Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


premature fiction

MacDuff Taylor Is Not Dreaming

You up, kid­do?”

Yeah.” Where is it?

You gonna get out of bed?”

Yeah.” Maybe he hid it. Maybe he took it with him.

Mom’s hand on my stom­ach feels good. “You know, you don’t have to go to school today.”

I know.” It does­n’t mat­ter. He’s not dead.

The police are going to be there.”

They know. “Why?”

They’ll want to talk to you and the oth­er kids about Gabriel.”

But…” They know every­thing already. They have to.

They want to find out what hap­pened.” She won’t let me look out the win­dow any­more. Her hand is on my cheek — it feels nice there, except I might cry now. I’m get­ting too warm. “You okay, hon­ey?”

No. I don’t wan­ta go there.” Why can’t I stop? I can’t breathe. I can’t open my eyes.

It’s okay, kid­do. You don’t have to go. You can stay here.” She’s hold­ing me. I wish she could pick me up and car­ry me like when I was lit­tle. I can’t go to school. Everyone will know I was cry­ing.

He’s okay. He’s okay, Mom. He’s okay.”

What hon­ey?”

He’s just run­ning away.”

But hon­ey…”

He’s going… to… um, Mexico.”

Take it easy, sweet­heart. Just breathe. You need to calm down.”

But Mom-”

Calm down, now.”

I need to tell the cops, Mom.”

Mac, I think you need to calm down, hon­ey. Take a deep breath.” She holds my arms at my sides and kneels down next to the bed. “Now look at me. I think you’re con­fus­ing your dreams with what real­ly hap­pened. We do that some­times — ”

No, Mom. I’m not dream­ing. I know what real­ly hap­pened.” She does­n’t believe me. She’s just look­ing at the floor. She’s cry­ing. “I am not dream­ing.” I’ll hide in the shed in the back­yard. I’m so sick of her.

Mac. Mac, come back here.”

Out the kitchen door, across the wet lawn, and into the shed, under the work table and behind the tarp that smells like grass clip­pings and gaso­line. “I’m not dream­ing. If the cops think he’s dead, then they don’t know.”