Kevin Carman Writes

Poems, short stories, essays and words by Kevin Carman

Another Use For a White sheet

leave a comment »

Stinky did not like this neighborhood. “You didn‘t tell me the job was over here Wez.”
“huh- uh.” Wez chortled, “Then you wouldn’t have come. And I need you.”
They turned left onto Rhodesia Avenue, deep in the heart of Lakewood. A district of southeast Atlanta. This was a particularly rough area, in a place that was all rough areas. It was early. Just after dawn. Wez was trying to take advantage of a prematurely warm, late winter day. In the shadows you could still see the urchins of the night. Waiting for one more crack head to come rolling up. Looking for one more twenty of the hard, to get thru the morning. This was the transition time. When the urchins faded inside, giving the neighborhood back to the day world. Most would hide behind curtains. Peeking thru windows. Paranoid of the light of day. The real modern vampire. Up all night. Sucking the life out of their victims. Not with super human power, and animal like canines, but with money made strength, and needles and pipes for teeth.
There were several of these guys on Rhodesia Avenue. Stinky saw them. Like an evil shadow that hissed in the back of his brain, as it passed the corner of his eye.  He was seriously thinking about telling Wez to just turn around and take him home. He knew this place was crazy, night and day. But he didn’t. They pulled into the driveway of the house they were working on.. Then got out of the truck and surveyed the situation.
Wez finished his cigarette, and flicked it into the yard, “Looks alright to me”
“Yea? Well looks can be deceiving.” Stinky shot back, “ I sure as hell wouldn’t let my guard down.”
“Whatever man. I don’t have time to worry about that shit.” Wez countered, “I got to finish this roof today.  Now let’s unload the tools and get the ladders set up”
“Yes sir boss.” Stinky said, as he began to unload the tools. “What ever you say boss. But I still don’t like it.”
They set to the task at hand, and pretty soon they were lost in the moment of the project. Stinky always kept an eye and ear on the avenue though. And there seemed to already be some trouble brewing.
Several houses down, there was a strange across the street argument going on. Two men, one on each side of the street, were yelling at each other. One man was big and fat, and the other was small and skinny. They were both wasted. It was hard to understand anything they were saying. They were so high there lips and tongues didn’t work quite right. This, mixed with the deep slang they were using, reminded Stinky of a documentary he once saw. It was a film about the holy roller snake handlers from the mountains of West Virginia. Their form of worship was to drink strychnine, handle poisonous snakes, and speak in tongues. It was the speaking in tongues that he was reminded of in the two men’s arguing. It gave him the same feeling he got when he saw the little girl in the film. She couldn’t have been older than seven or eight. Her arms were out stretched, palms facing up , with several deadly poisonous snakes on them. Her eyes were glazed over in a vacant stare.  She spoke in a language that was all her own. Intelligible to none but her and the god she may meet very soon.
The feeling that he had while watching that little girl, was the same feeling he got while watching those two men. It was a feeling of imminent danger. So strong was that feeling here, that he thought he could smell it.
“Have I told you how much I don’t like this neighborhood Wez?” Stinky called out, as he made the cuts in the wood.
“Yea stinky, I get it.” Wez shot back from up on the roof. “ I’m not real happy with it myself, but I need the money, and I know you do to. So let’s just get it done. If we hit it hard, we’ll be out of here  by noon.”
So they kept at it. Stinky made cuts and handed the material up to wez who installed them on the roof. Several hours passed. The argument down the street continued unabated. If there voices were silent for a few minutes, it was because one of the men had gone inside to get high. Stinky was hoping they would pass out before they began selling beer at the store up the street. This was not to be the case. Stinky knew this, when he saw the little guy walking up the street at nine. This meant only one thing. He was going to buy beer. He walked right past Stinky. Stumbling along and mumbling to himself. He held his pants up with a thumb thru the belt loop. Up being just below the bottom of the buttocks. There was a large bulge in his right front pocket, indicating the size of his bankroll. His free arm swung like a metronome, counterbalancing his drug and alcohol induced swagger. He looked over at the racket stinky was making with the saw. Stinky looked up at the same time. They locked eyes for a second, but there was no mutual recognition.  There was only one person there. Stinky had scene schizophrenic street walkers that were more lucid than this guy.  The little, skinny crack dealer kept walking to the beer store, and stinky kept cutting the wood. When he finished, he handed the cut pieces up to wez and asked, “you sure you don’t want to pack the tools up now and go?”
Wez gave him an annoyed look,” no. I don’t.”
“right on man” stinky said. As he climbed back down to the ground. To the level of the avenue.
He went back to cutting the wood into the proper lengths. The little skinny man walked past him again. He carried a twelve pack of  Schlitz malt liquor bull- tall boys, and a pack of kool cigarettes. He didn’t look up at Stinky as he passed. He was too busy tearing the cellophane top off of the cigarette pack with his teeth. This proved to be quite the challenge, because he was holding the beer in the same hand. His other hand was holding his pants up. He was so caught up in getting that cellophane open, he never saw the big fat guy coming. He came barreling up from the backside with his weight fully behind him, and threw a round house meat club into the side of the skinny guys head. He dropped like a sack of potatoes. The big guy picked up the beer and cigarettes, and ran back over to his house.
Stinky looked up at wez, ”you sure you don’t want to throw the tools in the truck and get out of here?
“no!” Wez yelled from the roof “come on man. Just keep cutting, and don’t pay it any attention.”
“That’s easy for you to say” Stinky said, “you’re up on the roof. I’m down here right next to the street. Shits getting crazy out here, and it’s not even ten in the morning yet.”
“Yea, I know. This does seem to be an unusually busy morning. Let’s just try and hurry up and finish Stinky. You know I’ll make it worth your while.”
:“I’ve heard that one before” Stinky said, as he began cutting once more.
The little man slowly regained consciousness. His first signs of being alive were some involuntary kicks of the leg. Then shakes of the head. He slowly stood up, wobbling back and forth. He was bleeding from his mouth, his ear, and the side of his head. He stood there in the middle of the road for several minutes. It seems his body recovered much quicker than his mind. As it began to dawn on him what happened, he realized his beer was gone.  And the smokes. He started jumping up and down, cursing and pointing in the direction of the big mans house. He ran over to it. The big man was sitting on the porch drinking one of the beers.
Stinky quit cutting and watched.  “wez? I think we need to load the tools up”
The little man was yelling at the big man from the road. The big man was yelling at the little man from the porch. Drinking the little mans beer, and blowing smoke rings at him. All of a sudden, the little man quit yelling. He turned around and calmly walked back to his house. The big man was chugging the beers. Trying to drink them all before the little man could do anything about it.
Stinky said, ”Wez I’m serious. I think we need to throw the tools in the truck right now, and get out of here.”
“Are you serious? What the fuck is so bad that we got to leave right now?”
“I told you” Stinky pressed, “this street is about to blow up, and I don’t want to be here when it does.”
“Aw shit” Wez resigned, “let me finish nailing these last few boards, and we’ll get out of here.”
This made Stinky happy. He looked down to the houses where the big and little men were. What he saw made his stomach clench up in a tight fist. The little man was walking down the steps of his porch. He had a white sheet draped over his right shoulder. Under the sheet, he held a shot gun in his right hand. He walked out to the middle of the street, and called the big mans name.
Stinky started tossing tools in to the truck . “Wez we got to go. Toss me down your tools.”
“Alright, alright. Here they come.”
The big man came out to his steps, yelling at the little man. The little man didn’t say anything. He just stood there. The big man came down his steps. A steady stream of nasty vitriol emanated from his mouth. He flicked his cigarette butt at the little man. It was the last thing he ever did in this world. Stinky saw the whole thing in slow motion. The little man never flinched. The butt hit him in the face, and he fired a round ten feet from the big man. It hit him in the chest,  knocking him back so violently into the steps that the back of his head smashed like a watermelon when it connected. A big red hole formed on his white t-shirt, and he was dead.
Stinky was struck dumb for a moment. “Ffuuucckk!” was all he could get out.
The little man started walking his way. Still holding the gun under the white sheet. That now had a brown and black fringed hole in it. That demon that was hissing in the back of his mind, was now right in the front. Smelling of death and mindless violence. It’s mouth open wide. With a banshee army inside. There collective screech created it’s own weather system. A strong wind shimmered from the cavernous mouth of the demon.  Blowing on the wind was the smell of burnt gun powder and smoking hot steel. So close it warmed his face.
Those mad steel eyes. Staring at him from the cover of a white sheet. He’d seen them before. Where was it? Stinky tried to remember. Then it hit him. He was at Stone mountain . His family had walked up to the top to watch the sunset. On the walk down, they saw a fire burning. In a meadow near the base of the rock. He and his brother ran ahead to investigate. They came down below the meadow, but could see the flame through the trees.  As they got closer, Stinky could see that the flame was a huge bonfire, and there were people standing around it.
“Jason” he whispered to his brother, “I don’t think we should be here”
“Yep” said Jason, “c’mon” and he kept moving up. Stinky followed reluctantly, off to the left. A little closer to the edge of the field. He could  now see what he didn’t want to. All the people had on white sheets, with pointy white caps covering there faces. Two black holes for eyes were the only thing exposing the person underneath.  This was a Ku Klux Klan rally. Alarm signals went off in his head. He was about to say something to his brother when his eye was distracted by a glimmer of light. It was the light of the fire, reflecting off the steel of the barrel of a shotgun that was pointed at him.
“What you doin’  boy?” The voice seemed to come from those double barrel shotgun eyes.  Stinky’s response was to turn around and run like a scared rabbit. He could hear his brother laughing as they ran….
When he came out of his revelry, those same steel eyes were staring at him. Up close and personal. The little man had walked right up to Stinky, pointing the gun in his face. Wez watched helplessly from the truck. Stinky was thinking that there wasn’t going to be any running away this time. The little man looked Stinky in the eyes and said, “Now that’s how a nigga take care o bidness in Lakewood mutha fucka”
Stinky didn’t say anything. He just kept staring him down. The little guy held the gun to Stinky’s face for a few more seconds. Down the street, the big man’s brother came out of there house and found him. He began wailing over and over, “he killed my brotha! He killed my brotha!”
The little man smiled and said, ”That muthafucka deserved everything he got”, then dropped his arm, turned around and began to run. He tossed the gun and the sheet over a fence of another house , and kept on running.
Stinky stood frozen for a few minutes, while wez finished loading the truck. He didn’t move until he heard the truck start up. The big man’s brother was still wailing.  Stinky jumped in and wez hit the gas.  They drove for several miles without speaking. Stinky looked over at wez and said, “I told you I didn’t like that neighborhood.”…

Stinky did not like this neighborhood. “You didn‘t tell me the job was over here Wez.”                                              “huh- uh.” Wez chortled, “Then you wouldn’t have come. And I need you”  They turned left onto Rhodesia Avenue, deep in the heart of Lakewood. A district of southeast Atlanta. This was a particularly rough area, in a place that was all rough areas. It was early. Just after dawn. Wez was trying to take advantage of a prematurely warm, late winter day. In the shadows you could still see the urchins of the night. Waiting for one more crack head to come rolling up. Looking for one more twenty of the hard, to get thru the morning. This was the transition time. When the urchins faded inside, giving the neighborhood back to the day world. Most would hide behind curtains. Peeking thru windows. Paranoid of the light of day. The real modern vampire. Up all night. Sucking the life out of their victims. Not with super human power, and animal like canines, but with money made strength, and needles and pipes for teeth.              There were several of these guys on Rhodesia Avenue. Stinky saw them. Like an evil shadow that hissed in the back of his brain, as it passed the corner of his eye.  He was seriously thinking about telling Wez to just turn around and take him home. He knew this place was crazy, night and day. But he didn’t. They pulled into the driveway of the house they were working on.. Then got out of the truck and surveyed the situation.                Wez finished his cigarette, and flicked it into the yard, “Looks alright to me”     “Yea? Well looks can be deceiving.” Stinky shot back, “ I sure as hell wouldn’t let my guard down.”     “Whatever man. I don’t have time to worry about that shit.” Wez countered, “I got to finish this roof today.  Now let’s unload the tools and get the ladders set up”     “Yes sir boss.” Stinky said, as he began to unload the tools. “What ever you say boss. But I still don’t like it.”  They set to the task at hand, and pretty soon they were lost in the moment of the project. Stinky always kept an eye and ear on the avenue though. And there seemed to already be some trouble brewing.  Several houses down, there was a strange across the street argument going on. Two men, one on each side of the street, were yelling at each other. One man was big and fat, and the other was small and skinny. They were both wasted. It was hard to understand anything they were saying. They were so high there lips and tongues didn’t work quite right. This, mixed with the deep slang they were using, reminded Stinky of a documentary he once saw. It was a film about the holy roller snake handlers from the mountains of West Virginia. Their form of worship was to drink strychnine, handle poisonous snakes, and speak in tongues. It was the speaking in tongues that he was reminded of in the two men’s arguing. It gave him the same feeling he got when he saw the little girl in the film. She couldn’t have been older than seven or eight. Her arms were out stretched, palms facing up , with several deadly poisonous snakes on them. Her eyes were glazed over in a vacant stare.  She spoke in a language that was all her own. Intelligible to none but her and the god she may meet very soon.                  The feeling that he had while watching that little girl, was the same feeling he got while watching those two men. It was a feeling of imminent danger. So strong was that feeling here, that he thought he could smell it.             “Have I told you how much I don’t like this neighborhood Wez?” Stinky called out, as he made the cuts in the wood.             “Yea stinky, I get it.” Wez shot back from up on the roof. “ I’m not real happy with it myself, but I need the money, and I know you do to. So let’s just get it done. If we hit it hard, we’ll be out of here  by noon.”            So they kept at it. Stinky made cuts and handed the material up to wez who installed them on the roof. Several hours passed. The argument down the street continued unabated. If there voices were silent for a few minutes, it was because one of the men had gone inside to get high. Stinky was hoping they would pass out before they began selling beer at the store up the street. This was not to be the case. Stinky knew this, when he saw the little guy walking up the street at nine. This meant only one thing. He was going to buy beer. He walked right past Stinky. Stumbling along and mumbling to himself. He held his pants up with a thumb thru the belt loop. Up being just below the bottom of the buttocks. There was a large bulge in his right front pocket, indicating the size of his bankroll. His free arm swung like a metronome, counterbalancing his drug and alcohol induced swagger. He looked over at the racket stinky was making with the saw. Stinky looked up at the same time. They locked eyes for a second, but there was no mutual recognition.  There was only one person there. Stinky had scene schizophrenic street walkers that were more lucid than this guy.  The little, skinny crack dealer kept walking to the beer store, and stinky kept cutting the wood. When he finished, he handed the cut pieces up to wez and asked, “you sure you don’t want to pack the tools up now and go?”      Wez gave him an annoyed look,” no. I don’t.”        “right on man” stinky said. As he climbed back down to the ground. To the level of the avenue.    He went back to cutting the wood into the proper lengths. The little skinny man walked past him again. He carried a twelve pack of  Schlitz malt liquor bull- tall boys, and a pack of kool cigarettes. He didn’t look up at Stinky as he passed. He was too busy tearing the cellophane top off of the cigarette pack with his teeth. This proved to be quite the challenge, because he was holding the beer in the same hand. His other hand was holding his pants up. He was so caught up in getting that cellophane open, he never saw the big fat guy coming. He came barreling up from the backside with his weight fully behind him, and threw a round house meat club into the side of the skinny guys head. He dropped like a sack of potatoes. The big guy picked up the beer and cigarettes, and ran back over to his house.         Stinky looked up at wez, ”you sure you don’t want to throw the tools in the truck and get out of here?          “no!” Wez yelled from the roof “come on man. Just keep cutting, and don’t pay it any attention.”         “That’s easy for you to say” Stinky said, “you’re up on the roof. I’m down here right next to the street. Shits getting crazy out here, and it’s not even ten in the morning yet.”         “Yea, I know. This does seem to be an unusually busy morning. Let’s just try and hurry up and finish Stinky. You know I’ll make it worth your while.”         :“I’ve heard that one before” Stinky said, as he began cutting once more.   The little man slowly regained consciousness. His first signs of being alive were some involuntary kicks of the leg. Then shakes of the head. He slowly stood up, wobbling back and forth. He was bleeding from his mouth, his ear, and the side of his head. He stood there in the middle of the road for several minutes. It seems his body recovered much quicker than his mind. As it began to dawn on him what happened, he realized his beer was gone.  And the smokes. He started jumping up and down, cursing and pointing in the direction of the big mans house. He ran over to it. The big man was sitting on the porch drinking one of the beers.     Stinky quit cutting and watched.  “wez? I think we need to load the tools up”    The little man was yelling at the big man from the road. The big man was yelling at the little man from the porch. Drinking the little mans beer, and blowing smoke rings at him. All of a sudden, the little man quit yelling. He turned around and calmly walked back to his house. The big man was chugging the beers. Trying to drink them all before the little man could do anything about it.         Stinky said, ”Wez I’m serious. I think we need to throw the tools in the truck right now, and get out of here.”            “Are you serious? What the fuck is so bad that we got to leave right now?”          “I told you” Stinky pressed, “this street is about to blow up, and I don’t want to be here when it does.”          “Aw shit” Wez resigned, “let me finish nailing these last few boards, and we’ll get out of here.”    This made Stinky happy. He looked down to the houses where the big and little men were. What he saw made his stomach clench up in a tight fist. The little man was walking down the steps of his porch. He had a white sheet draped over his right shoulder. Under the sheet, he held a shot gun in his right hand. He walked out to the middle of the street, and called the big mans name.      Stinky started tossing tools in to the truck . “Wez we got to go. Toss me down your tools.”          “Alright, alright. Here they come.”     The big man came out to his steps, yelling at the little man. The little man didn’t say anything. He just stood there. The big man came down his steps. A steady stream of nasty vitriol emanated from his mouth. He flicked his cigarette butt at the little man. It was the last thing he ever did in this world. Stinky saw the whole thing in slow motion. The little man never flinched. The butt hit him in the face, and he fired a round ten feet from the big man. It hit him in the chest,  knocking him back so violently into the steps that the back of his head smashed like a watermelon when it connected. A big red hole formed on his white t-shirt, and he was dead.    Stinky was struck dumb for a moment. “Ffuuucckk!” was all he could get out.    The little man started walking his way. Still holding the gun under the white sheet. That now had a brown and black fringed hole in it. That demon that was hissing in the back of his mind, was now right in the front. Smelling of death and mindless violence. It’s mouth open wide. With a banshee army inside. There collective screech created it’s own weather system. A strong wind shimmered from the cavernous mouth of the demon.  Blowing on the wind was the smell of burnt gun powder and smoking hot steel. So close it warmed his face.    Those mad steel eyes. Staring at him from the cover of a white sheet. He’d seen them before. Where was it? Stinky tried to remember. Then it hit him. He was at Stone mountain . His family had walked up to the top to watch the sunset. On the walk down, they saw a fire burning. In a meadow near the base of the rock. He and his brother ran ahead to investigate. They came down below the meadow, but could see the flame through the trees.  As they got closer, Stinky could see that the flame was a huge bonfire, and there were people standing around it.                                                                                “Jason” he whispered to his brother, “I don’t think we should be here”                          “Yep” said Jason, “c’mon” and he kept moving up. Stinky followed reluctantly, off to the left. A little closer to the edge of the field. He could  now see what he didn’t want to. All the people had on white sheets, with pointy white caps covering there faces. Two black holes for eyes were the only thing exposing the person underneath.  This was a Ku Klux Klan rally. Alarm signals went off in his head. He was about to say something to his brother when his eye was distracted by a glimmer of light. It was the light of the fire, reflecting off the steel of the barrel of a shotgun that was pointed at him.                                                                                                                                  “What you doin’  boy?” The voice seemed to come from those double barrel shotgun eyes.  Stinky’s response was to turn around and run like a scared rabbit. He could hear his brother laughing as they ran….  When he came out of his revelry, those same steel eyes were staring at him. Up close and personal. The little man had walked right up to Stinky, pointing the gun in his face. Wez watched helplessly from the truck. Stinky was thinking that there wasn’t going to be any running away this time. The little man looked Stinky in the eyes and said, “Now that’s how a nigga take care o bidness in Lakewood mutha fucka”     Stinky didn’t say anything. He just kept staring him down. The little guy held the gun to Stinky’s face for a few more seconds. Down the street, the big man’s brother came out of there house and found him. He began wailing over and over, “he killed my brotha! He killed my brotha!”    The little man smiled and said, ”That muthafucka deserved everything he got”, then dropped his arm, turned around and began to run. He tossed the gun and the sheet over a fence of another house , and kept on running.                Stinky stood frozen for a few minutes, while wez finished loading the truck. He didn’t move until he heard the truck start up. The big man’s brother was still wailing.  Stinky jumped in and wez hit the gas.  They drove for several miles without speaking. Stinky looked over at wez and said, “I told you I didn’t like that neighborhood.”…

Advertisements

Written by kevincarman

February 24, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: