You're Doin' Fine...

You're Doin' Fine...

A Story by C.M.
"

Arlo and her father are certainly a pair. Neither without fault but together somehow have managed to put enough pieces together to make it go.

"

 

 

 

               The car was parked as far east as the lot would allow and partially concealed from the eyes of the road by a wide cypress, its boughs heavy with moisture. Arlo cocked her head and plucked out the tiny right headphone and inspected the noise left inside the space, but there was little now and less when she eased the music player down to its lowest level. The only precipitation still falling was rain collected on the branches before meeting the earth and the windshield in thick rhythmic glops. She could still hear drums and periodic high notes escape the mix and chatter in her hands, which now held both earpieces. She focused on the silence for a minute relieving her ears which still seemed to ring, although she could not precisely attribute it to the music or the seclusion of the car’s plush felt interior. Twenty two years old and it still quieted the noise of the world, somehow without muffling it. Her seat was positioned and tilted so far back she saw neither the hood nor its ornament. Only the rows of wet roofs, tucked in and around the bar. All appearing to be various shades of jet black under the rain’s cloak. A seat belt still secured her although it had been an hour or so, she surmised. Why it was left on she wasn’t sure or didn’t care. It was less to explain or maybe preemptively it dodged an agitated exchange. Who knows. Her homework, mostly finished, sat amongst her weekend clothe inside her bag that she had said she was unpacking in an earlier conversation with her grandmother.

            She raised the seat and reached her arms in front of her, stretching her back and neck. She rested her chin on her shoulder and arms on the dash for a minute gazing at the radio’s digital dial spinning out of control, trying to latch on to a station. A clank averted her eyes. Alert but still remaining discrete she peered just over the dash spying a patron fumbling with opening a fresh one off his tailgate while simultaneously trying to put himself back together after urinating on his tire. After some time he appeared to give up on both and crawled into the cab, firing up the engine, and finally closing the door a good fifty yards from where he his rig departed. A fuzzy Styrofoam ball swayed happily atop the truck as it darted into the distance. It wasn’t the only one. A pair of troopers had stalked through the lot during the thunder an placed them on a few of the cars that had been there for awhile. Useful trick when spotting the drivers out later in the night. Most would be too drunk to notice the little smileys silently announcing the likely inebriation of their new owners below. A smile slid its way to her ear as she thought of it.

            The storm left the air still and slow and she squeaked the window down to let in the cool and sweet of the night. She looked above and the stars were beginning to break from the pink haze of the town-illuminated sky as it wandered after the weather system that had just pushed through. She flipped her wrist and grabbed the time, ran her fingers through her hair and put back her music player in an old pouch it was not intended for. On cue the tavern’s door swung wide and smoke billowed from within the hole. The green tint of the florescent pool lights filtered out turning the bodies meandering about inside into long black shadows, their cigarettes bouncing from their lips as they finished their conversations. A tall male figure, one hand shaking and the other resting on the shoulder of a fellow, repeated this gesture with several others, growing larger as it reached the door. Once outside the mercury lights shined down and the silhouette turned into a man, well lit but for his cap's shadow darkening the face. A couple more shakes, a head nod and a wave and the figure eased between the exiting vehicles and their new adornments.

He stopped and surveyed the lot spotting his target and beginning the march. His boots scraped against the ground but kicked up no dust and as the man arrived halfway to Arlo the figured seized, his hands balling up in fists then flattening out as he began to pat himself down from his chest to, for whatever reason, his boots. He spun and replaced his hat several times casting quick glances and and even a couple of steps back toward the bar. Arlo’s smile came back in full and she rested her forehead on the heel of her palm then reeled back giving the horn a honk and dangling the keys lust outside the window. The figure threw his hands up, removed his hat, and curtsied as sarcastically and as uncoordinated and a 45-year-old man could. He then bent his arms and raised his elbows high to his sides and jigged his way the remaining distance to Arlo like a claim jumper in celebration.

            “Yeah, I know”, he said.

            “You did that last time too!” Arlo replied.

            The man eased the long door open and collapsed into the seat. Arlo tossed a new smiley ball into his lap. He giggled and popped open the glove box depositing the little guy with two or three others rolling around inside. He used them for bobbers only because he thought it was funny. Arlo found the correct key and placed it in the ignition and gave it a one-click turn. Immediately a contraption clinging to the steering column came alive with lights. It beeped and flashed at Michael, he was still. He beagn to accuse it.

            “Uh…this thing hasn’t been working right lately”

            “It should….cost more than the car is worth”, suggested Arlo.

            “Here, just give it a try. I don’t do it right…and this friggin’ car is cool.”

            “Oh god!”, Arlo said desperately.

            Michael extracted the ribbed white plastic tube and feed it through to reasch the passenger side. Arlo began to blow into the machine.

            “Go, go, go…go, go, go……keep going…ga, ga, ga, ga, goooo!” Michael instructed. A long beep and a click, then the engine roared to life. Arlo heaved air back into her lungs. It wasn’t easy for a girl her size to make it work. Michael revved the engine and a few in the remaining bar crowd gave a hoot or hollar.

            “That’s how they tell you to do it, if you ever get pulled over!” Michael bellowed over the 454 rattling Arlo’s player of the dash.

            “What!?” Screamed Arlo, bending down to collect it.

            “I said that’s how…you…ah never mind…never mind.”

            Michael rubbed the back of his neck and replaced his hat one more and then again. He breathed out the window through the side of his mounth trying to avoid a subsequent positive reading on the ignition interlock, then stared dead ahead for a moment. He let the engine die down and Arlo could see he was in thought and she began to wonder if it ws such a good idea to help her dad out on this one. There was no way to predict the random inquiries the machine made and Michael began to calculate how long he had been inside.

            “Ya know what?.....” He squinted ahead, “yeah…yeah…ok” Michael announced.

            He threw the gear shift and released it shaking in the neutral position. He ducked out of the car and arrived briskly on Arlo’s side.

            “Scoot over” He said.

            “What?...these are buckets.” Arlo was unsure but amused nonetheless.

            “In the driver’s seat ding dong!” Michael said, shooing her with his hand.

            “No friggin' way! Really?”, begged Arlo.

            “Yeah, well what the hell. We need to get home and you need to learn”, laughed Michael.

            “I already know kinda, dad.”

            “Well then you kinda need to learn and we really need to get home.” Michael replied.

            Arlo in nearly one motion bounced onto the seat, her tongue wrapped up onto her upper lip as she eagerly fished for the seat release. She found and with a loud ratchet and spring buzz she locked the seat into a position just inches from the wheel. Michael swung the his door closed while loosing his grip, his upper half falling over the console between them.

            “We good?” he asked, replacing himself.

            “Right as rain!” said Arlo nodding.

            Arlo eased out the clutch and with a couple of pops and jerks they were on their way. Michael pointed out a few reminders and Arlo took them in remembering to shut her door about fifty yards after she left the lot. They caught the highway and she realized it was the first time she had been on a public road. She swelled as the car followed the two beams of light illuminating the wet road before them. She rolled down the window uneasily rested her hand out the window like her father did. Michael slid his seat back to about where Arlo had it and flipped his hat over his eyes.

            “You’re doin’ fine sweetheart”

 

 

 

 

© 2010 C.M.


Author's Note

C.M.
This, again, may turn into a novel or novella/who knows what. Just seeing if it is anything anyone is interested in. I just wrote this and its quarter to two in the moring. So I didn't edit and I'm not gonna, there. Just kidding I will get to it eventually this is more of a sketch right now anyways.

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Featured Review

I get it, that at this point, we're only establishing the nature of Arlo's relationship with her dad--Straight-up adoration, coupled with a healthy dose of denial. That he knew he was impaired and allowed her to drive in his stead, even after encouraging her to defraud the interlock with HER breath, makes me have a certain respect for him, if tentative, as my father was a drunk, and I had little adoration of him, and no denial about that! I fear Arlo may be in for a sorrowful reality check in the near future, and I am anxious to read where you go with her/them. Intriguing write!

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Solid structure, especially for 2am. I like your turn of metaphor, fresh and relevant. Nice set up to the dialogue. This piece has great perspective and that's what interested me. Hey, it's worth going back and fixing the typos. lol.

Posted 8 Years Ago


I get it, that at this point, we're only establishing the nature of Arlo's relationship with her dad--Straight-up adoration, coupled with a healthy dose of denial. That he knew he was impaired and allowed her to drive in his stead, even after encouraging her to defraud the interlock with HER breath, makes me have a certain respect for him, if tentative, as my father was a drunk, and I had little adoration of him, and no denial about that! I fear Arlo may be in for a sorrowful reality check in the near future, and I am anxious to read where you go with her/them. Intriguing write!

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Sweet, I liked. You write extremely well, your description and dialogue are top notch. If you wrote this at two in the morning and just threw it on, there are amazingly few issues. Nice job and thanks for the invite.

Posted 10 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 24, 2009
Last Updated on August 9, 2010


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