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.