They Will Tear You Apart

THE BASEMENT WAS COLD. Carry sat on the edge of my bed, her head in her hands. I just stared at my bedroom wall which was covered in posters, Polaroid photos, random things from magazines. There wasn't a single inch of exposed wall.

I stared at the Clockwork Orange poster and thought about the knife that Alex held. I imagined it being used to cut out the thing that might be inside her. That's all I saw whenever I looked anywhere. Things that related to our catastrophe.

“Fifteen days,” she said.

“I know.”

“Fifteen days late.”

She wasn't crying, but it was coming. It hadn't happened yet, but it would eventually. Some emotion would come. It worried me how made of stone she seemed. Stone cracks.

Upstairs I could hear my parents walking around. A door closed, the TV turned up louder. They were watching the weeks X-files recorded on VHS. I could tell from the theme song.

Beside us, my digital clock started to buzz. We'd programmed it to go off at 9:45 because her parents demanded she be home by 10 p.m. on a school night.

Most of the time we lost track of time because we were fucking.

Now she was sixteen, half a month late with her period. There was no way to lose track of time now. Each minute was accounted for, documented in a logbook, studied under a microscope for the slightest inference that blood would appear and save both our lives.

“We have to go.”

Her father was a firefighter. I could visualize it clearly. Him putting an ax through my abdomen. Then he would pour fuel over me. Light me up. They liked that, the firefighters. Firebugs they are, at heart.

Her mother would be watching all of this, praying to the Lord to let me survive the fire, so that I could suffer forever, dunked into brine tanks. She'd do the dunking herself, all the while muttering prayers. My body one scar that would never touch let alone be touched by another girl again.

My dad, when he found out, things would be even worse. He would set his can of beer down and he would high five me for hitting that pussy. It was his horrible fear that I was gay.

My mother would bounce this baby on her knee, googooin' with loopy wonder. She always wanted to be a grandmother. Rocking back and forth. Singing lullabies. Knowing none of the words, singing anyway. No matter.

Would any of them visit Carry's grave once she blew her brains out with her Uncle's hunting rifle?

Would I?

Carry stood up. She put her puffy pink coat on, didn't say a word as we walked out the back door and across the frozen yard.

The chain link gate had bonded to the ground and we could barely get it open.

There was no heat in my car. I'd just gotten my license and I couldn't be picky. The thing had come out of the junkyard. A different engine transplanted inside. I was lucky I had anything at all to get back and forth to see her. We drove in silence even though the cassette deck in my car was the most important thing that we both had in the world.

They Will Tear You Apart continues...
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About Bud Smith

Bud Smith lives in NYC, and works heavy construction in New Jersey, building and maintaining power plants and refineries. His books are the novels Tollbooth and F-250, the short story collection Or Something Like That and the poetry collection Everything Neon.
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