Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Simple Country Murder

This is but a sample of this story.  The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.

Part One

Alvin Singer was fourteen years old, wheezed when he got excited, and wore a pair of horn-rimmed glasses that were still two sizes too big. The recent explosion in hormones in the boy had manifested itself in a number of ways, but most visibly with a smattering of acne across the landscape of his face. But the hormones had taken a much more insidious toll on the boy. For the last week, he'd had a completely inexplicable bulge in his pants. The phenomenon known as "an erection" was as foreign to the boy as a Siberian winter. The zipper of his jeans rubbing up against his crotch was the most titillating experience Alvin had ever had in his life. He'd heard stories about ways to deal with that problem, but each of them ended with trouble, and since he'd never been exposed to any sort of maturation program, any action he would take would be purely trial and error. He had theories about what would happen, but like any intelligent child with a quizzical mind, he simply had to experiment and test his hypotheses.

He chose a nice spring day to test his theories out, when he would be at a large family gathering at his Aunts house in the country. Her rural spread of land always served as the site of the annual Singer family picnic and the weather was always so beautiful and perfect that no one ever spent time in her expansive house. Deep in the bowels of her rural paradise was a rarely used bathroom and that is where Alvin decided he would try out his fleshy ideas. The night before the picnic he resolved to carry out his plan that next day and he spent hours in bed trying to sleep and resisting the urge to even think about his condition. But will power is never as strong as biology and he spent his evening rubbing his entire midsection against a pillow, cuddling and caressing it, though he wasn't entirely sure why.

All of this was making him confused and crazy. Since no one talked about this at all, whether it was normal or disgusting or anything in between, he thought he was unique and broken.

Alvin woke up that morning feeling sheepish about his behaviour with the pillow the night before, not realizing that he no longer had the brain altering chemicals coursing through his body, forcing instinct and his proverbial second brain to take over completely. Nevertheless, he was steadfast in playing out the scientific methodology he'd chosen. In his mind, he was embarking on a great journey of discovery in the name of science as bold or daring as Louis Pasteur or Jonas Salk or Thomas Edison.

The drive out to the country with his parents was a tortuous forty-five minutes through the city and out into winding mountainous roads that burst out through the rock into the lush and fertile river valley that his relations had settled many, many years ago. He couldn't decide which was worse, the constant sniping between his mother and father, or the anticipation for his crime.

When they finally arrived, Alvin got out of the car, stretched his legs, and yawned. "Alvin," his mother shrieked, "Make sure you've got enough bug spray."

She said that as though she was going to leave it up to him to apply, but she surprised him, squirting him on the back of the neck three times fast with a pumped spray of the repellant.

"Ow, mom," he said as he clutched his neck with his hand, which she quickly sprayed also. "Quit it!"

"Oh, hush up and put it on."

"Listen to your mother, son."

He rubbed the bug spray deep into his arms until they were dry.

Alvin and his parents walked around the front of the palatial estate on a soft soil path that led to the spacious, tree-lined private park behind it that over looked the mountains river. The picturesque backyard contained no less than three gardens of flowers and as many more picnic tables, enough to seat most of the Singer clan. It was as idyllic as idyllic could be, but Alvin couldn't see the Shangri-La before him. All he could do was count the minutes until he could sneak away to the bathroom and vigorously scratch the itch boiling inside his confused, mid-pubescent body...or at least rub and massage it.

"Alvin," his Aunt yelled, excited to see him beyond all comprehension. Though she was at least a hundred pounds overweight and waddled everywhere she went, she seemed to teleport instantly in front of Alvin from across the yard to pinch his pimpled cheeks twice as hard as anyone should. So hard, in fact, that she didn't notice that she'd popped open one of his zits. It oozed puss onto her hand and if she did notice, she made no indication whatsoever. "How is my favorite nephew?"

"I'm good, Aunt Evelyn," Alvin squeaked.

"Oh my God, Joanie, he's growing up so fast, like a weed. And look at that big wide mouth, like a real teenager's. You're so grown up, Alvin."

"I'm working on it." But she didn't hear him. She waddled away with her sister, Alvin's mother, chattering like a school-yard gossip queen. Alvin's father retreated to a lawn chair overlooking the river with a few of the other Singer men to smoke cigars.

The younger children frolicked and laughed around the tire swing, playing tag and carrying on in a mood of general merriment. As the oldest of all of his cousins, Alvin had the option to join the children or keep to himself, but he wasn't at all sure how he should proceed in order to act as inconspicuously as possible. He wanted to fit in, but not attract too much attention. His conundrum forced him to stand there on the edge of the yard with his hands in his pockets. His indecision, without any rhyme or reason, stirred the fire in his loins and he knew at that moment that he could wait no longer.

"I need to go to the bathroom," he said out loud to no one in particular with a snap of his fingers. He pivoted on his heel and turned back toward the house, marching up to the sliding glass door at the back of the wide, redwood deck.

The complete version is available in my print collection Man Against the Future.  From there, you can order signed copies, or buy it for the Kindle or the Nook.