Starbuck moved away from the monitor and crossed the room, passing silent towers of paperbacks piled up on the floor. The cat regarded him from a pile of his clothes in a corner as he shuffled through seashells, photos, sticks from spent incense and weed roaches. He struck a match and his face glowed as he puffed a cigarette to life. He released the flame and his eyes adjusted to the soft glow of the computer screen cast up on the walls. A car sped by on the street outside, pelting the hapless houses with heavy bass.

Starbuck blew out a cloud of smoke. It looked eerie in the quiet, blue light.

He didn't really feel like reading again. He laid back and stared at the ceiling. He paced across the floor soundlessly.

Another car went by in the copper-bathed street. The loud guitar noise was almost completely perforated by a tired engine being forced to hard-core flatulence. Venetian blinds sliced the headlights into neat strips.

The bright orange cigarette tip reached the filter and Starbuck tossed it into an empty bottle of Mountain Dew. It hissed in defiance and died with a last syrupy wisp. He looked out the window where the trees purred at the wind's caress and decided that he was really fucking bored.

The empty gullies between the blinds lit up again and rythmic bass assaulted the dilapidated houses along the road. Starbuck waited for it to fade into the distance, but it only grew louder. Chris' red truck screeched into the driveway. The lights went off and the motor quit, leaving the blaring music, which cut off abrubtly to the sound of jingling keys. Starbuck lit another cigarette and strolled to the window.
"Hey, fucker. I thought you were dead. Sold all your furniture while you were out."

"Oh. Really? Did you get a good deal on it?"

Chris grinned and lugged a 24 pack of cheap beer from the back of the truck.

"Nobody wanted to pay for the shit. I had to give it away."

A devastatingly gorgeous girl climbed out of the passenger side and smiled at Starbuck. Brown hair rested precariously over firm breasts, wrapped in a short red t-shirt that exposed her belly button, a single, small hallow across a smooth, flat plain.

Starbuck blew out a salutory stream of smoke. "Hi, Jessica."

Jessica dimpled and waved cutely. Starbuck flicked some ashes through the window. Chris plunged his hand into the 24 pack and looked toward the sky. His arm seemed to tense and he ripped a beer out of the box, leaving a gaping hole in the cardboard. He grunted triumphantly and placed the beer on the windowsill. He reached into the wound again and withdrew another beer, and another. When four beers sat neatly on the sill, he passed the box to Starbuck, who ran it to the fridge and climbed out the window to join them.

Another car screamed through the night. Dogs barked across the street in a crumbling cement carport with a low wattage bulb. The music lowered in pitch and grew quiet as the car drew off into the distance, leaving the street to try and recover some of it's complacence before the next Saturday night party patrol came thumping by. Somewhere in the trees a bug zapper snarled.

Starbuck scraped his sneakers against the concrete and took a pull on his cig. Chris handed one of the beers and snapped one open for Jessica and then himself. Starbuck took a frothy gulp of the beer and watched Jessica's hand traverse her stomach as she unconsciously fiddled with her elastic waistband. Her fingers glided over the fringe, over that soft white land above it. She smelled like herbal body wash.

Immediately images stormed his mind like Soviet paratroopers descending on the Las Vegas strip in some twisted alternate reality, images of her running soapy hands over her breasts and down across her slim middle. Soap bubble flash floods roared into her belly button and she caressed her thighs, parted her lips and swished her hair as if she was in an x-rated shampoo commercial.
Starbuck dropped his cigarette and Jessica giggled. He turned his head away and snatched the cigarette out of his lap before it could make the fire in his pants more than a metaphore. He looked around, ready to explain to Chris that he wasn't drooling on his girlfriend, but Chris was out on the sidewalk, pissing into the street.
"I looooove Ocala," he shouted.

The dogs across the street barked.

Starbuck turned back to Jessica to apologize, and dropped his cigarette again. She playing with her waistband once more, but this time she'd pulled it down enough to expose a nice triangle of well-trimmed pubic hair. She winked at him. Sharp pain welled up in his nether regions and he jumped. "Ow! Fuck!" The cigarette fell out of his lap. Jessica covered her mouth and giggled furiously. She let her waistband snap back just as Chris finished his manueveur and pulled an about face, beer held boldly in front of him.

Boom. Boom. Boom. Another car thumped the street. Someone in the car hung out the window and yelled.
The bug zapper snapped in the distance. Another one bites the dust.
Jessica kept her eyes on Chris when he returned, but as soon as she'd thrown her cute arms around him she stared at Starbuck and winked.

Chris held her in one arm and deftly took a swig of beer followed by a drag from his cig using the other hand. Starbuck talked through a stream of smoke, his voice sounded muffled. "So um. What have you been up to?" Chris lowered the beer from his lips.

"Same old bullshit. Went to a party but it sucked ass so we bounced."
"Ahh. That's cool. Well I just realized I haven't taken a shower today. I'm pretty dirty. Filthy. I'm going to go take care of that. I'll be back around, though. Anyone else coming over tonight? I guess bobo since you have beer, huh? He'll know it. He's like a dog that can hear you eating a marshmallow."
"Yeah. He said he might stop by later."

"Right. Ok." Starbuck stared at Jessica and backed around the corner, back into the house.

Starbuck sat Indian-style on the floor. A small heap of bottle caps rested in front of him looking like some strange collection of sea-shells washed up out of an ocean of miscellanous trash. He picked one up, held his hand out and squinted at three stacked beer cans on the other side of the room in a miniature battlefield of spent bottles. His arm wobbled slowly and he loosed. The cap smacked the ceiling and plunged to the floor less than half-way to its target. Starbuck held his head in his hands and gave up. The cans stood victorious. This time.

He looked up. A large form lounged with one leg on the couch and the other hanging off the side. His mouth was open and near his dangling hand was an overturned bottle and a small puddle of beer. Bobo. He snored. A pig-faced, teenage girl leaned on him and sawed logs in a slightly higher pitch, harmonzing .

Someone tugged on his shoulder. Another one of Bobo's teenygirl entourage. He waited for her to ask for a cigarette or more alcohol.

"Buck. Got 'ne more beer?" She swayed.
"Nah. You drank it all."

She looked puzzled. She turned her head and stared, as if searching for something in the darkest reaches of her alcohol soaked brain. Apparently the bulb had burned out. She wrinkled her nose. "We did?"

"Yup. You three and Chris and Bobo there, and me, too."

He hiccuped.
She held her eyes straight as the rest of her swayed and she put her hand on his shoulder for support. It reminded Starbuck of a drink holder his father had kept in his truck. You could turn the truck sideways and the thing would still faithfully keep the drink upright. She finally gave up the struggle and plopped down next to him. He offered her a bottle cap. "Wanna try?"

"Huh?" she wrinkled her nose again.

He gestured to the stacked cans and then held out the bottle cap again. Her forehead rippled and then it appeared as if a traffic jam had occurred on her nose and now skin was backing up all over her face.

"You're really weird, Buck."

"Fucking hopeless!" He stood up and tossed the bottle cap down on her.

He needed some fresh air. He stood up and tried to balance his way through the front door.

The bug zapper heralded another creature seduced into its deadly blue mesh. Starbuck wondered what it would be like to be a bug caught by that thing. You probably didn't have time to know that you were having a pretty bad fucking day. He suddenly felt less bothered about his ill-fated pass on one of Bobo's parasitic friends. After a few breaths, he felt less nauseous as well.

He lit a cigarette and stared at the moon through the branches of an oak tree hanging over the driveway. It had been about half-full last night when he sat on the steps and stared at it, smoking cigarettes alone on the porch for lack of anything better to do. Tonight, though, Luna was a smaller crescent. Cloud wisps sighed under her. Lonely red lights brightened and faded on radio towers in the distance. It'd be a beautiful night to have a flying carpet.

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