Burst – Something Hidden


Something Hidden


“…but Pecota is doing sales there now, but I don’t know how he’s going to keep it up, he’s lost half his people and he just can’t service what he’s selling anymore.  Anyway what do we care, we’re doing all right here.  Another beer?”

I am at next table, listening.  He comes in here three times a week.  But on Fridays he drinks too, more than he should before getting back in the Porsche.  They finish the discussion, argue over who’s paying, head for the stairs out of the basement pub.  Lion’s Head.  There is a lion’s head above the entrance, and he has to duck under it.

This time, he’s left his coat.  I pick it up and leave. Outside, here’s a propane tank in the parking lot.  Behind it, I go through the coat.  No wallet, no keys, just some gum and a few receipts.  I rap the propane tank.  I smack the asphalt.  On the bus home, I wear the coat.  It’s too big.  Too brown.

In the basement, the gloom’s out.  The radio’s playing.  I sit at the desk and touch the coat.  Smell it.  Think about fucking it.  Sit down with the receivers, begin to tinker, to sodder, to assemble and wire until I have a patch the size of a postage stamp balancing on my thumb.  It fits into a pocket of the coat, underneath a label.  I turn on the computer and touch the red dot over my house.

Dancing with a coat.  In the dark except for the yawn of a computer screen.  These are dreams of living and flying.  Of real lives like Rod Bayne’s, the things he’s done – must have done – to have the life he’s got, the unsavory deals, the backwards stabbing, the lies and cheats, the conversations over lunch about the Pecotas he doesn’t care about.  Mr. Pecota, son of immigrants – who deserves better – has no voice in basement pubs under lion’s heads.

I get to the pub the next morning before it opens.  First one in, hand the coat over to a manager.  “Walked out with it, thought it was mine.”

Manager looks me over.  “Right.  Thanks for returning it.”

Bayne doesn’t come in that day.  He does the next, though, and asks about his coat.  He walks out looking tall and brown.  Screams away in a Porsche.

A red dot travels through the grid of my town.  I follow on a bus.  There is his work, and the parking lot of other Porsches.  I wander through it.  At the front desk, a security man stares at me as I look at the building directory.  The elevator takes me up.  I find a bathroom and sit in a stall, waiting.  People come in, talk about their corruptions, their dementia and the sabotage of freedom, many things I have suspected but this is a different discussion now, a clearer one.  Bayne comes in, too.  “I don’t mind giving on that.  Just make sure I get some hours out of this.”

Bayne moves through the town, and I follow up the hills and through the streets, inspecting the trail of his corruption.  But I don’t see it.  There are supposed to be monsters inside the businesses he visits, blighting souls; and oozing creatures coming out of the sewers to eat poor people.  But I don’t see them.  There is supposed to be an answer to why Bayne rides a chariot while I ride the bus; it has something to do with an envelope of money, or a promise is a promise, or sins inside churches next to saints.  But it’s not there.  It’s not there.

At night, I study the red dot, waiting for it to cheat, to sneak away, to steal something, to badger someone or hurt them, to carry on with illicit loves or murders so foul.  But it stands still on the other side of town, doesn’t move, doesn’t grow or become redder, doesn’t bend or glare.  I drink.  And watch.  Drinks and drinks and drinks, until the bottles are lying broken at the bottom of the cinder blocks that make the outside wall of this basement den.  And still that red dot hasn’t moved, hasn’t changed, hasn’t grown or opened a door to netherplaces.

I’m walking, because there’s no buses at this time.  There are people on the street, just like me.  Bayne lives faraway, and it takes most of the night.  To stand on his lawn and look up at the light unlit in his house, with three garages and two cars parked outside, the white marble rock in the middle of the grass, the lamps burning along a path of light, the swings and the slides in the sandbox, the welcome mat that welcomes me too.  No one moves.  No one explains this, why this is happening to Bayne and to me, how we crossed into the same reality just before the lion roared.

The door is unlocked.  Inside, it’s dark.  The toys are in a chest.  The movies stacked on shelves.  A pickle jar of change sits on an island in the kitchen, scribbles on the tape, and there is a laptop bag and there is an exercise bag, and in the basement there is a fireproof safe.  A bar with whiskeys, scotches, malts, spirits, racks of wine in a storage cellar, a television that is a wall.

And upstairs.  A little boy in his bed.  He’s beautiful.

A little girl in a crib.  Sleeping with a smile.

And down the hall.  Bayne sleeping with an arm around a woman, a dark-haired woman.  They are quiet.  Peaceful.  Spent.

In the kitchen, I take a sip of wine from a bottle that’s quarter-full.  There is nothing in this house that is corrupt.  If there is something sordid, I can’t find it.  Can’t find it.  I know that there is something wrong.  Something missing.  Something hidden.  I find it in the bottom of the bottle.  And then again when I go through his coat and find the little patch tucked in a pocket behind a label.  And once more on the road home, as the rain begins to spit at bodies that are immune to it but not really; not really immune though we would like to think so.  And finally, I find it in the corner of the basement den, beside the broken glass, in the gap between the cinder blocks that lets the wind in.


53 thoughts on “Burst – Something Hidden

  1. Trent, now I don’t know why I tend to really like many of your writings.
    Maybe it’s for general reasons such as the way you constructs sentences to give many ideas, or your near-very-good attention to details; or more because you touch on themes the way I like. For instance I liked the content of your protagonist’s dream. How that he/she (iand I am not confused about gender this time, as the writer has made our protagonist’s gender unspecified) dreamt about just beyond Mr Has-To-Be-Corrupt, but also about how far away Mr. Pecota is from his world. I also like the part of the people-eating daemons that you expected to see emerging from his office. (At least, that was how the scene was interpreted in my mind. Hehehe!)
    Wow!!! And I so loved how you followed him like a Truth-Seeker/Haunter
    I love how you CHECKED the bottle as if you were promiscuously in the house when all the while you had been a shadow-prowler.
    Good work, Trent. This has to be P.Lew’s work. It’s a bit too good to have come from T.Lew at such a short notice + on demand.

    • Thanks Doc, but this is all you. I write stream of consciousness. I hear the voice, write the voice, primate or otherwise. I don’t revisit often, or think it through. Thinking makes things haughty in my head. I just tell stories. So you’re request met with a lost coat, and this is what happened.

  2. just the thought of that…creeped me out. great writing as always, u never disappoint! and people say I look at the world thru crazy googlyeyed glasses, discribing what I see, but u my friend…your’s are like night vision; you get inside where others don’t THINK you can see….eeek. like it ALOT

  3. This guy sounds like a sociopath who is deflecting his regrets onto the person whose life he covets. If he was this guy (and he obviously wants to be this person), then he would do all of those horrible things he is looking for.

    He is he bad guy, not Mr. Porche.

  4. Great last line, so noncommittal. 🙂 Often description can really get on my nerves but you do a very good job with it. And sometimes there really is nothing sordid and everything is just okay. Nice job.

  5. Trent. I do so enjoy your writing. You have a special way of drawing me in and carrying me along seamlessly with your words.

  6. I had a bit of a Patrick Bateman/American Psycho moment when I read this and the next instalments
    You asked about how your identities fit into the many voices I use on my blog. I have to say that they don’t, since it’s taken me so long to access this blog. However it’s clear we’re both as mad as a hatstand, generating characters from nowhere. I think most of your characters are a bit blacker than mine are, but this isn’t too surprising since my natural metier is humour, and yours is a much bleaker place

        • I know, and appreciate it. Eva-L is meant to be confusing to some degree. It’s just a mad scientist version of God coming to terms with her sexuality while pining for parents that have moved on. I think a previous post called “The Other Stuff” might be more straightforward. Sort of.

    • Interesting!!! Someone who thinks him/herself (and let the Trent do his gender-watch thing) as mad as the Trent.
      Nobodysreadingme, I am not reading you; but I’m crashing in on your blog -ready or not. Funny blog title already.
      The Trent does have strong pheromones that attract insane writers!!!
      All hail the Trent.
      (Now, I’m watching out for his awkward-as-usual response to comments like this.)

      • Um, Doc. I’m feeling a little tingly and awkward at the moment. But to hell with it. I think you and this nobodysreadingme fella will get along just fine. If any kind of altercation erupts, I promise to step in and try to elevate it until someone’s monkey comes to blows with someone’s panda. I think this blogger’s a guy, Doc. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. He seems not entirely in tune with the imagery of the mad, but he is getting there. He already fancies himself a weirdo hillbilly with a foul mouth and reprehensible relations. That’s a pretty good start.

      • Trent, Nobody’s not bad. He has a lot more “insanity” in him than he’s letting show in his writings.
        I pick some serious vibes off his comments in different places.

        I think haiku’s could be a deadly petite weapon. Depends on who’s wielding it.

        • Well we shall see Doc. But my anger at the mounting mountain of haikus is increasing daily, and soon I will have to start a campaign to dispense with them, perhaps some kind of ban or the like. It will likely be very offensive, but that is how the monkey likes it. He is hissing at me from a bookshelf even now, ready to pounce upon the next stray haiku that comes his way.

  7. King Primate Lewin
    Drops heavy ban on haikus
    Throughout his apedom

    Enchanted Primate
    King’s righthand ape recklessly
    Breeds haikus away

    See primate lewin
    So red with rage he’s bleeding
    Painfully looks on

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