Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler

 

premature fiction

Winchester Kady

Win kept his eyes shut and his body still last night, but he nev­er tru­ly slept. His mind kept work­ing over minor details from the office, the grow­ing col­lec­tion of nag­ging pings and bangs com­ing from his car engine, the mon­ey his daugh­ters need­ed in order to be teenagers, the atten­tion his house need­ed in order to remain a house, and fuel­ing it all, the antic­i­pa­tion of the the next day’s work.

And here it was, out in Brenlee, the town where his wife grew up. The whole rea­son he applied for his job with the coun­ty; so she could live clos­er to her ail­ing moth­er. A lit­tle Mexican boy.

Win didn’t hear his own molars grind­ing until he moved close to the fold­ed over body, hop­ing it would spring up and run off with the fool­ish laugh­ter of a kid’s stu­pid hoax. No move­ment. No laugh­ter. Just that creak­ing fric­tion under his ears. He squat­ted down and tried to breath. His eyes fell shut. Now, his body told him, now it is time to sleep and dream.

Sir?” It was Hernandez, the only real offi­cer Brenlee had. Why did he move here, any­way? The God-fear­ing types like his moth­er would say for this boy, now. And there was no doubt that this child was luck­i­er in death to have such a good man attend­ing him than he ever was in his small life. But all of this work, all the years of lost sleep, told Win Kady that there were no such plans for the inno­cent and the dead. They are always the vic­tims or the bene­fac­tors of the deci­sions of the rest of us, the guilty liv­ing.

Hernandez,” he said it with a deep­er smoker’s rat­tle in his throat than usu­al. “Good work here.”

Thank you, sir.”

Win stood and looked at Hernandez, a young fit, upright, light-skinned Hispanic, hard­ly more Mexican than him­self, a pot-bel­lied mid­dle-aged anglo-Irish gringo. Yet, this far north of the bor­der, the lines between Spanish, native, and Mestiza are blurred by the com­plex­i­ties of lan­guage and the sim­plic­i­ty of racism. “I’ll be ask­ing a lot of you for this case,” Win told him.
Hernandez looked down at his boots.

Not just because you speak Spanish. Though that’s a fac­tor. But most­ly because we’re over worked and you’re the most com­pe­tent offi­cer in the imme­di­ate area.”

What about Deputy–”

Win spat into the orchard. “Hell, I’ve known Chad Hoban since he was born. Nice kid. Couldn’t count the laces on his shoes with­out los­ing track.”

Hernandez shift­ed, but didn’t even smile. “Yessir.”

We’ll give you a copy of the Coroner’s report.”

Thank you, sir.”

Win looked down at the boy’s body again. “Goddamnit.” And he walked as quick­ly as he could into the orchard to throw up behind a tree.

Hernandez didn’t fol­low him, but after he fin­ished asked, “Are you alright, sir? Can I get you some­thing?”

Win tried to spit his mouth clean. “Call me Win.”

Okay.”

I’ll clear your extra hours with your boss. You hang around here a while. But not too close. Probably ough­ta take the day off when we’re done.” Hernandez cleared his throat and put the back of his hand to his lips, but Win Kady spoke before he could, “Fine don’t. But don’t pre­tend you can stand it. You don’t wan­ta end up wrapped too tight to sleep.” And the Chief County Inspector walked away into the orchard to smoke in pri­vate.