Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Entry #61

You Can’t Get There From Here
by Jefe B


Watch, says Frank. He mounts the unicycle swiftly and circles the yard.

Now you, he says. Frank holds my hands for balance at first, picks me up from the dust, wipes the blood from my split lip. Again, says Frank. After three days, bruises cover my body. A ringing persists in my left ear. But I am circling the yard.

Now we add the juggling, says Frank, pulling from his shed a wagon loaded with cannonballs.

Our finale will be something Frank calls the Wheels of Fire. He saw it performed in Germany during the war. Two men on motorcycles in a spherical cage of wire mesh, buzzing around one another, each high-speed pass a near collision. A ring of flames introduced at the end of the act. The crowd roared, says Frank.

Each day, through the bars of my locked cell at the back of the hayloft, I watch Frank return with spare parts. From the pile of debris two bikes begin to take shape, one large, one small, flimsy looking contraptions of battered chrome. He assembles an iron ring and ignites it just as the sun is setting one evening. He looks up toward my hayloft and begins to make his way across the yard.

I watch Frank approach. I finger the rusty manacle at my wrist. I hide a cannonball in the hay. I look out beyond the rustling trees to where I know the dirt road joins a stretch of black top, leading away.

16 comments:

BernardL said...

Ouch, good story.

laughingwolf said...

dang, so many questions....

Sarah Hina said...

Highly provocative and creepy tale. I hope he makes his escape.

I really like how the story built in intensity throughout, adding more tricks to the pile, fuel to the fire. I wasn't sure where it was going, but it had me hooked.

Very well written, imaginative take.

JR's Thumbprints said...

The motorcycle doesn't always represent freedom, especially if you're trained to ride it in a dangerous circle. I can see why your character would want to escape.

JaneyV said...

Excellent piece. You built on the tension so well. I hope Frank gets a cannonball over the head for his cruelty. I have so many questions about the captive - Is it an animal? Bear maybe? Or some poor soul who wondered into the wrong yard?

Well done!

Scott said...

I read this twice to see if I was reading it right. Turns out I was. How absolutely baffling--what a situation. There are questions, but to say this is intriguing is, well, an understatement. I'm with Janeyv above, is this a bear? No matter, this is very cool.

joanita said...

Jefe,
Unique take on the prompt. It makes one step back and walk in again.
Seems like a beginning to a bigger story. Give it that shot.
Joanita

Dottie said...

Such a completely original and excellent piece. You are truly the El Jefe of the Clarity contest. This one gets my vote.

Aerin said...

There is, indeed, something communicated by the fact you don't use quotation marks for the things Frank said. I took it to mean the being in the cage was different than he - race, gender, species - which really set up a nice contrast.

I wasn't sure I'd like the piece at first - unicycle riding? - but it was very well told, very well written, and I love it!

kgilbert said...

I love strange and dark and "out of the box" literary pieces...thanks for the great read.
I, too, would like to see this developed into a short story.

Dottie said...

I had to come back and leave another comment. After reading all of the entries in the contest, I realized this one is absolutely my favorite. An amazing achievement in flash fiction composition and story telling. Bravo, sir, or perhaps madam or perhaps bear.

Posolxstvo I said...

If this is a bear, it understands English awfully well and is a heck of a problem solver. My money's on it being a kidnapped teenager or something.

Nice encapsulation. Very tight.

Aerin said...

So. I think Dottie may be a wee bit biased, but I am not. And I find myself coming back to this again and again - a real story, a real plot, good characterization. Probably my favorite, too.

DAMN. And I thought adolescent corn was so clever.....

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

Beautiful piece!

Was it a chimp?Whatever he was,hope he found his way to freedom :)

SzélsőFa said...

Creepy indeed. I too, think that it is not an animal, but that does not make the story less interesting at all. I'd definitely like to see (read) it when developed into a larger piece. Go for it!

jason evans said...

What a unique take! There's a novel in this one too, perhaps. Great piece! Well written. High marks overall.

Congratulations of Fifth Place!!