Jan 24, 2016

The last ride

A growling black car was awaiting her last passenger. A 19-year-old boy approached with a backpack in his hand. The driver's head appeared from the shadows and contorted towards the boy with an unspoken question.
- These are just some courses I take, hesitated the boy.
- You don't need them, replied the driver.
The boy calmly sat his backpack in the snow and climbed into the car.
- Mr. Andrew? the driver asked.
- Yes, answered the student.
The driver swallowed a list of names and returned with a grin towards his passengers.
- Gentlemen, none of us will get out alive, so enjoy this last ride.

The motor's timbre was throbbing in their chests like a second heart when the car started on its way with a clatter of smoke.
- Mr. Andrew, these are Mr. George and Mr. Stephen, explained the driver.
George, a hesitant young man, almost trembling, gave him a waive. Stephen, a lot calmer, sat glued to the glass of the door and ignored him.
- And... you? Who are you? asked the student towards the driver.
- Who am I? See those people on the sidewalk, the ones dragging their feet in the snow. Walking corpses they don't exist right now, they inhabit those bodies at work and disappear as soon as they set foot on the street. I'm not one of them, I live on street, with the creatures of the yellow neon lights, the addicts, the prostitutes and the perverts.
- He just wants to know your name, advised Stephen still looking beyond the window.
- I am tonight's gravedigger, continued cheerfully the driver.
- Any chance we survive? asked George.
- Only if you plan on being a half roasted vegetable, but don't worry, I took care that wouldn't happen.
The driver tapped the ripped plastic from the middle of the steering wheel. All the car's airbags had been torn out.
- And I have a few other surprises here, once I press the gas, nothing can stop us.

- Where are we going? inquired Andrew.
- The classic broke bridge over the Crow's gorge.
George put his hands over his face and started weeping.
- It is a wonderful end, it's normal to be nervous, but we mustn't miss the moment, encouraged the driver.
- Why there? asked Andrew.
- What do you mean why there, that's tradition, snarled the driver.
Stephen explained in a monotone voice to the others:
- At the beginning of each year, at the first full moon, the black cars race to the Crow's Bridge. We have to get there first, only the first throw them self's over the bridge, the rest will have to wait another year.
- Exactly, spat through his teeth the driver, and then continued with a smile, we have to make one more stop.

The car stopped at a street corner and three paid girls climbed on the passengers laps.
- I was thinking you would like one last hump before we go over the bump. But we have to do it on the run, we can't delay.
- I don't... opposed George.
- Shut up and stick some wood in the stove man, it will warm you up.
After several minutes of rubbing, one of the dames with pale eyes spoke:
- This boy is done, maybe I can do you next.
- I took care of this sooner, but we can enjoy our time while the others finish, and the driver grabbed the blonde's hair and directed her between his legs.

In front of the suicide squad, a second black car was running in the same direction. The driver pulled beside them.
- Three men trample towards the Crow's Bridge in an old blacky. They're the competition, reckoned the driver.
He pulled the wheel throwing the two cars in a melee. The raw metal contorted in shock, losing some of its painted skin. The cars bit each other and the rival car was thrown off-road into a pillar. The driver smiled towards the boys and came out of the car, waiving a tire iron like a paper fan. The opposite car was now embracing a concrete pole. Andrew followed him:
- Are they like us?
- No not like us, just some amateurs.
The pilot for the rival car was passed out in the airbag cushion, and the driver used the tire iron to open the door and drag him out.
- Maybe next year and take the fucking airbags out.
- What about the others in the car? interrupted Andrew.
- Just some losers, if they are fortunate they broke their necks.

The car continued its ride furiously, spewing blue smoke from behind.
- You're losing oil, you will blow the engine, noted Stephen.
The driver whispered, almost to himself:
- It's also her last ride... it's okay.
- Gentleman, I hope you wrote your last words.
Andrew was the only one who didn't answer. The driver rummaged his pockets and took out half a pencil, paper and a condom.
- Write it down, put it in the condom and swallow it. The heat in this car will reach 1300 degrees, but with a bit of luck they will find the note in the autopsy.

- I don't know what the fuck I'm doing here, I want ... I want to smoke a cigarette, do you have a cigarette? murmured George.
- What do you mean "you don't know"? you're seeking death, you want to kill yourself, mocked Stephen.
- I'll give you one, volunteered Andrew with a pack of cigarettes in his hand.
The driver lifted his head from the road.
- Not a good idea, I don't know if you noticed but it smells like gasoline. I crammed bottles of gasoline in the car doors, and I think our last crash broke some of them.
- Please let me go out, I'll have a smoke and then we can go.
- It's too late and we're almost there, said the driver while steam was coming out of the engine.

The car was racing down the streets like a flaming comet leaving a trail of white-blue smoke behind.
- I don't care what your reasons are. Tired of cold showers in the morning? Bad coffee at work? maybe sniffing glue doesn't inspire you anymore? it doesn't matter, we are already dead ... there's the bridge.
The car rolled gently, to the edge of the bridge, like a wounded animal. Stephen spoke to the driver:
- Let him go, in the news all these suicide cars have only three bodies in them, we're four.
The driver opened his door, pressed the gas pedal to the floor, and countered:
- No you are only three, and saying this the driver jumped out of the car as it jettisoned off the bridge.

Versiunea în română: Ultimul drum

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Jan 16, 2016

Course of the sky

- I used to fly when I was little.
- In your dreams ?
- In real life, I would rise up on my toes, lift one leg and then gently push the other into the ground until I come off in the air. Once in the air I swam like a frog.
- And were you alone while doing all this?
- No, of course not, my best friend was with me. He didn't know how to swim in the air, but he could jump.
- Well I can jump.
- How high can you jump? This lad could jump, without a hassle, over trees and then fall back to earth like a snowflake. I tried to help him hang in the air, like me, and teach him to swim like a frog.
- But he didn't learn.
- No, and he told me he never would, so we decided we would play near the ground somewhere, just above the trees. We would do somersaults, scare the birds, we were a menace. One day, I remember it like it was yesterday, I decided to fly up and see if I can get to the clouds, it seemed a very fun up there. We tried to go together, him leaping from ever higher trees while I slowly swam toward the clouds. When I became to distant he climbed atop the highest poplar and jumped with all his might towards me. He came up to me, up high, and told me "I can't get higher, you'll have to go on without me." I knew I was leaving him behind. I looked back one last time and saw him waving, while flaking toward the ground.
- So you left without him?
- He was my best friend and I let him down. I said it's not important and that I'll get back someday and we'll go together to the clouds, but I felt I had to leave, even alone.
- So little old you flew to the clouds? How cute.
- Ribit ribit  slowly towards the clouds, I passed sparrows, I passed pigeons and even passed the seagulls, hovering up there effortlessly. Seagulls reach the clouds, but are only visitors, because they have to go back and land, I didn't need to go back. I climbed until I found the majesty birds. Birds that never come down from heaven, who live and sleep there ... up in the air.
- In the clouds, you mean?
- Yes they nest there in the clouds. They have very long wings that are almost transparent and their heads are adorned with gems. I felt lost among them, until one approached and talked to me.
- Wait, you talked to a bird?
- It wasn't one of our chickens, it was a noble bird. Feathers around her head were like a crown that shone with all colors of the rainbow. She said she enjoyed seeing, a man there. She told me she didn't get along with the seagulls, supposedly they nag, and the only birds you can have a conversation with are ravens, but they rarely climb up there. One night, the majesty bird was looking at the starry sky and told me she wanted to leave, to fly to the moon and the stars.
- And you? Did you want to fly to the moon?
- Well why not ? We began the journey together, I was slower but the majesty bird waited for me. We flew for 3 days and 3 nights. A trip like this is more beautiful than hiking on earth. From above houses are pins, cities are ant swarms and fields are meaningless multicolored rectangles, everything is small and unreal. On the third day the majesty bird tried to swim like a frog, she looked hilarious. All was well and good until we got to the thin air, we were in the stratosphere. - I tried pushing harder but I just couldn't climb. She looked back at me and saw I couldn't follow. She gave me one of her feather gems and told me "I don't think we'll see each other again but  take this, I want you to remember me."
- She you left behind.
- Ironic isn't it? I looked at her as she flew away, watched until she became a twinkle in the sky and then she disappeared. I went down to the clouds but it wasn't the same. A raven chased by a storm got shelter there, he saw me and took me back home. I fell back to earth.
- What happened to the friend ?
- When I met him again, he didn't want to jump anymore, and after a while he forgot he ever did.
- I'm sorry you didn't make it to the stars.
- I'm just sorry I didn't take you with me.

Art by karenkodoku
Versiunea în română: Crugul Cerului
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Jan 10, 2016


The finger, a finger like any other. Magic though, because it moved under the pneumatic motor force of the Hand inevitably towards me. He came so close that I could distinguish the fingerprint, a byzantine maze shaped like a snail, very beautiful and presumably unique. Obviously, I bit. It didn't take much, like biting into a carrot and pop, it was already in my mouth. The bio-mechanism tied to that digit almost lost its mind when it realized what happened. I won't lie to you, I was a tad sick at first, my first instinct was to spit it out, but no no, I had to spite the Hand so I kept it between my teeth. I had to feel it next to my molars and test it like a ripe cherry. My finger was soft juicy and consistent.

Meanwhile other beings, that might as well have been supernatural for the power they had, picked me up and placed me in a room made of antimatter. It must have been antimatter because I wasn't allowed to touch anything and the room shrank every time I wasn't looking. The dwarf gods entered decisively and sent me to the plutonian shores for questioning. I had to swallow it, I knew these fatties were about to ask me where it was. One of these higher intelligences even had the ridiculous idea that the little phalanx could be reattached in some way with the use of white magic and sharp fingers, I tell you nonsense. All these big dwarves were moving slowly and deliberately so after a while I stopped chewing and swallowed it, they didn't even notice.

Gastric juices can dissolve iron, that's another false advertisement. When I finally went to the bathroom in the middle of the floating filth I found a small ivory bone. I would have taken it, seriously, without disgust, and wore it as a necklace, or maybe made it into a pointer for school so everybody would point at the map with the finger. Unfortunately the dwarfs were still watching me and we all have to live with disappointment. That's the lesson I took from this incident, so I flushed.

Yet people continued to exaggerate, and point their fingers at me, I get hungry just thinking about it. What I am trying to tell you here is ... don't stir my appetite. 

Art by Anca Toma
Versiunea în română: Deget

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