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.