This began as a writing prompt for one of the writing groups I’m in. We meet every other week, and try to think up the most challenging writing prompts we can. When we meet, we share our 500 word fiction. Loads of fun, everyone’s story is different, everyone’s mind running in interesting directions. This prompt was:
Two Camels and a 45.
The sun is an eye. It sees what I have done, and there is no place to hide. The car is like an oven, providing no shade, and I don’t dare go inside again until the sun goes down.
I watch as the vultures circle. Their dull black feathers look dusty from here. They do not shine. Like so many undertakers, they descend upon the dying man. It’s lunch time. They ignore the revolver that glitters in the sun.
The hand that tries to wave them off is feeble now, and accomplishes nothing more that a soft stroking of their feathers. He is rewarded with several bites. The blood attracts more of them, and they set to work.
The screams have stopped, and he’s been still for hours. I throw up, but I don’t help him. I know the keys to the car are in his pocket, but I cannot convince myself to go near his body. I’ve seen far too many movies, and I know how people rise from near death to finish the evil job they started. Although with the wound in his head, I can’t imagine how that could happen. Now I think I see slight movement again, although it could be from the vultures pulling and fighting over their meal of fresh meat.
I should finish him off, I think. But as I pull the trigger, nothing happens but a metallic click. I check and find the chambers empty. I put the revolver to my head and once again test fate. Nothing. I watch the vultures and realize I could be next on their menu.
I stand over the mutilated corpse. “Jack. Where did we go wrong?” My voice is merely a raspy whisper. I get no answer.
It is time. I have a 7:00 appointment tonight. I’ve stayed far too long.
With my boot, I gently move the vultures away from my husband’s suit jacket. With any luck, the vultures will do their job, and he won’t be identifiable when he’s found. I shield my face from the birds as I dip into his pockets and find wallet, keys, cigarettes, lighter and cell phone. I light up one of his last cigarettes, and even though it’s frightfully hot, I enjoy it right down to the filter. I make a silent wish that the fires of Hell are ready for him. I throw the pack down and place the rest of his belongings in my pockets. I leave the revolver in the sand. I know it’s untraceable.
As I retreat, the scavengers dig into the body once again. “Happy Anniversary, Darling.” I try to yell as I unlock the car. The roar of the engine makes me feel better, and I turn on the air conditioning full blast. I reach into the backseat and open the cooler I had placed there this morning. I smile as I toss back a cool one. Yes, I feel much better. The vultures have not moved, and I see more circling the sky. I wonder if they’re thankful for the sacrifice I’ve brought them. I know I’m thankful for their services.
I enjoy the picture laid out in front of me before I pull away. May I remember it always. Jack in the desert sand, surrounded by birds, two camels and a 45.
c. 2012 Fai Marie Dawson