The Iron Writer Challenge #28
2013 Iron Writer Autumn Equinox Challenge #6
A Braying Jackass
A 1951 Kaiser Drag’n
Any Character from any Toy Story Movie
Zena and Jude are in a typical student kitchen.
Jude: Ah! What the hell?
Zena: Just my phone.
Jude: A braying jackass?
Zena: Yeh! It’s Buzz … Tell y’ later.
She slips out into the adjacent sitting room, retrieving her phone deftly from the bench.
Yeh! Teddy boy, what gives? … Star gazing on the common, eh? What happened to the seminar for Dr. Voight? … How convenient. And is that all? … It better be good. I’ve done a night shift followed by a full day sweating out an assignment due at 5.00pm today. If only Threadwell could be sick just once in ‘is miserable life!! …
Ok. Nine o’clock. And no excuses!
Zena slips the phone into her back pocket and returns to the kitchen, trying unsuccessfully to conceal her sense of satisfaction.
Jude: And just who is “Buzz”, that ‘Miss hard to get’ suddenly becomes putty in his horny hands?
Zena: Just a guy!
Jude: Called “Buzz”. Was he born in 1969 named after that Yank who went to the moon, Buzz Ashwyn or something?
Zena: No, silly, don’t you remember anything? His real name’s Peter, but he’s been called Buzz since the forth form, when he developed a mono-brow! Didn’t you see Toy Story?
Jude: No! My Dad didn’t like cartoons.
Zena: Oh, you deprived child. Never to see Buzz Lightyear; every seven year old girl’s vision of heroic manhood!
Jude: What’s he studying?
Zena: Cosmology, or something, but who cares, he’s got this car – ’51 Kaiser Drag’n.
Jude: Oh, I see, you don’t want his body. It’s the car. I knew it.
Zena: Trouble is, he’s being all male about it. I can’t even touch the keys, never mind drive.
Jude: So, what’s the plan?
Zena: Don’t rush me.
Zena turned back to the pot on the stove. A blank look of sheer exhaustion suddenly closed upon her face.
That’s if I can keep awake. Oh, those night shifts. Twelve hours from hell. I’ll have to get some shut eye. Can you take over with this?
Jude: What is it?
Zena: I call it ‘Zombie stew’. When I’m this tired I just throw anything in and hope for the best.
Three hours later Zena is seated next to Buzz as they speed out of town. Buzz turns briefly to Zena as they pass the sign warning them of ‘Devil’s Bend’.
Buzz: Let’s see what she’ll do, shall we?
He turns back to the road, missing the manic gleam in her eyes, rounds the bend, tyres tearing at the surface, turns to avoid the figure in their path and moments later the car hits the road side fence and spews his unrestrained body through its windscreen.
Zena removes her seat belt, alights from the car and struts powerfully towards the stranger. They exchange a vacuous stare, remove the body from the bonnet and take their places mechanically in the car.
The next week the local newspaper reports the mysterious death of one Peter Fletcher and the disappearance of two female students.
K. A. DaVur
Neal left shortly after, purring down the street in the Kaiser Drag’n that he had restored and that he loved more than life itself. “If I could f— it, I wouldn’t need a wife,” he would say. No one believed he was joking.
I stayed, nursing my tender, already-swollen cheek with the ice pack that he brought, that he would always bring, after. The final insult added to injuries. Finally I rose, biting back the gasp as my right leg bore my weight. I must have struck it somehow. I gathered the sheets and blankets off of the bed and started down the stairs. My foot landed on one of the doodads Neal was always handing out. This time a blue and yellow ball emblazoned with a red star. I pinwheeled to the landing, hurt but wryly amused at the coincidence that made my lie reality. Gradually I rolled into a sitting position and watched with morbid fascination as drops of blood made roses on the sheets that were, somehow, still in my arms. I must have sat for a long while, because the roses had grown into a bouquet when my eyes focused again. I had no time for this. In a few hours they would all be here; the loose-joweled yes men with their braying jackass laughter, the sleek young crooks who never laughed at all, only smiled thinly as they sipped on wine and ambition; and her. The vile redhead with the smug smile and knowing hips. Sitting around the table with their demands, their inside jokes, their thinly veiled mockery of me.
In that moment, I could see my future, the years lined up ahead of me like iron bars. I dropped the sheets, uncaring, in the foyer. If all went well, I’d be back in time to wash them. I strode to the door, grabbing the pistol that we kept in the hall table. Three blocks away was one of the ghettos that had become popular since the virus. Zombies were harmless if controlled, and there were vocal minorities who still held out for a cure, so the miserable once-humans had been corralled into walled cities and were fed some sort of dried zombie chow to keep them sated enough not to revolt. “Undead soma” Neal had said. Everyone had brayed. Still, I was cautious as I walked through the gate, pistol in one hand, the old stoneware crock that had been Neal’s grandmother’s in the other. It was daylight, so the creatures were inside. Still, bits and pieces hung everywhere, gory decorations at a cannibal’s feast. A little at a time I collected chunks of flesh. When the crock was halfway full I hurried home, checking the time. Almost four. I slid the pistol into the waistband of my skirt. Plenty of time. I could do this. I could wash sheets. I could make some stew. I could endure their laughter, the slide of a stockinged foot up my husband’s leg. And I could wait.
A few hours later I slid onto the smooth-scaled seat of my new car.
A Time That Wasn’t
Oscar Wager II
The Prospector, who went by Stinky Pete in another life time, woke up to a sound that made what was left of his hair stand up on end. He pulled himself out of his bedroll, and put on his worn out hat. It might be time for a new one. Pete couldn’t remember when he had traded for this one at the general store. It was tattered and torn and smelled like the back end of a horse.
There was that sound again. As he put the coffee on the fire, and cleared the whiskey from his head, he realized it was that damn jackass, braying down the hill. “Hee-haw, Hee-haw.” Something seemed different about it, this time. It seemed muffled and far away. Then it stopped midway through a hee. There was something eerie about it. And then it was quiet. No birds, no animals and not even the wind rustling leaves in a tree.
It had been about six months since those damned creatures had appeared. It seemed that all the dead folk were alive again, but not the same. Ever since then, Pete had been able to stay away from them by living the old life when he would pan for gold in the mountains, far away from the cities. He always liked the solitude, and he was more comfortable in this life, anyway. They kept their distance. They didn’t seem to have the strength to climb.
The creatures reminded him of the time when he was a boy, living down south in the swamps. The folks down there had a funny way of talkin’. They also did weird things, like killing chickens in graveyards. His Grandpappy had once told him these were Creole folks and they practiced voodoo. He didn’t quite understand it at the time, he was only eight, but now he understood. The Creole had a word, something like zonbie, or zombie. He couldn’t quite remember.
Food was getting low up here, so there were nights that he had to make his way down to the town below. He had found that the zombie creatures were not bad eating. He would never tell how he had found out. His last batch of “zombie stew” was gone and he was going to have to visit the town for “fresh” meat. If he cut the head off of one, he could carry much of the meat back to camp before they noticed.
Darkness fell and he headed down, knife in hand. As he reached the bottom, he stumbled across a black strip of earth. He heard a noise and saw a strange contraption following the black path. The man inside was familiar. He stepped out and said “Come on Pete.”
Pete said “What is this thing and where are we going?”
“Why Pete, it’s a 1951 Kaiser Drag’n,” replied the doctor. “We have to get you back to the hospital. You know how you are without your medication.”
“I’m making you Zombie stew for dinner,” Sade said from the kitchen doorway, interrupting the man’s concentration on the television.
Kunle Afolabi spilled some of his coffee on his left thigh and jumped almost a mile high. Landing back on the seat, he turned to look over his left shoulder at the woman who just spoke. “What?”
“I said I’m making you zombie stew. Is there something wrong with that?” Sade asked, smile in her voice.
“No o – but there’s something wrong with me for marrying you. I become more certain daily,” Kunle retorted.
“Did you just make a joke?” Sade said as she walked to the sofa and put her arms around his neck from behind. Nuzzling his neck, she whispered “What would you do without me?”
Kunle kissed her back. ‘Live a little…maybe.”
As she sashayed back towards the kitchen Kunle mused out “Zombie stew… all that Walking Dead stuff abi?” He shook his head. “You have zombies on the brain.”
Sade laughed. “Actually – I have you on the brain.” She paused. “It’s nice to hear you joking again, baby.”
Kunle gave no response, sipping coffee and thinking about what prompted Sade’s remark. He was still caught up in the morbid mood of the funeral…
The loud clanging of a phone cut through his reverie rudely, and he called “Sade!” before throwing aside pillows and cushions. He found the phone tucked into the back of the sofa. He pulled it out and handed it to the woman who was regarding him patiently.
‘Hello?” she said as she took the call, conversation coming clearly to Kunle even though he wasn’t listening. “Yes he’s here.” She held the phone out towards Kunle. “It’s your brother,” she said.
Kunle sat in his father’s 1951 Kaiser Drag’n, admiring the spotless car interior as he inhaled the smell of tanned leather and thought about a lot of things.
His father, for one. I need to fix my phone; he thought
He and the senior Afolabi did not get on at all. The man couldn’t stand Kunle’s ‘lack of ambition’ and Kunle could not stand what he called the man’s hypocrisy. “I come from a long line of accountants,” Afolabi senior liked to say, nose in the air. “All the male children toe that line.”
That was the start of their enmity.
It made no sense that the car was now his, but that was the point of his brother’s phone call. He reached over the next seat for the satchel he had been handed along with the car keys. The first thing he saw in the bag was Hamm, his toy story piggybank. He picked it up and shook it, smiling as he did so. A rattling announced to him that there was something inside. He set it aside and looked into the bag again. Quickly he pulled out a card with Donkey from Shrek drawn on it and read the inscription in his father’s hand; to my son Kunle with love and respect with an arrow pointing to the donkey’s open mouth.
Kunle sat in the car and cried.