Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler

 

premature fiction

Extinguished

This headache. This darkness. Something cold and a massive heat over it. Where is his body? Where is he?

Dennis Plaster brings a hand to his forehead. He rubs. His face is wet. He tries opening his eyes and catches them between his thumb and forefinger, pinching the bridge of nose. Why can’t he hang on?

He is coughing and trying to sit up. His hand has a hard time keeping track of his face in all that movement. Finally, he is sitting up, elbows on his knees, his head hanging in the shade his own body makes. He looks at the dirt and ragged grass beneath him. The sun, that massive heat, feels good on his neck.

“What an asshole,” he mumbles for and to himself. His clothes and hair are wet, though his shoes and the bottom of his pants are dry. His gun is still holstered, though he has lost track of his radio.

He could look up to see exactly where he is. He could even get up. But Dennis Plaster feels no urgency. He’s been had and he’s been beaten. By what, he can’t say. Before he goes on, he wants to know just how stupid he has been and just how long he has been out. For all he knows, it could be months. Feels like weeks. The headache stretches time forward and behind. He looks at his watch. Fifteen minutes since he approached the house.

He listens. Someone is walking away, he can just barely hear the footsteps in the dirt. He looks up and around, but as he squints through the sunlight, he sees only the barn, the farmhouse, and all the things he saw before. He can’t hear the footsteps anymore.

His head throbs when he stands. He finds his radio on the porch. Someone has set it upright there and turned it off. Near it there is a discharged fire extinguisher, bits of white powder lazily falling from the frosted cone at the end of its nozzle. Around what used to be his patch of ground a few feet away, more of the powder is caught in the grass and weeds. Some of it still sticks to his clothing. That’s the smell. Plaster spits and runs a hand through his hair. Covered with the shit. Reminds him of a time in high school when he and friend ‘decorated’ someone’s ex-girlfriend’s small pickup. He can’t even remember if it was his girlfriend or his friend’s. He’d shake his head, but the headache keeps him still.

He debates radioing in this whole thing, filing a report, the whole mess… but knows he has to do it. He sighs and picks up the radio. The speaker pops when it turns it on and as he absently checks the frequency, another, louder pop from the orchard behind the barn. No, louder but more muffled than a pop. It makes no sense to him, but he knows the sound. A shotgun.