Monday, June 1, 2009

Our Secret

Monday, September 8th
After dinner

Of course, we didn't catch any fish so we had Mom's meatloaf for dinner, which was fine. Mom makes some pretty good meatloaf. But sitting at dinner was hard the secret I now shared with Dad hung between us, exciting as an unwrapped Christmas gift, but terrible at the same time. It was the only thing we wanted to talk about and the one thing we couldn't mention.

When got to the house, Dad had wanted to see the skeleton first. "Looks like she'd been splitting wood," he said in a low voice. "Died instantly from the look of it. Splitting wood one minute, then bam."

"Can you tell how long ago she died?" I asked.

"I'm no anthropologist, but I'd say these bones have been here awhile. Look how white they are." He picked up the skull and studied it for a minute, then pointed to the place the bullet had been. "This is where the bullet was, right?"

"How could you tell?"

"Look at the fracture marks. There and there. I'd say she was shot from behind."

"A coward's shot. I have seen enough old Westerns to know that much."

Dad just nodded. "Coward's shot and left to rot without so much as a shallow grave." He put the skull back where he'd found it. "Let's go look around the house."

Dad's eyes got wide when he looked at the cans of food on the shelf. He picked up a funny shaped can with a pull top and turned it over in his hand. "Spam," he smiled. "I used to love Spam. Your grandma would fry it up and serve it with eggs and hash brown potatoes. Wonder if it's still good."

"You're not going to eat it, are you?"

He squinted at the expiration date. "Only ten years past the expiration date. I bet it's fine. Thing about Spam is that it lasts forever." He put the can in his pocket.

"What if Mom sees it?"

"I'll wait until she's asleep to fry it up." He picked up a few more cans and checked their expiration dates. "Some of this food's almost as old as I am."

"Pre-terrorist?" I asked.

"Definitely pre-terrorist. See this brand here? It was a small factory in butt-fuck nowhere. During the terrorist round-up, some senator found salmonella in a can of beans. Don't know if it was really there or not. The point is, the government shut them down and tried the owners as terrorists. Accused them of trying to assassinate a government official."

"What happened to them?"

"You know, I don't remember. Humane execution more likely than not. People got that for less."

"But how would they know the senator would eat that can of beans? That' doesn't make sense."

"It's the government, Mandy. It doesn't have to make sense." He put down the can of food and closed the cabinet door. He looked out the window.

My eyes followed his and I noticed that the sun was starting to slide down between the branches of the trees.

"Sunset gets earlier every night," he sighed. "I guess we'd better start back."

"You can borrow the journal if you want to read it."

"I'd love to read it." His voice got serious and soft. "Something happened here all those years ago, something no one talked about at least that I remember."

We left the house and walked through the darkening woods. Dad seemed lost in thought and didn't say much. But every so often a crow laughed from the trees.

1 comment:

  1. This is a good excerpt from your short story for the ebook Rachel. You don't need to title scenes. This has good suspense in it.