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.