“Drinks With Karl”
©2009 Scott E. Candey
Karl rubbed his middle finger down the bridge of his nose. The warped bill of a White Sox cap shadowed his bleary eyes.
“I’m sorry the blood letting took so long. I hope you understand,” he stammered. “Do you need anything?”
A groan from deep in her throat vibrated a loose edge of duct tape that produced a small hum which told him she didn’t understand. His head sunk further into his shoulders. She could see that it upset him, he twisted side to side on the stool beside her in search of some relief for each of them.
Karl popped to his feet and shuffled out of view. The clink of glasses and clunk of cupboard doors startled her. The pitch of the water from the faucet shifted higher as he filled a tall glass. The familiar sounds of home tickled her nerves in the quiet of a strange apartment.
“Here you go,” he called from the other room. His footsteps transitioned from the tile floor to the carpet. “Aw, shit,” he grumbled and shuffled back again onto the hard floor.
He jerked at the kitchen drawers with a mania that shook her bones. The frenzied clank of utensils and muttered curses stabbed at her composure. She squeezed her green eyes tight and ground her teeth against the memories clenched in her jaw.
His footsteps padded onto the carpet again. “There we go, I found you a straw,” he said, and plopped down beside her.
She furrowed her brow beneath her dirty blond bangs and let her eyes slide open. Karl’s awkward baseball capped silhouette leaned over her and grinned. His small hand looked odd wrapped around the large, luminous glass. In the other hand was a robins egg blue flexi straw. She held his expectant stare for a moment and motioned to the to tape on her mouth with her eyes.
“The tape?” he said.
“I’ve got it.” Karl grabbed a dull gray box cutter off the end table and extended the stubby, angular blade.
She watched him turn it over in his hand, and swipe each side across the leg of his faded jeans. Karl tapped his thumb to the point of the razor three times and locked eyes with her.
“Don’t get upset, ok?”
He wrapped the pudgy fingers of his left hand, still cool from the glass, across her forehead. The muted gray cutter reflected a dead light as he drew it towards her face. It wasn't clean. She probed the vague rust and adhesive residue for a hint of optimism, pulled a deep breath through her nose and held it.
“I’m gonna be careful, you be careful too, understand?”
She closed her eyes to focus on the throb in her chest rather than the knife in her face. There was an abstract tingle that swept over her as she sensed his hand inch toward her mouth. Karl pressed against her forehead to keep her still, and the pressure of the blade pushed against her lips.
“Steady now,” he mumbled.
Karl slid the box cutter over the tape and cut a small slit between her lips. It took only a second. She heard the blade slide back inside its housing and opened her eyes. He had a smile that was both proud and anxious. Karl slid his left hand behind her head, careful not to pull her hair, and helped her sit up enough to get a pillow beneath her.
He poked the straw through the slit in the duct tape and positioned the glass for her to drink. It went down like menthol sunshine, rapturous. She drained half the glass in the first pull.
“Let me see if I can explain this so you understand. If you want another drink, tap your feet or wink or something, alright?”
She strained to see her feet. They were taped together, and her shoes and stockings were gone. But she knew that. She laid her head back on the pillow and winked.
A lot of people in the experimental music scene already know Scott from his many projects, the main one being GRUNTSPLATTER.
He is also an excellent writer in my view and I am proud to be the first to "publish" some of his prose.
To experience the many things he is up to online check out his official website at crionicmind.org