A Story by Hawksmoor

“I got a letter in the mail today reminding me that I’ll be dead in two days. Apparently, something mean, green, and from the deepest depths of space is going to turn up on my front porch and beat me to death.”

Sissy drew on the bright red Crazi-Straw, (which twisted onto itself three times before threading into the purple soda can) raised her eyebrows. Her thirst sated for the time being, she burped and patted her flat stomach. Betts was smiling the smile of the grateful dead.

“Are you huffing the things under the sink again, Betts? Why are you smiling?”

Betts allowed the smile to become a grin and pulled a brown envelope from her back pocket. She handed the envelope to Sissy, who was frowning. Sissy took the envelope, peeled the top open and slid the letter out, which was dark and oddly crusty, as if it had been soaked in cat piss for days, up until it had been removed, air-dried, and mailed away. She grimaced and quickly ran her eyes across the letter. With each return to the left edge of the page, her eyes grew bigger. When she was finished reading the letter, she held it out to Sissy, gingerly, as if afraid of being burned by it.

“How many does this one make?” she asked, wiping her hands on her thighs. Betts noticed that this action looked quite jerky, as if the owner of the hands was oblivious of said action. A subconscious thing, she thought.

“Six,” said Betts. “Six letters in three months. No sender’s address on any of them, not a trace of a return address on any of them, all the same texture, all the same length. All say the same thing. Spooky, huh?” She smiled again and placed her hands on her hips, which were quite lovely, and leaned back. She heard a small pop and was glad to be thirty-five, childless, a homeowner, and Indian. Life could be great when you caught it at just the right angle.

“It’s nothing to joke about,” said Sissy.

Betts disagreed. They stood on her raised back porch in a fan of brilliant sunlight, surrounded by the green and pink and red of a fresh summer the temperature and comfort of a perfect lay, while the wind caressed their skin and combed their hair back from their brows with the gentility of a comfortable old nanny. The sky was blue-pink, the clouds fat and friendly, and there was the aroma of seared Ball Park franks on the winds from the east. The Flannigan’s were having another cookout. Up and down Saucer Street, Betts heard kids swing slender sticks at warped tennis balls, imagined kids hopping scotch up and down chalky grids in the middle of the short road. Somewhere, a gaggle of boys was having a burping contest. Or perhaps it was a farting contest. With boys, one never knew. Wrapped within the blanket of suburban security that she’d worked so hard for, practically slaved away the last six years for, Betts wracked her brain and was hard-pressed to find anything that couldn’t be joked about.

She crossed her arms and smiled at her best friend. Her best friend didn’t look at all amused.

“It’s nothing to joke about,” said Sissy, who was now looking sulky. “It’s the same conversation every time this happens. I see the letter, you laugh at it not being serious, being a very obvious joke to you. A sick joke, but a joke no less. I tell you not to laugh at it, because after all, there’s a world out there full of psychos who might see it as proper and right to warn their victims before they show up and hack them to quivering pieces, but you laugh at it anyway. You don’t take this sort of thing seriously, you don’t take any sort of everyday threat seriously. You don’t lock your doors at night, you garage is constantly open to every homeless person within ten miles, you don’t check to see if the seal has been broken on pill bottles straight off the shelf.”

Betts forced her mouth not to smile, kept her eyes on Sissy. Poor Sissy who winced at every unexpected noise in the dark, poor Sissy, who didn’t dare split a telephone pole, or any other type of pole, poor Sissy, who felt that every man who looked at her for more than thirty seconds was a potential rapist or pervert. Betts had pointed out to her how attractive she was on several occasions, but Sissy never seemed to understand such innocent simplicity.

The woman was rife with suspicion, even on striking days like today. Betts felt quite sorry for her. She thought that to live in such a fantastic world and be in stark terror of it most of the time must be something very much like Hell.

“One of these days,” said Sissy, yawning against the tide of irritation that had fallen on her like a burial shroud, and throwing a fist over her mouth, “you’ll learn to beware of everyday dangers. I might not be around to see the lesson learned, but it’ll happen sooner or later.”

“Oh, relax,” said Betts. She laughed a pretty laugh and walked through her back door to the kitchen for fresh cups of homemade lemonade.

"Your problem is that you don't believe that s**t stinks unless a steaming pile of it is shoved underneath your nose," said Sissy. A very ugly frown had consumed her entire face. "I hope you never have to learn just how bad it can smell."

This was whispered, so Betts didn't hear it. Not that she hadn't heard this same statement enough in the twenty years that they'd been best friends.

Two days later, a rock the size of a baseball plummeted through the front roof of Bett’s house and cracked her skull into two jagged pieces.

“A green rock from space,” said the short man in the black apron, after pulling the thing from within the dead woman’s ruined skull with a pair of silver tongs.

Sissy wasn’t around to see her best friend learn this lesson, which turned out to be the most important lesson that Betts would never learn.

© 2009 Hawksmoor

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From the start I wanted to know how this was going to play out, what was going to happen to Betts and then bitter sweet irony! This was a great piece of writing, life should be enjoyed but dangers should be taken seriously too.

Posted 13 Years Ago

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Added on May 14, 2009



BRILLIANT! Hawksmoor...From The Bleed. more..


A Story by Hawksmoor