Friday, January 9, 2009

Fiction Friday: Sam

This week's prompt:
With ten days until payday, your character discovers his/her account is overdrawn (adjust as necessary to fit your timeline or world).

The bus engine roared to life, purging huge black clouds from the exhaust. The doors shut and with a grinding in the over worked gear box, the metal monolith pulled out into the deserted main street. Sam stood watching, until the bus swung left and headed toward the high way.

“I thought you were going.”
He knew it was a question more than a statement and there was only one other person in town who wanted to be on that bus more than him.
“It doesn’t matter.”
“But you’ve been working weekends out on the Wilson Property.”
“I said it doesn’t matter.” He turned and saw her standing a few paces behind him, looking awkward and uncomfortable in her uniform. “What about you? You’ve got a job.”
“I’d still be cutting up roast chickens and frying chips on my 21st birthday and not have the money to go.” She put her hand in her pocket and checked the time on her mobile phone. “Even if I had the money Dad would never let me go to the City.”

Sam turned back and looked down the main street, wondering why he’d tortured himself and come down to watch the bus leave.
To never forget just how angry I am. And the I'll never forgive her. That’s why I’m here.

“There’s a party at my house tonight.” Sam turned back to look at her.
“Is that an invite?”
“It’s nothing big – just my brother and some of his mates are home from doing block in Griffith. They’re planning on having a few drinks out the back in the old shearing shed. You’re welcome.”

It was the first time since they’d arrive six month ago that anyone had bothered to invite him to a social event. He’d worked every weekend he could, saving his money. That’s why they never invited him – that’s what he told himself on the cold nights, lying alone in the donga on the Wilson’s property wishing his mind would shut down and let him rest.
“What time do you knock off?”
“8:30pm. Do you want a lift?”

Sam shook his head and kicked at the cracked concrete with the toe of his runner.
“I’ll find my own way there.”
“Just come round the back – you’ll hear them. See you then.”

She smiled and walked off toward the roadhouse.
“Hey Laney,” Sam called out and ran after her. “It’s just that …” he wasn’t sure how to say that he was broke without stirring up a hornet’s nest of questions he didn’t want to answer. He didn’t want to have to lie. “About tonight …”
“You don’t have to come if you don’t want Sam.”
“No it’s not that. I just don’t have anyway to buy some grog that’s all. Don’t want your brother to think I’m free loading off him and his mates.”

Laney laughed.
“Don’t worry about that Sam. Jeez, you must be the only guy around here who’s worried about being a free loader. I’ll bring some bottles of coke from work and you can be the one who provides the emergency supply of coke.”
“Thanks Laney.”
“See you tonight Sam.”

.... The light on his bike worked sporadically making it impossible to see with any certainty what was ahead of him on the high way. Just a tiny light blinking on and off on the Kidman Way. Road trains roared past him, buffeting him and almost knocking him from his bike into the yellow dust on the side. But he pedalled on. The tears that stung his eyes blurred what vision was left to him and part of him wished that a truck would run over him and end it there and then.

He pedalled harder, pumping his legs up and down. The wind whistled through his ears, his helmet clipped onto the back of his bike.

The feeling of devastation hadn’t left him, although it had been two weeks now since he’d discovered his money was gone. The money he had been hording from his work on the Wilson property. A small portion would pay the final downpayment on the trip to Sydney, the rest would tide him over, help him find somewhere to stay until he could get a job. Get settled.

The final payment on the school trip was due on the Friday morning and he’d lifted his mattress up enough to slide his hand under, his fingers searching for the slit in the material where he’d been stashing the cash Old Man Wilson paid him.

He should have put it in the bank. Made it safe. Kept it away from her, but he didn’t trust banks. He needed the cash in his pocket.

“You took my money.”
She’d looked up from the chipped laminex table and the Take 5 magazine she’d been reading. The look of innocence was so well practiced he almost believed it.
“You stole my money.”
The silence was what gave her away. She could look innocent but the moment she opened her mouth it would be obvious what she’d done.
“You promised me what we came here that it wouldn’t be like it used to be.”
“I borrowed your money. I’m going to pay it back. Next pay day. Like a line of credit.”
“There was $2000 there. Where the hell are you going to get $2000 from?”

She refused to look up at him.
“You blew it on the pokies didn’t you. You put my money through the fucking pokies.”
His voice was breaking.
“You’re no different than you were before we came here. You stole from me – your son. Your own flesh and blood.”
“I said I borrowed it Sam. I’ll have your money back to you in 10 days. Just give me a chance.”
“I don’t want your stinking money.”
“It’s not like that Sam.”
“You’re a liar.”

Even if she had have been able to give the money back it was too late. And now he was trapped. But there was Laney – his own tiny beacon in the sea of nothingness.

If you're here from Write Anything or another link for Fiction Friday, please take the time to comment once you've read the story. All feedback is welcome and appreciated!


d.challener roe said...


That was pretty original. You were the only one who chose to make the problem something other than actually being broke.

Thanks for FFing.

~willow~ said...

Oh, how sad. His own mother, too! This was well written, and I'm cheering for Sam and Laney :)

Jodi Cleghorn said...

My pleasure Dale and thanks for stopping by to comment (love the picture of Beaker as your profile pic).

Thanks also Willow for coming by - and I'm cheering for them too. At this point I see at least another two installments to bring the story somewhere to a conclusion.