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Clarence Barbee aka Nabraska

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Member Since: Apr, 2008

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Chain Reaction
By Clarence Barbee aka Nabraska
Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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looking for feedback on short story.

He knew he should not have done it.  Sitting on the edge, with her behind him rubbing his back asking, “what’s wrong,” he knew immediately.  All of her imperfections, all of the things that he had glossed over to get to that good feeling, rushed through him like the pressure of draining a toilet.  The way she reacted in bed, her children, the way she raised them, the way she dealt with problems and life issues, how she viewed her 2nd “baby-daddy”, her consciousness and lack of applying the knowledge to her life and making a consorted effort to live life by what she knew, instead of what or who was in her life.  “This was not the intended plan,” he thought, sitting there, on the edge. 

            “What’s wrong,” she questioned with a soft voice that stuck his ears like a spear from an African warrior.  He listened to the tone, the unsatisfied tone of physics; as he knew her mind was more than gratified; not due to him, but because her plan and perception were on, (what she thought was) point.  They both knew of each other, but did not know each other, and he, just came to the realization.  He realized he did not want to be on yet another list, or lists, coming in 3rd, 4th, or 5th; for once he wanted to hold that #1 spot, unapologetically.  He had gone down that road, and although it showed him a lot of joy and presence, it also showed him heartache and pain.  “Nothing,” he replied.  He rose, grabbing his robe, careful of children who might rise.  With his head pounding, he sauntered down the hall; 2 steps, 3 steps, 4 steps, there.

            He stood in the doorway, reenacting the stage.  He was there, hearing the sound of the crowd, and his announcement. There in the middle of the kitchen was a club, and he was there, with sax in hand, reed in mouth—blowing! The people loved it.  The feeling was pure, the environment was inviting, as he became one with the energy. There in the middle of the kitchen was crowd, chairs, and candles instead of dishes, the refrigerator, and of course, the sink.  With eyes clinched, lashes entangled, he fingered perfect notes, keys, and rhythm--with no one in the actual space.  He had never played this good, even with blinded sight, he knew the people were right with him.  Low note, F flat, B sharp, boom bip, from the drum, snare, snare, symbol—crash!  “Heaven had to be right here, right now,” he thought.  Surrounded by the support of the spectators, he did more than just play music, he made magic!  And the club lights faded, the counters, sink, and dishes slowly came into sight as he realized, the dream is done, all there is, is a reality of desperation. 

            In the middle of the floor he sat down, Indian style.  “Whore.”  The 1st and only word that was in his mind; he was a whore and so was she.  Blinded by what customs and definitions had taught him, he was one and she was as well.  The major difference was she had proof, 2 babies, 2 different fathers, alone, never married; he on the other hand had been with dozens of women, but yet to conceive any children.  Being with the woman in that back room was not his long-term plan—he knew that.  He felt she knew that; it was a situation of comfort in a lonely, lonely world is what he rationalized.  However, he knew that emotions were far from rational, and she was emotionally involved; he made that mistake a few weeks back during a weak moment.  He was childless, one of the few facts of his life that he held with pride.  Now, it teetered on falling into the abyss.  Being childless meant his freedom, he could play music all night in the clubs, not get home till an ungodly hour, and still be cool; passed out drunk on the couch, or in the bed with another nameless whore.  “Damn. Damn, damn, damn!!” he whispered desperately. 

            This wasn’t part of the master plan, or any goal that he had set for himself.  He knew that it would take years for the music to grow.  He had been in it for years, and the steam was beginning to fade.  Frustration was a word that was not strong enough to express how he felt.  He knew that the situation in the back room, was impossible; a situation that would kill the magic, and expose the musician.  She wanted what he did not, she saw things that were not there, part of that, he understood and admired, but with the situation, he did not understand it, and he saw her as a whore.  Freedom became a foreign thought as he searched through his bag and found his flask.  She hated when he drank, but he did not care at this point, he almost wanted to upset her.  “Yea,” he thought, “I’ll frustrate her to the point of pink and find some happiness.”  Yet, the drink wouldn’t solve anything.  He sat there for a few more minuets, attempting to find some type of middle ground, some kind of balance with the situation.  It was impossible.  He would have to break down, probably sell his horn, get a job, and give this woman money every month, for the situation.  This was life in the new millennium where men were dogs, and baby daddies weren’t worth shit.  He would have to work his fingers to the bone for the rest of his life, never to enjoy the fruits of his labor. 

            He took another drink, grabbed his horn from the living room and sat back down in the kitchen Indian style.  He opened the case, ran his finger along the saxophone and felt the shiny brass smoothness under his four digits.  “Unfinished life, is still a life,” he thought as he grabbed the .32 from the pocket in the case.  “This won’t make it all right, but it will have to be right enough.”  “This is all I love,” he thought looking down at that horn.  “I can’t live life like this. I resent her already.  This is my only way out…”  He looked down again at the weapon and held it firmly in the palm of his hand.  “Coward, coward, coward….they’ll all know the truth,” he thought as he placed his finger around the trigger.  Yet, he really didn’t care, for he knew he would be free.  They could say, what they wanted, do what they wanted, and he didn’t have to argue any more.  All the disagreements and silent conversations would cease to happen in a few moments.  He smiled an uneasy yet powerful and easy smile. 

With certainty and clarity, he downed the last bit of his liquor, and woke her children with a raging shot.  With his last breath, he sighed, “finally, at peace.”




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