Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


premature fiction

Mose Brenlee’s Missive — 3

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.