Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


Archive for June, 2007

Mose Brenlee’s Missive — 4

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

Mose Brenlee stopped writ­ing. He took a deep drink of tepid cof­fee from the thick light green plas­tic cup that matched all of the dish­es in the fire­house, ugly, old and durable to a fault. He read over what he had writ­ten, cross­ing out and cor­rect­ing, under­lin­ing and insert­ing words as he went. He couldn’t be sure he was mak­ing any sense and that calmed him. He rea­soned, if I’m wor­ried that I’m insane, even pret­ty cer­tain I’m crazy, then I’m not too far gone to know what’s going on. That back­flip of illog­ic helped him see that there was lit­tle more explain­ing he could do that would make any sense to any­one.

He drew a star in the mid­dle of the page under his last para­graph and start­ed a new para­graph a lit­tle below the star. He print­ed the next words care­ful­ly. He did not want his hand­writ­ing to look as crazy as he knew his words would read to his fam­i­ly and who­ev­er else saw this let­ter.

Once I fin­ish this let­ter, there will be only one thing left for me to do. I guess that you all will call this my sui­cide note, but if I had my way, you would call it some­thing else. Something bet­ter than my words could make it and some­thing more fit­ting my actions. Call it my Ghost Letter. It’s about me mak­ing one and becom­ing one. All the good and evil will pass here in Brenlee and feed what comes next. What maybe you can make it. I hope some­thing good.

I’m going to find Andy Currie and fin­ish this. To go to prison and prob­a­bly die some­where else, so that I wouldn’t join all those ghosts I know so well in the place that I love — the place that’s me — that I couldn’t bear, so when I say fin­ish you know that I mean myself too.

Mose want­ed to write some­thing more, but the words weren’t there. He want­ed to impart some ele­gant­ly word­ed wis­dom to his fam­i­ly, but could think of none. He drew anoth­er star and tilt­ed his cof­fee cup to see the last swal­low of dark liq­uid inside. He fin­ished the cof­fee and set down his pen. He could feel more to say, but couldn’t say it. Maybe it would come to him lat­er. After.

Not wis­dom, but grace is what he wished to give his fam­i­ly. A deep grace that would draw them back to this town and help them fill Brenlee with as much life as the strange emis­saries of the dead that peo­pled this place — his world — would allow. He did not know how to write that in a way that would reach them, so instead he wrote, “I love you all and do this for you,” and signed his name. There was room left on the page for more.

He stood and slow­ly cir­cled the large fire­house kitchen table, watch­ing the let­ter, back to the wall, ever watch­ful of the most dan­ger­ous thing in the room. Finally, he went to it, fold­ed it and put it inside one of the envelopes. He would seal the enve­lope lat­er. After. When he was tru­ly fin­ished.

Mose Brenlee’s Missive — 3

Monday, June 11th, 2007

I know who killed those boys. I’ve known since the day they found the first one. At first I was afraid to say any­thing and then I was ashamed of my fear. After a while, the shame became a duller feel­ing and I was just dis­gust­ed. Sickened by this town and most­ly myself. I’m as guilty as the one who done it and all the ones who helped him.

It was Andy Currie. I’ve known him my whole life and my whole life he was odd. Most peo­ple think he’s harm­less and fun­ny, but Andy Currie lacks some­thing most ani­mals even seem to have. I don’t if it’s a con­scious or sym­pa­thy or what, maybe it’s just that he’s got what I don’t see but it’s so twist­ed and per­vert­ed that I can’t rec­og­nize it. However it is, I know that Andy’s been a fire fight­er as long as I have for all the worst rea­sons. Not to help some poor per­son who’s house or farm or car just burned up, but to be close as he can to they’re suf­fer­ing. He wants to watch it and own it and smiles when he does, not to cheer peo­ple up like so many peo­ple think, but because it pleas­es his sick mind and poi­soned-poi­so­nous heart.

Ask any man who’s ever done busi­ness with Andy and he’ll tell you what he’s real­ly like. You’ll have to pry it from him because he’ll doubt you’ll believe him, he’s prob­a­bly been shout­ed down before by friends and neigh­bors. Some, who aren’t much bet­ter than Andy them­selves might even brag about him and give him cred­it for being more of a hard-ass than even them­selves — that’s what you’d get from Kenny Sneed and his bunch. The rest can’t hard­ly believe their own minds after see­ing the way that rat bas­tard treats peo­ple behind that bank con­fer­ence room door.

The Currie fam­i­ly always owned plen­ty of land in Brenlee and Andy’s the one who inher­it­ed most of it and the only one still around town. He has half the down­town leas­es and holds mort­gages and loans for more peo­ple than I care to know. Many of them were peo­ple lost prop­er­ty, fam­i­ly or limbs in a fire. They thought he was doing them a favor, lend­ing mon­ey when no one else would. He nev­er start­ed fires to my knowl­edge, but he took advan­tage. He doesn’t want to help peo­ple or even ruin them, he just wants them to suf­fer and be there when they declare that they can’t go on. If he could, Andy Currie would fight fire with gaso­line.

I won’t let him set eyes on me. Not for more than a minute. I won’t speak to him. He knows I’ve suf­fered with you all liv­ing far from me and has tried to see how it hurts me. He used to try speak­ing to me about you, but nev­er got an answer so he gave up. All the same, he knows I’ve suf­fered know­ing that he was find­ing ways to hurt peo­ple liv­ing in this town my fam­i­ly start­ed, hurt them so bad they curse the day they moved to Brenlee. No one has missed the way I lost weight and shrunk in spir­it too these last fif­teen years.

Phyllis, you’ve heard me say all this before and think I’m crazy for it, but it’s true now as it was when I first told you. I’m a sick and dying man and Andy is the one made me this way. Andy Currie stole my life from me and watched it bend, burn, and then char to noth­ing in the flames of his spite and cru­el­ty.