Keys

Tomorrow. I’ll get it done tomorrow. It’s not as if anything will change in the next twenty-four hours. No. It will be the same. You’ll see, the old man said. He took out a Camel and lit it; opened a beer and drank. You’re always so busy, he took another swig. I spend my whole day in a relaxed mood. You. You have to go here and there. The store. Always going to the store. What is there? nothing I tell you. Nothing, he sat down at the kitchen table, wiped his lined brow, and smoked his cigarette.

Your beer is at the store. Cigarettes, he said. Why must I always be questioned?

I’m not questioning.

Pop. You’re questioning, he poured a cup of coffee.

Coffee? Drinking coffee in the afternoon? You’ll never sleep that way. Be up all night. You always are. I hear you. I lay in bed and hear you. Wondering, what’s he doing in there?

I do things dad.

Things?

Yes. Things. Laundry, dishes, dusting. Someone has to keep things tidy ’round here.

I guess your mother used to do that. She was always doing something, or, going somewhere. Her friends say I drove her to an early grave. You think so? You think I did that?, the son shook his head. They don’t come ’round to see me. Her friends. Nobody does.

You wanna go for a ride pop?

Where too?

Texas. Dallas. Where you grew up.

Is that where I’m from?, he nodded.

Yeah. Just grab your toothbrush.

I’ll need a change of clothes.

Nope. Straight there and back. No hotels. We’ll sleep in the car.

You got money?

Yes dad.

Enough for some barbeque?

Yep.

OK. Let’s go. Where’s my car keys?

I’m driving pop.

The hell you are. Hand em over, dad reaches for the keys, his son has in front of him. Dangling them.

You can’t drive dad. You’ll get us killed.

Give me those keys, he reaches again.

Back off dad.

I said give me those keys, he strikes the son in the face. They both look surprised. The old man hits him again. You gonna give me those keys? Or, have I gotta beat em out of you?, dad grabs Junior by the throat. The keys drop to the wooden floor and they both dive for them. The kid grabs the keys. Pop starts to bite his leg like an old dog chained up. The son grabs the coffee pot and swings wildly. The hot liquid showers the old man. He stops biting. They both sit on the floor staring at each other. Just staring.

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