A cold wind swept through the pines. Needles burst from tree limbs, their golden legs spread like ballerinas, pirouetting through the sky. Dark gray clouds carved passage through the night. Not many. A small fleet, Willy thought. Giant cruisers hauling rain through an onyx ocean of stars.
Somewhere, off to his left, Willy heard the snap of a zippo and the scratch of the tinder striking flame. His tongue licked his lips. Muscle memory. A pavlovian response to the sound of a lighter. Beneath him, his car felt soft, almost welcoming. He enjoyed letting his head roll from side to side on the windshield, the smooth glass offering little resistance. Another flick, another cigarette lit. He licked his lips again and this time his hand went to his pocket.
He looked down and remembered he had his own joint already lit, sticking out between his two fingers. He laughed stupidly at himself, brought the joint to his lips, but it had already gone dry. Without looking he raised it above his head and waved it around.
After five seconds of this. Or maybe it was five minutes. His head felt like one of those clouds, heavy with fog, but drifting along all the same. When no one came to his aid he dropped the roll on his chest and started patting himself down. side pockets, back pockets, coat.
From off to the side a hand entered his field of vision. It was a nice hand. Smooth. It held a lighter and with a quick flick of the thumb, it produced a flame. Willy nodded his thanks then lit his joint after struggling to pick it up off his chest. The hand waited patiently. Never faltering and endangering the flame.
Willy pulled. A good, lung burning drag. Puffs of little baby clouds erupted from his mouth. His body convulsed with each cough, threatening to snap shut like a mouse trap. It never did and, regaining his breathe, Willy settled back down onto the hood of his car.
Content, he decided to see who belonged to the hand and followed it all the way up to a handsome face.
"Willy boy. How you?"
Willy raised his eyebrows and rocked his head back to forth in a series of noncommittal gestures. If fortune found him, and Willy won the lottery, the superbowl, and found himself a pretty wife all on the same day, he'd answer in the same way.
"I hear you. Make room?"
Joint still between his lips, Willy uttered, "Sure," and scooted.
Richie was tall, tanned, and skinny in the way tall, naturally athletic boys tended to be. Not one limb seemed out of proportion with the rest of him.
They sat together smoking for what seemed like an hour to Willy, but was really five minutes. When he noticed his weed getting down to the nub, Willy peeled himself off his windshield and looked at his friend for the first time.
"Where'd you get that wound?"
Richie's head bobbed up and down with laughter. The "wound" above his left eye came from a branch on his way into the woods. He'd been showing Sandra the way and had almost convinced her he knew what he was doing. A wild branch snapping back at him cleared him of those delusions. When they arrived she promptly said her goodbyes and joined her friends by the fire.
"Look on the bright side. If she hadn't left, who would've given you a light."
"Now that," Willy's finger floated in front of him. He was trying to make a point, but the damn thing kept falling over and ruining it. "Would truly have been a tragedy."
A crack drew Willy out of a reverie he had fallen into. He'd been contemplating fingers and their place in the history of everything.
Richie had what looked like a cold-enough can in his hand. The foam was tickling his upper lip and he slurped down sip after sip.
Without taking it away, Richie reached over to his side with his free hand and produced another. In a single motion he swung it back toward Willy, cracked it, and handed it off.
Richie was good people.
"You remember when we used to steal these out of your dad's minifridge in the garage?"
"Where do you think I got these."
"Doesn't he lock it now?"
Richie's face morphed, eyes, nose, mouth all shrinking down, like if he loosened anyone of them a terrible secret would burst out of his eyes.
It was his tell. Had been since he was ten. Maybe eight. How the hell long had they been friends, Willy wondered.
Willy's head spun around.
"Since first grade."
Right, Willy thought. "Right."
Behind them, the sounds of the party seemed to reach a higher pitch. Everyone who was going to be there was there. Introductions had been made, drinks shared. People had begun to settle into the night and the mood of the woods reflected that.
Richie's hand flared out. His watches were always too big for his wrists. I have odd sized wrists, he'd always claim whenever Willy gave him a hard time about it. Not everyone can have a wrist that fits all those little notches. There have to be people who fall somewhere in between. Richie was convinced he was one of those in between people.
The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:
Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Location A forest
Words Reach 100 words
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words
Words Reach 400 words
Sentence "Where'd you get that wound?"
Words Reach 500 words
Words Reach 600 words
Words Reach 700 words
Words Reach 800 words
Prop Include a wristwatch
Words Reach 900 words
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