Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


premature fiction

Expert Work

Plaster radios Winnie at the station. He knows there is a code for this. He knows the code, somewhere in his mind he knows the code.

“One-seven are you there?” She asks. “Dennis?”

“Yeah, we have uh… uh… we have an apparent Nine-fourteen ‘S’ out at the Currie house.”


“It’s not Andy.”

Static hisses, breaks, and hisses again. Winnie hasn’t any words to send.


“I’m here.”

“It looks like Mose.”

More hissing and then Winnie speaks confidently, sounding like a voice from a TV cop show, “Unit one-seven, maintain your position. Emergency services are on the way. Over.”

“One-seven…uh…staying put. Over.”

Dennis has heard that people will often throw up when they see the results of a shooting at such close range. He hasn’t yet. Instead, he wonders at how expertly Mose chose the stick to push back the trigger and how he knew just the right position to balance the weapon – butt against the side of his boot, foot pulled up close to his body in order to push the barrel against his nose and eye socket. The man knew exactly how to use a shotgun to commit suicide. Most people don’t. In his short tenure as a police officer, Dennis has been called to four separate failed attempts (nine-fourteen ‘A‘s), all of them clumsy and most of them causing more damage to the home than the person.

On Mose’s lap is the letter he wrote to his family earlier that morning. Dennis Plaster’s head throbs as he bends over to pick it up. It’s then that he smells the man. Mose’s living smell – coffee, laundry detergent, the firehouse, body odor – fading into the smell of his blood and bodily fluids. Now, Dennis is sick. He heaves up his own coffee and breakfast at the base of another tree. He turns back to Mose’s body and looks at the man’s ruined face. “You fucker,” he whispers and walks back toward the house to greet the Emergency Service vehicles.