Powder Burn Flash # 366 - Christopher Grant
Blurs and White Noise
by Christopher Grant
Ted sits on the couch and smokes his cigarette. The television is on but he doesn't pay it any attention. It's simple blurs and white noise. And isn't that what he's always thought about the images and the people that have appeared in the twenty-seven inch set? Fuck 'em, anyway. What have they ever done to help him?
He drags on the cigarette and thinks about what his next move is going to be. His last move, quitting his job, wasn't exactly a smart one. Helen, especially, didn't think so and told him as much.
"Why can't you trust me?" Ted shouted at her when she packed a bag and slammed the door shut behind her.
Helen, his wife of twelve years, had been with him through thick and thin. More thin than thick, he'd grant her that much. They never won the lottery or even got lucky on a scratch-off. But they'd gotten through shit before. Why should this time be any different?
Ted gets up from the couch, the cigarette still hanging out of his mouth. He grabs a glass, dirty, blows the dust out of it, finds the bottle of Jack and pours a generous two fingers. He throws it back and pours another two fingers. He throws that one back, too. Drags on the cigarette and mashes it out in a nearby ashtray.
He leaves the apartment, the television still showing blurs and spewing white noise.
* * *
Ted hasn't eaten all day. He goes down the street to the corner sandwich shop. The line is four people long and he figures
that he can wait that long. What, ten, maybe twenty minutes tops? He digs his wallet out, opens it up. Sixteen bucks, all
Ones. He's got a couple thousand in the bank. He's got enough to live on for a little while.
The line doesn't move.
Three kids, somewhere between fourteen and seventeen come in through the door. Two guys and a girl. The girl looks like one of those "pass-around" girls. You know the kind. You see them in the mall all the time. Two guys and a girl and you just know that they're a threesome.
She's got a nose ring that sparkles when the light hits it just right. Her short skirt is made out of denim. They laugh about
something they share between themselves.
The line, eight deep now, is at a standstill.
One of the kids says he's getting a turkey sub, tells the other guy that he wants mayo, tomato, lettuce, black olives and
bacon on white.
"Order for me," the kid says and heads off for the bathroom.
The girl says to order her the same thing and follows the first kid into the bathroom a minute later. She doesn't go into the
women's bathroom but into the men's instead.
The line finally moves. It goes smoothly. The order, the money exchanges hands, the customer steps to the side to wait for their sandwich and the next customer orders.
As the guy and girl come out of the bathroom, Ted's almost to the head of the line. He turns to look at them and notices two things about the girl. One, her skirt's a little higher than it was when she went in, and two, she's got a white streak under her left nostril.
"Hey, fuckhead," the kid that was behind him the whole time says, "mind your own."
The day's been long and hard.
Helen flashes into his mind for a minute. He can hear her telling him to just forget it.
Ted's fist is breaking the kid's nose. He's a fucking maniac, can't control his own actions. His fist pounds flesh again. The kid falls to the floor and Ted's foot finds the kid's ribs, as the kid tries futilely to stop the blood that's pouring out of his nose.
Ted is vaguely aware of the images as he continues to kick the kid. The girl and the other guy, trying to stop him, are just
simple blurs and their voices are white noise.
BIO: Christopher Grant is a crime writer and the editor of A Twist Of Noir.