A couple of years ago, I wrote a relatively long short story called Crutch. I’ve reworked it a couple of times, but I also know that there’s a lot of information and a lot of back story that might make it more interesting. I also know that if I set a goal of posting a page or two here every week, then I’ll  have the impetus to polish it into something quite nice.

Getting off the front of the bus and mostly sober now, the young man doesn’t much heed the apology of the trench-coated woman who knocks his leg with her cane as they take different directions. He’s still in his head trying to recall the name of a song the DJ at the club recommended.

The late spring night is warm and moonless, but he can only see a few stars between the white light of the sodium lamps and the porch lights triggered by the motion sensors everyone seems to have bought in the last few years. He continues in the same direction the bus had been traveling while she in dark soft boots turns right at the corner. The sweat of a night spent almost entirely on the dance floor encrusts his tight black t-shirt and his short black hair no longer holds its gelled spikes. A well-worn denim jacket hangs limply from an elbow. He keeps to the lit parts of the pavement although he sees no one about regardless who would help should there be trouble.

He doesn’t notice the trench coated woman fall in step into the shadows behind him. He remembers the fire that took out three of the houses on the next corner, where his apartment building now stands. He remembers the hook and ladder and the heat and the permeating smell of kerosene.

Turning up his own block, his heart starts to pump harder than it had all night as if, he thought, someone had spiked his last whiskey with a great hit of niacin. He wonders if the boyfriend of that dreadlocked girl he’d talked up had slipped him one. Nearing the gate to his apartment complex, he gasps a last time, trying to wrap a fist around his heart, and falls in a quiet heap to the pavement.

No lights come on as the trench-coated woman hurries to the young man and examines the wound she’d given his leg. She sees a trickle of blood, but the wound is otherwise clear. Clicking a radio on her wrist, she says crisply, “Number 12 down, boss.”

Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.