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Scales

By Jon Brown

For who knows what lays in store for us around the corner, or how the unseen scales of fate will be balanced?

         

Scales

Dean pressed the pedal towards the floor, and the Porsche engine responded eagerly, propelling the 911 Carrera into triple figures, spicing up the dials a little, and complementing his beer buzz. He breathed to the top of his lungs and felt like a king as he listened to Motorhead.

Even as the needle slid toward its limiter, the agile sports car stuck to the dark winding country lanes as if it they were rails. Though unfortunately, Dean could not see beyond the next sweeping bend where a hobo staggered out from the road side thickets, and into the path of the hurtling car, blinded by the full beam, and paralyzed like a startled hedgehog by the roar of the engine. One long moment of hesitation which now cost him his life.

The car hit the man squarely, tossing him like a rag doll high over the roof before he smashed head first into the tarmac.

It took Dean nearly a mile before he braked the car hard into a skid and broadsided to a halt. Five minutes later he rolled to the side of the lane, hastily unbelted himself from the harness and loosened his collar. He pushed open the door, and paused for a few minutes to absorb events previous, and then with the cold realization his stomach emptied in a fluid projectile. 'Did I hit someone?' He asked himself aloud, his consonants slurred, as he U-turned the car and drove back through the dark silence until his headlights settled upon the limp body. 'Huh, bleeding hell, hey.' He laughed albeit a little nervously at the sight, as he switched on his hazard lights and drew up onto the grass verge near to the body, 'Only a bleeding dirty tramp.'

He got out, and staggered over toward the man. 'You stupid bastard,' he shouted, down at him. 'Get up before I kick your ass down that ditch,' he threatened, sure the man was faking death.

It was then that Dean noticed the pool of dark liquid which continued to spread out around the corpse. Oil he decided, a broken feed pipe or worse. The thought of damage to his precious car was unbearable and anger extinguished what little patients he had remaining.

He grabbed the grubby donkey jacket at both shoulders and pulled the broken body over to face him. 'Look here you f-' his words were cut short as he vomited bile over the mask of blood and grey tissue. He let go of the corpse, and for a few minutes he sat and closed his eyes, his body shaking as he imagined the blink of orange hazard lights suddenly changing to blue with the possible approach of a patrol car.

After a sobering slap to his cheek, he grasped the broken body by the shoulders and dragged it towards a nearby ditch, he knew he had to act quickly before his latest fear became a second actuality. 'And that's where all bastard vermin belong,' he finished, and belched, before he traipsed back toward his car. He hardly noticed the bottle which he kicked on the way; only when it bounced onto the road in front of him, did he become interested.

He took the time to bend down and look at the oval label: depicted in monochrome, was a naked beauty, definitely a blonde. In her hand she held out a short glass for anyone who would care to take a shot. Underneath her tiny feet was the single word "platinum." He smelt the spirit fumes. 'Drinking' this poison shit.' he bellowed as the first inkling of dawn chorus hammered at his skull like a dentists drill. 'Better off dead, mate,' he said, before  he drove his heel hard down on top of the label, and then watched the bottle as it shot out from under his boot, and span wildly toward the ditch to land home on the dead mans stomach. The bottle neck glinting under the moonlight, pointed as it was now, directly at the drunk driver leaning awkwardly on his car as he spied something on the tarmac below him.

Dean stooped down to pick up a silver coin glittering in the gutter. This he pocketed without further attention. All he wanted to do was drive home, wash his hands, pour himself a triple Scotch, and then forget the whole disgusting affair.

One month later...

As if cursed, Deans sleepless nights took their toll. He began to arrive tired for his porno shoots, and the roulette wheel began to fail him with uncanny continuity. Eventually he had to admit to himself that he was failing as a stud. It seemed his dark secret was really no secret at all. No doubt he suspected, that the conscience he believed to be non existent,  had somehow became born against his will. An ill omen bearing cinematic nightmares as noir gifts. The nightmares stood him inside the worn boots of a desperate man. One who carried the weight of the cold gutter with each and every humiliating stride. His skin tormented by scabies even whilst he slept in graveyards and ditches. Every day he would make his way to que outside the grey walls of the Christian soup kitchen where other down and outs waited for their hand outs. He recognized cruel faces of rich and famous friends who now crossed over to the other side of the street to avoid him at all costs. Forever he found himself running from an evil gang of teenage boys. Whenever they found him at rest they would beat or urinate on him as they issued threats to burn him with petrol. Day and night he'd collect cigarette butts and salvage the stale tobacco to roll between wafer thin, pages from an old testament which he stolen from a church. His only refuge was a small dusty corner shop called, "Winos" paint flaking, with a failing neon sign.  Filled as it was from top to bottom with the one and only "platinum." alcohol . Inside stood a beautiful platinum blonde female. A stark contrast to her seedy surroundings, and a true life replica of that monochrome label bursting out in the flesh before his thirsty eyes. Her seductive smile and the way she puckered her rouge lips before she would suck at the neck of each new bottle. Rendering him unable to move even when her mimic of fellatio ended and she would spit the cap in his face. The way her pink tongue, like an insect proboscis would flick inside the liquid neck to taste the clear nectar. Always then, his hand would find the silver coin waiting in his pocket. "One snake on a plate for one platinum bottle." She would sing allowing a perfect flash of pearly white teeth, releasing him from the spell as he flicked the coin from his thumb, landing it as he always did, between her ample cleavage. And there it would shine before rolling down beneath her low cut blouse, and landing with a clink on an unseen pile beneath the counter. 'One snake on a plate,' he would say, with his easy wino smile, every time she passed him another bottle, wearing her ecstasy face, knowing he'd be back again soon enough. Each coin which he used to buy his poison, an  exact replicas of the one which he'd found on that fateful dawn. Eventually, when he thought he might well crack up from insomnia, he took the coin and dropped it into the local wishing well. For all he really wanted, was for this torment to pass.

Then at last, three days later the nightmares ended in a final premonition. The treasure had been shown to him in full glory; a kings ransom in platinum coinage. In the dream his eyes admired an ancient onyx box which opened for his eyes to feast upon the glittering riches within. Even the local cemetery where it seemed they would be found, did not deter his greedy enthusiasm, as he spent the day making his night plans, and reveling in a richer future.

That night..

He admired the coins by torchlight oblivious to the dark shadows in the graveyard, and the tolling of the iron bell. The soil behind the gravestone had been loose and the box had slid out easily from it's shallow hole. Though the small box proved heavier than he had estimated, as sweat slaked his back and soaked through his shirt. Ten pounds became more like half a hundred weight within the hundred meters to his car, and by the time he reached the lych-gate he was beetroot red, and breathing hard from exertion. Even after a snort of coke to cool his nerves, he could not help but be alarmed by how badly his fingers shook with every coin he checked inside the car. With every chink, reality checked in. He could smell rank dollar and it was not hard to picture the jealous faces of his big shot friends when he drew up in his new Ferrari. The sexy platinum blonde seated by his side of course, laughing with him when he braked in front of their green eyes.

He struggled to stifle the smug chuckle which prized hard at his jaws, before it turned instead into a contented yawn, as he fired up the Porsche and roared off to the sound of Nickleback.

Still the rev-hungry Porsche begged for more as it tore along the mountain pass, a flash of polished silver. The two tone crash rail, nothing more than a blur in a wash of headlights. Though Dean was oblivious to the insidious heat gathering within the steel belts of both his front tires, and the brief explosion which followed; too involved in his lyrics, until he was forced into an immediate battle with the locked wheels of the veering Porsche.

He resisted the temptation to cover his ears from the painful sound caused by steel against steel, as the crash barrier tore mercilessly through lacquered paintwork and ripped into the offside door skin, scintillating like a welders torch at work, as the vehicle hurtled along the unyielding barrier out of control. Thirty yards later his luck changed for the worst, as a rotten post gave way behind the barrier.

The car nosed into the buckled steel, and span full circle, obliterating the barrier section completely as the engine died.

Peppered with smithereens of rotten posts, the broken rail floated down the precipice, toward the rocky floor over one hundred feet below.

Dean held up his arms in front of his face in a futile act of self preservation as his bowels emptied. He waited for the inevitable end to come. Then he waited some more.. Even as Chad Kroeger continued to question where the good times had gone? He assumed that his painful anticipation of death, had surely over compensated for the fact that he was already there.

He lowered his arms, but kept his eyes shut for fear of what awaited him in terms of an afterlife. When at last he opened them, again soberness returned without mercy. For Dean remained still seated in his battered car.

Bonnet first, two thirds of the Porsche hung over the steep valley below. There it teetered in the gentle breeze; balanced precariously on its soil perch, as he eyed the black onyx box via the rear mirror, surprised to see it still remained unmoved from its place upon the small rear seat.

When he worked up courage to look back out front again, his eyes followed the course of one surviving headlight, which like a search beam, paned up, and then down as it scanned, a monochrome slice of deep ravine, scenery.

For one of the few times in his life Dean decided to pray in the hope that somehow, someone, somewhere, would come to his rescue.

Another long twenty minutes passed by before the CD player, together with the headlight drained the battery of all remaining power. He fought back bitter tears of despair, whilst the Porsche threatened to rock him toward insanity, if not certain death.

Ten minutes more passed by before his bladder emptied. Despite the thick stench the warm feeling was almost a comfort, as it gushed out to reheat his earlier accident as tears began to flow.

2hrs later..

4.30am

Finally with the first light of dawn the wind subsided and the incessant rocking ceased altogether. Now the Porsche sat horizontal, and motionless. Dean peered longingly over his shoulder at the solid ground so near he could almost reach it with a hand. So tempting he could no longer resist taking his chances.

Cautiously, he pushed open the battered door, which groaned in protest...

Balanced.

Satisfied with step one, Dean released himself from the harness...

Balanced.

Slowly, carefully, he turned in his seat to retrieve the onyx box...

Balanced.

With a sigh of relief, he lifted the box...

Balanced...

Slowly, carefully, he brought the box back to rest on his lap...

Unbalanced...

The Porsche slid easily from off its soil perch, as did the onyx box from his lap.

Dean braced himself against the wheel, and screamed as he watched the jagged rocks below rushing to greet him. And then he screamed some more at the sight of a giant albino snake which slithered across the inner screen towards his throat, its  fangs bared and dripping clear venom, uncoiled from a silver plate which lay at his feet where just previously the onyx box had lain open.

'One snake on a plate,' the Platinum blonde whispered in his ear, suddenly appearing in the passenger seat beside him, 'For one platinum fool...'

Short bio: third person

Hi there

This is one of many unique pieces of prose written by Jon who is a juggling house husband with a beautiful wife and four children. Cultivated first as a hobby, writing prolifically has brought him some semi-publishing success. Hopefully upon his final edit deadline in December 2006, his first book 'Autopilot' will be published by Lionel Parker.

Credits: Forward Press x5 shorts/ Black Petals x3 shorts/ To Be Read Aloudx2 shorts/Whispers of wickedness x1 poem. Various illustrations waiting to go on further request. Tales for Melancholy Children x1 short/ The short story page x1 short. Request for work from Strangeroad.com. Early works viewable at Buzzle.com. Various Koestler awards. Playwright for prison production.

(C)opyright 2006 Jon Brown All Rights Reserved

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