Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler

 

premature fiction

William and Tamra On The Porch

He told her about the old man, about Fresno, drink­ing cof­fee, and Maria, Tommy’s moth­er. He didn’t tell her who the old man accused of killing the boys. He couldn’t. It felt sim­ply too absurd. He wasn’t sure it was true yet, hadn’t rea­soned out all the evi­dence the old man had rat­tled off on that park bench as though list­ing the ingre­di­ents of a favorite fam­i­ly recipe.

When Tamra asked him direct­ly, “So, who does he think did it?” William stalled. “I’m not sure he was mak­ing any sense.” The old man was per­fect­ly coher­ent, a per­son of one, ratio­nal mind, with a sound con­clu­sion. “He’s not a cop any way, so it doesn’t much mat­ter.”

But he might go to the cops.”

He wants me to.”

What?”

Yeah, says he’s too old. That it’s best for me, blah blah blah.”

She leaned away from him in the large wick­er chair they had set­tled into more com­fort­ably than either would have thought pos­si­ble. She looked at him and knew he was hid­ing, she’d seen it in her mom’s boyfriends and in addicts she had scooped into the ambu­lance, both groups more the run off of human beings than whole per­sons. Casual lies as care­ful­ly and dense­ly con­struct­ed as some ancient Spanish fort, each word a pre­cise­ly cut stone, every pause dili­gent­ly mixed and expert­ly spread mor­tar, and each win­dow offer­ing only the nar­row­est glimpse of dead­ly archers with­in. She took aim and lobbed her artillary over his high walls of decep­tion, “You’re full of shit.”

Wha-?”

I don’t know what that old man said or even if you saw some old man, but you bet­ter fig­ure your shit out.” And into the house she went with­out so much as a “fuck you” to cap the whole thing off.

The com­fort­able warmth of her body reced­ed slow­ly until he couldn’t remem­ber how they had fit togeth­er. He decid­ed to tell her the whole truth, but he would wait to start until she was almost asleep and less like­ly to hear his fears in the telling.