Let It Rot
Driven miles and miles away, Brady stopped his car in parking mode, and immediately got out. He slammed the door, since he couldn't take the smell anymore. He had worn a nose strip throughout the entire trip from his friend's house. His friend whom he used to go to high school with, said that his brand-new car, the Chevy automobile did look good. But the problem was the interior of the car smelled bad.
Brady had experienced this strange situation before. Since then, he wanted to buy the cheapest car that the money can buy. But he didn't have enough money. What did he do? He sold drugs on the streets, and got himself to a total around $1,000. Yep, that's right. He finally bought his dream car. But...
He walked toward the front porch of his house, where he and his sister, Sally were currently staying. Of course, it was their parents' house, not too big, and not too small. Their parents passed away a long time ago, and now they had each other, living the dream. Brady, the drug dealer, and Sally, the nail polisher. The earnings weren't too high as anything goes, but they still managed all right. Folks around town felt sorry for them.
When Brady sat on the chair, he took the nose strip off, and stared at his red-colored Chevy. He wished that he wouldn't have bought it. But it did look tempting to buy in the first place. One look, and that's it. He was in love. He asked the car dealer how much it cost, and if he can save it for a later buy, until he got the money. Unless, some other customer wanted to buy the Chevy that bad. But in reality, the previous customers actually bought the car, and they had returned it because of the horrid smell.
Brady didn't believe it. He drove the Chevy for a test run. It didn't smell bad at first. After he bought the car, it did, and it didn't make any sense. No sir. For a man like Brady Shackletoe, nothing made any sense in the world to him. Not even the educational teachers rambling about their science, and math, and whatever.
Sally finally came out of the house. She had noticed the arrival of his brother. Brady swinging the rocking chair, back and forth. In this time of year, most people couldn't go out because of the intense heat. The heat was there, all right. All that sweating. And the smell... The smell in that darn car.
"Where were you?" Sally asked the usual question. She wanted to know where Brady went. Like if he cared to answer her question at all. What choice did he have? He might as well have to tell his sexual experience with the ladies, who smoked pot and crack at the same time.
"I was at my friend's," replied Brady as usual. He never gave any specifics of which friend he meant. Besides, he had a lot of friends in high places. He couldn't keep count.
"I wish you could tell me everything what you're doing," Sally said. She sat on the other rocking chair, and stared at her brother's car.
There was a moment of silence. Brady sighed. "I wish I could tell you, Sally. I really do. But you don't wanna know. That's the problem, isn't it? If you found out or if I decided to tell you what I was really doing, then you would get upset. Hell, if our parents were still alive, I wouldn't have done the thing, which I'm not supposed to do. But I can tell you one thing." He pointed towards his car.
Sally raised her eyebrow, as if she got confused. She was getting to be more like her brother, day by day. Even though, she wasn't doing anything illegal. Not yet, anyways. "And what's that?" she said.
"It's that darn car," Brady said. Sally looked at the car again. She knew Brady always wanted the Chevy automobile, even since the time when Mom and Dad were still alive. She couldn't figure it out, what Brady was talking about. But she had a hunch that her dear old brother must have caught himself in a jam.
"What are you saying?" Sally said. "I thought you liked the Chevy. You always wanted it."
"Oh sure," Brady almost laughed, and wanted to puke. "I've always wanted that car. It's real beauty as you can see." He pointed at the car again. "But Sally... the car... It smells bad in there." He stopped. There wasn't anything else to say. Was there?
"What do you mean, it smells bad in there?" Sally said. "You might have farted several times for all I know." She giggled at the thought.
"It's not funny," Brady looked at his beautiful sister. The girl with the blonde hair, and skinny legs. Old-fashioned Texan girl. She stopped giggling.
"Well..." Brady was too embarrassed to say it. But sure, why not? "I did fart when I came outside the car. Because I had too many bean cans lately. Anyways, the car smelled bad already, when I came inside. As if... As if there was a dead body in there. You know, what I mean?"
Even though Sally knew, she still didn't want to know what's going on. But she had a bad feeling that Brady must have found a dead body in the car, and that Brady is to take the blame. She was worried about it.
"You mean an actual body?" Sally asked. She hoped that wasn't true.
"No, Sally," Brady said. His Adam apple, almost went down as if something got stuck inside his throat, and couldn't get out. "There ain't a dead body inside the car. But it felt like it. Like it was there all the time, and I didn't even know it."
Sally didn't know what to say about that. Either, Brady is lying or overhearing things. Human senses like that can blind a young man's mind, especially Brady's. "Did you check the trunk?"
"I did check the trunk,” Brady said. “There was no body. It doesn't make sense, Sally. I mean... I bought this car, so I can drive and do my job. Not only that, I get the high chance in meeting my friends, and hang out. You know? That's why I needed it. It was that cheap. But now..."
"The car still smells bad," Sally finished for him.
"Yep," Brady sighed. "The car still smells. I've tried everything. The cleaning solutions I bought from the stores. The spray containers...Everything. I mean everything. I've cleaned the car from top to bottom, and it still smells bad."
The silence hit rock bottom. Sally got up from the chair, looking at the car straight-ahead. The sun was going down, and the night was about to become the devil's night. It's that time of year, and the kids are going to come out and play.
"Do you believe me?" Brady said. "I know it sounds crazy. But to prove it, you'll have to see the car for yourself." He looked at the car again, and still wished he hadn't bought it. "Today's the last day. I'm going to return it tomorrow, hoping to get my money back. I might as well have to buy a new car." He laughed at the idea.
Sally wanted to go and see the car. She did see it before, but never had gotten inside it. But something held her back, and her mind said, “No. Don't do it, Sally or you'll regret it.”
"I have to warn you, Sally." Brady got up from the chair as if that warning already came to fruition in Sally's mind. "That car will make you puke once you open the door. If you decide to check it out, that is." He yawned. "Oh well, I'm beat. I gotta take a shower and sleep. There's a whole day ahead of me." He went inside the house.
Sally was alone now. She can hear the costumed kids coming out of their homes, ready to take the candies from the neighboring houses. She stepped out of the porch, and stopped. She couldn't do it. Somewhere in her mind is telling her, not to go to that darn, smelly car. Again, she was becoming more like Brady.
But it wouldn't hurt? Would it? All you have to do is open the door, and look inside, and then close it. That's it. It's that simple.
Sally decided to go and see the car. She walked towards it. She slowly raised her hand towards the handle. She remembered Brady telling her that he never locks the door because it smells bad, and the car thieves wouldn't dare to steal it. She wanted to laugh at the idea. But she didn't.
She pressed the handle firmly, and held it there for a while. She thought to herself, "Just open the door. That's it. Brady must have been drinking a lot, not to mention the drugs he put himself on these days.” Finally, she opened the door, and looked inside. At first, she thought she saw a dead body sitting on the back seat, along with the wine bottle on his lap. The worms and maggots were wriggling around from his empty eye-sockets through the mouth. And then, the movement started. The corpse of some unknown, dead man came back to life. He opened his mouth and said, "Saaallyyy...Please...Help meeeeee..."
Sally screamed, and closed the door with a loud thud. She ran, almost tripping over some rocks. Then she stopped.
Oh no, Sally thought. It's coming. She puked besides the porch. Just like Brady had said a few minutes ago. The car smelled bad, really bad, and that somebody died in there, rotting... Her poor brother was telling the truth.
Sally looked back at the car. Shivering all over, she went back inside the house. She never wanted to see that car again. God-willing, she hoped that Brady returns the Chevy, and get his money back.
The next day, when Sally came out of the beauty salon. An older sheriff startled her.
"Mrs. Shackletoe," the sheriff said. He stood in front of her. Now Sally was worried, but she didn't expect the bad news coming from the sheriff himself.
"Yes, officer," Sally said. "What seems to be the problem?" Sally couldn't control her nerves. She hoped Brady didn't get in trouble with the police.
"Your brother..." The sheriff paused. He wasn't prepared to tell Sally the situation here. Might as well tell now, and not confuse the young girl any further.
"Your brother..." The sheriff said again. "Brady? We found him in the Chevy automobile. It got crashed in the ditch."
There was silence in the air as if the storm was about to brew over the sky. "What... What did you just say?"
The sheriff repeated the situation. Brady had been found dead in the car. "It looked like he was strangled to death, Mrs. Shackletoe."
"Strangled?" Now, Sally was more confused than ever. "By whom?"
Even the sheriff was confused, not to mention the entire police department. "Well..." He took the hat off, and scratched the back of this head. "You see, Mrs. Shackletoe.... He was strangled by someone in the backseat, while driving. That's what I'd assume."
Next story- Half-Moon