The Movie’s End. Part 2
Tracy laughed at the antics on the TV screen. A few minutes ago, she had broken the news to Mike that she was leaving. She’d expected ranting, raving, screaming, walls being punched, items being thrown, but none of that happened. All Mike did was ask when she was leaving. His calmness puzzled Tracy at first, but then she realized she didn’t care how he reacted or what he felt. She was getting out, she would be happy, and that was all that mattered. Soon she would be free of the wimp, and she would be in the arms of Harry Stanton. A real man.
She’d met him the day after Mike called to tell her about his trip to Canada. It was at the local watering hole called Sam’s Tavern, which was a puzzling name because the owner was not named Sam. In fact, the bar had never by owned by anyone named Sam. It was one of the small town’s greatest mysteries, but one that never crossed Tracy’s mind unless someone else brought it up.
She had gone to the bar with a couple girlfriends. Toward the end of the night, one of the far-from-sober patrons started hitting on her. Tracy made it clear she was not interested; you couldn’t get much clearer than saying, “You have a better shot with your mother, you creep.” If the drunk hadn’t been determined to bed Tracy before that statement, he was even more insistent after she’d insulted him.
Unaware that she was in trouble, Tracy’s friends had already taken off. (Tracy wished she had realized this before she mocked her would-be suitor.) She called their cell phones in an effort to get at least one of them to return to the bar, but they all went right to voicemail. Great, Tracy thought, now what?
Tracy stayed in the bar until last call because she knew the drunk wouldn’t try anything while other people were around. She stayed in the bar as long as she could, but when the bartender used his old stand-by line (“You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here), she had no choice but to leave.
When she stepped outside, she saw the drunk and two of his friends standing by an ancient-looking pick-up truck. The drunk pointed Tracy out to his companions, and they surrounded her. Her main adversary reached out to brush a hand against her cheek. Even his fingers smelled like alcohol.
Tracy was facing the bar, which gave her the chance to see a glimmer of hope: a giant mountain of a man exited the bar. He stopped a few feet from the door and made eye contact with Tracy. She hoped he could see the fear in her eyes.
He did. The giant stormed over to Tracy’s car, moving much faster than anyone his size had a right to, and said, “Is there a problem here?”
The drunk turned around. Tracy would have given anything to see the look in the man’s eyes when he saw the size of the guy addressing him.
“Not unless you want one,” the drunk said.
“Jesus, man,” one of the drunk’s friends said, “he’ll fuckin’ snap us all in two”
The drunk probably knew his friend was right, but he was committed. He’d already made a show of being a tough guy. To back down now would be to lose major face, and word of it would travel quickly in this town.
“You can run if you want,” the drunk said. “As for me…”
In mid-sentence, the drunk took a swing at the tall man. The giant closed the gap between himself and his adversary, stepping inside the arc of the punch while hitting his foe in the face with an elbow. The blow dropped the drunk right on the spot. After looking at their unconscious partner for a second, the two friends took off.
The man-mountain moved toward Tracy and put a reassuring hand on her shoulder. He asked if she was all right. She nodded silently, unable to find any words. All she could think of was that Mike would have never done anything like that for her. He was a coward, avoiding confrontation every chance he got. This giant was the kind of man she needed, so she set her sights on getting him.
His name was Harry Stanton, and he was a mechanic at a garage not far from the trailer park. Tracy learned when he went on lunch break, and she made it a point to visit Harry whenever he was working. She never mentioned Mike to him because she realized that Harry was a noble man; if he knew an involved woman was making the moves on him, he would have given her the cold shoulder.
It wasn’t long before she seduced Harry and took him to bed. She even managed to get to the point where they were talking about moving in together, all without him knowing about Mike. In a town of this size, that was nothing short of a miracle. When she asked Harry if he wanted her to move in, he said yes without hesitation.
All she had to do now was get her stuff out. Tracy had been hoping to do it before Mike showed up, but he got back from Canada in record time. Oh well. No big deal. She didn’t give a shit if he was here or not. Either way, she was moving on to what promised to be a happy future with Harry.
The show went to a commercial, and Tracy heard a splashing sound. For a moment she wondered what kind of nonsense the loser was up to, but she didn’t care enough to go find out.
Her phone was resting on the arm of the couch, and it lit up as a text message came in. Tracy saw it was from her girlfriend Linda. The question on the screen was the kind that only the closest friends could ask each other without causing chaos:
how’s it going, bitch?
Tracy laughed as she opened the message and typed a quick response:
watching Springer, waiting for toe nails to dry and then I’m out of here
The downfall of living in a text/email/Facebook messenger-loving society was that you could not hear a person’s tone of voice when they contacted you, but Linda’s next message was the exception to that rule. Tracy could practically hear Linda shouting out, delightfully surprised.
you mean you told Mike???
Tracy confirmed that she had. Linda asked how Mike reacted. After describing it, Linda summed up everything a person needed to know about Mike in four simple words:
he is so pathetic!
Tracy laughed and texted back that she was in 100% agreement with that.
When the show came back from commercial, Tracy checked on her toenails. Still not quite dry. Every second she remained in the trailer felt like an eternity, but she kept repeating to herself: not much longer, not much longer.
She stared at the television, but she didn’t really see it anymore. Instead, Tracy found herself peering into the past, remembering the day she met Mike. He seemed so rugged, so confident, so sure of himself. After she moved in with him, it didn’t take Tracy long to realize it was all a front. Underneath that badass exterior, Mike was a scared, spineless little boy. And poor. Probably the poorest motherfucker she’d ever met. What use was a boyfriend who could never surprise her with some fancy jewelry or some other wonderfully, ridiculously exotic gift? Not much use at all.
Tracy’s memories faded away, and she sat there on the couch in an almost meditative state. Having no further thoughts or memories caused Tracy’s other senses to be momentarily heightened, and that was when she noticed there was a strange aroma in the air. It was an unusual scent for the interior of a trailer, but she knew she’d smelled it somewhere else. Why couldn’t she place it?
Steve Grogan is a writer and musician who pays absolutely no attention to genre. His literary influences include Phillip K. Dick and Thomas Pynchon. He is also inspired by the Smashing Pumpkins. Lastly, Steve enjoys the “pop culture Cuisinart” filmmaking style of Quentin Tarantino. You can find more of his writing on his Amazon Author Page.
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