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A Day in the Life Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

Doggy Kisses – Roady Series Episode #38

Family will borrow things as though no permission were needed. I get that when it’s a three year old sibling swiping a GameBoy from a thirteen year old brother, though when Stan Junior did that I was one inch close to giving him a bloody nose. But, when an adult stepfather (why I allow even in print any reference to him as a father must be due to the beating to my head I took a week ago) and a sober mother send my dog off to some kid’s birthday party to pull a cart, I’m ready to pack up and drive away for good.
“He was just hanging around whining all the time,” Mom explains.
“We’ve been feeding him,” Stan adds from his recliner throne, a six pack carton half filled with empty beer bottles at his feet. “Dogs got to earn his keep.” He guzzles the rest of another beer and adds it to the set.
“You’re getting paid for this?”
“Damn straight I am. Like I said. No free loaders in this house.” He stares at me. I don’t like the implications of that look. If I wasn’t a hobbling invalid I might just not be able to restrain myself from knocking his block off. But then in true Stan fashion, he takes it one step further. “You ought to be thanking me for saving your life. Where’s my next beer?” He yells at Mom.
“Just making sure you don’t kill each other.” She runs off to the kitchen to get the beer, barely a limp left in her gait.
“Thanks,” I say because truth be told, I do owe him my life on that count, though he might have let me die right on the couch out of ignorance. I hobble my way back out the door.
“Where are you going?” Mom says holding the beer, dripping condensation off her hand.
“I’m not staying in this house.”
“Tyler, no. You’ll never be comfortable with your injuries in that car.”
“Comfort is more than just a soft place to stretch out. My car is heaven compared to this…” I keep myself from saying what is on my mind. Stan might be half way to drunk but he is fit and able to give me some pain if I rile him up. I walk out the door.
On my way to the car, Junior comes up the drive with Roady trotting on a leash. The dog breaks away from the boy and hurls himself through the air knocking me off balance. He’s all over me. Doggy smell full blast, wet kisses all over my face, his joy so free, my physical wounds might hurt more at this moment, but a thousand heart wounds are healed as I wrap my arms around him and kiss his doggy face back.


This series is fiction. Read the full Roady Series by choosing it in categories. “Like” to let me know you’re a fan. Follow this blog to not miss any new episodes.

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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

The Dog Knows – Roady Series- episode 10

There’s no money that can replace the value of a good dog. Yes, at this moment if someone offered me ten thousand dollars for Roady, I would say go to hell. This dog has spent the day tied to the scraggly, poison ivy infested dogwood and yet his tail wags and his tongue lolls ready to give me dog slobber kisses. How is that? Meanwhile I really want to walk out on these rowdy, ungrateful, messed up people.
If I was paid twenty thousand dollars I would not take this job willingly.
But I’m not getting paid, as a matter of fact I’m losing money right and left; hog tied by the word ‘family’ and some stupid thought planted at vacation Bible school, the one time my seven year old self was dragged there, something about honoring your parents or God would kill you right in the prime of your life. Try as I might to ditch that crazy threat hanging over my head, I can’t seem to find it in me to not say ‘no’, to not allow myself to be used. I always thought doing the right thing would feel better than this. Something is not lining up with this situation. I think the dog gets it. The way he stretches his paw over my chest as I try to find sleep, it’s like he’s telling me he’s got my back.

DON’T miss another episode in this series, subscribe now! READ Episodes 1- 9 by choosing the category- “Roady Series” – Find it in the drop down “menu” at the header of this blog.
See ClareGraith.com for more info about the author.

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A Day in the Life Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

Yes, I’m a Loser – Roady Series episode 4

Nothing has changed in town except the dance school has taken over Mick’s barber shop. Guess no one gets their hair cut at a shop anymore but everyone wants their kid to dance. No threat that the Walmart will meet the same fate. The whole town is out shopping, judging by how full the parking lot is.
I’m surprised we don’t get kicked out as soon I walk in with my gaggle of dirty ducklings. I wasn’t about to make them take baths before we went out but we’re getting looks even by the Walmart people.
“Can we get this?” seven-year old Clinton says holding up a huge bag of chips.
“Put it back,”I say. We’re just getting the basics, cheap stuff that will go far. Five boxes of macaroni and cheese, more spaghetti, a few cans of tomato sauce, loaves of bread, a family sized ground beef, and hot dogs. I skip vegetables. They won’t eat them and I’m not their mama. We get two big boxes of store brand cereal and head to get some milk. Just as I’m about to hoist a gallon jug into the cart, I hear a scream of delight.
“Tyler is that you?”

There she is. I was hoping to dodge seeing Linda for the week. Let her hear I was around and leave it at that. But now she’s pulled her cart next to mine. She looks good, put on some pounds but her pretty face just looks healthier with it. There’s a baby blowing spit bubbles in the cart seat and a toddler with a chocolate bar half melted across her cheeks in the cart. “What are you doing here?” She says loud enough that a few people look our way. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming to town? I would have you over for dinner.”
She’s joking right? We haven’t talked since the phone call I hung up on.
“Mom’s in the hospital. Boys need lookin after,” I say but I’m feeling like I’m talking about someone else’s life. I’m not a family guy. I left. My life is not about ‘dinners’ and ‘looking after’ kids. I don’t belong here.
“Yeah I heard,” she says wiping both the baby and the toddler’s faces with a baby wipe from her purse. “Pretty sad that guy got killed.”
“There was a fatality?”
“Yeah, didn’t you know. A motorcyclist in the intersection. He didn’t make it.”
I’m stunned. I put the milk in the cart and don’t even catch that Clinton has added a can of whipped cream. She was high. A man died. Will she be charged? I don’t even want to think about it. My sister is in jail for possession. If mom ends up there too, who will take these kids?
“So how are you?” Linda asks giving me a smile too big for a married woman. “It’s been so long. Did you build a house yet? Go to college? What have you been doing these past few years?”
“Living. Did some things. Working out some plans.”
“Still not hitched, I see.” She glances toward my ringless hand.
“Time enough for that,” I answer.
“Sure. Looks like you’d make a good father though,” she says. The boys are all hanging on the cart waiting for our conversation to end.
“Nope. Just a brother and a half one at that.”
She shakes her head then gives me a ‘I made the right choice not waiting for you’ smile. Makes me feel like the biggest loser ever. My life sucks. She says a polite “hope your mom gets better” and goes on her way.
I see the whipped cream and put it back. Clinton starts to whimper then Jason joins in.
“Dammit! We don’t have enough money for that kind of stuff.” That does nothing to quiet them.
“She used to be your girlfriend?” Junior says. “You’re stupid just like Dad says.”
“Yeah well wait till you grow up, you might get it then.”
As we wait on the check out line, I see Junior pocket a blue lighter.
I go up to him and quietly say, “put it back.”
“Dad needs it,” he says. “He’ll pay for it later.”
“Put it back,” I say again.
“No. Dad told me to get it. If I do he’ll let me smoke his butts. He’ll leave me half of it you know.”
“You don’t steal and don’t be stupid and start smoking. Don’t you know what happens? You make a few dollars and spend it on cigarettes. Not because you want to, because you’re an addict. Is that what you want? Be a thief and craving some leaves rolled in paper?”
He stares at me, arms crossed. I reach into his pocket, and take out the lighter. Then I pick out a pack of bubble gum and say, “Get this. All yours.”
He doesn’t want to smile but I see a light in his eyes.


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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A Day in the Life Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

Something From Nothing – Roady Series 3

Some people get away with being obnoxious. They hold the ticket, “that’s just how he is”. The only ones validating that ticket are the poor people around him who have given up. As I look around the ‘home’ Mom and Stan have made, it’s clear that everyone here has given up and looks to me that my oldest half brother Stanley Junior takes after his pop in all the wrong ways.
“Where’d you get that mangy mutt?” Junior sneers. I haven’t seen him in four years and this is what he says? I ignore him and his father. Roady hides behind my legs.
Little Jason jumps up and puts his arms around Roady, crouching on the floor, also hiding behind my legs.
Stan tries to stare me down but then concedes to his need for me.
“Why don’t you see if you can fix something to eat? I’m all out of cereal.”
Four sets of eyes are now on me, the dog forgotten.
Why anyone would think I can cook, I don’t know. I was left to scrounge for my own meals more than once when I was their age though so maybe I can come up with something. I go to the galley kitchen. Among the bowls, spoons, and cups, are pots with crusted red, brown, and green stuff in them stacked in the sink, on the counters; evidence that at some point more than just the now empty box of Cheerios was eaten.
I open a cupboard and find a box of spaghetti. In the fridge, there’s an empty milk carton, mustard and ketchup, peanut butter, a twelve pack of beer and a bottle of wine. Dried egg yolk on the bottom shelf suggests once there were eggs. In the freezer, ice.
I boil a pot of water and cook up the spaghetti then squirt the ketchup on the whole thing. It’s an instant meal I remember well. They eat it up like it’s the best thing they ever ate.
“You need some food in this house,” I tell Stan who is on his next beer and crashed into a ragged recliner, the television now blasting a talk show with people yelling at each other.
“Yeah, get some. Good idea.”
All the boys look at me with hopeful eyes. I can’t escape that kind of focus. How can I hide that I don’t have a whole lot of cash but I can tell Stan isn’t about to hand me even twenty bucks.
“And take them with you,” Stan adds. “Lord knows I need a break.”


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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A Day in the Life Roady Series - Tyler Back Home

Home Not Sweet Home – Roady Series episode 2

I named the dog “Roady”, short for “Road Kill”. I should have named him Roady Junior with me being Roady Senior since my mad dash to rescue the pup almost cost me my life. When I pull up the muddy driveway of Stan and Mom’s newest house, Roady whines.
“Yeah buddy, I’m not too happy about it either.”
A twisted vine with clusters of green leaves is stretching from a dry, old dogwood to the gutters of the house where it wraps around the drain spout full and bushy. Looks like poison ivy to me. I’m about to get out of my car when a rusty, rumbling pick-up pulls next to me.
“Move your damn car,” Stan yells. “Park over on the grass.”
Grass? All I can see are some patches of weeds gripping the ground, flat and broad leafed between gravel scattered in the dirt. Maybe once it was all gravel. Now it’s hard to see where the driveway ends and the ‘grass’ begins. I pull to the side and get out.
Stan walks right on past me without another word. I follow him with Roady at my heel. Inside, four sets of eyes swivel from the television and fix not on me but Roady.
“A dog!” five year old Jason yells.
Stan comes back from the kitchen with a beer in his hand. “No.”

(This picks up from the previous post -“Life Altering Collision)

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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.