Monday, June 20, 2011

Henry Crow (pt. 1)

He wasn't a very nice man.

Henry Crow was not a man known for his blindingly sunny disposition.

He wasn't necessarily the type to make lemonade, when life would hand out lemons, so much as squish them directly into his mouth with a reckless abandon after doing a shot of tequila beforehand, and then subsequently spit on the ground. He wallowed in life's bitterness, at times.

Henry Crow would drift around town after the sun set and the street lights became bright, getting rowdy from bar to bar, breaking the jukebox for not playing his song soon enough on more than one occasion. He was sleazy with the women and sometimes the menfolk too, if his fancy struck him, though more often than not it came to blows of a different kind at the end of the night.

A man with that much bitterness in him has to have had it bore into him right from the start. This was a man who felt life's stinging prick early on. Alcoholic, unattentive parents, countless failed romances, and most recently the death of his closest and only friend, Dave, in a freak accident involving a bear being hurled through a car's windshield. The world made even less sense to him than it had previously, at that point.

Henry Crow was a man who would take whatever he could get. He finds a chilly, near-full beer left alone, he grabs it. He always looked at the ground when he walked, hoping to score a dropped pack of smokes or some other forgotten trinket lying on the streets, undiscerning as to what he may find. He was dirty and grizzled, a slight hunch in his stature and very gaunt; a decent dresser but nothing too flashy, clothes always a bit wrinkled--always a slight bounce in his step. His hair was a thick mess of brown that he'd haphazardly slick back from his face. His brow was dark and thick, and always furrowed into a frown. Even when he laughed, it sounded more like a demonic cackle.

People were always a bit wary around him, though each person expressed it differently. Some react to the fear by staying away, while others would want to poke and pry, seeing what lay underneath the gruff exterior. Often, the latter came with some form of price on the offending party's part.

Henry Crow was a man alone in a dark and dreary world, made darker by his emptiness without Dave and by his own dark mind.

Soon, at least, he'd have one last evening with his oldest, closest friend.


Flying bear to the fucking face, he thought to himself as he meandered through the store.

What the fuck?

He stopped in front of the beer, grabbing a cheap 40 for the road. He managed to have a bit on him, magically finding a five dollar bill earlier on, and decided to splurge for the night. He even got his own pack of smokes. He took dull thuds of strides back to his flat. He felt particularly tired that night.


Slowly he walked up the stairs and almost collapsed through the door as he unlocked it, gripping the black plastic grocery bag tightly. He flicked on the lights and stared at the pile of papers on his tiny kitchen table, adjacent some three feet to his miniature (and rather unkempt) stove top against the wall. He hadn't swept in a while. It was chilly in there.

He rested the black bag on the table and sifted through the contents: his 40 and a pack of Camels--and something else...? Some prize was still resting in the bag, an error either he or the cashier didn't notice. He peeked in. Deli turkey, roasted, thin-sliced. He took it out of the bag and studied it, smelling it, making sure there wasn't anything particularly foul or grotesque on it. He tested just a nibble, and gave a few minutes before grinning to himself and breaking open the 40, taking a few large gulps and then going over to his dingy fridge. He broke out the bread and mayo and topped it with a bit of mustard.

Henry Crow was a scandalous man.

He put on some Mozart as he bit into his free meal. He almost thought it must've tasted better simply by the fact it was given to him by plain dumb luck. The musical accompaniment made it all the more delectable. He attacked that damn sandwich. This was going to make the work week all the more sweeter, knowing he could have that bit of food to come home to. He had plenty else for his mind to fixate itself on, otherwise.

Dave floated to the front of his mind for an instant, as he was about halfway through his dinner. He paused for a moment to take a sip from the 40, offering a bit in remembrance of his friend. He toasted the air in solidarity, letting out a crisp exhale after a few large swigs of the malt liquor.

Dave would approve of this, he thought to himself.

Dave would've done the same thing, if he found that prize in his bag.

After he swallowed one particular bite about halfway through, he felt a tinny sensation roll over his tongue. His taste became metallic, like he'd had some pennies in his mouth. He coughed a bit, clearing his throat, and went for the bottle again to wash it down. He stood there for a moment, feeling a dizziness starting to come over him as he leaned against a metal chair. He started to notice time seeming to slow down, and a heaviness sinking directly into his skull. He looked down at the seemingly innocent sandwich still in his hand.

Mother..fucker..., he thought, as he started to pass out.

He collapsed face down onto the linoleum floor before him, the sandwich hopping out of his grip and flinging itself all over the ground. He lay there, one arm outstretched, the other tucked beside him; he felt his legs going. His breathing was steady, but still a bit slow. He felt paralyzed--his eyes bugged wide open, stuck in a stare at his tiny, messy excuse of a living room. He couldn't even make a noise.

Without warning, a familiar voice came from above.

'Oh, Henry?'

Henry Crow's eyes rolled as far as they could toward the side and saw what appeared to be the silhouette of his old friend, Dave, blocking out the lamplight and looking down at him, pitifully.

Dave smiled and leaned down, whispering into his ear: 'You get to learn you a lesson tonight, friend.'

His eyes glazed over and everything went black before him, traces of "Rondo Alla Turca" jubilantly wilting away in the distance.





(This one's gonna have a lot of dark humor. I'm excited.)

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