Monday, November 10, 2014

Somebody, somewhere.

I sat down to work on my NaNo project and remembered it was Monday.  Story time.

by Jon Stark, November 2014

Henry drove east.  The fading sunlight blinded the folks coming at him, swerving a bit here and there, creeping over the yellow, not in a dangerous way but he was glad to have it at his back.  Gave him a Red Baron sort of confidence.  And a red tint to the world, maybe more orange.  Either way, it was on the way out and reminded him of the body in the car.

He was okay driving with a body.  He’d been on the detail back in ’90, driving a half-track through the desert loaded down with bodies.  Didn’t know them.  Didn’t want to know them.  Some of the guys freaked out.  Davis walked all the way from Nasiriyah to Kuwait just so he wouldn’t be with the corpses in the truck.  Henry was just thankful to be driving away from the killing and out in the desert there no SCUD drills.

Stateside was different.  He and Donna were married during his tour at Ft. Benning and then with the baby he decided not to re-up.  Didn’t have a lot of call for an infantryman in the civilian world.  School didn’t suit him although he did end up taking a custodial shift at the high school.  He also worked part time for his brother who, for some gruesome and inexplicable reason, had purchased a mortuary business.

Henry did a lot of driving for his brother.  Picked up bodies, delivered bodies.  He made a few runs to Florida.  Even went way out to St. Louis one time.  That was the trip he started talking to them.  It was a long way.  And a soldier.  He felt like they had something, some sort of a connection.  He wanted to encourage the boy, thank him, tell him it was going to be okay down here.

It was a good chat.  He had a few others, over the years, on those long stretches of interstate between bubbles of ticky tacky.  He liked talking to them.  They listened, gave him time to think through what he was trying to say.

Henry didn’t talk now though.  Nothing left to say, really.  Not to this one.  She sort of looked asleep, headlights sweeping across her face.  He drove on long after they should have been home.  The ride was nice.  Traffic wasn’t too bad.  The company was good.  And he’d driven for his brother.  He knew what would happen when he finally did stop.

And he wasn’t ready for that yet.

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