Monday, June 24, 2013

The Ride

By Tyler
The last time I went home, I didn’t drive
I was on a flight from JFK to Oakland, only the stars and this fat, bald businessman to share my thoughts
Round trip.
I hate flying to Oakland because Oakland is where you go
When you’re down to get shot, or stabbed, or mugged after taking the wrong turn from Candlestick
At nighttime.

Here’s the scene
It’s a pretty, slim white kid in a deep black v, deep black Levi’s 501s
Super skinny.
And he’s standing at Baggage, waiting for this slow ass conveyer belt like the one in the Pink Floyd
To give him his deep black v’s, his deep black Levi’s 501’s, supper skinny
At nighttime.

The same boys had gotten tougher, started smoking weed and bumping Trinidad James now
The same girls had gotten hotter, asses thick as Game of Thrones subplots now
Same old shit
There was the same bowling alley where my parents met, not far from the flat on Lafayette Street
My dad, average height and lean but good looking as hell, with perfect hair
At nighttime.

He aged a lot in the thirty years since that bowling alley
Not like my mom, beautiful as ever, who still hasn’t aged a damn day
Good genes
My dad, on the other hand, gained a shitton of weight, enough that
Sometimes, when I look in the mirror, 6’1 and 126 pounds, I still hope “not that much.”
In the mornings.

I had to leave right after that because
I didn’t quite have the money for the Cali lifestyle right then
Not after the split.
Dad bailed, buying Ace of Spades champagne and Kentucky Straight equally with my college fund
While Mom brought in obscene amounts of cash working taxes for farmers
By daytime.

By nighttime I do my thing at Starbucks, at Panera Bread
Working up culinary talents and winking, smiling, getting numbers of girls I met along the way.
Mainly hipsters.
Saving up enough cash so that next time, I don’t have to fly back home to Cali from New York
Or from the American South, from below the Mason Dixon line.
But drive.

Maybe in that ’58 Vette I bought off my uncle a couple years ago
Old, paintless piece of shit now with a ’76 Firebird’s engine, but it’ll be worth something someday
More than it already is.
God willing, I’ll get her restored and I’ll drive her out to Cali
Who knows, really, with the price of gas being what it is
Here’s hoping.

I’ll drive it out west, back home for real this time
Along the way I’ll pick up one of the best guys I ever knew and we’ll tear down to the Bay
God willing.
He’s from the Valley, probably rich as shit, always racing with me to see who’s got more prettyboy swag
Kinda like Marty McFly, if McFly was a douche who waxed poetic about himself instead of inventing rock
And roll.

I’ll see if I can get a loft, or maybe even a flat like my parents
See if I can get a real job this go around, instead of some hipster ass café or bartending
Maybe writing.
I’ll keep in touch as little as I can with the people I went to school with, start anew
Or, at least, try and keep them as in the dark as possible so they don’t know
Where home really is.

I want to start anew
It’s a subtle theme for me, in all my writing, that pain and agony that comes with
Starting anew.
But when you’ve finally restarted it feels better, pure, like a baby after a diaper change
I’ll just focus on the guy, focus on the car, focus on home, focus on what will be instead of what could be
Focus on the ride.
Night Drive
By Darkon/Adrian

The thunder rolled in the distance, an angry murmur that seemed to reverberate within his skull. It accented the endless fall of rain nicely, acting as a massive resounding impact hidden behind a thousand needling blows.

The windshield was close to useless now; vision was all but impossible. All he could see wer dim shapes, no clarity and no sharpness, illuminated by the glowing yellow of his head lights.

The thunder continued to roll in the darkened sky, the bellow of titan hidden behind the clouds. It was then, as the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed, that he saw her, standing there, face hidden in shadow, a dim specter half-visible from behind his rain-soaked window.

The tires squealed in protest as he slammed on his brakes. He was acting against his will, stopping to speak to this stranger, even though he had this feeling in the pit of his stomach, this sense of dread that gnawed at his mind.

He rolled the window down a bit, ignoring the drops of water pelting his face. She stood there, on the side of the road, staring at him in terror, as if he were some demon, crawling from the abyss. She couldn’t have been older than thirteen; there was still innocence and curiosity in those gigantic brown eyes of her, though it was hidden well behind a mask of fear.

He found himself speaking, though the words sounded foreign in his mouth. “Do you need a ride?” he asked, as the sense of dread grew at an alarming rate. He almost had to roar the words, or the thunder would swallow them in its roar.

She hesitated, slinking inch by inch back into the shadows; her fear was tangible as she slinked into the protection of the pine forest behind her.

“Hey, I’ve got places to go! If you don’t want a ride, just say no!” he roared, feeling ashamed of himself for yelling at this tween girl, most likely attempting to run away from her parents after some petty argument.

She blinked once, the rain on her face mingling with her tears, but she stepped forward, and nodded carefully. He gestured to the other side of his car in reply, and rolled up the window.

She entered with a spray of water, oblivious to her mistake. Her face was thin, her eyes hidden behind a swoop of black hair, perhaps natural that color, but most likely dyed.

He tried his best to smile. She smiled in return.

As the drove on into the night, ignoring the storms, they talked on strangely personal things, though she did not notice. Where are you from? Do your parents know where you are? Where are you going?

She barely even noticed when he stopped the car, but she noticed all too well when he drew the knife.

* * *

As he laid her body down in the grass, taking care to pull the swoop of black hair away from her once-hidden eye, he smiled slightly. She was, after all, very pretty.

As he drove away, letting the winding roads lead them were they would, he couldn’t help but smile, delighted with his little ride in the night. The thunder roared in protest, and the lightning flashed in anger, but he ignored them, he ignored the needling blows of rain, and he smiled happily, the awful deed done.

Silently, he drove into the darkness, unable to contain the giggle of sinister joy.


Old Junk
By Omar/Onarax

“Alright lads, make sure that everything’s running smoothly. Where we’re going, there ain’t going to be no second chances.” The hard set man didn’t even bother to make sure everything was in order. The moment he said these words he was off, followed shortly by his comrades.

Only young Johnny was left. He still wasn’t sure what he was doing here in the first place. His father said some friend of his could use help, that friend said the same thing, and so on and so forth, before you knew it, Johnny was here, riding with the infamous Skull Riders. Cheesy name, deadly people.

Gotta get moving, can’t afford to hesitate. Johnny forced into his mind, now all that mattered was driving, the others had already faded out in the horizon. Even the dust kicked up by their rides was fading, blending in with the dry, desert sand.

Johnny cranked his accelerator, and sighed in relief as the engine purred. When he had first visited the Skull Riders they had thrown him this piece of junk and said that if he got it working he could not only join them, he could keep the bike. It was old run down chopper with the words Harley-Davidson printed on the engine casing. Johnny could only assume that had been the name of whoever last owned the vehicle.

If its looks were any indicator it had to have been from the Old Age, back before the speedy Lightrides were created, for one thing it still ran using wheels and its engine seemed to use gasoline of all things to run. Johnny doubted he could even keep up with the top of the line 40 MPH Lightrides. The max speed allowed by government anything faster were supposedly ripped the Human body to shreds.
However the moment the old bike took off dust was immediately thrown into Johnny’s eyes. The sand all around him being whipped on his face, gashes and cuts began to appear on his cheeks before Johnny finally wizened up to the fact that he should probably throw down the visor on his helmet. As soon as he could see again, Johnny decided to glance down at the meter to see how far off from 40 he was.

That can’t be right. I should be dead if it is.

Right now the meter read 50, now 60, now 70, the meter kept increasing. Heading towards a 100 located at the end of the meter. Johnny was in shock, such a thing just shouldn’t be possible, what was with this ride. What was wrong with the people of the Old Age. However as soon he began to let go of his preconceptions Johnny noticed he had already blazed past the other Skull Riders.
This is actually pretty fun. Who knew such speeds could be this exhilarating.

Johnny’s laughter took over the canyon, this was brilliant to him. Such speed was unheard of him. This ride was a piece of beauty. Johnny loved it.

40 is nothing, it’s a child’s speed. From now on this ride is my ride.


By Eyru:

She's laughing.

Sun's shining through her long blonde hair flying in the wind as we tear down the coast on a golden afternoon. I've got one hand on the wheel, one in hers, fingers entwined. Thank God I don't drive standard.

Sky's blue, the kind of blue that makes you want to take off your shirt and lie on the grass and jump into the ocean and go for frozen yogourt. Not a cloud floating, just us flying and the sky's the limit.

I take the next turn fast, hugging the line; she clutches my arm and tells me to slow down. But she's smiling; she wants to fly as much as I do. She doesn't let go.

The air feels golden, like the colour of the sun and pineapples and soft tanned skin; it smells of fresh cut grass and salt. The water glimmers in the sun like a thousand mirrors; bluer than her eyes, the eyes I could jump into and never need to come up for air.

Brighter than bright, almost painful to look at, the sun bathes the world in warmth and light. It lights up her skin, it turns her hair to spun gold. She's singing along to the radio; her teeth flash in the sun. Her favourite song. I'm sunstruck.

It's the kind of day that feels like forever and no time at all, where every second drags by faster than the last. The kind of day that leaves an ache in my chest because it's so, so beautiful and I never want it to end.

We'll get to the beach, and after we'll go for ice cream, but for now I don't want to think about the future. Right now is enough for me. The sun in my eyes, the wind in my face, and my girl at my side. Right now, all I need is this ride.


By Josh Baltarc:

In Which Lekua Does Something You Shouldn't Try at Home
I’m running through the jungle, not sprinting, not jogging, somewhere in between. A nice, sustainable pace. I know where I’m going; I know how to get there. Without missing a beat, I spring forward and fly effortlessly over a low-hanging branch. Perfectly calm, collected. In control.

Or that’s what it looks like, anyway. Inside, it’s a different story. My heart beats a thousand times faster than my pace warrants. Random bursts of half-coherent thought flash through my mind as I try to sift through everything I know, everything I’ve been taught, in preparation for what’s to come.

But none of it helps – that’s the point. You’re not supposed to know what to do. Recruits have died doing this, I realize. How am I supposed to–

I come to an abrupt halt; a step more would have sent me off the edge of the cliff. The shrieks of a hundred birds fill my ears as I peer over the edge at the flock of Kahu wheeling below. I pause, my apprehension forgotten in a moment of sheer awe at the sight.

But I know if I hesitate a moment longer I’ll never make it. I turn, back up a few steps, and then dash forward, throwing myself off the cliff. No biggie, right? Oh, yeah. Jumping off a cliff. People do this all the time.

The wind howls in my ears as I fall, ripping a scream from my throat. Not that anyone’s around to hear. Something feathery smacks against my face and I grab it, my arms nearly ripped from their sockets by the sudden jolt. Within moments, though, I somehow manage to pull myself onto the bird’s back. It clearly isn’t happy about the situation, but no way am I letting go.

This is gonna be one karzahni of a ride.


By SonicBOOM:

It was a beautiful day, with the sun shining bright rays over the entire city, not a cloud to ruin the view, the vast blue of the sky making everyone's lives a bit cheerier than usual. The city was dotted with pedestrians walking about their day, greeting each other as usual and off to their office buildings. Children sang and played and danced and watched and laughed and cried only to be consoled into singing and playing and dancing and watching and laughing.

Jared was one such child, though his cycle was a bit different: he tried to sing and play and dance and watch and laugh but only ended up messing each up. His blunders fueled the other children's laughter, and so Jared was reduced to nothing but crying and crying and crying. Eventually he stopped, so that his cycle included not one but three instances of crying before he could be consoled. And thus he tried again, only to cry thrice more.

Unlike the other children, Jared was somewhat of an outcast. His family, though well-spoken and respected, was granted a soft-spoken and shy child, a smart child, one who was lacking in nothing but motor control and attention. Oh how he craved that attention. His parents were never around to give it to him, and only his nannies could even try and help him. Of course, his nannies came and went according to his parents' personal roulette, so this Nanny of the Week had no special attachment to him.

It was on this bright and cheerful day that Jared decided he'd had enough. A six-year old boy deserved better. Especially one who knew how to multiply and divide by the numbers 1 through 10 already. And so he packed his little rucksack with candy, books, and few personal belongings which I will not go into detail here. Lastly, he grabbed his trusted stuffed panda, Jerry, and headed out the door. This Nanny of the Week wasn't particularly cautious, preferring to talk to her friends over take care of him.

He'd go on a little walk and figure out why no one liked him, maybe find a few people who might appreciate his talents. Something, anything to stop the incessant swelling of sadness inside him.

He had not gone one block when he found him. Him, who wouldn't laugh at his intellect nor ridicule his klutziness. Him, who would respect him and make him respected among others. Him, who could be his friend.

The man had a smile on his face, one of those teacher-esque smiles that invite you to come over and listen. He wasn't too old, about his father's age, and was sitting lazily. His eyes were soft and kind, and he looked as if he wouldn't hurt a fly.

He waved at Jared, beckoning him. Come over, let's talk.

Jared obeyed. Sure, why not?

“Hello, mister? Who are you?”

“Oh, nobody. A good friend of your father's, he invites me over for every party.”

“So you're not a stranger?”

“Oh no, heavens no. I meet you every time I come over. Don't you remember me?”

And suddenly Jared remembered this man, who would hold him and give him candy and ruffle his hair. He loved this man.
“Let's say you come with me for a ride in my van. That OK?”

And Jared could do nothing but agree. Taking the candy from this man's hand, he followed him into his big white van.

Oh, what a ride it would be.


By Nate/GSR:

“I mean, like, do you get it, though? This is it. This is the ride,” he said.
“Do you even listen to yourself?” she asked, inhaling.
“No, I mean, I’m serious. This is the big one, literally. After this there are no more rides. Just space dust and star crap.”
She laughed, a morbid, stuttering sound. “You have such a poetic take on the end of the world.”
“Come on, though. Big old asteroid here tomorrow? All of humanity, down the drain, save maybe a
couple dozen billionaires and presidents who are begging NASA to throw everything they’ve got on a
rocket and pray? That means that today, today is literally the most free day we, as a species, ever could have.”
“We’re going to die, Mark,” she replied. “Probably very painfully.”
“Yes, I know, and until then we’re going to live. Come on. Clock’s ticking. Twenty-four hours, what do you wanna do?”
“Spend a quiet, reflective few hours with my friends and family.”
He sucked air in through his teeth. “Fantastic. Except your mother’s been dead for thirteen years, your dad’s doing a life sentence – hey, those are pretty short now – for causing that state of affairs, and I’m the only friend you have in about a thousand miles, because you picked the weekend before the world found out it was going to die to fly out to Australia for your research project.”
“Why are you still talking?”
“’Cause if I stop you’ll probably start crying or something like that.”
She slugged him for that. “Dick.”
“Am I wrong?”
“Yes, you are. If I was going to cry I’d have done it when I found out I was going to be slag in thirty six hours, not after the only guy I know with a bag of weed in a thousand miles gave me the fattest blunt I’ve ever had and quite certainly ever will have in my life.”
“Okay then, you’re not crying. Cool. I like it. Let’s go for the ride.”
She laughed again. “The ride. You want to spend your last day on Earth – the last day of Earth – on a
road trip.”
“Wrong!” he said, rolling over and raising a finger. “I want to spend it on the road trip. The last road
trip. One guy, one girl, a Jeep, the outback, the stars, and some extremely good drugs. This is the stuff dreams are made of, Annie.”
“You have shitty dreams.”
“You have a potty mouth, and no respect for Hunter S. Thompson,” he replied. He waved at the Jeep,
sitting a few dozen feet in front of them, abandoned in the research outpost’s parking lot. “Come on.
You know why this is going to be the ride? Because it never ends.”
“I’m pretty sure it ends when the giant ball of rock falls out of the sky and squishes us.”
“No, see, you’ve got it all wrong still,” he said, waving his arms. “Any other day, any other day you
could’ve driven off in the desert, but one day it had to end. You’d turn around so you didn’t miss your flight. You’d hit the other edge of the outback and start running into roads and cars. No, not today. Today we are free. Free, free, free, and I don’t know about you but speeding across the dirt, surrounded by mountains I’d never seen before, wind rushing through my hair? That sounds like my way to exit.”
“What if we hit a rock and flip over and break our necks or some stupid shit like that?”
He shrugged. “Then we don’t have to worry about hospital bills.”
She took another drag and exhaled, a long, shaky breath. She glanced upwards at the stars twinkling
overhead. One of them – everyone knew which one – was moving. Shining bright. Coming to the end of its own little ride.
She stared at it for a long time.
Annie flipped on her shades and slammed the door. In the passenger seat, Mark grinned.
“Hit it,” he said.
She hit it.

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