Sunday, 27 December 2009
DISASTER CRIMINALS By Kevin Reilly
The merciless winter sunlight fired into his skull through curtains swiped not quite together in lumbering haste and made Cal stir and then almost at once shudder. During sleep, his left eye had remained slightly opened for hours without the required fluids to ensure an adequately moistened lens for full natural closure, and now with the kick start of the day the emerging optical saline burned like acid. In a semi-conscious state, instinct told him that this was a dreadful awakening – no reassurances and no escape from the scalding shock of something terminal, dreadful. The tangible presence of a deadly incident was pacing anxiously about the room.
With the pain of terror gnawing at his soul, Cal became aware of his body. The first sensation was that of the dense toxic blood in his veins heavy with spent adrenalin, whisky and crack cocaine - remains of the analgesia consumed before and much after those moments not yet clear in his mind. And then the smell of stale sweat and sweatier socks assaulted his nostrils – intoxicated in the early hours, he had still with some urgency changed into the only clothes he could physically manage, those from the dirty washing pile in the bathroom, “Phew!! Why the f....?” Then, unexpectedly he half visualized an experience reminiscent of when he would play fight with his sister’s bear of German Shepherd, wrestling, tussling, gnawing until exhaustion halted the hairy, saliva sodden mayhem. But that was fun, so why now with this half managed recall was there pain...fear..? Then like a kick in the teeth...
...SLAM...CRASH...BLOOD...DEATH...PANIC! Like a thousand volts through his mind the memory of yesterday arrived phosphorescent, arresting his full attention. His hand holding a shank almost spotless apart from the small collection of fresh blood on the taped up handle. In dreadful contrast, the husband home early from work due to flu-like symptoms now motionless on the floor of his own bedroom flooding his attire with crimson lifeblood. Throughout the struggle the victim’s spectacles had remained in place and in stillness they enforced the man’s innocence as spectacles on a schoolchild would surely do.
“Why the f**k didn’t you jump in Wes, you f***in c**t!!??” He scream-whispered at his accomplice through emerging tears of heavy self-hatred and panic. But by that point, Wes was well into his victory shimmy because he’d hit the crackhead’s Christmas bonus: a box of cash stuffed in the partition between wardrobe and wall.
Then,“Move man, move!!” Wes communicated, as much with his eyes as with his half closed mouth. Cal obeyed on instinct and scarpered from the scene of his future nightmares like an obedient dog.
Outside, Cal floated on adrenaline which had begun to command his physical and mental state - a condition allowing him a moment of calm reflection on what had just happened. Wes was a dirty crackhead junky but he had presented Cal with a much needed window of opportunity. Wes’ cousin worked for a locksmith’s and following the occasional installation of a front door lock passed him keys for a percentage of any haul. The bloke dying on his bedroom floor was a hoarder of readies, but his otherwise prudent disrespect of banks had gotten him into terminal trouble.
Unfortunately for Cal, now being slapped about by the cold light of day, he could not revisit that state of cool contemplation. Instead, he felt he did not want to live in a world where people like him spread mayhem and misery. He didn’t want to live in a world where the casual phrase “I don’t trust banks” can get you killed. He puked and felt purged enough to sleep a while.
“Help me!!” He groaned, kissing his sour stinking wet sheets. “NO WAY!” Said the world.
Kevin Reilly is a writer from Manchester, England.