Saturn in Retrograde I 2:10
Part 2, Chapter 10 of my 2004 crime novel
At roughly the same moment, a BMW sports model that had been obtained for the young driver out of the good graces of his father’s not inconsiderable wealth slicked it’s way down the battered street like a predator. Behind the wheel and in the passenger seat, two young men brooded on what was to transpire during the rest of the night. “Here, listen to this.” The volume of the CD player was cranked to earsplitting level. The car began to vibrate with the fury of the music of a popular death metal band. The lyrics (which were barely discernible) were a glorification of sadism and murder.
“It’s cool. I saw them last summer at Ozzfest. I couldn’t fucking believe it. The singer asked everyone in the audience to spit on him...so here I am, up front, and I see these security people just start to back out of the way. And I didn’t know what was coming---”
“Ah-hah! You got fucking covered in goober didn’t you?”
“It was fucking disgusting. He just rolled around in it naked. I couldn’t fucking believe it.”
The music pounded and droned. There was an uncomfortable silence for a few seconds. They could both feel the tension in the car mount. The driver turned down a dizzying succession of different side streets. Already they had driven, quickly and erratically, through the country. The driver, Kyle, could feel his temples pound. He didn’t know if he wanted to go through with this shit or not. It all seemed too final, somehow. After you committed an act like they were going to commit in the next, approximately, sixty minutes where was there left to go?
“Do you think we’ll make the news?”
“Big time. They will never forget this shit. It will go down in history.” The driver sighed. He could feel the shakiness in his arms, the hollow feeling of fear and hatred that nestled in his skinny chest. He would be leaving some things behind: his girlfriend, for starters. But it didn’t matter. This was the world as it would be. You could only stave off the inevitable for so long.
“Darren...do you really want to go through with this shit? Tonight?”
The young man in the passenger seat looked out the window at the darkened storefronts that whisked by. In 19 years of living it had built up: the hatred, the confusion, the torment. He didn’t really think of anything as being real anymore, not in the sense that there was something, some future he could look to, and be certain of. It all seemed so senseless, so lacking in any meaning. College. He didn’t want to go to college. Work? He didn’t want to do that either. He didn’t have any options left. The world had failed him. It ceased to amuse.
“Yeah. We have to do it tonight, Kyle. You fucking know that. It’s tonight, or never.” The driver turned again, sharply. He drove into the kind of upscale housing edition where he had been raised. He looked out across darkened lawns, at two car garages, three hundred thousand dollar homes, and what must be whatever was left of the typical American family, sleeping inside. He could see Buddy and Junior in their respective rooms. Mom upstairs in curlers, unable to sleep without the aid of Valium. Dad would be in the den, watching a DVD on the massive color television set. It was all so empty it made him want to shake.
“Yeah...fuck it. Let’s do it. There’s no reason to become a part of this. This is what killed the world. This is what they wanted us to become when we graduated. How could they be so fucking...empty? So lifeless. So dead...”
He began to mouth the words blasting out of the car speakers. He found it gave him courage. In the trunk, they had two semi-automatic machine guns and enough ammo to take out the population of a small island nation. It was going to be a tough Sunday morning. They started off by pulling out in the country and toking up. That was going to make it a lot easier, a lot more painful. Kyle and Darren laid out on the hood of the car for a moment, staring out at the stars.
“You believe in astrology, Dare?”
“Neither do I...I was told once, by a girl I went out with whose mom was all into the shit, that I was born under a ‘dark star’. A bad sign, or some shit. I’m a Sagittarius. That’s all I know. I don’t even know what the fuck it means.”
“I’m a Capricorn... Capricorn’s ruled by Saturn.” Kyle turned slightly and looked at his friend.
“How in the fuck did you know that?”
“I didn’t. It’s just a line from some old movie I saw once... Oh, yeah, it’s from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.”
“No it isn’t.”
“Bullshit. I know what I’m talking about. You just don’t remember.” He sat up, looked down at Kyle, and said, “okay, remember the scene where they were in the van, and she’s got an astrology magazine, and she’s talking to the last girl, you know the last girl to get killed?”
“Well, she tells her that Capricorn is ruled by Saturn... that Saturn is malefic. Remember how they had all that solar flare shit right at the beginning? Before it shows the first corpse, and it’s kind of tied up on this post and shit.” Kyle sat up. He pretended he was overly interested in the topic.
“Yeah, oh yeah. Now I remember.”
Darren Rawlings spit, reached in his pack for a cigarette, and lit it with trembling hands. He sucked in the smoke like it was all that stood between him and certain, instantaneous death. The country creaked and groaned. They were farther out than they wanted to be, and to get done what they had to do tonight, they would need to get going shortly. Suddenly, Darren didn’t want to anymore. Not at all. Now, he simply wanted to go home and sit in front of his computer. It had seemed, for the past month that they had been planning this, like it was all just another game. He had joyously taken part in the germinating of the idea, in the plotting, in the fantasy aspects of the whole thing. But now the day was here, a date picked arbitrarily from the calendar. A date that everything ended.
“I’m gonna miss movies the most man. I love the movies.”
“My favorite movie is Taxi Driver.”
“I like The Dirty Dozen, Death Wish, Halloween, Scarface...”
Kyle suddenly broke into a very bad Al Pacino impersonation.
“Say hello to my little friend! Bap bap bap bap bap!"
He began to shoot imaginary mafia hit men lurking in the woods. A few moments later, Kyle rolled off the hood of the car, and Darren, slowly, drudge-like, followed. The two young men went to the trunk of the car, pulled it open, and revealed the two AK 47-style assault weapons. Kyle’s ears pounded. His chest heaved. He had the most massive, nervous erection he had ever experienced in the course of his life. It was time.
They got in the car. Here was resolution. Here was finality. They pulled out of the dirt road that looked out over a dismal, overgrown pond, executed a haphazard roundabout, and found there way back out onto eighteen. Headed back to town. Headed toward destiny. They were no longer losers, in their mind. Now, their names would be written in horrific, cheap, tabloid ink for all time. They would be consigned, even in death, upon the archives of crime history forevermore. Between the pages of bad books. On the covers of garish, too -brightly printed magazines. Over and over they would be the stuff of nightmares, ejaculating their naked truth into the world in a way that had made Manson, and Bundy, and Dahmer household names. And all Darren Rawlings could think about was, this is the American Dream...this is the American Dream...this is the American Dream...