Happy Mother’s Day
They did save Owen’s bedroom for last. It didn’t make them feel better.
The worst part of the whole ordeal was finding Owen’s old journals. Over the course of his short – his tragically short – life, Owen had comprised an encyclopedic forty-two volumes of an ongoing journal which he called The Genius’s Handbook. Neither Jarome nor Glauria read through all of them – there was just no time – but they flipped through a few volumes and finally got the answer to the age-old question of why Owen was such an angry boy. He felt isolated, he felt that the world didn’t understand him, he was swept up in a delusion where he was infinitely superior to everyone around him and, because of this, the world did not want to understand him. He was sick, he had been sick for his entire life and he never got any help because nobody knew, not even his own family. They all just thought he was born with a deep, deep well of anger inside him, that he was rude and verbally abusive and an all-around bad guy out of choice, but that wasn’t the case at all. He was just… he was sick.
And now he’s not sick anymore.
Jarome wound up cleaning out the majority of Owen’s room by himself. He packed up all the journals into boxes and stashed them away in his car before doing anything else; in his reading, he learned that Owen was planning on publishing the journals one day when his nonfiction books (although he only got around to writing one, and it wasn’t very good) “took off,” and as much as he wanted to honor his dead brother’s last wishes, Jarome couldn’t let that happen. When the Johnsons move into their new house, Jarome plans to build a fire pit in the backyard and burn the books, let Owen’s spirit rest. It will give him closure, if nothing else, and it will keep the world from finding out just how out of sorts his older brother really was. And that would be a good thing… well, it would be good enough. For Owen, it would be good enough.
Mikey pulls into the driveway as Jarome’s chucking the last black bag of Owen’s junk – Owen was a bit of a hoarder, too, or in his own words, a collector, and his closet was packed floor to ceiling in black plastic bags of arbitrary stuff; this specific bag is full of stuffed animals, of all things – into the big dumpster in the driveway. He steps out of the car with a mortified look on his face, as if he had seen Owen crossing the road on his way home. Jarome asks him what’s wrong, but he’s just told to go inside and to get his mom into the living room so he could talk to them. And so he does.
When Mikey finishes getting out of his school clothes, he sits down on the couch between his wife and his last remaining son and gawks blankly forward, his mouth slightly open, his stare of disbelief aimed at the wall. For a moment his wife and son just look at him, then at each other, then back at him.
“Dad?” Jarome nudges Mikey’s arm. “What’s goin’ on?”
No response whatsoever.
“Honey, you look like you’ve seen a ghost. What’s wrong?”
Mikey swallows. “No ghost, but…” He swallows again. “I think I know who our potential buyer is.” He looks at Glauria, then at Jarome, then at the green couch cushion between his legs. Then, “They had me subbing for a psych class today, we were studying abnormal psychology. You know, mental disorders, like bipolar, depression… schizophrenia… and we were watching a talk given by this guy, the world’s top expert on the schizophrenia spectrum and the many disorders which come along with it. Well, he’s so knowledgeable on the subject because he has a schizo-spectrum disorder himself, as did his mom. I mean his mother, that’s what he called her, decisively not his mom, and… his voice sounded so familiar, I couldn’t place it. Didn’t place it until my drive home.” Mikey shakes his head a few times, clearing out the nervous haze. “Jarome, you might be too young to remember this, but maybe you do, Glauria. Around the time we moved into this house, there was a news story going around about a boy who lived alone with his mother – a boy who murdered his father, along with a bunch of his neighbors’ pets and some of the local wildlife. When the cops intervened, they found a big graveyard in the backyard full of corpses – dogs, cats, birds, squirrels, you name it – and also stuffed animals, but they weren’t stuffed. It was just the,” he starts twirling his hands, as if to make the gears churn, “the skins, I guess you’d call ‘em. Then, when they went into the house, they found where the stuffing had gone.”
Suddenly, Glauria’s face takes on the same look Mikey’s was wearing when he was driving home. “No… you’re not… are you talking about Hil–”
There’s a knock on the door.
Hello Commons, this has been the third subchapter of the second story from Convenient Incidents, an anthology of fifteen interconnected short stories which revolve around a man by the name of Hilter Odolf Williamson.
Convenient Incidents is part of the Third Spiral, an anthology of sorts called The Here and Now which is comprised of stories told from the various planes of Existence.
Convenient Incidents is available to read for free in its entirety on my website. Click here to check it out.
I’ve written a few other books, too. Click here to see the list.
If you like Convenient Incidents and would like to help support my work, click here and buy an autographed copy of the book (or anything else!) from my store. Alternatively, you can snag a cheaper (and unsigned) copy from Amazon by clicking here OR you can buy the ebook for even cheaper here.
If you’re there, hypothetical reader, thank you for being there. Be well Commons~