Mack hoists himself up the rock wall and whistles to let Johnny know they’ve arrived. He then goes back to the edge and shouts at Sam to lock the car – there had been a break-in at some loaded dude’s house way up the hill rising past Fricker Drive about two weeks ago; Johnny’s a loaded dude, but only when alcohol is in his system, so realistically they have nothing to worry about… but still – then offers Sam a helping hand in climbing the rocks. Sam used to be the toothpick of the group and therefore the nimblest, but he put on quite a bit of weight after he came back from college and left his metabolism behind. They walk across Johnny’s prim and trimmed back lawn and climb up on the low turquoise deck, part of the house’s original 1960s construction. It’s about as gaudy as the old tiki torches Johnny nailed around its edges, and the boys used to give him plenty of shit for it – still do, in fact, though not nearly as often – but not tonight. Tonight is not about Johnny and his terrible taste in outdoor decor; tonight is about George and the legacy he left behind.
“Waddup dude,” says Mack as he takes Johnny by the hand and brings him in for a brohug.
“Macky, much love.”
Sam is next, and after much love is exchanged, they each sit down at the glass patio table and simultaneously crack their beers. Johnny raises his can up so it hovers above the center of the table. Mack and Sam then do the same, engaging in the cheers, and then Johnny starts running his mouth.
“Boys, we gather together tonight on the day of my daughter’s wedding…” Smiles spread from face to face. “…to remember a kind, brave soul. A man who wasn’t afraid to jump off bridges, so long as the water below was deep enough. A man who coined the term yellow fever after he dated his first Asian chick; the man who, before that, picked up girls by asking them one question, and one question only: What’s your nationality?”
“Here, here!” here-heres Mack and Sam.
“A one of a kind man who lived a one of a kind backwoods life in this one of a kind backwoods town. A unique man who liked to walk on frozen lakes, who fished but preferred not to catch. A special man who’d sit up in a tree stand without a bow nor arrows just to watch the animals go by. Even in gale force winds.”
A moment of somber silence is held and respected by all, even the chirping crickets, meeping treefrogs, and singing cicadas.
“Rest in peace, Georgie old boy. We miss you, man.”
“We miss ya, George. You were the man. The fucking man.”
“The Godfather will never be the same. Rest easy, Georgie.”
Three beer cans are drained and returned to their coasters – Johnny’s red, Mack’s white, and Sam’s blue – and the fourth, the one Johnny set out for George, stands tall, chilled, and uncracked on George’s old black coaster. The gang all belch in unison, a tribute to their don, then they all shoot their cans in the direction of the recycling bin next to the screen door. None of them make the shot; only George was coordinated enough to sink a beer can into a trash bin at a distance, and Sam liked to attribute this to George’s being into some, and I quote, mystic shit. George wasn’t into any mystic shit, of course; Sam just heard it in a movie and though it sounded cool, and he thought George was pretty cool, too. They all thought George was pretty cool. Johnny stands and goes to the cooler, coming back with a reload for their coasters.
“A’ight boys,” Mack says after draining half his can. “I think it’s about story time. Who’s up first?”
Hello Commons, this has been the second subchapter of the fourth 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.
Be well Commons~