The bus windows are already down as we cram on and sit in our usual spots. I have my knees up against the seatback in front of me. I’m sprawled out. I’ve been sitting by myself since Tuck got sick. The bus rumbles a little and starts moving out of the parking lot. I’m thinking about him today. Maybe it’s the warm air or the smell of the healthy diesel mixed with spring coming in through the rectangular windows.Read More
I hear leaves crunching at the bottom of the hill, I look down through the still-bare trees. “Sis, what’re you doin’ out here in the cold?” Book says, stepping on trout lily leaves as he goes. They spring back after his foot lifts.
“I’m doing school work, you could afford to do a little of that yourself.” I say back to him.
“You’ve been twice as geeky as usual lately,” he says back to me.
I smile and look over at him, “One of us has to make it rich!” I say as I shove my things into my bookbag.
“We should go see a movie, we haven’t done that in forever!” He says.
I jump down off the rock, “Does Mom need the car?”
“No! I already asked!” He says, excited.
We get ready and I point us towards the nearest theater, 40 minutes away. “What do you want to see?” I ask.
“The Suspiria remake!” Book says without hesitation.
I roll my eyes, “I can’t believe they made another Suspiria, there’s no way to improve upon that film. It was perfectly executed in ‘77.” I say back. Book looks at me for a moment and I give in. “Fine! We’ll see Suspiria. But you’re getting the popcorn.” I say to him.
We get our tickets and snacks and walk into the busy theater. The seats are packed tight, but we find two close to the back. The lights dim and the usual marketing push for soda and popcorn runs on the screen. The theater gets dark, the screen goes totally black, and I wait for the onslaught of previews.Read More
I hop quickly up the hill, the gravelly base moving around under my feet. It’s 4 a.m. Still dark. I need a sunrise, an impetus, so I am going to the top of the mountain. I find the trail halfway up, it is steep but easier walking. I start to see evidence of teen rebellion strewn in the leaves. Beer cans and cigarette butts. Icy remnants of snow start to appear on the ground as I see the outline of the old fire tower peaking though the bare trees. It is angular and unnatural; the stairs jut back and forth to form a spiral that leads to the top.Read More
Snow piles up in our yard. The big, wet flakes fall and land silent on the already laid blanket covering the grass. I watch the school closings scroll across the bottom of the TV screen. I wait for Tygarts County. 2-Hour Delay. “Shit,” I say out loud.
“Why?” Book whines.
A snow plow growls by our house as we sluggishly put on our boots and coats. I step off the porch into the 8-inch snow. My boots squish it down. I take big lunging steps through the yard to the freshly plowed stripe in an otherwise unbroken sea of the white stuff. Book follows me, he steps in the deep holes left by my feet.Read More
Book walks into the old place just ahead of me. Cigarette smoke fills the room. I grab us sodas and turn to look for Book at a table. I see him, and I see Tuck. Tuck looks at me and smiles the biggest, widest, crookedest smile I’ve ever seen. He has a flannel shirt on, blue jeans, and some work boots; looking way too good in this honkytonk outside city limits. His guitar is in it’s case leaning up against the table.Read More
We walk towards the fire. It is quiet. The light flickers through the trees. I see 3 people, their faces glowing orange. I don’t recognize them. They have that worn-down 28-year-old country boy look going on. Leathery skin, tight blue jeans, and hats sticking straight up in the damned air, proud.Read More