Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


premature fiction


Sherri Sneed came to the aid of her com­mu­ni­ty in this time of cri­sis. She arranged for the church­es to open their Sunday School rooms for after school activ­i­ties and day care, called par­ents to let them know that they had some place safe to take their chil­dren, called Mrs. Schmidt to make sure that that Mexican cop had arranged for an offi­cer to be present at the end of the school day, and then called Manuel over at Tia Sophia’s (Brenlee’s only Mexican restau­rant) to make sure those peo­ple took care of their own and brought food to the boy’s fam­i­ly.

Sherri’s two chil­dren were old enough now — Tanya, 16 and Jared, 17 — to take on their mea­sure of respon­si­bil­i­ty. She wrote notes ask­ing that the high school allow them to leave school ear­ly today to that they could help pro­vide after school day care for ele­men­tary school chil­dren of work­ing par­ents.

After every­thing that hap­pened, how could she sleep? Besides, there was no sign of her hus­band, so there was no one there to calm her down. Hell, who wants to be calm any­way? Come to think of it, Trot does­n’t calm her, he depress­es her, com­ing off so good. He’s Mr. Solid, a walk­ing tree or some­thing. Yeah, she can see it now, Trot is a tree his grand­fa­ther plant­ed. She feels more now, sees more, than she has in years. It is all so clear. And she did­n’t even need any blow.

Of course Andy called. He even stopped by. Too sweet for his own good. The dumb ass­hole. Still, he does what she asks and answers when­ev­er she called which is more than she can say for her father-in-law. Ken will play along, even if he does­n’t know he’s play­ing. She could almost feel bad for him, like play­ing pok­er with a retard or some­thing, except Ken’s no retard and he’s made her life hell. Kept her from see­ing, from feel­ing, from doing any­thing. Now he’ll dance for her instead of the oth­er way around.

Not long after Sherri hears Brenlee’s mid-day siren in the dis­tance, she hears anoth­er siren, an ambu­lance or… police car? No. That’s an ambu­lance. She clos­es her eyes and sees the white and orange box on wheels cut­ting through town and then through the orchards, but it sounds as though it’s turn­ing away and then she los­es it. A heart attack or some­thing, but who lives over that way besides Andy? Plenty of peo­ple are fur­ther out… plen­ty of peo­ple.

It’s clear to her what she must do now, who she must con­tact in this moment, one of the young ones, the boy from out­side who went away and came back. He’s young enough, but big enough and easy enough. Always so nice. An easy boy his whole life. She keys in William Loof’s phone num­ber, it rings twice and a woman answers.

She hangs up. A fly taps against her kitchen win­dow, unable to see the win­dow which it will die hit­ting. Fucking kitchen. Fucking table and chairs, pots and pans, refrig­er­a­tor, oven, microwave, over-size deep freeze, and that god­damned clock and this sono­fabitch phone. And that fuck­ing fly and piece of shit win­dow. With less effort than she expects, Sherri Sneed rips the phone from the wall and throws it through that win­dow. The fly escapes into the silent shad­owy wal­nut orchard that steals her every vic­to­ry from her, but she knows she will die fight­ing it and is, in every way, exhil­a­rat­ed.