• Dzama

The Kids

They let James go and took the other kid back to the station but in the back of my mind I knew the other kid never could have done anything so vicious so the whole time I sat there I looked at James out of the corner of my eye, just trying to think but there was so much commotion and everyone was chattering- Marjorie had a fight with the waitress while Chelly bopped around and the other guests made a lot of noise. James just stared past everyone, out the window. “How you holdin’ up, James?” I asked him.

“Good.”

So I chomped away on my kale and chunks of salmon and all the while eyed my son wondering what the hell to do. Turns out I did nothing. We headed back, went to bed and I found it easy to sleep with the amount of wine I’d drunk. Everyone else chattered on about school which was to start the next day. James even put in his two cents about how many books he needed. I went to sleep, had a nightmare, went back to sleep, and in the morning everyone went off to either school or work except for me because I felt like getting more sleep.

The first person to return was James and he was covered with blood. “Can I get the car keys?” he asked on his way to the ceramic bowl on the dresser. He’d taken them before I was fully awake and when Marjorie came in, and I was fully awake, I heard the news.

Apparently James’d killed nearly everyone on the bus on the way to school, including the bus driver. I think one kid survived. My job then was not to find James but instead to calm Marjorie down who was beyond hysterical. “I know it’s terrible but we have to get a hold of ourselves, just for one second. Let’s figure this out.” There was no figuring it out. She was a whirling dervish flailing about, screaming and crying.

The police arrived, Chelly was picked up by her grandmother, and, in all the commotion I snuck a cigarette on the back patio. I was staring at the trees behind the house when I saw a body hanging from a branch- it looked like an adult’s body and when I moved a little closer I could see it was the mailman, hanging from some Bungees, uniform encrusted with blood. His mail sack was on the grass below him, the letters coming out, splattered with gore.

A few cops joined me on the back patio and we all stared in silence before the commotion moved like a tornado into the back yard.

They sat me down and asked me where I thought he’d go. I told them, in all honesty, probably he’d head where there were a lot more people to kill.

I wasn’t that far off. His final swan song was at a department store where he took out a dozen more before a few sharpshooter cops blew him away.

After it was all over Marjorie and I sat Chelly down. “I know what you’re going to say,” Chelly told us. “I don’t wanna listen right now, okay? Let’s just forget about James. Let’s pretend there never was a James, okay?”

“Okay, that’s fair enough,” I said. It sounded like a good plan to me. Marjorie, I knew, wanted to talk all about it but for some reason she didn’t.

We tried moving out of state. But now, sitting at the dinner table in Montana, I look at Chelly out of the corner of my eye as she stares out the window. I’m tempted to ask her how she’s doing but I don’t. Instead we both sit in silence and wait for her mother to get home.

Copyright © 2009. All Rights Reserved.

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2 Comments

  1. Vivian Hwang
    Posted April 18, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Awesome story. Really shocking also. I like the way the thoughts of the main characters are expressed so frankly, as if something like this happens every day for them. Really opened my mind up to other types of psychopathic (if I may use that word) possibilities. I really enjoyed reading this.

  2. Tom Lisowski
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    Thanks Vivian! Glad to open your mind to other types of psychopathic possibilities- the funny thing is that writing these stories opens my mind as well- it feels like the stories are coming though me.

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