Hello Internet! Lex here. And today we have up and coming DSP Publications author duo T.A. Venedicktov presenting their entry for Flash Fiction Friday asking the question: “Will you help me hide a boooodddyyyy~” Enjoy!
Bones by T.A. Venedictov
The world streaked by in a blur of yellow street paint, glowing from the headlights, before blending into a stream of gray as they entered the desert. Evan didn’t register the bumps or dips. The F350 truck cabin was cold from the A/C and the stereo poured out some satellite rock station. He still felt the sides of the truck crushing in on him, trying to tell himself it was nerves.
“You’re quieter than normal.” Apollo said chipperly from the driver’s seat, interrupting the internal cinematic film that had been playing over and over inside Evan’s mind since the ‘incident’. They both rose up in their seats and were rocked involuntarily side to side as the rumbling truck went through another dip in the desert sand. They were no longer on any sort of road or path that Evan could tell, but heading straight out into the mountainous, geological, day time death trap.
“You still haven’t told me what happened.” Evan’s fire-haired BFF with bennies still sounded overly cheerful, especially when it came to their current situation. The attractive man had his nearly every present smile on his lips, his eyes locked onto the scenery around them, not once looking over at Evan.
Evan tossed his hands up in the air and they came slapping down into his lap. “What do you mean what happened? I killed a guy!”
Apollo finally took his eyes off the darkness to quickly look at Evan with a quirked eyebrow, the smile still present.
“Considering there’s a stiff rolling around back there, I think I got that part. I’m asking you how it got that way. When I talked to ya earlier this evening, you sounded pretty up about tonight. Bragging even. So what happened between then and bloody DB?”
“You didn’t ask me any questions back at the apartment and you didn’t ask anything the last hour, but now you want the story?” Evan slammed his head back into the headrest. “I thought it was going to be a good night. He’s been paying me well and I thought it would be like the last two times we met up.”
“When dealing with a corpse, you generally don’t have time to ask questions. You gotta move quickly. Besides, you were too freaked out to talk to. You’ve had a little bit to chill. So ya, askin’ now.” Apollo sounded all too reasonable. “So what changed? He decide that he wanted a freebie?”
Evan’s leg started bouncing up and down. “He hit me, okay?”
The truck swerved abruptly to the right as Apollo looked sharply over at Evan, the smile finally gone. Evan had only seen the deadly, cold look in his best friend’s dark green eyes a few times and it had scared the shit out of him, even though it had never been directed towards him. This was another one of those times.
“He hit you?” Each word Apollo spoke was pronounced slowly, a slight growl flavoring every syllable.
Evan shook his head and looked at his hands. “Look, a client hitting me isn’t that big of a surprise. Happens time to time. But this was different.”
He tried to think back to a few hours ago, but it was similar to watching an old, choppy, 8 millimeter movie.
Phil had been drinking. Evan knew a closet alcoholic when he met one. Gay closet and habit closet looked similar on the inside. Phil paid well, and for a forty year old married man, he fucked surprisingly well.
Phil put the empty bottle down on the coffee table and smacked his lips. He had been on a diatribe about his younger years. He finished it with, “My brother, his girlfriend, and I were going to a Rolling Stones concert. I was sitting in the back of the car reading Aristotle and Imagination of the Soul. We smoked so much fucking pot. Changed my life.”
Evan laughed because he had never heard anything more ridiculous. Phil had not seen the humor.
“What the fuck? It’s true! It was then that I knew what I needed to do with my life,” his hands curled into fists.
Evan raised an eyebrow, crossing his arms over his naked chest. “I’m not one to judge, but sleeping around on your wife is never a life aspiration of most men.”
Phil unfurled from the sofa, pointing a finger toward Evan, making jabbing motions as he ranted. “You little piece of shit! You know nothing about my life! What I’ve had to do to get where I am.”
Evan bit his tongue. He wasn’t paid to have an opinion. Evan thought the man was full of shit, but he paid up front and never argued against using a rubber.
Evan held up his hands placatingly. “Let’s not fight. Let me take care of you. That’s why you hired me right? To help you relax?”
Evan walked forward, expecting anything but a meaty hook to his jaw.
Evan looked over at Apollo as he paused his story. “But he didn’t stop there.”
There was still no returning smile on Apollo’s face, however his fury filled eyes had moved back towards the dark desert scenery.
“Of course it didn’t.” Apollo said lowly as he maneuvered the truck around a large boulder and finally stopped the vehicle, turning it off with a rumble. “Tell me,” he practically ordered.
“Why? Does it matter at this point?” He countered.
“Tell. Me.” Apollo ordered again.
He frowned at Apollo. Evan was embarrassed and freaked out and Apollo was no therapist he’d ever spill his guts too.
“Fuck you,” he snapped. “Are you still going to help if I don’t?”
Apollo’s cold expression melted a little at his best friend’s words. Reaching over, he brushed the now visible bruise on Evan’s cheek gently with the back of his fingers.
“I’ll always help you, no matter what. You know that.” he said softly, a small, warm smile briefly appearing on his face before he dropped his hand, opening his door. “Come on.”
“Come on what? Here?” Evan looked around, unable to see much in the dark desert.
“Of course,” the other man stated blandly as he stepped out into the cool night air. Deserts had the distinct honor of killing people by the heat of the day. However, at night, it could turn icy cold.
“The desert is the perfect place to chuck a body. By the time it’s found, if ever, the large portion of evidence has been stripped away by the sun and sand,” Apollo explained as he reached into the back cab of the truck and grabbed a black duffel bag, dropping it in the seat he had previously occupied and unzipping it. He paused for a moment, his brow furrowing as he looked up and peered at Evan who was lit by the interior cab light. “Wait, don’t tell me you’ve never tried burying a body before?!”
“Of course not, you homicidal idiot!” Evan screamed, turning away as he exited the cab, heart hammering in his chest.
Apollo was next to Evan as soon as the man slammed the truck door shut. The smile was gone from the his lips as he put his hands on Evan’s shoulders. “Calm down Ev. I know you’ve had a shit of a night. I apologize for assuming that you’ve done this before. I should have known otherwise by the way you were acting. I’m just used to being around people who have.”
Gently, Apollo moved his hands from Evan’s shoulders and down his back, pulling the smaller man into a warm, comforting hug. It was odd, the contrast. One moment Apollo was talking casually about burying a body as if it was as normal as going to the grocery store. The next, he was hugging Evan and it felt wonderful. The most amazing embrace he had ever experienced. Hell, he and Apollo had fucked more times than Evan could remember. But he couldn’t recall Apollo ever hugging him before.
“Why don’t you stay in the truck and rest? I’ll take care of the fuckhead.” Apollo suggested softly in Evan’s ear before releasing him and stepping back.
“No. I did this. I need to do this.”
The movie began to play again. Him on the floor holding his jaw. Flashes of scenes. Another swing. Venomous words cutting deep. Large hands around his neck. Evan realizing he wasn’t fighting off being raped, but being killed.
The knife had been right there.
Apollo opened his mouth, obviously about to debate Evan’s decision. However, he just said, “Alright,” giving his friend another quick hug before walking back around the truck. He pulled two pairs of black, latex gloves out of the bag before walking to the back of the vehicle.
There was a camper cover over the bed of the truck, which hid any contents that may be there. In this case there was a body rolled up in a thick, plastic sheet that prevented any fluids from slipping out and slopping all over the back of the vehicle. There were also two shovels, which Apollo grabbed first.
He choose a divot in the sand next to a shear plateau. The side Apollo had chosen faced East, the side the sun first hit when it rose. There was a small cave at the base of the plateau, where rock and sand didn’t quite meet. Dropping the shovels, he went back to the truck, pulling the body out.
Evan licked his lips and picked up a shovel. “I’m getting so drunk and high after this.”
Apollo chuckled softly as he dropped the wrapped body unceremoniously on the ground near the shovels. He grabbed one himself and began digging next to the small cave.
“You mind if I join ya?”
Evan wiped his hand across his forehead. “Fuck yes. Join in.”
It didn’t take them long to dig a deep hole. Once that was complete, Apollo grabbed the body, dropping it in.
Evan grabbed gas and matches to burn Phil’s wallet and baggage he brought to Phil’s place earlier.
“Burn the plastic sheeting as well.” Apollo began to stomp the body more into the hole.
Evan didn’t question his friend’s orders during this moment. He dug the hole, filled it up with the extra crap, and lit it ablaze.
Apollo finished up covering the body, trusting the elements more than fire to take care of it. He made sure the fucker was mostly under the plateau and the hole and divot was covered, looking natural.
It wasn’t long before they were done, packed up and ready to go. Before they got back into the truck, Apollo pulled Evan into his arms once again.
“You should quit doing tricks and move in with me. I can get you a gig with me that pays more, is safer, and where I can watch over ya.”
Evan punched Apollo in the side. “I can take care of myself,” he paused. “I’ll think about it.”
“Good,” the smile on Apollo’s face was practically beaming. He put a quick kiss on his best friend’s lips before walking to the driver’s side. “Let’s get out of here and have enough fun to get that fucker out of your head. I’ll call a buddy who owes me a favor to do the clean up so I can hang with you. Sound like a plan?”
Rolling his eyes, Evan climbed back into the truck. “Ya. Fine.” Evan looked out at the vast darkness in front of them. “Thanks Apollo.”
“Anytime, Ev.” Apollo replied softly. It was clear to Evan that when Apollo said anytime, he really meant it.
Then the smile widened again, mischief in Apollo’s eyes as he looked at Evan. “When else can I bury a body with the guy I love?”
Evan felt his jaw hit the floor. “What the fuck?”
Apollo tilted his head back and laughed at Evan’s shocked expression as they continued to drive back towards civilization – and perhaps more.