Assignment 1 -
Narrator: Think of my world. How can I write about by focusing on a character who represents it without being too pedantic.
“Goddammit,” he yelled. Steve’s voice was on permanent caps lock due to a horse accident that happened 40 years ago in which he fell off - excuse me - was bucked off (he yelled at me last time I said fell off – made him sound like he was a pussy) a prize horse they had on the farm. The accident left him deaf in one ear and over time, his good ear had pretty much gone to shit too. His accent was thick hick, backwoods. “Son of a bitch,” he howled. “Woman just hung up on me.” He deeply inhaled his Marlboro Red, as if sucking it for the oxygen it was taking. “These mother fuckers right here, these are healthy. They have a filter, darlin.” He would retort when I complained about his smoking. He was still holding his phone to his ear, lingering like his cigarette, one of the only modern tools he had somewhat accepted in his life. “Oh, shit. Hahaha. Honey, I was only kiddin. You ain’t a bitch. Haha. Darlin, I was just playin! I knew you were still on the phone.” He stayed outside yelling with his wife while we went in to eat at the restaurant. I don’t know if they were fighting or if he was just yelling, like he always does with his lack of hearing. He eventually came and met us at the hard, wooden booth, ready to eat like a man that had just killed his prey after a long game.
One night we were driving through the mountains when we came upon a doe that had been hit by a car but was still alive. The doe was twitching like a drug addict that was missing his fix. Steve stopped the car to check out the scene while I put my tired face in my hands, hiding like a child that thinks if he can’t see you, you can’t see him. Steve came back to the car, very calm, grabbed a hammer he had in the trunk. I closed my eyes even tighter and put my fingers in my ears and hummed as loud as I could, a pain rushing through my body. In no time at all, Steve had gotten back in the car. He sat in the driver’s seat, lit a Marlboro, his round belly all the way to the wheel, and looked straight ahead. Straining for breath, he quietly exhaled, “Darlin, I just got us dinner.”
Steve was a giant man with a giant voice and a giant temper. Once, after very nearly colliding with an oncoming truck in a severe snow storm, Steve yelled to me, “My goddamn taxes pay for the WHOLE road, sweetheart, and I’m gonna use it.” He literally lived in the fast lane. Well, hell, he lived in all the lanes. He’d tell you about the time he rode in the limo with John Travolta to the premier of Urban Cowboy, whom he had outfitted, doing lines and lines of coke off the heel of his thousand dollar boots. Or the times he would go to the back, back rooms of Vegas with Amarillo Slim, fucking women, fucking the casino, fucking it all. Rumors swirled throughout my life that he had been involved in some sort of “Cowboy Mafia” in Texas and I remember when his boss, the “Don”, a man more like a father to Steve, was sentenced to life in prison. During the same time period, Steve’s alcoholic step-dad went crazy and shot Steve’s mom, sister and niece and then himself. Nothing was the same after that. Drugs and alcohol became the only way he could exist rather than a fun, fucking time. Once, years later, his AA sponsor told him, “You know, Steve, one sign that’ll tell if you have an alcohol/drug problem is if you’ve ever blacked out. Have you ever blacked out?” Steve quickly responded, “Oh shit yeah, man. 1980, 1981 and 1982.”
He had no filter, except the one he later got on his cigarettes after a “small” heart attack. He didn’t think much of the “Goddamn government” or any other authority for that matter but I did see him weep at the altar of many churches growing up. Repenting for something. Repenting for many somethings. I just hope he never repented for killing that baby dear. Because it took a real man to put that doe out of its misery. It took a pussy to leave it there on the road, leaving it there to suffer and die. And my daddy was no pussy.
3 weeks ago