Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Never Too Late

This world will never be
What I expected
And if I don't belong
Who would've guessed it?
I will not leave alone
Everything that I own
To make you feel like
It's not too late
It's never too late
        Even if I say it'll be alright
        Still I hear you say
        You want to end your life
        Now and again we try
        To just stay alive
        Maybe we'll turn it around
        Because it's not too late
        It's never too late

--Three Days Grace, Never Too Late

He fished the cell phone out of his sopping pocket. The ring tone played a wild organ prelude by Bach.

Streams of water blurred his eyes. The shapes of slippery dark trees and neighboring houses danced.



His best friend.

"What's up?" he said.

"Not much. You?"

He blinked. It didn't shed the water. "Nothing much."

"What's all that noise?"


"Close the window, man."

He tilted his face upward towards the black clouds. "It's not open."

"But it sounds like you're in the middle of it."

A little thunder trembled.

"I'm sitting my back yard," he said.


"I'm sitting in the rain."

He pulled in his legs to sit Indian-style. Rain dripped from his fingers. Cell phones were tougher than he thought.

"You're not joking?"

"Nope," he said.

"Have you lost your fucking mind?"


He gnawed down the urge to cry. Hearing a familiar voice was tipping him over the edge.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing," he said.


The downpour blanketed the grass. He watched it. And wished the phone would short out.

"Are you still there?"

"I'm just tired, man. Real fucking tired."

"Then take a nap! Instead, you're sitting in a mud puddle."

Slimy cold slithered down into his underwear. "I should go."

"This is not cool."

"Bye," he said.

"Come on, man. Get up and go back inside."

He shook his head. "I can't go back in there."

"Look. You're at your wit's end. I know that. But can you do something for me?"


"It's something you want."

He squeezed his eyes shut. Trails cascaded down his face. "I don't know what I want."

"You'll want this. Are you ready?"


"How about now?"

"I'm going to hang up."

"I'll just call you back."

"I'm tossing the phone."

"Can you hear me now?"


"Can you hear me now?"

"NO! Jesus Christ! What?!"

"This one word will change everything."

"Spectacular," he said. "Let's hear it."


He laughed. Or maybe something else. "Nachos?"

"I want you to go inside and make yourself some nachos. Put a mess of jalapeno peppers on it. I don't care that they burn your ass on the way out."

"She hates hot peppers."


Lightning fried some tree in the east. He winced, but the boom was delayed.

The storm was shifting.

"Why don't I hear a bag of shredded cheese opening?"

"I'm not in the mood for nachos," he said.

"Number one, I didn't ask if you were in the mood. Number two, I don't care if you're in the mood. Now get going."

A few minutes later, his sneakers bubbled water on the way to the back door. Toweling off his hair, he reached for a bag of tortilla chips.

Breaking the smallest of smiles, he also snagged a lime and an old bottle of Tequila.

He giggled after the first shot of Tequila like always. And the burn on his lips felt divine.


Anonymous said...

Nachos and Tequila will definitely save the world ... even if it does burn all our arses on the way out!

anne said...

Awww. Nice. See, this is why i always wanted to be a male best friend. Making burning hot nachos is infinitely more satisfying than burning a picture. Even though the accompanying ice-cream generally isn't bad. ;)

FANCY said...

MOhahahaha... that one is special I take two of it and serve it with the Nachos and Tequila...*LOL*

Miladysa said...

I love that last line!

Aine said...

The beauty of happiness is that it can be found in simple pleasures. And connections with good friends.

Jess Riley said...

I liked this!! ANd now I'm craving nachos...(not so many peppers, though. :-)

jenn said...

Nice. That's exactly the way a best friend should deal with that sort of situation. :D

Sarah Hina said...

That familiar voice, and its simple promise, sheltered him from the worst of the storm. For now. Hopefully that burn in his lips will endure for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Aggie, amen. :)

Anne, I say go for it! No reason you couldn't be that person. Who knows, it may even lead to something interesting.

Fancy, don't forget the salt!

Miladysa, thanks. It's a strange piece, but I managed to tie it up.

Aine, there's a purity there. Funny how it can seem so surprising when you recapture it.

Jess, so great to see you! I can't wait to buy that book of yours. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

Jenn, yeah, he got right to the heart of the matter. Sometimes, you just need a shot of Tequila.

Sarah, yes, a lull in the storm. You never can know how long it will last. Maybe five measly minutes. Maybe forever.

JaneyV said...

A friend in need ... should always have someone to offer them nachos.

I'd rather have my tequila in a Margarita....but whatever gets you through the storm eh?

ChrisEldin said...

Being talked down from the edge by a friend who knows him too well.

You can and should do more with this one. Keep it for one of your novels. It's very well done, and the characters are well developed even in this short amount of space.

paisley said...

oh this was excellent... i love stuff that is like totally dialog... just great!!!!

Hoodie said...


I read this while staring out my window to the back yard while it was pouring rain. I could completely imagine this guy out there. I'm so glad he had a friend.

Scott said...

You could cut that tension with a knife. I wasn't sure his buddy was going to get through to him. Nice dark edge with a happy ending. Is it my imagination, or are you getting a little darker? I'm noticing edgier dialog.

Bridget Jones said...

Aggie's right, as always.

Love that writing.

Anonymous said...

Janey, a margarita would do nicely too!

Chris, I've toyed with the idea of writing scenes for my novel as vignette for the Clarity of Night. The only problem is that they would have to be compelling and fun as freestanding pieces.

Paisley, writing heavily in dialog is great training! You can do an amazing amount with only dialog. The whole scene can be constructed between the lines.

Hoodie, what a great context to read it! Once I sat out in the rain. It wasn't for this reason, though.

Scott, thanks! Glad this piece worked on that level. As for getting darker, I went through a dark period a while back, then switched gears. I've been wanting to get back to some more gritty pieces. Some more action and painful emotions. I love keeping the Clarity of Night varied. Recently, I've been a little too narrow, bright, and calm.

Bridget Jones, much obliged. ;) Thanks for coming along on the ride.

SzélsőFa said...

There are true emotions hidden here. Haunting.