Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Part of an Ongoing Piece, Part I

Ira got the call first. As my older brother, and the firstborn, it just sort of fit as part of his duties. He packed an old army surplus satchel full of sweatshirts and socks and through it in the back of an old Pontiac he bought for a thousand and drove all night down to our parent’s house.

Ira told me that when he got home, all the lights were on in the house, and you could see it glowing up on the hill in the foggy early morning, sitting just higher above the rest of the town like a beacon, or a lighthouse on the edge of a foggy moor. He pulled the Pontiac up the drive, parked it on the gravel, and crunched his way up the front porch steps with the army satchel slung over his shoulder.

He said that when he opened the front door, Dad was sitting in his old easy chair. It was moved from the living room to the end of the front hallway, so when Ira opened the door, Dad was looking right at him, his hair graying and wavy, thick and combed over. His face, Ira told me, looked rigid; grayed and cracked stone. He had a .38 pistol held up to his side temple and he was wearing a red V-neck sweater.

“Your mother was a saint,” Dad said, “Don’t worry, it’s not loaded.”

Ira said that Dad pulled the trigger and the hammer snapped back and the chamber rotated and the hammer came back down with a snap. Nothing happened. The gun wasn’t loaded, just as Dad had said.

“I’m glad you’re home,” Dad said to Ira, “Now let’s bury your mother’s body.”

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