Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


premature fiction

Mose Brenlee’s Missive — 4

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.