Wendy’s Rafters

Flint could almost dip beyond ducks at the fog, it came barreling over the skyline and made him think of a bowling ball somehow exploded by pins. The evening breath had sent everyone running also, be it for a bus or a love handle, and he saw a scatter of commuters hoping for the best, to part ways and expose a giant photo. Flint smiled. If only he had the energy to line his evil enough for a grin. Anyway, there she was, psh, on the side of a bus. Her face giant and running to chase with—what the fuck is that for? Some cure for ingrown toenails, the poor girl. “She always wanted to be famous,” he whispered. If even for…

His pocket stirred. Speak of the devil, he thought, and he may send you an emoji. Flip looked at his phone. Omp. No smiley shit this time. They’d divorced cute to root severity: I have found more of your stuff still here. Please come get it today. Right now if you can. I’ll put it in a box and set it on the counter. Wendy, yup.

Flint figured, Fuck it. He hadn’t been out to the ranch in a few moon cycles by now, and he was considering being nostalgic. If only for the smells. He wondered if he’d see any remnants of his old girl’s nemesis en route, Brenda Breach. That ho got to be in TV ads, always to drowse her beckoning to one step beyond. Wendy wished upon hatred.

He got in his rig to shuffle over the bridge. To the beyond.

The route deja’d a parade of vu’s but not so much to crust his memories with the truth. It reminded him of enjoying the gore of a horror flick or news broadcast. Pulling into the ranch though, the unfortunates seeped. He was still aligning his composure when he parked not in his old spot.

By now he was used to knocking on the door so he just let it ride. (Knock knock. Silence.) The overlapping negatives, however, still breathed enough for him to walk on in when no one came. The living room has put on its evening clothes, had even forgone eyeliner, so to speak. Bitch still had the couch of course. Anyway, he called her name with as much kindness as the air would allow and was met with only the insistence of that antique clock. The soundtrack to Flint’s nightmare. His breath was starting to surge when he remembered her threat—and he looked over to the kitchen counter. Huh. There was only a note, held in place by an empty wine bottle which itself housed a candle; remains arrested in motion. He walked up.

Hi Flint, it read. If you see this, I’m out feeding the horses. Come meet me, I hung up some stuff of yours I found in the barn.

Jesus, he thought. She had to headline everything she did. He was ambushed by the thought of going out there to steep in her strange new crew of diatribes and flame. Shit got weird when one left the city. Anyway, they’d probably already put some hoodoo shit on Brenda Breach, so it’d hopefully be gorged from Wendy’s friends’ system for now. Up in flames, fuck it. He decided feeling famous was next to being famous anyway, even if only to your mangy-ass pyro friends and horses.

He walked through the barnyard, booting two dried piles of turds on the way. Stepping past the retired congregation in the front lobby, gifting a hand to one snowy shoulder, he ducked under the rope and stepped inside. He saw a pile of alfalfa in the middle of that area, well beyond reach of the doorway. “Is this just a cruel joke?” he asked the three horses, who were nonetheless chewing on something. “Hey Wen—“

Interrupted by his eyes, he followed a rope, dangling above the alfalfa (which he noticed also glistened), to an entire Wendy who stood in the rafters. Noose around her neck.

“So good of you to come,” she coughed. Just as Flint stepped beneath her, she struck a match, and as she leapt, lit a crumpled ball of newspaper to fall as she did. It landed on the pile of alfalfa and blossomed below her, grasping upon her dress, which seemed to explode with the pop of her neck. The two-tiered inferno crawling up and along the rope itself.

Flint’s legs juggled him to his ass and he scurried until he knocked into an empty can of gas. The horses issued a soundtrack, bucking against confusion and their tremolo. He ducked out, dodging their eventual stampede, and ran through the barnyard backwards (Wendy’s tip for horseplay. Ironic? Almost) until he bent through the fence and watched the barn smoke, then applaud, then lick the sky. He ran to the house to call 911 even though he had his cell phone on him. Panic.

The fire was doused and Flint returned to the city.

First Wendy’s weird little town did a story on the fire, but the Chronicle did a follow up after talking to Flint about the flame’s backdrop. Soon it was spoken and heard and re-heard until a non-fictional trade paperback was written (which Flint never read but heard was good, and deduced to be sprinkled with bullshit). The book inspired a Lifetime original movie to follow. Flint found solace knowing that Wendy had achieved the fame she so porously desired. He also enjoyed a grim satisfaction to hear that Wendy would be played by Brenda Breach, the real spur in Wendy’s craw. The film of course served to launch a lofty career for Ms. Breach. But hell, people still talk about Fiery Wendy, so it wasn’t all for naught, right? Flint figured.