Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


premature fiction

At The Station

Is it true?” Dennis Plaster heard his 68 year old father’s tired grav­elbed voice com­ing from his own mouth. A mind blur­ring ache had tak­en up res­i­dence in his skull, he could feel the odd shade of yel­low that sur­round­ed the large black and blue bruise in his chest, but all that felt nat­ur­al and ordi­nary on top of the waves of nau­sea he’d been rid­ing since see­ing Mose Brenlee’s body.

Doesn’t mat­ter. What court is going to take the last words of a dis­turbed old fire­man who entered a home ille­gal­ly to lay in wait for an oppor­tu­ni­ty to kill its res­i­dent and then attacked a police offi­cer with a fire hydrant before blow­ing off his own head?” Win Kady’s body filled up half of Hernandez’s office and his per­son­al­i­ty filled up all the parts left between Plaster and Hernandez.

The two Brenlee offi­cers sat, Hernandez behind his desk and Plaster in a chair near the wall so he he could lean his head back and put an ice pack betwen the back of his skull and the white sheetrock, keep­ing his hands down and arms still so that his chest would main­tain only a dull throb.

A pho­to copy of Mose Brenlee’s let­ter to his fam­i­ly was spread out on Hernandez’s desk. They had bagged the orig­i­nal and put with the oth­er evi­dence, includ­ing the knife Hernandez had found at the canal that morn­ing. Win Kady would take it all to the coun­ty lab.

We’ll need to ver­i­fy that it is Mose’s hand­writ­ing…” The oth­er two looked at Hernandez and he shift­ed a lit­tle in seat. His pants were dry now but not com­fort­able and they smelled of the algae and mud of the canal. He had spent three hours at Andy Currie’s farm with the coun­ty crime scene team, Plaster, and lat­er, Win Kady. Andy Currie was on duty at the fire­house and did not show when called. Currie said he trust­ed them and would rather not see his old friend that way on his own land. Hernandez had spo­ken to Currie him­self, the man sound­ed gen­uine.

You going to ques­tion Andy?”

If he’ll co-oper­ate.”

But if it’s true…” Plaster’s chest hurt as he tried to get in on things between Kady and Hernandez.

If it’s true,” Kady answered, “then we’ll get him.”

Hernandez thought about the old truck he saw through the nar­row crack between the locked doors of Currie’s barn. “We checked the scene and Currie looks clean.” He thought about the shad­ows of that barn and it’s cement floor (an expen­sive lux­u­ry) and the dry thin ditch behind it where water had drained off that floor into the orchard not so many hours before they came to find Mose. They had no cause to force entry into the barn and he want­ed to do this by the book. It had to be by the book.

What about the kids?” Plaster man­aged to ask calm­ly with­out breath­ing deep enough to hurt his chest.

And Mr. Sneed too…” Hernandez added. “I know. I don’t want Currie to know that we know all that. I want him to think we’re look­ing past him.”

He’ll hear rumors about he kids.”

Let him. If he asks, act a lit­tle sur­prised that he’s heard any­thing. Let him think we’re pret­ty well sure he’s a good old boy.”

Win Kady nod­ded and took out his pipe and start­ed pack­ing it with cher­ry tobac­co. “If Sneed talks to any­one, the good old boys aren’t gonna like it.”

Yeah. Talk and rumors. I know. But I’m not going to let this go on that long.” Hernandez was­n’t look­ing at either of them. Maybe it was the ice and aspirin doing its job, but Plaster thought he felt the room cool a bit. Win Kady seemed to shrink and his per­son­al­i­ty took up no more room than his small wood­en pipe. Before long Win motioned to the door with his pack of match­es and moved his bulk through it, down the hall, and out the back door of the sta­tion so he could smoke.

Some min­utes lat­er Hernandez broke the silence with one word, qui­et­ly, meant for no one, and Plaster doubt­ed he actu­al­ly heard it, “Ghosts.”