Scenes from Unscripted Movies (short story excerpt)

October 31st 1998

Billy Thomson sat upon the roof tiles of his house, not-so-gently nursing a stolen bottle of his father’s Jack Daniels. It was Halloween and a crisp clear evening, the night sky was dotted with brightly burning stars, all of them somebody’s wish that never came true. Sophie had invited him out to a party that someone in her French class was throwing, but he hadn’t been in the mood. Hell, he didn’t know how she could even bare do something slightly social, yet alone a party. He hadn’t been out since Harley’s death. Even though some people still stayed hopeful; “They never found the body, he could still be alive.” Like hell he could be, house broken into, dog dead, no sign of Harley - but sign of a struggle. You had to be a fucking idiot to believe that he was possibly alive. He was dead, that was it. He shivered and took another swig of whiskey. He had to clean out his locker. Take out his graffiti-covered text books and rotten apple cores and throw them in a black plastic trash sack. He couldn’t help but think it too closely resembled a body bag. He undid the cuff on his plaid shirt and rolled up the sleeve, revealing a crappy home job tattoo that he had paid a kid a six pack of Bud to do. He ran his fingers over the crooked letters: HxJxW – Harley Jerome Winterson. Billy wiped a tear from his eye, he was a big guy, all of his life people had told him he should try out for the hockey or football team, but he had never been interested. Music had always been; and still was his thing. Pounding the shit of the drum kit came in very useful these days. He wasn’t afraid of crying.
                He could hear his parents watching TV in their bedroom below him. They had been the worst of all, telling him that prayer would help save Harley’s soul and shit like that. He had been raised as a Christian, and had happily accepted it for most of his life, but now his faith in God seemed more like a punishment – not a test. If there was such a holy man, then why did he let such awful things happen to good people? If there was a giant man in the sky, then why was there wars, famine, death, disease? Wasn’t that supposed to come at the end of the world? To Billy it seemed like it had been there all along. As old as the dawn of time. He took a crumpled packet of Lucky Strikes from his pocket and lit one with the Zippo he had found in Harley’s locker. He probably hadn’t realized he had left it in there; he had a habit of being forgetful. He swallowed the last few mouthfuls if whiskey and lobbed the empty bottle off the roof. He heard it smash on the road. Fuck it, he thought, flicking his cigarette butt into the gutter. He climbed back into his bedroom window and passed out on his bed.

An excerpt from the short story Scenes from Unscripted Movies which shall be appearing somewhere, sometime.*

*Eventually appearing in Southpaw Nights.