Honestly Kid

by Daniel Damkoehler


premature fiction

Liquor Store

Billy walked down­town. Every street lamp seemed fat­ed to click off as he passed under. None of them did.

The pim­ple behind the reg­is­ter at the liquor store did­n’t rec­og­nize him. Billy had grad­u­at­ed the eighth grade with his moth­er. He’d feel old except she had him four days before her six­teenth birth­day.

Billy tried not to sound guilty as he asked for cig­a­rettes and rolling paper. The kid only smirked and rang him up around thumb jabs at his dirty well past bleed­ing edge cell phone. “Nothin’ to drink?” He asked, knob­by index fin­ger hang­ing by some invis­i­ble mucous mem­brane over the fad­ed beige with dirt trim total but­ton.



Not much change back on that ten dol­lar bill, but the cig pack­age felt good in his hand. Something to con­trol. He stopped out­side the door and won­dered how any town could look more pathet­ic. It felt like a place that had nev­er been part of a dream long enough to be lost. He parked his ass on the curb and ripped into the pack, clum­si­ly tap­ping out a cig­a­rette, light­ing it, and tak­ing a shal­low drag. He remem­bered telling some­one back in his city life that the nico­tine felt like hot sand on his nerves. Where did he get such bull­shit?

Something moved along the periph­ery of this depressed rur­al down­town. A light. He turned to see. It was the light of the upstairs office at the news­pa­per leak­ing out the alley. He stood up and walked toward it. He would con­fess to Charlie Oliveri.