Monday, April 13, 2009

Prompted Writing

I've never tried it, but I still need practice, so here it is.

The question, from some blogger website, was, "You’ve just been given at time machine. You can only use it once, to go back to day in your past and relive it or change something. What day would you go back to, what would you change and why?"


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We had been working on this site for about a month. It was a structure, something like a greenhouse, that had to be partially torn down, and we had been more than willing to work on it because we knew in the extreme cold, the bosses wouldn't come anywhere near us. Sure enough, they never did.

We had the same kind of green Carhartt jackets back then, with the only difference being that his had a hood on it. He was an elfish-looking guy, with a red goatee and thinning hair that he was overly sensitive about. He stood about 5'10", with 225 lbs. of solid muscle packed onto a large frame that outright intimidated most people he met. He had various tattoos; one was the standard tough-guy tribal band around the arm, the other was a huge, stony version of the word "Family" written down his spine in Viking runes. There was also a horseshoe-shaped scar on his forearm from an incident with a red hot lighter when he had been drinking a bit much.

We had been best friends, brothers, with a bond forged from working the same hideous job for hours on end. He had dragged me out of bars, held me up when I was staggering drunk and swearing. Once, during a brawl, he had thrown off the three or four guys piled on top of me, and grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, dragging me to safety.

"Good fight," he had told me with a sly grin. I could tell he was impressed, having watched me charge into a group of steroid-ridden guidos to avenge an act of aggression.

"Now fucking stay here," he said. He stalked away, looking for others to drag out.

As soon as he turned away, I snuck back into the fray, only to end up running from the police through backyards and over fences later that night.



We started by banging the walls out, ripping the sheetrock off and then sawz-alling the framework out, piece by piece. Because neither of us was anywhere near qualified to do such a project, we both nearly died a few times because of falling debris or a lack of paying attention. That, however, was how we rolled.

This many years later, I couldn't tell you what we had talked about. His girlfriend, the love of his life, had recently dumped him, so we likely commiserated about that. Well... he commiserated...I wasn't too fond of her. But I listened, because that's what people, even hardasses, need once in a while.

It was one of those nameless days that winter that he had looked at me with a confused look. The weather was frigidly cold, cold enough that the blue in your jeans stood out and your workboots glared tan, as colors so often do when its just too cold to be outside.

"I feel like shit bro," he said.

"You're a fucking vagina. Stop it," I had told him.

We were stacking pallets, waiting for a forklift to come over and bring them out.

"Nah really man. I really feel like shit. My stomach is killing me."

For such a big guy, he could truly be a pussy sometimes. He was famous for "feeling shitty" and staying in on a Friday night, or skipping someone's birthday because "his stomach hurt." Again, he was pulling this, and was going to leave me to work on for another three hours alone.

My boss had come out around that time, and started breaking his balls. But my buddy, he wasn't kidding I guess, because he walked away from the two of us, and bent over with his hands on his knees. I could hear the puking sound, and the splattering of vomit on the redstone covered ground.

He stood up, looking like pale hell.

"Fuck this. I'm going home," he said, and without another word started walking towards the time clock. Who were we to argue- when a guy pukes on the job, you don't want to be around him anyway.

My boss and I smoked a cigarette, shaking our heads and calling him a pussy, but both knowing that sometimes, shit happens. Eventually, my boss went inside and I went back to work, this time, alone.

About three days later, my boy was dead.

I could tell you that I wish I hadn't broken his balls so much that day. I could say that I should have told him how much I admired him, or how influential he was on my life, or how to this day, I hope to be like him.

I could've told him that I loved him like a brother. I could've told him how much we all would miss him if he was gone.

But what the fuck...that's not how we were.

He, and everyone else, knew how close we were. The guy knew that I would have laid down in traffic for him, or taken a sucker punch at the bar for him. He knew that I would have always helped him out in whatever he wanted to do, and that until the day he died, he would have had a couch to crash on.

He knew that I loved him, in the most non-gay way possible, and he knew that I didn't really mean anything by all the ribbings I gave him.

After he died, I found out from someone that he had talked about me when reminicising about that big brawl. He had said how well I'd done, and that I had really surprised him. He said he was impressed that I was as vicious as I was. Of course, he didn't want to tell me that, because "it would give him a big head about it."

Turns out, the fucker knew me just as well... I just never realized it.

1 comment:

Nerwen said...

I want to leave you a comment, but everything i'm thinking sounds so damn cliche....