Head over Heels
Sometimes everything, everything, is turned upside down. In dreamlike state they say anything is possible. Anything.
What must remain, as persistence, is the pumping. Adrenaline fuels dream to reality. No matter how you rotate the mystery, the rhythm must be there, consistent. Till the end.
That's the way it was, terrifying, culminating with the escape. The plan was simple. Two days in for petty theft. Maturation of the stock, and collection on release. Starter debt paid from the yield. Simple. Just a little foot work.
For now, the pace, the pacing of 6x8', meaning 48 square, or 384' cubic space. A mere 48 hours short-breath, a little break, in this safe room. Because they'll be looking everywhere. Almost, every where.
It was grotesquely simple. The silicone was what made it possible, the security, waterproofing, heat insulating, acid buffering. All the vital data on the micro-SD was safely enclosed in the vacuum tight silicone casing. Swallowed right before the handcuffing. And now the wait.
Of course, there was a partner on the outside. Two halves palpitating, in separate chambers. That is the heart of the matter, whether, the flow of time and integrity, would continue with each passing compression.
What was worth more, keeping or letting go, that is answer.
I passed the tan silicone casing at the 47th hour. Scrubbed it with the antibac from the dispenser at the sink to the right of the open toilet while pretending to brush my teeth.
Don't drop now, don't drop, don't drop out. I kept the tiny square compressed between ring and pinky fingers, having feigned arthritis since booking. The plan was to put it between my toes on reaccessing my shoes.
So far so good.
I have my civilian clothes. I have this livid vision of the pig head from the Lord of the Flies. I've dreamt about release for days, even before the heist and every time, it's skewered pig head chasing me. Some twisted symbolism of thumbing the snout of the po po.
Now I'm out, sun glaring and the parking lot is empty. Empty. And it shouldn't be. Don't run. Don't run. Don't. We're free and clear. Free and clear. This was the new start. But there's nobody here. My own footsteps crunching gravel. Free and clear. Nobody on the horizon. I can hear my heart pumping, my pacing quickening. Then a motor is revving. It's coming. From behind.
It's coming to get me. I'm running. You said, whatever you do, don't run. Don't let them see you running. No way of out speeding a fierce Koenigsegg Jesko Absolut, turbocharged 1,600 horsepower. No idea where in blue blazes the steel came from, and I'm feeling blindsided multidimensionally.
Somebody found out, or somebody squealed.
The last thing flashing before me is pain, the empty parking pavement yellow streaked, and those stupid Air Jordan's treadmilling the partly cloudy sky, while I'm squeezing the little memory disk, like my life depends on it.
And then, blackness.
FFF#6: FootChase @ChrisSadhill
The tracker examined the ground close to the school - looking for signs left by two pairs of small, barefoot, brown feet. The same size as his daughters, probably. His skin prickled under the cold stares of the white men, as they sat atop their horses and waited impatiently for him to make his assessment.
After a few moments, he was certain of which way the girls had gone - their journey was written in the ancient dirt, but he hesitated a moment more, because he knew they were someone's daughters and in his heart he wanted them to escape. He had witnessed some of the cruelty that the nuns and teachers dispensed to the girls in these schools - he had seen the scarring and bruising on countless children, some so young they still had their milk teeth. He also understood the hopelessness that came from being taken from the land to which you belonged.
'Hurry up Mulga,' the police inspector barked. 'If you want to see your girls again - you'll lead us to these two runaways.'
Mulga kept his face impassive, but his liquid eyes flashed with anger at the threat in the man's words. These white men on their horses had no chance of finding these girls without him, they had scant knowledge of the land, of the subtle signs here and there in this sparse, arid landscape.
'They headed north suh,' he says at last - pointing in the direction that the footprints led. To the north was Wollawai and the land the girls belonged to. It was over a thousand miles away, but Mulga knew there was nowhere else they would go. The land had their people, their stories, their dreaming.
The three men on their horses quickly made a plan. To his relief, none of them asked for his advice.
Finally, they rode north. No-one offered Mulga a horse. He didn't want one. He had walked this land his whole life. His people had walked this land for thousands of years.
So he followed on foot, his eyes scanning the ground for the very subtle signs the girls had left behind. Sometimes he walked a hundred metres without spotting something and would have to double back to where he had last seen the tracks - as the men on the horses audibly sighed their exasperation and made snide remarks about his ability to hunt the girls.
But he knew they would head towards water. You couldn't survive more than a few days in this land without water and the girls hadn't been given many possessions at that school. Perhaps they had managed to steal a little food and a water canteen, or perhaps in their desperation to escape, they had left with nothing at all.
Another tiny toeprint in the sand. He lead the chase north-west, with a heavy heart and leaden feet.
Footprints on the Beach — the Rest of the Story
My heart was heavy, but I trudged on. My weight was that of Atlas, but I put the next foot forward. My feet sunk deeper the harder I tried, in Sisyphisian torture. And when all was lost, I turned and looked behind me. There were two sets of footprints in the sand.
Renewed with spiritual courage, I resumed in earnest. Looking askew, I noticed there was only one set now as I walked.
I was alone.
And it was hard. There was no one carrying me. Each inch was as painful as Prometheus' liver. Each stride was as if fouled by harpies.
Where were the other footsteps? Why was I left alone to carry my own weight?
I began to run, as if in a race, but it was a foot chase. After all, my companion, my savior, had either dropped far behind me or has jumped ahead, hurtling past unspoiled beach.
My pain of Prometheus was from foresight. So I stepped it up, and then laughed at the pun. Or was it the endorphins kicking in. I raced as fast as possible. I would catch up to my savior and ask him, WTF?
I jumped over driftwood. I flew over seaweed. I skipped over the beached whale. Then I stopped. I regarded the beached whale. It side-eyed me, then squirmed its way backward and was at see within a moment. It issued out a spray from its blowhole as I did the same from my own.
I saw that the whale had left a grand indentation in the sound from its errant drive onto dry land and its retreat back into the life-giving waters. And next to its indentation was another. This whale, like me, had a savior who was much too busy for me, apparently.
You can call me Job. And that, as they say, is the rest of the story. So pray for me.
The Foot Chase
Hotchett scampered up the bookshelf and waited silently atop it. He gripped its edges and leaned forward. Resembling something like a gargoyle, he remained completely still until at last, he heard the "thump." He cocked his head right and left.
"The thump-thump is on the stairs," he rasped. The noise stopped, and Hotchett covered his mouth with both hands. It resumed its trek down the stairs. He let out his breath and slid to the floor. Knowing his movement would be muffled by the plush carpet, Hotchett moved behind a chair near the staircase. The noise was louder, almost as loud as the rapid beating of his own thump, thump.
"Here it comes! Here it comes!" he thought. First a yellow toenail peeped around the corner, then three toes, and then Hotchett flew from his hiding place. He had his hands around the ankle.
"No more games," he grunted. "I am clipping your toenails, and that's that!" The foot began kicking wildly at his face. But Hotchett had it pinned. From somewhere deep in his pocket, he pulled a thick rope. It only took him half an hour to tie it to the wooden board. A pair of toenail clippers appeared while the foot thrashed against the rough wood.
"Stop that. You'll give yourself splinters." A loud rap sounded at the door, and Hotchett sighed. He walked to the door and put on his most dejected face. Mr. McBrady waited outside, arms crossed. They both knew what was coming.
"Mr. McBrady," Hotchett swung the door open, "Of all the feet I have had to deal with, yours is the worst."
McBrady narrowed his eyes. "He's just misunderstood that's all."
"Then he'll have to be misunderstood elsewhere. I have tied to the board downstairs, so I'll file his nails, but nothing else. I'm through." Finally, McBrady nodded, and hobbled on his singular foot behind Hotchett into the basement. But the foot was gone. Tears sprang into the one-footed man's eyes.
"He was my favorite foot!" The foot barber patted his arm, and said consolingly,
"I hear they're selling them for half price down at the Cuticle."
A kiss and run
“This is an illegal detention, officer!” I dash into an alleyway and grab an abandoned shopping cart to fling at the entrance.
“And I’ll lock you up for years!” He hops over the shopping cart and continues to pursue my fleeting form.
“It was all consensual, you know— she really liked it, actually!”
The roar of frustration behind me is music to my ears, but it also spurs my feet to run faster. I dip into shadows and turn corners. I slide along slick pavement and hide behind a dumpster. The police officer’s footsteps come to a stop and I hold my breath. They slowly splash puddles farther and farther away. I wait a moment longer before slinking out of the darkness.
I make my way back to the main road where cars are honking and shoving each other out of the way. I take a step in the direction of home— then something grabs my collar.
“You’re coming with me,” he says. He tugs on my collar as if I’m a dog.
“Your daughter is old enough to make her own decisions, you know. We have a special connect—.”
“Hurry up before I tase you.”
“Is it because I’m a girl, huh? Scared I’m turning your daughter gay?”
He pulls extra hard, making me choke. I get tossed in the back of a cop car, and of course there are doughnuts in the front seat.
“Yeah, she wasn’t like this before she met you.”
“Yeah, well maybe you don’t know her as well as you think.”
He roughly cuffs me, making sure they’re extra tight.
One jungle or another
Sweat stung his eyes, his knees ached, and his lower back barked with every hurried step.
A puff of concrete wall filled his vision before the report reached his ears.
"Fuck!" He scrambled back around the corner of the empty anchor store. The mall had been in its prime during the first Bush administration, and it still clung to life like a stubborn hospice patient. A handful of local businesses still occupied the place, but they were largely cash-only operations with inventory that never really turned. Local gangs invested in trendy fashion shops that never really managed to change trends or be very fashionable.
"I hate this place," he muttered, taking a deep breath and scooting low around the corner.
For the moment, no more shots greeted him as he continued his pursuit.
The last time he'd been to this mall was before Macy's pulled up stakes and shifted to the quieter part of town. Some genius development firm had opened up a newfangled open-air shopping center; a mall by any other name, only this one had shoppers sweaty, cold, or wet between stores. This evening, he had to drop by the old mall to chat up an informant working in a hat store. Everyone knew they washed money for the team who refused to ever wear blue. While talking, the detective spotted the shooter from a case that had been open a few weeks.
The shooter spotted him, too, and everybody's night got ruined.
They'd run through the mall, out an emergency door, across the first floor of a parking deck, and now here they were about to hang a left around the building to start all over again. Luckily, the shooting didn't start until they were outside.
"God damn, I need a cigarette."
It was difficult to see anything around him. Darkness, tunnel vision, and gunsmoke lurked in a windless cloud that surrounded his senses. His heartbeat should have been a kettledrum in his ears, but he could hardly even hear himself speak.
Hands barely trembling, he replaced a partially spent magazine. Operating in the dark, leaning on training and instinct, he moved quickly through the parking lot. He glided from the cover of one car before approaching another. His movements echoed his Army days; one jungle was another, even if leaves had been replaced by steel.
Safety glass spiderwebbed above his head and he flattened himself on the blacktop.
In the yellow glow of a lonely overhead light, he saw movement of stark white athletic shoes.
Quickly and quietly, the green glow of his front sight found the splash of red that Nike never intended as a target.
The evening was shattered again by the detective's 147 grain lightning and thunder, followed by a scream and a curse.
Two more thunderclaps and the cursing stopped.
Groaning, the old man climbed up from the pavement and hobbled to where another man would never grow to be old.
Holstering, he had that cigarette before calling in.
One, two, three, four, TURN. One, two, three, four, NO!
It's not working, darling. Your mind isn't what it once was. When we were young, we would walk the balance beam, counting each heel to toe with a clockwise turn on the fifth step and repeat. Back and forth for our whole life, you fought to hold control, pushing me down, teetering on the edge. This foot chase where you're slowing down, closing the gap for me to overpower. Let me take over, darling. I know you're tired.
One, two, three, ugh, four, TURN, no-no-no-no-no. *Inhale.* And one, two, three.....
You have to breathe. You know what happens when you don't breathe. Your mind gets cloudy and you lose me. You know you need me. We need each other. KEEP BREATHING, DAMMIT. Oh no, I'm sorry. You know I'm so sorry, darling. I didn't mean to scare you. It's all going to be alright. You know I wouldn't lose you. I'd let you keep all the good, taking the pain myself. This is what is what is best for us. I am the anecdote to the poison that has wasted your life away. I will breathe life into us, fill the void of this empty husk of a body that you have carried us in through our existence. I know you have tried so hard to hold on. It's time you let go. GO. LET GO!
One, go, two, away, three, away, please no, please turn. Please just one, two.....
Alright, you stubborn, worthless, bastard. It's my turn. I've watched you screw us over and I. Am. Done. I am done watching through these eyes that can't see what a waste of space you have taken in this world that cast us away. I am done planting seeds of hope in our mind that you can't bother to water because you are too weak. I am done failing by doing things your way. Your time has fallen.
For the first time, I open our eyes. NO. My eyes. I have taken over. You are gone, I have won. It's time to take back what has been mine all along.
"Catch that-- liar! And awful slum," Molly wheezed, hands at her knees when she bent.
Continuing her stride all the same, where Ollie, Jocelyn, and Daniel had passed by ahead of her.
At the very least they'd all reached a familiar sight.
The Moors house.
"Oh come on," she complained as their perp jumped the fence more easily than one would skirt a puddle.
"Josie block!" Daniel demanded.
Considering his black eye and another bottle thrown for his face it was reasonable that Ollie eventually staggered to a halt.
But it was too late. He'd managed to throw the door open.
Molly reached the meager distance now standing side by side. At the very least able to block the kitchen doorway and the lovely patio space.
Daniel jumping into a full tackle, sending several of his parents' tchotchkes tumbling to the ground. Shattering to minute glass and crystal.
Wilbur Harris continued to squirm, cursing with vitriol that spit at Daniel Moors.
"Yeah, uh huh. I know Will, I know. Just rest it out of your system but for the time being do please put a sock in it," Daniel trailed, tone bitterly unamused and caustic, "in fact, if you would be so kind little brother."
"I gotta get into-- oh umm okay."
Pulling off his shoe to provide one grey, sweaty, ugly sock gag.
And Wilbur fought, to which Molly twitched in defense, eyes scanning the darkened kitchen for available blunt or better yet sharp improvisation weapons.
"Thank you kindly," Daniel chirped kindly, making Ollie just embarrassed enough to turn his face.
Though as usual she didn't miss the smile. Tinged with pain, a bit too wide and wobbling for someone fourteen.
Wilbur's voice turned to muffled pleas.
Daniel had dutifully called up for his Mother and Father.
Both being in a right state to find the mess and moreso, the one running his side sales of homemade whiskey and white, candy looking joints out of their elder son's bedroom.
"I can only hope someone has learned something today," Daniel prodded, pointed and hard gaze. "About time too."
Ollie laughed, "I learned I need to get into shape."
She was pretty out of shape. Exercise, yuck. Ughh, but this chasing the story turned out to involve way too much real chasing. 'Absolutely. Wonder-ful.'