October 26, 2009

Feed Your Head Out West

This is the working title for my new short story, if I can share the first page, tell my what you think...

When we finished loading up the car, I saw in the face of my brother William, whom I had called Jack since third grade, the first smile I’d seen on him that was both genuine and sober in four years. Our mother, still in her robe, coffee in hand, came out to wish us a farewell.
“I still don’t understand why you two can’t tell me where you’re going.”
“West.” Jack said
“What does that mean?”
“Opposite of East”
We tried to explain to her that we didn’t even really know where it was we were going.
“You two torture me.” We figured this was her way of saying, “Goodbye, I love you”.
My mother pulled me in close and told me to make sure my brother didn’t drink too much wherever we were going.
“Let’s get a move on, Bobby!” Jack yelled throwing me the keys. He had called me Bobby, instead of my given name Charles, since he was in tenth grade, just as long as I had been calling him Jack. He’d read a book about the Kennedy brothers that year and decided the names fit for us; I went along with it because it was fun. When he was sixteen and decided he wanted to be a government major in college, I thought the name was fitting because he wanted to fix things. When he left college I thought it fit because he wanted to smoke weed and bang Marilyn Monroe. At this point, it seemed to fit because he probably was hoping to be assassinated at this point.
He talked about the Kennedy assassinations fairly often. The one time I brought up his obsession with them, he told me he didn’t have anything better to look forward to. I wished I could come up with some sort of uplifting response to that.
As I started the car the sun was in my eyes, but I didn’t really care. I was figuring we couldn’t put fears and depression behind us, but we could at least put them off until after the trip, so that made me kind of happy. Before we even got out of the neighborhood we were reminded of our situation.
We came towards the last house before Main Street, the home of an old friend of Jack’s. There was an ambulance in the driveway. I tried to speed up before Jack would notice.
“Wait… ” He said, and I sped up and merged onto Main Street. “There was an ambulance outside of Tommy’s house.”
I thought about denying there was even an ambulance, but I decided that was useless. “Doesn’t Tommy’s dad have that heart thing?”
“It’s the SCILS, Bobby.” Jack said, putting his head in his hands.
“You don’t know that.” I said, leaving out the part where he was probably right.

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