SepSceneWriMo #26

He asked me if I had any bandages in my pack. I said, “Sure do, if you count a couple ratty t-shirts.” He pulled open his coat to reveal a map of Russia, dark red and spreading. I said, “If you can still feel the pain, then maybe it’s not too late.” He nodded and tucked back up tight, pulled in his knees and asked me for something to drink. I told him, “I been saving this for when I get to Savannah. But I think I could spare a drop.” I tipped the bottle of homemade plum brandy into his mouth. “They call that slivovitz in the Balkans. I just call it dragon’s breath.” He coughed but smiled. That’s harsh, he said. I replied, “You should have tasted it six months ago when I distilled it. It’s illegal, you know, making spirits.” He said he hadn’t known that. He went on to tell me the temperature, cold. I corrected him, “It’s mid-August. If you think it’s cold that means you’re prolly dying.” He nodded. I mentioned, “I’ve got some beef jerky, store-bought, but it might take your mind off, you know, that.” I pointed toward his belly. He shrugged, but I tore him off a piece and he opened his mouth for it. While we chewed, I contemplated his predicament. We were stranded, at least fifty miles from anywhere, on a long route of BNSF’s line down from Yellowknife. I was headed back to the States, back to Georgia to bury my grandma. I knew I’d miss the funeral. But I needed to say goodbye. He’d been fighting with a company-man, took a broken bat, snapped to the shape of a Bowie, right in the gut. Left for dead. There wouldn’t be another train along for days. Riding a few cars up, I’d seen him fall, so I jumped from my car and watched the train vanish. A belly wound like that… “I’ll drag you someplace comfortable.” He groaned like a zombie while I moved him. “Wolves will prolly find you, but, here, you can have the bottle.” He received it and wrapped himself around it. “I get to Clifford-town, I’ll let someone know you’re up here.” He murmured his thanks. “Sorry I couldn’t help.” He shrugged again. I told him, “You should drink a bit at a time, until you feel numb. Then I suggest you finish it off.” He nodded one last time. I straightened and walked down the track. I didn’t look back. I imagine a bunch of folks have died with a belly full of slivovitz.

15 thoughts on “SepSceneWriMo #26

  1. I swore I wasn’t going to say anything, but – Now I know in your world real conversations are difficult and I get the whole post modern thing but, just for the sake of Hemingway write one of these where you, as an author, tell us nothing. Zip, zilch, zero, nada. No midstream backstory, no extra 50 cent words no backtracking. Make them tell us. I know it will agonize your control freak but write one that is not one step removed. No I saw him fall from the train.
    Put the words in their mouths or listen and let them. Either way. No oh by the way. The way you cure speed bumps and backing up and dropping backstory because it occurred to you is let the players play. What I’m sayin is write one where you’re nowhere. Then you’ll have your month.


      1. What I’m sayin’ is take just one out of the lake woebegone open mic night vein. If I can do it with two Greek Goddesses riffing on shitty books you can find one. The hardest habit to break is leaving the last line on the cutting room floor. Just sayin’.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I liked how the story was in a single paragraph, it gives a real sense of hearing someone tell you the story in person. I feel bad for the wounded man. I think he knew his jig was up. Though I think the narrator should have felt a little sad, although he did do what he could for the fellow.

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  3. The Balkans are not a nice place. The Russians are not so nice either. Neither are the Serbs and the Croats. They all remind me of bitter pottery at an old dig where once stood a prison for the mentally insane. This is from a piece of writing paper from a hotel in Mostar. I didn’t write it, but I kept it. Duke

    Liked by 1 person

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