Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Violins Is Never The Answer.

This is in support of PT Dilloway's anti-violence crusade. Read more about that at his blog. You ARE against violence, aren't you? Don't make me beat the answer out of you.

*********************************************************************


In the end, it came down to a choice between eating one of us, or eating a Carrot.  And NOBODY was talking about eating a Carrot.

For one thing, how would we kill it?

I'm probably getting ahead of myself.  My name is "Scout," and no, it's not like the girl in that book about mockingbirds and yes, I know what the book about mockingbirds is and no, I've never read it and yes I picked my own name and no, I don't always talk like this but I'm scared right now so give me a break, will you?

If you must know and I suppose you must, because you don't know anything about anything from the looks of you, I chose the name "Scout" because that's my job.  I'm supposed to look for food only I haven't been looking for much lately on account of nearly everybody is dead.

It wasn't always like this. But, then, you wouldn't know that, would you? Look at you, all buried and dead here and sitting in a caved-in grave, just a skeleton all gaping at me. You wouldn't know that because you're one of the lucky ones.  You're dead, and I don't even know what I am doing talking to you except that if I talk to you maybe I won't go crazy.

On the other hand, if I talk to you maybe one of them finds me or maybe a Carrot finds me.  It hasn't been all  too long since them Carrots got the upper hand, even without hands, and I don't want to fight one of them.

Maybe I'll talk to you quietly.

So nobody but me and you hear and maybe you don't hear but you probably hear, somewhere.  Heaven, maybe, if there's a Heaven.  Ought to be one, after all this.

**********************************************************************

Scout is crazy.

But, then, everything is crazy, including the people who go around saying everyone is crazy, including me, maybe, too, probably certainly because if EVERYTHING is crazy then I am, too. "Everything" must of necessity include me, but you've got no choice except to believe me, crazy or not, because I am the narrator of this story, and if you don't believe me, who will you believe? A fourteen-year-old girl crouched in a tunnel below a graveyard talking to a skeleton because she thought it smiled at her?

Possibly.

Let me tell you what happened.

Oh, shit, they're coming.

*********************************************************************

What was that?

Was that a sound?

I suppose I will have to fight anyone who comes near me and I don't even care if it's Gina.  Especially if it's Gina.  Do you suppose it's Gina? You don't suppose anything, do you?

I'm sooooooooooo hungry.

You look like you were hungry, too.

Maybe I should've eaten something. But how could I?

Maybe there aren't nothing but persons left anymore to eat.  Even if it was okay to eat a person but I don't want to I wasn't going to eat her.

I hope it's not Gina.  I don't want to have to fight her.

*********************************************************************

All right, so once upon a time about twenty years ago maybe give or take 40, who can count, there was a recital at a high school and a girl named Gina had to play a violin solo.

That's how it all started because you never know where things are going to start and you don't know where they are going to end.

And Gina played her violin solo and at the end of it, almost everybody in the auditorium stood up and applauded her, very polite-like, but enthusiastic, if you get it, like parents do for someone else's kid, all except this one guy, Tom.

Tom didn't clap.

(I am Tom.)

(I didn't clap.)

(That's how I know what happened.)

You haven't seen Scout, have you?  I've been looking for her.

********************************************************************

Mama told me once, when I was little, that it wasn't always like this, that once there was a time when people could walk around and in the sunlight and all and when everything and I mean everything didn't try to kill you.

Mama's old enough to know that time, but this is all I've ever known, when everything and I mean everything tries to kill you, even my kitten.  Even my SOCKS once tried to strangle me while I was sleeping and now I go barefoot, mostly,  because who needs that?

Dad says Mama's just telling stories, but I think that's because Dad blames himself.  And everyone blames Dad, too, and says he's the guy that started it all.

You seem nice.  Can I call you Mr. Skeleton?  You won't try to kill me, too, will you?

I miss my kitten.

********************************************************************

Tom, that's me, I didn't clap.  Tom didn't clap and people noticed and Gina's dad noticed and Gina's dad got madder and madder during the recital and he kept shooting glances over at Tom and Tom paid no attention to Gina's dad and didn't even know Gina's dad and Tom ignored Gina's dad.  He just didn't clap because he thought his daughter ought to be the one to get the solo and so he wasn't happy and didn't think, Tom, that's me, didn't think that Gina played all that well, but then Gina's dad when everybody got up and was walking out of the auditorium at the end of the recitals Gina's dad he pushes Tom, that's me, he pushes me and he says:

"What'sa matter, isn't my daughter good enough to play music for you?"

And I am not about, was not about, to take a bunch of grief from some blue collar guy who couldn't even get hired at the trucking company and so I shoved him back and said

"Keep your fat fingers off me, you dickhead."

And Gina's dad he swings at me and he punches me right in the face and I stumble into the seats and I trip over them and fall down and I knocked out two teeth.  I still haven't gotten them back.  See?  Right 'ere.  And over 'ere.

What was that?

I bet it was Scout.

Have you seen her? I've got her a new kitten.  This one probably won't kill anyone.

********************************************************************

I'm awfully scared, Mr. Skeleton.  I hope nobody finds me here.  I can't believe they were cooking people but there's nothing left to eat and nothing left to cook and no place we can't go I mean can go to find more food.

Mama said once there were places you could go buy food and it came in cans and boxes and bottles and stuff.  I had a bottle once but then the Carrots broke in and Dad threw the bottle at one and we got away.

Mama says Carrots didn't use to be at the top of the 'food chain,' but I can't imagine anything eating a Carrot.

I think I have to go now, Mr. Skeleton. I think Gina might be coming.  Mama said that Gina wasn't a real thing anymore that she's long dead, but I think Gina's real and I think I hear her or maybe it's Carrots.  Either way, I better go.  It was nice talking to you.

Mama would've liked you.  Before they cooked her, I mean.  After they cooked her I bet she didn't like anyone except other people up in Heaven.

********************************************************************

I caught up to Gina's dad out in the parking lot. He was getting into his car and I ran after him

And I caught him and I pulled him by the shirt collar and I punched him in the back of the neck and I punched him again and I punched him then when he was on the ground and I kicked him in the ribs for good measure and he didn't get up anymore, and barely even moved and I stood over him and I said:

"Your daughter's violin isn't worth shit to me,"

and I stepped on his hand as hard as I could and he didn't react or anything.  They said at my trial that he was probably already dead from when I punched him in the neck the second or the third time.  The coroner wasn't sure which one did it.

I was found guilty, as you'd guess, because so many people saw it and I didn't even try to run, and I'd have probably gone to jail because we don't have a death penalty in our state, or we didn't -- living now is a death penalty anyway although I guess it always was it was just that back then even though you knew you were always going to die, it wasn't all in your face like it is now, where every day you're confronted with the fact that you're probably going to die that day, and that was before we decided that we'd have to eat some of the others and poor Lottie lost the first drawing.

I didn't eat her.  I'm not that mean.

Anyway, back then you didn't always think how you were going to die because there was all this stuff that distracted you like television reality shows and sunshine and delivery pizza that made life seem pretty great, and I was thinking as the judge was coming in and he was going to send me to prison that I was going to miss a bunch of that stuff and then Gina's mom who was at the sentencing hearing pulled out a gun and started firing.

I suppose she was trying to hit me.

********************************************************************

It goes:

Carrots
Meat-eating animals like lions and dogs and birds.
People, mostly.
Other animals that didn't used to eat meat.

It's harder to tell where to put stuff that shouldn't even ought to be alive, like socks and trees and one day a chair, things that suddenly just well up and start attacking.  Everyone says it's 'cause of all the hate but  how would that happen? Can a bunch of hate just start making things attack? Probably not.

But that's what they say, anyway.  They say that things started going bad when Dad got shot at, or maybe before, and that it all escalated, to a crazy point, to where it's clearly out of hand and could never happen only it did happen.

Because we're all living it, and there's Carrots running around eating people.  Mama said it was always like that, just a step at a time and that each step seemed so little that you never knew it was crazy until it was crazy, so don't say things can't happen.

I wish I had someone else to talk to now.  I miss Mr. Skeleton.  He was nice.  Quiet.

********************************************************************

Then everything seemed to snap.

********************************************************************

"Then everything seemed to snap," Dad said, and that's when I took off.

You seem nice.

Maybe I'll talk to you for a while.  At least until I hear something.

They cooked Mama and they probably ate her but I don't really blame her because that's what you've got to do.  We were all looking for something else to eat but there hasn't been anything in a week, not since they ate my kitten and I don't blame them for that, either, because the kitten tried to kill me.  Dad said he'd get me a new kitten but I'd rather have Mama back, only she lost.

People don't care about other people, Mama always said, and that's probably true except she cared about me.

You're a doll, right?  I haven't seen a doll in a long time. Probably since I was three.

*******************************************************************

So it wasn't long before people realized I'd escaped, but by then things were haywire and nobody much cared, or maybe everybody much cared but not about me in particular.

When those bailiffs went down and the court reporter went down and the judge started hollering and a siren went off, I took off running and some guys got in my way and I pushed them over.  I was in handcuffs but they were in front of me, my hands were, and I shoved them and they shoved me and I just felt something, you know?

Like:

Destiny.

Like:

This was what we were meant to be.

Like how probably Columbus felt when he sailed toward what he thought was the edge of the world.

Destiny.

Some little thing twisted and the spigot was opened and a bunch of people behind me tackled Gina's mom and then I was in the hallway and I heard them just beating her as people rushed around and there I was in the orange jumpsuit that I still wear today because why change? There's no jails, now, not really, not for a long time, and I saw Gina.

Gina with the violin.

Gina who had my little girl's spot.

Scout looks like my little girl used to look.  I thought I heard her up ahead.  Scout doesn't even answer anymore to any other names.  "Scout's my name," she says, and she won't answer to anything else.

I mean, I don't have to tell you that I tried to kill Gina.  I didn't even mean to, really.   Or I did, because:

Destiny.

That thing had shifted and it was like Christianity all over again, the way Jesus changed the world by existing only I suppose I was the Jesus for this one, because when I think back I think it changed when I punched that guy, and people broke loose and felt free.

Destiny.

I grabbed Gina, who was the cause of all this, but I couldn't grab her even as I tried, I mean she was like a ghost, or maybe I was.

Maybe I was the ghost, I only just thought of that.

I bet that's Scout's voice, singing.

*****************************************************************************

"A is for apple,
A A apple.

B is for ball
B B ball."

I know the  whole song.  I can still remember it.  Doll likes it, I can tell.  If her mouth wasn't worn off and dirty she'd smile at me.

There's a shuffling sound.  Behind me.  Or up ahead.

I wonder why Carrots became the king of all animals? Nobody ever expected that, I bet.  I found a book with a rabbit in it, a 'comic book' Dad said it was, and he ate Carrots and they were small and didn't eat him back.

Now, everything eats back.  It's like the whole world just cut loose.  We're on our own, now.  It's a state of nature, Dad said.

He says it's brutish and nasty.

*****************************************************************************

Of course eventually there were bombs and whatnot, that's to be expected, but that didn't happen for a long time and the radiation didn't add much to anything.  It got warmer, for a while, a lot warmer and wetter and then colder for a while, and now it's back to normal but there's not much worth being on the surface for.  It's all windy all the time and the Carrots like it but nobody else really does.

Those Carrots creep me out.  They're eight damn feet tall and they don't have proper legs and they don't have proper mouths and they aren't right, nobody ever thought a freaking Carrot would be carnivorous and when they first attacked we couldn't believe it, nobody could, not even me, and that's probably what saved me because people were starting to turn on me and just as they were getting upset, just like everybody does once they figure out who I am...

"Lottie how the hell could you take up with him didn't you realize who he was?" but she didn't, not for a long time and I bet that drawing was rigged, they knew they wouldn't get me so they got her because everyone blames me but it was going to break loose eventually.

Destiny.

...and then those Carrots burst through the curtains in the hallway, it was at the water works, and we all laughed at first, they were bumbling around, almost, I thought they were people in suits at first but it wasn't funny when they grabbed that one guy, Rick? yeah, Rick, and they tore him into bits.

Destiny.

I remember Mom telling me to eat my vegetables.  Ha.  She'd get a laugh out of this, I bet.

*****************************************************************************

"Daddy?"

"Scout?"

"I'm scared."

"Of me?"

"A little."

"Scout, I'm not bad."

"What do you have?"

"A kitten."

"..."

"It won't hurt you, I think. I've been holding it for a long time now and it hasn't attacked me at all."

"..."

"I brought it with me in case I found you.  I didn't even think about eating it, even though I'm hungry."

"Thanks, I guess."

"I'm sorry about Mama."

"Me, too."

"We should be quiet."

"Are we going to die?"

"..."

"Daddy?"

"Yeah, probably."

"How soon?"

****************************************************************************

The water is dripping and we sit in silence.

The kitten turned out to be mean after all.

Scout says her eye socket doesn't hurt anymore.

I couldn't find the eye.

I could never grab Gina, and she floated through me or I floated through her and eventually everyone started reporting that they saw Gina.

Gina floated over New York for two days, and I was there and in that time 14,000 people were murdered, most of them by just two explosions and I probably got blamed for those.

Gina appeared in a monastery, a vision that all the monks saw.  One of them went to town the next day and instead of getting groceries he bought a gun and he went back and shot each of the others, one time, through the head, before shooting himself. That was not my fault.

Not my fault.

Gina's everywhere but I've never seen her, not since that day.

I wish people would blame Gina instead of me.

I mean, maybe I reacted instead of acting.

Maybe Gina shouldn't've stolen my daughter's place in that recital.

I told Scout we were going to find a new group of people and they would help us.

*****************************************************************************

"Daddy?"

"Yeah, pumpkin?"

"Should we go up on top?"

"Are you cold?"

"Uh-huh."

"There's Carrots up there."

"Why do they hate us?"

"Why does anyone hate anyone? Because we can."

"Is that why they kill us?"

"Yeah, pumpkin."

"I haven't been up on top in a long time."

"Me, neither."

"Daddy?"

"Yeah, pumpkin."

"I think my eye stopped bleeding."

"That's good."

***********************************************************************

I'm sorry the kitten tried to hurt her.

Damn kittens, even.

If I saw Gina, I'd try to grab her again and I'd drag her to some people, I'd find some people and I'd say:

"Her, it's her, it's her that did it, maybe I reacted to her but she was like a ghost and I flew through her"

Because I did, I flew through her and I was sitting on the floor and I looked back and she smiled and I hated her and her violin and I wanted to kill her more than anything, but she got away.

And I got away, and I got away again and again and again everytime someone figured out who I was, and then I'd end up in a new group and eventually things would go bad there, too, and they'd figure out who I was and I had to leave or fight or both.

I lasted a long time with this last group.  I bet they only turned on me because we ran out of food.

Maybe we should hunt Carrots?

Maybe someone should.

Carrots are so good at fighting.  They got the feeling more than anything else in the world, when that shift happened and it all broke loose, I guess.

But I got it pretty good, too.

*************************************************************************

"Daddy?"

"Yeah, Scout?"

"What was it like before this?"

"We lived in houses, not tunnels and tents.  We had something called television that would show pictures and tell stories, really fancy moving pictures with hilarious stories, always something new.  We would order pizza, you've never had pizza but it was delicious and you'd just call a guy and he'd bring it to you.  And then on weekends we would go in a boat and drive around on the water in a lake and dive in and swim.  The water was greenish and warm and you could feel the seaweed at the bottom of the lake tickling your feet."

"Did you know Mama then?"

"No, pumpkin.  I met her just before you were born."

"Daddy?"

"Yeah, Scout?"

"Did you eat her?"

"No."

"That's good."

"Yeah... yeah, it is good."

*******************************************************************************

If I'd known it would all break loose, I might've still done it.

I mean, that was supposed to be my daughter up there.

Why would I clap for Gina?

******************************************************************************

I heard something and Daddy is asleep.

Doll, did you hear it?

I'll whisper so Daddy doesn't wake up.

I think it's Gina.

If it's her I'm going to ask her why it all happened.  One time Donna said that Gina knows why this is all happening.

I asked Daddy if Gina knows why this is happening, Doll, and he said 

"Gina is a myth

but he didn't look like Gina was a myth.

He got crazy looking in his eyes.

I think Daddy knows about Gina.

*****************************************************************************

"Daddy?"

"Daddy? Are you there?"

"Daddy? Where are you?"

"Daddy, it's too dark.  Did you go somewhere?  Answer me."

"Daddy? I'm scared."

"Daddy?"

*****************************************************************************

I didn't want to leave her, Doll.

I didn't want to take you, either.

But I was afraid you'd kill her.

I was afraid you'd kill her like the kitten tried to and like everyone tries to.

Like I wanted to.

Doll, I woke up and she was there, asleep against me and you know what I thought? I thought I could kill you.

It's that shift.

Destiny.

Maybe I wouldn't have done it all again, if I could go back.

Maybe we'll find Gina and tell her we take it back and see if she can stop this.  She can stop this, I bet.  She can stop everything and maybe slowly over time it'll go back the way it was and we'll kill the Carrots, we did stuff like that once before, right? We mastered civilization once before and maybe we can do it again.  I bet Gina is real and she's doing this, maybe to get back at me.

I'm sorry, Doll, about her Mama and about taking you but I bet you were going to come alive and maybe kill her, too.  That kitten was going to kill her, maybe it looked like it was just licking her face but it was going to kill her,  that's why I had to get it.

Anyway, we'll find Gina.

She'll stop.  I'll make her stop.

******************************************************************************

"Daddy?"

"Daaaaadddddyyyy?"

"Scout."

"Daddy?"

"Scout."

"Who is that?"

"Scout."

"I can't see you."

"Scout."

"Is that you, Gina?"

"Scout."

"..."

"Don't run."

"..."

"Fight."

"I've never fought in my life."

"It's time you learn."

"..."

"Scout."

"Where's Daddy?"

"You don't need him."

"Where is he?"

"Scout."

"Stay away from me."

*****************************************************************************

I mean, she's a sweet girl, Doll.

Maybe she could be the first to stop all this.  Maybe if I was the first she'll be the last.  I've just got to find Gina, maybe, and tell her to knock it off.

Maybe it can unsnap.  Undestiny.

Maybe Scout never existed?  What do you mean?

*****************************************************************************

"Daddy?"

"Scout?"

"I saw her."

"How'd you find me?"

"She tried to make me fight."

"Don't fight. Not you, too.  Don't you fight."

"She tried.  I didn't want to."

"Keep on not fighting."

"Where'd you go, Daddy?"

"I've got to leave, pumpkin.  I can't stay with you."

"Why not?"

"Because..."

"If you leave me I'll die."

"If I stay you'll die."

******************************************************************************

Maybe Daddy will come back.

Maybe I'll go up on top.






10 comments:

PT Dilloway, Grumpy Bulldog said...

Thanks for writing such a great story for the blogfest! I definitely don't want to live in a world of killer carrots.

Briane P said...

I think I went a few words over the limit.

Cindy said...

Nice story. I'm sure this is your idea of flash fiction.:)

Andrew Leon said...

I'll have to come back later to finish reading. An actual comment about the story when I do.

Briane P said...

Cindy:

Yeah, this is a short one.

Andrew:

I humbly await your judgment.

Andrew Leon said...

Okay, freaky story.

Have you ever seen The Lexx?

Briane P said...

No.

Briane P said...

Sorry. That was terse. No, but I just googled it. I actually DID see it once, a part of it, on TV. I had no idea what I was watching.

Briane P said...

Or maybe I didn't. Now I found it on Netflix and it's not what I thought it was.

Andrew Leon said...

LOL
Well, I only asked because in the last season there are some kind of alien killer carrots. Except they, um, burrow up into you.

And I just responded to your comment. I'm glad you like the poem.

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