I used to watch him from my bedroom window in the middle of the night when the moon glowed and street lights blinked on and off. He’d go out to the front porch and crack open a cold one; mom was in bed, the dogs were asleep.
And, he’d start talking to himself. Some kind of mumbling at first, speaking incoherently, rambling on and on about nothing; he always spoke of nothing. Talk of dreams and fantasies about the end of the world coming soon. He’d get a few in him and begin his monologue.
This whole pandemic thing is going to be our first battle in the on-going fight against evil, I heard him say. Soon there’ll be fires and wars the likes we’ve never seen before. Some kind of new plan the devil has made complete with apocalyptic horsemen and the gnashing of teeth, he’d light a cigarette and take another swig of Budweiser. We haven’t done things in a Christian manner, he loosened his belt. Never have.
I’m watching it all fall apart, he said. Father against son, son against father, I laughed at him as he got more animated. Can’t even trust the love of a good woman anymore, he smiled, The things we used to take for granted.
He got up from his chair and the moonlight followed him into the barn. You could hear the old wooden door creak as he swung it open. Maybe I should’ve followed him out there. Perhaps I could’ve talked him out of it. I don’t know. Never know.
That morning, a few hours later, they found his body dangling from the rafters, rope ’round his skinny neck. I stayed in my room and listened to the police man express his condolences to mom.
Ain’t it strange what the moonlight can do.