Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Drop the Needle: Death #10

TITLE: Intersections
GENRE: Literary

A woman has just died in a car accident (her husband, Win, was the driver), and is getting help figuring it out:

There's always a moment in downloading high-rez graphics when the last few bytes finally arrive and the blurry photo you've been staring at is, all at once, sharp and detailed. That's what it's like right now--the day's events downloaded in crisp detail: the flood of menstrual blood, of my tears, Win holding me, soft while I cry ... then arguing, driving to see the doctor ...
then flying above the car, watching rescue workers wrench apart a pile of crushed metal and load a sheet-covered body into an ambulance.

"Oh my God! We crashed, didn't we? And Win...he...he died. Didn't he?" Suddenly I'm grateful for this odd little man in gray who puts his arms around me.

"No, my dear. Win was not the one who died."

"Don't lie to me," I mumble into his suit coat. I'm sobbing harder, wonder for a fleeting second if my tears are ruining his jacket.

He leans back, but keeps his fingertips on my shoulders. "See? No tear stains."

I'm startled out of my sobs--it's like he read my mind. I look at his suit. It's as rumpled as ever, but not a wet spot anywhere. His words echo back to me: Win was not the one who died. Meaning someone else died.

He touches the brim of his fedora and makes an old-fashioned bow, then sweeps his hand out to me.

I don't take his hand. "Are you trying to say it's me who died?"

He smiles and nods.


  1. Cool and creative perspective on the death scene. I enjoyed reading it. There are just a couple places where I thought they could be improved to make the scene stellar.
    First, the sentence where she's grateful for the odd little man. I think you could show it better than to tell it, especially with how good your writing throughout the scene.
    The second sentence is only my opinion, but I think when she comments that he read her mind, I thought there could be more inner dialogue there (e.g., "I didn't say anything...").
    Lastly, the very last sentence could pack a bit more punch since it's the climax of that scene. I'm not sure how, but I love your writing and your voice, and I know you'll find the right way.

  2. Interesting. Different. Don't know if I enjoyed 'the flood of menstrual blood'. Kind of a weird thing to say. Also the 'downloading' bit didn't draw me in, nor the graphics. I get what you are trying to do here, but I would use a more realistic comparison. Something that grasps the feeling better. When I think of photos or computer bytes the last thing I think of is tension...maybe annoyance =)

  3. I like the idea of this, and I enjoyed the little old man's character. The first paragraph was a bit tough for me to get through. I agree about the graphics metaphor--it doesn't fit in with the rest of the writing. Then again, it's just a snapshot.

  4. I'm torn on the photo metaphor (also, it's usually spelled "high res"). In a way, it takes us out of the scene and puts us in a different mindset, but it's also a good parallel. Still, the true realization doesn't come until the end of the entire passage, so the moment the metaphor describes isn't as immediate as it's supposed to be. Also thought the menstrual blood was a little odd. Would Win hold her "soft" or "softly?" Why would they drive to see the doctor BEFORE the ambulance arrives? There was a tense problem when you say "I'm sobbing harder, wonder for a fleeting second if my tears are ruining his jacket." Could fix it with an "and" inbetween. Overall, it's interesting and I like the tone and the "Heaven Can Wait" approach.