Truth Be Told – Roady Series 7

Sometimes you want something that will forever be out of your grasp but still every day in the back of your mind you think stupid stuff like, “Mom is happy. She’s got a good life with Stan maybe not all perfect but not trying to do it alone.” I was eight when she said she was marrying him. I cried but she told me it would work out in the end, and we would never be hungry and she would never get high, never even smoke a cigarette. It was a small price to pay to be under Stan’s foot. When did she start again? Was it because I left? Was it my fault? How could everything go so wrong? Demons follow me in my sleep. Cars crashing, people yelling, me climbing over a fence with Big Al and his machete after me. Then there’s a baby screaming in a bag of dirty laundry, and Linda laying on a blanket without a stitch of clothes, waiting for me until Jake shows up in some kind of a uniform and now he has a machete. As the knife comes down on me, I sit up thrust out of sleep, out of breath, sweat on my brow. Roady groans and presses his feet into my side. I lay back down but I can’t sleep any more.

I must have dozed off anyway because I open my eyes to the sound of tapping on the window and the faces of Jason, Liam and Clinton pressed against the glass staring at me. What is it with these kids and looking at me? I sit up. Jason opens the door and invites himself into my bed.
“How come you’re sleeping outside?”
“I’m not outside.”
Clinton joins Jason in the back seat and Liam sits up front.
“Why don’t you sleep on the couch?”
“Because I’m sleeping here. Everyone out,” I say.
The whole clan piles out, Roady runs off and squats on a patch of weeds to pee. The kids follow me to the kitchen where Junior is sitting at the table eating a huge bowl of cereal. Good at least one of these kids knows how to take care of himself. I make them all eggs and toast then thankfully the oldest three are off to school. Stan is still asleep. Jason says he always sleeps after work. He’s content to watch television and eat dry cereal from a bowl. But I can’t stand to be in this house. I convince Jason to take his bowl and sit in the back seat of the car. Roady sits in the passenger seat, alert and on guard. I feel like I should put a seat belt on him he acts so much like a person. He gives me a soft huff as he notices I’m looking at him.
“You’re a good dog Roady.”
I get another huff for that.
I drive with no destination in mind. I just want to see what’s going on. I know I’ve betrayed myself when I see the big red sign, “Emergency Entrance”. I’ve driven up and down streets and ended up at the hospital. I have to do it. Not because I can’t stand the thought of coming upon Linda and having her say how terrible I am again. Not because Jason is in the back seat looking like a sad puppy, so small to be left in the care of Stan. I have to because I need to hear from her what’s been going on. I need to know if I’m the reason she’s in this mess. As Jason and I take the elevator to the floor she’s on, my mouth goes dry. What will she say?

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 for more info about the author.

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.
“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 for more info in the author.