Waiting At The Wagon
Waiting At The Wagon
I could admit it, I was a tad late in meeting Elina. I thought there might be a bit of time to have a smash on the pokies. I always thought there was time to gamble.
Excessive gambling as the therapist called it, back when we had still been trying, was just one of the many reasons why I was where I was. And why I was no longer where I had been. My economic habits didn’t facilitate relationships and bill paying.
I walked away from one of the worst pubs in town two hundred dollars lighter, five bourbons shakier, or perhaps steadier, and twenty minutes late. I’d be late to my own funeral, and then sadly not be able to cover the bill.
Why Elina wanted to meet me I didn’t know. The text message simply told me a time and a place. I wasn’t happy about either, but there was nothing I would not do for this girl.
The Wagon’s Hitch was the oldest caravan park in Ten City, it sat on the south side like a wide scar that had never healed. That much I knew, amongst a few other treasured gems of information collected from scattered sources.
There was no empirical data, but it was well known that The Wagon’s Hitch was not a pleasant place to reside. It had been the subject of a news article years before that had stated certain numbers and facts that did not paint the caravan park in any form of complimentary colours. It had an unemployment rate that fluctuated above ninety percent at all times. There were more police visits to the small transient population than there were to most small sized towns. An extremely large majority of released citizens from the local penitentiary sought residence in The Wagon’s Hitch.
The culture there was that it was a bad place to be so no one tried to make it better and it continued to attract the worst that society discarded. Within the town it became its own sub-group, the dark street that no one walked down. The mythical place that children feared out of uncertainty and adults feared out of certainty. The Wagon’s Hitch was the worst that society had to offer in one convenient easy to find central location.
This esteemed transitory residence was also the site of our fair town’s first murder. A squabble had emerged out of an argument about a horse, where it could be decamped, and where it could relieve itself. In the ensuing melee nearly a score of people were involved. When the fists settled all eyes turned to one girl, the resident whore. The shiv handle sticking from her almost spherical belly looked like a cock-eyed flag pole erected in a wind storm. She didn’t make a sound when she hit the ground. She died as she had worked. Mute.
Why someone wanted to stab the ever unsatisfied prostitute had never been figured out, but it stood as a cautionary tale to those who thought about the park and what it was. Sadly, for those who lived there it stood as a badge of honour and pride when they thought about the park and what it was. There was even a small gang, that always found enough membership to stay afloat, called the Whore Shivvers. They didn’t do much anymore but stand around posturing with cheap alcohol, but it was enough to know that they existed.
It was late and the fog had settled on the Wagon, as the locals forever in search of brevity called it. There was a definite pocket of air that sat around the Wagon keeping the temperature a solid three to eight degrees below what it was in the normal world. People would scoff when they heard about it, but once they visited they never questioned the theory again. The Wagon was its own reality with its own weather. And both were always shit.
If I was looking at ancient ruins in this mist it would be magical. Large stones, arranged in an order by cabalistic druids, partnered with this mist would be amazing. Dilapidated caravans and unkempt patches of weeds amidst the fine spray of this mist left me with a buttoned jacket, for fear that the degraded nature of the area might be living airborne and infect my core. I smelled the moist rot set into any wooden areas available to sight. Stairs leading into cabins were falling apart and I felt that if I leaned heavily enough against any wall I could probably go through it.
A pretty young girl swiftly ran out from between two caravans. Her face was determined, her body surprisingly lithe. She looked like she should be in her final years of high school, but she must have dropped out because I did not recognise her face at all. I was never great with names, but faces usually stuck around. She turned to look behind her, a slight fear in her eyes and I noticed a green streak of colour running through her blonde hair. What a shame, they always managed to fuck up a decent look.
A gentleman would have asked what she was running from, and I did consider myself a gentleman, just not in the Wagon. It wasn’t worth trying to be nice here. It would only get me in more shit. In fact, I didn’t even want anyone to know I had been here. Ever.
How people lived in this environment was beyond me. It had been a five minute wait and I was in need of a good soak in bourbon and a few shots of bath water to cleanse the system.
A rustling noise swept past me and my thoughts of bourbon evaporated into the Wagon’s already heavy mist of lost thoughts. A large man stumbled haphazardly through, it was the tough father, Big Guy, from the pub. It didn’t take a genius to join the dots and pin-point his wayward daughter as the streak of green that had just flashed through. I wondered where she was going, and what might happen when he found her.
I may have been late but Elina was absolutely nowhere to be found. My eyes searched every crack, crevice and shadow for her silhouette; I didn’t expect to find her standing out in the open, but she had told me to wait near the large transformer box. There was a fantastic shadow for me to dwell lazily in just out of the reach of the stuttering street lamp and right next to an empty caravan that smelled of singed cabbage. I could wait safely there without being bothered by toothless kids or Shivvers.
Waiting wasn’t an issue for me, I retreated into my head and gladly sat it out amongst my thoughts. I remembered old books I had read, softly hummed songs, visualised women I had bedded. Lately, the wait was normally more fun than whatever I had waited for.
Three figures emerged out of a caravan, I checked but none of them was Elina. The male of the group was a spindly looking fellow who could have been any age, it was hard to tell from the distance. He had the air of an ordinary band lead singer, or a paedophile. It was late and I was drunk, so he may have been both. His tight dark clothing and greasy hair may have been a fashion statement but sometimes it really was better to have people think you were a fool than to dress like one and remove all doubt.
The two girls were the usual types to be found with this sort of pseudo-effeminate date rapist. They were dumb vapid girls in search of a use. Guys like him always gave them plenty of uses, though not useful ones.
The girl whose blonde hair was marred by a sneeze streak of green leaned up and kissed the male. There was more tongue than lip and I would have looked away were I not so fascinated by the other girl’s reaction. She tilted her body towards the action and watched with great interest, the cum-hungry fire in her eyes evident even from my shadowed perch. When the kiss was over the male grabbed the other girl by the hair, which wasn’t easy to do because of the shaved side that she had, and kissed her with more throat than tongue.
I finally turned away. Even a guy like me had some sort of standards. I studied my shoes and worked hard on tasting what little bourbon was left on the back of my tongue.
The sound of footsteps made me turn back, it was silly to think it might have been Elina. She wasn’t there and I knew that but, as always, I held out hope. False hope; it had been generating little images in my head for decades. But it still refused to bring me that little red tricycle, the typewriter I insanely lusted after or Elina. The girl with the shaved side of her head, like she was going to kick start the undercut revival for the new generation, was headed directly for me without her yet realising it.
Having had a past that was suspect enough, I knew how to evade the girl and make no sound in the process. Unluckily, my past wasn’t enough to tell me how to deal with the dead body I stumbled over on the other side of the cabin.
There was minimal noise as my ass hit the ground and I looked between my knees to see the lifeless eyes of some guy refusing to reflect the night sky. His mouth was agape, like he was waiting for a drink, maybe just a spot of rain. The scream that wanted to come out of me faded away before it even got enough steam to hit my throat. There was nothing to hold back by the time I realised I was in need of holding back.
There was a dead man under my legs. You only get the opportunity to test yourself, see how you’ll deal with that, a handful of times in your life, at best. I thought I handled it pretty well, all things considered. I went from waiting for my young fling to soiling a crime scene in a matter of seconds and barely looked shocked. It’s amazing when you stop caring about your own life how much nothing else seems to matter anymore.
I couldn’t tell you why I did it, but I reached a hand down and closed the man’s mouth, as if stopping him from screaming too. I knew the girl was going to walk past, and if I didn’t want her to see me before I certainly didn’t want her to see me with a stiff one between my legs.
Her form crested out from behind the wall, angry yet pretty face first. She wasn’t looking at me, I let my hand fall away from the corpse’s mouth. I was going to get away with it. I really should have known better. I was not the guy who got away with anything.
In moments she would have passed the next caravan and I would have been out of sight. I could stand up and quietly leave, not having to see this guy again unless he landed on the news. Not that I watched the news anymore.
Then I heard the voice in my ear.
“What the fuck have you got?”
That was how the kids in the Wagon spoke. He couldn’t have been more than eleven years old. His curly hair stood up in a hive, he was like a strange midget cross-dressed version of Marge Simpson. His mouth was one of those maws that needed a good toe massage, with the boots left on. I didn’t know where he came from and I never knew where he went back to, my attention was taken too quickly.
I didn’t know how to respond so I looked blankly at the creepy mini-Marge and when I looked back at the girl she was already onto me. Apparently, in the Wagon, if you found someone with a dead body they were guilty before proven that other long word. Her nails sliced across my face and I instantly hoped that I didn’t catch any sort of permanent disease off her. A shot of penicillin is one thing, a life of medicinal drugs and future of a colostomy bag was another.
Blood trickled down into my eye and I had the feeling that my night was only just getting started.
The alarm was raised at the Wagon. I’d be lucky to leave alive.