Watchers – Chapter 2-2: Prisoner


My girl is rocking that Billabong bikini like she’s sponsored
Asking me if I can rub that Coppertone on her
Got a couple bucks but I’m spending them like they pesos
Might be Motel Sixing but it feels like Turks and Caicos

Adrian sat with his head in his hands in the passenger seat of Pawel’s Ford F-150.

Thomas Rhett’s Vacation was blaring from the speakers. It was the wrong song to be playing with the bass cranked up high, but Pawel didn’t care.

He was a man of the farm. A straight-shootin’, gunslingin’, plaid-wearin’, line-dancin’, pig-fuckin’ country boy. His parents operated a pig farm out in Caledon, and while Pawel could have taken over the family business, he preferred working out on the farm part-time while pursuing his real dream of being an opera singer.

That was a joke. Adrian chuckled to himself, lifting his head to crank the handle on the passenger window down. The sound of wind screaming in his eardrums would be a better tune than anything Pawel was playing.

However, Pawel’s choice of track did do one thing right – it emphasized the fact that they were officially on vacation. What better way to start a vacation than by playing a song dedicated to being on vacation?

I got my Solo Cup amplifier, playing all my jams
And my Walgreens beach chair working on my tan

“Y’here that? That’s some damn fine product placement,” Pawel hollered, slapping his left hand against the side of the truck.

“That’s just lazy writing, my friend. Why don’t you let me be the D-J? That is the passenger’s job, after all,” Adrian said.

“Naw bro, you’ll end up playin’ yer grindcore she’et. Brins’ the mood wa’ down,” Pawel flexed his accent muscles, which only came to the surface when he was hopped up on country music and Red Bull – a deadly combination.

“Could you at least play a different track?”

“Oh, I got sv’rl tracks, bro,”

Pawel tapped his phone, and out popped the great Taylor Swift.

Adrian couldn’t recognize the catchy tune by …but it sounded like one of her older  tracks.

Our song is the slamming screen door,
Sneakin’ out late, tapping on your window
When we’re on the phone and you talk real slow
‘Cause it’s late and your mama don’t know

“There it is,” Adrian said. “It’s Mine, right?”

Our Song, bro,” Pawel replied.

“This is our song?”

“Yeah man, Our Song,” Pawel confirmed.

“We don’t have a song,” Adrian said. He knew the song, he just wanted to see how long it would take Pawel to call him out on his bullshit.

“No bro…the song…it’s called Our Song.”

Adrian laughed. “Yeah, I know.”

Adrian’s attention turned from Taylor Swift to the awkward buzzing sensation in his right pocket. He pulled the iPhone out of his pocket, tapping the screen to reveal a missed call and a text from Molly, ex-girlfriend – otherwise known as the ‘Executioner’.

Molly had a way of bringing the mood down in the room without actually being present. It was like an ethereal force that passed through, causing nothing but famine, death and destruction in one fell swoop.

Adrian and Molly dated for about six months. He felt like a prisoner in his own body, unable to break the shackles, victim to this executioner and sentenced to the death penalty.

Molly had keyed his car, trashed his bedroom, punched, kicked and verbally abused Adrian. Even when he blocked her number and moved out just to get away, she managed to always find a way to contact him.

She missed him, she always said. Adrian heard one thing, but it actually meant something else entirely – she missed him because she didn’t have a punching bag to take out her aggression on.

Adrian felt lighter after writing Molly out of his life, and for a while, he managed to avoid any contact with her.

The text he had received on his phone read, ‘Miss U, Want 2 C U, Call Me? Love You. P.S. If you don’t call me I’m going to torch your car and throw rocks through your fucking window.’ 

This was the first text he’d received from her in three months, and she still had a way of leaving a dryness in his throat and a shudder down his spine.

Adrian held his breath; slowly, and painfully exhaling to allow fresh air in to help hydrate his body. Pawel leaned over and slapped him on the back.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff, bro,” Pawel smiled. His accent seemed to have drifted off into the nether as the next song began to play.

“It’s that obvious?”

“Dude, Molly’s been up and down your back since Day un'” he said. “It’s time to cut the umbilical cord and let that baby fly.”

Poor analogy, but Adrian saw the point. He decided that for the next few days, he was going to keep his phone shut off, promising to deal with the Executioner when this was all over. No amount of broken windows and burning threats were going to bring his mood down any further.

“This one is Mine,” Pawel said, pointing at the radio.

Taylor Swift always knew how to lighten the mood. Adrian winced at the lyrics, as the song reminded him once again of his own troubled past, as the pickup truck sped down the 400.

 And I remember that fight
Two-thirty AM
As everything was slipping right out of our hands
I ran out crying and you followed me out into the street
Braced myself for the “Goodbye.”
‘Cause that’s all I’ve ever known
Then you took me by surprise
You said, “I’ll never leave you alone.”


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