Friday, November 16, 2007

His Son

Well, I submitted the first draft of my book to Sanford J. Greenburger Associates in New York and they turned it down. Back to the writing room again. But for now.. a short story that I have never read once:


“He can have a sip.” Old beardy man said.

The boy proudly reached for the bottle of beer.

“One sip won’t hurt.”

A sip and a sup the boy was a-thinking, he wasn’t hearing the row between his parents. He continued to reach for the bottle and nothing was happening. It wasn’t coming closer but rather staying put with its bubbly sifting to the top and a-sweating mighty.

Must be some tripping of wires that connect his daddy’s brain with his
fingertips, hold up and hold up and waiting and this minute was taking a long old time.

Only a real man and his wife were talking heavy low tones sparkled flippant incidentals that put the boy in a wait. That wait was good for him, his arms stretched like two giraffe necks. Reachity-reach and unrequited tiring of one small-around arm, maddening if that youngster was the type that’d get mad over such inconvenience, he’s a coming back into the world and all its evilness.

“He’s too young to be having beer.”

“It’s one sip and it won’t hurt.”

“C’mon mom.”

Both: “Be quiet.”

“Watch this.” And old beardy man said a funny thing in those lapses of the brain. It woulda been a funny thing too if he wasn’t having a seizure as he said it. That beer dropped from his hand and that hand curled on up toward his face and neck.

His wife said a “Honey? Can you hear me?”

The boy being of sound mind and body said a “Daddy?” and for the life of his
father he couldn’t hear and certainly couldn’t answer his son.

“OH MY GOD!”

“GOD DAMMIT!”

Old beard was saying things that the boy had only heard when playing outside and happened to be within hearing distance of his father a-working.

That beer was a bubbled up and fizzing out. Draining from the bottle its life source like it was being drunk by the high-school alcoholic but instead spill-a-spill all over the carpet.

And then beard came back to, his pupils huge as god. Headache.

“What happened?” he croaked this slowly.

“You had a seizure.”

“God-fucking-damn-it.” He was just saving his best curse fo’ last.

Now it’s to that hospital. That means a drive and a drive and sooner or later you arrive at the hospital, this makes the third time in his adult life that the ol’ bread winner has had a seizure.
Four hundred years ago this would call for the burning of some witches or the lighting of some incense, a few prayers and a ‘depart from me ye cursed’ is implied, seizures were once signs of good ol’ fashioned demonic possession as recently as nineteen and fifty-seven. In some parts of fatty-arsed America that number changes to nineteen sixty-three, the kinds of places where “nigger don’t let the sun set on you here.” Fatty asshead sheriffs putting the final nail in that cross and saying “we warned him, we have a sign.” And if ever a trial… never a trial for asshead and his cousins.

Boy-o-boy. Beard and wife and son sitting in a room waiting and waiting and waited and waited until past and present are the same thing and future is some sort-of futuristic invention. Now white-coat smiley-tired doctor-man knocks, “come in”, this is his house.

What does he have to say? He says well you had a seizure. He says you can’t drive for six months. He says I’ll write you a prescription. He stresses that beardy man has to take it easy, that he has to make sure he takes the medicine, he must get sleep, he must… what’s that?... hmmm… You should cut back on your alcohol consumption, there’s a new study out says a man that drinks too much is more susceptible to those crazy flying neurons of the mind.

The bread winner and his wife and his son go home. He is downtrodden as a seizure is depressing. Well-o-well the wifey was happy about the doctor’s advice.
But ol’ bread winner will do what the hell he wants to do and after a day of work during which he can’t drive, he wants a beer, a rum and coke, a shot of Jack. One of those, all of those, any combination of those that he wants, he would be overreacting to not have a drink at the end of the day.

But his son? He hasn’t yet given his son a sip of beer.

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