Free Mars (fklc) – Albert

A long time ago there was a river valley where things that could fly did and you would watch those things fly and fly and fly and wonder if they were ever going to stop they were so high, way up.

Well, one day one of them birds came down and it was Mars. Minnie knew it. She could see it fall from the sky, first the shot then the bird falling from the sky and then all she knew was she was running. She was taking care of herself today. Her mama and father had both gone into town to get some things and they knew that she would be okay. She was fourteen. Damn right she would be okay. But she ran. That’s all she knew. She ran so fast that those twigs were breaking and those vines were breaking and- she ran.

But when she got there she was too late. She could see the Davis boys picking him up, Mars all flapping her wings with a bullet hole through one of them. She charged that biggest Davis boy and hit him so hard in the stomach with her head that he barreled over and started to cry and he was seventeen. She turned around and knocked Billy straight on his ass, just like she had to do at the fight at lunch time-twice!

She picked up Mars and walked that bird on in home. Then she waited. She tried to make Mars as comfortable as she could. There was little that she could do. She waited and thought about calling her mother’s cell phone, but she decided not to.

Pretty soon the door opened and in walked Minnie’s mother and father.

“Hi, honey.”
“Mama.”
“What is it, honey?” She puts her groceries down on the table and goes over to Minnie. She grabs Minnie by the arms gently and looks into her eyes.
“Mars was shot.”
“Oh, my!”
“I got him, baby.”
Jed turns around and is holding the box that Minnie had placed him in with a jar cap full of water and a lot of bread to eat and cloth, old clean cloth that her mother had around.
“Got him through the wing, huh, girl?”
“Uh huh, daddy. Shot him clear through the wing.”

The next day Jed went to the barn and he got on Teardrop. Now, Teardrop was a sturdy old mule, but he wasn’t young and he and Jed did walk most of the time, but when push came to shove and Jed wanted to ride, by gab, he’d ride and Teardrop’d never complain. Well, he got on Teardrop and he rode over to Mr. Davis’s house and he and Mr. Davis had a beer and they sympathized together, commisserated and ended up giving each other a hug when Mr. Davis realizes he hadn’t even seen his boys in two days.

“Then you don’t know if they’re alright?”
“I don’t know anything about them. Their mother drops them off.”

And Jed wished him adieu and much luck and told him that Mars was tough, but he was never as tough as a gun was, but if he could tell his boys what the scoop is around the mountain here about shooting birds because not all of them are wild. And Mr. Davis apologized again and almost turned around as if he were looking for his stick. So Jed rode off and went home and it became night time and Moxy curled up on his lap as Jed mumbled stories from Omar Khaayam and the Rubiyait.

The next day Minnie comes up to her dad and tells him exactly what happened.

“And I saw him putting Mars in that bag and just shoving him in like Mars is a fucking piece of meat.”
“Minnie…”
“Freaking!”
“That’s better.”
“…piece of meat and I just ran and ducked and hit him in the head as hard as I could with the top of my head like I would if they let me play with pads. And he started to cry. And then I just wolloped Billy. Billy deserved to be walloped, dad.”
“Then you left?”
“Yes I left!”
“You left them there? Are they alright?”
“I don’t care.”
“Minnie!”
“I care, I guess, but…”
“I’m calling Mr. Davis. You’re taking us where you saw the boys last. Go get your backpack packed.”

Jed called Mr. Davis and Mr. Davis came over to his house. They shook hands in the driveway and then Minnie followed them out to the station wagon and they all got in and then drove down the road. Minnie was sad, like it was all her fault. But Jed wasn’t going to make her feel that way. Mars flies around how Mars will fly around and if sometimes something bad and nasty happens then that particular something bad and nasty will happen, it’s almost natural. And Minnie could feel this message from her father so her biggest concern also became to find the boys mostly because her father wanted her to and partly because she realized that she never would like to see somebody die. Nobody’s THAT bad.

They pulled into the National Park Rd. through whose fences Minnie had to cut across to get to Mars. Mr. Davis drove the car up one hill after another. Finally he parked the car where Minnie pointed to with her little finger. They strode up the hill until they were almost at the space where Minnie thought that she was that previous morning.

They walked into a thicket, bushes, trees, vines, hills, stones, water. There was everything there. She walked in a little further and then a little further and then a little further and the others followed her into the thicket and when they were in they suddenly became very small, not really small, they stayed the same size, but they did become very small as compared to the world around them. It was a cool day suddenly, almost tropical, the sun that did hit you came through the trees and reminded you of the goodness of warmth. The day was not difficult, no clouds, no sounds of possibility being drown out by “rain” or “snow” or “hail” or whatever. The boys were nowhere to be seen.

“Well, what should we do? Should we split up?” Mr. Davis said. He was a frightened man because all of the years of neglect on his boys had added up to a delinquency charge at the county jail for them and it seemed ashamed that that should happen because it never would have happened at all if he hadn’t worked so goddamned much. He’d forgotten who his wife was and that was saying a lot.

“Daddy, we should stay together. I’m scared.”
“We will stay together.” then announcing, “We’ll stay together, Mr. Davis. Just holler a lot.”
“Billy! Twain!…Billy…Twain….Billy!” and Mr. Davis went walking ahead, like he’d lost a diamond on the golf course and he were determined that he would get it back if it meant he had to walk five thousand miles. He was on that walk, what Kirby used to call the secret trail of Ernest Hemingway or Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Trail, or along Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Trail. Or something like that.

They went on with this for awhile until finally Minnie spotted them. She knew it. They’d come in from the back side. Those little twits had made it up the mountain, up the back side just like Teardrop done it and then when Mars goes looking out over all the “poor” little creatures you shoot her! Pphtt!

“Easy there, Thriller,” Jed said. “Don’t go attacking them again, that’s not what we’re here for.”
“They better be dying daddy. They better be dying.”
“Minnie.” Jed said.

They climbed over to them slow-like just as they had always done up this far. Mr. Davis led the way and Jed helped him and Mr. Davis helped Jed. And then Minnie followed behind.

Mr. Davis got to the boys first.
“What are you doing?”
“What do you mean what are we doing? We’re hurt.” Billy said.
“What do you mean you’re hurt?”

“Twain. Twain’s hurt real bad. He’d bleeding up through his stomach papa and he just gurgles blood up and I can’t stop him and I can’t leave him and I can’t move him because he hurts too bad, papa. Help.”

“Move away.”

The boy stood up and moved away, first placing his brother’s head softly on the pillow made up of his shirt. Mr. Davis took his place, cradling the boys head with his own lap. He tried calling the police on his cell phone, but nothing. Then Jed, nothing.

“Go, Mr. Jones. Go!”
“Minnie…”
In a split second, Minnie is up and running.
“Go child. Go,” Mr. Davis said. “What are we going to do, Mr. Jones?”

But Jed didn’t know. He bent down over the boy and then put his ear to his mouth to make sure there was breath. He knew this was true because the boy writhed in pain, which to Jed was a good sign because it meant he wasn’t completely unconscious and he could tell him where he hurt. But so far the boy wasn’t saying nothing. He was in one big, deep hurt and he was spending it all alone and that’s why his brother got scared and he didn’t want to move him, for fear of being there at that final defining moment, that moment when you disappear into the netherworlds of nevermore. He didn’t want to be there for that. So he cried.

But now he was here and he had to do something. He opened the boys mouth up a little bit. It was red with blood. He closed it. The boy seemed to be sleeping semi-calmly. It seemed like he had an internal bleeding and it wasn’t draining the very life out of him, but it sure did hurt like a summamabitch. He turned and looked up at Mr. Davis and calmly told him that he thinks that it’s no lie that his boy is hurt, but he didn’t think, that is, think, he didn’t think it was life threatening, but what the hell did he know? The most he knew about anatomy he learned off a Skid Row poster. He just shook his head.

But Minnie wasn’t done thinking about anything at that particular moment. She was contemplating jumping from one tree to another to cut five whole minutes off her time. She’d never done this and she’d thought about it a thousand times. Well, now was the time. She stood on that tree limb and she prepared. She waited, one, two, three breaths and then jumped she missed the other tree limb by three feet and splashed right there in the swimming hole. No, she wasn’t scared.

When she got out of the pool she kept running and thought about all of the stories that they tell you as children of the little red riding hood and the teeth and the witches and the goblins and ghosts in the woods. She thought of all of this as she ran and ran again, the same way back that she ran the day before. Back she went where she would go and look for mom and tell mom what happened and she and mom would go back and get them. Minnie burst through the door.

“Mom!”
“What is it, Minnie!”
“That kid’s hurt!”
“What kid?.”
“The kid I hurt. That kid is hurt real bad. They’re all on the mountain, daddy and Mr. Davis and we were looking for the Davis boys…
“Oh, Minnie, what have you done now?”
“Nothing, mama.”
“You told me those boys were alright.”

Moxy rushes out the door, her cell phone at her ear.

“Marty! NO, get Marty! Thanks, Rebecca.”
“Hello, Marty? The Davis boys are hurt and they’re on the mountain. Minnie says that one of the boys is hurt really badly and they can’t move him. Yeah, I think you may need the call the helicopter just in case. They’ll probably want to know something’s up. Alright. I’ve got my bag and I’m going up the hill with Minnie. She’s taking me back. Quicker to hike it. Just past the big field by the house. Yeah, right…alright. Bye, Marty. 555-5738,38, 5738. I gotta go.”

Minnie has Teardrop saddled and ready to go.

“C’mon, ma!”

Moxy doesn’t say a thing. Just walks past Minnie and tells her to hurry it up with that mule.

Back at the boys Jed and Mr. Davis have learned that if you hold the boy in a certain position, like with his left leg pointed down or something that he breathes easier. He maybe had a punctured lung, Jed thought. Minnie probably did the twister at the end of her hit and she knew it was illegal. It was the twister. So if Minnie did the twister that means that this boy, Twain, was twisted, so it reasoned to go that if you untwisted him then maybe he wouldn’t die mistakenly while we all sat around thinking it was going to be alright.

Moxy stares up the hill, watching Teardrop climb with Minnie. She sits down briefly, exhausted, on a stump, gets right back up and follows her daughter and the mule. Her backpack heavy with supplies on her back.

Jed reaches around the young man and lifts him lightly. The boy relaxes a little.
“Gotta hold him like that.”
“Like this?”
“Yeah, a little under that way, keep his lung open better.”
“Yeah?” Mr. Davis asked with eyes wide.
“Yeah.” Jed said.
“Yup”
“Yup.”
“Yeah, that’s alright, Twainy-boy, you friggin idiot. C’mon. That’s better, yeah.”

A light mist started to fall on the two men and the two boys. Jed looked up at the sky and wondered about existence. About his brother and his play. About his notion that everything will be alright could just be a ruse, a way to fool himself into believing that he wouldn’t have died had he continued drugs, a big lie, truly.

He would have died.

Minnie ran frantically up the hill. Teardrop kept up with her most of the way, but sometimes he was slow. Moxy followed behind. Teardrop was her proper, natural pace. She felt she would get there faster by making it there at all than if she fell off a cliff or broke an ankle along the way herself.

Well, our heroes went up there and got that boy. The rest of this story need not be told. Sometimes the truth is the shortest way from one place to another and then, if you realize it, you will realize that it’s not the getting there that is all the fun, but the stayin’ and the lovin’, most of all the lovin’. So you’ll realize, once again, I suppose, that this boy was close to dying. It’s all a ruse. It’s all a ruse! Said the poet to himself. It’s all a ruse! But it weren’t. It weren’t. It were real, right there with this boys spitting up these blood bubbles that would pop.

He was close to the edge when Jed saw Moxy come up on over that mountain followed by Minnie riding atop that mule. He couldn’t believe it. And then she come and she took care of that boy and she agreed that they should wait for the helicopter which they did. Minnie wanted to take him down on Teardrop, but Jed figured Teardrop’d had about enough. She knew what he meant.

They got that boy to the emergency room and they fixed him up and put him in the hospital for two months to cure his internal bleeding. Minnie had done the twister, a football move, and it spun him and she knew the twister was illegal, but she did it when she saw anybody harming that bird of theirs Mars. She sure loves Mars.

I guess the point here is this: that no matter how bad you are or how bad you think you are, you’re never be so bad that you’re not important to God or The Universe or Star Trek or whatever…I mean, well, I don’t know what I mean. This is Albert Jones, signing off here at the Fargo Kantrowitz’z Literary Campsite. Maybe Mr. Kantrowitz will appear tomorrow.

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Published in: on January 17, 2010 at 6:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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