Fast Car

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At first I hear voices, but it’s like I’m underwater or in a tunnel. I try to swallow but something’s stuck in my throat and I struggle against it, desperate to yank it out, but I’m frozen. Despite every effort to move, nothing happens. What’s worse is that because I can’t fucking open my eyes, I can’t see what’s going on. Yet my ears apparently work since I also hear a hissing sound along with some intermittent beeping. Then:

“…for now all we can do is wait…”

“…so very sorry.”

…morphine will keep him comfortable.”

I drift off again, feeling confused but convinced everything will right itself when I wake up from this dream.

***

Later I wake to sniffling and nose blowing nearby. Little kids’ voices bounce around and a soft, small hand grasps mine.

“Daddy, are you awake?a voice whispers, and the smell of bubble gum wafts over me.

I’m someone’s daddy? Shit! Meanwhile, there’s still something huge in my throat. Why can’t I move? Someone, maybe the nose blower, says, “Sweetheart, Daddy’s sleeping but he can hear you if you talk to him.”

Then another voice says, “Mommy, it’s okay to cry sometimes. Are you sad? We’re with Daddy now, so we don’t need to be sad. The doctors are making him better, right?”

A flash goes off in my brain. A floating photo of me holding a baby: I amDaddy.” I attempt to speak, but realize it’s a damn tube down my throat. I’m intubated. Inside I’m thrashing around, flopping like a fish in a net, but in reality there’s no movement.

I hear the woman’s voice again–it must be my wife (I think I have a wife?)–and she’s on the phone.

“Jake, it’s not looking good. Could you please come? And stop by the house and bring me a bag of clothes? Maybe you could the kids back to your place…” she breaks off in choking sobs.

And then I remember.

The car.

I took a turn too fast and flipped over a couple of times. Then I was on the gurney strapped down, my forehead taped tightly. I think there was a helicopter because the whirring sounds were so loud.
Car Crash Stowupland
The woman I presume is my sniffling wife comes over to me and smooths my hair back. She’s not saying much. Only when one of the kids asks her something.

That’s when the next question comes.

“Mommy why is Daddy sleeping so much? When can we wake him up and take him home?”

A shaky sigh comes out.

“Daddy was driving too fast,” she explains. “And he had an accident. We can’t wake him up. His body is too hurt and tired right now.”

My child, my daughter, apparently, says, “I told Daddy I don’t like it when he drives fast.”

My wife replies, “I know, sweetie. I told him that, too. I told him all the time.”

Oh my God. What have I done?

And then one of my kids says, “I guess Daddy wasn’t a very good listener.”

I can’t move, but a tear leaks out from one of my eyes.

 

Excerpt From Fast Car by Tracy Chapman

I remember we were driving, driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone…

You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way

**this week I took a risk with some flash fiction and also writing from the male POV. Curious to know how I did. Thanks for reading!
read to be read at yeahwrite.me

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  • Ashley Taylor

    Great work Erin. I was immediately hooked and definitely wanted to read more, which I am thinking (as a non-fiction writer, meaning not a writer of fiction, myself) is what you are going for here, right? I hope the Daddy lives, by the way.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Ashley,

      You are too sweet. I don’t know where this is going or if it will go anywhere else…I am not a fiction writer, either, but felt the need to take a risk. So I did. But may have to let it gel for a bit before I dream up what happens afterwards…

  • http://fourplusanangel.com/ jessica

    Seriously you can write anything Erin, ANYTHING. Amazing take on the male POV.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Jessica,

      You are too kind. I don’t feel that way, really. Fiction scares me because I don’t KNOW it like I know myself/my life, my NON-fiction…sigh. But I appreciate your compliments and thank you for reading!

  • http://www.postdivorcechronicles.com LeeBlock

    Love. Fabulous. Point well made. Bravo.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      thanks, love! xoxoxoxo

  • Gooddayregularpeople

    Erin, this is the beginning of a story.

    i want to read a whole lot more.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Empress,

      That’s the problem when I write fiction. I get something started and then I don’t know where to go with it. I guess I’ll end up with some short stories on my hands. LOL.

      Thank you very much for stopping by to read.
      xoxoxo

      • http://twitter.com/juliecgardner Julie Gardner

        I know exactly what you mean about starting something and then not knowing where to go with it…

        For me, it’s the daunting task of STARTING…because then there is so much to do before FINISHING.

        Still. There are worse things than a collection or short stories. Right?
        XO

        • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

          Julie,

          Yes…I think it’s the :sequel” thing that worries me. I hate sequels, and I guess I tend to imagine the part II of this as a sequel. I think sequels are never as good as the first part.

          But this is too short to even be considered a short story. Would have to flesh it out much, much more, right??

          p.s. still laughing over last night’s misunderstanding that cummings read at your wedding. LMAO!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1027655659 Joseph Cereola

    Very well done. Enjoyed it immensely.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Joseph,

      Thanks so much and I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it! I need to get more brave about writing fiction. It scares me!

  • http://anymommyoutthere.com/ Anymommy

    Definitely the beginning of a story.  I want to know if he remembers them and why he’s so reckless, so way to hook us in!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Anymommy,

      So excited you came by after I *finally* discovered your blog and your incredible writing. You slayed me. Seriously (with the coffee post), I haven’t had much time to explore over there yet, but I am going to make time. Thanks so very much for stopping by over here.
      And for reading my lame attempt at fiction (it’s not my forte).

  • http://withjustabitofmagic.com Jackie

    OMG… I thought that it was a real life story at first!!

    Amazing… simply amazing.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Thanks, Jackie! I thought about putting a note at the beginning that warned people it was fiction…but then decided that might take away from the piece, so I waited until the end…bad choice? ;-)

      So glad you came by!

  • Bocafrau

    Wow. Amazing. I thought, it was a real life memory at first,too. Wonderful writing and so descriptive. 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      BocaFrau,
       
      Thanks so much, hon! Your comments mean a lot to me. ;-)
      Happy dance!

  • http://www.mayorgia.blogspot.com/ Mayor Gia

    Oooof, an intense piece of fiction. 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Mayor GIa,

      Thanks! Intense is good…erm….right? ;-)

  • http://www.facebook.com/Carriemomville Carrie Sieffert

    I like that this story has a moral to it. I also like that you made it so he had no memory – which means he wasn’t sitting there making excuses for his behaviour.
    :) Thanks for sharing it with us!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Carrie,

      Thanks! I just don’t know what I’ll do for Part II (if I can write one)…I’ve never done a continuation of a piece of fiction on my blog before (and not much fiction, besides). Thanks for stopping by!

  • http://kimpugliano.com/ Kim @The G is Silent

    LOVE that you wrote as a man.  I have never thought about doing that!!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Kim,

      I wanted to try something different. Take a risk. I guess this was an easy one since he’s stuck in the hospital bed and can’t talk, LOL!

  • http://www.pohlkottepress.com/ tara pohlkotte

    great job! intense and heartfelt. 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      tara,

      Thank you!! ;-)

  • http://www.alittlesomethingforme.com/ Kristen

    Great intro. Very intriguing.  I, too, thought for a second it was a memory – so good job.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Kristen,

      Thanks! I do tend towards memoir, but I shy away from fiction so often. It’s time to take some risks…so I did. Appreciate your reading and weighing in!

  • http://kerstinauer.tumblr.com/ Kerstin Auer

    Wow. There was a tear leaking out from one of my eyes as well.
    And it’s awesome that you wrote from the male point of view.
    Made me sigh… would not know that fiction is not your forte!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Kerstin,

      Why thank you! I hardly ever do fiction because it terrifies me. I write 99% non-fiction and stuff about my life b/c it’s WHAT I KNOW. Which is more comfortable for me…this was a little scary to attempt. But felt like making a leap. ;-)

  • http://tri-ingtobeathletic.com/ TriGirl

    Oh, now it makes sense.  I thought it was a memory too!  I’m curious to see what the male readers think!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      TriGirl,

      Me too! I rarely experiment with fiction, but I need to do so more often. Thanks for reading!

  • Your Doctor’s Wife

    That was gripping. I wanted to keep going. I will say I was confused at first just because I know you’re a woman.  I figured it out by “I am Daddy.” 
    I’m slow that way. ;)

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      doctor’s wife,

      I know…I thought about putting a note at the beginning about the piece being fiction and being written by the mail POV, but decided that might impact how people felt about the post, so I waited til the end!
      ;-)

      thanks so much for reading!

  • Michelle Longo

    Once it hit me that it was fiction – I was all good.  And I was relieved this wasn’t a real story!!  Excellent!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Michelle,

      Thanks! I thought about posting at the beginning that it was an attempt at fiction, but I didn’t want to sway the reader’s experience of the post…so I waited til the end. Was that bad?
       Thanks for the compliment, I appreciate it! I’m still wading through the #yeahwrite posts.

  • http://www.thindifference.com/ Jon M

    Well done and well written! 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Thanks, Jon, for the compliments! ;-)

  • http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/ Lance

    so well written

    This was amazing

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      thanks, Lance!

      xoxoxo

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      and ps yours was phenomenal. loved it!

  • http://www.sisterhoodofthesensiblemoms.com/ SisterhoodoftheSensibleMoms

     Impressed by your going for the male POV. You nailed it with “I guess Daddy wasn’t a very good listener,” when that is all he can do now.  Ellen

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Erin & Ellen,

      Thanks so much! Sometimes it’s fun to try something different. And since I have little ones, it was easy enough to imagine the kinds of things they’d be saying. So that helps….

      I’m loving this #yeahwrite thing!! so glad I found you through this!

  • http://www.happinesscubed.net/ Dawn

    I really enjoyed reading your post! I think writing from the male POV is a genius idea! You definitely pulled it off, and I agree that this could be the beginning of a story!

    Great job!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Dawn,

      Thanks so much! I just don’t know where to go with it next. Fiction isn’t my forte. I think it would be cool to turn it into a mini-series type of thing, but…I don’t know. Will think on it some and try. I’m just scared, I think.

      Still making the #yeahwrite rounds—so many wonderful posts!

  • kgwaite

    This was TERRIFIC! Loved reading this and found myself tensing up to find out what happened.  

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      kgwaite,

      Thank you so very much! I’m so happy you came by to read! ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/chosenchaos Jamie Walker

    I liked this!  It made me feel claustrophobic to be the fish out of water inside, what an awful feeling.  You described it well enough to make me feel it!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Jamie,

      Thanks so much. I appreciate your kind words and comments!  ;-)

  • http://dudeofthehouse.blogspot.com/ Jay – Dude of the House

    Great post, Erin. I’ve long wondered what people under heavy sedation hear and think, if anything. Very unique perspective. 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Jay Dude,

      Thanks! I’ve had surgery several times, so I kind of know some of this firsthand. It’s not fun. During my last hernia surgery, I woke up while I was still intubated and wanted to scream and yank out the tube, but I couldn’t move a thing…so that’s where that part came from…

      THanks for reading! I’m still making the #yeahwrite rounds!

  • treadingwaterinthekiddiepool

    Great post!  I always get a little freaked out and confused when I read a blog post that is fiction because I’m so used to reading memoir-type posts.  I was like “what?  I thought this was a girl!  She was in an accident?”  Once my “slowness” caught on though, I was very intrigued.  Would love to read more.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      treadingwater,

      Thanks so much!
      I am used to writing memoir myself, but felt like making a leap this time. As far as reading more, I don’t know if I’ll continue this or not. I’ve never before done a “part II” to a fiction blog post. Any advice?!

  • http://mommynanibooboo.com/ Jenni Chiu

    I need more of this story, Erin…
    Also, I must call my husband right now and remind him to drive carefully home.  Your story hit me in my soft place.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Jenni,

      Thank you for that. I don’t know if I can do more. Fiction terrifies me, and it comes in small spurts. I don’t know what to write next….therein lies the problem. It’s kinda like why I loathe sequels. I feel like the first edition is always best and when you try to follow up, it’s not the same…does that make sense in this case? LOL

  • http://twitter.com/SouthMainMuse Jamie Miles

    I love that you wrote from a male perspective. I felt that tube down my throat and the struggle to open my eyes. 

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Jamie,

      Thanks! It helps that I’ve had surgery a handful of times and have experienced that part, so it was easy to imagine some of it, but also pull bits from real life experiences…

  • theTsaritsa

    This was really good. When I read the title, I immediately thought of the Tracy Chapman song. Nice flash fiction!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      the Tsaritsa,

      Thanks so much! I’ve had the song stuck in my head for awhile, so thought it would make the perfect title (and I’m typically terrible at titles). Thanks so much!

  • jccbookclub

    I love writing from a male POV. It made me tear up at the same moment he teared up. That, my dear, is powerful. Now, I’m going to have Fast Car in my head all night. 

    -Shosh (I signed into the wrong email…)

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Shosh,

      Thanks, dear! Or shall I call you Shoshana? ps I’ve had the song in my head for days now. I do love me some Tracy Chapman.

  • http://twitter.com/CarriBrown Carri Brown

    I loved this. I want to know what happened!!!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Carri,

      Thanks, babe!
      The trouble I have w/ fiction is?
      I start something, and then I don’t know what comes next. How do I start the next part?
      I guess I can try…/

  • http://makemommygosomethingsomething.com/ Kimberly

    This is so good. You captured the exact feelings/sensations that happen in an ER…
    Just wow.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Kimber,

      Thanks! It helps that I have had several surgeries myself, so I know what it’s like when you’re waking up, but can’t move/speak/etc…and how it feels inside…
      Thanks for reading!
      erin

  • Mel

    This is a fantastic job. Starting at his confusion and bringing us through his process of figuring it out. Wow! Well done.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Mags,
      Thank you so very much for your compliments, and for reading! I’m glad you enjoyed it! ;-)
      erin

  • http://www.vivi-section.blogspot.com/ Vivian Pitschlitz

    Although I am not a man I think you did an excellent job

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Vivian,

      Thanks so much for reading and for the compliment! ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/saalon Eric Sipple

    Awesome! Getting comfortable writing the opposite gender jams some people up, but I think it’s really just a matter of listening and realizing that the differences are outnumbered by the similarities, and that it’s just, y’know, people that you’re writing. I’m a guy who writes more female characters than male (and probably has a lot to do with having more female *friends* than male), and finding the comfort to be honest is really the most important thing. Awesome work, awesome job taking on the challenge, and keep on writing! Glad to have found your blog!

  • Kerry Daley

    I think you did a great job. I had no idea it was fiction until the end! I forgot I was reading a woman’s blog, haha.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Kerry,

      I take that as a compliment!
      I thought about saying at the beginning that it was fiction, but then decided to let it go and see what readers thought and gauge their real reactions….and writing from the male perspective was a stretch I’ve been eager to try…
      Thanks for coming over!

  • ThePishPosh

    Good pacing and drama build up!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      PishPosh,

      Thank you! So glad you came by! ;-)

  • Sisterhoodofthesensiblemoms

    You did a nice job controlling the plot here. You even fit in a little characterization. Tight piece. Erin

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      SisterhoodofsensibleMoms,

      Thanks so much! That means a great deal to me, coming from you…I appreciate your stopping by to read and comment. Happy weekend!

  • Shiftless Mommie

    Oooh. This is really well done. I found myself wanting to stop reading because it was too difficult and yet not being able to do so. Love it.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Shiftless Mommie,

      Thanks so much for the kind words.I don’t know what part II will be or if I’ll be brave enough to try to write it? Nothing in my head yet….

  • http://jamieywrites.blogspot.com/ jamieywrites

    Brilliantly written, Erin! It gripped my attention ;)

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Thank you JamieyWrites! I’m glad it intrigued you. Happy weekend!

  • Lisa Nolan

    Nice details! I especially liked the children’s voices!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Lisa,

      Thanks! Easy for me to handle those since I have twins that are 6 1/2 and I listen to them talking a LOT! I don’t consider dialogue my strong suit, but felt at least with some personal experience in that area it could work. Thanks so much for stopping by! ;-)

  • Ally

    Wow! That was really great, Erin. It definitely grabbed me and made me want to keep reading. I think you did well with the male point of view. His thoughts are very short and to the point, as males will do!

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Ally, 

      thanks so much, sweetie! I think what made it easier is that he’s confined to a bed, can’t speak, and has some memory loss…LOL! wonder how I’ll handle him once/if he wakes up?

  • http://idiosyncraticeye.wordpress.com/ idiosyncratic eye

    So sad, interesting POV, great voices.  Thought provoking.  PS.  There’s a word missing in the could you take the children sentence.  :)

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      Idiosyncratic eye,

      Thank you so much–off to fix it now. I appreciate the heads up! After looking at it so long, you stop seeing the errors!

      I appreciate your taking the time to visit, read, and comment!
      Happy weekend and thanks again.

  • ChickyMara

    I was confused.  I knew you were a girl, but it was a man speaking.  Really good and I’m dying to know what else happens.

    • http://www.erinmargolin.com/ Erin Margolin

      ChickyMara,

      I know, I was torn b/t letting readers know at the start it was fictional and from male POV, but decided to leave it alone til the end….thanks so much for stopping by to read! :-)

  • http://www.gabbingwithgrace.com/ Grace at {Gabbing with Grace}

    wow.  very good.  a little disturbing…I was really hoping it wasn’t your husband or brother or father… so I was feeling a bit anxious.  But you had me!  Any fiction that can make my heart race is good fiction! =)

  • Ladygoogoogaga2011

    Omg, I love it….I really thought this was a guest post of some sort …excellent!!!

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