Fiction: No More, Just Drive
By Joe S. Thomas
At least the damn gas tank was full, Josh thought as he punched the steering wheel and simultaneously cranked the motor of the old Dodge pick-up his grandfather had left him when he passed away. He just couldn’t take the home life he’d found himself in lately. He was actually having thoughts of hurting the people who would come by looking for his mother or his sister for their fucking drugs and god only knew what else… “God,” Josh thought. What a fucking joke. How could any god allow the type of shit going on in the world today… The tires caught purchase on the pavement as he squealed out of his driveway leaving a sonic middle finger flying in the hot, country air. His heart continued to race for several miles as he conjured up every thought of every damn scumbag that would come by their trailer, stay there for days, trash the joint and act as if it were theirs the whole time they bummed off of his family. “Fuck,” like we have extra fucking groceries to feed these fucking assholes who contribute nothing but sit around and get stoned all damn day. He found his fist tightening again so he took a deep breath and turned on the stereo. The Roky Erikson cd that was playing was somehow the perfect soundtrack for that exact moment. He slowly caught his breath enough to unclench his teeth and attempt to make rational plans instead of the kind that only caused blood, pain and misery. And then the thought passed through his mind, sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Some of the only advice he ever remembered his old man offering up… Well, fuck it.
It was getting dark and Josh’s stomach had been growling for hours. There was never any shortage of fast food garbage to throw down your throat in Sackville, Georgia. That was a damn certainty. He saw a Sonic and because he wouldn’t have to go inside to dine he chose to eat there. There was nothing more pathetic than how he felt sitting alone at one of those tiny, cheap tables and chairs they made you sit on in these joints. Right out in the middle of everybody. Unfortunately, he was starting to get used to feeling pretty damn pathetic. That thought led to a few others and before long Josh’s mind was back to revenge mode. He was scaring himself. I have a full stomach, I’ve counted way past ten and I’ve even prayed. What the fuck do I do, he asked no one and everyone at the same time… He was so tired of having to battle the depression and anxiety of simply wanting to go home. Doesn’t everyone deserve a place where they can feel alone and at peace? Josh had never felt that he’d truly ever had a home and it hurt and scared him to his core. He ordered a cheeseburger, tater tots and a chocolate shake then sat back and lit a cigarette. He noticed some guy and girl who looked to be on a date a couple of slots down. Though he was only 19 years old, it amazed him to think any kind of girl would ever give him the time of day. The thoughts began to become painful so he stabbed out his cigarette and gave the young couple their privacy by turning away. He felt panicky. His food couldn’t get there soon enough. He just wanted to leave but couldn’t bear the thought of going another night without eating. It was all starting to be too much. “Son, it won’t always be this way.” He’d remembered his hungover mother telling him as he sat between her legs and she stroked his blonde head when he was a young man. Before things got even more out of hand than his infantile mind could imagine at the time. He remembered thinking of his world when it was so small. He liked going back to some of these thoughts. They seemed the only slice of peace he could find sometimes, hell, most of the time. The time was surely coming when he wouldn’t be able to take anymore. He felt it in his bones. Every damn one of them.
Josh ate his food and still wanted to stay away from home. The thing that sent him flying out the door pissed off in the first place was likely still sitting his fat ass on the couch, drawing flies. He certainly couldn’t rely on his mom or his sister to ask the loser to leave. He would likely just laugh at their effort anyway. Josh couldn’t help but think of just how damn sick of the laughing he truly was. He pictured this man in his mind and immediately his heart raced, his jawline tightened and his fists clenched yet again. Goddammt! He screamed. He pulled to the side of the road with tears of pain and rage flooding his face. People stared. He didn’t give a fuck. He angrily waved them around hoping no one would confront him. How the hell do you explain a grown man crying he thought to himself…
Exhausted and emotionally raw Josh made his way slowly back to the decrepit trailer on the one acre of land that his grandfather had left for his mother in his will. That one acre of land was all their family had. Josh wondered just how long his mother would be able to hang onto it. He parked his truck next to the shitty motorcycle the new guy had been driving. As he walked past he spat on it and cursed the man silently to himself. He walked up the stairs and stood on the small landing saying a quiet prayer to whoever would listen and took a deep breath of peaceful, night air. It always smelled so beautifully to Josh before he opened the door of the trailer revealing the trash inside; both human and other kinds.
As he walked into the trailer it looked exactly the same way it did when he left. Down to the human waste that was still in the recliner in front of the television watching All in the Family. Josh could yet again feel his pulse quicken, fists and teeth clench and the familiar wave of anxiety and rage flood his being. He walked past the asshole in the chair and ignored him all the way to his room near the back of the trailer. Fuck it, he thought. Something’s changing tonight. He looked around his room and his eyes landed on a hunting knife and an aluminum Louisville Slugger in the corner. He felt sick to his stomach. He could see the scene playing out in his mind and it truly scared him. Nonetheless, he slid the knife into his pants and he grabbed the baseball bat as he slowly pulled his bedroom door shut and inched quietly down the linoleum hallway. He put his back against the wall and slid toward the living room where the large man was still sitting, watching television. Josh went for the knife in the waistline of his jeans as his step quickened the closer he got to the bulk of man in the recliner. He had the knife raised and ready to plunge into the neck of the man when before he could finish the stabbing motion he saw one of the most beautiful and welcomed sights he’d ever seen in his life…
The man had a large mess of thick white bile dripping from his mouth. He had his belt tied around his arm and a syringe was still sticking out just below it. His face was beyond blue and as Josh kicked him hard in the legs the man just rolled out of the recliner dead on the floor.
Josh looked around the trailer. His mother and sister weren't aware of the situation that had just happened in their living room. He couldn’t help but smile. His teeth weren’t clenched, nor were his fists. Hell, the anxiety and rage had even faded some. It was enough to make a young, angry, man believe that god, or the gods or possibly even the universe or whomever he often found himself howling to actually listened every once in a while. And at the time, that was enough.
Joe S. Thomas is an author who lives and writes in Northwest Georgia. When not huddled down behind the keyboard writing crazy stories, you’ll find him in his basement recording punk rock music as the Sonic Haints. Joe has been published in the Georgia Mountain Review as well as many underground zines and blogs. He has also done a few interviews with some of your punk rock heroes. May have shared a stage with them as well… you never know with this guy.