The Skeleton: Part 1 — A Stringless Marionette

The Skeleton in the ClosetVincent Stone crouched beside the car. He coughed twice, holding down his dinner, closing his eyes, frozen as a statue, alone, scared, his heart pounding through his body. “Oh God,” he whispered. He was panicked and frightened. He wasn’t sure if he’d ever felt this way. Vincent Stone was always calm. Vincent Stone was always collected. Until now. Now, cool and calm Vincent Stone was crouched next to his car, about to puke up a $300 dinner and piss on his Armani shoes.

He stood up, rocking a little like a man who’d spent the night with Jack Daniels. But Vincent Stone was sober. And unfortunately, Vincent Stone was awake. This was no dream. He tried to take a step, his legs not responding. He was like a marionette with no strings. C’mon. Left, then right, left, right… He almost threw-up again, bending over, panting white puffs of breath. He took a deep gulp of cold air that bit at his lungs. That’s it. Slow, deep breaths. Shutting his eyes, his face slowly reassembled.

He walked away from the car, the headlights stretching his shadow ahead of him in a long, dark path, and his senses and thoughts began to return. He walked onto the old pier that jutted, suspended over the Ocean, and he leaned his forearms on the wooden rail, watching the black water. He liked the ocean. Even in the dark, the ocean was reliable. The ocean was always wet. It always tasted salty. And even if it decided to show off by pounding the coast with a storm, one could trust it to be calm again. It was definite. It followed rules. Unlike life. Who’d have guessed that when he woke up this morning, he’d run into this kind of a problem?

His hand buried into the pocket of his long, black overcoat, happening upon his lighter and cigarettes. He pulled them out, hands shaking, following the usual routine of extracting a cigarette and igniting it with the gold lighter. He welcomed the smoke into his lungs, and he watched snowflakes descend and disappear into the ocean. He blew a stream of smoke into the air and turned to look at his Porsche, the engine purring. Snow fell in the headlights and collected on the dirt road. Occasionally, the intermittent wipers would sweep across the dark windshield, snuffing another generation of snowflakes that had gathered.

To Be Continued

 

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