Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Indifferent (A Short Story)

First, let me apologize for my inactivity here lately. I have really let the blog go down in content production, and that is without excuse. I'm in a bit of a stage of what I call "writers blech" not to be confused with writer's block. "Writers blech" is when you have plenty to write but you really don't feel like writing it. While I am without excuse for not producing content, seeing as I have plenty of ideas, I simply have not felt like it. Maybe it will go away, maybe not.

This is a new short story I wrote about the subject of indifference, as the title explains. I would like to issue a word of warning this does contain mature thematic elements and some violence.

By Mike Wright

AS JEFFERY looked out the front window he found that what he was looking at wasn’t all that surprising. It was the usual kid out playing in the yard and the dog running up and down the sidewalk deal that he always saw.
      The coffee in his hand was hot and burned him somewhat when he sipped it, but it was a pleasant burn so he kept drinking it. Something about the way coffee tasted when that hot made him enjoy the burn.
      He watched the dog running on the sidewalk, probably with nothing better to do in his miniscule canine brain, chasing a small lizard that kept escaping his mouth. The bright eyes of the dog were clearly narrowed, and it began to move to the underside of a car. Jeffery wondered if it would get stuck under there.
      The girl playing outside was Lola, the six year old that lived across the street from him. She had an assortment of chalk laid out before her, and had sat with her legs making a giant V, drawing a large—quite pink—picture in the frame of her legs. The simple flip-flops she wore dangled from her toes as she swayed her feet from side to side, and her face was set, partially covered by thick brown streams of hair.
      She and her parents had moved into the house about a month and a half ago, Jeffery and his wife had sent them a bag of some goods, welcoming them to the neighborhood, even though he really could care less.
      He watched her drawing a moment. He had to admit the kid was cute, but she could certainly be loud as well. How many times did he try to sleep in on a Saturday morning only to be disrupted? Her parents weren’t the best at teaching their kid to be mindful of other people. Didn’t they care about people who labored all week and wanted at least one morning of deep sleep?
       He looked off to the side and saw a large, black SUV coasting down the street; it’s mighty tires rolling slowly along. He hadn’t seen it before, and wondered which one of the neighbors had gotten a new vehicle. It was probably the Jennings across the street; they got a new vehicle almost every year. It was decidedly different than their usual choice, but people were entitled to a bit of variety.
     The SUV moved slowly along, it’s hulking form sliding easily across the winding street, going around the car parked on the street.
     He watched as a man climbed out, the man was tall, dressed pretty nicely in a button-down and slacks. The sunglasses on the man’s head were larger than what was normal, but some people liked them big, when the man pulled out a skullcap and slipped it on, Jeffery was slightly confused.
     The man went straight to Lola and offered her something; she seemed very hesitant until he took off the skullcap. What was he doing?
     Jeffery became very interested in this man.
     When Lola stood up and took it, the man’s arm shot out and grabbed her wrist, spinning her around and pulling her close to him and clamping his hand over her mouth. He grabbed her around the middle and lifted her up off of the ground. Her legs began to kick.
     Jeffery began to realize what was going on.
     She managed to get one arm free and started to swing it along with her legs, the thin limbs flailed hard, fighting against the man’s strong grip. The car door was open, and all he had to do was get her in there.
     The door to the house burst open, and the mother stood there in horror, her mouth dropped open and Jeffery heard her piercing scream break the air, even through his closed windows and doors.
      He thought about grabbing his gun that was in the cabinet by the door, but he didn’t want to get involved. Just don’t get involved.
      The mother bolted down the yard, her cup of orange juice flew from her hand, and her face was wild and angry. The man managed to pull Lola into the car, and shut the door tightly. The car peeled off as soon as he shut the door and the mother chased after it beating on the back window with her fists until it finally outran her and she fell down headfirst into the street—still screaming.
      Jeffery watched it all in stunned silence. He wasn’t sure what he had just seen even though he knew that he had seen it. It was like his brain was processing the data, trying to put it all together, even though he knew what it all meant. Odds are they would never see Lola again. A brief thought about Saturday mornings popped in his mind but he shoved it away in disgust.
     He watched the mother remain on the street, her hands bloodied from the contact with the windshield and asphalt, her eyes were streaming, and her face was wet, the blood was smeared where she had covered her face, and the cuts bled profusely. Neighbors began to come out and take interest, curious as to what had just happened.
     Jeffery only watched. He took another sip of his hot coffee.
     There was a small, purple flip-flop lying in the middle of the road.

One month later…

JEFFERY WALKED up to his car, his keys dangling from his hands, the wind tearing at his coat, and his mind on the afternoon ahead of him.
     He looked on the other side of the street and saw the sign that had been there for several weeks, advertising the missing child Lola, which had only appeared as a blip on the local news. The family had been looking for her ever since, organizing search parties, putting up flyers, a website—the works. They still hadn’t found her though.
     Jeffery and the wife had sent over a casserole. She had told him it’s the least they could do. He supposed she might be right.
      There hadn’t been much success in the case, they had found her other flip-flop, dress and underwear in a dumpster miles away, which meant that they were probably done with her and her body was hid somewhere in the woods, but the family kept up hope she was alive.
     Jeffery didn’t.
     The things people did these days. It was hard to fathom, impossible to fathom, what made people want to do that kind of thing, but Jeffery supposed that it was just how it was going to be. Wasn’t much that could be done about it, there would always be scum, and they would always do what they want.
      He searched his key ring for the key to his car; the different metal surfaces cool on his warm fingertips.
      There was a sound behind him, but he never got the chance to turn around. A cold piece of dangerous metal was jabbed on his neck and a harsh whisper snapped at him. “Don’t make one move.”
     He put his hands up. “I don’t have much on me. My wallet is in my left back pocket…”
      “Shut up, man. I’ll figure it out, don’t you make one noise.” The man’s voice was laced with the harsh smell of cigarette smoke. Jeffery didn’t turn around, he didn’t do anything—the man’s gun was trained on him. He felt a hand pat his back pockets and the man withdrew his wallet and started to rifle around in it. The man swore, “This all you got?”
     “I said I didn’t have much.” Jeffery wondered why nobody else saw what was going on. Did nobody care?
      “All right, whatever. How about that watch?”
      Jeffery glanced at his watch, and slowly slid it off of his wrist, and held it behind him for the man to grab. It was snatched almost painfully out of his hands.
     “Now them sunglasses…they look expensive.” The man demanded.
     Jeffery was surprised, the man was right; he knew just what they were worth. He forgot how much he had paid for them but it was a good amount.
     When he handed them to him, he glanced over his shoulder just a little, trying to get a look at his face so he could pass the information along to the cops. Apparently the man saw what he was doing.
     “You lookin’ at me?”
     Jeffery wanted to swear.
     “Lookin’ at me? You keep your eyes where they belong, hear?” The man jammed the gun harder against his skull. The man cursed again, very loudly.
      Did nobody see this? Did anybody call the police or something? Didn’t anybody care? For crying out loud did anybody see what was going on?
      “You think it’s a good idea to take a peek? Get down.” The man demanded. Jeffery didn’t move fast enough for him, however. The butt of the gun slammed into his head, and Jeffery fell to his knees.
     The man gave a firm kick, and Jeffery felt the wind go out of him, as he was still trying to see pas the white stars that were in his vision and the searing nuclear explosion of pain in the back of his skull.
     “You got a problem with orders?” The man slammed his face into the car, the impact took him to new levels of pain, he felt his nose crush under the impact and felt the wet agony of his nose breaking.
     Blood streamed down his face into his mouth, distorting his words and punctuating them with gore. “Just take the money, man, just take the money…”
      “You got a problem listening to me?” The man slammed him against the car again and whipped the pistol across the back of his head, sending Jeffery on the verge of unconsciousness.
      Was nobody seeing this? Jeffery wondered. Did nobody see what was going on?
      “You won’t have a problem now.” The man put the gun against his head and Jeffery felt the hammer being pulled back.
     “Oh, please no!” Gore leaked out of his mouth and nose, the beating had busted his gums as well. The blood poured forth like a dragon’s fire, spilling onto the clean concrete.
      “Goodnight.” The man said with a chuckle.
      There was a loud thunder blast and the world went black.
 EVENTUALLY THE police came, they found a dead body lying by his car, blood seeping out of an explosion in the face where the bullet had exited, and the crimson river rolling into the storm drain. His personal belongings were gone, stolen, no doubt. And his face—what was left of it—was frozen in horror. They found by his fingers a note written in his own blood, something before he had died. Three letters: WHY

     Jeffery was guilty of and victim to his own crime. Lola was just a victim— but they were both victims of one of the most common of crimes in the human race. No, the crime is not robbery, rape, or murder. The crime is far more insidious than even these and we might be guilty of it.
      The crime is indifference. It is committed every time when we can do something and instead, do not care and do nothing, we pass it by and move on without getting involved and doing something. The result is our world today, filled with robbery, rape, and murder.

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Journey in Writing.

I started writing about five years ago - October of 2006. The writing was terrible, there was absolutely no plot (I was also much younger at the time), and it was absolutely despicable. However, I kept at it, writing in the mystery-ish genre.

Then I went into the realm of fantasy writing. This is where my writing started "going places." The first attempt was laughable, it was in all caps, no paragraphs. But it was practice, some good things were in it, and some of the lines were downright hilarious (though they seemed dead serious at the time). This could be said (at least, the first two things) of virtually all my writing, and I'm sure all of yours, too - little things we can salvage here and there.

I wrote, and wrote, and wrote in fantasy. The second attempt was also pretty bad (with more cheesy lines, all caps, no paragraphs, virtually no plot), but my skills slowly improved, and the writing turned out better as I went along to other attempts in this genre (and, with the same places, characters, world). I even made it to 70,000 words one time (my longest attempt on anything, followed by 55,000 or so).

Thus, despite upwards of a hundred thousand words being pumped into these ideas, nothing came to fruition (of which I am not saddened, really). I wrote here and there on stuff throughout this first leg of my journey in the vast field of fiction writing, and nothing ever worked. Even to this day, nothing has "worked", and I have, unfortunately, never finished a novel.

However, one thing has changed. In May of 2008, my life began to change. God got a hold of me. As a result, my writing naturally changed. Before, it had been a pathetic, basically secular attempt, maybe with a tiny bit of Christianity sprinkled in somewhere in the book or series. But as my whole life changed, my writing changed with it. Looking back, I noticed that the content seemed a bit different around that time period. Things just seemed...different. And, praise God, they were different in a good way.

Writing is a powerful, powerful tool. Much good and ill has been wrought through the pen (as the saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword), or, in our case, the keyboard. Scripture tells us to do everything "to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31), and that, whatever we do, we should do all "in the Name of the Lord Jesus" (Colossians 3:17).

We can spread the Gospel through writing. We can teach doctrine, we can exhort practical theology. We can do so much with our keyboards (fiction and non-fiction), and we should do all of it to the glory of God. So, writers...

...Let's do it.

Thank you for reading. May God bless you and yours, and may He help those children of His who have the gift of writing use it all for Him.
In Christ,
Joel Garner ><>.
2 Chronicles 7:14; Romans 5:8.

So, what about you? What's your writing journey been like?