April Fool

I stared down at my boots, covered in red Georgia clay. I remembered shining them the previous morning, putting on my best suit, tying my black tie. I remembered other things about the day, things I would never forget.

My head pounded. I pulled up my mud stained pantleg and removed the flask from my boot. The bourbon blurred the memories and calmed my mind.

The rain splattered against the bus window. My vision blurred as I watched the wet, gray landscape and the meaningless road signs pass by. I was sitting in the back row of a bus. I reached in my pants pocket and pulled out a Greyhound ticket stub with April 1 printed on it. I had no memory of purchasing the ticket last night nor of getting on the bus.

I closed my eyes; I wanted to forget. Instead, I remembered the funeral, and the looks and accusations whispered behind my back, disapproving of my eulogy. They all considered my father a saint. I exposed the demon he was. They found particular offense at my closing words, quoting my father’s favorite phrase, I told them all “you can kiss my ass.” That brought the proceedings to a scandalous close.

I remembered spending the afternoon hidden in the woods at the back of the cemetery, waiting for dark with just a bottle of Jack to keep me company. As darkness fell, I took my shovel and ax, and began my work. It was easy business digging up a freshly dug grave.

My wished for sleep was almost upon me when the bus came to a stop. I opened my eyes to see a young woman walking down the aisle toward me. She looked in worse shape than me. She sat down next to me.

“Can I have a sip?” She asked.

She looked barely eighteen, but I wasn’t about to card her. I handed the flask over. She took much more than a sip.

“Thanks,” she said. Taking another gulp before passing it back.

“Where are you going?” she asked.

“Hell, probably.”

“That’s a bit dark. I’m headed to LA.”

“You a runaway?” I asked.

“Everyone’s running from something,” she replied, staring me in the eyes.

“That is true,” I said, drinking the last of the bourbon.

“So what are you running from, and why are you going to hell?”

I turned to look her in the eyes, deciding whether or not to tell her my secret. Finally, I said, “Last night I buried my father. For eternity he will now be kissing his own ass, and for that I will likely burn in hell.”

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