The Desert Sky is Their Blue Screen

The copper ribbon sitting quietly on the edge of the horizon serves as a cold reminder in the baking heat, telling them they've strung themselves too far out and now must pay for their mistakes. Jack is still lying in the back seat, cradling his dying arm like some infant he found in the dumpster, sweat dripping from the crown of his thinning hair and leaving traces in the layers of dust settling on his face. The car shakes suddenly and he winces at the jolt in his blood as Mickey continues kicking at the car and screaming something gaelic, possibly just gibberish but the radiation's bone dry and the belt is  busted. They're stuck out there and in the distance  the copper ribbon keeps getting a little bit thicker each time Jack glances at it so now he's looking away as pointedly as he can. Out the sand-caked window he can see the desert sky, with its thin white clouds written across  the backdrop. It reminds him of the Blue Screen of Death that his computer taunted him with one final time before a sudden four-story drop silenced that digital teasing for good. He's got all the windows open in the car, and the slight breeze coming through tickles the wispy hairline of his, still no relief to the screaming veins in his left arm, but at least there's something to cool him down a moment and he closes his eyes.

The desert air has its own hypnotic way of whispering to you, lulling your senses to sleep with its waves of breath. 

Mickey jumps back in to the car yelling 'Wake up! wake the hell up!' and frantically rolls up the windows in those awkward jerks of motion manually operated windows lend to those in haste. Jack helps out as best he can, and they just barely get the windows shut when the dust storm engulfs them.

It's loud. Unfathomably loud as their battered old Taurus rocks side to side, seeming to ponder on its haunches whether it should take off and ride with the wind. Mickey sits there with that dumb wide-open gape of his, watching the sky morph from blue to orange to brown to black, and now with Jack's eyes adjusted it looks to be some sort of deep, almost imperceptible red. "Could really use a nice bump right now eh?" Mickey says but all Jack can do is grunt something barely intelligible about water. They're out of water. They're out of dope. Their car's busted. They're screwed, Jack realizes, and with some last essence of strength he sits upright. For whatever reason Mickey locked the car when he hopped in and it's almost an effort just for Jack to pull the lever back up. "What the hell're you doing?" Mickey asks but Jack doesn't answer. He opens the door on the far side of the wind, and stumbles out to the ground. Nothing left, he thinks to himself, but to get blown off to Oz if I'm lucky. The sand digs in and cuts his face, his bare back, his right arm, but oddly that neutralizes the pain on his left that he wrapped his shirt around. Standing up one last, shaky time, he walks forward in to the deep red, and it's the last thing Mickey will ever see of that crazy bastard.


The End

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