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A Day in the Life Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

Freeze Frame – Roady Series- Episode #35

Brain freeze, not the kind when something super cold is slurped down too fast and there’s that excruciating quick pain. I’m talking about the freeze that happens because your brain knows you are facing imminent, life threatening pain.
“What are you guys doing here?” I asked.
“Come to talk to you.”
I took a step back, looking around for anything I could use as a weapon. But damn if I didn’t just put every tool, scrap of wood, even the mop away.
“Talk to me? What about?”
“How about how much you’re going to wish you never came back to town?”
I reached into my pocket for my phone but who was I going to call?
“I have my regrets,” I said. There was a back door. I could run. No way could I take on three brothers bent on defending the family honor which I was sure that was what this was about.
“I have mine too. Should have beat the shit out of you when you were in high school but Lindy said you were going to marry her.” He laughed. So did Zach and Casey. “But you left town didn’t you?” He was inching closer and I was inching back trying to gauge if I made it out back, could I out run them.
“And she married a decent guy with a real job, not someone working under the table like an ex-con.”
“I’m only here temporarily,” I said.
“Not temporary enough. We’d like to see you leave a little sooner. Maybe in a casket.”
“No reason to threaten me.”
“No reason, huh? How about stringing my sister along, breaking up her family, making my mama cry?” His face turns red. He’s talking himself into a fury. “Does my mama deserve to have that much pain in her life?”
I’ve got to make my move but Zach is moving toward my left and Casey toward my right.
“When I told her it was you causing all the trouble, you should have heard what she called you. I can’t even repeat it. Said she knew you were pure trash first time she saw you looking at her daughter, our sister. Mama is right,” Brent said between clenched teeth. “You’re nothing but trash and time to throw you out.”
I didn’t see it coming which is surprising since I knew where Zach was in my peripheral vision. His punch hits the side of my face and I’m already seeing stars. I felt the first kick right under the knee cap, the punch in my kidneys that left me breathless. After that I drift in a strange fog of the sensation of blows but I don’t feel pain. It’s the ultimate brain freeze. Maybe this is what happens right before you die.

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A Day in the Life Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

A Stray’s Life – Roady Episode 27

Losing a day of pay causes the pain in my head to magnify. Losing Jerry’s respect makes me want to crawl under a rock. I use the excuse of my car but he knows and he’s not the only one, Mom is onto me too. She asks why I’m hanging around on a Tuesday, a typical work day. I tell her the car story. She peers at me with those eyes that know things about me that I don’t want to know. I hand her a plate of pancakes hoping to distract her. She takes a bite. I sigh in relief and turn to go back into the kitchen.
“What were you drinking last night?” She says mouth full of pancake. “Whiskey, wasn’t it?”
“Does it matter?” I say continuing to the kitchen. I take the bowl scraped clean of batter. I made breakfast for all the kids, Stan and finally mom. I couldn’t take a bite. Though now, I’m suddenly ravenous, but there’s nothing left. I look up from the empty bowl and there’s mom in the doorway. She hobbled her way to me. Progress. Good.
“Where’d you sleep if you don’t have your car?”
“Does it matter?” I say again.
“I don’t know why you’re sleeping in that car anyway, like you’re some kind of homeless person with no family. You should be sleeping in the house. We’ve got a couch, or we could put up a cot.”
I start to wash the bowl turning my back toward her.
“What is my house not good enough for you?” I hear her behind me but I don’t face her.
“It’s fine.”
“Then why don’t you act like you’re part of this household?”
“Don’t you get it?” I say whirling around, my head blaring, my stomach churning. “I don’t want to be part of this household. Ever!” I yell for emphasis.
There’s a loud thud. A back pack thrown to the floor. “Maybe we don’t want you anyway,” a voice as angry as mine yells back.
“Liam!” Mom says. “Why aren’t you at school?”
“I missed the damn bus because damn Junior told me to get something in the shed right when it came.”
“Don’t you cuss like that. Where have you been for the last hour?”
“Been sittin on Tyler’s bed, in the shed. There wasn’t no chocolate bar there like Junior said.”
Mom turns to me. “The shed? Really? What are you some kind of stray dog?”
On cue Roady trots into the room. If only I could be him.

Read this series from episode 1 by choosing the category- “Roady Series” – Find it in the drop down “menu” at the header of this blog. ———————————————————————————————

This post is fiction based on the back story of a supporting character in a novel in process by Clare Graith. See ClareGraith.com for more info about the author.

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A Day in the Life Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

She Found Me – Roady Series Episode 23

I hate grocery shopping. Hate it. How did my Friday nights become a junior episode of supermarket sweep? It’s better than having all the boys hanging on the cart begging me to buy pop and chips though. I send the two oldest off together with a small list. I know they’ll probably horse around and be a pain in the ass for a store employee but I’m okay with that. The store person is getting paid and I’m getting the shopping done faster. Home base is the cereal aisle. I finish my list and keep Clinton and JJ busy looking at all the cereal boxes. Great plan!
Great until Junior comes back without Liam.
“I don’t know where he is. He was supposed to get his half of the list.” He dumps two cans of tomato sauce and two boxes of spaghetti along with a bag of Twizzlers. I take the candy out and put it on the shelf next to oatmeal.
“Which aisle did you leave him in?”
“Don’t remember.” His voice cracks with challenge.
“Go and find him.”
“Not gonna.”
“You will or you’re walking home.”
“What? I can’t walk home. It’s miles.”
JJ and Clinton are looking between us, eyes wide open. Clinton does not look worried. There’s a little curl of his lip like he’s about to laugh. I’m not sure I like that he is relishing his brother’s impending punishment.
I point. “Go!”
“I’m telling dad you were going to leave me at the store.”
I’m just about to say I don’t give a damn when at the end of the aisle, there’s Liam red faced but not crying. Anne is right behind him.
“Look who I found,” Anne says.
I can’t think of a single word to say.
“Liam,” I manage to sputter out. Liam comes over to the cart and places each of his items inside one by one.
Anne comes closer and says to me, “I was talking about you.”
Again I am tongue tied.
“Where have you been?”
“Working.”
“You don’t eat breakfast anymore? No one gets seated at your table you know.”
“I thought we stopped that.”
“I can’t take break every morning but that doesn’t mean you can’t come!”
“Well I thought you didn’t…” I’m not even sure where I’m going with this. Why am I such an idiot around her?
“Didn’t what?”
My mouth hangs open. “I mean….it’s just that…you have things going on…”
“Tyler Rowen, What is that matter with you? Give me your phone.”
I hand over my phone like my arm is programmed to her voice command. She types away. I hear a bell go off. She hands back my phone and takes out hers. “You have my number now. Call me some time, okay?”
She gives me the brightest smile in the universe.
“Okay.” Then she’s gone and I’m left with Liam and Junior yanking the cart in all directions until it crashes into a display of Minion fruit chews. JJ and Clinton start picking up the fallen boxes and putting them in the cart. I don’t care. I stare at my phone that now has Anne Mason as a contact. I think I might change my mind about what I think about grocery shopping.

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A Day in the Life Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

Brothers Grime – Roady Series 5

“Can we go see Mama.” It’s the first time Liam has spoken. I’ve been wondering when he would talk. He’s only a year younger than Junior but nothing like him. Actually nothing like the rest of his brothers. His dark cowlick hair contrasts with their towheads.
“No kids are allowed,” Junior says. “So you’re just going to have to cry yourself asleep another night.”
Liam sulks in silence.
I don’t want to think about visiting Mom. I should. I should be rushing over there, see how she is, if she needs anything. But instead I let these brats keep me busy, getting them to wash dishes, sweep the floors, get the sheets and blankets off the beds and into the washer. It’s not till later after they are all showered that I realize, the blankets aren’t going to dry on the line in one afternoon.
“You’re a damn fool for washing blankets on a cloudy cold day,” Stan said.
“They smelled,” I said. “Probably full of fleas.” I saw some red welts on their legs when they finally got the dirt washed off.
“The only thing with fleas around here is that scrappy mutt.”
Roady has curled up under the kitchen table watching our every move.
“Get him out of my house,” Stan says.
I give a quick whistle and Roady is at my side. “I’m going to the laundromat. Be back in a few.”
The boys look at me then at Stan. I know they’re hoping he’ll order me to take them again, but Stan is unscrewing the cap of a beer, pleased with himself because it appears that I’ve obeyed his command about getting Roady out of the house.
As I take a step toward the back door, I see Junior cross the floor, go up to his father and pull the beer from his hand. He takes a big gulp.
“You little shit,” Stan says with a proud laugh yanking it back. Junior flashes me a look.
I’m not getting involved in this drama. I’m not. Junior’s face falls as he sees I’m not reacting. What does he want from me? I don’t have anything to give him. What does he think?
“Junior, how about you come and give me a hand getting the blankets off the line.”
He scowls. “I got better things to do than girl’s work.”
“He’s got you there,” Stan says sneering and handing the beer back to Junior for another gulp.
“I’ll go,” Liam says.
I head out the door before Stan has a chance to make the remark I know is burning on his lips. I hear Stan and Junior laughing as the door closes.
Liam doesn’t talk when I pile up blankets in his arms.
As we drive into town, I feel his eyes on me. “Go ahead and speak if you’ve got something to say.” I glance over at him.
“I look like you,” he says.
“Yeah.”
“That means we’re real brothers.”
I want to tell him that it’s just the luck of the draw with DNA. That he is more their brother than mine. But when I glance over again, I see a little smile on his face. Imagine that someone thinks being like me is a good thing.


See previous posts, in the category- “Roady Series” – Find it in the drop down “menu” at the header of this blog. —————————————————————————————————This post is fiction based on the back story of a supporting character in a novel in process by Clare Graith. See ClareGraith.com for more info in the author.

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Conversations with Tyler Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

Cold Call From Stan- Intro to Roady Series

This is a phone conversation between Tyler and his Step-father Stan.

Stan– You need to come home.
Tyler- How did you get my number?
Stan– Off of your mother’s phone, what do you think?
Tyler- Your house is not my home and I don’t want you calling me any more.
Stan– Your mother is in the hospital.
Tyler- (pause). What happened?
Stan– Car accident. She’s had surgery.
Tyler- Is she okay?
Stan– Well enough but she’ll be in the hospital for a few days and she’ll need to not do any work. Least that’s what the doctor is saying.
Tyler- How did it happen?
Stan– She’s been blubbering that I shouldn’t tell you but how am I going to ‘splain why you’ve got to come home.
Tyler- (pause). Was she high?
Stan– You guessed that one fast. How did you know?
Tyler- I’m not coming back.
Stan– Just a week.
Tyler-I’m not coming. Don’t you remember you told me to ‘get the hell out of my house and don’t come back’?
Stan– Yeah well we needed you to help support the family but you thought leaving was better, left Linda Wheeler, to do what? Work your ass off being someone’s lackey. You know Linda married Jake Stille? Could have been you. Everyone thinks you’re an idiot.
Tyler-Tell mom I hope she gets better soon.
Stan– Dammit Ty, your brothers need you. How am I going to take care of four kids? I’m working now, twelve hour shifts.
Tyler- Not my problem.
Stan– You get home and clean up this mess your mother made or I’ll be sure that she pays for it. You understand me?
Tyler hangs up.