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Tale of Al
By Alex Jones
iUniverse LLCCopyright © 2014 Alex Jones
All rights reserved.
A LOST CAUSE
The hot sun is beaming down on a deserted, grey, tarmacked road stretching off into the distance for several hundred miles. A light neon green sign etched with white lettering is seen with the words "No Hope." A symbol for gas is present at the bottom of the sign. Three hundred miles next exit forty three. The scene pans away from the sign. Vultures begin to circle overhead, casting a shadow of a faded dark circle on the tarmacked road. They start to squawk loudly, echoing off into the distance. Two huge canyons begin to emerge side by side, dwarfing themselves in magnitude and height. A straight road runs through them both, splitting them straight in the middle. "Oh, bugger off," the man shouts throwing his free hand into the air, cocking his head back, and adjusting his tinted glasses complete with gold rims.
"I am not dead yet," he shouts at them, lowering his head back down and running his hand through his dark brown, greasy hair wicked to the side of his face with beads of sweat. He continues to run his free hand through his hair several more times, as if trying to remove something that is crawling about within his head. A white hospital band, with a distinct bar code etched on the side, of his arm. A swirling of liquid is heard as a dark bottle is raised in the air. He continues to rock the bottle from side to side, holding it up to the blistering sunlight.
"Bottoms up," he says, downing the rest of it. "Ahh," He lets out a loud expression of relief, flicking the bottle neck and holding it between his fingers. He pulls it back over his shoulder and throws it forward as a baseball. He grabs another clear bottle of vodka from his box, twisting off the cap and jamming it to his lips. He throws his head back and takes several gulps of the liquid. He pulls it away from his mouth, sticks out his tongue, and grimaces from the taste. "God damn it, that stuff is strong." He places the bottle be side him and in it down into the dirt in a circular motion. A cardboard box holding several more bottles of vodka. His legs are cracked at ninety degrees, sticking out in front of him. He dig his fingers into the breast pocket of his white t-shirt, searching for something. He sticks out his tongue, finally grasping what he is looking for.
"Got it," he exclaims excitedly, producing a rectangular object from his pocket.
He looks at the black, rectangular object an swipes across it with his forefinger to make it light up. The black object lights up; he raises it into the air, searching for something. His eyes narrow, looking at the corner of the screen, waiting for the bars to come to life telling him that he has a signal.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you!" He throws both of his hands in the air, nearly flinging the cellphone in the other direction. He turns around, his eyes narrow, trying to focus on the origin of the voice.
"I was trying to make a phone call," he snickers at the distant voice.
"Are you that stupid?" the voice speaks once more. He clasps the cellphone in both hands, placing it close to his chest. "Will you bugger off? I need to make a phone call ... I need to call ..." He purse's his lips, turning his head left in the direction of the voice, lowering his gaze, trying not to make eye contact with the distant voice. "I need to call mother ... She loves me very much ... and .. and .. she will be there at the institute on Friday and she will be very upset knowing that I have escaped." "You're so predictable, Al, it disgusts me, actually; it disgusts me to the point where I want to throw up all over myself again, and again."
"I am sorry to make you feel that way," he replies curtly, cautiously trying not to anger the distant voice.
The man appears into view, moving along the side of the road kicking stones up, turning the ones over that spark his interest. He stubs one with the tip of his shoe, slightly irritated by my answer. His pointed black snakeskin boots are moving along my focus, "follow those pointy boots." This is my alternative ego; the alter projection of myself that I have come to hate and admire at the same time. Two emotions constantly beating themselves, trying to assert dominance over each other.
His name, is Fred; Freddy is what he prefers to be called. "Give me that damn cellphone," he leans forward, holding out his arm. I remove my hands from my chest, open up my palms, and present it to him in a submissive gesture. As if saying, here you go, you are right, I am sorry. I return him an innocent puppy look, like a dog that got caught peeing on the carpet.
He leans in, grabs the phone, looks at it for a second, turns, hurls it off into the desert. Turning around, his gaze beaming at me. He is wearing a white suit, red shirt, Hugo Boss, an open collar, and a red handkerchief is stuffed into his left breast pocket. A gold Rolex watch on his wrist is glinting in the sunlight. His wrist. White pants haven razor sharp creases in the middle. I know he is mad, but the man has style; he does have quite some taste for a dead man haunting the living. A bet that I fear I will never complete nor rise up to the challenge of it.
"That was uncalled for, Freddy ... You didn't need to throw it away ... All I wanted to do was call mother." I plead with him, my connection to the outside world has suddenly been severed. I begin to sob, big blobs of tears begin to stream down my face. I reach for the only thing that gives me salvation in these troubled times that plague my life, my situation at current demands it. A spoiled brat who always got his way now has someone denying him, his well deserved satisfaction. Denying him his medicine. His addicted drug that numbs the pain slowly.
I grab the open vodka bottle, bringing it to my lips, and tilting my head back, gazing up at him and thinking of how rather dashing he looks in white. "Is this what you want so you can call her up and go back to the mansion?"
Freddy shouts, flaying his arms angrily in front of me. His face turns red before my eyes. He continues to rant and rave, scolding, insulting me for my weakness. I need a drink. I continue to listen, taking big gulps from my vodka bottle. The alcohol starts to work, doing what it does best.
It numbs the pain; the pain that makes my heart ache for so much more than this. I hate myself so much. I cannot even look at myself in the mirror without turning away, disgusted, and appalled complete and utter hatred for oneself.
It is a burden. It is taxing. This dark creature stares back at me. Freddy's voice drifts in and out, growing louder, suddenly, fading to a dull roar. My eyes try to stay focused on him.
"And the suits, flashy cars, clubs the grovelling weasels that you call friends those worthless pieces of trash, the nine to five, the hard body wife, smiling and giggling at us as she smiles once more ... To reveal those pearly white teeth. All I see is smoke bellowing from that dark gaping mouth! ... Instead of pearly white teeth, I see teeth that are serrated row upon row, hissing loudly, grabbing the hearts of the innocent, and shoving them into her mouth, the blood dripping down from its corners!" His voice reaches a crescendo, spitting hate on us.
"She is wiping her mouth with the back of her hand with dark, long chipped nails.... She wraps those claws of death to the arms of a soulless demon, and that is only filled with greed. She wraps them around us, holding us in a loveless embrace, suffocating us with her empty black heart, her heartless heart; dark nails dig themselves into the back of our dark brown hair, threatening to rip it clean from its roots! Freddy begins to dig his nails into the backs of his shoulders, flicking out his hands, and digging his nails into his cheeks. The emotion is too much for him; the torment can never end. "Whatever humanity and decency we have left a serpent-like tail moving up the back of our shirts, cascading up our spines and sending chills down it, flicking the tip of its tail to show to me and the entire world who controls Al Worthington Locke!"
Freddy stops shouting his monolog. Exhausted from the effort, he is finished pouring all his hate for that woman on me, leaving a pointing, menacing finger that begins to shake. lowering it down, he inhales heavily in and out, placing his hands on his knees, hunched over from the effort.
"Why are you yelling at me, Freddy?" He stands up once more. Breathing in, his eyes widen as he turns his back to me, whipping his arm forward and throwing a single fist into the air, mimicking an image of throwing a baseball. "Fuck you, asshole! You know how much I hate her!" He seethes. "Don't talk about Andrea like that. She loves me, and don't tell me to fuck off! I am you, and you are me! Now, consider that we are apparently one; that somehow the dead can re-attach themselves to the living," I reply smugly. I raised myself up, pleased with what I just said, trying to reaffirm our sham of a marriage that is to be Mr. and Mrs. Locke.
Al Locke and Andrea Locke! That is a joke, as I take another sip of vodka trying to dull the pain that is searing within my chest. The bitch, she-devil that has such control over my heart; the mind that owns my very soul. I once heard someone say that selling your soul to the Devil wasn't too bad. Well, if I ever see that person, I am going to strangle him. I will ring his neck until he is blue in the face, reeling upwards as I sit back on my legs that are straddled around him, repeatedly slamming my fists into his face until I hear bone breaking. Blood is drenching my knuckles. You stupid ass, you moron; you're greedy, you're a miscreant of a creature.
Freddy spits a white gob of his saliva which landed on the heated dirt side of the road, releasing a loud hissing sound as those dark gold eyes locked onto mine. His face begins to twist and contort into a crooked snigger.
"You know full well she is into us for the money, that thieving, conniving, scheming cunt! I would rip her into a thousand pieces and parade her around for the harlot witch that she is" he said, pushing his forefinger into my chest.
"That was harsh, Freddy!" I reply, raising my voice at him, his bony finger beginning to hurt as he retreats away from me. I begin to snivel as his words of hate, disgust, and truth pierce my black heart. It is useless to defend myself against him, but my ego and my pride will never admit that he is right. I begin to ponder on his words as the pain begins to spur out of control making me wince. My loveless, lost heart torments my twisted existence. I am a man, a man that had it all and now has nothing, sitting on a deserted road talking to myself, as my mind tries to comprehend what is, what had been, and how to deal with the sad reality of the man that I am now. Hell bent on descending into a dark spiral of a black hole that is slowly but surely consuming my life or what is left of my life. A mere shadow of a man sits here, in the hot desert air, trying to drink himself to death and talking to someone who is not real, just mere twisted contortions of a soul that is on the verge of being condemned to a lifetime of misery and torture.
A wash out, an alcoholic, sick with borderline personality. Riches and wealth are what this man craves, and there are a million Andrea's out there lining up to be the next Mrs. Locke.
Just as cutthroat as the current Mrs. Locke, all in their pretty silk dresses, layers upon layers of makeup adorn their faces. The perfect smile, the red rosy lips, the boob jobs, the nose jobs, the million dollar ticket to be perfect, my mind wanders back as Freddy's words pull me back into the stark, self-reality of me, my current self, left on the side of the road, discarded unwanted by the rest of the world and all those that are in it.
"Al! I even gave you the documents, you idiot ... She has been stealing ten grand from us every week! She does not love us!" I continue to drink the vodka, taking several gulps this time, and he lowers himself to his knees, grabbing the sides of my white shirt as he begins to shake me back and forth. I smell the recognizable odour of alcohol on his breath, too, as the scenery begins to blur at the edges of my vision. "Are you all there, Al? Are you still with us?" A hint of desperation is heard in his voice as he places the empty bottle of vodka onto the ground next to me. I burp loudly, turning my face to the side and turning it back to him as I try to keep the bile in my stomach down.
"What are you talking about, Freddy? I never left," I sputter, giving him a weak smile. The sides of my shirt begin to tighten under his grip as his smirk begins to twitch, his gold eyes burning through my dark-tinted sunglasses. No matter how thick they are, I always feel naked against his gaze. Those gold, burning eyes; they always see through me. "Is that all you have to say after I spewed out my heart to you?" "Come on, Freddy, what can I say? I am a heartless bastard; I try to feel your pain ... I know you love me ... Because I love myself just as much!" I chuckle to myself, placing my hand into the cardboard box, grabbing another full bottle of clear vodka, cracking open the top, and throwing it over his shoulder. Freddy lets go of my white shirt, hanging his head before me, resting his arms on his knees, crouched there before me.
I look down and notice dirty tipped fingers gripped around the sides of my shirt leaving a crease within them. "Thanks for putting a couple of wrinkles in my shirt Fred!" I spit out at him. With arrogant disgust, he pulls back his hand, clenched in a fist, raising it up, waiting and raring to hit me square in the face." Don't you dare call me that!" He clenches his teeth harder with anger. I continue to laugh at him, putting the rim of the bottle to my lips, resting it there. He knows that I know that he hates it when I call him Fred. But it is always so amusing to watch him get so angry when I call him by that name. "Oh, Fred ?" I take another sip from the bottle, draining it to three-quarters full. Freddy pulls back, raising himself up, looking down at me as he begins to grind his teeth from side to side. "You are drunk," looking down at me, a long shadow is cast from his well-toned body that is seen filling out his suit.
A monster of a man, a hard man to come by these days, I think, admiring at him. I continue to drink the vodka. I remove the rim of the bottle from my lips, gasping once more as I begin to cough and sputter, realizing that this bottle doesn't contain vodka, but rum. As a matter of fact, it is white rum, to be exact, reserved only for this discarded, lost soul. "No shit, Freddy; or shall I call you 'Frederick'?" I snicker, looking up at him trying to gauge his reaction. He moves to the side of me, his fists clenched once again.
"Or shall I start calling you all of the names of our recently deceased. Mmm ... how about that for a trip down memory lane?" I give him a smug smile. I rummage through the cardboard box looking for a shot glass. "Ah, found it! Do you want one? It looks like you are going to need one." I begin to pour the white rum into the glass in my left hand, held by two fingers, and I realize that my hand begins to shake, knowing full well that I have overstepped a hidden line with him.
Freddy is upon me like a wild animal, slapping my left hand making me drop the shot glass full of white rum. "Hey that was un-called for, Freddy!" I shouted at him as I felt the cold liquid on my shirt. "You got booze all over my shirt!" I looked up and he kicked me square in the face, knocking me backwards. The bottle of rum was flung in the other direction I land on my back, my head hitting the hard tarmac. Cupping my broken nose with both hands, I try to wipe the blood from it. I re-adjust my crooked glasses, sitting up, squeezing the sides of my nose. My nose continues to bleed. I look at him once again. "That hurt Freddy," I mutter. He comes back at me once again, grabbing me by the collar and trying to pull me up by my shirt.
"Get up, asshole, I don't want to go down memory lane ... And I don't want to see you lying there."
"What are you going to do? Hit me again?"
"Get up now!" he bellowed, pulling me to my feet my feet pulling me up by his arm. My feet begin to kick up dust as he did this.
"Ah, this looks really nice and lovely at the same time," I sigh heavily as he pushes me forward past him, stumbling forward, Freddy holding onto my shirt with an iron fist, holding me there for what feels like an eternity.
"Has he capitalized yet?" I suddenly turn upon hearing that distant voice. Freddy holds me there, slowly releasing his grip around my shirt.
"Is that him?"
"Yes, I am afraid".
"let me go, man, I think I can stand."
Freddy lets me go as I stumble forward, waving my hand in the air, trying to balance myself on some imaginary table as if the ground has its own mind, moving back and forth, side to side.
Excerpted from Tale of Al by Alex Jones. Copyright © 2014 Alex Jones. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse LLC.
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