Ignoring the stop sign at the end of Fricker Drive, Dallas bangs a mad left and tears up Stonetown Hill. After the shit he saw today, Dallas won’t be coming back to Stonetown for a very, very long time – so he might as well take one last drive through the old stomping grounds, right?
Of Treeburg’s four districts, Stonetown is the most isolated – whether you drive in from the Monksville side or the Wanaque side, you have to cross a bridge over a reservoir. That has its ups and its downs – on the downside, living back here puts you at a distance and a half from the rest of society, if you’re kind enough to call Treeburg and its few neighboring towns the rest of society. There are no grocery stores (or any kind of stores, on that note) back in Stonetown, just residential houses, a sketchy group home everybody likes to pretend isn’t there, and a few soccer fields; the running of any errand, whether important or remedial, will include a fifteen-minute drive at the minimum. On the upside, the chances of running into police officers are slim to none and, as such, you can pretty much do whatever you please when you live back here. In Dallas’s case, this means shredding down the backwoods road pushing sixty miles per hour (that’s twenty over the speed limit, thank you very little) en route to Treeburg Ave.
He comes to the junction at the end of Stonetown Road (lots of junctions back in Stonetown, it seems) and takes a left rather than going straight and continuing on to Snake Den Road. He kills his speed as he carefully maneuvers around the breakneck turns along the shore of this end of the Wanaque Reservoir, then keeps his speed low going over the bridge. He’s out of the woods now, and cops love to hang around Treeburg Ave. It doesn’t help that the Wanaque police station was built on this road, but Dallas isn’t going that far down. Chances are he won’t run into any trouble, but… better safe than sorry, right?
Dallas rolls along until he comes to the stoplight at the mouth of the road which leads to his old high school. “Yikes, can’t say I miss that place.” The light turns green and he drives for another ten seconds, then pulls into the Quick Check he used to go to when he’d sneak out of lunch period. The school’s food was not food, and to be fair, the food Quick Check sells isn’t really food either, but at least Quick Check’s faux food has some taste to it.
But Dallas didn’t come here for food tonight, he only parked here because the store is open twenty-four hours a day and he feels like he can leave the car here while he does what he needs to do. He parks next to a big black pickup truck with an American flag sticking up out of the bed. Yeah, this works, it would look more suspicious if his car was sitting alone; even if a cop pulls in to get some coffee and a donut at three in the morning, he won’t notice two cars parked next to each other, that won’t stick out to him… right?
“Jesus Dallas, relax,” Dallas says to himself as he parks next to the pickup. “You won’t be here that long, stop second-guessing yourself. You know why you’re here, that’s enough. That should beenough.”
With both the coaster and the dagger tucked into the spacious center pocket of the sweatshirt he got from Mister Williamson – a sweatshirt he likely won’t be returning, now that he thinks about it – Dallas walks out of the parking lot and down the sidewalk that runs along the roadside graveyard. Midvale Cemetery, it’s called, and it stretches from the Quick Check parking lot down to the road leading to the high school, then keeps on going. Dallas follows the sidewalk all the way to the back end where the gravestones aren’t nearly as cluttered together. These plots aren’t as desirable as the others; this is where Johnny is buried, back away from the street. At least his parents had enough decency to put him away from the sidewalk and out of the dogshit zone.
Dallas walks up to the gravestone. It’s plain, the standard gray kind. The engraving looks nice enough, still fresh, but it’ll erode eventually. “Here lies John Hinton,” Dallas reads. “We loved him dearly and will miss him even more.” Dallas spits into the grass to the left of the dirt in front of grave. “You two don’t even know what love is…”
Dallas stands there for a few moments in silence, hands tucked in his pocket and wrapped around the dagger and the coaster.
“Do I even know what love is?”
Dallas sighs, then puts the bat dagger and the coaster behind the grave, just like Johnny told him to in that weird dream he had on the plane. Then, he sits down in the dirt and leans back against the headstone.
“I guess I have an idea… I mean, if I didn’t love ya, Johnny, I don’t think I would have come all the way out here for ya. I don’t know, man… nothing in this world makes any sense to me. I just go where I’m told to go. You didn’t do that, you always did what you wanted to do. You made sense to me, Johnny. I didn’t know you well, but you still made sense to me…” He sighs again. Closes his eyes. Gives Johnny a long moment of silence, a moment his folks probably never gave him. A moment that stretches on as the moon continues to rise.
‘I’m never going back to Florida,’ is the last thought to cross Dallas’s mind before he falls asleep.
Hello Commons, this has been the tenth 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~