We eat your words

SHORT STORIES: Starry Night

"He ran his hand across the still wet stain. Got the blood under his nails."

The walkie talkie buzzed in his hand.
“Looks like a double.”
“Yep…looks to be. Fuck.” He spat on the ground in front of him, took off his cap and rubbed his forehead. The moon beat down on him. Too quiet for these kids. He looked at their bodies, frowned a little. He hoped his were alright.

“Detective Hurt?” came the voice of an officer. He stood up, cracked his back, tip saluted his cap to the bodies.
“Yeah son?”
“Call for you.” He took the cellphone, pushed it to his ear, held it there with his shoulder. Pulled out a pack of smokes and punched one into his gums.

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“Howdy.”
“This Detective Hurt?”
“Sure is.”
“Need you down at the station, something about yer pa.” He took a long draw, watched the smoke swirl and the moon distort behind.
“I’m on call, dead kids.”
“Yeah we know Hurt, don’t mean it in a bad way but they ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

***

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He wound the window down and listened to the crickets for a while. Took his cap and threw it in the back. Sighed. Got his cellphone out. Called home. Her voice at the other end. Tired. He’d woken her up, goddamn.

“Baby?” She said. “You comin’ home?”
“I gotta call.”
“You gotta call?”
“I gotta call. How the girls tonight?”
“Oh they were – she yawned – angels, you know they always are. Granny stopped by, we cooked some of that apple pie Dawn loves so much. Took some convincin’ to make her save some for you.” He smiled, wound his window up, turned the key in the ignition.
“It’s about dad.”
“What the fuck now.”
“I don’t know Cheryl I jus’ know it’s him, I should be back soon enough.”
“Alright Adam you jus’ make sure you’re next to me when I wake up, alright?”
“Alright doll, I love ya”
“I know you do ya big pansy.” And she hung up.
He scrolled the stations and found the old tunes he knew.

***

Alone and forsaken by fate and by man, oh lord if you hear me please hold my hand it went.
“Son, get down here.” He heard his father call.
“Comin’ pa!” He called back, ran down the bank to the mud by the lake.
“Now listen, this here’s the bait” He wiggled the worm about. “An’ you hook ‘im on here, see?”
“Don’t that hurt the worm pa?”
“Sure it does, like hell.”
“Then why we gotta do that to ‘em, pa?”
“That’s the way she goes Adam, why’s that sky gotta light up like that?” He gestured to the stars above, looming and watching. “Why’s the shark gotta kill people? That’s jus’ the way it is, way God made it all.”
“Okay, pa”.

***

He pulled into the station parking lot. Looked himself in the rear-view mirror. Some of those creases weren’t going away anymore. He pulled a grey hair out. Took a minute to smoke another in the cabin. Sighed. Checked his watch.

“What’s the deal?” He said as he walked in, throwing his coat over the back of the nearest chair. They all stopped their conversation, turned to look at him.
“Evening, Adam.” Said the Mayor.
“Evening, Ford. Now what’s my pa done this time? Son bitch gettin’ himself closer to fired erry’ damn day.” He smiled.
“Adam…” the mayor put his hand on his shoulder. The rest of them looked on. “Your pa…he got taken by the lord earlier. Shootout at the drugstore down on 8.”

***

He drove to the drugstore, saw the blood splatter himself. Shot in the lung then died on his back. Drowned in his own blood. Crook had held up some poor girl over a couple hundred dollars. Shot her in the head. He ran his hand across the still wet stain. Got the blood under his nails.

***

I hear the train a comin-, it’s rollin’ round the bend, and I ain’t seen the sunshine since, I don’t know when it went. His father turned the radio down as they pulled up. Love’s lookout point.
“Come on, son” His father said as he climbed out, soft rattle of the bottles by his feet. They sat on the bonnet and looked out over town. “You see way over there? That’s yer school. And over there’s where pa works. And yer ma works at that diner.” His father stopped at that, looked down at his lap. Took off his cap and rubbed his forehead. “Well, where she did work, anyhow.” He took a drink and looked up at the last traces of stars, slowly fading away to make room for the approaching sun. “You know where she is now, son?”
“No, pa”.
“She’s up there. She’s an angel, your ma is.”

***

He pulled up slowly, turned off the engine. Stepped out, leaned against the car and lit up one more before throwing the pack over the precipice. He took out his cellphone, called home, no answer. Climbed onto the bonnet.
“Say hi to ma for me, pa.” He said to the sunrise.

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