End of The Line by Randall Brown

He reaches for the bottle of Wild Turkey. The cancer in his liver bites at his insides. He’s offshore, a developer of sonic flares, those flames on the oil rigs, his design preventing the flame lick that burns everything up. It’s the last oil rig in the rising waters of a world going under. He swallows the last belt of whiskey. The bird circles overhead. He hikes up his pants, spits something red into the water, pisses between the iron rails, waits for the whirlybird to take him home.

Comments · 11

  1. Sounds like Prometheus’s stealing fire from the gods has come to bite him in the…well, you know…the liver.

  2. I love the line, “his design preventing the flame lick that burns everything up,” and how it plays against the types of decay that finally wash over design and intent. Brilliant.

  3. I can see myself becoming attached to this character in a longer piece. He seems so rich in story potential.


  4. The anonymousness of “he” seems like something here. It is an interesting decision. The implication of an actor, but the distance of a reporter make a comment. I wonder who he is.

  5. I love the parallel between internal destruction (his cancerous liver) and that of the world around him. It’s like he played a slow version of Russian roulette, alternating between the bottle and his work, and we readers get to see the grand finale. I enjoyed this piece very much, bravo.

  6. “He” is a very iconic American character; how America see’s itself, I think. He’s pushing the frontier to its limits and keeping the world safe through his “design.” And he does this regardless of his own self-destruction. It’s like he’s ascending to Heaven at the end. His work here is done. I agree with an earlier poster; this is a very rich character.

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