When Dallas opens his eyes, it’s safe to say he’s airborne.
The plane is gliding smoothly through the air at what Dallas assumes is thirty thousand feet. Looking out the window, Dallas can’t tell exactly where they are – or in other words, how long he was asleep for – as all he can see is a deep ocean of puffy white clouds. They could be anywhere right now, and despite that fact, Dallas only feels calm. He’s comfortable, even; zero anxiety, zero stomachache.
On wobbly legs Dallas walks up the aisle and knocks on the door to the cockpit. No answer. He knocks again, then a third time, and gets the same response.
“Captain? Uh, I mean, Pilot? Hello?”
Nothing but the hum of the engines. Although he’s sure the door will be locked, Dallas tries it anyway. It slides right open, but that’s not what surprises Dallas; what surprises Dallas is the fact that the cockpit is stark empty. Nobody is sitting in either seat; the steering wheel (which looks like it belongs in a car rather than an airplane) is turning all on its own.
“What the fuuhhhhck?” Dallas says as he backpedals into the cabin. He trips over his own feet and falls down on his ass, which certainly doesn’t feel good. It’s all right though, somebody offers him a hand to help him up.
“Hey, thanks man,” Dallas says as he’s pulled to his feet.
“No problem, bro,” says Johnny with a bright smile. “Been a while, hasn’t it?”
Dallas nods, smiling. On the inside he’s exploding, he has so many questions, he wants to jump and dance around and sing; on the outside he stays cool and collected, almost as if his body is just a meatsuit, one preprogrammed for this interaction specifically.
“Well shit, pop a squat. I have a favor to ask you.”
Johnny and Dallas Hinton sit down facing each other.
“Well, before anything else, how’ve ya been, dude?”
“I’ve been… all right,” Dallas hears himself say, his mouth moving by its own accord. “It’s been kinda hard ever since… well, ever since… you know. But uh, I’m getting along. I’ve been living down in Boca with mom and dad and Grandma and all them. It’s uh… well, it certainly is.”
Johnny’s left eyebrow rises. “Is it now?”
“It is… I mean, it was. I’m coming back up to Jersey right now, like, for good. I didn’t tell them though. Just like they didn’t tell me they were moving me down to Boca when we left. It all comes around eventually, I guess.”
“That it does, Dally. That it does. You look good, man, you’re really grown up. But, listen… it’s really good to see you, and I wish this could last longer, but uh, you only ate half the brownie. So let me cut to the chase.”
“Cut to it, then,” Dallas’s mouth says as his mind struggles to comprehend the reality around him.
“Well… do you remember that old bat dagger I used to have? The one I got from the online auction when that auction hall down at the far end of the Montane Deli plaza opened?”
“Yeah I remember it. I didn’t know you got it from the auction hall, though. I didn’t know where you got that thing.”
“Oh… well, yeah, I got it for a few bucks in an online auction. I thought I told you, but I guess that was George… but you and me went hiking and carved shit into trees with it together, right?”
“Nah, I think that was George, too. We didn’t really hang out a lot, man. We just talked… sometimes.” Even that’s stretching it, though; it occurs to Dallas that, after living with his parents for the past few years – his incredulously annoying shit-talking parents – that he may have put Johnny on something of a pedestal, a pedestal made of toothpicks that doesn’t necessarily support his weight. “That wasn’t your fault though, I’m kind of a loner. But uh, never mind all that. What about the dagger?”
Johnny’s hands disappeared into his pockets at some point. “Um… so mom and dad told you about what happened, right? The burglar?”
Dallas nods his head solemnly.
“The uh, the bat dagger was among the stuff stolen, I think. Or it might not have been, I never exactly got a chance to catalog what was missing.” He spits a dry sort of laugh, then, “So, could you, um… could you look around the old house to see if you can find it?”
A shrug of the shoulders. “Sure, I was gonna go over there anyway. Mom and dad sold the house, but they made the guy who bought it promise not to throw anything out until they could get someone up there to make sure nothing important got trashed. I’ll see if he kept his word.”
Sweet relief sweeps over Johnny’s face. “Sick, thanks a bunch dude! I appreciate the hell out of that.”
“Sure.” Silence. “What do you want me to do if I find it?”
“When you find it – and um… could you leave it at my grave? I’m buried in that long graveyard on the side of Treeburg Ave, in a plot down on the back end, not the end next to the Quick Check. Midvale Cemetery, I think it’s called. Just leave the dagger behind the headstone, I’ll be able to take care of it from there.”
“Yeah man, I can do that. But it might not be in the house, I don–”
“You’ll find it, trust me. I mean, you’re right, it might not be in the house, but you’ll find it. Also, and this is probably a long shot, but look under the fridge and see if you can find a black Lake George coaster, too. I’d really love to giv–”
Turbulence slaps the plane around, tossing both Johnny and Dallas out of their seats.
“Shit, I think that’s our time, little bro.” Johnny stands up and offers Dallas a hand, but Dallas doesn’t take it. Dallas stands up all on his own this time. “I um…” Johnny starts, then looks down to the carpet, then back up at his little brother’s eyes. “I miss you, man. I know we weren’t really close, but… but I…”
Dallas closes the gap and hugs his brother. Johnny flinches a bit when Dallas’s arms wrap around him, but then he cautiously returns the hug.
“I miss you too, Johnny. So do mom and dad, even though…” he sighs. “I knew, John.”
Johnny’s grip loosens, then tightens back up. “You uh… you knew?” The hug breaks. “What did you know?”
“I knew about it all, I just… I never brought it up, I… I didn’t know how to. But… you probably don’t want to hear this, but they loved you. And I loved you – I love you.”
Tears well up in Johnny’s eyes. “I… I love you too, Dallas.”
Dallas smiles. “Rest in peace, big brother.”
Torrents of light flood in through the windows of the CJ4. Another round of turbulence bashes the plane, knocking Dallas off his feet, but this time, he doesn’t land on his ass; he just floats up and up and up, and the light engulfs him completely.
Hello Commons, this has been the third subchapter of the fourteenth 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~