A man named Moon, an eagerly helpful guy we only ever knew him as Moon he rented a room or an apartment from my parents he didn’t work maybe he paid the rent in weed maybe he paid in some other way. When I imagine his face it looks so much like my younger brother’s does now, not like me certainly not like my father who was gone for a very long time once when I was three maybe the hospital or jail or he just needed to get away for a while. When my dad returned, Moon soon disappeared, permanently eclipsed. I’m sure my dad killed him and stole his baby son, not from jealousy or anger, not anything petty. It was just his way.
Woman Dies after Fall from Fairgrounds Attraction
She was supposed to jump from a platform onto a giant air bag from thirty or forty feet up.
It’s never good when you change your mind halfway through a jump, but she did. The woman smacked her head into the support structure and got knocked into a different flight plan--
one where she just missed the mattress and found concrete instead.
I admit it’s hard to predict the many ways in which people will fail-- through indecision or poor decision or just plain bad luck but I still think somebody should have seen this one coming.
I often wonder how many people say “Oh, shit” just before they die.
One time me and my little brother were at a carnival riding The Scrambler. He was scrawny and weak and as the g-force started to increase, he got pushed lower and lower until he started to slip out from under the restraint bar.
I jammed my leg across him and screamed “You gotta hold on!” He squeaked back fearfully “I can’t.” The desperation in his voice might have been the last thing I heard from him but the ride began to slow down just then.
As we got off the ride, no one noticed that a tragedy had been averted and that the newspapers would have one less story to write about for tomorrow.
Bicentennial Winter and Beyond
We were only in sixth grade but like a grown man, he shot his hand out forcefully and he said, “Hey, I’m Kerry McKinney. I just moved here from Ohio to come and live with my dad and stepmom.”
I shook his hand hesitantly. This kid was nervy and weird and was now living in the house right behind mine. It was just before we took in a half-dead stray dog and put in a chain link fence.
Kerry’s dad had a small boat pulled tight against the house, covered in a strapped-down tarp during the colder months of the year. But I could get up under the tarp pretty easily if I wanted to.
I don’t know exactly how long Kerry lived with his dad. Six months at the most. He got sent straight back to his mom in Ohio for fighting and being a troublemaker which really wasn’t true.
Without preamble, I had punched him out for stealing my best friend John away from me. I felt guilty about it for years until I realized that the dad was looking for any reason to send Kerry away.
So I had my best friend back and we spent most of that winter stealing camping gear from Belscot for an imaginary camping trip-- until the afternoon John got busted.
I saw it going down and like a machine gunner, I rapidly ditched all my loot into the Frito-Lay rack before store security nabbed me by the fur-fringed hood of my nylon parka.
I got caught holding a paperback porn novel stolen a week earlier from 7-11. It was called “Sexy Den Mother in the Woods with her Cub Scouts.” It’s still the best book I’ve ever read.
After taking our names and numbers, the loss prevention guys let us go but told us they were going to call our parents later that night after they got home from work.
I was going to be outed as both a thief and a pervert: True, but problematic, nonetheless. Before the call came I disappeared into the December night. But not very far.
I slipped beneath the canvas of Mr. McKinney’s boat, listening to my mom calling out for me at the back patio door, weighing hypothermia versus disgrace in the eyes of my parents.
I trudged home meekly to where there was stale bread and water waiting at the table for me. Like a squirt gun, the tears shot out of me and my parents laughed sympathetically.
Then my dad told me the story of how he had gotten a girl pregnant in 1955 when they were both thirteen and how my grandfather had had to arrange for an abortion in a hotel room up in Milwaukee.
I think he was trying to give me perspective. It helped.
But not that much, because ten years later I was fucking John’s wife out in the woods, parked in an aqua Matador, knowing exactly what people mean when they talk about there being no honor among thieves, even with those who thought they’d been somehow reformed.
Bio: Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.