Internal Combustion

by Thom Gabrukiewicz and Quin Browne

I do not sleep; there is no shut-eye, no tuck-you-in, sweet dreams, don't let the bedbugs bite – because this is the brand of insomnia that can't be touched with valerian root, melatonin, Lunesta, Xanax, Vicodin, Valium (I know, since I've tried every alternative, in every combination). Nighttime is killing me, so, I counterattack by killing time — driving endlessly with no radio, only the noise of the wind slipping through the cracked window, the hiss of the tires on the macadam road's frosting of rain and oil and my suddenly hypersensitive hearing that is causing the sound of my heart and the blinking of my grit-filled eyelids to join the Chevy's orchestra in a perfect rhythmic counter-point in my head. It's this hippy-hop thump-thump, blink-blink that catches in my throat, catches up; the tears start as wells in my eyes and turn into a cascading fury that makes oncoming headlights stretch light like florescent taffy. There should be a space, a place... a time for all of this to have rhyme and reason in my world, yet, that space, that place, that... time, are as lost to me as my sense of reality is right now. The two-lane blacktop is dark and desolate; I flick the lights off and join the darkness – and with seething, teeth-clenched rage, stand on the brake pedal with both feet and squeal to a lurching stop. I imagined it was just like this for Paul, that night, the decision to drive for miles, speed increasing, turning the lights off as he hit the curve - and putting my head on the steering wheel, I finally gave myself over to the rage of my grief.


Thom Gabrukiewicz and Quin Browne, as members of a mutual admiration society (and seeking a new challenge), decided to take 6S to a new level: alternating sentences without first deciding on a plot. They now throw down the gauntlet to their fellow writers - see what you (and a partner) can do with this same format...