Monday, June 23, 2014

It's Better This Way

Had a couple of funny things happen over the weekend.  The one that will probably find its way into a story someday involved a young boy, an electric fence, and a forehead.

It’s Better This Way
by Jon Stark
June, 2014; 475 words

The rain seems cliché.  I have time to think about that.  I think about the time I was riding in the middle of the cab of the box truck with Fat Joe driving and Bob on the other side of me.  We were crammed in there, like we were every day all summer that summer, and Fat Joe was his usual awful driving self and I was sure we were going to die and we crested the hill on Leary Farm Road that I used to hop with my motorcycle and the whole truck sort of shook when we landed.

Like it always did when Fat Joe was driving but today there was also a tractor with two hay wagons loaded down and it was sort of in the middle but more on our side of the road and Fat Joe panicked and we had three wheels in the soft gravel and then two of them in the ditch and the whole box truck was leaning over so far that I knew we were going to capsize but then the box caught on an apple tree and bounced us back on the road and Fat Joe said, “Oh, yeah!” and Bob said something else and I just shook my head.  Babies and Fools.  And there I was, stuck in the middle.

I’m not on the side of Leary Farm Road now and I can’t blame Fat Joe for sitting in a capsized truck.  This was my fault.  The rain keeps splashing off the dashboard and hitting me in the face.  It’s annoying.  I remember an early summer afternoon rowing around the pond up at Feldman’s.  It was somebody’s birthday, I think, but I don’t remember cake, I was rowing with Tara and didn’t want it to end.  She splashed me too but it wasn’t annoying.

I think I can see part of my leg.  Or maybe that’s the kid I hit.  I’m not sure.  I can’t turn my head.  I can’t move my arms either.  I think about being paralyzed and how that might change things.  I wonder about my leg – it has to be mine, I recognize the shoe – and if they give fake legs to people who are paralyzed.  It would be bad enough to have everyone stare at me for driving my chair around with my teeth.  The least they could do is give me a fake leg.

But I’m just wasting time.  I won’t need a fake leg.  Or one of those chairs.  I’m glad I’m paralyzed and can’t feel anything.  Maybe that makes me a coward, I don’t know, but I’m glad anyway.  I’m also glad that I never had a family.  They’d be sad now.  I think about the pond and Tara and for the first time in my life I am free of regret.

It’s better this way.

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