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June 2013

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A Collection of Brokeback Drabbles — Nos. 1 through 20

Pairing: Jack/Ennis
Rating: ?? So far, language, hints of sex, nothing graphic (sorry!) yet...
Disclaimer: Annie Proulx invented them, Diana Ossana and Larry McMurtry expanded them, Ang Lee guided them, and Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal interpreted them. I'm just playing with them.
Comments: Why not?

001. Beginnings

Jack’s thoughts:  Piece a shit truck.  That must be the other guy.  I wonder how long he’s been waitin.  Pretty unsociable sort—won’t even look at me.  Hope he lightens up or it’s gonna be a long summer.  I kinda like him though—damned if I know why.

Ennis’s thoughts:  Wonder how much longer before the hirin guy gets here.  That pickup ain’t much, but at least that fella didn’t hafta hitch to get here.  Must be the other guy.  Bit of a showoff, ain’t he?  Hope we get along okay.  I kinda like him—damned if I know why.

002. Middles

“Ennis?”

“Whuh?”

“I was thinkin…”

“Bad habit, bud.”  A pause.  “Okay, what was you thinkin?”

“Oh, just remembrin them Brokeback days…”

“We had us some times, didn’t we, Jack?”

“Sure did.  Y’know it’s just ten years.  1963 to 1973.”

“Huh.  How ‘bout that?  Don’t seem that long, does it?”

“Sometimes.  Sometimes it seems longer, y’know?”

“Yuh.  Maybe.”

“Anyways, it was summer then—July.  And it’s July now.  Tryin a remember the date.  Could be our anniversary…  Or somethin.”

“Mmhh.”  Another pause.  “C’mere.”  A kiss, a grope, a sigh.  “Mighta been the 12th.”

“That’s today.”

“Yeah.  Shut up and let’s fuck.”

003. Ends

Ennis can’t put his finger on exactly when it ended.  He doesn’t know why this is important, just that it is.  The obvious point is the moment of Jack’s death.  That’s when all the possibilities—however likely or unlikely—collapsed into a single impossibility:  the impossibility of ever seeing him again, holding him again, making anything wrong between them right again.  But it might have been at the trailhead, the last time he saw Jack.  Or the returned postcard that told Ennis Jack was gone.  It did end.  But if it’s ended, why does it keep on hurting so much?

004. Hours

North on US-287 to Amarillo.  Then US-87 and still north, just barely missing the Oklahoma panhandle.  Across the northeast corner of New Mexico to US-64 in Raton, just before the Colorado border.  Straight shot north through Colorado—try to miss rush hour in Denver.  Cross the Wyoming border and into Cheyenne.  Pick up US-20 near Casper and follow it west to the little town of Shoshoni, by the Boysen Reservoir.  Then south for a change on US-26, just a hundred miles to go now to get to Riverton.  Fourteen hours.  If you don’t pay no mind to the speed limits.

005. Days

Ennis wakes early, used to ranch hours.  Jack’s accustomed to rising at eight, except weekends when he sleeps in till nine or ten.  This is vacation, and might as well be a weekend, you’d think, but Ennis gets him up (more ways than one) around six, which Ennis thinks of as sinfully late.  Early to bed, too, which Jack doesn’t mind, because it can be quite a while before they get to sleep.  Simple food, cooked over the open fire.  Beer and whiskey.  Talking, or just being together in companionable silence.  The days are too short.  And too damned few.

006. Weeks

Think in weeks and it’s not so bad.  Months are too long.  And days, there’s too many of em.  Every week is a line on the calendar.  Cross off a week and you’re down an inch, inch and a half, closer to the next trip.  Closer to Jack.  And it’s only four weeks—and a bit—to a month, and four or five months between trips.  Four is a bearable number.  Course there’s seven days in each week.  But days are short.  Each one with its own duties.  Distractions.  Get up, work, eat, wash, go to sleep.  Dream of Jack.

007. Months

“November?  What in hell ever happened a August?”  Six months, six goddamned sonovabitchin months instead of three.  Six months of beating off, sneaking around with Randall, half the time can’t even get it up, missing Ennis so bad I’d trade a week of my life for one day with Ennis, fuckin stupid asshole can’t see that we might as well be dead if we ain’t together, hurts so bad, tire irons couldn’t be this bad, but Ennis can’t see that, he won’t see it…  Shit.  “Christ, Ennis.  Y’know you had a fuckin week to say some little word about this.”

008. Years

“Four years.  Damn.”

“You keep sayin that.”

“Tell you what, I just can’t believe…”

“Whut?”

“Ah, nothin.”

“Can’t believe what, Jack?”

“Oh, I dunno.  Can’t believe we waited so long, I guess.  Or maybe can’t believe I’m really here.  Or…  How bout you, Ennis?  What can’t you believe?”

“Me?  I dunno.”  He lights a cigarette contemplatively.  “Glad to be here, though.  Glad you’re here.  You know that, don’t you, Jack?”

“I think your smile at the top of the stairs kinda gave me a hint.  Or maybe that kiss at the bottom of the stairs?  Ya think?”

“Yeah.  Four years.”

009. Sea

Jack’s never been to the coast, but still he knows the sea.  With Ennis, he’s caught in a riptide of emotion, washing over him, taking him where it will.  He bathes in Ennis, drinks him in thirsty gulps:  sweat, spit, semen.  He floats peacefully, buoyant on the ocean of Ennis.  Or drowns in despair, throat and lungs burning, in the storms.  Then there’s the crashing surf of sex, when he’s tumbled out of control, riding the waves, faster and higher, hurled onto the shore with a blast of foam, and lies quiet on the beach, gentle waves lapping over him.

010. Shore

“What’re you waitin for, cowboy?  A matin call?”  Lureen Newsome is a good catch:  young, pretty, rich.  Well, it’s her Daddy that’s rich, but same thing.  She’s a damn fine rider, too, horses and men. Jack likes it that she takes the lead, prefers it.  He’s drifting, rudderless, and he knows it.  He’s gone as far as he’ll go, bullriding—hit his peak.  Time to move on to something else.  Two years now since Brokeback, and he still misses Ennis—thinks of him every day.  Jack likes Lureen, even loves her some; marriage with her looks like a safe haven.

011. Faith

“So when are we ever gonna see this Ennis Del Mar fella?”

“Well, soon, Daddy.  I hope.”

“What kinda soon?  Tomorrow?  Next week?  What’s he to you, anyways?  Or should I be askin what’re you to him?”

“He’s a friend.  We’re friends.  He’s good with stock and he’s a hard worker.  And I don’t know exactly when…”

“Friends, huh?”

“Another slice of cake, Jack?  More coffee?  John, if a friend of Jack’s comes to stay and help, he’d be welcome.  I’m sure it’ll work out fine.”

“Thanks, Mama.  And I know he will come, I just don’t know exactly when.”

012. Trust

Alma Beers knew she had herself a good man.  More grown-up and steady at nineteen than many at forty-nine.  Took a summer job, sheepherding, just to earn money for them to marry on.  And now she’s Alma Del Mar.  Her man works hard, though he doesn’t make a lot of money.  Maybe too quiet sometimes, but never raised a hand.  Treats his little girls right, never too proud to change diapers, or too tired to tell stories.  Likes a beer or two, sometimes a whiskey, but not like some that drink up their whole pay.  A man to be trusted.

013. Respect

The herder has lots of time for thinking.  What the hell got into Jack this morning?  Know what didn’t get into him, and that’s Ennis.  Just asked for a quick blowjob before headin out, and Jack’s off and rantin.  “I’m camp tender, now, so I do the cooking and the chores.  And we fuck, too, and I like it.  But that don’t make me your whore, Ennis, so don’t you think it and don’t you treat me like it!”  Then Jack turns away and slams the tinware around as Ennis rides off.  Ennis thinks maybe he was out of line.

014. Joy

Six-pack of beer and three packs of smokes into the day, Ennis is drowsing half in despair on the sofa as he hears a car pull in.  Hurries again to the window, feeling like a fool.  It’s a pickup, new model, dusty—from a long trip?  Door opens, cowboy gets out, looks up…  Jack!  Ennis doesn’t remember going out the door.  Finds himself on the balcony, looking down at Jack, Jack looking up at him, same blue eyes, same thousand-watt smile…  “Jack Fuckin Twist!”  Ennis hurtles down into Jack’s arms, same strong arms, same feelin like home, home at last.

015. Sorrow

“I hear you’ve been having a hard time at home, lately.  Want to talk about it?” the guidance counselor asked.

“Well, I guess you heard my Dad died…  Mama told me it was an accident, changing a tire, but she won’t say anything more.  She cries a lot, but it seems like she’s mad more than sad.  She’s had some kind of big fight with her friend Lashawn—Dad’s friend Randall’s wife, except now they’re getting divorced and Randall’s leaving town.  I keep thinking it’s all got something to do with Dad dying, somehow.  Wish I knew what it’s about.”

016. Purple.  (With a tip of the ten-gallon to louisev.)

What are you wearin?

“Whataya mean, Ennis?  It’s what I always wear:  boots, jeans, shirt, jacket, hat.”

“That shirt, Jack.  It’s purple!

“Yeah.  Lureen picked it out.  Says it goes with my eyes.  You think so, Ennis?”

“Jack…  Jack, doncha know what they say about guys wearin purple?”

“They’re sexy?”

“That they’re queer, Jack.  Ya might as well wear a sign.”

“We’re in the middle a nowhere, Ennis, and the wildlife can’t read.  You think it goes with my eyes?”

“Yeah, okay, it goes with yer eyes.  Ya look real sexy.”  A leer.  “How fast can ya take it off?”

017. Red

The sheep lies gutted on the hillside, ripped open, red insides exposed to the elements.  Like Earl lay, ten years before, red wounds on his arms and legs and body, red emptiness where…  Red blood all on the ground.  Blood on Ennis’s dick this morning, too.  Red lust last night.  Ennis feels himself blushing—more red.  That thing they did last night was over almost before it was begun, but the memory burns like fire in his mind.  Ennis wants to kill Jack Twist, wants to fuck him till he begs for mercy, fuck him while he begs for more.

018. Black

He’s a nice lookin guy.  Wife’s okay, too, but sort of distant and artificial.  Good Samaritans, glad they stopped to help us out.  He’s polite, too, dancing with Lashawn.  Looks sharp, dressed all in black:  boots to hat; fine black leather blazer.  Black hair, sexy moustache, and those blue, blue eyes.  I wonder…

“…drink a little whiskey, fish some, get away.  Y’know?”

Yeah, he knows.  Isn’t sayin yes, but he isn’t sayin no, either.  Looks sad.  Lonely.  Well, hey, Jack, I’m lonely, too, so how about we do somethin about that together?  Here come the girls.  I’ll try again, later.

019. White

My little girl.  Gettin married.  All in white, bridesmaids in pink, Kurt and the ushers with pink bowties.  White flowers everywhere.  Jenny singin like an angel.  Bet I look like a fool in this monkey suit.  But Junior wants me here to give her away.  So here I am, all this white stuff around, in front of God and everybody.  How many of em know?  Alma, a course, and she musta told Monroe, tho he ain’t said nothin to me.  Junior don’t know, or she wouldn’t of wanted me here.  Here in front of God and everybody, white all around.

020. Blue

Blue, blue eyes.  Never saw eyes that blue.  And that smile.  And the way he looks at me.  He cleans up nice, but he looked good even rolling in the dust.  Started out kind of shy, but not so shy now.  Strong arms, beautiful mouth, lips as soft and sweet as I don’t know what.  Little rough around the edges, maybe, but a real gentleman at heart.  Nasty bitches, sayin he’s maybe queer.  Nothin queer about the way he’s playin with my breasts; he likes em, for sure.  Daddy won’t like him.  T’hell with Daddy, and t’hell with midnight, too.



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Comments

Sid, I devoured all of these...you have such a refreshing, new take on things. I particularly loved 'Hours'and 'Months' brought tears to my eyes.
Just beautiful, thank you. :)
Thank you. I should probably credit MapQuest for "Hours." I sure couldn't have done it without them!
Just wonderful, but "Ends" made me cry.
So glad you liked them. Sorry about making you cry! I'll try to write some that are more cheerful!
These are just amazing, I truly love them. Don't tell me they're your first time writing drabbles? If so, I'm going to have to go hang my head in shame ;)

Beginnings -- I like the parallel.
Middles --just too cute. *happy sigh*
Ends -- I was okay until this line, "But if it’s ended, why does it keep on hurting so much?" Ouuuuch. In a good way, though.
Hours -- Great last line, so perfectly Jack. I wouldn't pay no mind to the speed limit, neither ;)
Days -- Too true :( Too few, never enough.
Weeks -- I could really see Ennis counting down this way. Very nicely done.
Months -- Ouch. *hugs her poor Jack*
Years -- Oh, the model scene. *melts*
Sea -- This one is just AWESOME. What an apt comparison, and so artfully done.
Shore -- I have a slightly different take on Lureen/Jack myself, but I think this is very likely how things started between them.
Faith -- What an appropriate title. Jack really did have faith in Ennis. And Jack's mother has faith in God. What does John have faith in?
Trust -- Oh, good God. That is just so poignant. I don't really sympathize with Alma that much, but you may have just converted me.

Lovely, lovely work! Please keep it up :)

Keeping it up

Count on it. 12 down, 88 to go. Don't know if I'll get all of them done, but I haven't run dry yet. Thanks so much for your compliments and support!
Wow, these were wonderful. I'm so glad Sheera highlighted them for us on DC. Loved them all, but my favorites:

Hours - or miles and miles to go before he can sleep (with the one he loves). Just loved the simplicity. And it was easy to imagine Jack tracing that route in his mind, anxious for the next part of the journey.

Weeks - that was painful, especially when I thought about how hard it must have been for Ennis to pass the time after Jack died, with not even their meetings to look forward to.

Months - poor Jack - always trying to hold back his feelings so he doesn't scare Ennis off.

Sea - wow, that was hot - hence my icon! Beautiful, sensuous imagery. Just perfect.

I hope we get lots more from you - drabbles or longer. Thanks for sharing these with us!
I've got some ideas for longer things, but I'm having fun with the drabbles for now. I'm glad you liked Sea. It's a tough prompt when you're writing about Brokeback, so I had to make it symbolic. And thanks for reading!
Respect--Ennis, sheesh! C'mon now, boy, your mamma taught you better manners than that.
Joy--*snifflesniffle*
Sorrow--Poor Bobby... I think kids are a lot more perceptive than people give them credit for and he would have definitely picked up on the undercurrents going on.
Purple--Wildlife can't read! I love it :)
Red--Good God that is powerful. So many connections, so many images... masterfully done, Sid. Just amazing.
Black--Aww, poor Randall, going after someone who's heart's taken. I agree with him, though, Jack does look mighty fine in black :)
White--I never would have made that connection, that's a lovely scene you've painted, although I also feel Ennis's agony.
Blue--I really like Lureen and I like your realistic characterization of her here. :)

Lovely drabbles Sid, glad to see you're still working on them!

Still working...

Oh, yes. I have great hopes of completing all 100. What I'll do then is open to question.

Thanks for your lovely feedback. I see you like the "colorful" ones! :)

Re: Still working...

purple: not only can't wildlife read, they can't see in color! Very funny.
respect: nope. don't see it. have not been sufficiently prepared by slash fiction. i.e: they can disagree about anything except sex...(I realize it's about respect, but you've put it in terms of sex. Er, Jack doesn't want to give Ennis a blowjob? Sounds very odd and unlike Jack)
sea: you really made a beautiful thing out of not having any convenient bodies of water...this is great writing.
joy: I can't help it; ever since I started reading louisev's "Falling in Lust," I'm checking for tongues.


I can't believe someone who can write like this likes my writing...sure you're not putting me on?
Wonderful drabbles. I like the range of emotions in them, going from happy to sad, to confused, to sensual, then angry. There is a lot of meaning packed in so few words.
I'm enjoying them all. : )
Debra
Thanks for your kind comment! Yes, drabbles are sort of like Altoids (the "curiously strong mints")--they can be pretty intense. Well, when you've only got 100 words, you've gotta make each one count.
Hi

These were great.

My favourites were (in no particular order) Ends, Weeks,Years,Purple & Blue. The one I thought was outstanding was Sea - loved that one.

Julie
Thank you so much. I'm always interested in hearing which ones a reader likes best.

Purple was fun to write! (In Looking for Answers, Book 2 of The Laramie Saga, louisev had Ennis exclaim, “What the fuck are you WEARING?” when Ellery came home with an earring, tight pants, and blue lizardskin boots. I borrowed the phrase, tho I had to clip 2 words.) The purple shirt, of course, is what Jack was wearing in the "Honey, have you seen my blue parka?" scene.

Sea came to me as a inspiration when I was wrestling with the problem: How the hell do I write a BBM drabble about the sea when nobody in the story has ever gone there? Well, duh, you have to make it a symbolic sea. And there I was.

Thanks for reading and commenting.
beginnings, ends and days
THUD
and the others too :)
you have a gift
vanessa
It's always a delightful surprise to me that people are still discovering and reading--and even commenting!--on these drabbles written and posted so long ago.

I'm glad you enjoy them. And thank you so much for letting me know.