(Forgotten Friday will return next week when I stop being such a slug brain and remember to upload my pictures to the correct computer)
O’Hara wasn’t sure what to do with himself now. Sarah had told him to meet her in the parking lot of the Tesco, just after her shift ended. He parked his old Volkswagen Golf around the corner, hoping to surprise her when she appeared with a rushed hug from behind and a kiss to the neck. He always thought she liked that kind of thing.
But the sun had long set, her shift had long ended, and another was about to begin. O’Hara sat watching the next round of employees mill at the dirty back entrance of the grocers, smoking cigarettes and murdering time before starting their work for the evening. Their actions were perfunctory but oddly charming, like watching a family come together to eat dinner after very long, very different days. As the last blue-aproned employee ground the butt of her cigarette into the ground, O’Hara was all alone in that parking lot.
He spread himself across the hood of the car. The dusk air was cold, but not yet freezing. If not for a dwindling wind off of the coastline, he probably wouldn’t have needed his jacket. The emerging stars were obscured by the storm that was still lingering after its earlier tantrum, but every few minutes a gap appeared, pouring the black sky and its tiny diamonds through his eyes into his outstretched unconscious.
The pills had little effect. Flynn could never be trusted to deliver, even when he promised “great stuff.” O’hara closed his eyes to the invading stars. Sarah’s face – like freshly washed linen pierced by two sapphires – appeared as a smokey wisp. Her features were soft and motherly. Her hair flickered like campfire. She was so delicate the he thought his mind might break her.
Her face merged into a xylophone of colors, which spread from the periphery of his view to the dead center of his vision. He could hear her laughing somewhere in the basement of his memories. The giggles echoed and rebounded, getting louder and louder until they seemed more like surreal bird calls than a young girl’s laughter.
The sound smashed into the colors; a car crash of imagination and hallucination. Heat built in his chest. Spark plugs around his heart exploded into beat after beat after beat with the rhythm and power of an ’65 Mustang. Her laughter came from every angle, except directly behind him. As his mind lost the ability to process the stimuli, he heard Sarah’s voice; low, sad, crying, asking him to stop.
The light above the rear entrance was out. Only a weak security lamp shining from behind a barred window illuminated the empty blackness of the street. O’Hara realized that he was aching from the cold. The night had turned and was siphoning the heat from his skin like a vampire on a fresh kill.
His Golf was alone, all the other cars had gone home to sleep in their garages and carports and freshly asphalted driveways. He slid off of the hood, stabilizing himself against the side view mirror as a hammer pounded at head from the inside of his skull.
His mouth was dry. His eyes hurt.
He slid into the seat of the car, taking a moment to right himself and shake the cold from his arms. He pulled his phone from his pocket. Three missed calls.
The keys fit into the ignition like they had thirty thousand times before. The engine labored, but that old VW just wouldn’t start.
9 out of 10.