First Draft

Page 11

Benjamin D’Amico didn’t want to start writing in his fancy notebook again. It had been months since his last foray into the depths of his soul, and some strange part of him suspected that the pages which had been written thus far were somehow perfect, and he didn’t want to fuck up the pristine, off-white pages that remained. By far, the worst imaginable outcome that he could think of would be to have his fairy-tale notebook and the fairy-tale first draft that it contained marred by the horrid black marks of “mistakes” written whist he was in an “uncentered”, “uninspired”, “unenlightened” state of mind. And so he wrote this paragraph, in an effort to tell himself to say “fuck it” and write. Because, if honest, he was hungry, tired of wasting his existence to inaction, and desperate for a change that would not be arriving uninvited.

And so, he made a “New Years Resolution” on 1/1/2024 to try to write one page each day as a formal invitation to this elusive change for the better, which he so desperately sought. Whether she accepts the invitation remains to be seen. But at least he couldn’t later on tell himself that he had denied himself the opportunity for a beautiful life.

THUMP-THUMP-THUMP-THUMP. Benjamin glanced through his rear-view mirror, back at the gelatinous bag, which seemed far too content, reclining across the back seat of his sedan. Its contents jiggled with each rhythmic kick of its feet against the driver-side window behind him.


Ben sat with his left elbow nestled against the plastic door panel, massaging his temple with his middle finger. His left knee was vibrating up and down in a very unrhythmic, nervous sort of way. He noticed that he was doing this and looked down, snorting a humorless chortle at the large wet spot on his dark blue jeans that also was twitching up and down. Perhaps it would dry faster. At least he wouldn’t smell like a French cheese.


Under a heavy brow, Benjamin glared up at the highway sign that was slowly drifting up to the top of his windshield. “TUNNEL 1 MILE AHEAD – TRAVEL TIME: 1️⃣2️⃣ MINUTES” It continued to drift upwards as Benjamin’s car rolled forward, until it was has obscured by the roof of his car.


Glancing forward, Benjamin slammed his foot down onto his brake, and his tires chirped to a stop. His front bumper was inches from the Subaru in front of him. THUMP-THUMP-THUMP. Benjamin’s brow furled even lower over his eyes. He gripped the faux-leather steering wheel and twisted his moist palms back. The sound that it made was like two necks being wrung.


THUMP-THUMP-THUMP-THUMP. Benjamin glared over his shoulder at the Thumper, but then returned his eyes forward, not wanting to give it too much attention. He tapped his finger on the steering wheel as he glanced around outside at his surroundings. The Subaru had yet to release its brakes, and neither had the box truck in front of it. Ben closed his eyes for a moment and breathed deep. When he reopened them, nothing had changed. And so, in one deliberate motion, he reached up and slid the moonroof shade back, and pulled the lever to his left to lean back in his seat. From this angle, he could barely make out the illuminated numbers on the highway sign above him. “1️⃣5️⃣ MINUTES”




Benjamin lurched forward, startled by the return of the screaming, which rang out just inches from his right ear. THUMP / ACGH! – THUMP / GRAGH!


“FUCK!” Benjamin screamed even louder than the Thumper, and twisted his waist around in his seat as he lunged back for its pulsing heart. In an effort to clobber it before it could let out one more howl, Benjamin flailed wildly and feebly back at the spineless skin tag of a head – he missed, his hand smashing against the vibrating body of the blob. Its head bobbed around, slapping against rear passenger door panel.


Benjamin erratically unbuckled his seat belt with his free hand and wriggled himself closer. With a dangerous grimace staining his face, he gripped the creatures neck the best that he could in the contorted position that he was in with his left hand, and began furiously beating down on it with the meat of his fisted right hand. Flopping and jiggling wildly, the screaming, blinking red heart seemed to evade his every strike. In one swing, Benjamin missed his mark by a considerable margin, and slammed his fist onto the arm rest of the rear passenger door. It gave out a loud plasticky crack. He screamed out again and shook his hand in pain. His foot slipped off of the brake, and his car lurched forward.


In a panic, Ben pounded his foot back onto the break pedal. The car again chirped to a stop. His eyes shot forward over the dash. The Subaru was now barreling ahead, a few hundred feet down the highway. Ben turned his shaken gaze back, through the rear windshield at the SUV behind him. The driver, and his passenger, both gawked at him with motionless, round eyes. As did the driver of the car in the right lane, who’s vehicle sat motionless, even though the car ahead of her had already sped away towards the tunnel ahead.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.