Thursday, December 9, 2010
Today's muse: Carry on Tuesday
Carry on with Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream, "The course of true love never did run smooth".
* * *
The course of true love never did run smooth. Of course it didn’t, he thought, the goddamned road was always under construction. Crawford Mitchell guided his pickup along the deserted highway. Virgin pavement, smoothed only hours ago, spread before him, crooked a finger in seduction. He could hear it chant, telling him to drive farther, faster, harder.
It was nothing to move a few cones and ease the truck through. They didn’t even have some potbellied security moron watching the place.
The new bypass was scheduled to be opened next week at an elaborate ribbon cutting ceremony where the Mayor, Town Council and other flaccid dignitaries would gather to clap backs and shake weak hands.
Crawford jabbed the volume control. Bass pulsed out of the radio, pummelled his chest. It made him feel alive. He dropped the accelerator and the truck rocketed across the deserted highway. He maintained the frenzied pace for several miles, then knocked it down, readied for the turn off south. The Shaldon exit was as far as they paved, though they were careful to spew empty promises of extending the pass to Millerton.
It didn’t really matter; Shaldon was far enough. As Crawford approached the exit, he glanced at the rear view mirror, comforted by the blackness behind him. He blew by Shaldon and slowed the pickup down so he could rock over the divide between pavement and gravel, manoeuvre around the dead end sign, and skid to a stop about two hundred yards beyond the pavement end.
He climbed out, wandered to the back and dropped the tailgate. He tore open the case of beer, selected a long neck, twisted the cap, let the spit and hiss release the tension he’d carried the last few months. After a long pull, he swiped his forearm across his mouth then walked back to the front of the truck, over to the dark gap illuminated by the headlights.
He dangled the half-full bottle between his knuckles, leaned over to peer down the crevice. As he thrust his free hand into his front pocket, he estimated the width, figured it was enough. He took another pull from the bottle, tipped his head back and emptied it down his throat. After a half glance behind him (you couldn’t be too sure, right?), he dropped the bottle down the fault.
One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Clunk.
Crawford looked around, took in the rolls of sod, the mounds of earth and smiled as a plan formed in his mind. Beautification of the city was important, wasn’t it? The Mayor was always shooting his mouth off about it. He’d give him beautification alright.
Crawford wandered to the back of the pickup, reached in and pulled out a spade. He’d smooth out some earth, roll out some sod. Shit, maybe he’d plant some god dammed flowers. No, he thought, a tree. A fucking tree.
Pleased with his plan, he reached into the truck bed, hooked a meaty hand around the delicate, limp wrist and pulled Fiona to the edge of the tailgate. He ran his hands over her golden hair, across her delicate jaw, trailed his fingers across her cold lips. God she had an amazing mouth.
He yanked Fiona out of the bed, let her flop onto the cold, hard ground. Hoisting the spade over his shoulder, he grabbed her arm and dragged her to the crevice, whistling quietly. He let her slump at the edge of the opening, spiked the shovel into the dirt, then gave her an annoyed shove with his foot.
Crawford shovelled dirt into the gaping maw, whistling louder now, while he contemplated details for the layout of the sod.