I especially love the imagery and descriptions at the beginning and end of the story. Wonderful tension and suspense.

Mar 11, 2010
Fabulous!
by: Joey

I can smell the doggy doo.

And see the swimming rocks.

If the writing were any tighter you'd have to use a wrench.

The last line delivers a satisfying smack!

I tip my coffee cup to you, Laurel!

Congrats!


Mar 11, 2010
Way to GO!!!!!!!
by: Anonymous

When I read this as a final draft, I knew it would be an instant winner. You really feel the underlying pulse of this story, and the imagery of the rocks and the notion of "swimming" are a brilliant match... I enjoyed how literary this story was, and it... as all of Raven's stories do... left me with spine-tingles.

KUDOS TO THE BETTER WRITER!

-O.C.C.

Mar 10, 2010
WOW!
by: Juls and Cordy

Holy Dog Poop Batman, this is Fabulous Laurel!

Your writing is so tight it squeaks like new jeans. The imagery is evocative, the scene seriously creepy and yet mundane.

Wow! Well Done!

Mar 10, 2010
Nice
by: DeborahB

beat to the words and powerful imagery. Love it. Congrats!

Mar 10, 2010
wow
by: joni

Awesome imagery. Your words carry like a warm breeze on a summers day.
Although the stench of crap might linger in your character's mind, I gather a wayward softness of aromatic pleasure from reading this!
Well done Laurel! I'm extremely proud of you!

Joni

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