Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


premature fiction

No One Could Help Him

Mr. Sneed’s grandson, Trot, identified the boy as Gabriel Velasquez, the youngest brother of Jose Velasquez, a man who had worked for him everyday for the past three years. He lied to Hernandez and told him he didn’t know where the parents lived. Truth was, they had no papers and lived on his father’s land.

“You know, Trot we have to talk to them if we’re gonna have any chance of catching whoever did this.”

After seeing the boy, Trot had kept his back to Hernandez and the county investigators busying themselves over the boy’s body. He answered him loudly, clipping off his words over his shoulder. “I told you. They’re not around. They wouldn’t know anyone around here anyway. Talk to Jose.”

“Sure.” Hernandez wrote something in his notebook and looked at the back of Trot’s head. “You know what obstructing justice is?”

“Oh, this is bullshit. A little boy’s dead and you’re comin’ after me.”

“No. No, you’re not helping me.”

Trot turned back to him, weeping tears hoarded away in 40 years of terse emotional distance from all those he knew and loved. He was a man who could no longer find security in the constraints of shame. “And you know I can’t, Eddie. You know that.”

Hernandez whispered, “yeah.”

“Gimme a minute. Jose’s gonna be here soon.” Trot Sneed spit into the tilled dirt and then turned to walk deeper into the peach orchard.