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June 2013

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A Collection of Brokeback Drabbles — Nos. 61 through 80

Pairing: Jack/Ennis (mostly canon, some A/U)
Rating: ?? Language, bits of M/M and (don’t be too shocked) M/F sex here and there, kinda graphic in places
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: Yes, please.
Jack Remembered… – Musings while Driving to Lightning Flat.
061. Winter.
Jack remembered early snow. Not much and didn’t stick, but still enough to say summer was finished and winter begun—no autumn. One night, a couple inches of unseasonable snow, a visit from Aguirre, and that was that. Summer romance ended. And his sweet, passionate lover was gone, replaced by a distant near-stranger hurrying to walk away from an embarrassing acquaintance.
“I guess I’ll see ya round, huh?”
Yeah. Right. No address; no phone number; not comin back next summer. Where around are ya gonna see me, Ennis? Temperature mighta been in the nineties, but it was winter for sure.
062. Spring.
Jack remembered sitting by the campfire with Ennis, both of them looking up at the stars, both of them just happy to be together once more—spring in their hearts. Four years, damn. How had either of them survived?
And yet, for all the rightness of their being together, even after the incredible, mind-shattering sex, and with both their mouths practically still wet from the unrestrained passion of that shocking no-holds-barred kiss—Ennis was going to walk away from all they could be together.
And wasn’t Jack the fool to think his sweet life could blossom in Ennis’s bitter frost?
063. Summer.
Jack remembered horseback riding on summer days, high in the mountains. Dry crushed pine needles, horses swishing their tails at flies. Him and Ennis ambling along, talking about not much, just enjoying the sound of each other’s voices. They’d swim in chilly lakes, ducking and splashing one another like kids, laughing, shoving, and then making love in the shallows and on the shore. Supper by the fire, bitching about the cooking, passing the whiskey. Sleep cuddled close and wake together.
Again the next day and the next. Until Ennis left once again. And so the summer always ended in snow.
064. Fall.
Jack remembered that clear crisp late autumn day. He’d been on cloud nine, even singing along with the radio, “King of the Road.” So sure that his wait was over and his patience finally rewarded. That sweet life for him and Ennis—a dream born twelve years ago on Brokeback Mountain, four years later proposed to Ennis and rejected—was finally going to become reality. And then to be turned away…
Well. That disappointment was five years past, and Ennis hadn’t changed his mind. Like falling off a mountain: he could pretend he was flying, until he hit the ground.
065. Time.
Jack remembered the all the times he’d spent with Ennis. Counted it up. So long in years, but so short in days. Thinking about it, he figured he’d probably spent near the same amount of hours with Randall as with Ennis—maybe more—even though he’d only met Randall three years ago.
Jack wasn’t getting any younger.    And Randall—a sweet, loving man—wanted them to have a life together. So how should Jack spend his time? Should he waste it waiting for Ennis, who was never going to come round? Or waste it living with Randall, wishing for Ennis?


066. Rain.
It had rained all week, and now it looked to rain all weekend. Head aching, faintly nauseous, Alma wondered if she was pregnant or just late. The girls were stir-crazy—running through the house, shrieking. She’d had her first real fight with Monroe last night—about housekeeping. Alma sniffed. Let him try to keep a perfectly neat house with a thirteen-year-old and an eleven-year-old around.
Ennis probably would’ve been glad to have an extra weekend with the girls, but he was off “fishing” again. Rain probably ruined his whole trip. Bet he was wet and miserable—him and Jack Nasty.
067. Snow.
Snow is falling as Ennis tears out of the house, girls calling anxiously after him, “Bye, Daddy! G’bye!” Has to get out of there. Get away before he does some damage.
Parks across the street from the bar. Sonofabitch in a pickup nearly runs him down, starts cussing him. Good enough. Ennis punches him through the truck’s window, forgetting his anxieties with the rush of adrenaline. The guy jumps out, hitting back, hard. God, he’s big. Throws Ennis against the truck, knocks him to the ground, starts kicking him. Ennis curls up in the slushy street, dealing with the pain.
068. Lightning.
“What’re we supposed to do now, huh?” Jack asked.
Cord, with the superiority of his twenty-six years, spat contemptuously. “Burn em and bury em. Shit. Aguirre’s gonna have our asses on toast fer this.”
They ate fresh mutton that night, and dried what they could. Then backbreaking labor, with the dead sheep growing ranker, the flies more irksome, and the smoke—burning flesh, fat, and wool—more nauseating as the days passed. The forty-two carcasses finally eliminated, they celebrated with an orgy of washing. That night they rubbed off against each other, Jack coming quick and hard, Cord soon after.
069. Thunder.
The old bullrider felt the storm coming long before he heard or saw it. His left knee gave accurate forecasts, and his right shoulder and elbow cast their votes the same: big thunderstorm on its way, probably tonight.
Yesterday, he’d been cussing cause the hay didn’t get cut. Storm would delay that even further. If Jack was here—with or without this Ennis fella—they’d’ve got the hay all mowed yesterday—just in time for it to get soaked and ruined. Just about what he’d expect from Jack. John Twist spat in disgust as the first rumbles heralded the storm.
070. Storm.
Jack Twist was on a rampage tonight. “Goddamnit, Ennis,” he snarled, “This shit has been goin on for too fuckin long.” He scrubbed his arm across his face, hating the wobble in his voice. “I am just so… fuckin… sick… of this stupid we-ain’t-queer bullshit. I’m in love with you, fuckhead, and have been since ‘63. And I won’t pretend no more that I ain’t!”
His anger faded suddenly, leaving him exhausted and faintly nauseous. He dropped onto the sofa with his face in his hands, glad that Lureen hadn’t come home and caught him yellin and cussin at nobody.
071. Broken.
Jack checks his grip, gives the okay. The gate crashes open and the bull—a nasty bastard deceptively named Breezy—explodes into the ring with berserk fury.
Balance and grip, clenched thighs, one hand gripping hard and the other waving high. The eight-second buzzer goes. Jack manages a smooth dismount, rolling to absorb the impact and to get away from the bull.
Breezy isn’t distracted by the clowns; he goes right for the rider. Jack barely manages to get to safety, trips and slams hard into a post, feeling ribs crack. He shrugs. Ain’t the only thing busted in there.
072. Fixed.
“Dearly beloved…”
Jack twitches. He knows who his dearly beloved is, and it isn’t this gas-bag preacher, or any of the wedding guests.
“Who giveth this woman…”
L.D. would rather give him a kick in the ass. He’d been making ever-higher offers for Jack to take himself off—like this was only about money.
“Do you, John Charles…”
“I do.”
“Do you, Lucille Darlene…”
“I do.”
Lureen’s a fine woman; they’re a good team. She has things he lacks, in more areas than just the financial. Speaking of which, it’s clear that—stay or leave—Jack is set for life.
073. Light.
Jack stretched, feeling damn good this morning. The lightning-killed sheep were all buried, plus he’d got his rocks off last night. And, damn, hadn’t it felt good! Who’da thought Cord
Jack eyed him warily. How would that change things between them? He hoped Cord wasn’t going to try to blame Jack when it was Cord who made the first move.
But it was all right. Cord punched Jack in the shoulder—friendly-like—and told him, “Don’t mean nothin. It’s just what you do sometimes when it’s either that, your hand, or the sheep. Doesn’t mean a thing.”
“Right,” Jack nodded.
074. Dark.
Alma lies awake in the dark. When she’s sure Ennis is fast asleep, she gets up and moves hesitantly to the bathroom. She’s in pain, burning, and has a strange, illogical fear that her body will come apart—legs falling one way, torso another, guts spilling onto the floor.
She sits on the toilet, no lights, can’t face herself in the mirror. She needs to go—to void Ennis’s seed, planted where nothing can bloom. But the clenched tightness of her body’s reaction won’t let her.
She knows that Ennis is a good man. She weeps quietly, trying to understand.
075. Shade.
Bobby sits alone in his room with the blinds closed, fighting tears. He’s fourteen years old—practically a man—and Men. Don’t. Cry. His grandpa told him that. If Grandpa came in right now, he’d be real disappointed to see Bobby sniffling and wiping his eyes on his sleeve. Probably be angry. Dad wouldn’t have been disappointed or angry. Dad’s only… dead… a couple of days, and Grandpa’s already saying stuff like how he’ll be a better father figure. Bobby doesn’t want any stupid “father figure;” he wants his Dad. Man or no, Bobby sobs, heartbroken, in the dim room.
076. Grief.
Not until Ennis decked him did Jack realize that this was just a one-shot thing, after all. Till then, he’d just optimistically assumed that Ennis felt the same as he did, and that they’d surely plan out some way to stay together. But that punch—Ennis stalking off afterward without a word—explained a lot. Why the short season hit Ennis so hard. His surly refusal of a loan. His sulking while Jack did all the packing up.
An unsuccessful try for a meet-up next summer, and Jack had to drive away. His cheek ached, but his heart ached worse.
077. Tears.
Breaking it to the girls was hard. Alma had to do it—Ennis refused. “Divorce is your idea. You tell em.”
She fell back on the old platitudes. Momma and Daddy don’t get along no more, so we’re going to live separate. We both love you and Daddy will be back to see you a lot.
And the girls reacted as children will. Pleading. Tears. Don’t you love us? And, of course, Please, we’ll be so good, we promise. As if it was somehow their fault. But promise of good behavior was simply the only coin they had to offer.
078. Lies. and 079. Truth.
Alma was naturally curious about the old friend whose visit Ennis was anticipating so keenly. “So what’s he do?”
Ennis was uneasy at her questions, afraid of raising suspicion (suspicion of what?) by his answers or by not answering. “Sheep-herdin. Rodeoin—bullrider—won some prizes—belt buckle—real proud of it…” He smiled reminiscently. “Remember once him actin out ridin a bull. Yellin and jumpin around till he tripped and fell on his ass. We was near sick laughin so hard.” Ennis chuckled affectionately, then caught himself and said dismissively, “Half-drunk young fools.” A pause. “But we was good friends.”
078. Lies. and 079. Truth.
“Just a trip up north to see some guys I used to know.” Jack tried to keep it casual, natural. “Have a couple drinks, shoot the shit, catch up… Y’know.” It sounded weak and he knew it.
“But, Jack, what I don’t understand is why now? You ain’t give a thought to these buddies of yours for years, and now all of a sudden, in the middle of the prime sellin season, you’re gonna drive a thousand miles to say hi, which you coulda done on the phone.”
She sighed and smiled a little. “A guy thing, huh?”
080. Lost.
He was glad to see me. At least he was glad to see me. “Hey, what’re you doin here, huh?” he said, like I was the nicest surprise he’d had in a long while.
Christ! I am so fuckin pathetic. Glad to see me! Not glad enough to drive the girls back to Alma. Not glad enough to let me spend the week—or even the night. Not even glad enough to offer a goddamn cup a coffee.
Stupid paranoid sumbitch. Him stupid. I’m the stupid one. Thinkin now he’s divorced means we’ll have a life together. Shoulda known better.
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Thank you for the update and these are just beautiful. Joe
Your drabbles are amazing. I am so glad I came across them.
The one that made me the saddest was Shade. Just thinking on how Bobby felt about his father's death and his grandfather's disrespect for Jack broke my heart.
You've done a bang up job on all of your drabbles. I'm really enjoying them so mubh. : )
Shade is a good example of something I like to do when I can. I try to let the prompt have as many meanings as possible, relevant to the drabble. Here, for example, we have the blinds drawn in Bobby's room, we have the memory of Jack (like a ghost, or shade), we have the shadow on Bobby's life, and we have L.D. trying to outshine Jack as a father.

Really glad you're enjoying them. I'm hoping to get 81-100 posted soon. If I can't find anybody to be my beta, I'll just have to post them un-betaed. And I've already got 14 of the next 100 written.

Again my fave ones are All the Seasons, Shade, and Lost. I thought Shade was the saddest.I also loved Storm.

Keep going.

Having given Ennis a set of five "Ennis remembered..." drabbles, I could do no less for Jack. Ennis got the elements (60-65, Water, Fire, Earth, Air, Spirit) to go with his apple pie, so Jack got the seasons to think about on the way to Lightning Flat.

Sweetje liked Shade, too, so you can look up there for my comments.

Storm started out at 317 words, so you can see I had to do quite a lot of trimming! I kept the essentials, tho.

Numbers 81-100 soon. I hope. Then come the next batch of 100.

Thanks once more for reading and commenting.

These are fine...

You know which my favorite is already. I have no QUARRLL (sp?) with any of them...which means, they all rubbed exactly the right way (as it were).

"A dirty mind is a perpetual solace"---Robert Vognar
Again the next day and the next. Until Ennis left once again. And so the summer always ended in snow.
-> you have a gift

those little bits of yours here ripped my heart apart each and every time
dark was very powerful too
...and, in addition to the 120 up here in my LiveJournal, I have about 30 more posted on the BBM_Slash community, all of which (I think) have been cross-posted to BrokebackSlash. Plus another 10 or so unpublished as yet. I do not yet despair of completing my second hundred. Devour away. And please feel free to come back and savor. I spend a lot of time, myself, re-reading my favorite fics.