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Tuesday
Feb262013

High Life

I had a brief trip in Rome back in 2004 where I split my time between eating my way through the city and walking along the cobble streets. Throughout the boulevards, I appreciated the street art along the walls and always made a point to stop and see what the artist’s message was trying to convey. These were the days before Banksy put street art on the radar and every kid with a stencil was making cookie-cutter versions of the elusive English artist.

The designs and writing on the walls around me were genuine, gritty and an embodiment of originality. They were simply sharing a message. No hints of another artist’s style or essence, no rats carrying signs. When I admired the work in this city, I received the same sentiments as I do with Trevor Bennett. We last saw him in June, 2011 when he shared a story with us that sticks with the reader long after they move on to their next objective.

Not only a writer of stories, Mr. Bennett creates music. The style across his narratives, via fiction or melody, have a realness that can only be portrayed by a person that is completely in their own element. He thinks, therefore he creates. Just as the Italian artists that accompanied me on my walkabouts through Rome, Mr. Bennett is creating work that is not cheap knock-off of somebody else.

Say what you have to say without saying how others say it, is what I always say. 

 

 

Mr. Bennett is a multi-tasker and currently working on a novel. The following is a excerpt from the work in progress.

 

Drown Me in the Red River - Chapter 12: Some Relief

John's driving me back to Lansing tonight. I haven't told him about Mom's emails or... that night. And he's had nothing good to say about Chris all week. I've had nothing to say about Chris all week.

Dad stuffs my bag into the back seat next to John's. Mom's crying like she does when we leave, and I squeeze the knot in my stomach and bite my tongue as she hugs me, tears in my hair as she kisses my cheek.

John and Dad share a shoulder hug, pat on the back, and we switch.

"Love you, Dad," I whisper in his ear and he cracks my back with a squeeze. I smell Papov on his moustache, and I understand that now.

"Dick, put her down, you'll kill her," Mom smiles through her tears. Dad scratches my chin with a kiss. I open the passenger door.

"John, I just upped the insurance on that car," Dad stands an odd distance from Mom. "If you crash it, total it."

"Yes, sir." John slumps down in his seat behind the wheel, leaving the door open.

"Don't kill Sarah, honey." Mom waves. "Watch for deer."

"Don't fight too much while we're gone," I say and close my door as I sit. Stare forward.

"Love you guys." John slapped his door closed. "This car has enormous doors."

"Mhmm." I wave at my parents without looking. John waves harder.

My guts groan.

The little engine starts and we pull out of the gravel driveway in reverse. As we stop at the intersection at the end of Peterson Drive I point to the right. "You need gas?"

"No we're good."

"Stop anyway? I'll buy you a Monster or something."

He obliges. 

We pull into the Pineview Grocery and John walks in with me. He walks to the cooler and I walk to the counter. "Can I get a pack of Parliaments please?"

"Can I see your I.D.?"

I oblige. She turns around and browses the cardboard packages, finger stopping over a blue pack.

"Um, lights, please. 100's, please."

She grabs the skinny white pack next to the blue, scans the barcode. Eight bucks. I raise a brow.

"These are getting expensive."

"Parliaments are a bit pricey," she says. "Do they taste any better?"

John sets a black and green 24oz  can on the counter with a heavy plink.

"No," I say, pointing at the drink, "I'm buying his drink."

She rings it up and I slide my debit card. We sit down in John's car and crack the windows.

"What are you, a machine gunner now?" John says as I hand him a smoke.

"I thought pilots smoked these." I spark the end, hand him the lighter.

Flick. "Same difference I suppose." Blows smoke. "Alright, I'm ready to get the fuck out of Sanford."

"Indeed." I buckle my seatbelt.

The little engine speeds us out of the little town.

An hour in, I take two Parliaments out of my purse and we crank down the windows halfway. I'm still cramped, and the car ride is giving me motion sickness.

"You're quiet," I say. We've been listening to my music. Regina Spektor and Norah Jones and a few songs from some other bands that Chris or Casey or someone showed me. 

I look for a lighter on the floor. No luck. I rub my stomach.

"So Dad's drinking, Mom thinks he's not."

"That seems to be the case." Clicklicklicklicklick I twirl the wheel through the music. I open the ashtray but there's no coil lighter.

"Why'd you tell them not to fight before we left?" He passes a semi truck. Doesn't use his blinker. I dig through my purse.

"Because apparently they have a lot to fight about."

"So you just want to get Dad in trouble."

"No." I play a loud song. He turns the volume down.

"Well then, what the fuck, Sarah?" He's speeding a little.

"Slow down," I say, and he steps on the gas. "Oh, come on, John."

"Why did you do that?" Eighty. Eighty-two. Eighty-four.

"John slow the fucking car down."

"What, are you going to tell Mom?" He passes a red pickup truck and I feel the swing as he slides back into his lane. Eighty-six, Eight-seven,

"John you're going to fucking kill us!"

He jostles the wheel slightly and I hit my head on the half-open window, hard.

"Oh shit!" As he takes his foot off the gas, the wind slows the car considerably. "Shit, Sarah, I'm sorry."

I feel a warm, sticky fluid run down and around my cheek. My brow is split. I press my palm to my eye and sit back in my seat. He looks at me.

 "Just watch the road." 

"Are you okay?" he says. 

I feel okay. I'm alright with this sort of pain. Endorphins fill my system. I feel good, actually. 

"Do you have the lighter?" I ask and he fumbles one out of his pocket. "I am now." I light the cigarette, still hanging off my lip. Wind blows my hair back as we speed along.

"I'm sorry." 

I hand him the lighter, my hand over my eye. A pirate. He sparks his smoke.

"Please stop in Ithaca. I want Wendy's." And napkins. I find some in the glove box.

"Sure thing."

"You're buying." Argh!

"That's my plan."

We take the next exit and John buys me my booty. He says nothing more about Dad or Mom the rest of the drive. 

Nothing hurts except my eyebrow.

When we finally get to Lansing, he helps me carry my bags up to my dorm. I unlock the door, and from the looks of things, Casey's already moved back in. I hug John and he leaves, and I start folding shirts and pants and place them into their spots in my drawers. I almost finish before I take a break and accidentally fall asleep on my bed, in the middle of the evening.

 

Contact Mr. Bennett at treverjbennett@gmail.com

 

Trever J. Bennett | Age 22 | Sanford, Michigan

Only seeks advice from psychics when he already knows the outcome.

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