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June 2013

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A Collection of Brokeback Drabbles — Nos. 41 through 60

Pairing:  Jack/Ennis (mostly canon, some A/U)

Rating:  ??  Language, some M/M sex, pretty graphic in spots

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 around.

Comments:  If you would be so kind. 

041. Temptation.

Jack was right.  Damn pup-tent does smell like catpiss.  Or worse.  Wish both of us could be down in the camp.  Sittin after supper, drinkin and talkin.  Jack talkin.  Ain’t he somethin?  Different.  Like him, tho.  Share the tent nights.  Warmer, the two of us together.  A yawn.  Real warm, close together.  Smooth skin, hard muscles.  Mmmm.  Nice, real nice, Jack.  Slow and easy; yeah, like that.  A sigh.

What am I thinkin?  Should be thinkin about Alma, not Jack.  Ain’t neither one of us queer.  Must be more tired than I thought.  Better get some sleep.

Ahhh, Jack, Jack!

042. Whisper.

“Sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it.”

Ennis shifts uneasily, looks away, says nothing.

Later, when Jack wakes in the middle of the night, he talks to Ennis.  “Meant what I said about missin you,” he says, so softly.  “Wish we could be together more’n just a week or ten days, two or three times a year.  Hell, wish we was livin together, place of our own, be a sweet life…  Love you, Ennis, you gotta know that.  Know you love me back, even though you won’t never say it.”

Ennis sleeps, unaware of Jack’s words.

043. Nightmare.

Nice spread we got here, he thought proudly, smiling, and looking out over the fields…  Then he saw motion back near the house.  Three men.  Tire iron rising and falling.  Heard the impact.  The choked groan.  Tried to run; could barely move, like wading in glue.  Tried to shout; could only whisper, “No!  Not him!  Me!  Take me!  It’s my fault, take me!”

He woke, sweat-drenched, gasping, heart pounding.  Staggered, weeping, to the toilet and vomited.  Afterward stared into the mirror at the middle-aged queer with his red-rimmed blue eyes.  Finally made his decision.  “I’ll be there in November, Ennis.”

044. Bittersweet.

“Little ranch.  You and me.  Could be a nice life.”

“Yeah.  Well.  Sorry, but that ain’t gonna happen.”

“Why?  Why should you settle for being somebody’s second best?  His dirty secret?”

“I ain’t his second best.  And how d’you like bein my second choice?  Cause I ain’t gonna lie to you—that’s what you’d always be.”

“I’m willing to give you time…”

“And bein my dirty secret?”

“Lureen…”

“No, not Lureen, nor Lashawn neither.  I told you about Ennis; but d’you think I told him about you?”

“Jack, you know I do love you.”

Very gently.  “Yeah, Randall, I know.”

045. Guilt.

As always, Ennis woke early.  After emptying his bladder and making a pot of coffee in Cassie’s efficient little kitchen, he went back to lie beside her till she woke.  He felt out of place in this feminine bedroom, like a feed sack among designer handbags.  But Cassie looked out of place at Ennis’s trailer as well—a pearl necklace worn with overalls.

He liked her, enjoyed her company, appreciated her exuberance.  And she liked him—God knew why.  She was surprisingly undemanding in bed, easy to satisfy.  And yet… too often he looked at her and wished for Jack.

046. Star.

“Star light,” says Ennis.  Junior and Jenny (ages five and three) echo him, “Star light…”

“Star bright, first star I see tonight.  I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.”  He recites the rhyme slowly, pausing every few words for the girls to repeat them.  “Now, close your eyes and make a wish.  Don’t tell anybody what it is.  You just keep it secret.”  He looks at the little sincere faces, eyes shut and brows tight with concentration.  What are they wishing for?  Dolls, candy, ponies?  Ennis wishes he was in Jack Twist’s arms.

047. Moon.

Jack pulls up his pants and puts on his jacket before heading out to their primitive latrine.  Ennis is out like a light.  Will he even remember in the morning?  The night is damn cold, and the soft pre-dawn light makes it feel even colder.  He squats over the straddle trench they’d dug downwind of camp, and the cool air feels sorta good on his ass.  He’s elated and despondent, hopeful and dismayed, starry-eyed and shocked, all at once.  Jack looks up at the full moon—still high and bright—as though it could tell him how he should feel.

048. Run.

“All summer?”

“It’ll give us some money to marry on.  Pay ain’t great, but I won’t have no livin expenses, and there ain’t nothing to spend it on.”

Ennis knows he’s expected to marry Alma, and he wants to.  But he also wants…  Some time to himself.  He’s barely twenty, and soon he’ll be promising “till death do us part.”  He feels guilty, but there’s a sense of wrongness about this marriage, though when he tries to think what that wrongness might be, his thoughts slip and slide and he gets nowhere.

A summer on the mountain should settle him.

049. Hide.

She had seen what she had seen:  her husband and his friend embracing, kissing…  Alma walked into the living room, hunched over, gut-shot.  Of course she knew there were queers, but this…  This was like seeing a new color.  Not a color related to anything familiar, but an entirely new hue, from some unknown spectrum.  They kissed like they wanted to consume each other.  It had never occurred to Alma before that two men would or even could kiss.  When she heard them coming up the stairs, she tried to look like she was searching for something in her handbag.

050. Play.

“So, waddaya wanna do today, bud?”

“Hey, Rodeo, waddaya think I wanna do?”

“Y’know, Ennis, L.D. calls me Rodeo and it ain’t a compliment.  You call me Rodeo and I’ll call you Hot Stuff.  Waddaya think a that, Hot Stuff?”

Ennis choked.  “I think I’ll see yer Hot Stuff and raise ya…”  He pondered.  “Baby Doll!”

Jack gagged.  Yer bluffin, Snuggle Bear.”

“No, I ain’t, Lambie-Pie.”

“Lamb pie, huh?” licking his lips seductively.  “With gravy?” he leered.

“Ya like gravy, do ya, Lambie-Pie?”  Ennis grinned.  “You just c’mere and yer ‘Snuggle Bear’ will give ya all the gravy ya want.”

Ennis Remembered… – Musings while Eating Apple Pie.

These next 5 are a group:  Water, Fire, Earth Air, Spirit.  They all start “Ennis remembered…”

051. Water.

Ennis remembered the tap dripping into the sink, counting down to Alma’s accusation.  Now he heard it in his mind, echoing his thoughts.

Drip, drip.  She knew.

Drip, drip.  She knew.

But she’d never said anything—not to him, not to the girls, not to anyone—for all those years.  She let him take the girls, always coolly polite to his face, never badmouthing him behind his back.  She was upset about Jack.  Naturally.  She was angry.  She had every right to be.  But she didn’t hate Ennis.  Didn’t despise him utterly.  She even seemed… to still care a little.

052. Fire.

Ennis remembered the flickering of half a thousand camp fires, lights and shadows playing across Jack’s face, hands, body…  Just thinking of Jack’s face in the firelight has always calmed Ennis—made him feel happy and peaceful, like the world was a good place.

Jack, the dreamer, wanting them to be together all the time.  Truth be told, Ennis had the same dream.  Difference was, Ennis knew dreams from reality.

But you didn’t want it, Ennis!

He had no right to say that.  Ennis burned for it and Jack should have known that, even without Ennis saying it.  Shouldn’t he?

053. Earth.

Ennis remembered the dusty road he’d walked once in 1953 and hundreds of times since in nightmares, Earl’s mutilated body haunting him for nearly thirty years.

And what about Rich?  Going on alone with only his memories of his time with Earl…  They’d been there when Daddy came in 1935, so eighteen years together.  At least.

For the first time, Ennis wondered if maybe eighteen years together with a tire iron at the end of it wasn’t still a better bargain than eighteen years mostly apart, with that heartbreaking fight and parting last May in the dusty trailhead parking lot.

054. Air.

Ennis remembered the smoky, beery atmosphere of the bar when Cassie dragged him off to dance, introducing herself as she pulled him along.  She was cute, and fun…  A lot like Jack in a lot of ways.  But—unlike Jack—she stirred little sexual interest in him.  He’d been seeing her for a few years now, but every time he fucked her, Ennis became more aware that he’d far rather be making love with Jack.  And now he’d just dropped her—ignored her messages, avoided places they might meet.

He took a breath.  Maybe it was time to face it.

055. Spirit.

Ennis remembered that special feeling of being whole whenever he was with Jack.  Remembered the sense of something missing—something important, essential—when they were apart.  As though Jack carried half of Ennis with him and took it away when they parted.

They fit so well together:  playing, fucking, cuddling, working…  A line from an old song crossed his mind:  “waking, sleeping, laughing, weeping…”

Ennis’s thoughts always returned to Brokeback:  the filly with the low startle point, Jack’s constant bitching, the endless beans…  Ennis saying, “I’ll stick with beans.”  The set of Jack’s jaw as he said, “Well, I won’t.”

Note:  More, the theme song from the movie Mondo Cane.

More than the greatest love the world has known
This is the love I give to you alone.
More than the simple words I try to say
I only live to love you more each day…

More than you'll ever know
My arms long to hold you so,
My life will be in your keeping
Waking… sleeping… laughing… weeping…

Longer than always is a long long time
But far beyond forever you'll be mine,
I know I never lived before
And my heart is very sure
No one else could love you more.

Hear this song at: http://www.piano-bar.com/pages/more.htm

 

056. Breakfast.

Lureen studies literature on the latest combine attachments while sipping alternately at a cup of black coffee and a canned diet breakfast shake.  Jack one-handedly eats a rather sloppy fried egg sandwich, while his other hand shovels oatmeal into Bobby’s widely grinning mouth.  Bobby bangs his spoon enthusiastically on his highchair tray.

“Why’s he got that spoon, Jack?  He ain’t usin it.”

“Sure he’s usin it.  Just not to eat with.”

Lureen rolls her eyes.  “Jaaack…”

“Okay then, let’s clean you up.”  Jack is wiping Bobby’s chin as the babysitter arrives.  “And here’s your date, cowboy!”

“Jaaack…” Lureen repeats irritably.

057. Lunch.

Alma lays out five slices of bread on the counter:  Junior, Jenny, Ennis, Ennis, herself.  Each gets a quick smear of margarine.  Then seven slices of bologna (two each for Ennis’s), four slices of cheese (none for Jenny), and five leaves of lettuce.  Five more slices of bread, each with a lick of mayonnaise, and five passes with the knife (vertical for Junior, diagonal for everybody else).  Wrapped up tight in waxed paper, tucked into four brown paper bags, each with a piece of fruit—bananas for the girls, an apple for Ennis, and an orange for her.  And napkins.

058. Dinner.

“For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful.  Amen.”

“Amen.”

“Amen.”

A platter of chicken gets passed around the table, followed by mashed potatoes, gravy, and snap beans.

“Cranberry sauce, John?  Jack?”

“Yuh.”

“Sure thing, Momma.  Missed your cookin somethin awful.”

“You’re back early, boy.  Aguirre fired you for somethin, huh?”

“Nope.  Big storms comin—wanted em brought down early.  Ennis was bellyachin about the short pay.”

“Ennis?  What kinda name is that?”

“Just a name.”

“Ennis is the fella who you worked with, son?  Did you get on well together?”

“Yeah.  We did.”

059. Food.  (“If music be the food of love, play on;” Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)

Not only had Jack brought that goddamned harmonica, but he seemed determined to serenade Ennis with every song he knew.

“Now try this one,” Jack said, drawing breath.

Ennis grinned, closing his eyes, thinking of lovesick cats and tormented waterfowl.  He recognized the tune—barely.  Even liked it, when Dolly Parton sang it.

“Jolene.”

Jack nodded and smiled—as much as a man can while playing harmonica.

Ennis hummed along, varying the words in his head.  Lureen, Lureen, Lureen, Luree-een.  I’m begging of you please don’t take my man…

What the fuck!!  Don’t be a damn fool!

“Let’s eat, huh?”

060. Drink.  (With simple-minded apologies to City Girl.)

The day had been hot, and the night promised more of the same when Ennis got home—later than usual and wanting a beer badly.  He walked directly across to the kitchen.  Opened the drawer for the bottle opener on his way to the fridge.  The cool air hit him like a blessing from the opened door.  The bottles rattled when he reached in and grabbed one.  He popped the cap and gulped it down.  Reached for another and asked, “Jack, you want one?”  There was no answer.  He hadn’t expected one.  The shirts hung motionless in the sultry air.

 

 

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Comments

Hey! Why hasn't anyone commented yet?

I love your drabbles, Sid! They're little gems, so full of feeling - always good for a little tear and a smile.

My favorites this time around are Bittersweet, Star, Run (A summer on the mountain should settle him... sigh), Earth, Lunch (love that one!) and Dinner.

More soon please! You're not actually stopping at 100, are you? ;)

Thanks!

Well... I was planning on finishing the 100 and then trying to write something longer. But I just found another list of 100 prompts (Moods: 001.Accomplished through 100.Worried) and I'm not sure I'll be able to resist!

Oh, and thank you for letting me know which ones particularly struck you. That's so interesting to me, because sometimes they're my favorites, but other times they're not. (There's a hundred of 'em--they can't all be gems!)
Sid,

you make my day, my friend. Lov'em all. Give us more soon. And a kind request-pleeeease don't stop at 100th.

Gres from DaveCullen
Thanks! Numbers 61-80 are in beta even as we type.
Jack has nothing to say so Max will. I love drabbles I do I do I do. These are Quite short, but all quite poignant. I am a drabble writer myself. It takes a lot for me to venture out and read....but these were worth it.

Max from DC
Thanks, Max. So glad you're enjoying them. Yes, they are short, aren't they? They're the classic style: exactly 100 words each. (I love a challenge.)
arg. mine are anywhere btwn 75 - 750 words i think. depending on my mood. check mine out if youre feeling brave they are sorta lame. I friended you; i wanna keep tabs on this :)
hi, i'm surfing a bit and found your lj,,,,, i LOVE love love 058 "dinner" sooo much: "yeah. we did." aawwwwwwwwww!!!!!

wanted to say hi, it's gnash from DC, you know, that place, lol. i just put a new LJ up recently, so.. hi. i am adding you to keep up on your drabbles. i wasn't even sure what that was but i'm getting used to the lingo.

omg..... "lambie-pie"!!! that one is so cute.

btw -- i used to live in oakland, so, yeah! i was a fixture at the white HORSE. heh. (how brokeback, before brokeback was around!)
Sid!

I got my sheep on Monday -- thank you so much, she's gorgeous! (And her name is Stella, BTW, so she says.) I got her on the day of the massive car crash, so she was nice to come home to and curl up with when Kurt went back to work. Isn't it funny how things work out like that?

Thank you so very much; she sleeps with me every night. :)

Mandi
That last drabble was just too sad. It shows how lonely Ennis really was after Jack's death.

I love all of your drabbles. : )
Debra
So glad you're enjoying. Drink has a sort-of-interesting history. I read a post from City Girl on the DC forum saying that she didn't care for stories that were just "simple-minded" prose.


You know, shit like “Ennis wanted a beer. He walked across the kitchen. He opened the drawer and fished out the bottle opener, walking directly to the fridge. He opened it. He pulled one out and after opening it took a long pull. Then he wondered if Jack would want one.”
I immediately thought, "There's a drabble in there!" And so there was. The sad ending took me by surprise, but since--as far as we know--Ennis and Jack never shared a refrigerator (unless Don Wroe's cabin had electricity) it was the only thing that worked for me.

Thanks once more for reading and commenting.
Hi

My favourite's this time were Whisper, Star, Play, Water, Spirit & Breakfast. Also really liked Food.

I'm not very good at this cos I like them all, and I pick out too many. All of them have a lovely quality about them.

You are very talented.

Julie
Julie

Please! Have as many favorites as you want! Have them all!

Play was inspired by a discussion in the DC slash thread about the likelihood of Ennis and Jack calling each other by pet names. (Some of the writers at that time were having them trading some pretty mushy endearments.) So I wanted to create a scenario where they could really cut loose.

Play is one of my more lighthearted ones, as are Breakfast and Food. I'm happy to do angst, but I have a special soft spot for the ones that make me (and hopefully others) smile.

P.S. Did you notice that Lunch is another list?

Thanks so much for your kind words.
I just found your drabbles and I love them. Thank you so much for sharing!

Have always loved 'em.

Still love 'em.

Distillation of story
expansion of haiku
Sid's drabbles.

55. "He was my north, my south, my east my west,
my working day, my Sunday rest"

Edited at 2009-04-26 01:10 am (UTC)
60
you knows how to kill me over and over, don't you
but i keep asking for more, you bet
thanks
vanessa