Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Guillotine

Recently I've been working on some "creative non-fiction" , here is a second-ish draft of a piece from what I am imagining will be a series. Inspired by the humorist styles of David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, with more emphasis on the emotional aspects due to the influence of the later.

The Guillotine

The air spits ice into my eyes as my lungs seem to freeze with each breath I take. It was only about the length of two football fields to my temporary new home; however at present I feel that it is more likely I will become Frosty the snowman’s cousin before reaching my destination. Simple things like replacing winter coats and hats were forgotten in the aftermath. I wrap the violently violet scarf I am wearing, my mothers, around my face and press forward. I am wearing a purple sweatshirt and orange mittens with bright holy orange snow pants which revealed my black pants below. I look like the offspring of Barney the dinosaur and Fred Flintstone. If I have been able to survive a day as a high school freshman looking like this the long walk to the farmhouse should be easy. At the moment however I would rather be in the warmth of my earlier humiliation that this piercing bitter cold. This was all my fault of course, so I force myself to endure.

I realized today that it would most certainly be years before I could live this down. Years before I’d be able to get a date with any respectable girl, let alone have the courage to speak to any girl I admired. After finding my locker filled with Dunkin Donuts boxes earlier today I knew my return would be far from a refreshing change of pace from my lonely days of isolation. Instead of sympathy for my plight I was met with the harsh reality of high school: public ridicule. There was some hope; the laughter that had followed my donut discovery was only that of a few select Neanderthals. Males with less pronounced frontal lobes and girls just shook their heads in disgust at what was a very unnecessary humiliation. The article in the newspaper was surely embarrassment enough for one lifetime, and I would certainly have appreciated if the part about my carbohydrate catastrophe had been left out. There was no escaping it, the story was public and all of my fellow classmates had heard about it. Those who chose to help me relive such a wonderful moment in my life were the type of boys who would grow up someday to make wonderful impotent alcoholics with daddy issues. Not knowing their real futures or my own I still feel like I will never be respected again. I felt as if I was a tiny ant who on a sunny day had decided to hand these kind young gentlemen a magnifying glass.

Perhaps I do prefer the cold. I’m finally here, gazing up at the rickety old farmhouse wafting with the smell of fresh cow pies. I wander past a particularly flatulent Bessie, appreciating the warmth while regurgitating my starch laden Sheppard’s Pie from lunch.

Lunch wasn’t so bad, the comfort of my true friends made it somewhat easier to cope. The questions I had to endure from them were certainly unpleasant, but to those who I knew cared for me it was a relief to be honest.
“So it’s true then?” Emily asked in her soft musical voice. Her exceptionally long curly brown hair bouncing on her massive shoulders as she asked.
“Yes.” I reply while quickly becoming intensely interested in the inner contents of my Sheppard’s Pie. I knew Emily was still shaking her head in disbelief as I could feel her bushy hair brushing across my arm. She put one of her motherly arms around me and leaned her head on mine. Emily was the biggest girl I’ve ever know, not fat but tall and well-built. She was more than a foot taller than I was which says more for my lack of height than for her overabundance of it. We had been friends since Kindergarten; as a matter of fact everyone seated at the table with me had been my friend since our first days of school. Barton, Nicole and Emily and I had spent so many years helping each other get through tough situations. This particular situation took the prize for the most complicated issue we have ever had to deal with together. It was hard for them to come up with the right words, but I knew from the looks on their faces they were trying.

Barton especially bit his lip, trying to refrain from criticism and instead look inside himself for words of comfort. Barton was an extremely handsome olive skinned soldier of fortune, and he was my best friend. Since our days setting off bottle rockets in his backyard I knew he was destined to be a great hero in the military. And he made sure to always keep his appearance tidy incase the enlistment age was suddenly lowered or the draft was re-instated and he was forced to forge a fake ID. Then again there was of course the time he came back from his cruise with his parents last December and when he returned I mistook him for a new Jamaican exchange student. His olive skin was as dark as any African-American’s as he had spent all his days tanning and drinking in the Caribbean sun. He had gotten so drunk on one particular island that he had gone and gotten his exceptionally long hair (he had been going through an anti-establishment phase) dreadlocked. Needless to say when I greeted him upon his return from that said vacation it was not the greeting of two old friends but rather me introducing myself to this friendly looking new student. This was not how Barton looked earlier today as he tried vainly not to be to blunt with my wounded ego. Barton’s crisp features were highlighted by his crew-cut and his eyes darted frantically in search of the right words.

“What the fuck were you thinking?” He finally blurted out, trying not to sound cruel and miraculously succeeding.
“I was…I was hungry?” I feebly lied. The truth is I don’t know what I was thinking. I Just assumed given the circumstances that had transpired that hunger would have been the obvious motivation.
“Kevin…Donuts? I mean C’mon it was Nine O’clock at night and you know I’ve been telling you that your gaining all this weight because…”
“I Know” I cut Barton off, not irritated but ashamed. Bart had been doing so much trying to help me fit in and lose weight. High school seemed so much easier for him, Barton was outgoing, charming and very popular because of that charm. I was fairly certain there were a large number of people who wondered why he was my friend, and at this moment I wondered why he was as well. I was pathetic, not worthy of the comfort of any friends
“Well if you ever want to get out of that creepy farmhouse, you’re always welcome to stay with my family” Nicole said, surprising myself and from the look on her face surprising herself as well. “You know, of course, if you want, I mean…” Nicole’s voice trailed off as she too became increasingly interested in her lunch. Nicole was your classic geeky girl with an immense underlying beauty. Her black square rimmed glasses slide down her nose as she kept her head down from embarrassment. Her black hair hid her delicate features for a moment until she looked up at me, waiting for a response
“That sounds great Nic.” I smiled.

At the moment I am wishing very deeply that I had taken Nicole up on the offer. As I am just now realizing as that I can’t seem to locate the key to the farmhouse. The wind is starting to pick up around me as I begin to tear through the pockets of my hunter green LL Bean backpack. I notice that my initials KFK have subsequently been edited with black magic marker to read KFC.
“Great…” I groan to myself, continuing my frantic search to no avail. Desperately I bang on the windows hoping the farmer is home, I can’t even remember his name
“Mr. Farmer Man! PLEASE! ANYONE!” I shout for what seems like hours but is in reality only a few minutes, the cold wind is beginning to cause my face to bleed. I slump down behind the barn and start to cry, immediately realizing that I have sat in a large pile of cow manure. I can’t stop crying, and the smell is absolutely disgusting. I suddenly feel a warm and moist feeling on my right cheek. I turn to face another tongue lashing from the Farmers Border Collie. Despite the fact that I was now freezing and covered in shit and wet dog slobber I started laughing. I laughed as uncontrollably as I was crying seconds ago. I have very few options at the moment, sit here and wait for the farmer to come home which could be hours, or venture the few hundred yards back to my old home and hope I could find some way in. There really wasn’t an option as my skin was beginning to match my mother’s garish scarf. I begin to jog the several hundred yards back to the house I grew up in, now abandoned and desolate. I run around to the back and desperately search for something, anything I could use to stand on. I spot a large rock at least a meter in diameter and several feet high and I begin to roll it towards the back window. Standing on the rock I am just tall enough to be able to lift the heavy window about halfway and wedge my backpack in to keep it up. As I begin to climb in through the old window I slip and roll the rock out from beneath my feet, causing me to knock the backpack out of place. I hear a loud crack and I am just able to turn my eyes to see the heavy, old-fashioned window plummeting towards my neck.

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