Curtain cape, p.1
Curtain Cape, p.1David Bobis
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A short story by David Bobis
Copyright © 2016 David Bobis
Discover more work at www.davidbobis.com
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
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Also by David Bobis
Child (Special Edition)
For the lost.
I’d never wanted to be like one of those skinny kids who are dramatic about everything but I couldn’t help it. Victor was there in his old cape and he was pointing at the girls and saying that they were beautiful, now please come with us into our car outside so we can show you a good time. I stood up from our table and put my arm around his shoulders and smiled at the girls and apologised for my stupid friend. I told them that sometimes his good looks get to him and he becomes overconfident. They giggled as I pulled him away. “Alright, Victor, you’ve embarrassed us. We’re leaving.”
He looked back at the girls and gave them the finger before elbowing me. “You haven’t even eaten all your food yet,” he said again and again. He stepped onto our table, yelling at me about never having fun. Everyone was looking at us. Everyone was looking at him. “Those girls adored me. You need to have more fun. Don’t you want to have more fun?”
I ignored him. I exited the restaurant, and, as predicted, he swore at me but followed me nonetheless. His cape lightly ran along the gravel as we headed to the car. I knew Victor’s eyes were wobbling slightly because mine were wobbling slightly. Sometimes I’d find that I couldn’t walk straight, sometimes I’d find that I understood everything about the world. Most of the time there would be a loud, booming ocean wave, blanketing all the other noises that mattered.
I started the car and we headed for the road. Victor played with his sunglasses and made some comment about them that I chose not to respond to. He had his shiny paper crown on again and he adjusted it to his left as he thought about something carefully. He took my sunglasses off and swapped them with his own. “Hmm,” he said, “hmm.” He looked through my sunglasses, thinking about something. “No, no, this won’t work.” He took my sunglasses off and swapped them around again. “Both our sunnies are crap. We’re buying new sunnies.”
“We’re not buying new sunnies,” I said.
“Yes we are, you bastard!” he yelled. “Yes we are!”
I punched his arm, causing us to swerve off the road a little bit. “I would but you make a scene. You always make a scene. We can’t go anywhere without you stuffing everything up.”
He was silent for a while. His arms were strangling his chest and I knew he was thinking hard. Eventually: “So what? So what if I make a scene? Aren’t people allowed to make a scene? You used to always want to make a scene with me.”
“You’re an idiot, Victor. We’re already in trouble. Our aim is not to get in trouble.” I sighed. “I can’t believe you sometimes.” I glanced at him. He looked disappointed. “Look, driving is fun too.”
“You’re ugly,” he said, and left it at that.
The good thing about our road was that it was constant. It was boring, but I believed in it. It flowed and flowed like those pictures of waves my mother drew for us when we were kids. First, the road would take us through suburbs. Then the road would take us through some sunny highway that bore nothing but car dealership after car dealership. Then the background would become factories and storehouses, then a city, then trees, then a beach, then a small town, then a loud gap of nothing, of background and bland and colourful and fresh grass and dead grass and a shack and then more nothing, and then more nothing, and then a suburb would come around and the whole process would repeat. The scenery was a changing loop but the road was simple, it was old it was new it was there it would never end. I adored it more than anything. We’d been driving for one month.
“Park the car,” Victor said, around ten in the morning.
“No,” I said.
“Just park the car.”
“Or else what?”
“Or else the foxes will come out.”
“I’m bored of the foxes,” I said. “I’m sick of the foxes.”
That was when Victor pulled our gun out. He scrolled the window down and started firing away at everything. There was a bang, then more bangs; there was shattering; buildings screamed people screamed I screamed.
I didn’t want him to win the argument so I didn’t try and stop him. I kept driving at a steady pace and hoped that some sort of guilt would ram its way into him soon enough. When that never happened, I thought that the bullets would run out. But I’d forgotten about the Big Bag he had beside his feet. He fired and fired away for the next twenty minutes.
The hardest part came at a red light after we killed an elephant. I pulled the handbrake up and reached for our plastic bag of food.
“Let’s get out of here!” I yelled.
“No,” Victor said, pointing the gun at me and laughing. “Let’s stay here.” He pulled the trigger several times but nothing came out. He laughed at my reaction; I punched his arm and he swore at me. “You have to stop hitting me. You promised you’d stop hitting me. I could’ve shot you if I wanted to, you know.”
I tried to look through his sunglasses but they were glaring red. “Let’s go. You screwed up. Again. You’d do anything to win an argument, won’t you?” I punched him again. “You’d even shoot me!”
He rubbed his arm for a while, muttering. He then cradled our gun in both his hands and stared at it silently. He scowled. “You said you didn’t want to park.”
I glanced outside our car. People were approaching us. “Well you promised you’d behave.”
“I did behave,” he said. “And you can’t keep telling me to behave when you’re such a hypocrite.”
“Fine, stay.” I opened my door and stepped out of the car and, as predicted, he also opened his door and followed me.
I’d like to say that we’d never run as fast as we did that day, that we’d never been more petrified, but as I ran with Victor and as I ran with our plastic bag of food in my hand I quickly realised that we ended up running for our lives pretty much every time we stepped out of a car. Thank you, Victor. Thank you for the nothing.
As soon as I said, “There are people chasing us,” Victor instantly started firing away. People were screaming and crying and yelling. There was a lot of blood.
“Over there!” Victor panted from behind me. “Run left, to the left!”
I ran right. I found that when running for your dear life, the best places to run through first were shopping centres and then poor neighbourhoods. Everyone in poor neighbourhoods seemed to want to help us hide somewhere. Everyone in poor neighbourhoods looked like we did.
By the time things had settled down and we were well and truly away from the world of unsettled people it had become evening, and even though for some strange reason the moon hadn’t come out yet there was still enough light for us to see each other. Victor leant on my shoulder. “I hate life I hate myself I hate everyone I hate it, I hate waking up I hate it, I hate life, I hate it I’m sorry I hate it.” I held his arm. He cried. I cried too.
We still hadn’t slept when morning ca
I liked to keep my eyes closed under the water but I knew Victor liked to keep his open.
“What the hell do you see in the water, anyway? There’s nothing to see.”
“You’ve never tried it. You can’t keep lecturing me when you’ve never tried it. Try it!”
After we were well and truly clean, we stepped out of the swimming pool and put all our clothes back on. We were still wet.
“Alright, let’s go and find us a new car.”
“No,” Victor said, distracted by something. “Let’s stay.” He walked towards the back sliding door of the house, his footsteps making wet little thuds. He peered inside. I followed him and also peered through the glass.
We both went silent. There was a large plasma screen TV inside, there were surround sound speakers, there was an incredibly comfortable looking sofa set, there were photo frames, there were paintings. We were stunned. It reminded us of home. Victor walked off and came back with a pole and started kicking the door and hitting it with the pole. I tried to hold him back but he elbowed my chin well, causing me to quickly stumble backwards and fall over. The door smashed open with the
Curtain Cape by David Bobis / History & Fiction have rating 4.6 out of 5 / Based on37 votes