The Sound That Night (I-I)
Or, Cry, Little Sister
As the sunlit sanity of the waking world burns the night to ash,
embrace the unbound madness of your wildest dreams,
laugh into the endless abyss of your darkest fantasies,
and rage against the coming dawn.
PulpBusters is a presentation of Pocket Theater of the Absurd! Original tales of the weird and strange from the mind and madness of “Amoral Crackpot” Steve Arviso.
THE SOUND THAT NIGHT
I-I. Cry, Little Sister
SOUNDSCAPE: THE DRAMATICALLY APPROPRIATE SOUNDS OF A LONELY CANYON ROAD AT NIGHT.
STRANGER: (voice-over) The year is 1955. The place, a moonlit stretch of road cutting and weaving through a weed and bramble-choked canyon somewhere in California.
SFX: A CLASSIC ROADSTER APPROACHES, ROARS PAST, AND AWAY.
The car, meanwhile, belongs to the young man behind the wheel -- Benny Sierra. But while his eyes are on the road, Benny’s attention and affection both belong to the charming young woman seated beside him.
SOUNDSCAPE: THE ROCK ‘N ROLL INTERIOR OF A 1955 BEL AIR AS IT SPEEDS DOWN A LONELY CANYON ROAD AT NIGHT.
NATALIE: Benny... I had a really nice time tonight.
BENNY: (smiles) Me too, Natalie. (putting on the charm) So, uh… what was your favorite part?
NATALIE: (considers this) Well… I want to say it was the part where I got to share a moonlit picnic by the lake with a dark, handsome stranger.
BENNY: S’that right?
NATALIE: (smiles) Mm-hmm. (teasing) But...
BENNY: (wait. what?) “But”? Wait. What? Why’s there a but?
NATALIE: (bigger smile, pressing on)But… I gotta say, I kinda wish I stayed with that Mutant fellow with the big brain.
BENNY: Laws, that was an awful movie!
NATALIE: (laughs) Did you hear that man sitting behind us?
BENNY: Hear him? I still can’t get his bad jokes out of my head. He was talking through the whole movie!
NATALIE: (snuggles close) I guess it’s a good thing we left early, huh?
BENNY: Yeah. I guess it was.
SFX: WOOP-WOOP! A POLICE CRUISER FLASHES LIGHTS AND SIREN.
BENNY: Aw, man. What now?
NATALIE: Benny, you better pull over.
SFX: THE BEL AIR PULLS TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, STOPS.
SOUNDSCAPE: THE UNCOMFORTABLE AMBIENCE OF AN UNWARRANTED TRAFFIC STOP ON THE SIDE OF A LONELY CANYON ROAD AT NIGHT.
SFX: OFFICER (JIMMY) APPROACHES, TAPS ON GLASS.
SFX: BENNY ROLLS, CRANKS DOWN WINDOW.
OFFICER: Please step out of the car, Sir.
BENNY: Excuse me?
NATALIE: (to OFFICER) Jimmy?
OFFICER: Hey, Nat. This’ll just take a second. (to BENNY) Sir, please. Step out of the car.
NATALIE: Jimmy, what are you doing?
OFFICER: I’m sorry, Nat.
SFX: DEPUTY CLARENCE MIDDLETON EXITS THE CRUISER, APPROACHES THE BEL AIR.
CLARENCE: The man asked you to step out of the car twice now. Don’t make him ask you a third time.
NATALIE: (furious) Clarence!
BENNY: Aw, shit.
SFX: NATALIE STORMS OUT OF THE CAR, AT CLARENCE.
CLARENCE: Natalie. You get back in there. This ain’t got nothing to do with you.
NATALIE: Like Hell!
SFX: SLAP! CLARENCE STRIKES NATALIE ACROSS THE FACE.
NATLIE: (pained scream)
CLARENCE: See what you’ve made me go and do, Mr. Sierra? Think you want to step out of that car now?
SFX: BENNY STEPS OUT OF THE CAR.
CLARENCE: That’s a good boy. (to NATALIE) See? Was that too hard? All I wanted was a little pow-wow with our mutual friend.
BENNY: What do you want, Clarence--
CLARENCE: Deputy Middleton. (To OFFICER) Jimmy. Escort my baby sister back home.
OFFICER: Come along, Nat.
NATALIE: (pulls away) What? No!
BENNY: What do we have to talk about? Was I speeding? You gonna give me a ticket?
CLARENCE: No. We’re past that, Mr. Sierra.
SFX: CLARENCE UNHOLSTERS HIS SIDEARM, PISTOLWHIPS BENNY.
SFX: BENNY DROPS LIKE A ROCK WITH A BROKEN JAW.
BENNY: (pained, broken grunts)
CLARENCE: Yeah. I bet that smarts.
CLARENCE: Jimmy. Wouldn’t you agree that there is a God-given order to the world? A purpose. A plan. A place for everything, and everything in its place.
OFFICER: Yeah. Yeah, I guess so. But, uh… Clarence, I don’t think--
CLARENCE: Nor should you. Didn’t I order you to take Natalie home?
OFFICER: Yeah. But...
CLARENCE: Then I suggest you mind your place and do your job.
OFFICER: Yes, Sir.
CLARENCE: And you, Mr. Sierra. We’re going to see if we can sort out exactly where you belong.
SFX: CLARENCE KICKS BENNY IN THE RIBS.
BENNY: (pained grunts)
NATALIE: (sobs) Benny!
OFFICER: Clarence! Stop this!
CLARENCE: Jimmy, I told you--!
SFX: BENNY TACKLES CLARENCE TO THE GROUND.
SFX: BENNY AND CLARENCE WRESTLE, STRUGGLE OVER GUN.
NATALIE: Both of you! Cut this out right this instant!
SFX: BENNY PINS, PUNCHES CLARENCE. ONCE, TWICE…
SFX: BANG! A SINGLE GUNSHOT ECHOES THROUGH THE CANYON.
NATALIE: (frightened gasp)
SFX: BENNY DROPS DEAD.
AN UNCOMFORTABLE SILENCE.
NATALIE: (broken) Oh, God...
OFFICER: Clarence… Clarence, what did you do?
SFX: CLARENCE RISES, DUSTS HIMSELF OFF.
CLARENCE: Eliminated the threat.
OFFICER: You shot him, Clarence. He’s dead. He ain’t supposed to be dead. But you shot him, and now he’s dead.
CLARENCE: Then I guess he knows his place now, don’t he?
OFFICER: (shakes head) This is wrong. This is all wrong.
CLARENCE: The only thing wrong, Officer, is that you’re disobeying a director order. Get Natalie home. Now.
OFFICER: What are you going to do?
CLARENCE: It’s like I said: a place for everything, and everything in its place. And someone’s gotta take out the trash.
SFX: OFFICER ESCORTS A BROKEN NATALIE INTO THE CRUISER, DRIVES AWAY.
TO BE CONTINUED...
The chill of night brings with it a still darkness,
brings with it an alluring promise of peace.
Till the light of day warms your cold bones,
may your eyes never rest,
and may those little slices of death never come.
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