Retention Pond- Carl Scharwath

Bio: Carl Scharwath, has appeared globally with 150+ journals selecting his poetry, short stories, interviews, essays, plays or art photography (His photography was featured on the cover of 6 literary journals.) Two poetry books 'Journey To Become Forgotten' (Kind of a Hurricane Press and 'Abandoned' (ScarsTv) have been published. His first photography book was recently published by Praxis. Carl is the art editor for Minute Magazine, a dedicated competitive runner and 2nd degree black- belt in Taekwondo.

      The alluring woman he had talked to was not his wife; he had way too much to drink and his son waited to be picked up after high school football practice.

     Ron had a very stressful new career. He was a sales manager who was required to meet very
aggressive quarterly numbers to earn a decent income and to keep his job. The local bar provided a great relief where his troubles would swirl in the bottom of a highball glass and evaporate after the second drink. Having a beautiful woman to talk to was just another bonus tonight. Her smile seemed to help him forget about his failed marriage, his drinking problem and the very expensive cost of his son's college education.

  The third drink was gulped down as if his sanity depended on it and he bounded out of the bar to meet his son.  Never mind that the woman was in the restroom and would return to an empty stool and a missed promise of adventure. The only remnant of this strangely attractive man was a twenty dollar bill on the table and the squealing of tires outside.   

     As he sped to his destination, the setting sun slung a darkening bronze halo across the shadows of his vision. The road and the landscape were in a strange visual, drunken rhythm; a sepia-washed canvas that demanded concentration to view all the happenings.

     A dull thump awakened Ron, like a pine-cone heavy with snow descending to its final resting place on the roof above his bedroom. The rear-view mirror held a ghostly scene, as he slowed down to look.  In the small screen-view panorama, a cyclist convulsed. The body moved timidly as a small trickle of blood painted the road. Ron saw no other cars on this country road and decided to leave the accident scene in haste. The accident would ruin him; he already had two driving under the influence charges and a third one would cast him from society forever.
     The next morning Ron refused to watch the news or read a newspaper. He was not interested in the plight of the cyclist, as he already was resigned that this was a nightmare. The car did not have a scratch and this was his validation.

     Three months had  passed before he decided to travel the same road again. A roadside memorial and the picture of a teenage boy solemnly looked out at him as he drove by. Ron looked into the rear-view mirror but his tears clouded the view of the funeral flowers. The mirror held his attention long enough to move the car off the road and into a dramatic slope of grass and softened earth. The car rolled once into a large drainage ditch, upside down and ready to fill with water. He ingested his first gulp of contaminated water and seconds before he lost consciousness the sound of an approaching car filled him with hope.

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