Father had gotten up at 4:30 in the morning to prepare for his job interview with Lutrell Bail Bonds. He was unusually more chipper and jovial than normal, but he continued about with the sort of tension cropped up in his shoulders that ex-convicts usually walked around with. It had been a year since he was laid off from his previous firm, shortly after the new administration had taken the House, and he remained unemployed, using the monthly stimulus checks to scrape by and support us with. His severance package was nothing more than the allowance to keep the office furniture that had been provided for him. His eyes that morning reflected a queasy nervousness. Securing the job would be a difficult process. A widespread degradation was in the midst in the East coast and we still had not shaken it off. Terry often wrote, but nary spoke a word of any bigotry and persecution in the San Fernando Valley. He spoke highly of the Dunn-Roerig Initiative and seemed to be enjoying the automotive program. Father would joke.
"He's out there learning about small engines and the starter on the Plymouth is about to blow. What a time to have that knucklehead out in California."
He had been a wreck for weeks and was masking his discontent for the neighborhood turmoils and violent attacks with the sheen of new opportunities, no matter how impossible they seemed to be. Me, I had not been to school in months. The right wing of the building had been destroyed. I along with the other children of our disposition were placed there, away from the other students. No one was hurt, but our families immediately took us from the school until further notice. The others were being home-schooled by their families. I hadn't opened a book in months. I envied Terry out in sunny California, running through the desert, driving fast cars, probably making many interesting friends. He mailed me a postcard with a Joshua tree on it. He lived miles away from forests of them.
We were to go into town as a family today. While dad was in his interview, mom agreed to take me to the movies on the far East side of town where much of the hostility hadn't stretched. It was a less than favorable area, but they had figured it would swallow itself from the inside. No need in putting it into boxes.

Dad pulled up to a small brick building. Written very small on the door it said Lutrell Bail Bonds. I didn't know what a bail bondsman was and I never asked dad. He always said it was very important and that sometimes he got to carry a gun. I had never seen a gun in our home. He straightened his tie in the rear-view and ran his hand through his hair part, trying to keep it in place, slicked back over his forehead like he was trying to be Clark Gable, but I only say that because he shaved his beard into a thin mustache and he kind of looked like Clark Gable, or maybe someone else. My mother kissed him on the cheek and wished him luck. He got out of the car and mom crawled into the driver's side. As we drove away I looked back and saw that dad was still standing at the steps, just staring at the building. he was still like that when we drove out of sight.
The theater was called MacArthur Cinema and they only ever played two movies at the same the time. It was a very small theater, and the paneling on the inside walls was cracked and coming off. I wanted to see The Velvet Glove with Jane Marcia Moore and Thomas Marczika but it was rated R and mom wouldn't let me. We settled for The Marvelous Love Zeppelin with Dudley Doonberry, which was sure to be very silly. We took our seats. Except for several other people it was almost completely empty.
In the movie, Dudley Doonberry's character, Professor Nafhugel, builds a zeppelin that is used as a couple's retreat that can house five hundred people. I tried to focus on the movie but the couple sitting behind us were whispering loudly to each other. It became apparent that we were the subject of conversation. I sank back into my seat. I knew that on this side of town we stuck out like a sore thumb, and I knew that the theater closest to us had banned our types from entrance. I knew that my parents wanted us to continue with our lives before the cap and siege - They wanted us to continue to swim at the lake by our house and go to the movies and sleepover with our friends. I knew they turned an ear to everything until they were alone in their rooms, screaming and shouting at each other. And I knew that my father had struck my mother during one of these arguments about uprooting us in a different school in a different city, because I had heard his hand connect with her face. But I was disgusted and I wanted to leave. I tugged at my mother's arm, but her attention had been grabbed before me by the gentleman behind us.
"You shouldn't be in a place like this, books," he said. "It's stretched around some of these parts."
My mother grabbed my arm and turned to listen to the young man, who was holding his girlfriends hand tight.
"Did you know they stopped the bus route leading down here? They're trapping books down here. Giving them no option to leave except to drive, and you'd be amazed at how many unofficial car tows have happened. Did you park on the curb in front of the building?"
My mother nodded.
"If it ain't been vandalized yet it'll be towed. And good luck getting it out if it is."
My mother thanked the gentleman and yanked me up quickly by arm. The pressure hurt. As we left the sound of the picture began to crackle and emit a hissing noise. It didn't correlate with the images of Dudley Doonberry at the helm of his Love Zeppelin. I turned my gaze towards the projection room. It was in flames. My mother dragged me up the aisle. I turned back to Dudley. As he spoke, the sound of burning film reel came out of his mouth. Speaking fire. Barking flames.
Our car was still in one piece and my mother essentially threw me into the back of the car.
"Keep your head down low," she said to me and sped down the street. She slammed her breaks and I flew into the front seat, smashing my head into the dashboard. She had braked abruptly for two crossing pedestrians - Long black cloaks, liquid paper-white rubber skeleton masks. My mother screamed and put the car in reverse. The two of them chased us down the road. My mother reversed into a side street, put the car in drive and pulled back onto Main, speeding maniacally. In the distance I saw thick smoke pouring from MacArthur's Theater and the image of a 10 foot tall Dudley Doonberry destroying the building with his fire breath never left me.

We sat and waited outside of Lutrell Bail Bonds for dad to be done with his interview. My mother had nursed the wound on my forehead from the dashboard incident and fixed my hair in a way that it hung over my face to hide the blemish. She didn't want dad to know about the incident.
"Your father has enough on his plate. I don't want him worrying about you kids, okay? Okay?"
I nodded and she kissed me on the forehead.
Dad walked out of the front door with his hands in his pocket and his head down to the ground. He took the front seat and put the keys in the ignition. My mother grabbed his hand and he didn't have to say a word for us to know that he did not get the position. My mother didn't say a word to him. We drove off and the two were silent. Stoic in a way that chilled me to the bone. I broke the silence.
"What happened, dad?"
He looked back at me in the rear-view, fighting for an explanation.
"Well, I couldn't take the job...we would've had to relocate all the way to some place called Crabtree, Maryland. Would've been a lot to do. Too dangerous."
I wouldn't realize until years later that a position as a bail bondsman for a local, family operated firm would never require a relocation. I said nothing the rest of the car ride home.

In California, on a plantation in the middle of the desert, Terry hid underneath the maple desk of Mr. Dunn, picking through hundreds of un-mailed letters from the children at the Dunn-Roerig Initiative. Most of the furniture had been evacuated and the land-line phone had been ripped from the wall and lie in pieces on the floor. He sorted through the letters trying to find his name. He heard a loud thud and reached into his jacket pocket for the knife he stole from the mess hall. He cautiously stuck his head over the desk to see if anyone was there. It was empty. He continued to look through the letters and found them: Seven letters from him addressed to the family, wrapped with a rubber band. He pocketed the letters and reached for his knife. He ran out of the office and into the night, knife in hand, through the desert and into the darkness as every building, vehicle and body behind him were drenched in flames, stretching out into the darkness, lighting up the sky like a signal, circling the Dunn-Roerig Initiative like a rung of Hell.
Poor advice.
Last edited by stellar_legs at Apr 13, 2011,
Good stuff man, I don't know how you plan to, or if I want you to, end this with just one more episode. But I'll make sure to catch it.

You use 'Lowell' instead of 'Lutrell' in the fourth paragraph. I don't know if that's on purpose.
"Pain or damage don't end the world nor despair, nor fuckin' beatings. The world ends when you're dead, until then you have more punishment in store. Stand it like a man, and give some back."
on pt II

chipper/jovial doesn't seem right--- do you need both?

He lived miles away from forests of them.
could use a 'just' before miles away to make it sound closer. At least thats the intention I drew from it.

through his hair part, trying to keep it in place, slicked back over his forehead like he was trying to be Clark Gable
the two tryings are a little funny. you could just say through his hair part 'to' keep it in place, slicked back over his.....like he was trying to be clark gable

But I was disgusted and I wanted to leave
this sentence feels out of place. the but connects it to the sentence before it and "leave" doesn't seem to fit the dad hitting scene because it is too vague. It fits the theater scene but the "but" doesn't break away from the series of images that seperates it from the theater.

I flew into the front seat, smashing my head into the dashboard.
i'm picturing her flying between the front seats. if it's over the front seat and into it or if its a bench seat and she has to go over it, that seems much more violent and would need a slight rewording to explain that it wasn't or show how it happened in a way that wasn't, or an aftermath to show that it was, though i'm assuming its not too bad because of the word blemish.

very nice use of time and structure with the ending
Anatomy Anatomy
Whale Blue Review

Park that car
Drop that phone
Sleep on the floor
Dream about me