The Mechanic

In Fiction on June 24, 2013 at 11:21 pm

rusty gearsThe Mechanic

The door of the station wagon let out a pitiful metallic wail as my wife pulled it shut; the Aries had always been a piece of shit, I thought. My son stared blankly from the passenger seat, watching me in the doorway—watching as his mother backed down the long driveway and into the icy street.

“You’re like a goddam robot,” she had said. “Christ, Andrew, can’t you show even a little emotion about this?”

I couldn’t, so I shrugged blithely, like I was watching someone else’s life fall apart on TV. That’s when she’d started packing her bags.

Honestly, I didn’t see what the big deal was. Marriages end all the time—the statistics are staggering—and I wasn’t about to break down just because we’d failed like so many others. I even felt freed by it; I watched the sun scrape through a dull orange sky and dip below the horizon, then stayed up into the night working on my coupe and watching black-and-white reruns on the flat screen.

I fell asleep sprawled in my new dominion: the California king.

That night I dreamt I was walking down a narrow street—by our first house in South Boston. The moon’s reflection was drawn long in the bluish ice, splayed like fingers beckoning me to follow. I walked slowly: I knew where I was going and I knew what I would find.

The house, when I forced open the swollen door, was empty; a fine patina lay over the board games and wine glasses, the guitar and dog bowls. I could hear the wind whistling through the cracks, and the floorboards creaked under soft, invisible feet.

Somewhere, I heard a sound like gears turning, the teeth locked in a sad struggle, pulling each other along. I searched and searched, upstairs and down, before I realized: The sound was inside my own head.

I woke to find I had been crying in my sleep—with a rusty stain where my face had been.


Another week, another Trifecta Challenge! This time, the word was Rusty, and instead of going creepy (like I so often do) apparently this time I’ve decided to go sad with it. Who knew!

Click on over to Trifecta to read the rest of this week’s stories, and let me know what you think below!

Oh, and if you were looking for the continuation of my series, The Treatment, it’ll have to wait at least one more week. In the meantime, you can read the whole thing on this page here!

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  1. Going with sad, huh? Mission accomplished.

  2. 😦 awwww – nicely done.

  3. That was good; in the sense, though it was sad it was nicely written!
    If possible please check my latest post Resilience, I trust you will surely enjoy it, if so please leave your feedback there, thanks

  4. Brian – you’ve done it again. This is a story that sneaks up on the reader. Beautifully told – and a wonderful image at the end. Loved it :))

    • Thank you Jo-Anne! I love that description: “sneaks up on the reader.” I’d be glad to have that said about a story of mine any day. Thanks again

  5. The dream is fantastic. For some, it’s the best place to process life. Well done.

    • Sometimes I worry dreams come across as a crutch, something I’m using to make an emotion or problem seem deeper than it is, so I’m glad it’s working ok here! Thanks Brenda

  6. Definitely sad. I love all of the little elements you were able to put in. Like watching the black and white shows. It really added to the story.

  7. Dang, this was good! I need a tissue now, though 🙂 I could relate to this guy…when emotions get too intense, I have a tendency to ‘check out’ as well. But then, I could also see the infuriated wife’s side, because I’ve been there, too.

  8. Beautifully written. I love the bluish ice, swollen doors and that fine patina. Lovely. Sometimes you think you’re immune to emotion, but it sneaks up on you. Interesting the reason marriages end. My own entry deals with it.

  9. I love how you explain his emotions from inside his mind and how they become processed in dream sleep. Nicely done!

  10. Sometimes is takes the quiet to realize what you are missing. Very nice.

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