View Full Version : The corner of hope and progress (18+)

March 16th, 2012, 03:36 AM
just looking for some feedback. thanks for reading :)

I live on the corner of Hope St and Progress Boulevard in Peckville, California. My grandfather built the house I live in the nineteen-forties; it is where my mother grew up, raised by my grandfather and grandmother. Before I left for Iraq, my grandparents were alive. In the almost two years I was there, both had suffered a brain aneurysm. I moved in because of the insistence of my parents. I have no girlfriend and very little friends except army buddies, who all seemed to suffer from PDST. I do not suffer from PDST or at least I don’t think I do. My tour was relatively stress free, we were not ambushed or had to commit some atrocities like some fellow veterans I know. I mostly worked at a checkpoint, doing searches of cars and security screenings and such. I never had to fire my weapon at anyone and I am grateful I did not have to go through the experiences of war that others too often have too.

When I first moved into that house I had a buddy named Sanders (once you’re in the military, all your friends you meet, you call by their last name.) he served the same tour I did and lived in the same barracks, although he spent the majority of his tour on raids. The things he saw while raiding Iraqi homes thought to be imbedding terrorist or weapons or whatever they were looking for, were, according to his many stories he told me, scarring to the point where many of his fellow infantry members could not handle it anymore. After seeing the bodies of several pre-teen girls, shot in the head by a woman who served as their pimp before she turned the gun on herself, while raiding a brothel, there were three suicide attempts in his troupe, one succeeded. He would recount these stories and the one about his ex-fiancÚ at my house over beer and fresh salsa (from vegetables I grew in my garden.) his ex was cheating on him well he was overseas, when he got back she left him for that other guy.

The last time I saw him he was very drunk, rambling about things I could not understand. The next time I heard about him it was the news; he had broke through the door of the motel his ex and her lover were staying at with an ax and had killed them both. They were lying in the bed when he did it; broke through the door with two swipes at the closing mechanism, they did not have time to react. After that, I did not have anyone over or go out. I would spend my days in the garden or looking out the window at all the people walking or driving down Hope St.

I use to go to the bar almost every night before that. I would talk to almost anyone; talking to people who have not been through warfare can be a relief, but when they find out you have been over there that is when the questions start. Most the time it’s “have you ever shoot anyone?” but there is the more ambitious who just come out and ask “how does it feel to shoot and kill another human?” I had not shot anyone, I hadn’t even fired my gun, but when I was asked that question I would always fabricate a story. “There is no bigger thrill” I say “the adrenaline made me sick” or “it’s not like the movies, it’s the single most affirming thing a human can experience.” I did this mostly to satisfy the curious, or to get laid, but as I stopped leaving my house the question started poking at my brain like a child pokes a button on a toy: what did it feel like to shoot somebody?

Soon the question was all I could think about; I looked the matter up on the internet, read books, and thought about asking other Iraq vets how it felt, how it made them feel? My garden suffered, I started carrying my grandfathers snub nose .32 around in a shoulder holster, it made me feel secure and the potential of me using it almost turned me on, soon watching people from my front window was not enough. I usually would stare at the women (especially the one who lived across the street, washing her car or watering her lawn in those short shorts, her tan legs just begging to be pinned behind her head.) However, when I started carrying the gun around, I would point it unloaded at people walking by, following them with the short barrel and pulling the trigger. The dry clicking they could not hear echoing in my small living room. No one ever noticed me, and if they did, the cops would be busting down my door, they would find out I was a war vet and a seventy-two hour observation period at the psych ward would be in my immediate future.

I do not know why I decided to go out that day. When I left I did not have an intention in mind, I was just sitting in at the window as usual, the unloaded weapon in my hand, the hard wood chair digging into my back and ass. It was a slow day, not a lot of people on the street, the sky was grey with clouds that threaten rain. Suddenly I was in the bedroom, loading the gun, and slipping on a leather coat. I put the gun into the side pocket of the coat and grabbed my keys and wallet. I slipped out and started walking down Progress Boulevard; the air was humid but chilly all at the same time. I was heading to the southern edge of downtown Peckville, which was about a mile long walk. It wasn’t until I had passed the first shopping plaza, my hands in my pocket, my right hand on the gun, I realized I had left to shoot another human being.

I passed many people as I walked the straight shot from my house to down town; joggers, mothers pushing strollers, teenagers walking with headphones on and sagging pants almost falling off, but I took no notice of them. I walked feeling the gun in my pocket, wondering where I was going to end up. I pass Grump’s bar, when I stopped suddenly; I turned back around and looked through the glass door. The only person I saw in there was a brunette woman, sitting at the bar drinking by herself. I checked my watch, twenty minutes to three, I did not know bars were opened this early but it made sense; some people couldn’t wait for happy hour. I walked into the bar I knew so well, I frequented Grump’s before I stopped going out, meeting army buddies and talking about the desert over cold draught beer. I sat down two seats to the woman’s left and started to order a beer but then changed it to a whiskey.

The women looked to be in her late twenties, somewhere around my age; she wore a denim skirt that showed her legs and thighs nicely, the low cut red blouse showing cleavage from what little tits she had. Her body was slim yet you could see a start of a flabby belly and her hips were on the wider side but nice; I had wondered if she had had a child. I sipped my whiskey and thought of something to say to initiate conversation when she did the job for me.

“Nice to have another early drinker in here, I was starting to feel like a loser.” I turned toward her as she said it; she was looking at her drink but had turned towards me when I looked. The grin she gave illuminated her soft features; her light green eyes were what caught my eye first. She was very pretty.

“I had nothing else to do today,” I said.

“I understand that,” she said, “I quit my job yesterday.”

“How come?”

She tilted her drink back and finished it over zealously. She put the glass down hard and ordered another before sliding to the seat next to mine. “Husband went out of town, so I decided to quit my job and drink the whole time he was gone. He’s a lawyer, not some big time lawyer, just a public defender but he make enough money to support both of us.” the bartender brought her drink.

“I guess that makes sense” I finished my whiskey and ordered another, “seems like you could have talked to him first though.”

“You know I’m twenty-eight years old and he’s thirty-six, that’s not much of a difference but it seems like we’re a whole generation apart. I’ll say ‘honey, let’s go out and do something tonight’ or ‘honey, if you don’t come fuck me right now, I’m going to go into homicidal rage’ and he’s always busy working. He doesn’t even like when I talk dirty to him, says it’s un-lady like. I mean, here I am begging him to fuck me until we both drop dead and he can’t stop worrying about some asshole who got a dui long enough to do it.”

She took a long drink, “and now he’s going to be gone for two weeks and I have complete freedom, anything I want to do or say. I was thinking about running off well he was gone but cannot decide if that would be the right thing to do. I thought quitting my job would be a good start.”

I sat sipping my whiskey, I thought about just ten minutes ago, standing outside looking into the bar and seeing her for the first time, I did not expect something like this when I decided to come in. “sorry to bug you with all my problems” she said, laughing.

“It’s no problem; it’s terrible you have to feel that way.”

“Sometimes he makes me feel like I’m some ugly hag or something.” She finished her drink and ordered yet another one.

“Well if he really thinks that he would be crazy, possibly gay.”

She turned and looked at me, her head slightly tilted with her bangs brushing against her forehead, “was that your round-about way of telling me you think I’m pretty?” she asked.

I gave a short laugh, I do not think she was trying to be funny but the look on her face made me giggle like a schoolchild, “I guess so,” I said.

“what’s your name?”

I lied and told her it was Juan, it was the first name that popped into my head; she squinted her eyes as if she were studying me. “You don’t look like a Juan.”

“well, what’s your name?”


“Well, you don’t look like a Brianna so I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree.”

She laughed; she took another long drink, almost finishing it, and then lit a cigarette. “you know what I love about this bar, Juan? It’s the one place in town they still let you smoke.”

“I guess that is convenient”

“Do you want one?”

“No, I quit a while ago,” it was a lie. I did not know why I was lying to her but they would come out before I even realized it. “What do you do for a living, Juan?” she asked.

“I grow vegetables and sell them to venders”

“That sounds peaceful,” she said.

I hadn’t decided that I was going to shoot Brianna until we pull up her slightly slanted driveway; her garage door opening in front of us. I was driving her car-- a blue Ford Taurus—because she had had one too many vodka tonics at the bar. It was almost five o’clock when Grump’s started filling up; she said to me she didn’t like crowed bars, and used the old ‘go back to my place for drinks—alone’ line. It was when we were in the garage, car off, door closing behind us, that she kissed me.

“You know what I like about you Juan? Your eyes—you have the bluest eyes” she said, leaning over to my seat with her hand on my lap. She was staring at my face, her body wobbling from the booze, “I have a surprise for you inside”

She opened her door, laughing and doing the drunk dance all the way to the door that went into the house. I sat behind the wheel for a few minutes longer. I felt the gun through my jacket pocket; my heart was racing. I was trying to formulate some plane, some course of action, to go about this. I knew one thing; I had to do it, nothing would felt right ever again if I didn’t. This would be my best shot. I took the keys out of the ignition and stepped out of the car; I put the keys in my pocket as I walked towards the door.

I walked into a clean kitchen. There was not much on the counter that separated the living room from where I was standing. I walked around the counter and leaned against the back of a suede couch. The couch faced a big screen T.V in a otherwise conservative living room; there was very little furniture or pictures, I wondered if they had been married long. I did not know where Brianna was, I looked out a window to my left. The backyard looked unused; the sky still threatened rain.

“That’s a lot better” her voice came from behind me; I turned around to her in her bra and panties, holding a bottle of vodka. Both articles were black, both made of some see thru material. I could see her brown nipples, hard and poking through the bra, a line of pubic hair leading down to her slit. She looked good and as she put the bottle down on the counter and came towards me, I could feel my soldier stand at attention. She got in close, putting her hands on my arms and rubbing them. I had not known how much taller I was than her until she started kissing my neck; she had to stand on her tipsy toes to reach.

“Want to do what my husband can’t Juan? Because I want you too, it has always been a fantasy of mine, all this is getting me so hot. I’m ready for you, I want you to do whatever you want to me; I want you to get creative.”

She started kissing me on the mouth and I kissed back. She felt warm against me, our tongues interlacing and lips smacking, I grabbed her ass and pulled her closer. She grabbed my erection and pulled her face from mine, “let’s fuck right here on the couch; I’m losing it, I can’t wait another second.”

“I need the bathroom first,” I said.

“Can’t it wait?”

“It will only take a minute.”

She sighed “down the hall to the left” she almost sounded defeated. She grabbed the bottle of vodka and I remembered how sauced she was when we had left the bar. She sat on the couch as went right through the archway that led down the hall. I closed the bathroom door and turned around and what I saw shook me for a moment; the whole bathroom was green and frog themed. Frogs on the shower curtain, toilet seat cover, even the floor mat was a smiling green cartoon frog.

I opened the vanity mirror and looked inside; there was the usual, cream, q-tips, medicine, pill bottles. I looked at the pills and pocketed a bottle of oxycodien and valium. As I closed the mirror I jumped at my own reflection; I hadn’t noticed that I was visibly nervous. I had the sense that there was no sense in what I was doing; killing another person just for the experience, just to feel what emotions it brought out in me. It felt un-necessary but I knew I had to do it. I had come this far-- a soldier never backs out of a mission-- if the orders were given; you follow through.

I thought about Sanders, him coming back from Iraq, trying to put the past behind him, just to have something else happen that would pick at his brain. Was that what he was thinking? “If it’s not one thing it’s something fucking else.” Unlike Iraq, he could get rid of this new thing, smash its head in until the only thing left was a pulp of brains and skull fragments. He broke through the door in two hits. They didn’t have time to react. Whom did he kill first? He probably disabled the man—his fiancÚs boyfriend—then took his time on her. No time to react, to hid in the bathroom or get to a phone, he had done it right.

I took the gun out and check the revolving chamber, six shots, five more than I needed. I stood holding the gun in my hand and looked at myself in the mirror. My eyes were a vibrant blue, like the color children use to fill in the drawing of the ocean. I still had my hair buzzed—I went every two weeks to the barbers—I had not bothered to grow it back out after my duty was over. Everything I had learned in the army would be implanted in my head for a long time. There was no other way I thought of living; having the knowledge made me feel safe, I felt like I had a place in the world. The blue eyes of the man in the mirror filled with tears. He knew that even if he did have sex with the married women out in the living room, he would shoot her anyways. It was something he could not take back after the thought was in his head. I left the frogs in the bathroom, my gun in my hand.

Brianna was asleep on the couch, still in her underwear, her hands curled under her head and the vodka on the coffee table in front of her. I could see gooseflesh on her smooth legs and slightly bulgy body; she was cold from her lack of clothing, probably passed out right when her head hit the couch. Her body gave little twitches, she did not stir when I put the gun inches from her head. “you don’t have to do this” I thought, the voice in my head sounding alien to me, “this isn’t the army anymore; your doing this on your own free will.” I cocked back the hammer--the sound did not wake her and I was grateful—it would be easier if she was asleep.

The tapping on the window behind me sounded like sand falling onto a hard surface, irregular taps as each grain hit. I turned and saw it had finally started to rain. It was light right now, but I knew it would become heavier. I turned and watched the drops hit the glass. Watched as individual spots of water ran down, trickling by themselves until they joined with other drops. The gun was still in my hand, which hung loosely beside me. I was almost entranced, watching as the rain met each other on the glass, as new drops appeared, destined to do the same. I never knew that watching water could be so serine.

I did not know how long I had been watching this. I turned and looked at Brianna—still sleeping on the couch—nothing could of woke her; she was already dead to the world. I put the gun back in the leather jackets pocket. I picked up the vodka bottle and stood watching her sleep. She was a beautiful girl, any man would have been lucky to be her husband—if I had came her with other intentions we would have slept together, but it was not to be on this day. I remembered I had he car keys in my jeans pocket, and I made my way to the garage.

I sat in her car for a long time. I felt a bulge in my jacket pocket and remembered the pills. I took two oxycodiens in my mouth and washed it down with vodka before using the garage remote to open the door. I remember Brianna showing me where it was as we approached her house, “when I was little, my dad always use to let me press it,” she had said, “I thought it was the best thing in the world, I always thought that one of those is what I wanted when I was older—a garage door that opened by remote—and now I have one.” She was drunk and I thought she was going to cry, but it quickly faded as we pulled into the garage. Now I was backing down her driveway; I was right, it had begun to rain harder, not too heavy but defiantly umbrella weather. I pressed the button and the garage door closed; I turned on the wipers and reversed left out of the driveway—the sound of rain on the roof of the Ford, then I started for the corner of Hope and Progress.

March 18th, 2012, 10:19 PM
Wow, this is intense. I think you did a really good job describing how he feels and this urge he develops.
Except for some typing mistakes I noticed here and there, I'd say you created an interesting piece right there; believable and slightly unsettling.


March 19th, 2012, 03:01 AM
thank you, i did do a quick scan of this before submitting but there will be a edit coming soon. hopefully i can catch those mistakes :)

March 22nd, 2012, 02:51 PM
"saw while raiding Iraqi homes thought to be imbedding terrorist or weapons"--imbedding is incorrect....abetting is what you meant.
"The next time I heard about him it was the news" Find a different way to word this.....For example: "The next time I received any word about him was on the Iraqi news for murdering his wife with an axe" ---It eliminates a lot of extra punctuation and shortens the sentence making it much more comprehensible.

There are some bright points as well. There were several uses of strong imagery I enjoyed that can be strengthened even more with practice.
"Brianna was asleep on the couch, still in her underwear, her hands curled under her head and the vodka on the coffee table in front of her. I could see gooseflesh on her smooth legs and slightly bulgy body; she was cold from her lack of clothing, probably passed out right when her head hit the couch. Her body gave little twitches, she did not stir when I put the gun inches from her head. “you don’t have to do this” I thought, the voice in my head sounding alien to me, “this isn’t the army anymore; your doing this on your own free will.” I cocked back the hammer--the sound did not wake her and I was grateful—it would be easier if she was asleep"
Although still somewhat weak in sentence structure I am able to imagine the scene vividly from your description.

All in all it was good work....Keep writing