Southbound and down

Life. Funny how it gets in the way sometimes, isn’t it?

Hello once more, people, and an apology for my absence: I would hope that your hearts grew fonder and more desolate without me in them. Four chambers of emptiness, waiting to be filled fully…

Here is an older piece, designed for elsewhere but present here: I hope you like…

Southbound and down

Neon migraine punctured Stan’s vision; dancing colours and lights sped past his window, and the combination of the two did a fine job of compacting the slices of pain he’d been dealing with for most of the interstate journey neatly into a walnut sized lump slap bang in the middle of his skull. The driving rain didn’t help any, refracting the oncoming headlights into a thousand splinters of light that daggered right into the back of his optic nerve.

Lucky me he murmured, popping the top off his water bottle and downing half of the luke warm refreshment in one. Ain’t I just the lucky sonova bitch that caught the cream? Such a beautiful night for a drive, not a cloud in the sky and perfect company in the trunk… Like hell!

Cynicism had always been a friend of his, and when he was faced with any kind of stress – high school, job, home – it always crept out and coloured his world a wonderful shade of gray.

Sometimes, a kneejerk reaction can stay with you all your life, and Stan’s habit of looking at the worst in everyone and everything he saw never seemed to disappear, even in the happier times of his road-weary life. He tried to turn his mind to happier thoughts, like finishing the job and then grabbing a beer in one hand and a nice fat cheque in the other. He pictured the beer, long necked and tempting, beads of cold water trickling down the side to slip down across his fingers. Come to me, my best Bud. Be mine you gorgeous beauty…

The exercise didn’t work and he swore, tossing the water bottle into the passenger seat and the dream beer back into the cooler. Stan reached into his battered jacket and fingered out two NyQuil. Ah, my faithful friends, you’ll never leave me, will you? He snorted, wiping the back of his hand across his mouth, and then over his face in a pointless attempt to ease the headache, before popping and swallowing the medicine in one.

He wound the window down, cursing the rain that hammered in but welcoming the fresh air that stole its way across his neck, cooling him and bringing involuntary shivers.

Damned sweats.

Always grabbing you when you least need ‘em. Bastards.

Ain’t I got ‘nuff to worry about with a damned migraine and ‘flu without getting the sweats as well? It ain’t right.

As if in answer to his question, there was a muffled squeal from the back seat. Not loud enough to attract any real attention, but just audible enough to ensure that, should anyone be listening – Stan, for example – they would hear clearly.

He sighed, wiping a damp sheen of rain from his face and winding the window back up again. Why was it that all his trouble came home to roost at the same time like a dozen moronic chickens?

The traffic slowed as it came to the usual toll bridge back-up. Stan powered down through the gears and turned his head slowly to the rear of the car, noting with satisfaction that the noise quietened instantly.

Southbound and down, Stan my man. Southbound and down. The car gently rolled forward, following the flow of the traffic.

Southbound and down, and delivery’s done…





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