Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler

 

premature fiction

Maria’s Story Pt.2

When she final­ly went inside after rolling Kenneth Sneed on his side so he wouldn’t die in his sleep on her front lawn, Neto was sit­ting on the couch near the front door.

You heard that?” She asked him.

Maria, what’s going on?”

Neto, I told you to go to bed.”

Does he know who did this?”

Forget you heard any­thing, mijo.”

He shook his head. “This is no good, Maria.”

I know. So, don’t say any­thing. I don’t need you hurt too.”

What’s this about?”

I don’t know, Neto.” And she walked into the kitchen to end the con­ver­sa­tion.

Neto start­ed to fol­low his sis­ter, but turned to look through the screen door at the man passed out on her lawn. A rich man who lived poor. The kind of man their father had worked for his whole life. A gringo with all the pow­er it takes to dri­ve on oth­er people’s lawns drunk and pass out and have no one say any­thing about it, but no one, not even his own chil­dren, trust­ed or liked in him. He went to Maria. She was sit­ting at the kitchen table with a cold cup of cof­fee.

Trying to stay awake for some­thing?” He smiled.

She didn’t quite look at him, but she didn’t ignore him either. “I’m afraid, Neto.”

Of him.” He nod­ded his chin towards the front lawn.

Her eye­brows went up. She was sur­prised at her own answer. “No, not him.”

What?”

Maybe what I’ll dream. Sleeping any­way. Maybe what I’ll wake up to.”

Neto went to the fridge and set­tled on a can of beer and some chick­en.

How can you eat that now?”

How can you drink that now?”

You’re gross.”

You’re weird.”

They glanced at one anoth­er and almost smiled. It wasn’t affin­i­ty or resem­blance that gave them com­fort in being broth­er and sis­ter, but all the rou­tine ways they drove one anoth­er nuts. “You know what I think?” He asked her.

What?”

Neto wasn’t smil­ing any­more. He gulped down some beer and let out a qui­et belch. “I think you ough­ta tell the cops this guy knows some­thing.”

She looked at him, but did not reply.

He knows some­thing. He should say it in court, you know. It ain’t right, him keep­ing it to him­self.”

That’s up to him, Neto. I’m not telling him what to say. You know what he is.”

I know.”

Don’t you say any­thing either. That’s just trou­ble. Big trou­ble. Trot gets in trou­ble. I get in trou­ble. And he,” she point­ed to the front lawn, “hates trou­ble. You get it?”

I get it. I get it.” He ate and drank and then wrapped up what was left of the chick­en and put it back in the fridge. Before he closed the door, he sighed, star­ing into the only light source in the room. He grabbed anoth­er beer. He knew he need­ed it if he was going to get back to sleep tonight. He closed the fridge and turned to look at his sis­ter. She seemed thin, weak in a way he’d nev­er seen. Something had bro­ken in the only per­son besides his moth­er that he trust­ed and loved with­out reser­va­tion. He want­ed to scream at her to get bet­ter, but knew that wouldn’t do a thing. He chewed his lip and stared with her out her kitchen win­dow at the dark trees crouched togeth­er under the night.

Maria, you do what you think is right. But Tomas won’t rest in peace if the per­son who killed him goes free. It doesn’t mat­ter if you’re afraid of that man out there or not. His spir­it, your lit­tle boy, won’t know the dif­fer­ence. His soul won’t sleep.” He didn’t wait for her answer, but went back to bed, know­ing he wouldn’t rest either, not his body and nev­er his soul with his sister’s now so dam­aged.